Around the world of politics, government and sports faster than it will take President Barack Obama to get on a plane and survey the deadly devastation of yet another Louisiana flood:
▪ The 16-year-old Hoover High student who failed to comply with a Fresno police officer’s commands, as well as the bystander who videoed the incident, did the Black Lives Matter movement no favors.
All the student had to do was follow orders and the likely outcome would have been an explanation of the bad things that can happen when you jaywalk at a busy intersection. No harm, no foul. Instead the result was a wrestling match that could have – but thankfully didn’t – end in injury or death for the student or the officer.
If you believe the officer singled out the student because he was black, or if you have jaywalked when a patrol car was nearby without being warned or ticketed, allow me to explain something. Patrol officers in Fresno are continually responding to calls: burglaries, robberies, domestic violence, assaults and more. They aren’t going to stop for a jaywalker.
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The officer in the Hoover incident is part of the motorcycle division; his job is traffic enforcement. And early in the school year, traffic officers focus on the areas near schools with the goal of keeping everyone safe.
Imagine if this student had caused an accident by running into traffic. Everyone would be wanting to know why the cop didn’t prevent it.
Police critics are always suggesting that officers “engage in a conversation with the community.” That’s hard to do when some members of the community have no interest in talking to cops, much less following their instructions.
Full disclosure: I am the father and the brother of law enforcement officers, neither of whom works for the Fresno Police Department. I think about them often – their service to their communities, their love of the profession, and their love of family. Every morning, I pray that they return home safe and sound.
Yes, there are bad cops. And racist cops. But you shouldn’t judge all by the bad deeds of a few. Just imagine the dire straits our city would be in without the men and women who do the tough, increasingly complicated job of patrolling our streets, investigating crimes and catching criminals.
▪ With his proclaimed disdain for so-called political correctness, and his disrespect for political rivals, Donald Trump has lowered the bar for discourse and behavior in American presidential elections.
Now anti-Trump forces have dropped the bar even more by putting up statues of a naked Trump in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Cleveland. People behind this exercise in poor taste call themselves INDECLINE.
Yes, they are.
▪ More than 1,400 Tulare County families live in homes that have run out of water since 2014. Help could be on the way if AB 1588, co-authored by Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, and Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, clears one last hurdle in the Assembly and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill, passed unanimously in the Senate – imagine that! – would tap $15 million in the state budget already earmarked for drought relief. The bill would help drought-stricken Californians get water by offering low-interest loans to extend service lines, install water-treatment systems, deepen wells and make other improvements. Not only should the bill become law, but the governor should make it clear to his top water officials that thirsty Valley communities get the lion’s share of the funding.
▪ A question for builders of the northeast Fresno homes with unsafe lead levels in the water and water discoloration: Why were you using galvanized pipe for plumbing systems in the late 1980s and 1990s? Health and construction experts have warned since the 1960s that galvanized pipe was bad news.
▪ Headline of the Week goes to the New York Post for “Liar, Liar, Speedo on fire” to lead a story on Ryan Lochte, the U.S. swimmer who got in hot water for fabricating a tale about being robbed at gunpoint after night of partying at the Rio Olympics.
Not only is Lochte the poster boy for the Ugly American, he’s disloyal, too. High-tailed it home from Rio while leaving three teammates behind to face the music from Brazilian police.
▪ Fresno County Superior Court judges are burdened by heavy caseloads and jammed calendars. They shouldn’t be supervising the probation chief, too, much less conducting investigations into alleged policy violations by current Probation Chief Rick Chavez, who is suspended with pay.
The state funds the courts while the county pays the probation chief’s salary; thus, county officials should have oversight of the probation chief position. Voters have an opportunity to approve such a move on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Help us tell the stories that need telling. Sends tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill McEwen is The Bee’s opinion page editor.