Did you guys catch former Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer’s eyebrow raising MyWord in Friday’s Trib? Yikes!
Plummer hammers the Trib for apparently being too critical in its coverage of Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker. While Plummer’s knowledge and authority when it comes to law enforcement may be without question, his expertise about Oakland seems to be…um, lacking. Anyone who follows Oakland’s public safety problems would no doubt find it difficult to stomach such exuberant praise for a man presiding over a department currently burdened with multiple disturbing scandals. Considering violent crime has risen a staggering 53% in the four years under his tenure, I don’t know how to read a line like “Chief Tucker is the best thing that has happened to the Oakland Police Department in many years” without laughing out loud.
Plummer is certainly within his rights to try to defend his friend and former colleague, although referring to hard-working Oakland police officers as “sniveling cowards” really seems like it’s going a bit too far. But there was one line in the piece that I found just completely beyond the pale, and I had to go back over it like six times before I was sure I wasn’t misreading it. Plummer asserts that “the Tribune’s civic duty should be to instill a sense of confidence in the police department and its excellent leaders.” While I have no doubt that most government officials would love nothing more than for the local media to serve solely as a mouthpiece to disseminate their propaganda, I imagine you’d be pretty hard pressed to find one willing to admit as much in public. Well, except the Mayor, I guess. But the suggestion that doing so is not just desirable, but a “civic duty,” well, that’s just insane.
In other news:
- Two new voices joined the blogoaksphere recently. Click through and welcome Our Oakland and An Oakland Citizen.
- Oakland City Attorney John Russo issued an opinion (PDF) basically saying that the City can’t deny a film permit to the producers of Gentlemen of Leisure even if we wanted to. Duh.
- Every time I think Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums can’t possibly get any worse, he turns around and proves me wrong. After windows at Wells Fargo and a bunch of other businesses in City Center got smashed following last Wednesday’s protest, Dellums responded by saying he was going to hire unarmed private security to patrol downtown. Nevermind that downtown’s two Community Benefit Districts have already hired their own private security firm (to begin service in February). Nevermind that the City has a terrible budget crisis and probably shouldn’t just be tossing money around willy-nilly (the Mayor says he’s going to use redevelopment funds to pay for it, but what funds? Didn’t the State take all our unencumbered redevelopment money?). Nevermind that I’m not even clear on where the Mayor gets the authority to just spend money without Council approval. What I want to know is this. If the like 400 police officers downtown on Wednesday night couldn’t prevent businesses from being vandalized, what are a handful of extra unarmed guards supposed to do about it? Ugh.