Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Solution to Drunk Arrests: A Task Force...Obviously

It was a long night for the Watch Dogs who went to San Jose City Hall to see San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis and City Manager Debra Figone face a packed council chambers (but a Constant-free dais), telling the huge audience they were saddened the community was upset over the stories of drunk arrests.

Tuesday night’s meeting brought out a Who’s Who of concerned Latino leaders including outgoing Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, Latina Coalition President Andrea Flores Shelton, Esau Herrera, Manny Diaz, Manuel Herrera, Eddie Garcia, etc., etc. Former Councilmember/former lobbyist/Supervisor-elect George Shirakawa, Jr., the ACLU’s Skyler Porras, and dozens and dozens of other heavyweights were also there.

Chief Davis pointed to the lack of a 'sobering station' as the reason for so many arrests...but Watch Dog can’t help but wonder, if no breathalyzer or other drunk-proving evidence is collected, how do officers know the more than 4,600 arrested were drunk or whether the crowd's accusations of arrest for 'attitude' were accurate? (To read accounts of 'attitude' arrests, visit Silicon Valley DeBug.)

The conclusion of the meeting led to some tension on the dais…

Councilwoman Nora Campos and Mayor Chuck Reed called for a Task Force on TUESDAY after Councilman Sam Liccardo had put forward a Memo seeking a wide range of options on MONDAY.

According to a Watch Dog insider who watched the late meeting on cable, Campos said she and the Mayor had met extensively to figure out how to ensure the task force had clear outcomes. She also accepted most/all of Liccardo’s ideas from his Memo/friendly amendments…her acceptance of his ideas did not stop Liccardo from calling task forces “…the place where good ideas go to die...” (Video of this will be posted when the City IT Department wakes up from a late night.)

It seems Liccardo was channeling President-Elect Barack Obama who, when hearing about John McCain's plans to help the economy, famously said:

"…Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book – you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem…"

I'll leave it up to all of you who Mayor Reed and Councilmember Campos are in that analogy…to be continued...

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