Overall, this plan sounds good, let's see how it proceeds. The pessimist in me believes that a lot of it will end up not happening as the City cries poor, turns to the state who also refuses to fund this and the problems go unresolved. A few potential issues I see:
Hiring front-line social workers who can connect with street thugs on dangerous street corners where drugs are peddled.
I worry this will get said social workers shot. (This, though, came from the article rather than being a specific point mentioned by the panel, so maybe the reporter read something into it.)
Start a public relations campaign titled "A Campaign of Hope for the City of Wilmington"
Why does it seem like every government program nowadays ends up with a public relations campaign? Are billboard executives tied into government somehow? It seems like half the billboards around now are for government anti-smoking or gambling programs.
There are very good points, though.
Improve economic development opportunities for business and residents across the city
As many people have said, the best welfare program is a job. Job not only help people feed themselves and pay other bills, they teach them responsibility and give them a sense of accomplishment. It also gives a sense of belonging and pride as a jobholder can say "That's something I did, made better, etc." Someplace they make a difference.
Coordinate the faith-based community programs
I like the fact they understand that faith is necessary to stop the violence and restore a sense of community. My concern is that coordination might lead to homogenization, but hopefully they'll avoid that.
You can read the full report or a 22-page executive summary (which seems to the bulk of the report copy-and-pasted, rather than an actual summary) at the Commiision's website
. One word of advice to the designers of the site, though: Zipping PDFs is largely useless. PDFs are already compressed. You saved about 1% on the size of the reports, 5% on the Social, Economic and Criminal data. Just put the unzipped reports up.
This project has potential; let's hope that potential is realized, unlike so many other government programs.
One final note:
"Stop the stupidity," [Wilmington Mayor James] Baker screamed at the crowd. "It's drugs; it's guns. It's lack of knowledge and opportunity. ... It's not white folks' problem. They didn't cause all of this!"
Baker at his best. No matter what crimes whites are indeed guilty of, by and large, they're not responsible for the drugs and violence in Wilmington and especially the worst parts of Wilmington. Baker's never afraid to say exactly what he feels, and you gotta love that.