Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Black Out 2003

How long was my Thursday work shift for the NYPD? 21 long, tiring, hungry, hot and thirsty hours. The black out was an experience indeed. We had just started class room lessons at the Police Academy when the power went down. Within a few minutes it became apparent that something bigger than a building power outage had occurred. In the first hour of being told nothing, except we weren't allowed to leave the classrooms, I overheard the words, "city wide blackout" then "the entire eastern seaboard has lost power" then "full mobilization". After living through a very tense experience on September 11th, these words gave me chills. Classmates and I began speculating about terrorist attacks and how it was possible for the entire east coast to lose power at once.
I'm a news junky and I hate feeling out of the loop, uncertainty about what's going on stresses me out. I broke P.A. rules and made a secret call to Colin in Atlanta and quickly told him to call me back and leave a message about what is happening. Then our Sgt. told us we could use our cell phones. I called Colin and he told me they didn't think it was terrorist.

Then came our mobilization. We mustered in the gym and our companies got split up and we were formed into new companies of 10. My company had 2 guys I knew and 7 people I had never met. Because I was standing at the front of the line I was made Company Sargent. 30 of us were sent to the 1st Precinct in Lower Manhattan and then we were assigned to patrol the area around South Street Seaport. By now my regular shift should have been over but this night just kept getting longer and longer...

First, I must say that NYC, especially the NYPD has the best emergency response, crisis management and crowd control tactics in the world. It's amazing that crime was actually down Thursday night compared to an average night in the city. While cities in Canada like Toronto had looting and lawlessness problems (in yo face Canucks). It was good to see the denizens of this great city taking the crisis in stride.

Police Dysfunction:
So after 21 hours, we are on our way back to the Police Academy. I stop to talk to a guy who was assigned to the 5th Precinct. Here's how it went.

5th PCT Guy: Did the 1st Precinct give you flashlights?
PAUL: yea
5th PCT Guy: Did they give you batteries for the flashlight?
PAUL: yea
5th PCT Guy: They didn't give us batteries.
PAUL: What? Didn't any of you guys check to see if your flashlights worked before you
5th PCT Guy: No no you don't understand, they knew they didn't give us batteries.
PAUL: They gave you flashlights with no batteries but made you carry around the
flashlights anyway?
5th PCT Guy: Yup
PAUL: That is stupid.
5th PCT Guy: Yup

Saturday, August 09, 2003

The California Recall law is a crock of shit that was not well thought out. There are a lot of legal and procedural questions that still need to be answered and a lot of law suits were filed to answer these questions.

Here is why the recall is Crock O' Shit.
You only need 12% of the last vote for that office to sign a petition to force a recall!! that is soooo stupid. It is soooo easy to force a recall under those standards. Especially with voter turnout rate probably around 50%. This means you only need 6% of all eligible voters to petition to get a recall.
Another problem is a petition is just a list of names that I doubt has an unbiased verification process. In fact one of the lawsuits claims that names on the petition are OUT OF STATERS.
It is way to easy to force a recall.
The recall is going to cost bankrupt California millions of dollars because elections are expensive. Also if Davis wins he is allowed to get reimbursed for all his campaigning expenses.

The recall will pass with a simple majority, this is sickingly less than my thought that it should be 80% to pass.
Once again much to easy to recall someone.
If the recall passes then the candidate with a simple plurality of votes wins. This means if votes are spread out between 15 candidates then someone with only a minority of the votes, lets say 10% could become the next governor.
That doesn't sound like representative democracy at its finest to me.

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