Friday, February 5, 2010

The Police Again

It looks like Tuesday,February 2, North Bay Village once again blew a good opportunity to actually take steps to fix the Police Department. The vote to fight the rehiring of Steve Abramson, who was fired for cause, turned into a referendum once again on whether or not a group of citizens like Oscar Alfonso.

There are lots of political reasons not to like Alfonso and while I worked for his election, I am not entirely pleased by some of his actions. Nevertheless, bankrupting the city because you don't like Oscar Alfonso is just stupid.

The Abramson controversy presents North Bay Village with a golden opportunity to involve citizens and professionals and members of the PD to review and fix the problems that led to this whole sorry mess, but neither the mayor, nor any member of the commission took that approach.

This is really sad.

Today's blog by Francisco Alvarado in the Miami New Times predictably takes the easy route on the North Bay Village Police settlement decision. You can see it here: Miami New Times on North Bay Village Police Department.

The New Times, an advertising give away specializing in ads for prostitutes, mediocre restaurants and sub prime properties, does not pretend to be a serious journalistic enterprise but this was bush league even by their standards. Francisco Alvarado could have picked up his phone and called NBV City Hall to ask the question, "What's up with this?" But he didn't do that.

What Alvarado would have found out had he called is that the issue here is about the risk to the city of losing $400,000 fighting a dismissal that our labor attorney has advised us we are going to lose. And we are going to lose it not because it was wrong to dismiss Sgt Abramson, but because our own NBVPD screwed up the investigation. So we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Being North Bay Village, we went to crazy town instead.

Here's what needs to happen. The Commission needs to authorize the city manager to create a panel to fully review the NBVPD and make recommendations back on policy and legislative changes to ensure that NBVPD is free of political influence, that procedures are followed rigorously and policies enforced fairly.

Oscar Alfonso needs to stop hanging with the police. Rey Trujillo needs to refrain from empty threats about reporting the city to the DOJ. The police need to stop hanging out at the Hess and Joey's and seriously ignore Happy's.

Kevin Vericker

Next: North Bay Village Days - A Modest Proposal to Sell the City

1 comment:

  1. Also about the red light running: I imagine that one can assume that running a red light would be the same in Code Enforcment as irreparable or irreplacable and impose a one-time fee for this violation. Such as, if a person cuts down a mangrove tree its irreparable damage and a fine is imposed because once this tree is removed its removed and since a mangrove is a hugely protected tree its considered irreparable or irreplacable and therefore a huge fine is usually imposed upon the violator who cut the tree down. So basically I think what they are trying to do is issue a fine for an irreplacable act as running a red light where a violator cannot un-due running the red light whats done is done and a fine should be imposed. But like I said previously under Code Enforcement Statute 162 one of the violator's rights of due process is to be afforded the opportunity to cross-examine the witness to the violation. The question I suppose then becomes is an Officer who witnesses the violation after it occurred via video at a later date really the witness? That Officer would not be able to identify who was driving that vehicle at that time, or whether or not that camera was working properly at that time, ect. Also, another issue to consider is this: under Code Enforcement Statute 162 a violation always goes to the property owner case in point if the owner of the vehicle is NOT the violator and says someone else was driving, it does not matter the violation goes to the property owner. So there are lots of things to consider. Let's say I own a house and I rent that house and my tenant decides to let the grass grow to a height above what the code provides, the C.E.O. issues the violation to the property owner, as well as the tenant. If the tenant does not comply the violation, it always falls upon the responsibility of the property owner to keep the property in compliance. So either way, the Violation would always go to the owner of the property. Also, under Code Enforcement I believe a Violation should be mailed Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested, Hand Delivered to Violator, posted on the property with a photo of posting or published in a newspaper of local circulation for 4 consecutive weeks, or any or all of the above BUT regular mail only does not suffice in proper service of a Code Violation because there is no way to know if the Violator/Property Owner received service of process via regular mail. Regardless, the violators are using the fact that they do not have a witness to the violation when it occurred that they can cross-examine which in turn does violate their rights under code enforcment. Does it make it right, no not really, but that is what is happening with all the red light running controversy. I guess I could go on and on,and I know you read these before you post them so if its beating a dead horse, please don't bother to post it.


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