Tuesday, July 05, 2016

How we grift now

Broken record alert:

The problem illuminated by the Irvin Mayfield NOJO/NOPLF saga extends beyond the story of one egotistical grifter and his hubris. It's really about the larger consequences of outsourcing public services to so-called public-private partnerships via quasi-political "philanthropic" boards. Thanks to one guy's high profile carelessness/cluelessness the Mayfield thing just happens to be an easy one to spot. Like Bill Jefferson's freezer cash, $18,000 in hotel amenities gets a lot of attention. 

Of course it's all well and good that that the NOJO mess get sorted out. But you aren't really attacking the problem unless you're also talking about Audubon or Ogden or LEH or GNOF or many many other boards with overlapping memberships and the day to day abuses of privilege that go on there in the name of "serving the community" through privatized discretion over public funds.

Robert Cerasoli used to tell us the most striking thing about local corruption was in how unsophisticated it was.  But that really only refers to the boneheads who get caught making scandalous headlines out of their booty. But public-private "volunteer entrepreneurism" is the way the grifting is done now. And when it's done correctly, it's at least sophisticated enough to pass.

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