Friday, March 04, 2011

Bay To Breakers 100 Scores Record Number Of Early Registrants

The 100th Bay to Breakers, which means the event is 17 years older than The Academy Awards (think about that), is posting a record number of early registrants for the running race held on May 15th (Which means this blogger had better hurry if running it for the 20th time is in order).

What this all means is all of the complaints of having a boring Bay to Breakers after bans on alcohol were installed obviously aren't coming from those who are signing up for it. The reason The Bay To Breakers draws people is that it's the Bay Area's ultimate expression of community, not of drinking.

Angela Fang, the race organizer, said it best: "The Bay to Breakers Centennial is a once in a lifetime San Francisco event for runners and walkers alike. We are thrilled at the unprecedented number of runners registering daily. This high participation speaks to the legacy the Bay to Breakers footrace and to its tremendous popularity."

Race organizers report that over 41,000 runners and walkers have already signed up and the entire process is set to close before the end of March. So, hurry up and register at .

Wisconsin Protests: Republican Attempt To Arrest Democrats Unconstitutional

Say, here's a question: isn't the Republican attempt to arrest Wisconsin Senate Democrats for not being their to vote, thus allowing the Wisky GOP the chance to take away much of the collective bargaining power of teachers, unconstitutional?

Hell yeah, it is.

The First Amendment of The U.S. Constitution protects "Freedom of association." Taking away the ability of the Wisconsin Senate Democrats not to assemble with State Republicans is an act against the U.S. Constitution.

There's nothing in Federal law, which always trumps state law, that says a legislator must be present for every vote on every bill. Heck, look at how the conservative Erick Erickson was slammed for abstaining all of the city council meetings he missed while being on the Macon City Council. Under the logic of his blog's attack on the Wisconsin Senate Democrats, Erickson himself should have been arrested.

And they should be locked up for their misquoting Wisconsin Senate Rule 23. They have printed, again and again, this:

Senate Rule 23
Senate Rule 23. Committee not to be absent. Members of a committee, except a conference committee, may not be absent by reason of their appointment during the sitting of the senate, without special leave.
[am. 2001 S.Res. 2]

Which, if you look at the Red State blog post by SusanAnne Hiller, has a link that takes you to a web page indicating that the rule has expired. Now, laugh for a minute, then continue reading below for more laughter.

If you take that entire "rule" and copy it and paste it as a search in the Wisconsin Senate Data Base, you can't find it.

The bottom line is Wisconsin has no authority to arrest Senate Democrats. None. Moreover, it seems the Wisconsin Government has become a police state, with cops tackling Representative Nick Milroy for just coming in to get his clothes:

Wisconsin should vote to recall Governor Scott Walker. This is nuts. Governor Walker should give up his obviously personal attack on teachers.

Chevron Ecuador: Steve Donziger Tries To Work U.S. Judge To Get Billions

There are reports that Steve Donziger, the now famous plaintiffs lawyer in the Chevron Ecuador case - yeah, the same one who took a back seat to new lawyers led by the Patton Boggs firm - is striking back at U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, saying that Kaplan was biased against Chevron and that is why the New York Judge ruled to block collection of any damage award from an Ecuador court trial that many knew was fixed in Ecuador's favor to start with.   In the process Steve is essentially proving what Kaplan has charged Donziger with doing in Ecuador: namely working to bully the courts.

Donziger's trying to collect his money.   That's all.

The bottom line is that Donziger won a sham trial in Ecuador - a country known for its unequal distribution of income, corrupt government, and curtailment of human rights - and did so in a way that Kaplan said, and did so with evidence, was fraudulent, and now wants to collect his share of the billions he said he expected to make from this case years ago.

Here's a reminder:

What a laugh.

What gets me, and has spurred me to blog about this since late 2007 or so, is that Ecuador gets off scott free from having to change its culture in any real way. President Correa's still corrupt, still trying to make people think he's an environmentalist when he's not. The ruling political party that controls the courts is still in power and waiting for its handout from the Chevron ruling (good luck). Anyone who blogs a view that the President's acting like a thug gets jailed. And Petroecuador, Ecuador's state-owned oil producer is still getting away with major oil spills (some 15 in all) that it then blames on Chevron, even though the American Oil Company isn't even there and hasn't been in Ecuador since 1992. Oh, and there are people, some in the media, who actually believe that garbage!

If you hear someone defend Ecuador, ask them what they know about the country's terribly ran oil production system, corrupt courts, and abysmal human rights record. Then watch them talk; they'd have nothing to say.


Oakland Chief Of Police Should Be Elected, Not Appointed

The position of Chief of Police in Oakland should be an elected one. This blogger's reasons start with how a document announcing the search for a new chief in 2009, which became Tony Batts in 2010, was worded.

There' an old job posting for the position of Chief Of Police For The City of Oakland that's still online, here. It's posted text, repeated below in case the City of Oakland had the original removed, explains, among other things, that the Chief of Police "reports to The City Administrator." Now, of course, many Oakland insiders know this, but the public's generally not aware of such things.  (Also, the Chief's salary was set at "up to $17,615.17 per month.  What Batts does with that 17 cents is anyone's guess.)

But with that, one would agree it was wrong for certain members of the Oakland City Council to openly state that Chief Batts should have come to them regarding his job and working condition issues. The document openly states he reports to the Chief Administrative Officer, or "CAO," so they were essentially encouraging Chief Batts to jump over his boss and talk to them.

A City Manager like the legendary Henry Gardner would not have permitted such behavior. Even in a strong mayor system, Gardner would have figured out a way to send a message to the Council.

It's for that reason, and others, that the Chief Of Police should be elected, and not appointed. The Chief of Police should be able to rise above these political games and act at the will of the Oakland public. That way, if Oaklanders don't like how the Chief and his charges are dealing with crime in Oakland, they can make a change at the top. It would also force the Chief and the Oakland Police Department as a whole to be more responsive to community needs.

Well, here's the entire post, again printed here to escape what the City of Oakland might do to get rid of it:

Agency Director, Police Services
(Chief of Police) Oakland, California

The City of Oakland, California is seeking an exceptional leader to serve as Chief of Po- lice and provide direction and leadership to the Police Department and the community in creating a safe and secure Oakland.

The City. Oakland, with a population over 400,000 in 56 square miles, is the largest urban center in the San Francisco East Bay Area, with a strong history of community activism and involvement in community affairs. It has a rich history, and has long been at the forefront of many of the political movements that have shaped our country. It is one of the most diverse cities in the country, a place where more than 150 languages are spoken daily, reflecting the magnitude of this multicultural nature of the community. The city consists of a large number of individual neighborhoods, each with its own character and economic status. Within these neighborhoods diversity is celebrated by many of its residents and business people and who chose to live in Oakland because they are attracted to its environment, social commitment and strong neighborhood orientation. The City is home to some of the wealthiest neighborhoods and some of the poorest in the Bay Area. The city sits across the bay from San Francisco, is one of the country’s top seaports, and is the commercial heart of the Bay Area. Oakland is the only city in California with three professional sports teams and is the home of important museums, a world-class zoo, major shopping areas and several colleges. It is served by an international airport located within the city.

The Oakland community has a history of strong community involvement, and people are often vocal about expressing their views and perspectives on local issues. To the Oakland community, collaboration with government officials and neighborhoods is of particular importance. Whether relating to policing or other government functions, the Oakland community is active and volunteerism is extensive in all of the city’s neighborhoods.

Oakland has a strong mayor-council form of government. The Mayor is elected for a term of 4 years. The City Council has eight members representing seven districts in the city with one member elected at large. Council members serve staggered 4 year terms. The Mayor appoints a City Administrator, subject to confirmation by City Council, who is the chief administrative officer of the city. Other elected city officials include the City Attorney and City Auditor.
The Position. The Chief of Police reports to the City Administrator, and is responsible for the management of the Police Department and delivery of policing services to the Oakland community. The Chief heads a department with an authorized strength of 803 sworn officers and 358 civilians. During the last year, the department has added a number of officers, and is currently at its highest sworn strength in years. The operating budget for the Police Department is over $200,000,000 from the general fund, special revenue and other sources. The expenditure for policing represents almost 40 percent of general fund expenditures.

Crime in Oakland remains of significant concern to Oakland's residents and its business community with most crime occurring in a discrete number of neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods have little crime; others substantial amounts. The rate of crime has fluctuated from year to year but remains at high levels in some neighborhoods. The Police Department has been faced with a number of difficult challenges, and currently operates under a court-supervised consent decree focused on internal investigations, use of force and other related issues.

The recent death of a young man by a transit police officer in a transit station in Oakland has raised community tensions. Following that, there was in an unrelated incident, the death of four Oakland police officers by an armed felon, to which the City Council, Mayor and community as a whole strongly rallied in support of the department.

Recently the department has moved to implement a geographically based patrol structure, which has generally received high marks from the community, although it remains a work in progress. A number of other important initiatives are underway, such as offender reentry strategies, strengthening of community policing and proposals to strengthen development of performance management through CompStat.

The Chief of Police is a member of the city's senior management team and is expected to work closely with other city department heads. Strong, effective leadership is required to address internal department issues, respond to community concerns and collaborate on policing strategies and to control expenditures in a time of severe fiscal challenges faced by the city.
The ideal candidate will have extensive demonstrable success in implementing crime reduction strategies and implementing the core elements of community policing in a highly diverse community, be passionate about collaboration in decision-making on policing strategy that affects the Oakland community, be an articulate spokesperson for the Department and the community on best practices in community policing and com- munity involvement and be committed to developing trusting relationships between the police and the community they serve. Additionally, the ideal candidate will have extensive experience in reducing crime and disorder in a diverse community in a manner that raises the confidence of that community in the policing effort. He or she will be a charismatic person with energy and commitment that inspires trust in the community and respect within the department, as well as being a 24-7 CEO with high visibility within the department and the city's neighborhoods.

The ideal candidate should reflect the following characteristics:
- Be passionate about policing in a diverse community and recognize the impor- tance to the community of that diversity as something to be celebrated;
- Have a track record of demonstrable success in managing a major police agency in a highly diverse community and have demonstrated the ability to lead the agency toward development of relationships of trust and confidence with all sectors of that community, including those in the city who are currently disengaged;
- Have experience in providing leadership within the police agency that improved police officer performance toward community policing objectives; demonstrated ability to increase sworn and civilian personnel acceptance of modernization, community collaboration and strategic initiatives, as well as employee job satisfaction; and ability to manage department resources and expenditures in a time of severe economic downturn;
- Have developed and articulated a vision and strategic plan for policing in such a community and successfully implemented that plan;
• Have demonstrated the ability to implement a crime reduction and crime preven- tion strategy that effectively reduces crime and gains support of the community;
• Be committed to transparency in all aspects of policing, and supportive of strong collaboration with the diverse community in policy development, police strategy development and neighborhood problem-solving;
• Have at least a Bachelors Degree and preferably a Master's Degree and beyond and have attended a nationally-recognized senior management program such as the PERF Senior Management Institute, one of Harvard University’s Senior Management public policy institutes, the FBI National Executive Institute or comparable program;
• Have a strong knowledge of modern technology and how it can be used to improve police officer access to information, performance management and allocation of resources;
• Have political acumen and the ability to interact successfully with a broad spectrum of political leadership, each having their own perspective on issues important to Oakland and the neighborhood they represent;
• Ability to bring resolution to the consent decree’s "negotiated settlement" by adopting as standard practice the values and best practices agreed to under that settlement;
• Ability to bring national "best practices" in policing to Oakland;
• Understand the impact policing practices, such as the expenditure of overtime, patrol strategies and neighborhood collaboration have on other units of govern- ment and the budget;
• Know how to use crime analysis for predictive policing strategies aimed at preventing future crime occurrences, adopting a sophisticated resource allocation methodology;
• Committed to empowerment of lower - level employees providing them with authorization to manage their area of responsibility, holding them accountable for their decisions and results.
• Have a career that demonstrates the highest level of ethics, standards and per- formance; and willing to be held accountable for his or her own actions and those of the department under his or her guidance.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is currently up to $17,615.17 - month. Salary will depend upon candidate’s experience. The previous Police Chief’s salary was at or near the maximum of the salary range. The City provides an excellent benefits package, including participation in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). The city will negotiate relocation assistance with the successful candidate.

To Apply

Qualified candidates should submit by e-mail their resume with a cover letter setting forth why they are qualified for the position to either or by mail to Oakland Chief Search, Box 577, West Tisbury, MA 02575. This position is open until filled; however the first review of applicants will take place about June 1, 2009.

The City of Oakland is being assisted in this search by the Strategic Policy Partnership. Box 577, West Tisbury, Massachusetts 02575. 617-693-8571.

The City of Oakland is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity at all levels of the workforce.