It looks like the “era of enlightenment” is over, and if you don’t feel totally enlightened you’re not alone.
Last year, the City Council president, Tommy Hazouri, created the Social Justice and Community Investment Special Committee, saying it heralded a new era of enlightenment.
It turned out to be more about “investment” (a euphemism employed by politicians that refers to spending Other People’s Money) than justice, social or otherwise.
As is evident by the grandiose name, it was race-based. It was supposed to uproot and eliminate the “white privilege” in Jacksonville.
That didn’t happen. While there was much race-baiting during the 18 meetings, no injustice was found and it failed to identify any “systemic racism,” which is another liberal myth.
Instead the committee members fought over cash, and succeeded in grabbing money for a variety of social programs to supplement the hundreds of social programs already in effect, to the tune of about $2.85 million.
It is unlikely that the programs ever will be re-examined or evaluated to determine if they are doing anyone any good, although several are supposed to be monitored.
Like Head Start, the Job Corps and the myriad of federal programs, it probably will be deemed that they are necessary and useful despite any evidence to the contrary.
Although hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on federal social programs, no one knows how many there are. Years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the government to determine the number and post it on the Internet. Bureaucrats simply ignored Congress.
One program boosted by the council committee is the Teen Court. This, it is claimed, will “serve to eradicate systemic bias” (not identified) by having teenagers determine the punishment for teenagers charged in juvenile court. The committee recommended spending an additional $140,000 on the program.
It is unclear how 18-year-olds are better equipped to render justice than adults.
Sixty years ago, the late Municipal Court Judge John Santora gained national attention for the city with his “teenage jury” program, which used a similar concept. It went away eventually and juvenile crime continued.
Another is a program to help students “who face barriers to employment” to find jobs.
Another program will “fight blight” by paying people to clean up the Brentwood neighborhood and repair cracks in the sidewalks.
One effort is to round up patients for the free health clinics scattered around the city that are under-used. This is described as “providing every resident of Duval County access to high quality, comprehensive healthcare” regardless of ability to pay.”
Isn’t that what Medicaid is supposed to do?
The committee also held “Safer Together” workshops that allowed people to vent about the police and advocate liberal anti-police policies such as a citizen review board. There is supposed to be a final report forthcoming next month.
Quench the Violence “will equip unemployed, underemployed and justice involved young adults in Jacksonville who have aged out of public education (18 to 25) with the personal, psycho-social and self-awareness skills, training and credentials to excel in obtaining a sustainable career pathway as productive citizens in our community.”
This is not to be confused with Cure Violence, which is another program already under way that is designed to prevent people from shooting, stabbing and clubbing each other.
Other expenditures will spruce up some local parks and playgrounds.
The committee also approved $20,000 to promote youth literacy, which is what taxpayers are spending more than $1 billion to do in the government schools.
Throughout the year, certain committee members adhered to the liberal narrative of addressing the “unfulfilled promises of consolidation,” but never documented that any such promises were made or have not been fulfilled.
We will refrain from saying the committee’s work was a waste of time but at the same time it is difficult to credit it with meeting the hype about what its work would produce.