Denny Wants Neighborhood Accountability for Police and Fire
March 13, 2003 - Libertarian candidate for mayor Michael Denny yesterday
called for a radical restructuring of the San Francisco Police and Fire
Departments, relying on competitive "citizen volunteers" instead of paid
unpublished letter to Savannah Blackwell of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Denny
lamented the government's detachment from the citizens and residents of San
Francisco."The poor can never beat the rich in City Hall. So the
best thing we can do is dramatically reduce the power of the Mayor's office
and the police," he wrote.
police officers and firefighters are hard workers and dedicated to public
safety, they serve under leadership that is increasingly beholden to political
interests and not the public safety. Denny's friends in the Police and Fire
Departments privately say the system has become so politically
influenced that departments can't hire the best people, which puts our
community at serious risk. They feel the job would be done much better if the
police officers and firefighters had more control at the neighborhood
Denny proposes a
radical solution: "We should be considering a more 'citizen
volunteer' approach to our Police and Fire Departments, including their
privatization.We should give the police and fire stations to the officers who
currently work out of them, and let them compete with each other to provide
service to the community, their customers."
officers and firefighters with whom Denny has spoken understand and appreciate
that the community benefits from competition among service providers.
"They are much more entrepreneurial and confident in their abilities than
the politically connected top brass," he says. "We should be helping these
valuable workers build their ability to serve us instead of subjecting
them to this politically correct nightmare that serves special
interests instead of our neighborhoods."
called again for abolition of the Vice Squad; "Vices are not crimes anyway."
an encounter with an absurd celebrity motorcade, Denny concluded, "But
of course, it's never been about 'service' or protection.'
It's about an arrogant display of City Hall and police power at the expense
of the citizens and tax payers. In short, it's business as usual."
Michael Denny is
a husband, a father of four children, a small business owner, and a
Libertarian candidate for mayor of San Francisco. His campaign Web
site is www.michaeldennyformayor.com. Libertarians believe in personal
freedom, in both social and economic spheres, and in minimal government to
protect those freedoms.
to Savannah Blackwell
Your March 5th
article, "It's the Corruption Stupid," stated that Tom Ammiano was the
only mayoral candidate who believed the Mayor's control over the police
should be shared. I am also running for Mayor. And I also want to
distribute the Mayor's power to the supervisors including control over the
police. In this race, it seems both the left and right are calling for a
"strong mayor." I am the only candidate supporting a managerial
rather than imperial role for the Mayor's office. District elections gave
more control to the people, where it belongs. The Mayor's office needs to
be more respectful of the people and rule of law. And the police
department needs to be more responsive to our community. I'm going to tell you a
Last Friday, I
was on my motorcycle on the corner of Second and Mission. All
auto and pedestrian traffic was stopped in both directions. I
asked the police officer what was going on. He barked at me, "police
escort." I asked who it was for. He looked at me with a look that said, "Shut the
f--- up," and ignored me.
So I waited for about 5-10 minutes and
nothing happened while everyone was waiting around wondering what was
happening. Then one motorcycle officer came through with sirens scanning the
crowd for threats to the "parade." He was followed by 15-20 motorcycle
officers and a squad car with lights and sirens blazing. Behind him was a small
group of cars, most young twenty-somethings in BMWs wearing cool shades and
a couple of larger limos with rich looking "swells" who were enjoying
that they could drive at high speeds through the city without concern for
traffic and the people.
It was very clear that this police department and
Mayor are in it for themselves and the "swells" they serve. We can't
provide bathrooms so San Franciscans can pee, but we can rudely delay our
citizens while showing off our power to the rich and famous?
The poor can
never beat the rich in City Hall. So the best thing we can do is dramatically
reduce the power of the Mayor's office and the police. We should be
considering a more "citizen volunteer" approach to our Police and Fire
Departments, including their privatization. We should give the Police and Fire
stations to the officers who currently work out of them, and let them compete
with each other to provide service to the community, their customers. With
that, Police and Fire Departments not perceived as serving citizen needs
would soon be out of business.
The Vice department should simply be cut.
Vices are not crimes anyway.
And these silly and arrogant police escorts
should not be performed unless their entire cost is born by the visitor
including the lost time of thousands of our citizens. If the true cost was
charged, someone would have to feel pretty threatened to get a police
escort. And who wants someone like that around here anyway? But of course, it's
never been about "service" or "protection." It's about an arrogant display
of City Hall and Police power at the expense of the citizens and tax
payers. In short, it's business as usual.
Thanks to Tom
Ammiano for his position on the police. Please let him and your readers
know that he has allies.
Thank you for
your excellent article.
|Michael F. Denny
Candidate for San Francisco Mayor