Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The policies are by the Politicians

New Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis speaks with members of the Chicago City Council police and fire committee to address concerns about the city's crime rate Tuesday, July 15, 2008. City councilmen grilled Weis asking him to explain why the numbers of murders and other violent crimes are rising at the same time police are making fewer arrests, seizing fewer guns and even making fewer traffic stops. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
So, this Chief is getting grilled about the rise in crime.

It wasn't the Chief who crucified officers for "Offending Minorities". (TRANSLATION--Doing their job, arresting thugs who happen to be Black or Hispanic)


Obama Watch: Barack on Crime
Posted by: Saulo G. Londono | 02/26/2008 6:28 PM

There is a lot of hype about this election cycle and the historical significance of it. Americans can look forward to the election of either the first woman President, the first Black President, or the oldest President ever elected. Considering all that, one aspect of this cycle that not a lot of people have discussed is the possibility of the American people electing the most liberal President in history. In this segment we will take a look at Barack on Crime.

When I was researching his votes in the (Illinois)State Senate I realized there are way too many votes to criticize him on when it comes to his pro-criminal agenda. Instead I will focus on one piece of legislation which Barack lobbied heavily against. We will look at HB1812 of the 92nd General Assembly, or what was called the Severo Anti-Gang Amendments of 2001. The jist of this bill is to basically allow a judge to use the death penalty when a murder is committed in the furtherance of gang activities. The bill was introduced after a Chicago teenager was shot to death by two gang members while trying to explain to them that he was not part of any gangs.

It's important to note that this bill was introduced both in the House and in the Senate by Democrats from Cook County, where most of the gang-related violence takes place. Obama was supposed to sponsor the bill until he realized what he had in his hands. Democratic Senator Antonio Munoz, whose district the murder took place in, was the chief sponsor instead, with Republican Senator Edward Petka as a co-sponsor.

First of all, let me tell you that this bill passed handily both in the House and in the Senate. Barack was one of only nine liberal Democrats in the Senate who voted against it. Although his vote alone stands to show his position on crime, the real importance of this bill is in the discussion that took place between the opponents, led by Senator Obama, and the proponents, led by Senator Petka.

Senator Munoz, the sponsor of the bill, defered to Senator Petka who was a former prosecutor to introduce the bill and answer questions. The first one to rise was Barack Obama. Here's part of the argument he used against the bill:

"One of my concerns in this situation is that if an individual shoots somebody and kills them, let's say, because of an argument on the street, that they, potentially, are not eligible for the death penalty. If that same person gets in that same argument and shoots that person on the street and kills them, but that other person happens to be a member of a street gang and the perpetrator happens to be a member of a rival street gang, that somehow, now, he might get a different penalty than that same murderer in the other context. That's problematic."

Huh? Apparently Barack lives in a land where two rival gang members casually just "happen" to get in an argument and shoot each other without knowing the other person is in a rival gang. Keep in mind that under Illinois law random shootings are not punishable by the death penalty but murdering someone while robbing them is. This law aimed at giving the same status to gang related murders as someone who takes someone's sneakers and then shoots them. Sounds fair enough right?

Barack then goes on to imply that this bill would unfairly target certain demographics. After listening for a while the sponsor of the bill, Senator Munoz, decided to chime in. Keep in mind this is a Democrat lecturing another Democrat:

"Sir, you're talking about the city and we're targeting certain people or certain race, or whatever the case may be. This bill is intended for hard-core criminal killers that go out there and prey, whether it be on kids, whether it be on seniors, and they are gang members. That's what the bill is intended for. And so many times, yes, crime does happen mostly, as they say, in minority communities. Well, I have it in my district. And it's Mexican-Americans killing Mexican-Americans, and that's a real shame and that's where it needs to stop!"

Never a good sign when members of your own party engage in such heated exchange with you. Barack closed by switching the focus of the discussion:

"This may or may not be perfectly legal from a constitutional perspective, but I don't want to get into a major debate about the death penalty."

Unfortunately for Barack, that's exactly where the debate was headed. One of his other colleagues, Senator Robert Molaro, decided to dive in with this argument:

"In other words, life without possibility of parole or a sixty year sentence is not enough of a public policy statement by us that we don't condone gangbangers killing other people? What does the state gain by being able to put him to death?"

And this is where I want everyone to take a pause and try to fast forward to a few months from now, when Obama is answering questions about his stance on the death penalty. Think of him using the above argument and then think of John McCain's rebuttal, which will sound a lot like Senator Petka's response:

"First of all, you make certain basic assumptions that putting someone in prison for murdering someone else is proper punishment. In my opinion, it's not proportional, which is what the Constitution requires. Second of all, the people of this State, when they had an opportunity thirty years ago to abolish capital punishment in the State, voted in overwhelming numbers not to do that. What public purpose is served? Very simply this: right now a gangbanger who commits a murder would at least be eligible to face scrutiny from a judge or a jury as to decide whether or not they should receive society's ultimate punishment."

Obama, who had been involved up to that point, chose to no longer rise. No one else did either. The bill passed the Senate with only Barack and his eight other pro-criminal colleagues voting against it.

Remember when I said Obama was out of touch with the mainstream of Independents? Well in the case of the death penalty he's out of touch with the mainstream of every party. According to Gallup Poll, 81% of Republicans, 69% of Independents, and 60% of Democrats are in favor of the death penalty.

I can't wait to watch McCain and Obama debate on the merits of capital punishment as a deterrent to violent criminals. That's an argument we can't lose. Stay tuned for the next segment of Obama Watch.

Just months into his job, the outsider brought in to shake up Chicago's police department is on the hot seat over an increase in homicides and other violent crimes and a decrease in gun seizures, arrests and even traffic stops.

In a sometimes tense hearing on Tuesday, City Council members grilled Superintendent Jody Weis about moves such as bringing in a slew of commanders within weeks of taking over, with at least one alderman suggesting Weis put commanders in positions they weren't prepared for.

The hearing marked the most visible signal yet of the intense pressure that Weis is under. It has only mounted since early this month when gunfire left one person dead and others injured near the Taste of Chicago _ a huge festival held in the same park in which thousands would gather if the city hosts the 2016 Olympic Games.

It also was the most public display of concerns about Weis' performance since Mayor Richard Daley hired him with a mandate to repair the department's image tarnished by a string of incidents _ including an off-duty officer whose alleged beating of a female bartender was videotaped and shown around the world.

Since he took over in February, Weis has rankled both aldermen and members of his department with moves such as replacing 21 of 25 district commanders, talk of getting officers into better shape and his decision to move some of them into the streets and out from behind desks they'd been sitting at for years.

He further angered some within the rank-and-file when he asked federal officials to investigate an officer who'd already pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and was serving a two-year suspension.

On Tuesday, the alderman who in May told of hearing about officers who didn't pull their weapons as quickly as they should for fear of being disciplined by the new administration came armed with statistics.

Alderman Isaac Carothers said that even as violent crimes rose _ homicides, for example, are up 13 percent _ police took some 500 fewer guns off the street this year compared to the same period last year. And he told Weis that the number of gang interventions was down.

"Are you aware that arrests are down and police appear to be doing less?" he asked Weis, sounding like a prosecutor instead of the head of a city council committee.

Weis acknowledged those figures.

"I do find that very troubling," he said.

Weis said he had no evidence that officers ignored criminal activity. But he said officers have told him they are afraid of being sued or the subject of complaints by criminals.

"I told them don't be timid," Weis said of meetings he's had with officers. And he said he has assured them that not only does he want them to be aggressive, but will support them if they act appropriately and within the law.

Weis, the first outsider to run the department in decades, defended some of his decisions and how quickly he has moved to make necessary changes. "I was brought in because there needed to be a cultural change in the Chicago Police Department," he said.

One reason perhaps that Weis finds himself under such scrutiny is that he took the job at the exact time City Hall is making its push to get the 2016 Olympic Games. And a big part of any city's bid is its ability to keep visitors safe _ in Chicago that means keeping visitors safe in Grant Park, which is not only the site of the Taste of Chicago but a spot where huge crowds will descend if the city gets the games.

A.D. Frazier, the chief operating officer of the Olympic Games in Atlanta, said demonstrating to the International Olympic Committee the ability to provide security is crucial to a city's bid.

"You cannot expect the Olympic deciders to not care about the safety and security of that spot," he said, adding that he's confident Chicago will do things like beef up patrols and add lighting to ensure Grant Park is as safe as possible.

Aldermen, even those who asked Weis tough questions, continued to voice their support for the new superintendent. But they also made it clear they expect better results.

"I'm from Missouri," said Alderman Ray Suarez in a reference to the state's nickname, "The Show Me State."

"In six months," he said, "We're going to come back."

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