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Councilwatch: Police Board goes under the microscope

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Five thoughts as we head toward Thursday’s 2 p.m. hearing at Fresno City Hall on the proposed Citizens Public Safety Advisory Board:

1.) I spoke Wednesday with a council member who supports Mayor Lee Brand’s proposal. I spoke Wednesday with a council member who opposes the proposal.

They came to the same conclusion: The proposal will pass on a 5-2 vote, with Council Members Steve Brandau and Garry Bredefeld on the losing side.

2.) Today is March 16. That’s the birthday of James Madison. Just think if Madison hadn’t been in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Just think if Madison and Alexander Hamilton hadn’t written almost all of The Federalist Papers. Just think if Madison hadn’t been around when the Bill of Rights was in its gestation stage.

The local mainstream media are busy patting themselves on the back for their support of Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week is centered on Madison’s birthday. Sunshine Week is a seven-day celebration of transparent government.

Yet, only CVObserver finds it undemocratic that the Citizens Public Safety Advisory Board will do its business behind closed doors.

3.) I attended Wednesday evening’s Planning Commission meeting at City Hall. I headed home shortly after 8 p.m. I was on foot. I was alone. It was dark.

I live near Bullard High School. I walked much of the way on Blackstone Avenue. I saw a lot of interesting things.

Fresno police officers have a very tough job.

4.) The legislation before the council will give authority to nine Fresnans appointed by the Mayor to investigate the Police Department. Nine laymen/laywomen.

Fresnans from all walks of life and all parts of town have an immense stake in the Board.

That means the Board is much more than a source of power. The Board is a government-created entitlement. Government-created entitlements turn into government-guaranteed civil rights.

The working definition of a government-guaranteed civil right always expands.

5.) Who is FPOA’s president?


Photo: The Fresno Bee

George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

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