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City workers’ strategy to exploit fire and crime

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 08-26-2010 | in Government, Vallejo, Critical Thinking,

A gang of six to eight nonstudents entered Vallejo High School (VHS) campus to attack a student to avenge an assault of a female student said a Vallejo Times Herald article. Reportedly, two campus supervisors received injuries as they tried to break up the melee as other VHS students joined to defend against the attack. Nevertheless, the most shocking part about the news article report was how much of it was about Vallejo City Police Department.

The article credited the following remarks to Lt. Eric Mortenson. "The "melee" depleted "a lot of our resources, trying to get everyone under control." "The use of school resource police officers, assigned to district campuses, was discontinued nearly a year and a half ago, an additional hindrance in police response to the "excitement and hysteria." "(On-site officers) would have allowed for immediate identification of the non-students. It might not have prevented the fight, but it would, I believe, have had an impact on identifying the problem earlier."

Those are the type self-serving remarks we hear often from Vallejo's Public Safety departments about fire and crime incidents especially those likely to receive much media attention. Repeatedly they badger Vallejo residents with their not so subtle dissatisfaction with budget cuts in public safety. Okay, we Vallejo residents get it that you are dissatisfied with council members and city administrators' budget decisions on public safety. We also get it that larger better equipped departments with highly paid and satisfied firefighters and police officers might serve our safety interests better. We understand that many people rate your jobs as dangerous. Remember though that a Vallejo resident(s) face those fires and criminals before you arrived on the scene. They do so without firefighting training or equipment. Most of them do it without a gun, mace, bulletproof vest, and police backup on radio.

Now, we want you to get it that our nation, state, and city are in an economic recession. Business activity slowed. Many Vallejo residents that you serve as city employees lost jobs and others suffer reduced income. In addition, many Vallejo residents lost their homes or apartments or are in jeopardy of losing their family shelter. The value of real estate plummeted. You may have noticed that once again California placed some state workers on furlough and reduced money for education and health care. California and Vallejo do not have the tax revenue to continue the ideal public services you propose and we want.

This recession forced elected officials to make hard unpopular choices. We Vallejo residents welcome any positive suggestions you have to improve our safety during this recession. However, you should provide this analysis at the suitable time and in the proper manner. Fire and crime scenes are inappropriate settings.

I cannot speak for all Vallejo residents. However, I find deplorable your strategy to force a reversal of budget cuts to public safety departments by inflaming Vallejo residents' concerns for public safety. You violate your duty to safeguard public safety by repeatedly broadcasting Vallejo's vulnerability, my vulnerability, to crime. Your remarks are especially deplorable that analyze Vallejo schools' vulnerability to intrusion by non-Vallejo residents bent on violent criminal activity while discussing a crime on Vallejo High School campus by people from outside Vallejo

A News Mob's attack on Vallejo

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 02-13-2010 | in Vallejo, Democracy, Critical Thinking,

The purpose for news reporting should be to inform the public about events. However, demagogy for profit is a more fitting description for how many news agencies reported a cluster of dissimilar violent crimes in Vallejo, California. They appealed to emotion over reason to create the false view that Vallejo was a city overridden by crime and its citizens paralyzed by fear for their safety. In case you do not recognize it, news reporters are stereotyping Vallejo residents as hoodlums and cowards based on the conduct of a few people. Vallejo residents should judge their safety and police department efficiency by the nature and the number of violent crimes. I live within two miles of each of the violent events they reported and often drive in two of them. None of the information reported was evidence of a crime wave that changed my feelings of safety.

We do not know the details about the two murders or about the assault that left three men with knife wounds. They may be from stranger-attacks like home invasion that could represent continuing threats to public safety. Possibly, more police officers on patrol could suppress this type crime. On the other hand, assaults and murder may result from disputes among associates with the threat of harm limited to them. More police officers on patrol would not decrease the frequency of this type crime much. Therefore, news reporters and others speak without supporting fact when they claim the reported murders and assaults are part of a crime wave brought on by Vallejo's bankruptcy and lessened police officers on patrol. The shooting of an ice-cream driver by teenagers in an alleged robbery attempt was a stranger-type random crime of violence. Although it was a tragic event, it does not represent a continuing threat to public safety, because Vallejo police already arrested two suspects in the shooting. Finally, news reporters decided they witnessed parts of a crime wave in Vallejo from scenes in a video that showed students assaulting a backhoe driver. The details tell a different story. Reportedly, this incident started when a teenage student threw a stone at a passing backhoe. It increased in violence when the driver made the questionable decision to leave his vehicle and confront the stone thrower. It would have remained a minor incident if handled right. Instead, the driver suffers serious injuries and the teenagers who joined in the mob assault on him face life-altering consequences. Nonetheless, this was an assault from spontaneous acts of poor judgment and not planned crime by outlaws taking advantage of the lessened number of police officers on patrol. It does not represent a continuing threat to safety because the police arrested one suspect and identified others. Ugly journalism stereotypes a population of about 120,000 residents based on the actions of a few. New reporters and commentators acted as a mob using weapons of misinterpreted information and appeals to emotion in articles negatively slanted to attack Vallejo's reputation as a safe city. Vallejo has some problems with crime. Nevertheless, it is not a city of thugs in one group and others in their homes paralyzed by fear of crime as members of the news mob contend.

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