Saturday, July 17, 2010

Paterson Puts An End To Stop And Frisk

David Paterson, for all his faults, has done good things in his time as Governor of New York. Yesterday included one of those, when he signed legislation ending the stop and frisk police procedure that police use in our state. The controversial tactic of stopping and searching frisking people without little cause (or a warrant) has been overwhelmingly used against minorities in our city. Police claim that it's helped them solve cases, but Paterson saw through their anecdotal evidence.

From The NY Times:

Mr. Paterson said in an interview, the examples Mr. Kelly provided only further convinced him that signing this bill would not lead to a rise in murders and other violent crimes, as some, including Kelly had warned. “I saw this as a two-pronged test,” he said. “One, was it violative of privacy rights, which I thought it was. Two, was the effectiveness of stopping very serious crime, or perhaps acts of terrorism, dependent on this information? And my conclusion was overwhelmingly that it was not.”

The documents submitted by Mr. Kelly represented the first time the police had put specific cases behind its argument for being allowed to keep information on all of those stopped.

A look at these 170 cases shows instances where the stop-and-frisk data clearly did assist investigators in tracking down perpetrators. In many cases, the data provided shortcuts that speeded investigations along, such as providing hangouts of a known suspect or the names and addresses of potential witnesses known to frequent a location where a crime occurred.

But in many of the cases, it was hard to determine how helpful the data was in solving crimes, because the information provided to the governor was, in his words, “at best inconclusive.”

The only conclusive data found here is that police by and large stop people who live in poor areas that creates a feeling of fear and submission to law enforcement that hardly protects and serves. Governor Paterson made the right decision yesterday in ending this police-state procedure, and I for one applaud him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If Argentina Can Pass Same-Sex Marriage, Why Can't New York

Legislators in Albany should watch this and think about their previous vote on the issue, and then ask themselves why too many are intolerant of men and women who wish to love and care for another human being who happens to be the same gender.

Term Limits Question Goes To Voters For A Third Time

It is looking more likely that the Charter Revision Commission is going to pass the buck on what to do about term limits and leave it up to the rest of us New Yorkers. Twice before we overwhelmingly told politicians that two terms is enough. Apparently Michael Bloomberg, Christine Quinn and their sycophants in the Council didn't care much for those prior votes, so they overrode the will of the people. Now to make up for things we get to vote for a third time, whoop dee doo!

From The New York Times:

Come November, New York voters will almost certainly be asked to decide one of the most contentious questions in recent political history: term limits. But exactly how the question is phrased remains up for debate.

Two terms? Three terms? Unlimited terms?

Several members of the Charter Revision Commission, the group responsible for suggesting updates to the city’s 335-page constitution, floated the idea of eliminating term limits altogether at a meeting on Monday.

The Mayor's hand picked people...surprise...think we should eliminate term limits all together. I would love to agree with Mr. Fiala on the Commission who claimed that elections are the great arbiter, but he is too short-sighted to see that elections do not happen in a vacuum. Our system is set up to favor the incumbent and throw roadblocks up in front of challengers. Unless we can level the playing field, term limits are in my opinion one of the best solutions to stop the corruption that saturates our system of government.

When that question is placed on the ballot, the Commission should be warned to not leave the question of keeping putting a two-term limit in place for New York's public officials.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pilgrim-Hunter Bows Out Of Challenge To Espada

Espada may be kicked out of the Democratic party shortly, but regardless he needs to be beaten at the ballot box this fall. Since he is considered a vulnerable incumbent several (actual) Bronx residents decided to challenge him, though one has already decided to bow out. Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter seemed to be an excellent candidate to clean the mess in the 33rd Senate district, but apparently that wasn't the case.

From The Bronx News Network:

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ll ever have to make,” she said. “In the interest of making sure that [incumbent state Senator] Pedro Espada is out of office, and also building power in my community, I’ve decided to withdraw.”

Money, or lack of it, was the main reason she decided to end her bid, she said. Despite several fundraisers in supporters’ homes, she had raised only $30,000, while Espada already has more than $300,000 on hand.

“We did a really good job of fundraising,” she said referring to the number of small donors in the community who gave to the campaign. “It wasn’t enough to be able to have an effective fight and win this race.”
This statement comes not so long after charges were made against her for taking disability payments while actively campaigning for office. Pilgrim-Hunter claims that there are legitimate reasons for the disability payments she collects but the story casted doubt over her chances of ousting Pedro. Now there are three challengers left, Gustavo Rivera, Daniel Padernacht and Fernando Tirado. As far as basic political campaign theory goes, splitting the anti-Pedro vote three ways is better than four, but still gives too much to the corrupt and unethical incumbent. When you have a scoundel like Espada who will buy petition signatures with free food, there's nothing he won't do to win another term.

I honestly cannot say which of the remaining three challengers has the best shot, Boogiedowner and other Bronx blogs have a better take on that than I do. What is of most importance is that a challenger win, because I truly believe no one can be as despicable as Pedro.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Even Steinbrenner's Death Is An Opportunity For Rush's Racism

As a Dodger fan, I was never an enthusiast for George Steinbrenner. Seeing that he passed this morning though, I felt for his family and the Yankee organization, because life comes before any sporting rivalry. However for Rush Limbaugh, sports wasn't on his mind when considering Steinbrenner's memorial. Instead he went here:

Wow. How this man is allowed an amplified voice by any sane or moral group of people that control his parent corporation is beyond me.

Espada Bought Petition Signatures With Free Food

As someone who has stood on street corners and knocked on doors for petition signatures, I can tell you that if I had free food to give out, I'd have added to my totals exponentially. However that's illegal, so I didn't even think to do it. Senator Espada however, who is being threatened with expulsion from the Democratic party decided to gamble on committing that crime in order to look good at his press conference yesterday.

From The Daily Politics:

I spoke with Rivera strategist Horacio Guttierez this morning, who summed up: "We got people who were not liking what they were seeing who would call our office to let us know."

espada free fruits.jpg

As he describes it, residents of Espada's district would get the letter you see part of here, urging them to come pick up free food (courtesy of the New Yorkers For Espada campaign). When they arrived at the pickup site, Guttierez said, they were induced to sign Espada's petition to get on the ballot.

Guttieriez noted that the program seemed very similar to a Senate program Espada announced back in February: An anti-obesity "Farmers Market Initiative" based at the Davidson Community Center, which, via a state grant, would provide free, fresh produce to residents.

While any statement from a political opponent must be taken with a grain of salt, that flyer from Espada's office says plenty all on it's own.