The progressive board of police inquisition.
We learn, from an incisive news story in today’s (12-01-20) Wisconsin State Journal, that the 13-member Police Civilian Oversight Board is one expensive clusterf*k. In three hours, 13 minutes of hair twisting, this gaggle of special interests could struggle through only four of 12 items on the agenda of its first meeting. (And one of those was a single citizen comment, a second was a welcome from the mayor, which never occurred. The third consisted of members introducing themselves.)
What did Madison expect? This is a governmental body chosen largely on the basis of identity politics. At least one member must be Black, another Asian, another Latinx, another LGBTQ, another Native American. And qualified by conduct: drug abuse, for one instance (whether former or current is not specified), homelessness, and mental illness. Another must have a criminal record. Membership is also determined by affinity groups — Freedom Inc. gets a seat; the Optimist Club does not. Nor, more tellingly, does a single neighborhood association. No Former Madison Police Need Apply! Or their families! By ordinance!
In no way does this flailing and failing Flub-a-Dub represent Madison.
Corner of Cottage Grove and Stoughton Roads on Madison’s east side.
It is a government agency that has no power except that of harassment. It cannot hire, fire, promote or demote a police officer. But it can put a cop on the dock at the insistence of any agitator — and the city will pay up to $15,000 for the complainant’s attorney! Because the police civilian oversight board has subpoena power! Or does it?
Blaska Policy Werkes doubts that any city can confer subpoena power.
State statute simply does not confer that power. The Common Council itself lacks the ability to compel appearance or produce evidence. UPDATE: We are so wrong. State Statute allows:
885.01 Subpoenas, who may issue: (3) By the chairperson of any committee of any county board, town board, common council, or village board to investigate the affairs of the county, town, city, or village, or the official conduct or affairs of any officer thereof.
For good measure, the board (once appointed) is unaccountable to any elected official — not the mayor, not the alders meeting as the Madison Common Council.
A real confidence scam
The stated purpose of the cop criticism board, say the progressive alders who concocted this mad experiment, is to restore confidence in the police “in the community.” Who? What community? Let’s say it: Black people who don’t trust the police. Except that most Black people DO trust the police.
⇒ The police civilian oversight board does NOT, which is why it will gin up blue death by a thousand paper cuts.
And it don’t come cheap: the bill for this exercise in virtue-signaling amounts to $450,000 a year. That includes a $125,000 annual salary for the executive director, yet to be hired. (Compared to $50,000 aid to all those boarded-up downtown businesses.)
Contrast that with the pathetic importuning of two small business advocates on the State Journal’s editorial page. “Downtown Madison is on the ropes,” they declare. No kidding! Going on six months now, Downtown Madison is boarded up and (in many cases) closed down. (“Stop the destruction of Downtown Madison.”)
If shoppers and diners do not feel safe, they will not come downtown. Now is the time for city leaders and the community to demand a stop to the needless violence and destruction …
Driver of city’s fiscal mismanagement
Actually, it is long past time for city leaders to get their acts together. The progressive kristallnacht began six months ago (in June 2020). Caused, execs at Smart Growth Greater Madison contend, “by a small number of people who seem to be motivated … to break things, harm businesses, and cause disruption.” In other words, the very “community” that does not trust police — encouraged by agitators like M. Adams of Freedom Inc. (“Stop murdering Black people and your glass will be safe.”)
Yet, official Madison, starting with Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway, continues to zero in on the police. The irony is that Downtown Madison is boarded up because there were not enough police and/or were told to stand down.
Blaska’s Bottom Dollar Line: The city’s books are now showing a $12.5 million revenue shortfall from the 2121 budget enacted only a few weeks ago while expenses increase by another $3 million. And that is after the city’s mismanagers drained the rainy day fund and hiked property taxes. The Werkes predicts that deficit will only grow. You think all those downtown businesses — over 100 of them — are in a position to pay their property taxes?
Blaska’s Bottom Policy Line: The police officer who responds to this outfit’s “subpoena” is a fool.
Blaska’s Bottom Political Line: Ald. Rebecca Kemble (Progressive Dane) sponsored this travesty. Is there no one in NE Madison to run against her?