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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summary of Pension Dates and Votes | CalWatchDog

John Seiler:

The Orange County Register’s Teri Sforza wrote up a great summary of California’s pension crisis, beginning with goosing the pensions during the past decade. She brings up the 9/11 attacks and the overwhelming support that went to police and firemen across the country. Then the police and fire unions took advantage of the taxpayers:

Among the many legacies of 9/11 — a nation’s sudden sense of its own fragility, trillions spent on military and security operations, not being able to accompany guests to airport departure gates — is the legacy of uber-generous public safety pensions, which may result in government agencies essentially paying two police and firefighter forces: One that works, and one that doesn’t.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that police and fire unions took advantage of the 9/11 tragedy to increase their pension benefits,” said Jack Dean, editor of pensiontsunami.com, in an email. “No elected official wanted to appear ungrateful for our local ‘heroes’ in uniform, and so they gave them whatever they asked for. Unfortunately, we taxpayers — and our children and grandchildren — will be suffering the consequences of those pension formula boosts for many decades.”

It wasn’t just Orange County.

Click to read the post at CalWatchDog.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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