Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Peduto Supports Computer System to Help Pave Roads, Find Sarah Connor

For some reason, somebody forwarded me an email from People for Peduto on Pittsburgh paving practices and possible problems with public programs:

Today, City Council is holding a special meeting to discuss the idea of implementing a Professional Management System to determine which streets get resurfaced. In the 1990s, the city invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on a system that analyzes every street in the city. By 2000, the city had scrapped this system in favor of "eyeball inspections", opening the door for politics, rather than sound policy, being the driving factor in determining which streets get paved.
I swear, someone is secretly sending stupid submission, so that I seethe and snark scathingly.

[Whoa... better turn the Consonance and Alliteration down to a reasonable level.]

Anyway, as much as I support allowing objective criteria govern our policy making processes, I foresee a number of problems that will lead to this proposal being abandoned.

Please let me say again that I am in favor of this project, but have been in Government long enough to know when something is doomed.

(1) Objective Criteria - Establishing objective criteria is fine, but the criteria used will skew your results. In the streets case "number of pot holes" is just as objective as "alphabetical order of the street name".

(2) People are dumb - Well, maybe not dumb, but certainly irrational, misinformed, and lacking basic foresight. The angry woman down the street who thinks that the City is deliberately holding back street paving funds to her neighborhood is more likely to stand up in front of council and damn them all to hell than the rational woman who heard that PWSA will be replacing water lines in June.

Typically angry, annoying people are able to get their way, if for no other reason than people just want to see the end of them.

(3) Politics - On the other side of the coin, Politicians are not necessarily interested in the greater good for the Community. In general, they care more about getting re-elected than whether Garfield gets Penn Avenue paved... unless, of course, that happens to be in their district.

The first time process stands in the way of political expediency, process will go right out the window.

Until then, I'm setting my spam filter on high.

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