If only a little more…

Many times in government programs we hang on to things a little too long. There are some in government (probably won’t admit it publically) that actually just start a program small because once started it is easier to ask for more.

There are almost too many examples to list where someone claims if it was only a little more (fill in the blank), it would have worked. Recent examples would be one of the last stimulus programs, I heard someone say, “If it was twice its size it would have worked.” The surprising thing is once someone says this; it is taken as a real argument.

I was recently reminded of this when I read an article by J.B. Wogan of Governing Magazine. He had studied the data from the decades of gun buyback programs. The evidence from the data is clear that the buyback programs have not succeeded in reducing gun or violent crimes.

Yet in the aftermath of crimes in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, you have witnessed the resurgent of these buyback programs. Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Newark, Seattle and dozens of other cities have announced plans to purchase people’s weaponry. It may be an interesting study, but most of those communities might not have enough funds to operate what they are already doing and they find another way to spend OPM.

It does point to what I think is a human reaction, if we can’t make a difference we can at least make it look like we are attempting something. This is almost like a public relations effort rather than a result oriented effort.

In the article he states that some 800 mayors have joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Really, how many Mayors are in the Mayors For Illegal Gun Club? I hope we start judging the results of things we do, like any successful organization, by determining if it works. Is there a point where we will see positive results of our action? Is there a direct correlation between our action and the planned reaction, or end product?

So I guess a little more of this should get you more of that before we give you a little more of this.


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  • Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager

    Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager

    Thoughts on running a city, daily musings, and everything in between.