Thursday, June 09, 2011

Why I don't trust government at pretty much any level: Part 2

I've pointed out the wont of state governmental agencies to be inefficient.  The federal government, for those who may have been living under a rock for the last 80 years, is about the same.*  Today, let's take a look at a city government that, in a PR debacle, as good as spit in the face of a good Samaritan.

I did not see much coverage of this anywhere except in the Dallas area, where it happened.  The story started when a teenager, Ashley Donaldson found a large amount of money and did the right thing.  As WFAA reported:

The 15-year-old Shepton High School student spotted the money on the ground and took it to a nearby Chase Bank.

That's what she was supposed to do, right?  Of course it was.  But the City of Dallas, after searching for the original owner of the found cash, decided to do just the wrong thing:

On Tuesday, police said under a new city policy, the unclaimed money will go into Dallas' general fund — not back to the person who found it, as in years past.

"We appreciate your honesty," said Dallas police spokesman Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse. "We're going to put the money to good use. It's not going to be wasted, but put to good use for the City of Dallas."

Yeah, thanks for your contribution to bloated city government, Ashley!

Thankfully, public outcry caused the city to reconsider, as WFAA reported:

Dallas police Chief David Brown issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the department will follow a provision in state law [emphasis mine] in determining what happens to the funds.
  • It requires public notice be given 30 days after someone finds money and turns it into the police.
  • There will then be a 90-day waiting period.
  • If a claimant comes forward, the police department will hold a hearing.
If no rightful owner comes forward during this four-month period, the money will be returned to Ashley...

Oops, we got caught, so I guess we'll follow state law on this. 

Makes you want to turn in lost money within the Dallas city limits, doesn't it?  Meanwhile, Ashley is still waiting for the money.  Does anyone else think Ashley will never see it?

But not everything is lousy for Ashley; WFAA also reports that an anonymous donor is helping out Ashley and her family.  That's good, since the City of Dallas seems to be interested only in helping themselves.

Aside:  Researching this story yielded probably the silliest picture caption I've seen in quite a while:  "We don't have photos of Ashley Donaldson's discovery, so we have simulated what she saw at a North Dallas shopping center in February."

(Photo courtesy WFAA, used under Fair Use)

* As you know, people who have been living under a rock for 80 years will immediately find a computer and pull up this blog.  Find someone who has lived under a rock and prove I'm wrong.