Good evening, Netizens...
Thus far, I know of only one of the purported half-dozen people who attended last night's first showing of the Police Ombudsman candidates, and the comments of this person regarding the process were not all that complimentary either. In fact, I haven't heard from one person who was astronomically wowed by the first meeting. Although, as the Spokesman-Review has noted in a piece about the Ombudsman introductions here, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/may/30/protest-outdraws-ombudsman-forum/ the number of people who attended the protest regarding the Ombudsman role vastly out-numbered those who attended the 5:00 PM meet-and-greet session.
Why didn't I attend?
One: I do not believe for a moment that an Ombudsman without any independent investigative authority over Police or their Guild is capable of doing their job. Barring the ability to investigate police, what good is the Ombudsman's office to begin with? I have seen first-hand and read accounts where a vibrant, active Ombudsman, armed with the right to investigate charges against police, would be an invaluable asset to our community. However, without that right by law, my prediction is that an Ombudsman without investigative authority will result in the same runaround and half-truths that take place already.
Two: Planning a public meeting of this type at 5:00 PM on a Friday night virtually guarantees that few, if any people will bother to show up. Furthermore the lack of planning shows disdain for the common person who has to work for a living, make dinner and take care of their families, just the sort of grandstanding I have come to associate with Queen Mary Verner, Mayor of Spokane.
With the people already distrustful of the process by which the Office of the Ombudsman was created, and the apparent lack of trust they have in the Police Department, Spokane needs a more generic overhaul beginning at the top of the administrative towers of power.