Pittsburgh seeks organization to provide, run curfew center: "The city today posted a request for proposals from firms on its Web site. Responses are due at the Police Bureau's headquarters on Feb. 9.First things first.
If the city was serious about getting bids for operators to a new curfew center, today would be more of a presentation as to the pending request for proposals. The mayor should talk about philosophy and vision first. Then the mayor and his team should listen. Then the draft proposal for the RFP would be released and adjusted, if necessary.
Tell the citizens and the pending partners what is going to happen. Then make it happen, more or less, based upon feedback. Be open for adjustments, minor or major. Then release the final RFP (request for proposals).
Once the RFP is put out into the open, allow for 60 days, at the least, for such a project. This RFP hits on Jan 20 and is due by Feb 9. That's not enough time. That's a rush. That's a key to an insider job. That's how done deals are floated -- in haste.
This is not a traditional request for bids -- like getting toilet paper or rock salt. This is a specialized package with specific skills, careful duties and a change in regular operations.
Furthermore, the controller should have a role in the bid process. How these projects are awarded and even if they are awarded, is subject to a whole mess of subjectivity. There isn't always a logical clear winner.
Rather than the controller's office -- it would be a good job for an ombudsman's duty, but Pittsburgh doesn't have one of those, sadly.
Frankly, I'd rather not be in a position of sweeping people off the streets and putting them into curfew centers, nor jails. People should be free to move about the city, any time of day or night.
If a kid is in a bad situation, and he needs to come home from a sleep-over or party at 4 AM, I'd rather not have him worry about an escape from the police as well as the problems on his heels.
If a young person works a night shift, he or she should not be 'jumped by the police' just because they are walking, biking or driving home -- or to a friends house -- or whatever.
If a kid is departing his or her house at 5 am for a morning swim practice -- strange as it may be -- travel should be without excuses and extra worries.
The police need to fight crime. It is no crime to be out at strange times of day. If there is probable cause -- then fine. The police have enough power and authorities already to grab a person making trouble.
The operation hours differ from Sunday to Thursday nights. And the hours of the center end at 6 am? So, is it okay to be out on the streets at 6? Who is up and ready to deal with issues then, other than those headed to morning swim practice. Weird.
I'm not in favor of a curfew. And, I'm not in favor of allowing my kids out late either.