03 Jun

Sacramento Only Wants to Save Some Lives

On 22 May 2017 the California Senate voted to require homeowners with pools, or looking to build pools, to double their safety efforts. SB442, introduced by State Senator Newman, is aimed at saving the lives of children by requiring 2 of 7 State approved safety items be utilized instead of the current legally mandated 1 of 7.

In 2014, the most recent listed, California had 33 Pool-related drownings and 19 “Other” drownings for children aged 0-5.

While this might sound like a good idea to those who want the state to get more involved in the safety in and around your home, I would point out SB20 which passed the Senate a month earlier on 20 April 2017.

SB20 is a bill requiring buses to have seat-belts. Also for safety. Except for your children.

From the text of the bill:

The bill would specify that it does these provisions do not apply to schoolbuses.

For the sake of consistency it should be pointed out that the author of SB442, Senator Josh Newman, likewise voted for SB20.

One has to question the Senate’s commitment to safety when they will vote to require private property owners to add more safety around pools while exempting school buses from having basic safety requirements.

24 Apr

Should Hate Crime Laws Protect Police?

Hate Crime

Is it reasonable for police officers to be treated as a protected class in hate crime legislation?

That’s one of the many questions in front of the California legislature. This issue currently comes in the form of AB-2 which was introduced by Jay Obernolte (R), Co-Authored by Rudy Salas, Jr. (D) and sponsored by  Jim Cooper (D) & Tom Lackey (R).

This bill is a bipartisan effort to afford police officers with the protections of hate crime legislation going forward. The merits of Hate Crime Legislation notwithstanding is it reasonable to offer that protection to a career choice? If so, why only police officers?

20 Apr

Tone Deaf Democrat Wants to Embolden Bad Cops

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D) wants to embolden officers who lie by making it harder to punish them. His newest bill, AB1298, which is sitting in committee as of 18 April 2017, seeks to ratchet up the standard to punish for officers who lie in their official capacity.

Lower Standards for All… in government.

When an officer lies on the job they are known colloquially as a “Brady Officer” owing to a 1963 US Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland. When labeled as such their history of untruthiness is handed to the defense.

This is a big issue with law enforcement because the inability to testify makes it extremely difficult to do one’s job as an officer and it can ruin one’s career. Here’s a quick except from the online Law Enforcement reference site Police One;

“An officer who has been proved to have lied during a disciplinary investigation, or in any other context, will be placed on a Brady list which is then provided to prosecutors. If an officer on the list is scheduled to testify in a case, a prosecutor will be notified by the agency so that the appropriate disclosure can be made.”

This is a solid little piece of advice for officers and it essentially is summed up by “you expect the truth from citizens, they should expect the truth from you”.

That the United States Supreme Court had to tell prosecutors and police departments to not put habitual liars on the stand, lest they be forced to disclose the records, in order to convict people should tell you plenty about the goals of our supposed justice system.

That’s what makes Assemblyman Santiago’s bill so tone-deaf and tone-deaf. It makes no sense that in an era of #BlackLivesMatters and being #Woke and every third meme about the maltreatment of people by law enforcement that a (D) would be able to support, nay! defend, the lies by officers in their official capacity.

Yet Santiago knows that he’s safe in his district so he has no qualms about crushing those below him and subjecting them to the worst of the bad apples. It’s not like his lowly Angelino constituents can match the massive funding he likely gets from his police union benefactors.

Officers, like all those in government, should be held to a higher standard than those for whom they purport to work. We citizens should not be expected to be better than those writing and enforcing the very laws used against us day to day. Until we find angels amongst men to rule over us we should subject the men and women we do have to the highest standards.

This bill will do nothing to help with the growing gap in trust between the citizenry and law enforcement and will likely make people less likely to trust the police knowing that there are more brazen liars amongst them being further protected.