Don’t Defund The Police – Fix Them – And This Time Make It Stick

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Don’t Defund The Police – Fix Them – And This Time Make It Stick

“In my own lifetime, I want to see the fighting cease. In my own lifetime, I want to see my sons enjoy the fruits of peace. While I’m still here, I want to know beyond a doubt that no one can lock us in or lock us out. We have climbed higher. much higher than I thought we’d climb. It’s a long journey, and even though the end’s in sight, there’s not much time.  I want to know we haven’t built on sand, in my own lifetime “ Sheldon Harnick “The Rothschilds”

The Police  Force is considered to be the most corrupt of governmental  institutions world wide. Fundamental systemic changes, including anti-corruption reforms, are needed in countries all over the world to prevent police abuse.

George Floyd’s death is the latest in a long series of brutal encounters between the American police and the people they are supposed to serve.

We need to make meaningful changes to address police misconduct.  When something calls attention to their faults (like murder), they implement change for a while. As public attention shifts and politics moves on, the police reform efforts eventually stop. 

We need to get rid of qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a judicial doctrine that protects officers who violate someone’s constitutional rights from civil-rights lawsuits unless the officers’ actions were clearly established as unconstitutional at the time.  Just throw it out and make them as accountable for their behavior as the rest of us are.  They have clearly abused that privilege.

Police officers should keep better records of what they do and how they do it. Why were they in a high speed chase down the freeway? Who got injured along the way? etc. They looked like an invading army during the protests and many instances of unnecessary brutality and meanness were reported. Was any of that investigated? 

The most important thing to spend money on is better police training and screening. Train parking enforcement to deal with most traffic violations. Get rid of traffic cops.  If I get stopped outside of Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles, police act very differently. I did not need four officers with guns surrounding my new car because it didn’t have a front license plate at the time that law changed.  When I yelled at them for doing that and scaring my daughter (and me), they took forty five minutes, to write up the ticket. (Yes, I know what white privilege is but once I am in a non white neighborhood, they think I am Hispanic or Muslim).  Screen for psychological disorders, racial and  gender prejudice, homophobia, bullying, depression or violent, angry personalities. Get rid of stop and frisk and racial profiling.

 Police see the worst of humanity, the most depraved, and they do so at risk to their own lives. I think they are so used to thinking everyone is a bad guy and might have a gun and kill them, that they lose their humanity.  They treat certain neighborhoods as war zones and seem to forget human beings live in them.

 Police are rewarded  for “collars” (arrests – yes I’m obsessed with watching Law and Order) and how many traffic tickets they give in a month. What if they got rewarded equally for people they helped and the kindnesses they did in a community? What if they got rewarded for the humane way they dealt with lawbreakers?  They seem to have a problem telling the difference between an African American man walking home from work or a student running  home from college and a criminal. So it is best if they find a better way of dealing with arrests. Make their pension not a guarantee but based on constant re – evaluation.   

This “Blue Wall Of Silence” has to stop. This is the informal rule among  police officers not to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts, or crimes, including police brutality. It has to be part of a new kind of training.

 Somewhere during the quarantine of the corona virus and the protests against police brutality, an African American friend sent me a picture of her brand new grandson. We have to do better. We have to fix this and keep at it this time. No more slacking off when things quiet down. 

Stay safe,

JAZ

Why Didn’t The Police Stop The Looting?

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Why Didn’t The Police Stop The Looting?

“Until you guys own your own souls, you don’t own mine. Until you guys can be trusted every time and always, in all times and conditions, to seek the truth out and find it and let the chips fall where they may—until that time comes, I have the right to listen to my conscience, and protect my client the best way I can.” Raymond Chandler, The High Window

In April 1775  Major John Pitcairn upon reaching Lexington and finding the colonials, in what he perceived to be an “unlawful armed assembly,” ordered the colonials assembled  to “Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!” He was “reading them the riot act.”

In England before the American Revolution, almost all felonies were punishable by death. That is  no longer the case. Crimes such as theft, burglary and robbery no longer carry the death penalty, and are generally punished by imprisonment or by some form of probation. 

The death of George Floyd, a black man suspected of passing a suspicious $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis by a police officer was inhumane and also illegal. It set off protests, looting and riots across the country. 

Experts say that looting is a side effect of the condition causing the protest. But this time in Los Angeles, it looked different. Splinter groups broke off from the peaceful protests and began rioting and looting.

There was a lot of twitter chatter about going to Beverly Hills to loot. The footage was disturbing, It looked like criminals with hammers and kids of all races who had been in the house too long and were laughing at the smashed  windows, taking photos and grabbing stuff. It was like a release valve had opened up. No police and no parents. “Where are the jewelry stores?” was heard throughout the video. 

I can’t speak for the whole country because this time I watched Los Angeles News. In the Fairfax Melrose area, certain stores were targeted and then it became a mob mentality, free for all of looting and fires.

The looting of Downtown, Santa Monica and Long Beach was even more disturbing. It went on for a long time and there was definitely the realization that no one was going to stop them. It was organized with cars circling the areas and people running in and out of the stores and cars. 

We received an email that a protest in Venice on a main shopping street was being organized by looters and the one on the beach was organized by protestors. 

Small businesses shouldn’t have to pay for the anger caused by the police. We all support the protest. The business owners quietly cleaned up the glass and opened their doors with sparse merchandise  to empty streets. Their businesses were already pummeled by the corona virus. We don’t know how many of them (us) will recover from all of this. Please support small businesses in your neighborhood. They need your help now.

It looked like the police did not want to put themselves in harm’s way or to hurt someone else over loss of property. The police backed off and let the looters have at it. After all, it was only someone else’s property or livelihood that was destroyed or stolen.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Weird Things I Have Learned In Los Angeles

Weird Things I’ve Learned In LA

“You’re not going to see people like this again for a long time, he said and I said I always saw people like this & he looked at me for a moment and said, You’re not from around here, are you?” Brian Andreas, Story People

You can drive one block in Los Angeles. In fact most people do.

Parking meters in Venice can only be used for their allotted time. If you try to put more money in, you have to move your car and come back. Is this something new?

The bus system in Los Angeles is a lot like a third world country.  The bus is on a major street and for no reason makes a turn to go down a quiet residential block and then come back. I picture the driver saying “Hm that looks like a nice street. I think I will go there.”

The subway system goes no where that I need to be.

Every few blocks in LA  is a different city or named something different. Ex Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Adjacent, Beverly Hills Post Office. Beverly Hills Flats.

Los Angeles is the most populated city in  California and the second most populated in the United States, after New York City.

It is illegal to manufacture pickles in the industrial zone of downtown Los Angeles.

When Los Angeles was founded in 1781, 44 people (14 families) lived in El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula (Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angeles of the Small Portion). The population grew, but the name shrank to simply “Los Angeles.”

Animals are banned from mating publicly in LA within 1500 feet of a tavern, school or place of worship. It is a big problem for my dog.

The citizens of Los Angeles are called ‘Angelenos’, which  rhymes with casinos.

The Shirley Temple, a non-alcoholic cocktail, was invented in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is home to over 1.2 million college graduates. Many of them are actor waiters and their parents are not happy.

There are lots of beautiful people in Los Angeles – highly concentrated in upscale nightclubs and expensive shopping areas . There are also lots of ordinary people who make the effort to look their best. Sometimes too much effort leads to scary.

It is not a great place to grow old. I picture plastic surgeons who look at these women who try so hard and say after the anesthesia” Ok, let’s have some fun.”

Los Angeles is considered to be the world’s entertainment center. Here, on an everyday basis, there are over 100 movie and television production crews shooting for their respective soaps/films on location.

Los Angeles is not filed with beautiful blondes. It is 70 per cent non white with Hispanic being the largest percentage. Orange County is filled with beautiful blondes.

There are sixty-five people in Los Angeles who have the legal name Jesus Christ.

The Summer Olympics have been hosted twice by the city of Los Angeles, first in 1932, and then again in 1984.

Jeans and flip-flops go just about everywhere in LA.

The most important industry in LA is manufacturing.

Most of your waiter and waitresses are actors, models, dancers and comedians.

It is illegal for human beings to marry rocks in the City of Los Angeles. But it is not illegal to marry rock stars.

The Rams came to L.A. from Cleveland in 1946. The Dodgers arrived from Brooklyn in 1958, the Lakers from Minneapolis in 1960, and the Kings were an NHL expansion team in 1967. Prior to the Rams’ arrival, the L.A. sports scene centered on UCLA, USC, and two minor league baseball teams

You rarely get a straight answer when asking people in LA what they do for a living. They are between projects or a life coach or a pet psychic etc. 

Every year, about 100,000 women in Los Angeles County have their breasts enhanced.

Someone in LA will always tell you when mercury is in retrograde. Someone from NY will never know this.

In LA, they know how to make a great salad but not bagels, chinese food or cannoli.

In LA most people do not come to a complete stop at a stop sign. It is called the California slide or roll.  I learned that it is illegal. Long day at traffic school for trying to fit in.

There are four times more hamburgers eaten in Los Angeles County than in the rest of California. Is that because we have more In and Out Burgers?

Fly Safe,

JAZ