… And Thoughts on the Community Shooting Review Board…
Following links from yesterday’s NYT editorial on at large voting brought up this new and improved Census Bureau website. It’s pretty awesome and chock-full of information. (Go government and bureaus (home of bureaucrats)!).
Turns out outside of race and home values (and home ownership) we are amazingly similar in demographics to Ferguson.
One item that interest is we are both 6% below the national average in percentages of people with college degrees or higher.
So as the national media reports the problem of our inability to hold peace officers liable for mistakes or differences in arrests without incident as a racial one – which is true btw – we know in Eureka that this can also be viewed as a difference based on income inequality. These two problems are inextricably linked – they are, in essence, one and the same – law enforcement naturally providing better service to the influencial.
And I say naturally because like Ferguson, we in Eureka and HumCo are divided by geography. Lumbar Hills is safer than downtown. Enforcing public safety issues is easier and requires less resources in Lumbar Hills than downtown. Ferguson will have geographic analogs, only theirs will be much more striking as they are based on centuries of racial discrimination. (Not letting us off the hook on that one either – arguably we’ve just been more successful – think of it as a decades-long TAP program (sans mass murder and races-based exclusionary laws) if you were Native American or Asian)
Back to at large voting then. What benefits do power and influence afford? One is that when arguable mistakes at best or clearly unjust interactions between peace officers and those they are tasked with serving are made, those in power, those responsible will be the ones to determine how justice is served and what changes we can make to move forward.
Tuluwat has a great “heads up” on what Eureka has planned with the euphemistically named Community Shooting Review Board. As they point out, there isn’t much community involved in this review board and we can hope for but shouldn’t expect much justice or significant changes to result from what appears to be a group of Very Concerned Boardmembers.
According to TE the board will consist of 2 Eureka Police Department members, the County Coroner, Citycouncil Members Ciarabellini and Atkins and former DA candidate Elan Firpo.
I don’t know much if anything about law enforcement/DAs and the like. What I do understand is politics and outside of Councilmember Atkins there will be a great deal of status-quo politics. I believe Councilmember Ciarabellini is a known political entity and her support of law enforcement is established. I don’t think this is necessarily a problem. I do think that she will tend to have the reactionary defense mechanism that we currently can observe the NYPD exhibit on a seemingly daily basis. The recent DA election demonstrated that Elan Firpo’s main political supporters were both in Southern Humboldt’s anti-enforcement culture and some politically active Eureka businesses owners such as my former employer and City Cab/Ambulance owner Fred Sundquist.
What we don’t see is the Community Shooting Review Board are community members or their advocates outside of Councilmember Atkins. Those who are served by those tasked to “protect and serve”are noticeably absent.
If feel this board and it’s lack of community advocates is one of the tangible benefits of structural infrastructures which Ferguson, MO and Eureka, CA share. At large voting is one of the ways we have gotten where we are. This must change.