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Letters to the Editor  http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/letters

A Letter from Joe


 

Letter to editor, Friday, September 4, 2015 @ 2:00 PM

I would like an opportunity to share with you my experience with the ILWU. Many perceive the longshoreman wage system as, "funded by the many (rank and file) for the benefit of the few (Union officials and favors they cultivate). There exists an interwoven and incestuous business relationship between the Pacific Maritime Association, the so-called "progressive" ILWU and other elements of the geopolitical "system." As a graduate of the Jesuit University of San Francisco (USF), I was conned and manipulated when my ILWU registration was denied. Perhaps I lacked (at the time) the political savvy to challenge decisions which were rendered.

I have, as a whistleblower, been blacklisted and falsely arrested in San Francisco for attempting to reveal the circumstances and details of my registration. I have been harassed for a long period of time.  I have corroborating evidence, paperwork relative to my being registered as a longshoreman under the ILWU-PMA "permissive rule"-Coast Labor Relations Committee(CLRC) Item 21-63 Item 2J for sons, and now of course daughters, of deceased longshoreman. Almost twenty years after my Father's death, and after years of being repeatedly denied registration with the union, the union wrote me to inform me that my registration was UNTIMELY, according to the above rule.

I feel this is a clear case of double-jeopardy.  My Father passed away in 1968, and his plug number in  Local 10 was 4075. I was not registered under the "permissive rule until 1986. To my knowledge, this is an UNPRECEDENTED situation and few or none will speak or comment on this potential source of political embarrassment. There remains much, “between-the-lines,” concerning the socio/political purpose of such a late and untimely denial of registration with the ILWU.  

The ILWU was founded by the controversial Harry Bridges, who was considered a radical in the labor movement during the McCarthy era. The ILWU is an economically critical Union whose hierarchy, to my experience and observance, operates like any other self-serving interest group. They pay lip service to a whole laundry list of “so-called” progressive causes and promote a much cozier relationship with employers than many choose to acknowledge. Members of the rank and file and those who believe in the ILWU's reputation seem, unfortunately, to be subjected to cliquey, arbitrary representation. An artificial facade masks what goes on behind the ILWU's public image. The "last great rust-belt union" and an "injury to one is an injury to all" have long been standard descriptions of the ILWU. From my perspective their byline should be: "I got mine, good luck getting yours."

Are the ILWU's socio-political and economical mandates for sale at any given time? Was my registration in the ILWU for the purpose of creating and cultivating a political pawn?  Some of the political activists in the union have carved years out of my life and finances to protect their names. They are not concerned with the merit of the situation or the truth, but their view prevail according to attrition.  I would think that anyone purporting to be an "honest" politician, labor leader, or a socio-politically conscionable and responsible person, would be interested in this matter. 

My name is Joe Gianforte, formerly A book #8724 ILWU Local 10. This local is in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area. My telephone number is (510) 305-7912 and my Email is joegianforte@yahoo.com.  Thank you.


July 16, 2014

This is what the city of Portland has come to: an attempt to erase Mark Kruger's Nazi past from history. Capt. Kruger must see this as a victory. But his worship of SS troops might be erased from a city file as part of some bizarre move after he harassed a female colleague - another incident he has not been held fully accountable for - but Portlanders will remember this police officer who dressed as a Nazi and built a shrine in honor of Hitler's most fearsome troops. We won't forget. And our trust of the Portland Police Bureau and the Portland City Council will be further diminished because of this day. The U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the Portland Police, which found a pattern of civil rights abuses by Portland officers, didn't go far enough. There is a cancer in our bureau and no effective civilian control of this entity whose employees can get away with literally anything.

- Rev. Chuck Currie

503-208-6521


          


Dear Portlander,

 
Since becoming the Police Commissioner in 2010, I have worked closely with Chief Mike Reese and the professional officers who protect our public safety to continuously improve the services that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) provides to our community. Chief Reese and I are committed to continuous improvement, and to systems of accountability within the PPB that are transparent, fair, and build community trust.  
 
Over the past two years, three groups have spent considerable time and effort crafting recommendations to improve operations and the public trust in the PPB's complaint-handling and internal discipline processes: The Citizen Review Committee (through its PARC Report and Structure Review workgroups), the Albina Ministerial Alliance, and the Police Oversight Stakeholders’ Committee. When the third of this series of reports was presented to City Council, I made a commitment to Portlanders that we would closely analyze and release responses to the over 100 recommendations.
 
I am pleased to provide you with this Draft Report on Recommendations Regarding the Portland Police Bureau (PDF). In addition to providing this to the three groups who submitted recommendations to the PPB for their review, I request the feedback of all Portlanders on these important recommendations and our responses.
 
We would like to specifically highlight a few of the recommendations and responses that, together, provide a very brief look at the entire report. The recommendations and responses provided in this email have been paraphrased. You will find more detailed responses to the recommendations in the full report, but take a look below to get an idea of this important dialogue between the community and our police bureau.
 
Our response to each recommendation in this report fall into three general categories:
Recommendations that are already current practice or have been implemented partially or fully to date;
Recommendations the City agrees with but has not yet been implemented; and
Recommendations the City disagrees with.
 
Recommendations that are already current practice or have been implemented partially or fully to date.
 
Some recommendations that are already current practice.  Some recommendations we implemented immediately, and other recommendations are not implemented completely, but have guided improvements. Paraphrased examples include:
The Bureau must involve community members in developing police training and policy.  (AMA #1.5) Agree. Community groups, the community academy, advisory group feedback, the Citizen Review Committee, and City Council currently give input directly to the Chief, and we are further strengthening our current practice.
Policy and training related to de-escalation must be enhanced. (AMA #2.1) Agree. The Bureau recently conducted Inservice training regarding deescalation. For situations requiring a multipleofficer response, Bureau members are trained to make a plan and have a leader responsible for coordinating the response.
The IPR Director or designee shall be called onto the scene of any shooting or death in custody. (AMA #4.6) Agree. Current policy since February, 2011.
PPB should ensure medical aid is rendered “as soon as possible unless the circumstances clearly demonstrate that to do so would unreasonably endanger the officers or the medical personnel.” (CRC PARC Workgroup #3)  The current Deadly Force Directive effectively requires this.  We have also deployed ballistic shields to facilitate faster response to downed suspects.
City Council should provide adequate resources for scenario-based training of PPB officers and supervisors.  (CRC PARC Workgroup #9)  City Council has approved funding for a dedicated training facility for the Police Bureau, and efforts are underway to obtain one.
The initial interview with officers involved in cases of serious injuries or deaths shall be immediate.  (AMA #4.1)  Internal Affairs has adopted a Standard Operating Procedure requiring officers involved in the use of deadly force to submit to a recorded interview as close as possible to 48 hours after the incident.  This is the earliest time allowed under the current collective bargaining agreements.  Witness members are required by Bureau directive to submit to an interview before leaving work for the day.
 
Recommendations the City agrees with but have not yet been implemented
 
Some recommendations will be implemented, but require changes to either Police Bureau policy or procedure, or City Ordinance.  These include:
Increase the length of term for CRC members from two years to three years.  (Stakeholders #II-C) Agree. IPR is working on necessary ordinance changes.
Give CRC the Authority to make policy recommendations directly to the Police Bureau.  (Stakeholders #II-D)  Agree. Requires a slight change to the City Ordinance. IPR is working to make this change.
Broaden the use of cameras with audio recording.  (AMA #10.3)  The Police Bureau is in the process of a pilot project to install cameras in patrol cars, and plans to equip all cars with this equipment.
 
Recommendations the City disagrees with
 
We found some recommendations to be unworkable.  Most of these fell into two general categories:
Inconsistent with current case law, employment law, or collective bargaining agreements.  This category included several recommendations for rigid policies regarding use of force, which were inconsistent with the US Supreme Court’s decision in Graham v. Connor.  This decision has become the standard for police use-of-force policies nationwide. Other recommendations violate current State law regarding the confidentiality of records pertaining to personnel actions.  These recommendations mandated things like public reporting of CRC review documents (Stakeholders #III-F) or a public response from the Bureau when the Chief’s decision differs from the Police Review Board’s recommendation (Stakeholders #III-J).
Inconsistent with the original intent of the Citizen Review Committee or Independent Police Review.  These entities were established in an effort to increase the transparency and fairness of the Police Bureau’s complaint-handling and discipline processes, not to supplant those processes or relieve the Police Bureau of the responsibility of holding its own members accountable.
Some of the recommendations addressed in this report seek to expand the mission of IPR and the CRC from that of review bodies to one of administrative bodies.  Among these are recommendations to require CRC review of proposed allegations before an investigation is started (Stakeholders #II-H), allowing CRC to hear new evidence and rule on that evidence rather than review the reasonableness of the Commander’s proposed findings (Stakeholders #II-A), and allowing the CRC to compel testimony (Stakeholders #II-B).
 
As mentioned, Chief Reese and I are committed to continuous improvement of the Portland Police Bureau. We hope to file this report with the City Auditor's office on Wednesday, November 9, for an initial hearing before City Council on Wednesday, November 16 at 2pm. Additionally, we plan to maintain and improve the bureau's relationship with community groups, oversight organizations, and stakeholders to ensure that the PPB is a public safety agency that represents the values of Portlanders.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Sam Adams
Mayor

November 2011 

Answer to Sam Adams:
 
Since becoming the Police Commissioner in 2010, you have worked a bit too closely with Chief Mike Reese and the professional officers who protect our public safety, and sometimes they have not improved services the PPB provides. Chief Reese seems less committed to continuous improvement and to systems of accountability within the PPB that are transparent, fair, and build community trust and more committed to covering up errors.

The Bureau must involve community members in developing police training and policy.  (AMA #1.5) You may agree, but community groups, the community academy, advisory group feedback, the Citizen Review Committee, and City Council currently give input directly to the Chief, but he
then chooses to ignore them and thus we still get rogue cops on the street and little accountabilty and ineffective management.

Policy and training related to de-escalation must be enhanced. (AMA #2.1) You may agree, but while the Bureau recently conducted Inservice training regarding deescalation, for too many officers this was a joke. For situations requiring a multiple officer response, Bureau members are trained to make a plan and have a leader responsible for coordinating the response. Of course, this has repeatedly failed.  Officers who have killed citizens have not been held responsible.

The IPR Director or designee shall be called onto the scene of any shooting or death in custody. (AMA #4.6) Agree. This may be "current policy since February, 2011," but this is closing the barn door a bit late.

PPB should ensure medical aid is rendered “as soon as possible unless the circumstances clearly demonstrate that to do so would unreasonably endanger the officers or the medical personnel.” (CRC PARC Workgroup #3)  The current Deadly Force Directive effectively requires this, but
it is not happening!!!

The initial interview with officers involved in cases of serious injuries or deaths shall be immediate.  (AMA #4.1)  Internal Affairs has adopted a Standard Operating Procedure requiring officers involved in the use of deadly force to submit to a recorded interview as close as possible to 48 hours after the incident.  This is the earliest time allowed under the current collective bargaining agreements.  Not enough, 2 days later is not immediate!!!
 

Give CRC the Authority to make policy recommendations directly to the Police Bureau.  (Stakeholders #II-D)  You may agree, but it has not been done. If it requires a slight change to the City Ordinance, then the IPR needs to get it done.  So do it.

 "In the process" of a pilot project to install cameras in patrol cars, and plans to equip all cars with this equipment.... is not good enough.  Get it done.

Recommendations mandating things like public reporting of CRC review documents (Stakeholders #III-F) or a public response from the Bureau when the Chief’s decision differs from the Police Review Board’s recommendation (Stakeholders #III-J) are necessary and prudent. Get it done.
And collect the data in a secured cloud accessible to city council, anyone who has been captured on police, and the press.  

If this is inconsistent with the original intent of the Citizen Review Committee or Independent Police Review, then the intent must be changed.
These entities were established in an effort to increase the transparency and fairness of the Police Bureau’s complaint-handling and discipline processes and this is not happening.

Some of the recommendations addressed in this report seek to expand the mission of IPR and the CRC from that of review bodies to one of administrative bodies.  Good, go for it, get it done!

Sincerely yours,
 
Tim Flanagan

Associate editor of the Portland Alliance

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