$ 3,700,000,000 is a BAD INVESTMENT!

The United States government is actually practicing racial and class discrimination by accepting and caring for 52,000 (so far) “undocumented” children from Central America, being smuggled through Mexico by paid smugglers. Our government is betraying us by accepting these children from Central America, because it was being done secretively until a Border patrol agent leaked the information to the press.

Protestors in 320 locations across the United States are telling Obama “stop this nonsense”. We, the middle class taxpayers do not want to support these “future corporate slaves” at our expense. Obama wants congress to approve 3.7 Billion dollars more to transport, feed and give medical care to these “refugees” as he calls them.

The government has spent over a billion dollars so far on the first wave of illegals entering through the Texas Rio Grand Border.

These “refugees” are being transported, fed, given medical checkups, and lodged at taxpayer expense. The mass exodus from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador was orchestrated by the Obama administration. This did not happen spontaneously.

Our Government is Totally Dysfunctional

I am very concerned about the economic and spiritual welfare of the United States, because we have leaders who are totally disconnected from the people. Our system of corporate sponsorship has corrupted politics and decisions are no longer made for the public good, but rather for the corporate wishes.

The government spending goes unchecked, economic recovery is un-seeable, the national debt mind blowing, while our military engages in unending conflicts, at the same time we let a hundred thousand illegals dance across our southern border each year.

All of this while still requiring the legal immigrants to fill out close to 27 forms, be fingerprinted, pay for medical check, TB test, criminal background check, get a sponsor who files affidavit of support forms, and then “wait your turn”. Add to this the fact that in every major city across America, homeless people sleep wherever they can find a spot, some in doorways, some in cars, some in shelters, some in parks.

Homelessness is not a Choice, but a survival tactic

Homelessness is not some great choice that is made for most un-housed people. The bad economy, global trade, and a changing tech savvy culture are the three things that have made American workers obsolete. Many jobs are being outsourced overseas. The government counted the homeless in 2012, and the numbers are mind boggling.

The government has also adopted the philosophy of letting “service providers” handle the homeless problem, thereby washing their hands of the responsibility. These providers are simply wolves in sheep’s clothing, giving out blankets when the temperature drops below freezing, while collecting millions in grant money to pay the administration fees.

The food that is fed to the homeless is donated or “recycled” food from large cafeterias or Universities, etc. Many homeless people live a “hopeless existence” and are now classified as “criminals” just for being impoverished. Cities are passing laws making it “illegal” to be living a homeless life, while rental prices have skyrocketed in most urban areas.

Our Government has Flawed Priority List

While Obama wants to spend 3.7 Billion more on these illegals, who are being “smuggled“ into our country, about 4.5 million homeless will go to sleep tonight outside, or in a vehicle, or under a bridge.

While the government transports thousands of illegal invaders around the country looking for some place to keep them safe and feed them, all of the nations homeless are being ignored as though they don’t exist. Most Churches are also ignoring this tragedy.

The United States prints “plenty of money” when it comes to caring for “political pawns” but has zero funds to support a privately managed working program to help the homeless get back on track, and begin the healing process for our injured country. Several successful programs already exist that are funded privately , operated by the homeless for the homeless.

Is Racism a Factor?

Some have used the term “racist” to describe anyone who speaks out against these illegals flooding into our country. In reality, the “racists” are those government higher ups who are giving Latinos a special status, while ignoring the real needs of the homeless who were born here, employed here, educated here, and “thrown away” here like some piece of garbage.

The very people calling us “racist” are living off of us, collecting welfare, food stamps, WIC, aid to dependant children, food vouchers for farmers market, free medical care and 117 other give away programs paid for by taxpayers. Who are the real “racists”?

Media Gives Flawed Portrayal of the Homeless

The media has done an excellent job of portraying a Homeless Person to be drunk, curled up on the sidewalk on a chilly night wearing a hoody, or a dark ski cap, and given up on life. I personally know 30 to 40 homeless people who do not even resemble this portrayal. The government is obligated to help the citizens here before spending a dime on strangers from another country. They are NOT fleeing some war zone, many of our cities here are more dangerous that El Salvador . Drug Gangs have taken over many parts of our cities. Gunfire is common in several populated areas, in South San Francisco.

U.S. Government has a bad record of failed program’s

Our Government has failed to assimilate the freed slaves after the civil war. Our government has failed to mend relations with the Native American tribes, and to my knowledge, never apologized to them for making a welfare state out of them, and murdering many of them. Our government denied Vietnam veterans proper medical care from the agent orange exposure, which caused permanent health problems.

Our government created the global economy that gave our jobs to China, Malaysia and Mexico, etc. This, ( and other factors) resulted in millions of homeless here. Our government is now importing up to 350,000 a year from South America these are the “new slaves” used by corporations to replace a dying middle class that has over priced itself, i.e. $85.00 per hour for a plumber!

I personally think this is a conspiracy by the major corporations to keep a ready supply of economic “slaves” in case they have to begin manufacturing in the United States, which is highly unlikely. Unless we the people speak out, exercise the limited rights we still have and GET INVOLVED, or we won’t have these rights anymore.

What difference does silicon valley make?

Experts say that the emerging markets of the world resent the power of the United States and its paper money that is worth less every day. But the US has the technology to maintain its grip, like ancient Rome, on the whole world. We can send 300 Special Forces guys over night, or drones anywhere on earth, direct and watch them do their work in real time the next morning. That’s progress.

Endless warfare

Experts say that Muslim extremists are permitted by their religion to tell any lie and perpetrate any evil in their war against western infidels. And now an endless war on terror prevails. Good for the defense industry. Isn’t there some smart way to solve this cultural war or maybe the powers that ‘be’ have no interest in solving this problem. Lots of smart people probably working on this, we hope.

The communist and socialist movements of the 20th century are trying to create a ‘new kind of man,’ devoid of property, immune to greed, dedicated to the ‘state’ and under total high-tech surveillance, thru every email and internet search. Technology eliminates privacy. Sort of a ‘breakthrough’ but maybe in the wrong direction.

America claims to be the land of the free and home of the brave. Yet Americans are surrounded by a culture that encourages debt, enslaves its young with student loans that can never be forgiven. The rights and livelihoods of bankers, too big to fail, take up the time and attention of our leaders who know the patriotic phrases to babble in public yet sign complex 1,000 page laws in private to enrich their masters, the banks, insurance companies and corporations.

All of this information is out there, thanks to the internet but the good info is lost in a sea of minutiae and easily confused with clever garbage. Data collection and advertising seem to be the real goals of our engineers.

What’s changed if anything?

Millions…. Billions of Dollars are raised to finance the cornucopia of silly hi-tech products to titillate us with porno and gossip, new ways to deliver pizza and shoes. And he best minds are harnessed to write sneaky software to pinch billions of pennies from unsuspecting investors. Is this money well spent?

In 1964, 15% of Americans lived in poverty. 2014 Nothing’s changed. It may even be worse but they say most of the ‘poor’ are obese; they have televisions, microwaves, convenience food and cars. The Great Society, the War on Hunger, the War on Cancer, the War on Drugs, the Wars………..

Silicon valley has solved lots of problems, but are they the right ones?

Flintco claims Palo Alto won’t shovel over entitled library documents

The contractor fired from the long-delayed $28 million Mitchell Park library project is suing the city, claiming it violated the open records law by not handing over public documents it sought regarding the project.

Finger pointingThe city fired Flintco in January after months of accusations and finger-pointing over the troubled project, which was supposed to have been finished by April 2011. The city now has another contractor and says the Middlefield Road library will open in November.

Flintco said that the years-long delay was caused by hundreds of changes the city made, though it’s architect, “to address the inconsistencies, inaccuracies and gaps in the projects plans and specifications,” according to the lawsuit filed July 17 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

In February, a month after being fired, Flintco handed the city and open records request that “in essence asked for all of the city’s documents regarding the project.”

It appears Flintco was requesting the documents in anticipation of litigation over the trouble project. On March 25th, city officials met with Flintco executives and made some of the documents available in hard copy form and on a flash drive.

“During the course of inspection, however, Flintco realized that the city was producing large quantities of documents that Flintco had not even requested and that the flash drive, in large part, duplicated the documents made available in hard copy for inspection,” the lawsuit states.

Most of the documents Flintco sought were withheld by the city, saying they were exempt from disclosure under the open records law. In refusing to turn over those documents, “the city’s response was a laundry list of boilerplate privileges and exemptions the city apparently relied upon to withhold responsive documents,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit states that the city withheld some of the documents saying they were protected by attorney-client privilege or that they were “protected attorney work project.”  But Flintco said such a claim was implausible because the documents were communications between the city and third parties, not attorneys.

The city withheld documents claiming they were “draft reports” or documents that show the city’s “deliberative process,” which are two more reasons a city can give for not producing documents.

City hires out side counsel

When Flintco turned up the heat on the city for not producing the documents the city retained a private attorney, David W. Ginn, who intended to hire a consultant to find the documents Flintco was seeking.

But the lawsuit said Ginn told Flintco that the city was “having difficulty in gathering all the documents responsive to the request”. The suit said Ginn has declined to state when the request would be fulfilled.

City Attorney Molly Stump told the Post yesterday that the city gave Flintco thousands of pages of documents and was getting ready to turn over thousands more when it received the lawsuit. Flintco’s request for documents was so broad and general that it inhibited the city from responding, according to Stump.

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Whose responsible for the Mitchell Park library Fiasco?

Mitchell Park Library Well according to Flintco’s website report card, their position is clearly stated:

“When it comes to improving our service, we’re not satisfied just resting on our laurels. We want honest feedback from our clients and architects with whom we work on projects. We provide clients with the opportunity to provide feedback about our team’s performance through a monthly survey that is delivered directly to the office’s executives.

We’re proud to say that our monthly client satisfaction surveys consistently result in scores of 90% or above in such areas as quality, responsiveness, constructive solution capabilities, attitude, and communication.”

So who’s to blame?

On the other hand, the city of Palo Alto has delivered its own report card on Flintco’s performance. That report card resulted in the termination of their construction contract leaving the library’s completion date in limbo. Although rumors have its opening date set for sometime in December 2014.

So who’s to blame? The citizens of Palo Alto deserve answers but perhaps we will never know. Both sides are lawyering up for what seems to become a protracted legal battle with transparency being far removed from the process. Palo Alto legal discussions are always held behind closed doors far from public view.

Although it’s clear from Palo Alto city manager James Keene’s termination letter to Flintco, he’s outlined a construction punch list failures.

In all fairness, what’s missing is Flintco’s solutions to any of the cities constructive communications and nothing has been published at the cities website in this regard that we can see. And as we all know too well, there’s two sides of the story. It’s like missing chapters from a horror story leaving us to fill in the blanks.

What we do know is that this behemoth of a library project comes with an enormous price tag far from its original contract estimate of $24.3 million. Who knows neither what the bottom line or final price tag will be nor when it’s scheduled to open.

Finger pointing

From all of the lopsided documentation we’ve reviewed, all finger pointing is directed at Flintco. Is that fair? A closer look at the actual city contract, it becomes evident too at least to us, that Turner Construction was in fact responsible for the day-to-day oversight operations of Flintco as the principle contractor. In other words, Turner Construction was to make sure that as the Mitchell Park library Flintco project advanced, Turner Construction would coordination and assure Flintco would remain on schedule and meet all required construction deadlines.

Turner Construction responsibility we gathered are clear. Furthermore, the city recognized this and understandably so. According to the contract it states;

“The project administration workload for the Measure N bond projects is beyond what Public Works staff can administer without assistance. Amendment No.2 to the contract with Turner Construction (Attachment C) will provide for staff from Turner Construction to supplement Public Works staff during the construction of the MPLCC.

In addition to providing daily oversight of the respective contractors, sub consultants to Turner Construction will provide testing and inspection services for the project. Also included in Amendment No.2 are project administration services for the preliminary design of a temporary Main Library during the construction document phase of the Main Library.”

Millions of dollars to Turner Construction

According to the original contact, that’s what the taxpayers were to ultimately pay Turner Construction for overseeing Flintco Construction, millions!  All of that has changed now.  And, as of today, there still responsible for among other things, meeting construction deadlines, quality of workmanship, and assuring the proper certification of all sub-contractors.

In fact, the city has negotiated a new contract for more and more money to be shoveled out to Turner Construction in providing for additional construction oversight in light of Flintco’s contract termination.

Now that the city of Palo Alto is holding Flintco Construction Liable for everything, so it would appear, what burden does Turner Construction bare? Turner Construction is not talking and neither is Mike Sartor Director of Public Works. He’s ignored our email request for comment. What a fiasco!

It’s High time to legalize Marijuana

It was all over the papers, the shooting of one James Hunt at the hands of a drug cartel on Long Beach. According to reports, he had been involved in scoring drugs for clients and had tried to rip off his source. The media was having a brilliant time, using an enlarged photo of James beside the tagline ‘Marijuana can kill’.

But I knew better than that. I had known James, and he was an alright kid. I had played football with, hung out together and smoked pot. I know that this last bit of information might be looked down upon in society, but I knew James was a decent guy. Whatever be the case, he did not deserve to be shot, and he certainly did not deserve to be used by the media as a scapegoat for how marijuana was affecting youth.

I smoke pot too. I am also the smartest student in my class, on the scholarship and also on the football team. That is the ideal dream of an American youth, but if I were to admit I smoked pot in public, things would be different.

There is a deep stigma against marijuana in California and it is funny that so much concern can be put on a plant. Some of our counterpart states are learning though, say Colorado. Pot legalization means that people can enjoy recreational marijuana responsibly and legally.

Incidentally, it also means that pot can be found in retail stores, and not in shady alleys in the hands of a mini-cartel. I strongly believe in pot legalization, and I think that had pot been legal in California, James would still have been alive.

Three weeks ago, James had scored for us and we were sitting in one of our mutual friend’s place. There was idle chit-chat before we started the night. I had never been a habitual smoker, and I always underwent quickly. I always remembered my first time.

The first time I had done it, it had been a thrilling experience. When it hit me, I didn’t want to let go, keeping close the stigma that society had fed us.

I was a brilliant student, how could I be smoking pot here? When that phase passed, and I let go, everything turned blissful. I had always thought that marijuana turned you into a zombie, and made you incapable of any thought process. But I learned how wrong people had been; my mind was working like a computer here. I thought of things I could never have thought of in my normal state. It was as if I was now in a completely different plane of living.

When my high passed, and we gathered for munchies, I talked about some of the ideas I had during the high and I was literally amazed at what I was saying. From that day on, I became a fan but never an addict. That is the dilemma of drug users, and the biggest worry of governments.

There is a perception that those who do drugs are drug addicts. But there is a significant portion of people who do marijuana, only for recreation. There are also those who have found medicinal purposes for it. Of course, some of us will turn addicts but that is a matter of choice. You have to give people a choice, before they can make a smart decision.

My theory about marijuana was simple. It was like a forbidden fruit, and the more you regulate it, the greater the attraction it would have. People argue that drug usage is a vice, and vices need to be separated from society. I ask them in return, what about liquor?

While we are on the subject, I do not drink but my friends do, and one of my best friends used too. Carl was a brilliant person, but his greatest problem was drinking. On one of our bar nights, he had too much drink and I offered to drop him home. He laughed, and shrugged off my offer.

The day after, I found that Carl had driven his car into an intersection and died. I was broken, guilt-ridden and disappointed in the intoxicant that was so readily available everywhere. I stopped drinking thereafter, because it reminded me of him. But I always pondered on how comical our situation was: on one hand drugs were not legal, and on the other hand liquor was freely available and socially acceptable.

If I were to make a direct comparison, alcohol is much more dangerous than pot. Because unlike pot, liquor can disorient you, make you sluggish and you will never remember what happened the day before. Pot will only heighten your consciousness, but liquor will blunt it till you do not feel it. I found this the hard way by losing a friend, but others know about this too.  But our society and government cannot see this obvious logic.

Drinking is common now, and we take it as a norm. The government can tax it and earn through it, and that makes them happy. Why are drugs so different?

I have friends in Colorado who can now buy pot in retail stores. It is pleasing to know that society and the government there have come to terms with what’s what, and taken a smart decision. What it effectively means is that people would no longer have to ‘score’ pot, but simply buy it. No more shady deals for a bit of recreation. There are obvious advantages to drug legalization at large.

The government can tax drug usage and gain revenue on one hand. On the other hand, they can help take away business from drug cartels and reduce their grip.

I can only hope that a domino effect would lead to more states realizing that the drug problem will never be solved through making it illegal. There needs to be a more pro-active approach at the governmental level. California has come quite close to marijuana legalization a number of times, but something always came up to hinder the final push.

We do have pro-pot speakers and renowned ones at that, but till now nothing substantial has been done.  But the society is changing, and there is more tolerance for marijuana in California today than there were a couple of years back. A key part has been played by the pro-legalization lobby, in creating awareness and encouraging acceptance.

James Hunt’s death was disappointing not only because I knew him, but because it was avoidable. I do not blame him for going in a shady deal with some drug dealers, because someone had to do that for the benefit of the group.

And young people like us will continue to do so for the sake of recreation, no matter what government regulations are put in place. If we are only given the option to make an informed choice, we could achieve a win-win.

We have already done that with tobacco and alcohol, both of which are equally dangerous and fatal. It is time that the agenda against drugs is dropped too, and citizens are allowed to do what they feel is best for them. Colorado realized that, and pot will soon be legal in Washington. Why must California be so rigid?

It is time that the forbidden fruit is no longer forbidden. Marijuana should be available in retail stores, not in dark alleys. There are two ways that the future of marijuana can play out: either that legalization will pull through leading to the attraction for pot dropping off.

Or that pot is not legalized, and we continue to find more James Hunts shot dead in the night. Whatever be the case, I know my case for the legalization of marijuana very well.

Government has become a con game and all the noble language flowing from it, sewage

Swimming in political talkIn the cafe the other day, a guy went off on a rant.  It started with this quote…

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”  by  Frederic Bastiat.  And then the guy continued…maybe it was the caffeine.  I’m paraphrasing but what he said went something like this…

Political enrichment

He said, ‘If you think about it, it makes sense that the Banks, Brokers, Investment and Insurance Companies of the United States (and the world) are now regulated by laws which they have written for themselves, for their own enrichment.   If you had the money and could buy the influence of congressman and senators, wouldn’t you write your own rules ?    That’s what has happened.   It’s been going on for a long time.   The ‘Too Big to Fail Banks and Insurance Companies,’  AIG, JP Morgan, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Bank America, they borrow Federal Money essentially for free.

Of course, there are other deceptions and ripoffs.   Who wrote the healthcare act, 1,800 pages long ?    And who submitted 300 pages of amendments the night before the final vote?   Do you really think our politicians are plinking away on their laptops every night, compiling the thousands of new laws and regulations that govern our behavior, markets, money and products ?    Who really benefits from all these laws?  It’s the Insurance, Finance and Investment companies that wrote the laws.

Controlling both sides

Federal Elections now cost millions of dollars.  The Presidential race cost over a Billion.  Ten and Twenty, even One Hundred Dollar contributions from ‘the people’  don’t buy much when Wall Street and major Corporations give money to both sides.  It doesn’t matter who wins.   And the new convoluted election laws that were supposedly written to ‘protect the vote.’ really only guarantee ‘business as usual.’

And what about our hardworking  government agencies with their solid names and impressive mission statements?   It turns out that they are really ‘fronts’ for big business.   The officials of the SEC, FDA, FCC, CFPA, Dept of Agriculture, Education, etc. all eventually take jobs in Corporations.  How tough can these officials be  if their official actions  hurt their future employers in business?  Could it be that most regulations are written by big business to control competition, markets and profits?

Our congressmen have given up their Powers to regulate and create laws to protect the public.   They have created all the agencies and bureaus that most of us mistakenly trust.    What better way for congressmen and senators to pass off blame and guarantee profits than to create government agencies that no one ever votes for or controls.

Like The Federal Reserve – which protects and enriches the Banks and Investment Companies (too big to fail), the Food and Drug Administration – which protects and enriches the Drug and Food Companies, the Securities Exchange Commission and the Consumer Finance Protection Agency make sure that only the big financial companies can rip off the ‘average joe.’  And finally the Department of Education has monopolized  schools so that the only choice for most kids is  a stupefying government ‘public’ school.

Passing your buck

The Fox guards the chicken coop.   Our politicians, representatives and bureaucrats boast about their ‘willingness to serve, sacrifice in public work,’  fight for the children, and yet all of them earn more than the average American, much more when you consider their guaranteed retirement, health, benefits and entitlements, all riches beyond  the reach of an average  person.

These are not public servants, they are our masters, from the local fireman or cop all the way to the top.  Government has become a con game and all the noble language flowing from it,  sewage.’  And it’s not just us, it’s the same all over the world.   Our CIA, NSA and business make sure of it.

Finally, with 3 guys huddled around him, the cafe guy closed his argument with this quote.   “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”   –   George Orwell

Then he said, ‘You know, I could be wrong, and you didn’t hear this from me.’ Anonymous

Police high speed pursuit crashes kill seven innocent bystanders weekly

Killing the innocent bystandersNothing is faster then a Motorola police radio when being pursued by police and yet high speed pursuit crashes occur on a daily basis often resulting in tragic fatalities, sometimes almost wiping out entire families.

The data on police high speed pursuits is alarming as one FBI report suggests; “one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit.” In fact, FBI findings also point to the fact that, “1 percent of all U.S. law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty lost their lives in vehicle pursuits.”

During the year 2013 a total of 100 officers lost there lives in the line of duty, the lowest since 1959. Nevertheless, one death is one too many.

Innocent bystanders

Equally disturbing is the number of innocent bystanders killed during high speed police pursuits. Mandatory reporting on the actual number of casualties or fatalities, strangely enough, is not a U.S. reporting statistical requirement.

However, existing data suggests that suspects fleeing from police, kill 150 innocent bystanders annually in the US alone and some suggest this number is even higher.

Engaging a fleeing suspect vehicle comes as a great risk for everyone. With police pursuits there is a fine line between balancing suspect apprehension and protecting lives. The percentage of innocent bystanders killed or injured hovers around 42 percent nationally.

Why place public at risk

In reality, the use of a speeding patrol car (or, for that matter, any vehicle) should be considered the use of deadly force and no different from discharging an officers sidearm into a crowd of innocent people. Both can result in deadly consequences. It’s irresponsible and far from police best practices.

Fleeing suspects have no rules of the road and place everyone at further risk. Their primary objective is non-apprehension. Why then are vehicle pursuits even necessary given the modern day technology of license plate readers and the speed social media. Our opinion is you’ll get your man, or woman eventually.

Some studies suggest officers need to “win” or the “adrenaline rush” motivating factors in continuing the chase. A closer review indicates most pursuits are for minor vehicle violation and the methodology used to stop fleeing vehicles varies.

Most options include just the use of lights and sirens while others include the placement of tire spikes, roadblocks, helicopters, and social media such as amber alerts or just letting the suspect run out of gas.

Legal consequences and immunity from liability

“Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372 (2007), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court involving a lawsuit against a sheriff’s deputy brought by a motorist who was paralyzed after the officer ran his eluding vehicle off the road during a high-speed car chase.

The driver contended that this action was an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The case also involved the question of whether a police officer’s qualified immunity shielded him from suit under Section 1983.

On April 30, 2007, in an 8-1 decision, the court sided with police and ruled that a “police officer’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death.”

The consequences of this United States Supreme Court decision has a far more sinister impact for California citizens. California law provides for officer immunity on an unprecedented level when innocent bystanders in police pursuit chases are killed or maimed.

According to PursuitSAFETY.org website: “California has one specific area of law that is unique among the 50 states. California Vehicle Code Section 17004.7 provides immunity to law enforcement for injury to and death of innocent bystanders even when officers do not follow the vehicular pursuit policy their agency has actually adopted. There is no accountability to innocent victims and the families left behind.”

Choosing not to chase saves lives

Many policing agencies nationally have begun to change there policy on high speed pursuits as the direct result of one well know organization PursuitSafety.org who’s mission “is committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries as a result of vehicular police pursuit and response call crashes.”

PursuitSafety.org operates primarily through national awareness programs and advocacy of police pursuit policy changes. They “exist to save lives”.

The Orlando, FL, Police Department, Dallas, TX, Police Department and the St. Louis, MO, County have all developed safety pursuit policy’s designed to pursue in some cases only the most dangerous of felons also taking into consideration road, traffic and weather conditions including and limiting the pursuit without further authorization up to 15 minutes. These policies were put in place to limit police pursuits and save lives.

PAPD pursuit policy kept under wraps

According to Lieutenant Zachary Perron, Public Affairs Manager, for the Palo Alto Police Department in an email classifies there pursuit policy as exempt from disclosure, “since it covers our specific [high speed pursuit] tactics.” and “in accordance with Government Code sections 6254(f), 6254(aa), and 6254(ab). ”

However recognizes, “Vehicle pursuits are one of the most dangerous activities that a police department can undertake, and they can have fatal consequences”.

We are very cognizant of that, and we have been for years. To my knowledge, there have never been any fatalities as a result of any vehicle pursuit by our personnel. Fortunately, vehicle pursuits are not common in Palo Alto. So far in 2014, we have had none. In all of 2013, we had one, and in all of 2012, we had only one as well. With that said, of course even one vehicle pursuit can end in tragedy, either for the suspects, officers, or innocent member of the public.” This excellent news!!!

Controversy on officer immunity questioned

“Due to that inherent danger, our vehicle pursuit policy provides officers with guidance in balancing the safety of the public and themselves against our duty to apprehend law violators. Quite frankly, and as evidenced by our exceptionally low number of vehicle pursuits, the immediate apprehension of a suspect is generally not more important than the safety of the public and the pursuing officers.

Also, with regards to the part in your article discussing immunity, I would also call your attention to section 21056 VC, which states that even when driving with red light and siren activated (as officers are required to have during a vehicle pursuit), officers must still drive with “due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.”

We are NOT granted immunity if we are violating 21056 VC; rather, 17004.7 VC offers immunity if we are violating our policy (but it does not trump 20156 VC). This is an important distinction to make;……

We provide refresher training on our pursuit policy to all of our sworn personnel once every year. Any vehicle pursuit by our officers requires not only a supervisory report that is reviewed all the way up the chain of command to include the police chief, but also a report filed with the State of California via the California Highway Patrol.

Controversy Lingers

Our pursuit policy was expressly written and adopted pursuant to the provisions of 17004.7 VC, with additional input from the POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training) Vehicle Pursuit Guidelines. We have had a pursuit policy as long as I’ve been a police officer with PAPD (16 years now), and our current policy is updated twice a year by a firm of lawyers to ensure it is in compliance not only with current police best practices, but also with the most recent case law on the topic.”

Whether or not new legislation or clarification to change current laws (which appears designed to protect and limit police officer liability) is effective, remains to be seen. Protecting and preventing predicable outcomes of police high speed pursuits and balancing the rights of innocent bystanders should be the concern of all law enforcement personnel and legislators.