Good lines I’ve heard recently

Spent all day today at a conference (jointly sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department and the DoJ COPS office) on gang violence and how to control it. Lots of interesting and hopeful news, of which more when I’ve had some sleep.

One of the participants is a veteran program evaluator (conference rules forbid me to mention his name) who had to run evaluations on a series of gang control programs. Since none of them were actually implemented due to problems of agency management and coordination, there wasn’t much to say in the evaluaitons. But he offered two general conclusions:

1. If you don’t do a program it won’t work.

2. The behavior of offenders is easier to change than the behavior of officials.

The discussion about how long things took to do, in the face of the continued high death toll from gang violence (the California Attorney General’s office figures that over the past two decades 10,000 Californians have died in gang warfare) reminded me of the best-phrased expression of impatience I’ve ever seen. Apparently (according to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal) the new CEO of Boeing, called in to clean up after a series of ethical lapses, instructed the new Vice President in Charge of Right and Wrong to send a memo to all of Boeing’s employees reminding them that lying, cheating, and stealing are naughty.

When the VP said that a draft of the memo would be ready for the CEO’s review in a few months. the CEO replied, “I don’t think you understand me. You’re looking at your calendar, and I’m looking at my watch.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

One thought on “Good lines I’ve heard recently”

  1. Timing Differences.

    Interesting point made on a blog I've not read before, Mark Kleiman. Reminds me of something from the City from years ago. Different groups have different perceptions of time. To a stockbroker long term might mean something for your pension

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