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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Here Comes the Sun

Posted by schroeder915 on March 16, 2007

Is there any information more vital for you to know than how safe your neighborhood is before you and your family step out of the door each day?

Citizens have a right to this fundamental information. Momentum is building to officially and publicly request that the New Orleans Police Department supply citizens with the raw 911 data each and every day so that citizens can build their own crime mapping, reporting, and alert system.

Later, the same request for raw data will be made of the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office or Criminal District Courts to get the Docketmaster records. With these two pieces of information, citizens could be alerted to emerging dangers in their neighborhoods and other places they travel throughout the city. They could also track for themselves, from the initial offense all the way to final disposition, the effectiveness of the D.A. and the courts in prosecuting offenders.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant, not just for cleaning up corrupt or ineffective institutions, but for identifying problems in neighborhoods so that citizens can proactively engage the appropriate tactical resources at solving those problems.

Why should citizens build their own crime reporting system? Because the city already has a system, and it sucks! Here’s just another example of how citizens can and will take charge where government institutions have failed.

A big part of the problem isn’t just that citizens don’t have access to basic information, it’s that they don’t have access to meaningful dialog with public officials. When officials do offer opportunities for dialog, it’s behind closed doors where promises made may soon be ignored or forgotten.

Promises made by NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley to do a walkthrough with Karen Gadbois through her Northwest Carrollton neighborhood were never fulfilled. Despite frequent complaints she made about drug dealing activity out of abandoned homes, the city and NOPD didn’t respond to her complaints until someone was murdered.

Note, as well, the recent announcement by Riley that the NOPD would now focus on violent offenders instead of harrassing “good-quality citizens” in traffic stops:

“We are going to give them warnings and move on,” Riley said. “We are not going to tie our officers up with good-quality citizens who have no arrest records … We have to get our officers back on the streets and focus on hardcore criminals.”

I thought the original intent of the traffic stops was to focus on violent criminals, but that quickly proved not to be the case. I saw for myself a completely illegible traffic ticket issued to an acquaintence. The officer who wrote the ticket didn’t say what the citation was, and didn’t print clearly enough for the carbon transfer to occur. I’ve heard many other cases of poorly-written tickets being issued, or unnecessary citations issued. I’m a supporter of traffic stops. I know this to be an effective tool for catching violent offenders as they move through the city. Unfortunately, the intent of the order to conduct more traffic stops was lost in its execution. While the NOPD absolutely should be issuing citations for drivers who endanger public safety, right now, wasting time writing citations for broken tail lights or expired brake tags might not be the best use of the time of an already depleted and overextended police force. This was a questionable policy which further eroded public confidence in the NOPD. Had Chief Riley actually sat down with citizens, now over two months ago, to listen to their perspectives about an appropriate crime-fighting strategy, he might have arrived at a better policy sooner.

In their announcement of a plan for greater cooperation, published in The Times-Picayune today, Dumb Ass D.A. Eddie Jordan will be more closely cooperating with the NOPD to prosecute offenders. While it’s good to know that the “ice is slowly melting,” I should think citizens deserve more of an opportunity to demand direct accountability to citizens themselves. Instead, conveniently, Riley and Jordan have insulated themselves from the public by calling for the Police and Justice Foundation to monitor the reforms. With only two cases accepted out of 47 arrests on 162 murders for 2006, and with just one prosecution, are we going to have to wait another year to find out Eddie’s prosecution score? Shouldn’t we be entitled to more open information at any time about what’s going on in the D.A.’s office and the court system?

Citizens should have been given an opportunity to make that claim for greater transparency and more direct accountability. Citizens have little reason to trust that the NOPD and D.A.’s office are finally burying the hatchet, and they should be given a more active role in demanding reforms. In fact, it would have helped Warren Riley’s case to have citizens backing him up in the quest for greater accountability out of Eddie Jordan’s office. But no. Once again, the “community policing” strategy is little more than an empty rhetorical flourish.

Today is Freedom of Information Day, the last day of Sunshine Week. This might be an appropriate occasion to think about what information citizens have a right to so that we can accurately monitor how well our public institutions are serving us. The criminal justice system is arguably the most important of our public institutions. Both Warren Riley and Eddie Jordan need to be more forthcoming with the information we need to evaluate both the safety of our neighborhoods, and the efficient functioning of the entire criminal justice system.

Posted in Crime, Eddie Jordan, New Orleans, NOPD, Warren Riley, Worst D.A. Ever | Leave a Comment »

Empower New Orleans citizens; support open source solutions!

Posted by schroeder915 on February 19, 2007

To create a successful information-driven society, and a well-informed citizenry, public policy should promote the open source development of services, and make every effort to eliminate ownership over raw data. When data becomes an exclusive domain, citizens may not get the information they need to make critical decisions. This could be a life-and-death issue when that data could reveal to citizens critical information about the safety of their neighborhoods. For too many years, the City of New Orleans has manipulated and reported crime information as a tool to control public opinion, arguing that it has an exclusive right to the raw data. Wise citizens should be wary of private entities trying to do the same thing — limiting access to information for private benefit and, thus, stifling the data transformation solutions which might arise from open access to the raw data.

New Orleanians have always wanted easier and more timely access to information about crime, arrests, and prosecutions (or releases). Citizens have been advocating more loudly than ever before that they should have access to those records. The first hurdle — what ought to be the easiest one to clear — is asserting citizen ownership the raw 911 calls for service records. These are the records of every call placed to 911, warehoused in city data systems. The NOPD receives a daily file of those 911 records via an electronic file transfer. It would be simple to add another file recipient to the list of destination addresses.

The question, then, is who else should receive that file? One wouldn’t want to have ask the city to manage a list of recipients. It would be far better to identify a single unbiased, non-governmental entity to receive and host the data for any citizen who wishes to use it. Then, the value of the data wouldn’t be the data itself, but what citizens themselves decide to do with the data in an open society. The true value isn’t in the data itself, per se, but instead in the ways that the data can be transformed into more meaningful ways — tables, charts, maps: data transformation services.

Citizens want to know some basic facts: Where, how much, and what types of crime are occurring in their neighborhoods? Is crime rising or falling? Are there identifiable patterns of crime? Is the criminal justice system responding in an appropriate manner to emerging threats? There are a number of different ways to represent answers to those questions.

No one entity has all of the solutions, nor should one entity be trusted to publish accurate reports. This is precisely why a society which permits a free flow of raw data — allowing developers to openly access the data and to provide meaningful answers — will inevitably produce a result which far exceeds what any private entity could accomplish. Furthermore, open access to data guarantees that those information services don’t just cease when a private entity no longer sees a private benefit from using the data.

A letter to the editor today underscores a deficit of understanding in the community about how the open source principles I’ve outlined above would better serve citizens than private, exclusive principles.

Residents want to see crime statistics reported accurately and in real time, which has not been done by the police on their Web site.

A proven program called NOCrime has been endorsed by the City Council 7-0, though the council did not provide money. This program would take reporting the crimes out of the hands of police and politicians who have an interest in keeping the crime statistics low.

Such a program could help residents understand the crime in their neighborhoods, work with the police to prevent crime and ensure transparency in crime reporting.

Rusty Berridge
New Orleans

The writer is supporting an initiative being marketed around town lately to provide citizens with a crime mapping system. Unfortunately, there are, at best, exaggerated claims made about what the system was in the past, and what it will provide in the future.

The first issue citizens should consider is that the NOCrime “proven program” was a short-lived crime-mapping initiative which has now been defunct for more than ten years. Citizens really should ask what happened to the NOCrime Web site and advocacy after funding dried up? Secondly, if the NOCrime concept is so brilliant, why are there, at present, no crime mapping systems on the NOCrime Web site? There’s nothing on the NOCrime Web site now but a bunch of links to other organizations. All citizens are told by NOCrime marketers is that if their idea is supported financially, it “could” help residents.

Why not start helping us now? Indeed, the open source solutions to provide crime mapping, reporting, and alert systems already exist. What might once have required a significant investment ten years ago, when the NOCrime concept was first conceived, now only requires tapping into the freely-available mapping services in a Google maps, or Yahoo maps, mashup. All that’s lacking is the raw crime data. Indeed, there are already a number of developers who have demonstrated an interest in mapping crime, and who have resorted to very creative approaches to finding data — albeit not current data — in order to get around the lack of access to the raw 911 calls for service data.

http://noladishu.blogspot.com/2007/02/crime-mapping-update.html

http://www.geocities.com/neworleanscrimemap/

http://www.citizencrimewatch.org/

So why isn’t NOCrime supporting an open source solution, by which anyone in the community could access raw crime data to develop services for the community? Why isn’t NOCrime supporting the concept of a third party entity hosting and sharing the raw 911 calls for service data? Could it be that NOCrime has outlived its usefulness, and therefore, the only thing left to latch onto is owning the raw data for private benefit? NOCrime should be required to prove that it has the capacity to develop its own privately-owned services by sharing access to 911 calls for service data with competing citizen initiatives.

The ownership distinction is subtle — ownership of data vs. ownership of services — but it is absolutely imperative that the community not work to ingratiate one entity or another, and that it get behind an initiative to empower all citizens to develop their own robust data transformation services which outlive the interest of private entities. Moreover, in the case of reporting crime information, the best solution will be obtained when community ownership over services — not just data — is promoted as public policy. Never should rewards be derived from clutching onto data for control over information and financial resources. Neither does private development of data transformation systems serve the community effectively and in perpetuity. With open access to data, and open source development of services, the community always owns the information systems it relies upon. There is no other alternative which provides the community with absolute ownership of, and confidence in, the information they have a right to know.

The City Council is hedging on this issue, being won over by persistent NOCrime marketing tactics. Citizens need to be vocal in their support of open access/open source solutions — now — before a decision is made by the Council to support a private entity whose track record fails to demonstrate a true commitment of service to the community.

Posted in Crime, Crime Mapping, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans | 3 Comments »

Krewe of Barkus 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 14, 2007

The tornado(s) that ripped through New Orleans were unexpected. I had to get up early on Tuesday to go into the Black Pearl neighborhood at Uptown Square. There was considerable destruction there — car windows burst out, trees sheared and their tops slammed into cars, a church with it’s entire facade and windows blown out, a lot of new utility poles damaged and leaning on houses. When, later, I did a loop up St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue, I discovered that the destruction was far worse than what I’d already seen. The whole facade of the KIPPS school was torn off exposing classrooms inside, roofs blown off, windows blown out, live oaks shredded — it looked like the mess left after Hurricane Katrina (without the flooding). And then the tornado went through Gentilly and Pontchartrain Park. State Farm alone was saying yesterday that they expected about 5000 to 10,000 claims from the storm. These people need some serious help.

It might be inappropriate to follow with a delayed parade post, but this is New Orleans after all, and we refuse to be bowed by mother nature. Here are some Krewe of Barkus photos. As with Krewe du Vieux, I think the satire, floats, and costumes were better last year. A friend speculated that the effort put in this year might reflect this past year’s exhaustion and stress from the recovery effort.

pgr5047.JPG

Volunteers recently updated the Citizen Crime Watch Web site. It now contains assorted property and persons crimes for 2007. This resource could provide an extremely vital service to the community if the criminal justice system started supplying the raw 911 calls for service data and data from other systems. I encourage bloggers to advertise widely the call for criminal justice agencies to cooperate with grassroots development efforts by providing their data so that we can acquire a greater awareness about the safety of our neighborhoods, and identify ways to improve the criminal justice system. The crime mapping and reporting initiatives underway by volunteers aren’t just a novelty — they’re essential resources that belong to the community, and that belong in the community, where crime problems are lived with on a daily basis, and where confidence in the criminal justice system has eroded. Communities need to be empowered to own the solutions to their problems for the community policing idea to work — but they also need to have the data in hand to hold their public officials accountable when the criminal justice system isn’t backing them up.

I’m trying to get caught up on a number of tasks, but time permitting, I soon hope to post some reflections on the testimony of NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley and District Attorney Eddie Jordan at the City Council criminal justice committee hearing this past Monday.

Posted in Carnival, Crime, Crime Mapping, GIS, Mardi Gras, New Orleans | 5 Comments »

“Where’s Schroeder?”

Posted by schroeder915 on February 8, 2007

So asked an anonymous commenter who only referred to himself as “Where’s Schroeder.”

Sorry folks. The anticipation is killing me too. There’s so much going on right now, but so little time. I do, in fact, have a lot to report since my absence.

I’ll start right here — I want this thing enlarged poster size to hang on my wall …

nagendranodes.jpg

And here …

citizencrimewatch.jpg

The first image is a drawing made by Nagendra at a Saturday meetup of neighborhood activists. The diagram represents the new linkages between neighborhoods which began to form after Hurricane Katrina. Circles represent the nodes, or cells, of neighborhoods. Lines between the nodes are the arbitrary political boundaries drawn by politicians long before Hurricane Katrina because, Nagendra said, that was the only way they said they could govern. After Hurricane Katrina, those boundaries were washed away. Now, citizens are talking to and collaborating with whomever they chose. Linkages are forming with residents who live in distant neighborhoods based upon common needs. This was best demonstrated by the 5000-strong march on City Hall against violence, in which every neighborhood was represented — every race, every class, every age.

The second image is a prototype online crime mapping, reporting, alert, and analysis system. The public needs to start making noise for the raw 911 calls for service data to be made available to citizens at the same time the NOPD gets the data, in order to further develop this resource as a timely service for the community. Later, the demand for other criminal justice records can be made to complete an understanding about what’s happening in the criminal justice system, and to give citizens more powerful tools to demand greater accountability. There will be a brainstorming meeting to determine where to take this initiative in the future, Mon. 2/12, 7 p.m., Sound Cafe, 2700 Chartes St. (RSVP briandenzer@yahoo.com in case the venue changes).

I’m still debugging my effort to move PGR to a final home on my own Web host. This will be coming soon, and then I’ll finally put back all the sidebar links which used to be on the old Blogger PGR.

Posted in Crime, Crime Mapping, GIS, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans | 6 Comments »

The citizens’ revolt continues

Posted by schroeder915 on January 18, 2007

Anytime I write a post about the police chief’s and mayor’s grammar, you know I’m busy. There was much more that I wanted time to write about, and I’ll try to get caught up.

I scanned the radio dial this morning to find out what the redneck wingnut talk show hosts were offering today, and did a double-take when I heard a familiar voice. I’m sitting here now listening the Fox News channel’s lip-smacking convicted insurance commissioner “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown’s self-promotion show. He’s interviewing Bart Everson, one week after Bart declared a revolution on the steps of City Hall.

Bart is firing on all cylinders, hitting all the relevant points — if only “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown “uh-uh-uh” would shut the eff up (again, we need a true community radio station to broadcast unabridged, free-flowing conversations).

(After the show now) Bart emphasized that he wasn’t advocating for expanded police powers, but Jim Brown cut him off from explaining why — I can relate the story about a friend who was pulled over at a police checkpoint, who may not have been respectful of the police for whatever reason, and who was subsequently issued a traffic ticket — completely illegible because the carbon transfer didn’t work. It’s the second time I’ve heard a story where the citation was illegible — I saw one of those tickets, so I can vouch for their veracity. Unfortunately, traffic stops really do work at catching bad guys, but the rest of us are inconvenienced. Legally, the police have to be careful not to give the appearance of racial profiling, so they’ll issue traffic citations for just about anything. It’s an example of what happens when orders are issued from the lofty heights without surveying the sentiments of residents. The NOPD is making arrests of wanted offenders, but shredding already damaged community relations in the process. We need new thinking. We need more and better dialog to come up with solutions that work, or at least solutions in which the community accepts the tradeoffs — maybe a solution where people who aren’t wanted offenders, and who aren’t driving in a hazardous manner, can be released with a courtesy card instead of a traffic citation. There needs to be a conversation with the community so that we all sign on and understand the consequences.

A Metropolitan Crime Commission poll showed that more than 60 percent of Central City residents don’t feel the police can effectively reduce crime, even though patrols are regularly visible. Bart cited the poll to argue that the police need to be more accountable to communities to solve that problem. For the community policing concept to work, citizens have to be in charge of how policing works for them. There’s a discussion taking place right now at Think New Orleans about creating formal institutions, Citizen Crime Boards, which would require accountability of all of the actors in the criminal justice system to the neighborhoods they serve. If this is a revolution to overthrow incompetent rulers, and to take control of our own destinies, then let’s start with the criminal justice community.

To satisfy his uncontrollable self-aggrandizement, Jim Brown kept interrupting Bart and shifting the conversation, so I felt compelled to call in. Jim Brown dropped the call at first, and I know how fast hosts cut off other speakers, so I felt rushed and couldn’t clearly muster the words I wanted to say. Nevertheless, I got in one good jab at the other participants in the criminal justice system who weren’t mentioned: the judges and District Attorney Eddie Jordan.

I praised Bart’s courage for putting himself in the spotlight to speak out against a broken system even while he’s still mourning a tragic event. I concurred that we need to fix the crime problem, and we need to address all of the forms of violence that are manifested in our society — like denying children a good education, and denying people access to their homes. I said that when the police arrive, it’s already too late. All of the factors which produce criminals are re-manifested by violence perpetrated on the rest of society. We also, however, need to remember that the police are the last line of defense, keeping criminals away from peaceful citizens. Unfortunately, the police are the face of the criminal justice system, and it’s easy to villainize them. Of course, we need to have more and better dialog with the police, but other actors need to participate in the conversation. Police chief Warren Riley answered questions Tuesday night at the NOPD 2nd District community crime meeting (Adrastos has an excellent summary of that event). I said that the judges and D.A. weren’t represented in that conversation, but they need to be. They, too, need to answer to citizens for the broken criminal justice system.

We need to break down the barriers which shelter incompetent and crony-ridden government institutions from citizen anger. We need to create neighborhood entities that foster a dialog, name names, and call into question decisions made by autocratic public officials. Clearly, if there’s anything New Orleans citizens have learned since Hurricane Katrina, it’s that we need to take back control of our government.

Bart closed his interview by reminding listeners that nothing happened after Hurricane Katrina to attack the conditions which breed poverty and crime, despite all of the talk about how our society needs to have a conversation about race and class in our society. This conversation, too, could be hosted by Citizen Crime Boards. The dialog might be spun off into another realm, but Citizen Crime Boards would have the advantage on focusing attention on the end-stream results of the broken social systems which breed violence and return that violence to society by generating criminal behavior.

The local FBI director, Jim Bernazzani, said in an interview yesterday that we have tactical solutions to the crime problem. Those tactical responses to crime may need to be fixed, but what we really need to do is have a conversation about strategic solutions to the crime problem. I continue to assert that we can’t lose sight of the immediate goal of fixing the criminal justice system so bad guys don’t hurt peaceful citizens, and Bernazzani would agree, but he’s also right that we need to get to kids before they start getting involved in violence. We need to engage them in constructive activities, give them an opportunity at a good education, instill in them the virtue of fulfilling their potential, give them hope. As my friend Danna has said, in teaching art to disadvantaged children, we may not be able to promise them the dream world they see on TV, but we can promise them that pride in themselves is only achieved through hard work. The alternative is death.

Many of us are talking about the same thing. We’re on the same page. As citizens, we need to take charge of those institutions that are failing us. We need government to work for us, not against us.

Here’s an example of how citizen activism can work to defeat crime. I got a call last night in a chain call process after an armed robbery Uptown. The action was swift. The police were on the scene in five minutes. When the robbers hit again nearby, a tactical unit swept down on them and caught five perpetrators.

We can work with the police when we demand dialog. Now we need to make sure that those criminals don’t make it back onto the street until they’ve paid the price for their crime, and are reformed. We need to make the judges and D.A. accountable to us, and we need to make sure that incarceration, if that’s the punishment (which I believe it should be) isn’t just a school to train more violent criminals, but a place where real reform and opportunities are created. Yes, those are tough issues, but only citizen involvement will fix the problems our society faces.

Posted in Crime, Eddie Jordan, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | 2 Comments »

The citizens’ revolt continues

Posted by schroeder915 on January 18, 2007

Anytime I write a post about the police chief’s and mayor’s grammar, you know I’m busy. There was much more that I wanted time to write about, and I’ll try to get caught up.

I scanned the radio dial this morning to find out what the redneck wingnut talk show hosts were offering today, and did a double-take when I heard a familiar voice. I’m sitting here now listening the Fox News channel’s lip-smacking convicted insurance commissioner “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown’s self-promotion show. He’s interviewing Bart Everson, one week after Bart declared a revolution on the steps of City Hall.

Bart is firing on all cylinders, hitting all the relevant points — if only “uh-uh-uh” Jim “smack” Brown “uh-uh-uh” would shut the eff up (again, we need a true community radio station to broadcast unabridged, free-flowing conversations).

(After the show now) Bart emphasized that he wasn’t advocating for expanded police powers, but Jim Brown cut him off from explaining why — I can relate the story about a friend who was pulled over at a police checkpoint, who may not have been respectful of the police for whatever reason, and who was subsequently issued a traffic ticket — completely illegible because the carbon transfer didn’t work. It’s the second time I’ve heard a story where the citation was illegible — I saw one of those tickets, so I can vouch for their veracity. Unfortunately, traffic stops really do work at catching bad guys, but the rest of us are inconvenienced. Legally, the police have to be careful not to give the appearance of racial profiling, so they’ll issue traffic citations for just about anything. It’s an example of what happens when orders are issued from the lofty heights without surveying the sentiments of residents. The NOPD is making arrests of wanted offenders, but shredding already damaged community relations in the process. We need new thinking. We need more and better dialog to come up with solutions that work, or at least solutions in which the community accepts the tradeoffs — maybe a solution where people who aren’t wanted offenders, and who aren’t driving in a hazardous manner, can be released with a courtesy card instead of a traffic citation. There needs to be a conversation with the community so that we all sign on and understand the consequences.

A Metropolitan Crime Commission poll showed that more than 60 percent of Central City residents don’t feel the police can effectively reduce crime, even though patrols are regularly visible. Bart cited the poll to argue that the police need to be more accountable to communities to solve that problem. For the community policing concept to work, citizens have to be in charge of how policing works for them. There’s a discussion taking place right now at Think New Orleans about creating formal institutions, Citizen Crime Boards, which would require accountability of all of the actors in the criminal justice system to the neighborhoods they serve. If this is a revolution to overthrow incompetent rulers, and to take control of our own destinies, then let’s start with the criminal justice community.

To satisfy his uncontrollable self-aggrandizement, Jim Brown kept interrupting Bart and shifting the conversation, so I felt compelled to call in. Jim Brown dropped the call at first, and I know how fast hosts cut off other speakers, so I felt rushed and couldn’t clearly muster the words I wanted to say. Nevertheless, I got in one good jab at the other participants in the criminal justice system who weren’t mentioned: the judges and District Attorney Eddie Jordan.

I praised Bart’s courage for putting himself in the spotlight to speak out against a broken system even while he’s still mourning a tragic event. I concurred that we need to fix the crime problem, and we need to address all of the forms of violence that are manifested in our society — like denying children a good education, and denying people access to their homes. I said that when the police arrive, it’s already too late. All of the factors which produce criminals are re-manifested by violence perpetrated on the rest of society. We also, however, need to remember that the police are the last line of defense, keeping criminals away from peaceful citizens. Unfortunately, the police are the face of the criminal justice system, and it’s easy to villainize them. Of course, we need to have more and better dialog with the police, but other actors need to participate in the conversation. Police chief Warren Riley answered questions Tuesday night at the NOPD 2nd District community crime meeting (Adrastos has an excellent summary of that event). I said that the judges and D.A. weren’t represented in that conversation, but they need to be. They, too, need to answer to citizens for the broken criminal justice system.

We need to break down the barriers which shelter incompetent and crony-ridden government institutions from citizen anger. We need to create neighborhood entities that foster a dialog, name names, and call into question decisions made by autocratic public officials. Clearly, if there’s anything New Orleans citizens have learned since Hurricane Katrina, it’s that we need to take back control of our government.

Bart closed his interview by reminding listeners that nothing happened after Hurricane Katrina to attack the conditions which breed poverty and crime, despite all of the talk about how our society needs to have a conversation about race and class in our society. This conversation, too, could be hosted by Citizen Crime Boards. The dialog might be spun off into another realm, but Citizen Crime Boards would have the advantage on focusing attention on the end-stream results of the broken social systems which breed violence and return that violence to society by generating criminal behavior.

The local FBI director, Jim Bernazzani, said in an interview yesterday that we have tactical solutions to the crime problem. Those tactical responses to crime may need to be fixed, but what we really need to do is have a conversation about strategic solutions to the crime problem. I continue to assert that we can’t lose sight of the immediate goal of fixing the criminal justice system so bad guys don’t hurt peaceful citizens, and Bernazzani would agree, but he’s also right that we need to get to kids before they start getting involved in violence. We need to engage them in constructive activities, give them an opportunity at a good education, instill in them the virtue of fulfilling their potential, give them hope. As my friend Danna has said, in teaching art to disadvantaged children, we may not be able to promise them the dream world they see on TV, but we can promise them that pride in themselves is only achieved through hard work. The alternative is death.

Many of us are talking about the same thing. We’re on the same page. As citizens, we need to take charge of those institutions that are failing us. We need government to work for us, not against us.

Here’s an example of how citizen activism can work to defeat crime. I got a call last night in a chain call process after an armed robbery Uptown. The action was swift. The police were on the scene in five minutes. When the robbers hit again nearby, a tactical unit swept down on them and caught five perpetrators.

We can work with the police when we demand dialog. Now we need to make sure that those criminals don’t make it back onto the street until they’ve paid the price for their crime, and are reformed. We need to make the judges and D.A. accountable to us, and we need to make sure that incarceration, if that’s the punishment (which I believe it should be) isn’t just a school to train more violent criminals, but a place where real reform and opportunities are created. Yes, those are tough issues, but only citizen involvement will fix the problems our society faces.

Posted in Crime, Eddie Jordan, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, Worst Mayor Ever | Leave a Comment »

Is Lee Brown the right guy to reform the NOPD?

Posted by schroeder915 on January 12, 2007

Lee Brown has extensive experience, but how’s his judgment?

“In times of emergency, the public can reasonably expect the police commissioner to ask probing questions of key aides on the scene, as well as monitor ongoing developments. There is no evidence that Lee P. Brown provided this kind of leadership during the first three days of disturbances in Crown Heights. Evaluated against these standards, the commissioner’s leadership and performance were inadequate.”

Maybe New York’s Criminal Justice Director Richard Girgenti had a grudge against Brown over the Crown Heights riots in 1993. But shouldn’t citizens be given an opportunity to ask? Who’s making the decision to hire Brown? Shouldn’t citizens be involved in this process?

More.

Posted in Crime, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans | Leave a Comment »

Laissez la révolution rouler

Posted by schroeder915 on January 12, 2007

The citizens’ march against crime was the largest and most diverse demonstration of community solidarity in New Orleans history. Every neighborhood, every race, every age, every class, streamed out of their homes, schools, and businesses, joining into a Cat 5000 régiment of discontent. The unified cry of anguish: our public officials have failed us, miserably! The individual messages varied: “Silence is Violence”; “Enough!”; “Out of Iraq into New Orleans”; “Thou Shalt Not Kill”; “Where’s Ray?” The expression of anguish after the murders of Dinneral Shavers and Helen Hill was more than just the grief felt at their deaths, it was a popular rage against all of the injustices that have been perpetrated on New Orleans citizens over the last year and a half by elected officials at all levels of government. The focus of that rage was New Orleans government (but it was more than just ironic that a similar protest was staged in Washington against the unpopular king installed there, now calling for more American citizens to die in Iraq for a cause he can’t explain or justify). Tired of the routine of public officials going behind closed doors to emerge with platitudes in front of a photo shoot, citizens seized the podium at the seat of New Orleans government, and held their own press conference. They tore down the statue of the king, beheaded the government nobility, and renamed the square, “Place de la Révolution.” Yes, it was a Bastille moment.

I was speculating before the march that it wouldn’t have surprised me to see effigies of Mayor Ray Nagin and NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley burned in front of City Hall, or worse, a real Bastille moment. It didn’t happen — not physically anyway — but what was unmistakable beneath the rage voiced by citizen soldats like Karen Gadbois and Bart Everson was, “this is your last chance to deal with rational people.”

I marched with a contingent of Uptown residents to the foot of Canal Street. The World Trade Center crowd numbered somewhere between 500 and 1000 there. I first sensed that the crowd was growing considerably larger as the train of marchers proceeded through downtown and turned corners. I couldn’t see far in front of me, or behind, but each time the procession turned a corner, it took much longer, and I could see more people and signs. I don’t know where they were coming from. Streaming in from other neighborhoods I imagine, or descending out of office buildings. People who had to work that day nevertheless appeared on sidewalks in front of their offices, or waved gestures of support through office windows. By the time the Central City group arrived at City Hall, an events planner, Lee Arnold, suggested that there might even have been as many as 7500 people. Only the annual Mardi Gras parades summon greater numbers of a diverse spectrum of the New Orleans population.

Before I offer more analysis of the march against crime, I’d first like to critique the broadcast press coverage I’ve seen and heard. I couldn’t hear the speakers because I was out on the street holding a sign for Etienne. Later, I heard the speeches broadcast in their entirety on 1350 AM. It pains me to do so, but I have to commend Entercom management for making that choice. For once, they used the airwaves to broadcast the raw, unfiltered voice of the community. In so doing, they proved what I’ve been saying all along, that using the voices of the community rather than partisan talk hosts can produce truly good radio. On the other hand, I heard Garland Robinette minimizing the turnout to a mere 1000, repeatedly belittling the impact of the group based upon his own faulty and exaggerated perceptions. I also still have to criticize Entercom for sitting on three licenses to broadcast the same content. How about turning over one of those licenses to the community so we can hear more of the unfiltered voices of the community? In fact, later in the evening yesterday, 1350 went to dead air, which suggests that: 1) Entercom was broadcasting 1350 AM unattended, because there was no one in the studio to address the problem, and no one monitoring the broadcast, and 2) the fact that there was dead air suggests that there was a block of time when the community could have been using that frequency. Shane Warner couldn’t get a conversation going on WIST 690 AM when I tuned in because callers kept trying at his ridiculous game of guessing why Tabasco bottles have a green label on the neck. Is that a good use of the airwaves? Of course, all of the other commercial stations played the same old mix of ad nauseum song repetition, pop news commentary, and lewd talk. Finally, this morning, I heard some pretty stupifyingly uninformed WWL hosts suggesting that the march was spurred by the Saints’ post-Katrina winning record, totally missing the point about neighborhood activism and the extent of citizen frustration with public officials.

The local Fox 8 affiliate had the best coverage of the march among television news programs, offering more unedited clips and analysis than the other news programs. Of course, they devote a full hour to local news, which I always thought was a demonstration of their commitment to covering local issues (all of the other stations have stuck to the same old half-hour format at a time when we need so much more information than ever before). WWL TV (the Belo affiliate battling Cox cable to keep them from dropping the 24/7 WWL re-runs on channel 15) offered little more than a crowd count, sound bites, and reaction from Nagin and other public officials, but that was at least better than WDSU’s coverage — they didn’t “get it” at all. I haven’t seen ABC 26 coverage.

I’ll say it once again. We citizens know more about what’s happening in New Orleans right now. In our diversity of experiences and knowledge, we know far more than any one individual could know about all of the things changing so quickly on a daily basis. The community should be given a forum for sharing information and ideas about how to rebuild this city. Radio is the best forum for doing that. Once the license and transmitter are had, the day-to-day operations are pretty simple. All community members have to do is host conversations on-air, just as they would do sitting at a table over coffee. That’s why corporate media behemoths Clear Channel and Entercom like radio so much. They can hoard their licenses, offering nothing but mindless programming, and suck in the revenues from advertisers. It’s a form of rent-seeking, lobbying government for more and more exclusive access for a public resource, and then draining all of the life out of it. This town needs a sponsor to help build a truly community-run radio station. Maybe we’d create something called “Google radio,” or “Yahoo radio,” or “Apple radio” — as long as the community owns the license so they control the programming, and therefore, can never lose their control over content. It’s a change that should be modeled here, in New Orleans, where the stakes for the community are so high, but it could be duplicated around the country. To critics who say a community radio station wouldn’t be viable, I respond that every contractor, building supplies outlet, and real estate broker in town would want to advertise on the station that is the true voice of the community. It wouldn’t have to be commercial, but that’s one option that could be explored.

Citizens of New Orleans have suffered for far too long the failure of “authority” figures telling us what we need to do without doing what they’re supposed to do. That was one of the essential messages of the citizens’ march against crime. From the very first days following Hurricane Katrina, through the long wait to get relief supplies, through the long wait to return to the city, through the long delay to have city services restored, through the long delay to get building permits, through the long delay to inspect contractor work, through the long delay to settle insurance claims, through the long delay to remove debris from the streets, through the long delay for the rebuilding plans to emerge, through the long delay to get compensation for damages so homeowners could get back into their houses, through the grieving for crime victims, and on and on and on — citizens did what they were supposed to do — over and over again — filled out the forms, stood in lines, waited on the telephone to repeat a story again to the next person who’s supposed to know what’s going on, gone to endless meetings week after week, and done what they could to participate as a community with the police department to squelch the crime problem. And nothing! It hasn’t amounted to squat, because every level of government is a complete and utter failure. There has been a complete failure to even acknowledge that government is failing us. Instead, we’re served phony media events.

Briefly, as a little aside, I’d like to recall a particular phony media event as an interesting display of public theatre: Spud McConnell talking to Governor Blanco a couple of days ago about a Saints celebration that she was promoting. It was spectacularly bizarre, because Blanco seemed to be hoping that by associating herself with the Saints’ success, perhaps people might overlook the failure of the Road Home program which has yielded just 163 checks out of 97,167 applications to help homeowners rebuild their homes, but obnoxious Spud McConnell, who can barely say her name on-air without hacking, didn’t ask a single substantive question. It’s amazing how the message can be controlled, and WWL isn’t immune from political persuasion. In fact, WWL is probably most aligned with the status quo. Notwithstanding their grandstanding as being outspoken, being outspoken without being informed gives WWL hosts an incredible blindspot.

We citizens are demanding an authentic response to our needs. We have a right to expect that our public officials be experts in their professions. They keep telling us that we have to be more patient because a slow recovery is normal, or worse, insult us, as Karen Gadbois complained, by saying we haven’t been active enough in helping the government do its job. Ray Nagin and Warren Riley may not know what to do about the crime problem in New Orleans. If that’s the case, they should admit that they don’t know. They should admit that it’s a difficult problem, and engage us in an honest dialog. Thus far, however, they haven’t been willing to admit their failures, instead hiding behind statistically “normal” murder rates, and offering more photo ops of criminal justice officials standing in front of the cameras in a false display of unity. In this incredible void of leadership, it’s now time for the community to take charge, and for us to tell public officials what to do.

The citizen activism movement ever since Hurricane Katrina may offer a model to solve the governing crisis — at least locally. What finally broke yesterday was the perception that government officials will do the jobs they’re supposed to do. It’s time to stop waiting. We need to establish institutions that don’t just respond to the demands of City Hall — like neighborhood planning organizations have been doing. We need to demand that City Hall answer to our needs. We need to be the change we want to see in our world. That will require forced accountability, and the only way to do that is to establish our own governing institutions that require accountability. I’m talking about a shadow government — a concept that’s been evolving through conversations with some key community-organizing facilitators like Alan Gutierrez. One of the first institutions that ought to be considered is a citizens’ crime board to monitor and improve the police department’s responsiveness to community needs. This is one of a number of suggestions offered below.

Ray Nagin and Warren Riley have been scrambling this week to calm the brewing tempest. It hasn’t worked, because they’ve only offered meaningless gestures and appearances. Consider the police checkpoints idea, offered as a substitute to curfews. I saw a traffic ticket issued on Wednesday which was completely illegible. It looked like insufficient pressure was applied to transfer the officer’s writing through the carbon. The person who was issued the ticket didn’t know what the violation was. Now, I think I would have asked, but this is just one small example of how the spirit of an idea can disintegrate into meaningless implementation. The real reason to have checkpoints ought to be to catch wanted criminals, not harass drivers. The police should be using their time more wisely. Moreover, it’s easy to simply drive around checkpoints. I’m really not sure if the police are setting up actual checkpoints. They may simply be making more traffic stops. That’s a much better policy, but once again, I’m not so sure this is a particularly good time to be offending otherwise good citizens at a time when public confidence in the police department is so low. I do support traffic stops, but I’m not sure I agree that the police should be ticketing people if they weren’t doing anything harming safety. They should be spending their time catching wanted criminals.

I’ve been too busy in the last few days to offer my own recommendations for solutions to the crime problems. Some of these resemble the recommendations made by the Silence is Violence group, and those made by Bart Everson in his speech at the rally. Some will be considered controversial. We need to revolutionize the criminal justice system, so I’m offering what I truly believe will make a difference:

  • Develop plans to support more community policing. Establish more of a community presence with bike and foot patrols, and more substations throughout the city. Police officers should become familiar with the surroundings and the residents whom they serve, and should engage with community leaders and centers of faith to identify and participate in the process of creating safe neighborhoods. When the police are more accountable to their communities, real trust, and real solutions, start to emerge. A mechanism to be considered which would enforce accountability is a citizens’ crime board. The model would have to be discussed — there might be one crime board for each neighborhood organization, one crime board comprised of members of each neighborhood organization, or perhaps an elected leadership like a school board. To eliminate the possibility of malfeasance (as has been alleged of some New Orleans school board members over the years), keep financial decisions out of the hands of the crime board. I would say the crime board should be created now, to serve for a transitional period, until the proper legal authority can be worked out for a permanent crime board.
  • “Re-decentralize” the homicide bureau. There are a variety of reasons to do this. The homicide division was decentralized in the 1990’s to force homicide detectives into the districts where they could work more closely with their peers and the community to identify perpetrators, and to solve cases. Warren Riley recentralized the bureau without explaining why he was doing it. He may still have good arguments for that decision, but he ought to explain. I imagine he’d say he wanted to improve communication between homicide detectives, and keep them closer to the crime lab. I think there are other solutions to those problems which don’t require taking detectives away from the districts. The problem with taking detectives out of the districts is that it fundamentally weakens accountability to communities. Consider, for example, the case of Toby Beaugh, killed in a hit-and-run incident — probably by a contractor — on Magazine Street last carnival season. The perpetrator has never been identified and captured. Now, I really like Captain Hosli of the 2nd District. He’s one of the good guys. He knows why he’s at the NOPD. He’s no stranger to tragedy and loss. I’ve never heard him talk about it, but his own father was killed in the Howard Johnson shootout in 1973 when Hosli was twelve years old. Hosli was also out rescuing people from their flooded homes after Hurricane Katrina. I was disappointed, however, when I once asked him if he could provide an update on the Toby Beaugh case. He said he couldn’t, because homicide detectives didn’t communicate with him. Now, I would expect the chief of police to think that’s a problem, and to come up with a solution to improve communication between detectives and district captains. Furthermore, a less-capable commander in a district with a high murder rate could always use the excuse that he doesn’t have the resources he needs to fight the problem. This has to stop.
  • Re-examine the COMSTAT process. What works? What doesn’t? Build a plan based upon successes. The overarching principle behind the COMSTAT process — initially developed to fight a skyrocketing crime problem in New York City — is accountability. The implementation of the process was to decentralize the massive bureaucracy, and to place command control and resources closer to problem areas. In return, commanders had to answer to their superiors for their successes and failures. Placing a respected but tough interrogator in the position of asking commanders to answer for crime in their realm of responsibility is key. The key person in that spot when the NOPD started its crime reductions in the late 1990’s was Deputy Superintendent Ronal Serpas. He was intelligent, he knew the statistics better than commanders and support personnel who answered to him, and he demanded discipline and respect toward the community. The COMSTAT process rewarded and promoted members of the police force who demonstrated success in reducing crime. Ronal Serpas was one of the products of that system, as are now many of the commanders throughout the NOPD. The old system of promoting people based upon seniority was diminished. There must be an independent and countervailing influence on this process, however, to maintain integrity in the process. The NOPD was always accused of “cooking the books” to show crime reductions. I don’t believe the practice was nearly as widespread as people might believe. Nevertheless, an institutional mechanism to prevent abuses has to be in place for the COMSTAT process to work.
  • Consider implementing the zero tolerance policy used in New York City as an option for New Orleans. The principle is that even petty crimes, like graffiti, lead to the right “environment” for crime, encouraging anti-social behavior in individuals who may later turn to more and more anti-social behavior. The New Orleans criminal justice system may not be able to handle this kind of approach until it starts functioning better. In the meantime, the police may produce better results by a completely different approach — only making arrests for violent crimes. Other crimes could be handled by issuing a court summons instead of arresting a non-violent defendant. NOPD officers consume an extraordinary amount of time writing reports and making arrests. An arrest, in particular, takes a lot of time, because defendants have to be driven to lockup and taken into custody, booked, and a report has to be written. Arrests can take an officer off of the streets for hours.
  • Restore community confidence in the criminal justice system. People are less-inclined to report crime or report crime tips if they feel that they or their families may be threatened. Furthermore, they won’t want to cooperate with the police if they don’t trust that the police share their values. Consider the “Danziger 7” — the officers accused of killing an innocent victim on the Danziger bridge, and unjustifiably shooting another. They were cheered by fellow officers when they were forced to “walk the line.” I absolutely won’t say those men are guilty. I won’t say they’re innocent. It doesn’t look good for them, but let the criminal justice system prove their guilt or innocence. When their fellow officers publicly cheered for them, however, they may have fostered the view that the police are above the law, thus deteriorating public confidence. I see this as a command control issue. Warren Riley should have issued orders throughout the entire NOPD bureaucracy about how the case would be handled publicly. That he didn’t, probably speaks to a problem of understanding the consequences of appearances to the community.
  • Provide the same 911 calls for service data, and court data, directly to the community at the same time as it’s provided to the NOPD. The specific addresses can be decimated to protect the privacy of individuals. If this were done, audits of crime statistics wouldn’t be required, because the community would own the data. Members of the community wouldn’t have to wait until The Times-Picayune decides to publish incidents, and could be alerted immediately to emerging patterns of crime in their neighborhoods. The data could be dynamically mapped in an open source Web site for everyone to view on demand. The courts have a records management system which should be required to furnish similar data. Minimally, when an arrested individual is released, the public should be notified who the individual is, what the arrest was, whether the release was on bail or recognizance, or if the release was due to a failed prosecution, and which court issued the release.
  • Improve the training of police officers, improve their effectiveness, and increase their numbers and compensation. Don’t stop with police officers. Work throughout the system to improve the quality of all personnel who the police rely upon to do their jobs. The entire city bureaucracy, for example, is crippled technologically because it relies upon civil service descriptions (and pay scales) which in many cases haven’t been updated in more than thirty years. All positions in the criminal justice system need to be competitive with private industry so that the best talent can be attracted. Support personnel are often overlooked because they aren’t visible, but their role is essential. Having the right people in key support positions is a force multiplier.
  • Improve the technological capabilities of the criminal justice system. As just one example of a meaningful technological improvement, the NOPD needs a records management system for tracking, in particular, known offenders. The NOPD should also be tracking offenses as they move through the criminal justice system. If a known offender ends up back on the street because the courts couldn’t make a prosecution, the NOPD should know about it. Since a minority of criminals are repeat offenders responsible for the majority of crimes, keeping track of their movements and activities is essential to keeping citizens safe.
  • The district attorney’s office appears to be a complete shambles. I have less confidence in the district attorney’s office than I do in the NOPD. I don’t know enough about the court system, and I’m not well-enough acquainted with the post-Katrina situation to make recommendations, but it seems to me that a top-down reorganization would be an improvement, starting at the top.

Yes, there are a host of conditions which breed criminal behavior. These have to be addressed to create the appropriate environment to foster positive behavior, and to instill hope in our youth. But these are longer-term issues. I sense that what people want are short-term solutions that will keep the criminals away from them and their loved ones — right now! We need to keep bad people from hurting good people today, so that tomorrow, or next week, some other loved member of our community isn’t senselessly lost to another violent act committed by people who are already criminals.

I wouldn’t like to vilify Warren Riley as an individual. Like many in the NOPD, he’s a good person who cares about his community, and who wants to do the right thing. I would, however, question his judgment, and his honesty in talking publicly about the impediments to a more effective police department.

Ray Nagin? I’m not so sure I’d be polite if given the opportunity.

Up the chain of elected leadership, Kathleen Blanco gets knocks for saying — in the midst of the current crime crisis and widespread mourning — that she was going to withdraw the National Guard from New Orleans streets because she couldn’t afford to keep them here. This is right on the heels of her attempt at a spending-spree special session.

George W. Bush? Need I say anything. As I’ve said before, when was the last time the man said anything about New Orleans? He’s now calling for an increased investment of resources in Iraq, but when we have so many needs here in New Orleans, and elsewhere around the country, he’s silent. He spends more money in Iraq in six weeks than has been allocated to help homeowners rebuild their homes and their neighborhoods — despite the fact that the failure of the federal levee systems demands not just “assistance,” but “compensation.”

The protests in Washington yesterday against Bush’s wildly-unpopular announcement of troop-level increases in Iraq may mark a historic change in citizen tolerance around the country for autocratic, imcompetent leadership in Washington. What happened in New Orleans yesterday marks the same trend on a local level. The rest of the nation should keep its focus on New Orleans, and support our efforts at building institutions which require more accountability from our elected leadership. As I’ve said elsewhere, and I’ll repeat again and again, as New Orleans goes, so goes the rest of the nation.

Laissez la révolution rouler!

As Alan said, citizens marching on City Hall yesterday decided they weren’t going to eat cake — to which I might add, at least not any cake which we haven’t baked ourselves.

Posted in Clear Channel, Crime, Entercom, Iraq, Katrina Dissidents, Media, Media Democracy, New Orleans, Recall Nagin, WIST, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever, WWL, WWWL | 10 Comments »

For Etienne Nachampassak

Posted by schroeder915 on January 11, 2007

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In the march against crime to City Hall today, I am representing Etienne Nachampassak, a bubbly eleven-month-old who was mercilessly executed by a remorseless, boastful, jeering crackhead.

There really are bad people in this world.

It’s true that our society loses a lot of its youth through bad parenting, bad schools, a lack of opportunity, a lack of health care … a lack of care. A colleague said it well yesterday: the goal should be to eliminate violence in all the ways it’s manifested in our society. Nevertheless, if everyone used the excuse that they didn’t get same chances in this world that other people get, ninety percent of us would be criminals. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who grow up in hardship, and who continue to struggle as adults working multiple jobs which don’t offer a living wage, don’t commit crimes. Yes, it’s true that some CEO’s should be treated by our society as criminals. It’s a tiny minority of people who decide to hurt other people. The majority of crimes are committed by repeat offenders.

It’s one thing to say that society doesn’t give everyone a fair chance in life. It’s entirely another thing to pick up a handgun, aim it at another human being, and pull the trigger. It’s entirely another thing to empty a gun into the backseat of a car carrying two beautiful babies and their mother. It’s entirely another thing to shoot a mother in the neck in front of her husband and two-year old son. It’s entirely another thing to execute a father in front of his children.

Yes, there really are bad people in this world.

We may lament the fact that society didn’t give them a fair shake, but we all exercise free will, and we all make choices. The choice to kill another human being is incomprehensible to me, but it is, in fact, a conscious, willfull choice. Once someone makes that choice, it no longer matters what school they went to, how society screwed them over, why they can’t get a decent job. When one person kills another human being, he has crossed over into another realm. What was a sociological problem, becomes a pathological problem. We have a response to that pathology: our criminal justice system.

I am extremely exasperated and offended by people who argue, for example, that more police won’t solve the crime problem. Who would argue that we don’t need more doctors to fight cancer, or heart disease, or AIDS? Who would argue that we don’t need more teachers to fight illiteracy? While it’s true that the police don’t play a role in fixing bad schools or in addressing any of the other conditions which breed criminals, their job is to place themselves between innocent people, and those who would rob them of their well-being, their freedom, and their lives. The police are the last line of defense. Try telling Paul Gailiunas that putting a police officer between his loving wife Helen Hill and the man who so callously gunned her down wouldn’t have solved the crime problem. Yes, there are problems with the police. They aren’t all model citizens, and some of them are sociopaths. Police organizations like the NOPD can be incredibly dysfunctional. Let’s address those issues separately. The vast majority of police officers really care about serving their communities and catching the bad guys. The vast majority of them would risk their own lives to save another human being. That, my friends, is really caring about your community. Yes, it’s true that the court system is broken in New Orleans. Yes, it’s true that jails aren’t institutions of reform. Yes, I’m sorry that some people turn to lives of crime — once they do, however, I want them off of my streets.

That’s the goal of today’s march against crime. We want the criminal justice system to work for us. We want our public officials to acknowledge our anguish. We want them to use the authority of their offices, and their professional experience, to solve the crime problem in New Orleans.

We should call for action to fix the other problems which breed criminals in another forum. Today, we should march in support of the police. We should march in support of a more effective criminal justice system. We should march for these things, because it would have made a difference to Helen Hill, Dinneral Shavers, Etienne Nachampassak, and the thousands of innocent victims of crime in New Orleans. We should march, because they can’t.

Posted in Crime, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 5 Comments »

Stop killing people!

Posted by schroeder915 on January 8, 2007

For those around the country who might doubt us, we didn’t all vote for Ray Nagin (or Bill Jefferson), but one thing is certain: New Orleanians are in total solidarity in saying, “Stop killing people!”

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NOLA Against Crime

HelenHill.org

The Hot 8 Brass Band

Website celebrates slain filmmaker

b.rox — Helen Hill Will Not Be Forgotten

b.rox — A Wounded Hero Departs

mf.rox — Sad about someone else’s disaster

Nola Nik — Memorial Sculpture for Helen, Paul and Francis Pop

Apophenia — Ephiphanies

Cold Spaghetti — Saying a Thousand Words

The G-Bitch Spot — That New Direction You May Have Missed

The G-Bitch Spot — Not Completely Speechless, But Almost

Your Right Hand Thief — When G-Bitch shivers, I shake

da po’ blog — This One Hurts

American Zombie — The words keep ringing in my ears….

Humid City v2.3 — From the Skull Club

dangerblond — i feel like i need to be hassled more. how about you?

The Garden of Irks and Delights — Mother, Mother, There’s Too Many Of You Crying…

Wet Bank Guide — A Clockwork Merliton

Ashley Morris: The Blog — They don’t care in D.C., but in Toronto …

Traveling Mermaid — Call to Action & Solidarity

DotCalm — Consecrating 2007

Ablaze in this Haze — Make it Stop

adrastos — March Against Mayhem on Thursday

Michael Homan — Helen Hill

Toulouse Street — The Last Ride

First Draft — The People

The Chicory — Enough

Hurricane Radio — The War at Home

New Orleans Slate — The Naked and the Dead

Some Came Running — One of the Millions

Some Came Running — Get Up Stand Up

NOLA-dishu — 2007 Murders Map 2

From The Troublemakers 2004 release, Happy International Flag-Burning Day, “Troublemaker’s Theme”:

Trouble-make, trouble-make, you’re gonna do a double-take, gonna make your legs quake, may even make your heart break, put back together this city of broken dreams. I said take to your feet ‘cuz we’re here in New Orleans.

“We’re All Clones”:

We are the same. We are the same. We are all exactly the same. Instead of trying to kill each other, let’s dance, dance, dance.

The Troublemakers CD features a dedication in the liner notes: “Dedicated to the new baby.”

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Helen collaborated in the CD’s production, and took photos for the liner notes.

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In keeping with the theme of inspired dreams, WTUL’s 20th Century Classics featured a memorial to artists Helen Hill and Dinneral Shavers with a program of music inspired by dreams.

Posted in Crime, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | 19 Comments »