Despite the dramatic fall in crime rates since 1994, crime continues to impose massive social costs, strongly concentrated by race and class.
Crime-avoidance behavior does far more damage than actual criminal acts. When businesses flee high-crime neighborhoods, they leave behind reduced services, fewer opportunities for economic growth, and diminished social capital and political clout. Just as concentrated poverty breeds crime, high crime sustains concentrated poverty.
Seattle newspapers and our own reporting confirm that Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske will be President Obama's nominee for director of the Office of National Drug Control.
This is a good thing. Chief Kerlikowske is a respected voice on gun and drug policy. Within the realm of urban policing, Chief Kerlikowske is a progressive voice. As the new "Drug Czar," he will surely bring a welcome change in tone from the Bush Administration's John Walters. Since Chief Kerlikowske is new to Washington, we thought we would offer some unsolicited advice:
Chief Kerlikowske, we're not sure whether to offer congratulations or condolences. You're facing a tough assignment.
There are really only two questions the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to ask Alberto Gonzales today:
1. Why are you such a lying turkey?
2. When are you going to resign?
But that would make for an unduly short hearing, so here are a few more questions, just to fill in the time:
1. In your prepared testimony released over the weekend, you assert that you had no advance role in planning for the Pearl Harbor Day massacre. An email sent last year by your assistant, Kyle Sampson, says otherwise. Can you explain the discrepancy?