It doesn't surprise me that a Civil Service commissioner with a dual role as a member of the Police Advisory Council feels that his gig should be disbanded ("Police advisory council will go on," Dec. 30).
To me, many who've been in the inner circle of longtime commissioners only pretend to look out for the public interest. If Sam Manoukian finds no useful purpose for the advisory council, maybe he should step aside and let a more concerned member of the public take his place.
A cursory look at the quality-of-life indicators demonstrate an increase in teen drug use. Pedestrian safety continues to plague the city. The impact of the curtailed school resource officers program needs a full evaluation.
The effectiveness of the helicopter and canine units need to be evaluated. The objectives and cost of the new DNA lab as justified to the City Council needs to be vetted. The lawsuit by police officers needs more public scrutiny.
Yet these advisory group meetings are poorly advertised and often scheduled in conflict with other more regularly scheduled commission meetings. What we need is a concerted effort for a fresh batch of commissioners who are truly concerned with their role as the interface between the public and the city's internal machinery. Maybe then we'll get our money's worth from these hugely expensive city departments.
Counterpoints to Teahan's column
Michael Teahan's column ("Tropico Perspective: Parsing language, media influence politics," Dec. 29) suggests that "maybe we can start talking again." OK — let's.
Teahan states as to Obama health care: "We became fixated on the government aspect and never had a chance to talk about the fact that it was an option."
No. Americans are "fixated" that the plan adds 10 million more people to our nation's insurance rolls, yet makes no provision for adding even one more physician. If someone chooses the "option" not to participate, that individual (by 2014) will be fined a minimum of $695 a year, or 2.5% of household income — whichever is greater.
"Global warming is a fact," asserts Teahan.
Earth's warming or cooling is part of the natural cycle of our planet for billions of years. Science must be predicated upon facts, not upon the raising of hands by academics who depend on government grants for their livelihood.
Teahan asks, "did the government bail out the banks and General Motors or did we invest in them?"
"We" didn't invest in Government Motors. Instead, "we" wiped out bond-holders (representing debt, not ownership) in General Motors. Their rights were violated by the federal government, with billions now lost by tens of thousands of middle-class Americans for retirement.
Obama characterized the GM bailout as a necessary "rescue." In the year 410, the Visigoths sacked Rome, but at least they were straightforward about it. It was — and is — called pillaging and plunder.
Indeed, let's start talking again. But let's get our facts straight.
Allen E. Brandstater