More to Come
By Kevin Robinson in News on Jun 12, 2007 1:50PM
In a series of minor news announcements yesterday, some of the city's dirty laundry was hung out to air. Although criticized for not being independent enough, the new Office of Professional Standards cleared it's first legislative hurdle on Monday, passing the City Council’s Police Committee. OPS would go further than just investigating incidents where a firearm is discharged. The new director would have broader powers to subpoena and be free to investigate allegations of verbal abuse by police officers based upon a person’s race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or sexual identity. Critics are charging that this is just more public-relations on the mayor's part, and while the scope of the reformed OPS includes new powers, it doesn't address the issues of police coercion during interrogations. “Unless this ordinance is amended to include coercion within the scope of civilian review, there will be no change in the police culture that allows rogue officers to terrorize residents of our city,” said Citizens Alert spokeswoman Julie Hull.
In a victory for the city, U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall agreed to delay implementation of her order to hire 132 African-American firefighters who passed a 1995 exam but were never hired. While Gottschall had ruled that the test was administered in a flawed and discriminatory way, she also agreed with city lawyers that the class-action lawsuit was filed too late, and that "the city would have invested resources in processing and training firefighter candidates who have no right to their jobs" if the order was enforced. City Hall isn't off the hook, just yet, though, as an appeal is pending.
And lastly, now that the election is over and Daley has safely secured a sixth term in office, a tax hike may be back on the table, in spite of campaign promises otherwise (although in fairness to Da Mare, the taxes in question would be next year, and not this year). "It is a critical time because the economy has slowed down, housing has slowed down," said Daley. Of course. Running a major US city isn't cheap. No word yet on where these increases might come from. Maybe Daley can take some of that extra cash he has laying around in all those TIFs he's created. After all, we've been paying for this all along, haven't we?