90.5 FM WDUQ is actually condescending to cover the stealth Big Story, every hour on the half-hour. For those of you who are on the Internet for the first time, use the "scroll buttons" to the right and learn more:
In 2004, an off-duty police sergeant providing security at the "O" in Oakland -- as part of a city-sanctioned supplemental program used commonly at bars and sporting events -- apparently snapped and brutalized somebody. The officer was suspended for just five days. The city was sued, and City Council yesterday approved a $200,000 settlement.
Mayoral candidate Bill Peduto was the only city councilman to vote against the settlement. He wanted to use the council session not only to question the officer's quick reinstatement, but also to illustrate the necessity of a "cost-recovery plan" for these secondary security programs -- charging the employing facilities a percentage of the officers' take, to help cover costs for equipment, administration, and the odd major liability.
Mayors Murphy and O'Connor had made ready just such a plan, but acting Mayor Ravenstahl pulled the plug. He cited concerns that the new charge would discourage venues from hiring off-duty officers, and thereby diminish public safety. Ravenstahl's critics say he caved in to politically powerful officers; the entirety of the secondary employment program had been their own turf for decades.
Anyway, Councilman Peduto apparently couldn't get a word in edgewise, because the his fellow councilmembers shouted him down, accused him of grandstanding, and said it was inappropriate to have these discussions in public. Commenters, tell us if we're wrong.
What we have is a complex issue, with good arguments and bad arguments on both sides, and with considerable repercussions for the city finances and public safety. So of course it's hardly being mentioned on teevee -- and not a peep from print editorials, op-eds, or columnists.
The Comet would like to give some props to our favorite serious-faced radio station LINK -- but we're still getting Error Code 605 when we click on the Local Newsroom. It's been months, DUQ! Fish or cut bait! You're the best in town in so many ways; just poach that cribsheet from Nootbar's hands and hammer it into the keyboard! You'll spare us scores of Fred Honsberger posts in mere weeks!