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Community Comment

We have an Ombudsman—sort of…

Good morning, Netizens…


You have to always give credit to the elder spokespersons in our Fair City, because their sense of right and wrong nearly always are spot-on when it comes to recommending clinically good decisions. No, I am not bespeaking the lackluster members of the Spokane City Council. Bob Apple aside, the City Council ‘s lack of decisiveness and acumen is only equalled by their ability to hold decent public meetings where the public can speak to issues without fear of being escorted from the premises. There are other elders in our community who speak well, have cogent thought processes and aren’t afraid to speak their piece, even in front of the august City Council members.


Now take last night’s City Council meeting, for example, where they ratified the lackluster Police Ombudsman who-has-no-authority. As I have stated in the recent past, having a Police Ombudsman without full investigatory powers similar to those held by the Ombudsman in Boise, Idaho, is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Apparently most of the elder spokespersons in our community agree with that.


Marianne Torres perhaps coined the description best when she described hiring Tim “Hippie” Burns as Police Ombudsman like “a fox watching the chicken coop”.


Now you might not like Marianne Torres, because of some of her political stances. You might want to ask her why, if she is as sage as she appears, why she never ran for City Council. Maybe it is because she is too savvy to do something crazy like run for a City Council position. On the other hand, Mz. Torres aptly speaks for the disenfranchised, the downtrodden in our midst, most of whom question just about everything passed into law in our fair city. You take away the Ombudsman’s authority and what do you have? Nuttin’ baby. Everyone except the members of the City Council and the Mayor seem to agree with that.


Of course, if you have attended and/or watched City Council meetings past and present, you would know George McGrath. I am told there is even a George McGrath fan club, given the length of time he has appeared in the Citizens Forum pointing out the inequities of our city government. Typically armed with a sheaf of public documents, and loaded for bear, George can be counted upon to point out gross stupidity in our midst, and has done so for decades. George was escorted from last night’s City Council session for muttering deprecations from the audience about the ombudsman position. He is right when he says there is nothing being accomplished for the citizens.


That’s the problem, in my eyes. We have a Police Ombudsman bereft of any real powers, and a City Council and Mayor who do not know when to shut up and listen to our village elders.


However, we have a Police Ombudsman now. Sort of. Our City is still married to the Police Guild, a quasi-secret society of police that make their own rules as they go along. Can you agree with them or the Village Elders? It’s a choice, you know.


Dave


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