Responding [with apologies if due to Barry Garelick] to Haim's post of Sep 29, 2012 3:57 PM (Haim's post pasted below my signature for ready reference):
As Haim AND the New York Times say it is happening, I guess it must be happening.
But what is clearly NOT happening whether in Camden, New Jersey or in the US public school system is effective work towards reforming the ills (of the Camden police force on the one hand; of the US public school system, on the other hand).
This much is evident from the article quoted by Haim - > > A police union has sued to stop the move, saying it > is risking public safety on an "unproven" idea. But > many residents, community groups and elected > officials say that the city is simply out of money, > out of options, out of patience. > > "There's no alternative, there's no Plan B," the City > Council president, Frank Moran, said. "It's the only > option we have." > Clearly improvements are not about to happen in Camden's police force despite the stern decision to fire the existing police force. What is most likely to happen is more of the "same old, same old".
AND improvements will not happen either for the US public school education system either - to judge from Haim's repeated calls (over years) to "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" and Wayne Bishop's repeated demands to "BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION!" Here too, it will be some more of the "same old, same old".
GSC ("Still Shoveling Away!") Haim posted Sep 29, 2012 3:57 PM: > I hope the relevance of this article, to public > education, is obvious. > > First there was Scott Walker in Wisconsin, now > now this, > > >But Camden?s decision to remake perhaps the most > >essential public service for a city riven by crime > >underscores how communities are taking previously > >unimaginable steps to get out from under union > >obligations that built up over generations. > > http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/nyregion/overrun-by- > crime-camden-trades-in-its-police-force.html?hp&_r=0 > > September 28, 2012 > To Fight Crime, a Poor City Will Trade In Its Police > By KATE ZERNIKE > > CAMDEN, N.J. ? Two gruesome murders of children last > month ? a toddler decapitated, a 6-year-old stabbed > in his sleep ? served as reminders of this city?s > reputation as the most dangerous in America. Others > can be found along the blocks of row houses > spray-painted ?R.I.P.,? empty liquor bottles > clustered on their porches in memorial to murder > victims. > > The police acknowledge that they have all but ceded > these streets to crime, with murders on track to > break records this year. And now, in a desperate move > to regain control, city officials are planning to > disband the Police Department. > > The reason, officials say, is that generous union > contracts have made it financially impossible to keep > enough officers on the street. So in November, > Camden, which has already had substantial police > layoffs, will begin terminating the remaining 273 > officers and give control to a new county force. The > move, officials say, will free up millions to hire a > larger, nonunionized force of 400 officers to > safeguard the city, which is also the nation?s > poorest. > > Hardly a political battle of the last several years > has been fiercer than the one over the fate of public > sector unions. But Camden?s decision to remake > perhaps the most essential public service for a city > riven by crime underscores how communities are taking > previously unimaginable steps to get out from under > union obligations that built up over generations. > > Though the city is solidly Democratic, the plan to > put the Police Department out of business has not > prompted the wide public outcry seen in the union > battles in Chicago, Ohio or Wisconsin, in part > because many residents have come to resent a police > force they see as incompetent, corrupt and doing > little to make their streets safe. > > A police union has sued to stop the move, saying it > is risking public safety on an ?unproven? idea. But > many residents, community groups and elected > officials say that the city is simply out of money, > out of options, out of patience. > > ?There?s no alternative, there?s no Plan B,? the City > Council president, Frank Moran, said. ?It?s the only > option we have.? > > Faced with tight budgets, many communities across the > country are considering regionalizing their police > departments, along with other services like > firefighting, libraries and schools. Though some > governments have rejected the idea for fear of > increasing police response time, the police in Camden > ? population 77,000 ? are already so overloaded they > no longer respond to property crimes or car accidents > that do not involve injuries. > > The new effort follows a push by New Jersey?s > governor, Chris Christie, a Republican, and > Democratic leaders in the Legislature to encourage > cities and towns to regionalize government services. > They maintain that in a new era of government > austerity, it is no longer possible for each > community to offer a full buffet of government > services, especially with a new law prohibiting > communities from raising property taxes more than 2 > percent a year. > > Most municipalities have so far remained committed to > local traditions, fearing a loss of community > identity, but officials in Camden County say they > expect others will soon feel compelled to follow the > city?s example. > > Camden?s budget was $167 million last year, and of > that, the budget for the police was $55 million. Yet > the city collected only $21 million in property > taxes. It has relied on state aid to make up the > difference, but the state is turning off the spigot. > The city has imposed furloughs, reduced salaries and > trash collection, and increased fees. But the > businesses the city desperately needs to attract to > generate more revenue are scared off by the crime. > > ?We cannot move the city forward unless we address > public safety,? the mayor, Dana L. Redd, said. ?This > is about putting boots on the ground.? > > Even union officials acknowledge that the contract is > rich with expensive provisions. For example, officers > earn an additional 4 percent for working a day shift, > and an additional 10 percent for the shift starting > at 9:30 p.m. They earn an additional 11 percent for > working on a special tactical force or an anticrime > patrol. > > Salaries range from about $47,000 to $81,000 now, not > including the shift differentials or additional > longevity payments of 3 percent to 11 percent for any > officer who has worked five years or more. Officials > say they anticipate salaries for the new force will > range from $47,000 to $87,000. > > In 2009, as the economy was putting a freeze on > municipal budgets even in well-off communities, the > police here secured a pay increase of 3.75 percent. > > And liberal sick time and family-leave policies have > created an unusually high absentee rate: every day, > nearly 30 percent of the force does not show up. (A > typical rate elsewhere is in the single digits.) > > ?How do I go to the community and say ?I?m doing > everything I can to help you fight crime? when some > of my officers are working better hours than > bankers?? the police chief, J. Scott Thomson, asked. > > Chief Thomson, who is well regarded nationally, is > expected to lead the new force. Though Camden County > covers 220 square miles and includes 37 > municipalities, the proposal calls for a division > focused exclusively on the nine-square-mile city of > Camden. > > Camden, in the shadow of Philadelphia?s glimmering > towers, once had a thriving industrial base ? a > shipyard, Campbell Soup and RCA plants along the > waterfront. About 60,000 jobs were lost when those > companies moved or shifted them elsewhere. > > Nearly one in five of its residents is unemployed, > and Broadway, once the main shopping strip, is now a > canyon of abandoned buildings. > > The burned-out shell of one house, a landmark built > by one of the city?s founding families, has become a > drug den. > > This month, a heroin user there demanded that a > passer-by give her some privacy to use it. ?Can you > show me a little respect?? she said. ?I?m in a park.? > > > Camden reorganized its Police Department in 2008 and > had a lower homicide rate for two years. Then the > recession forced layoffs, reducing the force by about > 100 officers. > > The city has employed other crime-fighting tactics ? > surveillance cameras, better lighting, curfews for > children ? but the number of murders has risen again: > at 48 so far this year, it is on pace to break the > record, 58. > > The murder rate so far this year is above 6 people > per 10,000. By contrast, New York City?s rate is just > over one-third of a person per 10,000 residents. > > Many of the drug users come to Camden from elsewhere > in the county, getting off the light-rail system to > buy from the drug markets along what police call > Heroin Highway in the neighborhood of North Camden. > > ?That is cocaine, that is heroin, that is crack,? > Bryan Morton, a community activist, said recently as > he used his car key to flick away empty bags while > his 3-year-old daughter played nearby. This summer, > Mr. Morton tried to set up the city?s first Little > League in 15 years in nearby Pyne Poynt Park. Drug > users colonized even the portable toilets set up for > the players, littering them with empty glassine drug > packets and needle caps. > > Like other residents, he is resentful of the police > union for making it so prohibitive to hire more > officers. ?The contract is creating a public safety > crisis,? Mr. Morton said. ?More officers could change > the complexion of this neighborhood.? > > John Williamson, the president of the Fraternal Order > of Police, blamed the city for creating the problems > by shifting officers onto patrols, where they receive > extra pay, from administrative positions. He said he > was open to negotiation but believed that the city > simply wanted to get rid of the contract. > > ?They want to go back to a 1930s atmosphere where > employees and officers have absolutely no rights to > redress bad management and poor working conditions,? > he said. > > Under labor law, the current contract will remain in > effect if the new county force hires more than 49 > percent of the current officers. So county officials > say they will hire fewer than that. Nevertheless, > they expect that the new force will eventually become > unionized. > > Officials say that simply adding officers will not > make all the difference, given the deep suspicion > many residents harbor toward the police. As the chief > and his deputy drove through the Whitman Park > neighborhood this month, people sitting on their > stoops stood up to shake their fists and shout > obscenities at them. When police officers arrested a > person suspected of dealing drugs in a house on a > narrow street in North Camden last year, residents > set upon their cars and freed the prisoner. > > The new county officers will be brought in 25 at a > time, while the existing force is still in place, and > trained on neighborhood streets, in the hopes that > they can become part of their fabric and regain > trust. > > Ian K. Leonard, a member of the Camden County Board > of Freeholders and the state political director for > the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, > said he did not blame the union officials who won the > provisions. But he said he believed that the > contracts were helping to perpetuate the ?most > dangerous city in America? title that he and others > hate. > > ?If you add police, it will give us a fighting > chance,? Mr. Leonard said. ?People need a fighting > chance.?