Best Practices

Mayor David W. Smith

Five-year Forecast 1995-2000

The City of Newark's Five-Year Forecast 1995-2000 is a collaborative, interdepartmental effort which succeeds in meeting key community issues with strategic policies and action plans. The City of Newark uses a team approach to provide improved service to the public, manage special projects, and to accomplish the city's goals. This team approach produced the Five-Year Forecast 1995-2000 document.

The aesthetics of the document define the commitment to producing an outstanding work product, from cover to graphics to narrative. The current document boasts cover and divider pages containing full-color pictures, high-quality graphics, newspaper-style columns for easy reading, and in-depth discussions of the economic and development issues facing the city over the next five-year period.

The Five-Year Forecast team worked diligently to complete a document which fulfills two purposes: (1) It creates a blueprint upon which to make budgetary policy decisions and (2) it makes planning and budget issues more accessible, helping to inform and educate citizens and draw them into city affairs. The Forecast begins with an overview by the City Manager and proceeds with three principal sections: development forecast, economic and financial forecast, and strategic planning process and budget plan. The development forecast tracks development trends, both local and area-wide, provides a forecast for Newark, and assesses the implications of the trends and forecasts for Newark's development policy. The economic and financial forecast explains the impact of international, national, and state trends on Newark's economy and provides a picture of the current economy and the financial health of the city. The strategic planning process and budget plan describes the city's approach to managing issues raised in the development forecast and economic and financial forecast sections. The forecast was developed around the central theme: "We are on the road to rebuilding a more dynamic, flexible, customer-focused organization." The final section reiterates this theme and describes the city's mission and vision and the key issues facing us as we proceed toward the 21st century. The final result is a document which is user-friendly, which is open and honest in its approach to explaining the economic picture to its citizens and one which is, therefore, truly customer-focused.

The Five-Year Forecast 1995-2000 was presented to the City Council and the public in a work session accompanied by a computer-generated slide show, containing some 120 slides. In concert with the slides, members of the team presented to the City Council and the public their respective sections of the Forecast. At its meeting of May 11, 1995, the Newark City Council adopted the Five-Year Forecast 1995-2000. The document has been extremely well received by the public.

Contact: Neil Grasso, (510) 790-7289


After-School Recreation

The City of Newark and the Newark Unified School District have entered into a partnership which will address the issues of providing school age children with positive use of leisure time, latchkey problems and early-age gang intervention.

One-half of the children involved in the target neighborhoods come from single-parent families. Thirty percent of the families are classified as low income and another 30 percent are from moderate income families. The ethnic make-up of the neighborhoods is approximately 45 percent minority population, with Hispanics making up 25 percent, Asians making up 15 percent, and African Americans, 5 percent. Because of these socio-economic problems, the city and the School District have observed a significant increase in gang-related activities, particularly at the junior high school and high school. Further exacerbating this problem is Newark's substantial proportion of youth. Persons under 18 years of age represent over 35 percent of the total population of Newark. This is significantly higher than the county-wide figure of 25 percent. All sources continue to indicate that youth are over-represented as victims of crime.

The objective of this program is to develop an early-age gang prevention program which will provide recreation and enrichment activities including arts, crafts, tutoring and daily activities at eight elementary school sites (currently a two-day-a-week program). The staffing is provided by the Recreation Department and is supplemented by the Public Safety Department, as well as school personnel. We have served over 3,500 Newark children in grades K-6 during the first three months of the program.

Local business sponsorships and community contributions have to date totaled $5,700.

Contact: Darryl Reina, (510) 745-1131


Focus on Youth Community Forum

One of the most pressing problems confronting our society concerns the increase in youth-related crime. How can we turn this alarming trend around? How do we motivate young people to better prepare themselves for life as adults? These were questions that we addressed at a first-ever parents' forum on youth-related issues. Held on October 1, 1994, the forum was the result of a joint planning effort by the Newark City Council and Newark School Board Youth Committee.

The forum was especially important in getting the message to parents that the support and involvement of all segments of our community are needed to make sure Newark continues to be a wonderful place to live, work and play.

The City/School District Youth Committee viewed the forum as an excellent opportunity to encourage parents, teachers, clergy and business leaders to work together to identify and find solutions to youth-related problems and to prepare youth for a challenging and rewarding future. The forum has served as a springboard for future broad community involvement.

Contact: Darryl Reina, (510) 745-1131

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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