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Adventures in state-funded stupidity

Friday, Jul 25, 2014

* We’ve gotten so caught up in attempting to find “criminal” behavior in the governor’s botched anti-violence initiative that we’ve tended to ignore how ridiculous some aspects of the program actually were. From the BND

One component of the program involved training residents of the communities, both parents and youths, to serve as “mentors” to their peers. The individuals were paid to provide mentoring to their peers, but the audit found that time-keeping records in many cases were non-existent or poorly maintained.

The advice given by the mentors also has been questioned. In one instance, a mentor gave advice to a mother about how to deal with a child who violated curfew.

“I told her to tell him that night is the prime time that youth get harassed and killed by the police,” the mentor wrote in his report.

The same mentor gave similar advice to another mother: “We talked about speaking with child about danger of being out on streets late, such as shootings, police brutality, influence of bad things from other peers,” the mentor wrote in his report.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PMcP - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:51 am:

    So the state paid for a program to tell people not to trust the state? The incompetence of this program is soul-crushing to hear about.

  2. - Wumpus - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:55 am:

    If they know how to relate to the kids, that is important. Scary that it is coming from basically a state funded agency, but have these mentors even been trained? This just makes the $51 million gazillion look worse. I will become a monitor of this program for $5.1 million.

  3. - ... - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:59 am:

    We all know the old saying, “Free advice is worth what you pay for it.”

    Only a parent who is incompetent, and probably also unfit to be a parent, would heed such advice from another incompetent individual.

  4. - Pete - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 9:00 am:

    “Beware the police.”

    Where do I send my invoice?

  5. - downstate hack - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 9:06 am:

    “We all know the old saying, “Free advice is worth what you pay for it.”

    Unfortunately in this case the tax payers of Illinois were paying for this “free Advice”.

  6. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 9:08 am:

    wow that mentor was using useing demagoguery to stop violence. he should have left that to the Tribune….

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 9:12 am:

    A simple “nothing good happens on the streets after midnight” would have been sufficient.

  8. - Demoralized - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 9:13 am:

    Didn’t Monique Davis say that she believed the police might be killing kids in Chicago?

    Was she the mentor in question . . . ???

  9. - A guy... - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    And you wonder why Gerry McCarthy has migraines? State funded “anti-police” program; that’s a high price for a few votes.

  10. - Taxpayer Tim - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    You can’t fault the taxpayers for being so vehemently opposed to raising taxes when their money gets wasted on stupid projects like this. I think most taxpayers are awake to the fact that much of their money gets blown on ill thought out and politically influenced projects, rather that going to where that money is actually needed. The taxpayers don’t trust the state government to do the right thing. Who can blame them?

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    The audit itself is pretty damning. Members of the LAC should read it, rather than chasing their tales like Inspector Clouseau.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    Not all of us, Rich :)

    As Schnorf has pointed out, the audit is damning enough.

  13. - West Sider - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    —Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 9:12 am:

    A simple “nothing good happens on the streets after midnight” would have been sufficient.—-
    Exactly right. The police are seen as, at best, neutral actors on the West Side. You cannot blame the worker for working with the perceptions of the community.

  14. - walker - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    The audit results pointing out ineffectiveness, waste, and some downright stupidity, are not as politically exciting as claiming it was for GOTV in the 2010 election, or that it was criminal corruption.

    Let the truth come out, and speak for itself.

  15. - phocion - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    This mindset - distrust of police, perpetuated by demogogues and thugs - are what cause young men with guns to not drop them when ordered by police, with deadly results. It causes communities to shelter criminals rather than being seen as cooperating with the police to remove them from the neighborhood. It perpetuates cycles of isolation, poverty and despair. Congratulations, NRI! You really know how to get to the root of the problem.

  16. - dupage dan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    $50 mill wasted. Or is this just election year hyperbole?

    Yes, focus on the report. The criminality angle might be there but it could take months or even years to get to the jury. This report is f-in golden right now.

  17. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    While I agree that mistrust of the police is not helpful, the history of police actions toward people of color trends to the negative. The likelihood that a young black man will be treated harshly by the police is well documented.

    If your short term goal is to get that young man off the streets at night, you remind him of the things for which he is most at risk. This clearly does not serve the longer-term goal of straightening out the dysfunctional relationship between police and young black males, but the program seemed focused on short-term goals.

    So, this revelation is not surprising nor would I consider the advice stupid. It is based on a painful reality.

  18. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Consider this article by the ACLU’s Washington Legislative office:

    The advice given by the “mentor” above is pretty similar.

  19. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    typo: the previous post should have read: “…the Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative office:”

  20. - onevoter - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Thanks Pot calling kettle, good article. I live in Roseland and this is close to what I tell my kids. Sad but True

  21. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    $54,500,000 - gone.
    Thanks Pat, that’s your legacy.

  22. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    ==$54,500,000 - gone.
    Thanks Pat, that’s your legacy. ==

    If Quinn’s legacy is that he wasted $54 million, that’s pretty good for Illinois. We should probably hang onto him.

    Seriously, I suspect that some portion of that money did some good. We need to look closely at the program and identify the successes and failures and move on. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any such effort will be made. The quote above is a case in point. As I understand it, this is advice commonly given to you black men and it is based on experience. If you want to influence people, you need to give them advice they can relate to.

  23. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 3:54 pm:

    Stupid cell phone, another typo: “young black men” (not “you”) sorry all

  24. - Befuddled - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    And another NRI story to round out the week. Is that 5 for 5 this week? They just keep coming. Those are much better than participatory trophies, Willy.
    Or the Repubs could just shut up and let the Feds get to it, sometime next year. This is good government in the sense that the voters are being educated about what went on with this program.

  25. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Pot Calling. Kettle -

    Why not tell kids Santa will put coal in their stocking? Or the Bogeyman will get them?

    Every week the papers are filled with stories of violence. Every black school kid in Chicago has either lost someone to violence or knows someone who has.

    It is a fair bet that these kids already know that their neighborhood is unsafe.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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