Mario Maciel, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, San Jose, CA
NIJ Conference 2011
Mario Maciel There's true belief out at the municipal level that federal government is willing to de-silo itself by bringing all those departments together to really focus on this common issue. It's been a true indicator to us that playing with the federal government is something we want to be part of. On the issue of needs-based funding, though, and that criteria--even the city of San Jose would say that money needs to be funneled to those communities in most need, no doubt. The problem being is that communities that have true collaborative partnerships--sustainable initiatives 19-20 years long, success rates such as six gang-related homicides in a city of a million--need to use those type of criteria--that they have strategic work plans, that they have the true partnerships in place--and weigh that against just needs-based: high violence, high death tolls being the reason you fund a city. If they continue to fund in that model, the city of San Jose unfortunately will be victimized for its success, so to speak. And as I've told you, this year, even though I talk about six homicides last year, we're at 14--six months into this year. Tonight our safety net will be reduced due to budgetary limitations, and we really believe that it's time that the federal government take a look at even results-based cities that may not have, statistically, the need of some of our larger municipalities and still see that they can be a beacon of hope--that they have many elements of what they want those other cities in need to migrate to, and thus sustain it, support it, and make sure that cities that have had success don't backtrack and end up in a different type of scenario.
In the city of San Jose we've had, I'd say, the luxury of being so successful that maybe evidence- and research-based methodologies haven't been as important because a city of a million people with six gang-related homicides would give you the perception that you've got something that works. And so there hasn't been a scenario where things are so out of control that our policy makers thus move into the next mindset of questioning, "Are you doing the right things? Are you using research?" But I will allude to this: that with diminishing resources, as you mentioned, my city council will be making a very difficult decision today to close $115 million deficit for this particular year. In doing so, they're going to leave us with a lot less resources, which I think begs the question of "Are you using the right methodology? Are you using the right programs and practices?" And I think scarcity is going to lean us, or lead us towards the utilization and the translation of research practice and research knowledge into where the boots hit the road.
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Mario Maciel, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, San Jose, Calif.
Date created: October 13, 2011