Sunday, February 22, 2009

Herald Palladium WATCH
One woman propaganda machine: Wendy-Dant Chesser, Herald Palladium board, Cornerstone Alliance President, Harbor Shores Trustee, Alliance for World-Class Communities officer. (H-P sold in 2000 to Paxton Media Group, Paducah, Ky. Whirlpool VP Jeff Noel from Ky.)

Police Review Board is on shaky ground (commentary in CAPS)

By J. Swidwa HP 2/20/09
BENTON HARBOR - The creation of a Citizen Police Review Board in Benton Harbor is on hold due to disagreements between the mayor and some commissioners over how the panel should be appointed, who should serve on it and whether such a board is even appropriate. [THE COMMISSION HAS NOT RECEIVED PERMISSION FROM WHIRLPOOL/CORNERSTONE TO HAVE SUCH A REVIEW BOARD. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.]

The Legislative Committee, at a meeting this week, balked at a proposal from Mayor Wilce Cooke to form the committee and appoint certain people to serve on it. The committee refused to give consensus to forward the proposal to the City Commission. [HERE'S THE TRAGEDY: A MAJORITY OF COMMISSIONERS HAVE GIVEN UP CONTROL TO WHIRLPOOL. THEY ARE NOT FULFILLING THEIR OBLIGATION TO SERVE BENTON HARBOR AND MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR THE PEOPLE.]

"This whole process is a charade," said Commissioner Ralph Crenshaw. He is chairman of the city's Public Safety Committee. "Without an application process, what is this? Any committee should meet the approval of all the commissioners." [YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT OVERSIGHT BOARDS. IF YOU'D LIKE TO EDUCATE YOURSELF, READ DR. SAMUEL WALKER'S LATEST BOOK: The New World of Police Accountability (2005) OR GO TO THIS WEBSITE:]

The City Commission began talking in January about forming a police review board that would address situations in which people claimed they were victims of police misconduct. City Manager Richard Marsh suggested the board consist of four commissioners, and three citizens chosen by the city manager and approved by the commission. [THE BOARD SHOULD HAVE NO COMMISSIONERS - IT SHOULD BE RUN BY A GROUP OF CITIZENS. IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND TRULY CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE, THIS IS OBVIOUS.]

Marsh is out of town this week on city business. [GOOD.]

On Tuesday, Mayor Cooke proposed a board consisting of one commissioner, David Shaw; City Attorney Charlette Pugh Tall; Ron Singleton, former Benton Harbor police chief; former city commissioner Harold Hampton; and Marcus Muhammad, Benton Harbor educator and coach. [MAYOR COOKE'S PROPOSAL IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. WHIRLPOOL AND CORNERSTONE WOULD REJECT THIS BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT BE IN CONTROL. THE MAJORITY OF COMMISSIONERS ARE CORPORATE SHILLS AND WOULD OF COURSE REJECT COOKE'S PROPOSAL.]

Cooke said the board would meet periodically to hear complaints and suggestions regarding public safety. The board would be called a "Public Safety Oversight Committee." [GREAT IDEAS.]

"I didn't agree with the first one, and I don't agree with this one," said 2nd Ward Commissioner James Hightower. "Our police department is not that large. Most of the complaints would be personnel issues that should be handled by the police department's leadership and the city manager. This committee would be doing the job of the leadership. If the leadership isn't doing its job, we should find new leadership." [THE JOB OF THE OVERSIGHT BOARD IS TO ASSESS THE LEADERSHIP ON A REGULAR BASIS AND FIND NEW PEOPLE IF NECESSARY. ARE YOU BLIND TO THE LEVEL OF POLICE/COURT MISCONDUCT WE HAVE? DO YOU CARE ABOUT OUR CITIZENS?]

A police oversight group was proposed by Marsh and Police Chief Al Mingo after the police department's image was blemished by three criminal cases. [ARE YOU KIDDING? HOW ABOUT OVER 100 CASES?]

Former narcotics officer Andrew Collins was indicted on drug trafficking charges in December. Also, state police are investigating an Oct. 27 break-in at the department in which guns, police radios and paperwork were stolen, and another case involving a former officer allegedly selling abandoned and impounded cars.

Some citizens have alleged that the police chief knew about wrongdoing in the department and did nothing about it. [YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, THE CHIEF KNEW ALL ABOUT IT, AND INITIATED SOME OF IT. THIS IS WHY WE NEED A CIVILIAN POLICE REVIEW BOARD.]

Commissioner Bryan Joseph also spoke out against the proposed citizen review board. "This needs to be handled internally. We don't need to take a knee-jerk approach," Joseph said. He said he would consider it more appropriate to have a consultant come in to investigate the department. Marsh has suggested that possibility. [THERE ARE TOO MANY CASES OF POLICE WRONGDOING - IT WOULD COST A FORTUNE. CITIZENS LIVING RIGHT IN BH WOULD BE HAPPY TO VOLUNTEER, AND HAVE THE ADVANTAGE OF KNOWING THE HISTORY AND BACKGROUND. HAS WHIRLPOOL'S DISDAIN FOR BH CITIZENS RUBBED OFF ON JOSEPH AND MARSH?]

First Ward Commissioner Eddie Marshall, chairman of the Legislative Committee, strongly opposed the review board proposed by the mayor. "You don't establish a committee to look over a department that already has leadership," he said. "If you have a job and you have a supervisor, and your supervisor has a manager, you don't appoint a group to watch over all of them." [SO, ST. LOUIS, PITTSBURGH, CINNCINATI, AND MANY OTHER CITIES ARE DOING THE WRONG THING? OVERSIGHT BOARDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE SUCCEEDING IN IMPROVING POLICE-CITIZEN RELATIONS. WILL WHIRLPOOL CONTINUE CONTROLLING YOUR MIND?]

Crenshaw said the commission should exercise caution in appointing a committee of people whose actions could circumvent labor agreements. [CRENSHAW, PLEASE RETIRE - YOU ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW THE COMMISSION SHOULD RUN.]

Hightower said a citizens oversight board would not have prevented the incidents that are under investigation. He said, too, that he thinks having citizens assess the actions of trained police officers is not appropriate.