Acting stupidly in Cambridge

Peter Wilson
The arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates last July by  "stupid" Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley was supposed to be resolved when President Obama convened a beer summit with the two men.   Addition to the national debt: travel expenses for two from Boston to Washington, say $500 each, plus three beers. 

For once the federal solution was more frugal than the municipal one. 

In the wake of the incident, the Cambridge Chronicle reports today, the City convened a "Review Committee," described as "composed of 12 independent, high-profile professionals from across the country to tackle the aftermath of the July 16 incident that sparked heated discussions of race and class."

Six members of the committee are from "across the country," which so far has cost Cambridge taxpayers $19,799 in hotels and flights for three one-day meetings last fall, out of a total Committee budget of $31,000.

This is small beer compared with the next item reported in the Chronicle:

They also hired Jennifer Flagg, a former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Executive Office of Public Safety official, for a one-year, $130,000 position as the committee's facilitator.

It seems that Cambridge didn't waste the Prof. Gates "crisis."  $161,000 would buy a lot of beer.

Aside from the fact that the entire committee is a waste of time, why do three meetings require a salaried hack-excuse me, facilitator?  Are there no concerned citizens who might have volunteered for the post?  Are there no local experts in a community with the highest concentrations of Ph.D's in the country who could have been tapped for the Committee, saving travel expenses?

Granted, the total expense is a tiny fraction of the Cambridge budget of $444 million, but it is representative of thousands wasteful budget decisions that occur at every level of government.   Is it any wonder the Tea Party strikes a chord with so many?

 

 

The arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates last July by  "stupid" Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley was supposed to be resolved when President Obama convened a beer summit with the two men.   Addition to the national debt: travel expenses for two from Boston to Washington, say $500 each, plus three beers. 

For once the federal solution was more frugal than the municipal one. 

In the wake of the incident, the Cambridge Chronicle reports today, the City convened a "Review Committee," described as "composed of 12 independent, high-profile professionals from across the country to tackle the aftermath of the July 16 incident that sparked heated discussions of race and class."

Six members of the committee are from "across the country," which so far has cost Cambridge taxpayers $19,799 in hotels and flights for three one-day meetings last fall, out of a total Committee budget of $31,000.

This is small beer compared with the next item reported in the Chronicle:

They also hired Jennifer Flagg, a former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Executive Office of Public Safety official, for a one-year, $130,000 position as the committee's facilitator.

It seems that Cambridge didn't waste the Prof. Gates "crisis."  $161,000 would buy a lot of beer.

Aside from the fact that the entire committee is a waste of time, why do three meetings require a salaried hack-excuse me, facilitator?  Are there no concerned citizens who might have volunteered for the post?  Are there no local experts in a community with the highest concentrations of Ph.D's in the country who could have been tapped for the Committee, saving travel expenses?

Granted, the total expense is a tiny fraction of the Cambridge budget of $444 million, but it is representative of thousands wasteful budget decisions that occur at every level of government.   Is it any wonder the Tea Party strikes a chord with so many?