The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Paul Dribin Newsletter

The Most Honest Information About Urban America

Basic Principles

Paul DribinApr 20

Welcome to all readers. I am writing this newsletter as someone who has many years of experience working with urban policy issues. There are certain key principles that are important to me. Hopefully, they could provide some benefit to you. I will briefly summarize these issues and write about them in more depth in later issues.

  1. The information must be data driven
  2. It must not be governed by any overriding political issues.
  3. It must be practical so that average policy makers can implement it.

Overriding concepts:

  1. Urban policy should be governed by helping individuals rather than fitting individuals into programs. Often programs are inefficient.
  2. It is almost impossible to rebuild crime ridden underserved neighborhoods without gentrification. Poor people are better served moving to neighborhoods of opportunity with safe neighborhoods, good schools, etc.
  3. There must be more effort put on ending poverty by giving poor people money with some support rather than providing programs. The income transfers from the low income tax credit programs and social security have taken more people out of poverty than have the dozens of programs intended to do so.
  4. Universal pre kindergarten is a must.
  5. Many students do not have the availability of an adult who is a positive role model. Mentoring programs need to be put in place for such students and their families. I have been a mentor in such programs and have been surprised at the positive effect on the students.
  6. Crime is a huge problem. Middle class people are afraid to visit cities. Major police reform is imperative but there are many people for whom strong police action is necessary. Minority populations are most affected by crime.
  7. Drug possession should be de criminalized and treated as a health issue. Many African Americans are hauled into the criminal justice system and can’t get out as a result of drug possession.
  8. Urban Homesteading is a promising tool with which to populate areas with large tracts of vacant housing.
  9. To bring about substantive change people need to be willing to make the change and invest the effort in doing so.
  10. Job subsidies are a good way to go. This rewards work and provides individuals with a decent basic wage.
  11. Zoning, land use, and local codes are major barriers to affordable housing. These need to be reformed. Every thousand dollars of extra cost prices many people out of the housing market.
  12. Hospitals and homeless service providers need to work together to address chronic homelessness. Many homeless individuals show up at emergency rooms on a regular basis running up huge bills for hospitals. These hospitals should be willing to put up funding to support permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless people.
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