Sometimes, Transparency Hurts

Today’s coverage of a critical report from the Coalition for the Homeless neatly highlighted the potential risks of the Bloomberg administration’s unusual decision to offer regular data-based progress reports on its various policy goals and campaign promises.

As spokesman Stu Loeser hastened to point out yesterday, it was only the city’s data that enabled advocates to create the report, which shows in black-and-white terms that the city has fallen short of the benchmarks the mayor set in reducing chronic homelessness.

“We told them,” he said. “It’s our numbers. We gave it to them.”

You have to say one thing, assuming the administration’s numbers are correct: they’re certainly willing to take their lumps in the interests of data-based transparency.

Will the prospective candidates for 2009 pledge to do the same?

UPDATE: Jonathan Rosen, a spokesman for the homeless advocacy group, doesn’t think Bloomberg deserves that much credit for transparency.
He emailed to say, “The Coalition for the Homeless has received daily census reports on homeless adults since 1981 and monthly reports on homeless families since the mid 1980’s.”

— Azi Paybarah Sometimes, Transparency Hurts