- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
- Post Office
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Protect and Strengthen Fresno’s Office of Independent Review“The mission of the Office of Independent Review (OIR) is to strengthen community trust in the Fresno Police Department by providing neutral, third-party review of police policies, procedures, strategies and internal investigations. The OIR works independently of the Fresno Police Department and provides the City’s leaders and the public with objective analysis of policing data, actions and outcomes” (from the City of Fresno’s website: http://www.fresno.gov/Government/CityManager/IndependentReview/default.htm). As concerned members of the Fresno community, we recognize the vital role police officers play in providing safety within our communities and the importance of cultivating trust with those they serve. Indeed, the motto of the Fresno PD is “Safety, Service and Trust.” Transparency and accountability are critical to the establishment of that trust, and the existence of the OIR ensures a systematic process of objective, third-party review of all complaints filed by citizens and all internal affairs investigations, including quarterly reports with recommendations on findings to increase thoroughness, compliance, quality and accuracy. Currently, the Fresno City OIR has been led by Richard Rasmussen, who was hired in September 2012, having just retired after serving 21+ years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Second and Third Quarter Reports of 2016 issued by the Fresno OIR are based on data provided by Fresno PD and reveal that African Americans and Hispanics are subject to more “Field Interviews” and “Traffic Stops” than their respective proportions in the population would predict. For example, although African Americans constitute only 7.7% of the population of the City of Fresno, they represent 13.2% of the traffic stops and 24.4% of the field interviews by Fresno PD--a statistically significant difference. The irony is that the same Fresno PD statistics reveal that only 3.03% and 2.42% of the Field Interviews of African Americans and Hispanics, respectively, result in arrest/detention, compared to 4.11% of the Field Interviews of whites (a statistically significant difference). Consequently, the recent OIR reports provide recommendations on how Fresno PD might build greater trust with the population served. Our most pressing issue must be to PROTECT our existing Office of Independent Review. The existence of the OIR is threatened by both 2016 mayoral candidates (Henry Perea and Lee Brand), neither of whom has expressed a long-term commitment to the OIR. Henry Perea “favors making the police auditor local, … does not support giving the position investigative and subpoena powers and also does not support any sort of community advisory board. He says there already are enough investigative layers as is” (Ellis, “Summer pushes new issues to forefront of Fresno mayor’s race,” The Fresno Bee). Lee Brand also believes the auditor should be local but that it would be too difficult to expand its investigative power. Instead, Brand would consider a Community Advisory Board (CAB), without mentioning how the CAB would be constituted and what “power” it would have. The community would like to not only keep but STRENGTHEN the powers of the OIR to include the ability to subpoena witnesses. In Salt Lake City, for example, they have an Independent Investigator and a Civilian Review Board (not just “Advisory”). The Investigator conducts a side-by-side investigation with the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Department (as opposed to “after” the IA investigation currently in place in Fresno). The Investigator participates in all interviews, has access to all evidence, and may compel witnesses to be interviewed. Once the Investigator has finished the investigation, it is presented to the Civilian Review Board which deliberates and sends a recommendation to the Police Chief regarding whether or not the complaint should be sustained, along with any other recommendations. The Police Chief has complete and final authority over all disciplinary decisions but is required to take the recommendations of the Police Civilian Review Board into consideration. Fresno’s OIR has made recommendations in department policies and procedures that have been critical in reducing the number of officer involved shootings (OIS), increasing the use of de-escalation tactics, and requiring the use body cameras. It is because of the OIR that the public is able to get access to hard-to-obtain information such as racial data on police field interviews, traffic stops, and detentions (Hess, “Role of Fresno’s Police Auditor Questioned,” Valley Public Radio). Prior to Mr. Rasmussen’s arrival, more than two dozen lawsuits alleging excessive force and police misconduct by Fresno PD were winding their way through federal court. The price of fighting these legal battles, not to mention the payouts resulting from either settlements or findings against Fresno PD, cost us taxpayers millions of dollars. According to KMPH-KFRE.COM media reports, about 180 lawsuits were filed against the Fresno Police Department between 1997 and 2009, and the city paid out about $5.7 million in settlements and judgments, $2.8 million of which were specifically for civil rights violations. Since the re-institution of the OIR under Rick Rasmussen in September 2012, there have been no payouts resulting from any complaint to date (any recent payouts were from complaints filed prior to September 2012). The presence of the OIR seems can help build public trust and also save the city money.
NEW LAWS EMPOWERING & PROTECTING PEOPLE WITH AUTISM WORLDWIDEPeople with Autism, despite their limitations, have much to contribute to society. New skills, perspectives, talents, accomplishments - and therefore they must be protected from neurotypicals who don't know how to approach them properly. We can no longer tolerate this abuse - it is time for the world to act.
A Proposal to Amend the US Constitution to Recall Members of CongressThe proposal is for a Constitutional Amendment for a recall provision to be enforceable against a sitting Member of Congress. This recall provision would provide more regular and continuous oversight of elected public officials to ensure their responsiveness to the Will of the People. The People should not tolerate an incompetent or corrupt or unresponsive elected official exhibiting a willful disregard of those represented, particularly when they serve in Congressional leadership positions affecting the Nation at large. Why should the American People have to wait until that elected official's term of office expires? For example, it is evident that the current Congress' priorities and actions do not reflect the Will of the People. In blatant disregard to that Will, the leadership in Congress has, when in the minority, obstructed Justice by manipulating the Rules of Congress to require more than a majority vote when, by their own precedent, no supermajority vote was previously required. Senators and Representatives are on official public record for abusing the right to filibuster to force delays and otherwise obstruct the good faith business of Congress. When in the majority, they have passed laws providing for unfair advantage in electoral processes, redistricting federal districts unrepresentative of the demographics of States, all to ensure a "safe" district for their party. This is in blatant disregard of general rules of good government. This government was based on a simple principle of majority rule with minority rights. The factions in Congress have forced minorities to find super-majorities to overcome the abuses to procedural rules. If this principle is to be a precedent, then the People can employ that same principle, the right of a relatively small minority of the electorate to force a recall election of an official acting in bad faith. It is the hope of the People that such a threat of recall will deter and/or penalize our elected representatives from taking political positions that offend the clear majority of US Citizens not otherwise represented. The system of campaign finance combined with professional lobbying has so corrupted the process of legislating that the majority of Americans feel disenfranchised and politically alienated from their government. It is the only way to create a counter-balance to all the special interests and single-issue groups who now dominate the time and attention of the Legislature. Further, these political pressures have made it impossible for our Representatives to consider anything other than their own short-term interests and political advantages, thereby ignoring what is in the long-term best interests of the American People. At a minimum, it is the hope that such a recall provision will effectively stymie an official intent on pursuing such a conflict of interest between themselves and their electorate, constantly occupying them, instead, with the threat of needing to campaign in perpetual recall elections. It has long been the right, in many State Courts, to file what is known as a "Writ of Mandamus" against any public official who is acting in an arbitrary or capricious manner, usually without reference to the facts or the rule of law. However, no such right exists at the Federal level. Given our current history, the wisdom of such a Constitutional Amendment is clear. Never has the need been greater. Current events are now witness to the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, announcing in public that he will not call for hearings, under any circumstances, to confirm a Constitutionally mandated Presidential nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States. There is no legal precedent, and no precedent of Congress for this action. It is clearly an arbitrary and capricious act designed to bring about a political result. This is in contravention to the clear original intent of the US Constitution and the current Will of the People. Under his "stewardship" the People have witnessed the repeated abuse of the Rules of the Senate in order to obstruct virtually every legislative initiative of our duly elected President. The People cannot wait to "vote him out of office." The power of the incumbency is so great that he may never be voted out - even against the popular vote of his own electorate. This hurts all of us, not just those in his home State. There are Supreme Court cases that need the ninth Justice to decide them. With the Senate Rules and the Electoral Rules being abused, daily, this obstructionist faction (that clearly does not believe in any proper role of government or any acceptable level of taxation or spending) continues to gain power in Congress. Such policies amount to Sedition and Treason in the traditi
Stop Politicians from Abusing our first Amendment Rights to Petition them for ChangeThis is a violation of the right of petition granted in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was written as an Amendment to the Constitution to make sure the representatives we were giving powers to make and enforce laws could be restrained through our rights of protest and petition.
repeal the 1947 NSA ACT and bury the NSA + CIAThe CIAs "Third World War" (1947-now) is the third bloodiest war in the history of the world. This is our (trillions and counting) Tax Dollars At Work. Imagine what positive effects that money could have accomplished, with no bloodshed or destruction. Major inroads on poverty,poor health,clean water,illiteracy....? Cheap word wide Solar Energy? Nuclear and other toxic waste solutions?