Archive for March 6th, 2014

by lizard

John Walsh must have learned from Jon Tester that it’s much more politically advantageous to do things like kill the dreams of immigrant children than risk losing a few ignorant voters they probably weren’t going to get anyway. That’s how I read the disappointing actions John Walsh took when he joined 6 of his fellow Democrats in killing the nomination of Debo P. Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. From the link:

Seven Democrats joined with Republicans in blocking a final vote on the nomination, the largest number of Democrats to vote against an Obama nominee, according to Senate aides. Adegbile’s ties to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an internationally known prisoner convicted of the 1981 murder of Officer Daniel Faulk­ner, had become the focus of a conservative crusade that boiled over in recent weeks.

A senior aide to one of the senators who voted against the nominee said several senators’ offices were “very angry” at the White House for moving ahead with the nomination even though it could leave Democrats who are facing tough reelection races vulnerable to attack ads.

“It’s a vote you didn’t have to take. It’s a 30-second ad that writes itself,” said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak frankly.

On Monday, Missoula’s City Council took a hard vote that I’m sure no one was looking forward to taking. Several people on council described the difficulty they had making their decision, including Adam Hertz. The vote on whether or not to include “sitting” in the updated ordinances was very close. If Hertz had voted for the amendment to include sitting, it would have been tied 6-6, and the mayor would have voted yea. But he didn’t, and an almost guaranteed lawsuit the city would fight and probably loose was (hopefully) avoided.

This whole ordinance fiasco led me to a realization that I was wrong 3 years ago when I criticized the Indy’s endorsement of Adam Hertz in this post. Here is the part from the Indy piece I quoted (October, 2011):

The way we’re reading the wind, the conservative bloc should expect to lose two seats. Meanwhile, a Copple victory would give progressives unprecedented control of city government. For some, that’s an exciting prospect. But perhaps they should be concerned. The last time the left had the Missoula Council locked down, back in the mid-’90s under the banner of the New Party, they handled it so badly that within a few short years the group’s label had become political poison and it disbanded.

The ordinance issue was handled very badly, and if it wasn’t for the vote of a young conservative, it would have been even worse. Hopefully Missoula doesn’t still get sued because the city is already singing the union scape-goating blues.

Going back to John Walsh, his campaign is hoping you don’t pay too much attention to his cowardly political pandering by quickly reloading the 24 hour news cycle with this: Senator Walsh introduced Bill to restrict NSA and FBI snooping:

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., introduced his first bill Thursday, to restrict the ability of federal security agencies to secretly collect phone records and other personal data on U.S. citizens.

Walsh’s bill, titled the Civil Liberties Defense Act, also would require the National Security Agency to purge records of already collected data that don’t comply with standards established by the act.

“As I’ve been traveling around the state … this is an issue that I’m hearing about from Montanans, about the government trampling on our civil liberties,” he said in an interview. “I said that when I came here, I wanted to identify problems, find a fix for the problem and solve that problem.”

John Walsh want see problem. Then John Walsh want find fix for problem. Then John Walsh solve problem.

Go get ’em Tiger!

If John Walsh is concerned about civil liberties, all he has to do is look at Missoula, where sitting on a public sidewalk downtown nearly became a criminal act.

I read something earlier today (h/t ‏@Schwad4HD14 ) that I’m having a hard time believing, because it’s just too perfect to be true. It’s a story about what happens when an ordinance intended for “those” people is equally enforced:

FORT WALTON BEACH —A local family says their afternoon at a local park was ruined after a homeless person complained to police that they were lying down.

Under the city code, visitors to parks cannot “sleep or protractedly lounge” on seats, benches or other areas.

Michelle McCormick said she and her husband were at Fort Walton Landing Saturday with two young children. She said her husband was wrestling with them when a police officer approached.

“She walked up to us and said, ‘Sir, I’m going to have to tell you to get up. There’s an ordinance against lying down in the park,’ ” McCormick said.

“My husband was just incredulous.”

Police Sgt. Bill Royal said the officer was responding to a complaint from a park visitor.

“We received a phone call, and it was a homeless person,” he said. “He was complaining about individuals lying on blankets near the gazebo.”

The call log indicates the officer made the family aware of the city ordinance that prohibits lying down in the park.

McCormick said the officer was “pleasant enough” but firm about what the ordinance allows.

“My husband sat up and by this time, he was fuming and we packed up to go,” she said. “… (The day) was so spoiled at that point, we didn’t want to stay.”

Police officials said the ordinance is intended to keep people from sleeping in the park and interfering with the use of local parks.

“There’s a safety factor,” Royal said. “You may trip someone.”

City Manager Michael Beedie said he wasn’t sure when the ordinance was enacted but that it was designed to keep vagrants and others from sleeping in the park.

Capt. Tom Matz said the police department cannot discriminate against vagrants and must treat all park visitors equally.

McCormick said the city should not use the ordinance to keep parents from relaxing with their children in a park on a sunny day.

“It’s taking a really big brush to a small problem,” she said. “It’s like they didn’t think about the ramifications.”

A cautionary tale, indeed.

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