Sunday, June 26, 2011

The best job in Portland

About a month ago, we raised the point that the $21,600 Portland Public School Superintendent Carole Smith paid to research firm Davis, Hibbits and Midghall was a waste of money.  After all, that was the firm that advised the school board to inflate the recent school bond issue by $178 million, so all the schools would get something, whether they needed it or not.  As the bond issue fell to defeat, I thought that perhaps the reason that the research firm made that recommendation was because they're making so much money to know that the rest of us are climbing out of the worst recession since The Great Depression.
Last week, while discussing the fact that the City of Portland spends 36% of its budget attempting to achieve equity for 14% of its citizens, I neglected to cite the findings of another study at the heart of the $88.5 million (over 90% of the money we spend to achieve equity) Portland Housing Bureau.  City Commissioner Nick Fish substantiates this expenditure by citing a study revealing that 66% of our 14% minority population "face discrimination when they look for a place to rent in Portland."
That would put us on par with Mobile, Alabama in the early 1960s.
While Commissioner Fish finds this situation "appalling," I find the fact that the Commissioner refuses to make the study public more appalling.  Basically, he's saying, "Believe me."
Is it because he's read the study?  No.  City officials paid $13,000 for the study, but have not actually read it.
Okay.  He's not saying, "Believe me."  He's saying, "Believe them."
"Them" is the Fair Housing Council of Oregon.  Commissioner Fish has chosen not to ask for the study because that would, according to Willamette Week, "jeopardize its ability to do future audits by revealing its methods." 
In summary, the city paid $13,000 for a study that is clearly statistically unsound with a conclusion that has been grossly exaggerated that has not been read by city management in order to justify spending $88.5 million of our $2.797 billion budget.
Do you want the best job in Portland?
Do research studies for the city.  You don't have to be right and you don't have to show anyone your work  All you have to do is conclude that the city should spend more money.  And make sure and bill them for your work.

No comments:

Post a Comment