The Researchers Digest: January Oregons children study forms of government; Detroit studies juvenile delinquency; Rochester finances made understandable; Dayton voters and bond issues; Boston county ills; Duluth assessments.
T H E blindly irate taxpayer, the non- voting citizen, the machine-gripped
voter-like the Bowery bum, they were all young once, too. Upon the theory that by catching em when theyre youthful these human sand par- ticles in democracys machinery may be prevented, the Bureau of Municipal Re- search and Service of the University of Oregon has prepared a painstaking outline to be used in the schools as a guide to a realistic study of local gov- ernment.
City Governmetat Forms in Oregon,l prepared with the coiiperation of the WPA, is an eighty-six-page mimeo- graphed book which gives a simply worded history and description of ex- isting forms, outlines (with individual charts) the organization of government in twenty-two Oregon cities, and pro- vides a suggested procedure for a stu- dent survey of city government. The accent is emphatically upon forms and organization, rather than upon func- tion. A preface remarks upon this limitation. These sections serve merely as an introduction to or a point of departure for a complete study of the scope and nature of the services of city government. The physical proximity of the agencies of city gov- ernment and the frequent contact which citizens have with their city govern- ment will enable the student to carry on his studies of city government at first hand and thus to get a realistic concept of its form and operation.
The book was sent to all city school superintendents in Oregon.
l1939, price 50 cents.
Standardixing Youthful Crime Concerned with the young idea, too,
is the Detroit Bureau d Governmental Research, which publishes Notes on Q Conference fo r Measuring Juvenile De- linquency? The conference was called in March 1940 by the School of Public ARairs and Social Work of Wayne University because, according to the preface, Crime prevention of necessity begins with that reservoir of potential criminals-the juvenile delinquent. . . . But in spite of the interest in the subject there exists no acceptable uni- form definition of juvenile delinquency, no accurate knowledge of its amount, or where it exists or why it exists.
Some ninety or a hundred persons intimately connected in Detroit with social work and juveniles took part in the discussions of which this report is a resumC. One pertinent conclusion of the conference was that a central clearing agency be set up to correlate data on juvenile delinquency tabulated by the many different agencies in the city. It was recommended that some such organization as the Detroit Bu- reau of Governmental Research be assigned the job.
The report lists eleven problems which should provide a basis for further investigation.
Homely Story A straw-thatched version of the
usually cold, forbidding facts on muni- cipal finance is offered the Rochester citizen in the November 1940 issue of the bulletin of the Rochester Bureau of
lMemorandurn No. 175, 1940, 11 pp.
40 NATIONAL MUNICIPAL REVIEW [January
Municipal Research. A Homely Story of a Debt, the bureau calls it, with the significant subtitle, Rochester Overspending. The tale begins: Once upon a time there was a man who ran up bills a t a tailor shop and a grocery store. The mans adventures with his $66 debt, the details of the aid extended him by his dad and his Uncle Lionel, his financial cogitations while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, are entertain- ingly related from there on. Then the bureau translates the tale into munici- pal terms.
Voters Like School Bonds Still another approach t o municipal
finance is the Dayton Research Asso- ciations, Why Do Communities Issue Bonds After All.3 There is an ABC explanation of the mechanics of bond issuing, a list of the kinds of bonds which can be issued with and without popular vote, within and outside the Ohio debt limit, and a tabulation of the amount, purpose, and popular vote on all bond issues submitted to Dayton voters since 1914.
The bureau finds that citizens like bond issues for school buildings best; grant almost as many requests for streets and sewers and grade elimina- tion, with the fire department also high in popular fancy. Far less favored are parks and playgrounds, bridges and culverts, courthouses, sewage disposal, garbage incinerator, county home. All of the bond issues proposed by the city of Dayton, combined, drew a 48 per cent vote for and 52 per cent vote against. The batting average for the county bond issues was about the same, but the schools were much better treated: 70 per cent for, 30 per cent against.
SFacts, No. 95, Dec. 2, 1940, 4 pp. mimeo.
What Causes County Scandal Because of recent scandals in Suffolk
County (Boston), the Boston Municipal Research Bureau publishes an extended report on the fundamentals of county government which underlie such scan- dals.
Par t I contains a review and a chart of county activities, with a considera- tion of county payments and payrolls and city-county relations. Par t I1 des- cribes the weaknesses of the system as the Boston bureau sees them. Six major reforms-a program of citizen action-are suggested a t the end. They are: revision of county bound- aries, institution of a civil service merit system for county employees, redistri- bution of court expenses, removal of administrative posts from politics, elimination of duplication of effort between the city and county, and effective control of county costs.
Says the bureau hopefully: What exactly is Suffolk County? How much does it spend? What can or should be done about i t ? These questions occur to every thoughtful citizen who is not content with correction of temporary evils.
Erratic Assessments An analysis of a six-year period by
the Duluth Governmental Research Bureau shows that Duluth residence property selling for $10,000 is under- assessed, and would have to be increased 47 per cent t o equal fair market value. On all other property the median assessment was 111 per cent of the sale price, with a spread of from 35 per cent to 377 per cent. The bureaus findings were submitted t o the County Board of Equalization!
County Govermneirt il-t. Boston, Nov.
1940, 5 pp. mimeo. 27, 1910, 12 pp.
19411 THE RESEARCHERS DIGEST: JANUARY 41
Research Bureau Reports Received
Memorandum and Letter Presented to the County Board of Equalization. Duluth (Minn.) Governmental Re- search Bureau, Inc., August 30, 1940. 6 pp. mimeo.
County Government in Boston. Bos- ton Municipal Research Bureau, Report, November 27, 1940. 12 pp.
The Court Will Come to Order. Dayton (Ohio) Research Association, Facts, November 18, 1940. 3 pp. mimeo.
Notes on a Conference for Measuring Juvenile Delinquency. Detroit Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., Sep- tember 1940. 11 pp.
Finance A Homely Story of a Debt-Roches-
ter Overspending. Rochester (N. Y . ) Bureau of Municipal Research, Munici- pal Research, November 1940.
Improvement Anticipation Sinking Funds. Bureau of Municipal Research and Service, University of Oregon, Eu- gene, Fiiiance Bulletin, September 1940. 38 pp. mimeo.
Why Do Communities Issue Bonds, After All. Dayton (Ohio) Research Association, Facts, December 2, 1940. 4 PP.
Forms of Government
City Government Forms in Oregon. Bureau of Municipal Research and Service, University of Oregon, Eu- gene, 1940. 86 pp. mimeo.
The County Welfare Hodgepodge. The Ohio Institute (Columbus), The Ohio Citizen, November 30, 1940. 2 pp. mimeo.
Lets Look in the Mouth of the Gift Horse. Schenectady (N. Y.) Bu- reau of Municipal Research, Inc., Re- search Brevities, November 20, 1940. 1 pp. mimeo.
Planning Refuse Disposal. Philadel- phia Bureau of Municipal Research, Citizens Business, November 26, 1940. 2 PP.
Hidden Taxes. Dayton (Ohio) Re- search Association, Facts, October 7, 1940. 3 pp. mimeo.
Information Relative to Bus Fran- chise and Trolley Elimination. Sche- nectady (N. Y . ) Bureau of Municipal Research, Inc., Research Brevities, No- vember 29, 1940. 2 pp. mimeo.
Again on January First. Toronto Bureau of Municipal Research, White Paper No. 253, November 27, 1940. 3 PP.