• Crime Going Unpunished in Seattle.

    “As I say at every new-hire orientation session ‘you do not give up one single constitutional right when you pin on your badge’” (The Guardian, June, 2013). Sgt. Rich O’Neill, President Seattle Police Officers Guild.”

    Note: The following article represents my own views. In exercising my First Amendment rights, I do not speak for anyone other than myself.

    Back in September, I read a newspaper article and came across a notion expressed by Mayor Mike McGinn that might provide a window to his (now-defeated) political soul. When responding to comments about how the police are dealing with the crime problem in Downtown Seattle, reporter Lynn Thompson wrote that McGinn, “cited the City Council’s effort early in his administration to enact an aggressive panhandling ordinance, and said that he had rejected the suggestion then that police needed to ‘hand out more tickets to people who are poor’” (Seattle Times, September 29th). Such a lack of respect for and understanding of law enforcement’s role is astounding, especially coming from the mayor of a major American city. Is our mayor actually characterizing police efforts to battle street crime as harassing “poorpeople?

    Leave it to Seattle’s liberal politicians to make the simple appear difficult. Apparently, the city administration has some difficulty in determining whether police officers are law enforcers or social workers. Cops know they are the former while politicians evidently believe cops should be the latter. Thus, Seattle’s Downtown crime problem is no surprise—to the city’s police officers.

    When police officers have more to fear from their own city attorney than they do from the criminals they face, something is desperately wrong. Seattle Police Guild President Rich O’Neill pointed out that cops have more of a chance of having charges filed against them than Downtown derelicts do.

    Society has both police officers and social workers for a reason. Reason dictates social workers do not chase criminals and cops do not provide social services. According to Thompson’s Seattle Times article, City Attorney Pete Holmes, as well as Mayor Mike McGinn, believe offering social services to offenders in lieu of taking proper police action is within a police officer’s job description. That the mayor believes that cops keeping Downtown safe and civil for the good taxpaying citizens amounts to harassing poor people, should trouble this community. McGinn and Holmes seem to believe that these Downtown ambassadors of incivility behave as they do because they are poor, rather than the truth that they are poor because of their uncivil behavior.

    Of course, there is a place for social services. For over twenty years, I’ve worked a beat with several mental health patients and facilities. However, last I checked, the police officer’s role in society is law enforcement, not social work. If the courts want to redirect an amenable offender toward drug counseling or anger management, or give them a bag of Doritos, or provide some other prosecution avoidance or deferral services, that is one thing, but to ask the cops first to process their law enforcement actions through a social services filter is not fair to the police officers or to Seattle’s good citizens.

    For example, regarding the police chief presenting twenty-eight chronic offender cases to City Attorney Holmes, Thompson writes: “Holmes returned the binder, saying the police had not documented that alternative approaches to criminal chargesincluding social-service outreach — had been attempted and had either failed or been refused.” Yes… my head just rotated a full 360° on my shoulders. They are attempting to redefine law enforcement, and this newsocial justicedefinition seems to be making little sense.

    If an officer comes across someone who requests information about available services, of course they should provide it if they have it. To expect an officer who is attempting to enforce the law to run his or her own mini diversion program is, to put it mildly, questionable. This approach can significantly compromise officer safety.

    Officers need to enforce the law and investigate crime with officer safety uppermost in mind. Can city leaders be asking officers to treat a violator as if they were Nordstrom’s customers? This is a perversion of the cop-suspect “relationship,” which can compromise officer safety and public safety.

    That Seattle tolerates uncivil behavior from delinquents and criminals on the streets, in the parks, under the freeways—under the viaduct, is not news to cops. In fact, this fact would likely surprise very few Seattleites, either. However the same city places its police officers under a microscope and has a history of violating an officer’s First Amendment rights including abusing the internal investigative process when an officer dares to speak out, off duty, in opposition to the very policies responsible for what Thompson’s article title illustrates: “Downtown street offenses going unpunished”.

    Nothing in the Seattle Times piece would come as a surprise to any rank and file cop. The politicians in Seattle have spent years promoting social justice and other progressive-liberal, political agendas and policies, with the most recent administration raising political indoctrination to an art form. They may try to push the blame for the ills of the Seattle Police Department onto the good men and women in blue who serve this city, but the truth is: The cops know they are cops, and they know how to be cops. The simple problem is, Seattle’s leadership (now with the help of the DOJ) will not let the cops be cops.

  • Who would have predicted this? Everybody.

    “As I say at every new-hire orientation session ‘you do not give up one single constitutional right when you pin on your badge’” (The Guardian, June, 2013). Sgt. Rich O’Neill, President Seattle Police Officers Guild.”

    Note: The following article represents my own views. In exercising my First Amendment rights, I do not speak for anyone other than myself.

    After reading the Steve Milletich’s story, “Monitor blasts SPD foot-dragging, firearms board, command staff” (Seattle Times, Nov. 15, 2013), about Department of Justice (DOJ) Federal Monitor Merrick Bobb’s recent report that finds the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is not in compliance with a federal consent decree, am I surprised? No! In fact, I’d be surprised if SPD had been found in compliance even if they had adopted every unjustifiable iota of this federal intrusion into a once stellar police department by a dishonest DOJ investigation.

    No one in Seattle should be surprised. Earlier this year during an investigation of Merrick Bobb’s dubious claims for reimbursement from Seattle taxpayers for extravagant items (Bobb removed $7,500.00 from his reimbursement requests-Seattle Times, February 25, 2013), Bobb bristled at being challenged. He deemed the questioning of his requests, “humiliating, time consuming, and obstructionist” (Welcome to the club, Mr. Bobb).

    Regarding this current negative report, did Mr. Bobb tip his hand last February when responding to the reimbursement charges when he said, “I’m not certain that we can currently say we are getting cooperation from the city regarding the monitoring or movement toward full and effective implementation of the consent decree” (Seattle Times, February 25, 2013), or are the results of this report simply a coincidence?

    Mr. Bobb noted “de-policing” in his report, which he called, “troubling.” He also referred to it as, “a deliberate lack of policing.” Now, Merrick Bobb is not a police officer and never has been, no matter how many TV cop shows he’s watched. While an individual police officer here or there might intentionally decide to decrease pro-activity in response to some personal grievance, this is not a widespread conspiracy.

    Cops do not get up in the morning thinking, Hey, how can I “de-police” today? They don’t gather at the coffee shop to formulate plans on how to “de-police,” over a Crispy Cream. So-called “de-policing” is not an intent to… by police; “de-policing” is a result of… by politicians, administrators, and bureaucrats.

    Most cops simply want to be able to do their jobs the way they know it should be done. In fact, with most officers coming out of the academy, just try to stop them (Although, the consent decree seems to be doing a stellar job of this). Officers in Seattle desperately want to be allowed to do their jobs. The sad truth is, they are being bullied and prevented from doing so because of the implementation of ignorant, politically inspired, and damaging policies emanating from a dishonest DOJ report. In an interview with Guardian editor Officer Chet Decker, Bobb said, “What I know for sure is that the settlement agreement embodies best practice in policing and that it is to the SPD’s and Seattle’s benefit that it be implemented regardless of what led up to it” (Guardian, August, 2013).

    As a line officer with over 20 years of patrol experience, when I read, “If the current senior command staff remains in place and their attitudes toward the Settlement Agreement do not change, the SPD is unlikely to be able to achieve full and effective compliance with the agreement,” (Seattle Times, Nov. 15) I must confess I experienced a sense of hope and pride in SPD’s command staff I haven’t felt in years.

    To comply with corruption is to be complicit in it, and to whatever degree the command staff is able to resist this insult to one of the best police departments in America, I salute them.

  • How to Make a Bad Situation Worse.

    How does one reduce the effects of having made a once-great police department the laughing stock of the nation for handing out bags of Doritos to potheads. Well, apparently, some swift minds decided that responding to a well known comedian’s satire with an attempt at their own humor would accomplish this. Instead, SPD’s laughing stock is rising to all time highs (no pun intended).

    Check it out: http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2013/10/09/an-open-letter-to-stephen-colbert-and-colbert-nation/

  • New OPA Director Pierce Murphy. A Breath of Fresh Air or More of the Same Stench?

    I’m sometimes accused by critics of being negative. Of course, negative to Seattle’s political left is anyone who opposes its view of how life should be lived. So, I felt a guarded optimism after I read this month’s Guardian interview with Seattle’s new Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) director, Pierce Murphy.

    I came away surprisingly, though cautiously, hopeful. Because an interviewee can say anything they think the interviewer wants to hear, there are certain things one can focus on when assessing a new “anyone” for any position in Seattle government. In evaluating what the new OPA director had to say, a sure-fire giveaway would be the use of leftist jargon, i.e. politically correct terminology.

    Some examples of these gems are: sustainability, diversity, holistic, inclusive, and, of course, social justice and progressive. The only example that came close to this was when Murphy cited, “teachable moments,” but I’ll give him a break on that one. I even allowed that he might have said it, tongue-in-cheek, which would be even more forgivable.

    Murphy has a decent enough law enforcement background to placate most cops, especially when compared with civilians with no law enforcement experience at all, his having served as a sworn reserve police officer. He is also most recently from Boise, Idaho. I don’t know about you, and surprises can—and often do—happen, but generally I’d take someone in a civilian police oversight capacity who is from Idaho over, say, somewhere like California or New York, any day. However, anomalies do exist, both left and right, coming from every location.

    Mr. Murphy, through the interview, appears professional, empathetic to law enforcement, expresses sensible views toward investigating officers, and is, something sadly lacking in Seattle, concerned about his personal integrity. In fact, the interview concludes with this statement: “… my personal integrity is all that I have. I intend to keep my integrity intact.”

    I, and I believe other officers, will give Director Murphy a fair shake and hope he adheres to the goals he’s expressed during his interview. After years of being treated by the OPA director with antipathy and from a left wing taint—like cops are something smelly and sticky on the bottom of its Birkenstocks—it would be nice to deal with someone who is simply fair. Is that too much to ask? (Don’t answer that).

    Of course the overarching conundrum looming over the SPD rank and file is: If the cops think, believe, hope Director Murphy is so good, then why would Seattle government hire him in the first place?

  • You Can’t be Serious… about Seattle!

    I often address serious situations, but I try to do it with humor when I can, which I’ll concede often appears more akin to sardonic wit—still, it is a version of humor. Some people ask me how I can laugh at anything currently happening in Seattle and to its police department. We have the city’s social justice reeducation/indoctrination day camps, DOJ’s implementation of a consent decree based upon false accusations and fabricated evidence, and the “nudge” toward radical political correctness by calls to avoid such viciously racist and bigoted words as, “brown bag” and “citizen. Oh! And how can anyone forget about Seattle police officers tasked with handing out bags of Doritos to potheads who are breaking the law right under their noses? Hmm, perhaps I should start handing out beer nuts to street folks drinking alcohol in public. Now that I think about it, this is all pretty funny without any—sardonic or otherwise—input from me.

    Benjamin Franklin was well known for infusing humor into his writing and about very serious subjects such as, oh… British oppression, for example. “Hey, did I tell you the one about how King George wants to hang me?” But seriously, folks: At the signing at the Declaration of Independence, which I think we can all agree was a serious, if not solemn, occasion. Franklin quipped, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Now, that’s funny!

    Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D., who writes a blog called, “Humor Matters,” says, “Humor is one of the healthiest and most powerful methods to help provide perspective on life’s difficult experiences, and it is frequently shared during periods of crisis.”

    This brings me to three points regarding the issue: One, using humor in a serious situation can make that situation appear manageable and can improve morale among the suffering masses. Two, people should not take humor as showing disrespect for a serious issue; they should take the levity as an opportunity to vent stress. Three, and finally, as positive as humor can be in serious situations, it can also be hazardous, so one must be careful. One good rule: Say it in your head before it comes out of your mouth. If it does come out of your mouth before having been sufficiently and prudently filtered through your head… well, I can’t help you there.

  • GUEST POST: Who is Merrick Bobb?

    I haven’t made a practice of publishing others’ opinions on my blog, however, I am making an exception in this case for a reason that strikes close to my heart: In a similar circumstance to my own, the Seattle Police Officers Guild newspaper, The Guardian, declined to publish the following article, for what I believe are purely political reasons. What follows is a well-written article stating an officer’s First Amendment protected opinion (likely shared by a great many of his fellow officers) based on his assessment of the facts. It is free of personal attacks, addresses only behaviors and circumstances, and is measured in its delivery.

    The Guardian is not and should never be a ‘rah-rah SPD’ periodical. It is a union paper, plain and simple. Even with the current administration in D.C. spying on Associated Press and Fox News reporters, ‘freedom of the press’ and the First Amendment are still the law of this land. As I say at every new-hire orientation session ‘you do not give up one single constitutional right when you pin on your badge’” (The Guardian, June, 2013). Sgt. Rich O’Neill, President Seattle Police Officers Guild.

    (The following does not necessarily reflect this website owner’s opinions, and is solely the opinion of the author.)

    Who is Merrick Bobb?

    by

    Anthony James Reynolds

    Merrick Bobb is one of many who applied for the position of monitor to oversee implementing DOJ-mandated reforms at SPD. His application was approved by the City Council, the DOJ, and begrudgingly, by Mayor McGinn. He was then appointed by Judge Robart.

    Bobb graduated from UC Berkeley Law and worked for a number of years as a corporate litigation attorney around LA. While at Berkeley he had a run-in with an Oakland officer who perceived Bobb intentionally drove his vehicle toward him. Bobb envisioned his career had come to a screeching halt and was understandably scared. Some UC Berkeley officers, who were nearby intervened, told Bobb that they believed him, and let him go. The incident had a lasting impact on Bobb, who stated he was struck by the latitude the officers had in their discretion.

    After Berkeley and his stint in corporate litigation, Bobb became involved in an oversight committee in 1993 in response to the infamous Rodney King incident. Bobb stayed in LA where he continued to oversee reforming the LA County Sheriff’s Department and made the radar of some players in police reform.

    In 2001, the Vera Institute of Justice created the Police Assessment Resource Center and placed Bobb as its president and executive director. From this position Bobb served as monitor of the LASD and now SPD. His most recent contract with LASD was renewed by the Board of Supervisors for LA County in 2009 for three years and a maximum salary of $223,000 per year.

    The observant reader might notice that in all his years of experience, Mr. Bobb doesn’t have any real training in law enforcement. He contends this doesn’t matter so long as he understands the officers’ viewpoints. I contend that he cannot possibly understand from the sidelines.

    Mr. Bobb doesn’t let his lack of experience prevent him from Monday morning quarterbacking. Perhaps an unfair comparison, as most people who engage in Monday morning quarterbacking have actually played football at some point in their lives. But in any case, he doesn’t see it as a hindrance. And perhaps it’s not, but if so then perhaps next time we’re looking for a monitor, we should hire whoever makes the inevitable “they should have just shot him in the legs” comment about the latest OIS. In the interest of saving money, maybe someone slightly less qualified, but clearly capable of making equally relevant suggestions.

    I learned early on that examining one’s motives is revealing and provides for much higher level of understanding. For most people, the motivation for training, seeking, and attending their respective jobs is acquisition of financial resources. Money is power and in most cases the power to take care of one’s family; in others, the power wielded and granted by financial means can be extraordinary and even encourage compromise of values. Merrick Bobb is paid a yearly salary on a contractual basis, that is, his compensation is dependent on availability of work.

    The reports I read that were authored by Merrick Bobb were riddled with examples of where the LASD failed to meet criteria satisfactorily, even a decade or more after the Rodney King incident. Occasionally he would make suggestions, such as increasing rates of discipline and changing policy in order to bring the LASD closer to compliance as only Merrick Bobb defines it. He often used the woefully ambiguous language of whether the LASD has “done its best” in fixing the alleged problems, of which Bobb is the only judge. The reports would almost invariably find the LASD’s efforts were failures. Bobb would also introduce issues not previously mentioned in other reports. If a law enforcement agency already met the requirements (i.e. done their best), there would be no reason for the monitor and his team to continue monitoring it and collect a paycheck. The reader might also notice that Merrick Bob’s employment at the LASD lasted for approximately 20 years.

    One of his more famous recommendations was to ban solo officer foot pursuits because from 1997 to 2004 of the 283 LA County deputy involved shootings, 64 were either during or at the conclusion of a foot pursuit (~22.6%). It is not specified how many of them were solo foot pursuits.

    Recently Merrick Bobb sent some expense reports to the city asking for reimbursement. He asked Seattle’s taxpayers to cover the costs of his dining out, cable, and his alcohol. Additionally, he asked the city to pay for an excessive baggage fee for someone who isn’t involved with the monitoring team. When questioned about it, Mr. Bobb seemed rather irritated. He replied that the questions were, “humiliating, time consuming, and obstructionist.” He also conjectured that the city is not cooperating with his efforts. Bobb clearly expected Seattle to pay for his steak and wine and Downton Abbey, after 20 years of doing the same work for LA County. I wonder; what did LASD pay for?

    This seems a typical reaction for Mr. Bobb. Our guild had just issued a motion in federal court to protect our collective bargaining rights as required by RCW. A recent interview on KUOW, on 13 March 2013, Mr. Bobb referred to attorney Peter Ehrlichman when asked about SPOG’s motion. Mr. Ehrlichman called it a “further distraction,” and “inappropriate” as Bobb is an “agent of federal court.” The implication being that federally appointed agents don’t have to abide the law, especially Merrick Bobb. Any resistance however valid it may be is responded to with allegations of purposeful obstruction and veiled threats. It goes like this: Either you be quiet and pay my bills and do as I say, or I report to the federal judge that you’re disobeying him and not cooperating. There is a legal term for this. Those of us trained in law enforcement know what it is.

    It isn’t all that surprising. The Monitoring Plan for the First Year explicitly states that: “The monitor and the settlement agreement cannot be limited by Seattle Municipal Code.” Basically they don’t have to follow our laws if they see it as contradictory to their efforts.

    Of course, there are motivators other than financial. Some might be more applicable to a person with the financial security Merrick Bobb enjoys. So what might it be in this case?

    Mr. Bobb is interested in more than solo officer foot pursuits. He has also taken issue with detentions, use of force and weapons, as well as early warning systems, open-ended policies, and best practices. Many of these may sound familiar, because they are very much the same as the “problems” that SPD is to be addressing. What’s more is that despite his directive of ensuring constitutional policing, he has no intention of obeying laws that preclude his measures, because for Mr. Bobb, the ends do in fact justify the means.

    Remember back to his altercation with the Oakland officer. He said the amount of discretion the officer had, made an impression, and the fear he had was almost traumatizing. Ever since, he has been waging a personal war with officer discretion. He wishes to ban solo officer foot pursuits and make significant changes to pursuit policy in general. He wants to create use of force policy that is weapon-specific. He has sought and continues to seek reforming of best practices. He is a passionate advocate of data-driven computerized early warning systems. He takes issue with policy setting guidelines rather than defined rules. Accepting all recommendations will eventually lead to policy reading more like a board game rulebook than a practical guide for law enforcement. I can’t help but think if Merrick Bobb has his way, every officer decision will be determined by a PARC flowchart.

    Merrick Bobb has shown us that he views the average police officer as under-educated, incompetent, and untrustworthy. It is his desire to control us vicariously by limiting our discretion and making our decisions for us because we are not intelligent enough to do so ourselves.

    If Mr. Bobb truly wishes to understand, then I’d like to offer an opportunity for him to ride with me in my patrol car on Rainier Beach from 0300-1200. Diminishing job security is not a concern I have.

  • The Fact the Cops Didn’t do it is Irrelevant.

    “As I say at every new-hire orientation session ‘you do not give up one single constitutional right when you pin on your badge’” (The Guardian, June, 2013). Sgt. Rich O’Neill, President Seattle Police Officers Guild.”

    Note: The following article represents my own views. I do not speak for anyone other than myself.

    What follows is a little allegorical vignette, done in short story form, intended to convey the feeling many officers have regarding what the DOJ, and the City of Seattle in its complicity and lack of defense, have done to the good men and women of the Seattle Police Department.

    First, an appropriate little tidbit from the man responsible for implementing the results of the DOJ’s flawed findings:

    Chet Decker, Editor, The Guardian. “Q: Many officers were very shocked by the DOJ investigation and the finding that 20% of the time force is used it is unnecessary and/or unlawful. We understand it is still very early in your monitoring duties, but have you been able to form an opinion on that 20% figure?”

    Merrick Bobb, Consent Decree Monitor. “A: Whatever the correct figure might be, it is not relevant to our task today. This is not the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. The feud is over, and past disagreements must not impede current progress. What I know for sure is that the settlement agreement embodies best practice in policing and that it is to the SPD’s and Seattle’s benefit that it be implemented regardless of what led up to it” (Bold: Author emphasis).

    (No, the above is not an excerpt from George Orwell’s 1984 or Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged; this Q and A excerpt is part of an interview published in the most recent issue of The Guardian, August, 2013).

    Tales from Seattle:

    Logic, Justice, and Other Notions our Leaders find Useless.

    The corrections officer rapped at the prosecutor’s office door. A shrill voice from within directed the officer to enter. The officer escorted a handcuffed Melvin into the room. The prosecutor sat at his desk. The defense attorney leaned against a wall.

    “Melvin?” The prosecutor began, with a bright white, ear-to-ear, though insincere, grin. “These were some very serious allegations lodged against you. A combination malicious harassment, fraud, and rape is quite rare.”

    “Yes, Sir. I know—and ridiculous,” Melvin began. “You lodged them, but it’s obvious to everyone that I didn’t do it—well, almost everyone.”

    “Well, that’s the funny part, Melvin,” the prosecutor said.

    “Funny, Sir?”

    “Yes, I’ve actually got some good news for you.”

    “Really?” Melvin smiled wide. “What’s that, Sir?”

    “We know you didn’t commit those crimes. A local scientist proved the prosecution’s evidence completely false.”

    “Oh, Sir. That’s fantastic! So, I can go home now, right?”

    “Well, not so fast there, Melvin.” The prosecutor scratched his grizzled jaw. “That’s not how things work around here anymore. And besides… no one listened to that scientist, anyway. He was just a nuisance.”

    Melvin’s smile faded. “What do you mean?”

    “We’ve already announced that you did commit those heinous crimes, so we’re kind of stuck here. And you’ve probably committed some other violations we don’t know about—so there’s that too.”

    “What do you mean, probably? What do you mean, stuck?” Melvin asked. “I didn’t do it! Shouldn’t I be free to go home now?”

    The prosecutor grew a serious expression and said, “Oh, Melvin! Perhaps in a perfect world, but let me ask you. Does this look like a perfect world around here lately?”

    Melvin, incredulous, shook his head. “What are you saying?”

    “Bottom line,” the prosecutor continued. “Regardless of what led up to this, you still need to go to prison, but if things go well, it’ll only be for a few years.”

    “But you agreed that I didn’t do it!” Protested Melvin.

    “Yes, but basically it’s a done deal. There’s nothing anyone can do. If you don’t believe me, just ask your own attorney.”

    Defense attorney Paul Gill pressed away from the wall where he’d been leaning, listening to his client’s pleas.

    “Mr. Gill?” Melvin looked as if he’d lost his best friend. “Is this true? Are you buying this? You know I didn’t do it. They know I didn’t do it. They even admit it, but I still have to go to prison?”

    “Look, Melvin. Our hands are tied. There is nothing we can do. The judge is holding to the prosecution’s initial, although I do concede, false findings.”

    “But they’ve been proven wrong!” Melvin’s voice was set at a profoundly sad near-whisper now. “I didn’t do it!”

    “Yes. I just said that, but it doesn’t matter now. What I’m recommending is that you just go ahead and do your time quietly so that you can get it over with as soon as possible. Maybe if you are well behaved and do what you’re told, you’ll even get out sooner than you think.”

    “But I am innocent.” Melvin tried once more, confusion clearly welling in his eyes.

    “Don’t take that tone with me! Don’t you know how freakin’ scary that judge is? He told me if you don’t go to prison, he would… well… he’d… ummm… , well, you can be sure it would be pretty danged bad—for us. Look at it this way: Take some satisfaction in this fact— and everyone agrees: You didn’t do it.

    This is how enforcing the DOJ’s consent decree based upon proven false conclusions feels to many cops. Cops are in the business of justice (equal justice) and they know it when they see it when justice is subverted.

  • Social In-Justice in Seattle

    Many officers have asked me why I haven’t been writing articles for the , The Guardian (Seattle police officer’s union newspaper). The fact is, The Guardian has declined to publish what I’ve written, for reasons I’ll let the union explain, if they wish to. I wasn’t certain when, how/if, I would publish this piece. However, this morning after listening to The John Carlson Show on KVI 570AM and hearing of Mayor McGinn’s blocking of a beneficial Whole Foods project in West Seattle (West Seattle Herald, July 18, 2013) for dubious (leftist political) reasons, I felt people need to address Seattle’s destructive leftist agenda when they can. Anyone think His Honor would use his influence to block a “Green Industry” project? And, as a reminder, under the influence of the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), the City is still enforcing the traffic crime of Driving While License Suspended 3rd Degree (DWLS3) according to social justice criteria. In other words, some offenders get punished for violating this law, and some do not, dependent on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic criteria (according to a Publicola.com interview by Erica C. Barnett with the Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes).

    The following article (slightly amended from the original) was twice submitted and declined for recent editions of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) newspaper, The Guardian. It is that publication’s right to decline and or edit submitted articles, but the circumstances seem odd. I have written articles for The Guardian for the past two decades, and the current Guardian editor has requested I submit articles. With these rejections in mind, which, incidentally, were not the decision of the editor, I’ll reference the eloquently stated words the SPOG president published in a recent President’s Message, which appeared in The Guardian:

    The Guardian is not and should never be a ‘rah-rah SPD’ periodical. It is a union paper, plain and simple. Even with the current administration in D.C. spying on Associated Press and Fox News reporters, ‘freedom of the press’ and the First Amendment are still the law of this land. As I say at every new-hire orientation session ‘you do not give up one single constitutional right when you pin on your badge’” (The Guardian, June, 2013). Sgt. Rich O’Neill, President Seattle Police Officers Guild.

    Social In-Justice in Seattle

    by

    Steve Pomper

    Well, the dreaded day finally arrived. Sign up for the, Race: the Power of Illusion, social justice indoctrination day camp, or else. Someone in roll call quipped, “Is that the David Copperfield magic show?” Funny comment, but the subject is serious: Government bullies forcing a partisan political viewpoint down the throats of a captive audience is not funny. And they think the cops are the jack-booted thugs.

    The mayor’s political goal is not to unite, but to divide. Once divided by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, etc., the groups can then be apportioned and treated “fairly” according to a social justice gauge, rather than as individual Americans treated equally according to the Constitution. Does anyone think the Seattle liberals’ ideology is any different from that coming out of D.C. these days? In fact, since the DOJ are our current minders, it is precisely the same.

    None of Seattle’s social justices will answer the question as to how social justice can coexist with equal justice. Why won’t they—the enemy—answer this question? Because they’d have to betray the truth: Social justice by definition, as opposed to equal justice, has to treat people differently—unequally.

    In 2011, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, a genial and interesting man, exposed the social justice mentality when the Seattle Times quoted him saying, “He [Pomper] doesn’t understand that the playing field is not equal yet.” We see here how the goal is a foundational paradigm shift from the noble goal of … and justice for all, to the corrupt, … and social justice for some.

    Who gets to decide when society has achieved a “level” playfield, Councilmember Harrell, perhaps? What are the benchmarks? Wouldn’t the pathway to Utopia be different for the various groups dependent upon how much “suffering” they can claim on their oppression resume?

    Let’s say we all agreed the “playing field” is not equal, but should (or could) be. Liberals are not talking about leveling the field; they’re talking about leveling the players. There is a utopian belief among liberals that all people should have, not equal access to opportunities (playfield), but equal outcomes (touchdowns).

    For this to happen, liberals want to drop the achievement bar to the lowest common denominator. Government could never make everyone achieve the level that people such as, Benjamin Carson, Shelby Steele, and Thomas Sowell have attained. However, it can lower society’s high achievers through confiscatory taxation, and over regulation, and raise the low achievers through entitlement programs and special rights, until society is left with universal mediocrity. Welcome to political social justice.

    What follows is a reminder of the ferocity with which Seattle’s radical leftist city government imposes its political will on employees with divergent political views. Aside from abusing their power by officially investigating employees who legally express an opposing view, here is—in their own words— how they feel about any employee who dares to oppose their partisan political agenda regarding another article I wrote, which appeared in The Guardian in late 2010:

    Mayor Mike McGinn: No “Room in This City” for Cops Opposing Race and Social Justice Programs. – (the Stranger-Slog Jan. 2011).

    Police Chief John Diaz: “It’s a stupid thing to do…[writing an opposing view] ” and “It reflects badly… it’s another way it degrades the trust in our department.” -(Seattle Weekly Jan. 2011).

    Kathryn Olson[Director of IIS/OPA]: “… says the articles don’t represent “a widespread culture” but rather “reflect the values of the author and very few others.” –(the Stranger-Slog Jan. 2011).

    Sally Clark [Seattle City Council]: “Making a tough job tougher.” –Sally Clark’s Blog.

    Tim Burgess [Seattle City Council]: [Pomper’s} comments are “not consistent with the values of the police department or the rules of behavior the department sets for our officers.”

    Bruce Harrell [Seattle City Council]: “He (Pomper) doesn’t understand that the playing field is not equal yet.”

    Ken Schram [KOMO TV]: “If Seattle police officer Steve Pomper would just stop polishing his billy club for a moment… ” –(Awarded a Schrammie).

    Lynn Thompson [Seattle Times]: “Police officer rails against city’s anti-bias initiatives.” -(the Seattle Times Jan. 2011).

    Jerry Large [Seattle Times]: “Seattle police officer, it’s time to turn in the badge.” –Jerry Large (the Seattle Times Jan. 2011).

    Except for reporter Lynn Thompson, not one of these people spoke with me before making their public comments. Chief Diaz, through a precinct captain, ordered me not to speak to the media only hours before the Chief made the above disparaging comments—to the media.

    Now, forgive the following trip to fantasyland, but back to the issue at hand: Progressive indoctrination of public employees. Suppose conservatives ran Seattle government (stop laughing), and let’s say the right-leaning politicians, believing that educational balance is crucial, decided that every city employee should be given some politically conservative training, perhaps Creation Science or Firearms Safety classes (for all city employees). Now, let’s tie this into the city’s current Social Justice indoctrination scheme:

    Replace Liberal Social Justice training with Conservative training.

    Replace PBS educational videos with Conservative educational videos.

    Ridiculous? No more than social justice indoctrination. Seattle’s liberals may plug in their own conservative alternative as a comparison. How would Seattle’s liberal politicians, officials, and employees react to the City forcing them to receive “training” based upon a radically conservative political agenda, and one which goes well beyond the scope of their primary mission?

    The above comparison boils the issue down to its basic elements and asks Seattle’s political left to answer a what-if question. If they haven’t thought about social justice “training” through the eyes of their political counterparts, perhaps the above reverse equation will open some empathetic understanding as to just what this partisan political “training” means to people who hold opposing political principles.

    This is not about teaching legitimate law enforcement concepts, as the left would have us believe; it’s about sweeping political indoctrination. Seattle’s cops are guinea pigs, and its police precincts have become liberal laboratories of lunacy.

    Once again, where is SPD’s leadership on these social justice and DOJ issues? Have they all made a hard left turn from when we knew them in the ranks? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a chief break the Seattle, “appointed-official,” mold? How great it would have been if a chief had come out and supported—in deed—what was once one of the most respected and emulated police departments in America, and said: “The DOJ’s initial findings, upon which they based implementing an undeserved Consent Decree, lacks veracity and amounts to an insult to Seattle and to every man and woman serving the Seattle Police Department.” The Chief or Mayor (or any leader) could have made such a statement, but they didn’t. Seattle’s cops and citizens deserved nothing less, but instead they got far less. Now they’ll also waste far more in taxes paid to aloof DOJ Consent Decree consultants.

    The other day (a few months ago now) in roll call, Seattle’s Consent Decree Compliance Coordinator mentioned two things that stood out for me: It is a fact that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) initial report asserting that 20% of SPD’s uses of force were unconstitutional, is wrong. And, I interpreted his ultimate message to be: The SPD should happily comply with the DOJ’s whims in order to prove the DOJ was wrong about us. We (SPD) must all speak with “one voice” (including in The Guardian).

    Do they remember they’re dealing with cops? Cops aren’t traditionally known as patsies who will take such a great insult lying down. Sgt. Ty Elster, Vice President of SPOG, in his inspiring column (The Guardian, July 2013) has shown courage and has demonstrated that he is one cop who will not wither at the storm of intimidation tactics coming from the city or federal governments.

    Everything that followed the flawed initial DOJ report, to use criminal justice lingo, is similar to the fruit from the poisonous tree legal maxim. Meaning, anything stemming from an erroneous act is therefor also contaminated, and in a criminal case, inadmissible in court. It’s a shame we didn’t have one courageous leader (captain or above) who would have stood up, or would stand up now, for the good men and women of the SPD whom the DOJ has so falsely maligned. The DOJ may be able to control our actions through its dictates, but in saying we should all be “on the same page,” must we willingly submit our minds as well?

    Why didn’t our leaders challenge the DOJ’s erroneous assertions in court? Why did they simply feed their cops to those wolves? There is a true consensus that the report that initiated this entire debacle is fraudulent. Seattle University Professor Matthew Hickman has illuminated this fraud with his even more thorough study’s findings. The DOJ itself, found 0 (zero) violations in over a hundred additional cases recently studied. Does anyone believe the DOJ wanted to haul its “stellar” methodology (which they refuse to release) into court? One has to wonder, since City and Department leaders didn’t challenge these blatantly erroneous contentions where it mattered, if City and SPD leaders believe the nonsense the DOJ spewed about its cops, or do they simply lack the courage? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. We all know how much credibility the DOJ has these days.

    The DOJ knows that if they can make such a stellar police agency as the Seattle Police Department bow down to their federal might, then any other law enforcement agency in America is up for grabs. While Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, not surprisingly, sold us out to the feds, even worse, one of our own, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, sold us out! Why do City and some SPD leaders wince when articles such as this appear? Because it forces them to acknowledge and explain what they’ve done, and perhaps more importantly, what they haven’t done.

    So, I’ve packed my lunch of guinea pig food and it’s off to the social justice re-education day camp I go for my dose of liberal indoctrination. One day some of us may lament: Why didn’t I do more to oppose social justice by supporting equal justice? Sadly, some of us will lament: Why didn’t I do anything at all?

    For a civil discussion please visit: www.stevepomper.com

  • Critical Thinking and Assumptions


    Critical thinking is generally viewed as important in assessing issues and contributing productively to discussions. So, why it is it so little deployed by some people, even those who are some of the most outspoken on current issues. So, in an effort to encourage people, not necessarily to agree, but at least to think critically about with what they disagree, I offer this discussion.

    Although this blog may be informal and anecdotal, albeit subjective, I make every attempt to be truthful and accurate. I’ve observed that some people, even some very good, educated, and smart people who should know better, tend to conflate institutional racism with individual racism and tolerance with acceptance. This can lead to misunderstandings and acceptance of lies as fact. It can color one’s view of the world and alter how one acts in it.

    This brings to mind the Michael Medved Show on KTTH 570AM of several weeks back. Michael’s guest was Professor Christopher Parker who occupies a very prestigious chair at the University of Washington. Parker has written a book entitled, Across the Great Divide (Princeton Press, 2013). I have not read the book, so I’ll not judge it directly. However, having heard the show, I do feel qualified to comment on the interview.

    The first comment that comes to mind is, as an actual Tea Party member who has associated with other Tea Party members and has attended actual Tea Party meetings and events since early 2009, I was aghast at the ignorance, and I don’t use this as a pejorative, shown by such a stellar academic as Professor Parker, who sounds like a very intelligent, pleasant, and likable man. As an example, I’ll cite a comment he made regarding black members of the Tea Party. Professor Parker stated that blacks attending Tea Party rallies and events were paid to be there. If that statement wasn’t ludicrous enough, the professor cited his “source” as, a “friend” of his (he named the friend, but I can’t recall, and it isn’t relevant anyway), who told him that dubious little nugget of information.

    Well, that would come as quite a surprise, not to mention a stunning insult, to my black conservative friends who support the Tea Party. During the show, the good professor also alluded to some blacks not being “authentically” black if they held Tea Party views. Although, to be fair, he did not extend this contempt to all blacks. Michael asked him about the views of a particular black intellectual (Shelby Steele or Thomas Sowell, I believe), and the professor did not question the man’s conservative positions.

    To cite, “a friend of mine” (a political compatriot), by an academic of this caliber was astonishing. I waited for some elaboration, but none came. Perhaps I missed something. This alone went a long way to discredit a book I have not read, and now have no reason to except as yet another a source of liberal amusement.

    Back to the original discussion. If some ignorant jerk expresses overt or even subtle bigotry or racism in some way toward an individual, this should not be taken as reflective of society in general. It is harmful to jump to such a conclusion. Not everyone will like or respect everyone—ever! If you get poor service at a restaurant or some loudmouth treats you with disrespect, or you get passed over for a job or promotion, is it right automatically to attribute that to your race, ethnicity, or whatever? I’d argue it is not. If you find evidence that this is the case, then go after the bastards with both guns blazing (oh sorry; for liberals I do mean that figuratively). Just don’t assume what may not be and does not serve you well.

    Among other things, it puts you at a disadvantage in assessing any actual deficiencies you might have, which may be keeping you from excelling. It’s true that racism and bigotry do come in handy as a convenient excuse for failure, but it will not make you a better person. If you can honestly assess yourself as an individual and not as a victim of some group you, will be at a great advantage moving through the world. You will not give the bigots and racists power they do not deserve. In fact, you can look at that person’s bigotry and racism as their problem and not yours.

  • Is this President Obama’s, “I’m Not a Crook,” Moment?

    “I did not have sex with that woman…” President Bill Clinton.

    “I am not a crook,” President Richard M. Nixon.

    “There’s no there, there,” President Barack Obama.

    Regarding the as yet untold story about what happened that fateful day last year on September 11th, 2013, in Benghazi, Libya, President Obama said, “There’s no there, there.” Well, he seems to be getting pretty lonely with that perspective, as even his strongest supporters seem finally to be getting curious. The president is distancing himself from an awful lot these days. The Benghazi attack (during which he won’t even say where he was and what he was doing), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting of the Tea Party and others (says he knew nothing about it), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) seizing Associated Press (AP) reporters phone records (again, he denies knowledge and says it’s a DOJ situation), which could include tapping twenty phones used by up to 100 reporters.

    The President, who called questions about the attacks and murders in Benghazi a “side show” and a “political circus,” is back peddling, in circles, faster than any clown in that political circus. The President says the IRS and the DOJ are independent entities, as if they are not a part of the Executive Branch, which, if I recall my social studies correctly, the President heads. Is the President in control of anything? Is the dodge going to be: I’m not guilty; I might be ignorant or incompetent, but in no way am I guilty? Maybe some of those little peons down there, but certainly not me way up here!

    When President Obama said his would be the most transparent administration in history, I saw no evidence of it. However, now I finally see it. If there is anyone who still can’t see through the false statements, elusive explanations, and evasive statements, then they have their eyes shut. In order to see it, one need only open his eyes. Just ask Tom Brokaw.