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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Don, Career Politician Exposed in Proposition 29


            While Proposition 29 proponents trot out charities like the American Heart Association and celebrities like Lance Armstrong, there’s a far more ominous force behind its drive to create a brand new tax of about $1 billion per year.      

            Don Perata, a career politician and failed candidate for Oakland Mayor, has just been outed by the Oakland Tribune in an investigative report that ran Friday. As the Tribune reports:

            Perata’s “Hope 2012” ballot-measure committee began raising money for what’s now known as Proposition 29 way back in 2009, and has transferred $488,500 to Californians for a Cure – the primary committee backing the measure… Now Perata himself has received $5,792.17 since July from Californians for a Cure, including $2,607.19 for “meetings and appearances” and $2,508.36 for travel expenses.

            Digging through campaign disclosure forms, the Tribune finds, “The rest of Californians for a Cure’s expenditure list reads like a who’s-who of former Perata aides and consultants.”

            It seems the self-dealing that will no doubt flow if Proposition 29 is passed has already started. By creating a brand new spending commission staffed with political appointees, it’s almost guaranteed to excel at taking money from taxpayers and placing it into the pockets of special interests. With Proposition 29’s 15 year lock-box on funds, not even the Governor nor the state Legislature can step in even in cases of waste, fraud and abuse.

            The same sort of ugly political self-dealing that’s sure to result if California voters were to pass Proposition 29 has already begun within its campaign. It’s one thing for them to do it with their own money, but something entirely different if they’re allowed to get their hands on ours.


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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.