Thursday, March 8, 2007

News. Jazz. Untouchable stories. NPR.

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!


  1. Council can assert the "personnel" exception to the Sunshine Law insofar as the actual transaction giving rise to discipline, they can assert a legal liability exception insofar as a discussion of evidence in teh underlying case - They were 100% dead wrong in claiming that either exception constitutes a prohibition against ANY discussion pertaining to the lawsuit. Arguably, they committed a violation of the Sunshine Law if they were discussing things like cost recovery or the general administrative process for meting out discipline (as opposed to the discipline of the cop) during what they termed an "executive session". There's nothing confidential about either. Peduto's comments were perfectly appropriate. The public deserves a full and fair discussion of these two important matters, and council deserves to be called on the carpet for what was nothing more than a sleazy political manuever. Don't fall for Shields' bullshit either - oh, and tell him that res judicata has no place in his little council sessions.

  2. Hey! Shields was a freakin' paralegal! Obviously he knows his shit!


  3. I wasn't able to catch the report. Was is supposed to be on yesterday afternoon? How in the heck can I listen to it now?