Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shell game

Public-private partnerships are really the most ingenious kind of shell game.  A pot of money like NOLA for Life is a "public" program when the Mayor wants to claim it as a highlight of his anti-crime agenda. He'll show up at press conferences, wear T-shirts, and put a bunch of logos on his website, etc. But whenever anyone wants to measure the programs effectiveness or track the process by which the grants are made, well, you know, those are all private documents.
Landrieu and other city officials initially took credit for securing a $1 million donation from Chevron to finance the grants, and they promised to contribute another $250,000 at the city’s disposal. But the administration and Chevron say the company’s donation was a private transaction with the foundation — the company said Landrieu’s acceptance of the donation on stage was “ceremonial” — and there’s no official pledge to donate city money to the effort. Therefore, the city said, how a private foundation chooses to make grants from a private donation is not subject to state sunshine laws or Landrieu’s own reform procedures, put in place his first days in office.

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