• 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.
    191 of 200 Signatures
    Created by Police Accountability Team Humanics Scholars, CSUF
  • No More Votes For War
    Those of us who want an end to war are the majority worldwide. If we join together to demand accountability from elected officials by voting those who support war out of office, we will consciously create an end to war by changing the mind-set which views war as socially acceptable.
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    Created by Michael Smith
  • Let’s Get More of Our Vets Employed!
    The Concern: Unfortunately, many of our service members were subjected to enormous government cutbacks and left the field much earlier than retirement and several of them were given pink slips. Many military families have ended up devastated with the unexpected loss of employment mixed with a declining economy. The government is continuing to make significant cutbacks to our military forcing more service members back into the workforce after being out of the regular workforce for years, even decades in some cases. Quite a few service men and women have incredible abilities and many have so much to offer any job. That being said, our vets struggle to find the employment they need every single day. The Answer: If we put enough pressure on businesses and the government to form an employment program to help our vets get back into the workforce right away, we can help save more of some of our country’s finest from living in poverty. Join us! Together we can help our vets get the job they need today! We want to see our military vets have more access to employment too.
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    Created by Amy Erdmann
  • Remove all polling machines from internet access
    Eliminate the possibility of any government, foreign or domestic to manipulate our right of a fair and just vote. Local governments assign police to overlook the safety of construction sites of roadways and utilities. Surely, for the one doy of voting, they can overlook polling stations and security.
    2 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Richard Carrube
  • Eliminate fines for wrongdoing on banks' tax returns as "business expenses"
    It's almost a joke that the current corporate tax code basically rewards banks that are fined for wrongdoing, even felonies, by allowing these institutions to claim them as "business expenses", and that allowance needs to be eliminated, NOT incentivized!
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    Created by Michael B Wisper
  • Don't Let Snowmobiles Drive Caribou to Extinction
    Conservationists have struggled to protect these animals for years, and have failed, largely due to opposition from snowmobile users. In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to set aside more than 375,000 acres of critical habitat for the caribou, but opposition forced officials to reduce that to 30,000 acres. Partly as a result, these Caribou are now nearly extinct. These magnificent animals are uniquely adapted to the harsh environment of the Selkirk Mountains. We can't let a small group of people concerned only with their own amusement drive them out of existence!
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    Created by Donna Knipp
  • No World War III in Syria
    Because too many Americans and foreigners are wise to the arguments in Brezinski's "The Grand Chessboard" (1997). Our continuing efforts to force our way into the middle of the Eurasian continent will be met with massive resistance from: 1)the Stans 2)Russia 3)China. Russia is aware that our invasion of Syria (under the pretense of fighting ISIS) is a key part of our divide and conquer strategy. We are rapidly heading into the third world war.
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    Created by Joseph Mitchener Picture
  • NEW LAWS EMPOWERING & PROTECTING PEOPLE WITH AUTISM WORLDWIDE
    People 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.
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    Created by Jeffrey DeCristofaro
  • Reopen the House of Blues as a venue for music and creativity
    Upcoming musicians are now faced with venues with pay to play that is too expensive to perform in more than every three or four months or, alternatively, so small that ten people constitutes a good draw. For the music scene and creative scene ever to flourish again, there needs to be venues that are large enough for crowds to come and do not cost what is frequently a thousand dollars or more to perform in. If several musicians with the means to reopen the Sunset Strip venue bought in on this venue, there would be renewed music scene in Hollywood. (The previous buyers ran out on the deal and the venue is currently asking for 1.2 million dollars for the venue). Creativity and free expression is critical for any nation; creative people (musicians, actors, poets, etc. often are the first to bear both financial and other types of criticism, but later society usually benefits from their creativity)
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    Created by Suzanne Diamond Rudman
  • Sign the Petition: Train Students on Modernized Job Search Tools
    The Answer Is Simple:We can put intense pressure on our education system in general by showing them how essential it is for our grads and students to be armed with the proper job search skills and tools to help them succeed in find employment. Join us in the fight to obtain better job search training for students and grads! We firmly believe that teaching students better job search skills and tools to help them find employment in the modern-day job market is absolutely essential.
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    Created by Melvin Pickett
  • Dropbox: Please Bring Back and Open-Source the Mailbox App!
    Important to note: Mailbox users paid for the application with the anticipation that they would receive continued service and support and were willing to endure through the bugs and issues, as well as the lack of support because it was the best choice available. Sadly, in February of this year, the application’s functionality promptly discontinued and any remaining information and data was completely destroyed. The Answer: If the Mailbox community puts enough pressure on Dropbox, we can hopefully get them to accept our request to restore Mailbox and open-source it. We ask that Dropbox bring this program back and let the Mailbox community handle the application on their own. Together, we can bring back this much-needed cloud-based email application. We support the restoration of this magnificent e-mail management program for iOS and OS X.
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    Created by James Pool
  • Don't let Medicare impose "Competitive Bidding" for wheelchairs in Connecticut
    Working more efficiently will save Medicare by not wasting funds on repeated appointments. The disabled patients that Medicare is supposed to be helping will be supplied with the necessary equipment to live their lives with dignity. Since Medicare is paying for these unnecessary repeat appointments the money spent on them could go to the equipment instead. They have competitive bidders that don't supply the equipment listed which needs immediate attention!
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    Created by Robert O'Donnell