Jewish World Review May 2, 2005 / 23 Nissan, 5765

Michael Medved

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Consumer Reports

Urban problems demand good results, not just good intentions | In Los Angeles, city officials proudly opened a plush new homeless shelter that cost $17 million and featured state-of- the-art gym, library, hair salon, movie theatre, and professional kitchen.

Even homeless activists acknowledged that despite its good intentions, the project would only perpetuate the cycle of life on the streets, by providing rewards and comfort for self-destructive behaviors.

Meanwhile, national studies at Duke and Columbia Universities showed that one of the best ways to improve urban neighborhoods and to reduce the homeless presence is gentrification.

As Professor Lance Freeman emphasized, when middle class families move into distressed districts, they don't generally displace the long-time residents, but actually improve their quality of life, giving new reasons to stay.

When successful families flock to a down-and-out neighborhood they may be selfishly motivated, and when activists build lavish homeless facilities, they may feel unselfish.

But when dealing with nagging urban problems, we should judge results, rather than intentions.

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Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life  

Michael Medved has taken an extraordinary journey from liberal activist to outspoken conservative. Along the way he has earned millions of admirers — and more than his share of enemies — by advancing controversial, often counterintuitive arguments. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor, author and film critic Michael Medved hosts a daily three-hour radio talk show broadcast in more than 120 cities throughout the United States. Comment by clicking here.

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