Andrew McCullough's Blog

Friday, November 30, 2007

State Trooper; and the Blue Boutique

November 30, 2007

First, please read yesterday's blog, if you have not already done so, and do what you can to help. But things are moving so fast, I had to write again regarding new happenings.

Next, the Utah Highway Patrol issued its preliminary findings today regarding Trooper John Gardner and the now famous tasering incident in Vernal. As I predicted last week, they are standing by their own. I think they failed to really see what was in the video, and that is that their officer was near hysteria over nothing more than a bewildered motorist trying to figure out what was going on. The plaintive questiion issued just before the weapon was fired: "What's wrong with you?" has not been answered. And it is clear that UHP doesn't see much wrong at all. But, in a strange twist, they have stated that they will review their policies on the use of force. So, maybe they do see something wrong. For now, however, the officer is vindicated, and we are given the message to be a little more afraid of our police. That is not the message I was hoping to hear. Officers are encouraged to use the catch phrase "officer safety" in all difficult situations, even when, as in this incident, there was no "officer safety" issue. The bigger issue is that of public safety, and this incident did not do anything to increase that. The next time an officer asks, out of the blue, and with no legal authority: "Do you mind if I search your car?" a few more people are going to think that the alternative of standing up for their rights is not worth the trouble. And that is just sad. I would love to hear our present attorney general call for his own investigation into the agency that protects their own at the expense of the public; but it will not happen. So, once again, I urge my readers to do something to be heard.

Lastly, the news has been full of stories about the Sugerhouse landmark store, Blue Boutique, and its attempt to move a few blocks east, after their present building was slated to be torn down for new devolopment. Those who would censor anything they personally do not like are in fine form on this one. They want the Salt LakeCity ordinance defining Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB's) to be amended so that they can prohibit a store which sells even a very small amount of "adult product" to be classified as an SOB and banned from much of the city. The City Attorney is looking at possible amendments, and it is possible that litigation may be coming. The legal difficulty comes from the theory of "secondary effects" which allows a city to push a business into "outer darkness" if that business is thought to increase crime or decrease property values in its neighborhood. Secondary effects, if they exist at all, have long been claimed to exist around businesses which cater mostly to "dirty old men" who nearby residents and business people do not want around them. This busies, however, is targeted much more at women, and has none of the qualities associated with such effects. This is censorship, and nothing more; and it is both wrong and unlawful. It needs to be resisted. So, Salt Lake residents, let your city officials know that they cannot spend yout tax money on this effort, and that they must preserve the city as a place which allows diversity and a little fun.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Need Petition help

Our Libertarian Petition to get us on the Utah ballot came is almost 600 signatures short. We need at least 700 more to assure getting on the ballot. I am all set to run for office, and cannot do that without my party. Please help. Download the petition at my website, (left side of home page), get some people to sign it, and get it to me -- even if you don't have a full page. Every signature at this point counts. This is my last time to run for office, and I need support to even be able to start. E-mail this to your friends. If a bunch of people just got 10 signatures each, it would be over in a week. We will be taking signatures at least through the end of the year. Pass them out at your Christmas party.

The petition says something about wanting to join th party. Do not worry, you do not have to join the party. Just help us get on the ballot, and we will not bother you about anything else.

Just think of what politics would be like without fun people like me. What a dull thing it would be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Police brutality?

November 21, 2007 -- This morning's Salt Lake Tribune reported that an investigation is underway after a UHP trooper fired a taser at a man who would not sign a speeding ticket. The actual video is on Youtube, and is highly disturbing. The trooper appears to have completely lost control of himself over the man's statement that "I'm not signing anything." The trooper was not in any kind of danger, and there can be no excuse for his behavior. Perhaps we will all be pleasantly surprised when he is publicly disciplined. Far too many times, inappropriate or unlawful behavior by law enforcement personnel is tolerated. It should never be so. People want to be able to trust and depend on law enforcement officers. Thus, the average citizen usually will give the officer the benefit of the doubt. After all, the alternative is to be afraid. We SHOULD be able to trust law enforcement; and when police violate our trust, they should be promptly and firmly dealt with. They certainly expect that of the rest of us. I found the video easliy by looking for Officer John Gardner and the UHP on Youtube. Watch the video, decide for yourself, and then make your voice heard.

In a completely unrelated note, the Governor of New Jersey says he will go to work as usual on Friday morning, and he expects other State employees to do the same. This is the first time in 40 years that the Governor has not given State employees an extra day off with pay, beyond the holidays declared by the legislature. The employees, who feel that this is owed to them, are up in arms. Wah!! As someone who has NEVER had a paid holiday, I am unimpressed. And as a taxpayer, I hope that other governments do likewise and save all of us a great deal of tax money!

Happy Thanksgiving to all (even those who -- like me -- have to go back to work on Friday).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fiddling with Constitutional rights

November 18, 2007 -- The Deseret News, of Salt Lake City, reports this weekend that a move is underway in the Constitutional Revision Commission of the State of Utah to "clarify" the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Utah Consitutiona. The Utah provision, contained in Article I ยง 14, is essentially the same as the Federal one. On occasion, however, the State Supreme Court has had reason to grant more protections to the citizens of this State than do the Federal Courts. The current Attorney General of Utah, and former Federal Judge Paul Cassell, want to make sure that this does not happen again. In fact, it is also being discussed that the exclusionary rule be eliminated, as much as State courts can do so. That rule says that evidence which is unlawfully seized cannot be used in court. It is the only way courts have found to effectively force police officers to obey the law. The moving parties suggest that a police officer who breaks the law could be punished separately. That has always been a possiblity, of course, but one that simply never happens. It is my view that the Attorney General, who is elected by the people, should answer to them, and not to the police. He should be resisting efforts to lessen our precious consitutional rigths, According to this aritcle at least (it can be seen on my website under "news"), he is not doing that. Well, there is an election next year for his position, and I ask those who are concerned about their freedoms to send a message. It is time for a change. and I ask for your help in making it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Vouchers; and the new AG

November 2, 2007 -- Just a couple of short notes today. Without taking a position on the big debate on school vouchers in Utah (on the ballot next week), I am just dying to make an observation. The pro-voucher crowd is advertising like crazy that "eastern liberals" like Ted Kennedy oppose vouchers. That, it seems is good enough reason to support them. While Senator Kennedy may well oppose the principle of private school vouchers, I would bet money that he doesn't even know about the ballot measure in Utah. The thing that makes it funny is that the pro-voucher people are now running non-stop ads that claim Mitt Romney and Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida support the vouchers. I just have to ask (to no one in particular): Is it OK for eastern conservatives to weigh in on this question, but not eastern liberals? What business is it of Mitt Romney's anyway? Just a question, for what it is worth. Either way, get out next week and vote. It is good for the soul.

And now for a quick word about the new AG. Seems he was almost scuttled when he refused to say that waterborading is torture, and therefore illegal under the U.S. law that prohibits torture. Well, it seems that a majority of the Senate will confirm him anyway next week. And perhaps we will have a new legislative act to prohibit this outrageous practice. This is necessary because President Bush repeadedly claims that we do not torture, but refuses to give us his definition. Like President Clinton, he apparently reserves the right to have his own private definition of words (with Clinton, it was "sex"). It is time for those of us who know torture when we see it; and who do not think it is OK for our government to do it, to make sure that the next election ousts the present power elite, and replaces them with those who do not believe that we should stoop to the degenerate policies of our worst enemies. That is what makes us different from thsem (or at least it should). Please do your part to bring about change. There is so much to do.
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