Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest View-Diane Peters: The Other Side of The Equation (Part 1)

During the Call to Audience at the May 7th council meeting, five citizens gave their opinions regarding comments made by Councilmembers Garner and Zinkin who dared to criticize the Oro Valley Police Department ("OVPD") in the April 17th edition of the Arizona Daily Star.  Three of the five speakers were law enforcement officers.

Terry Parish (Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy and former Oro Valley Town Council member) said that Zinkin and Garner have forgotten why they became council members. He said they’re supposed to “serve the community” and “raise the community up” rather than “drag the community through the mud in the newspaper.”

If he truly believes this, then why didn’t he speak out when Mayor Hiremath wrote a Christmas Day rant in the local newspaper that was filled with nothing but contempt and mudslinging? Mudslinging on Christmas Day! Parish was silent despite his claims of being a devout Christian. Why didn’t he speak out about the malevolent signs that were posted all over town for weeks asserting that Councilmember Zinkin “degrades women?” That’s also mudslinging, is it not? How did those malicious signs “raise the community up?”

He also claimed that because Oro Valley was named one of the top 8 safest suburbs in the nation, that Garner’s derogatory comments about the OVPD have “zero credibility.” I fail to see the connection. You can have a police department filled with prima donna’s and thugs and still have a safe community. Our community is safe partly because of the diligence of the police department and partly because of our demographics, a factor that the OVPD worshippers always overlook. They insist that it’s solely because of the police department. The only way to prove that theory is to transfer every OVPD police officer to South Tucson and see if South Tucson suddenly becomes one of the safest communities in the nation.

Parish closed his speech by admitting that it is the job of the council to ask questions about the budget.

Marshall Morris (President of the Oro Valley Police Officers Association)claimed that the Arizona Daily Star article showed that Zinkin and Garner have a complete lack of respect and understanding of what the OVPD do. If that’s true, could it be because when they ask questions of the OVPD, they often do not get answers, only deflections and attacks on their character and abilities? If Morris truly believes that these councilmembers do not respect the OVPD or understand the demands of a police officer’s job, then isn’t this a compelling reason to turn police oversight over to the Town Manager? Officer Morris seems to want to have it both ways. He wants police oversight to be handled by the council while claiming that some members of the council are ill-equipped to handle that oversight.

He also stated that Council Members Garner and Zinkin don’t attend a lot of town events. That’s because, despite Terry Parish’s assertions, Zinkin and Garner have not forgotten why they became council members. It’s not to attend ribbon cuttings and tree lightings. They are paid to represent the interests of the citizens…the taxpayers.

Councilmembers who attend countless “town events” do so only for their own self-serving interests. They like to hob-nob. They like to make connections that they can use in the future. They’re looking for photo ops. People who shine from within don’t have an incessant need to be in the spotlight. While others are attending frivolous town events, Councilmembers Garner and Zinkin are reading and researching documents in preparation for council meetings. As a result, they show up at those meetings well-prepared.

Morris also stated that Zinkin and Garner miss more council meetings than the others. FACT: With the exception of missing one study session, Council Member Zinkin has not missed one council meeting since he was elected. And on the occasion when Council Member Garner is unable to be there in person, he attends the meetings via conference call.

Perhaps it’s time for these law enforcement officers to take their own advice and stop slinging mud and false accusations at two of the hardest working members of the Town Council.
Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast.  Combining her love of animals and writing, she wrote her first protest letter at the age of 12 to the Canadian Prime Minister in support of ending the annual baby harp seal hunt.  Years later, she flew by helicopter to the ice floes off the coast of Newfoundland where she was able to pet baby harp seals recently born on the frozen tundra.  Her other interests include reading, nature photography, traveling to National Parks, Native American history, art galleries, museums, and following politics.  In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England, including coordinating Oncology Clinical Trials and preparing manuscripts for publication in medical journals.  Her husband is an Army veteran who served in Germany and South Korea.  A former hippie, he attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Upstate New York.


Richard Furash, MBA said...

Thanks for this guest view, Diane. To me, the reaction of the police union and their sycophants to any criticism of any kind is always "over the top." Can anyone explain why this is?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Because we want to take their free "take home" vehicles away from them?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Thanks for the reminder, John. Too many O.V. residents don't know the history of this place, and the characters who designed so many of its fees & taxes.

Oro Valley is going to the dogs, literally.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

A reader sent me an email with the following response to my question:

"You pose a question about police reaction to criticism.

I don't hear public statements critical of the police department in terms of performance. I do hear questions publicly related to budget and department spending.

I think the newspaper article, which I didn't read and don't intend to, contained words related to police attitude. As a OV police volunteer for 7 years I observed police reaction to calls of all kinds...many of a non emergency nature. If I were asked to describe what I experienced as a member of the police volunteer unit, the last words I would use is prima donna or thugs.

But that's Free Speech and Freedom of the Press. I support the use or abuse of speech however appalling or inaccurate. I think the article was unfortunate in the use of wording, and I think the police employees who spoke publicly were wrong to do so. Public officials take a lot of heat. Some is warranted; much is exaggerated or just plain wrong. But criticism goes with the territory whether its a high profile position in government or business. Most times people in the cross hairs have to ignore criticism, and adopt the attitude of, "forgive them Lord for they know not what they do"."

Richard Furash, MBA said...

The email you received is correct for the most part.
Indeed, I do not recall many complaints about OV Police performance. I think most bloggers on this site support the police department. We do voice our concerns about the apparent lack of proper oversight of our police budget, and our town government's inability to address our concerns.

Now as to the thuggery question. This (name calling) stems from the activities of the police union. Anytime anyone questions budget items such as take home vehicles or strict accountability of police overtime payments, you can be sure that union reps will show up at the TC meetings to express their opinion.

This is free speech and I submit that the moniker "union thug" has a long historical background and is a noble title, like damn yankee or right wing - wing nut, or left wing pinko.

I, for one, enjoy the name calling, this is America, we are not oppressed Iranians who get thrown into jail for dancing. In fact I think our mayor should be subjected to a group chicken dance at the next meeting. I would love to see his head explode!!

Richard Furash, MBA said...

As a relative newbie to OV I have learned to enjoy the legacy experience that John Musof brings to these issues.

Additionally, I think the OVPD is probably doing a very good job operationally, and they d___ well should be given their "best in class" pay and benefits structure. My beef with them is that as an organization they cannot accept any type of suggestion or criticism from those who pay for their services without acting threatened and voicing disparagement to or about those who question them. This reaction strongly indicates that there is institutional knowledge that the suggestions or criticism are valid.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

John Musof -- Are non-residents of Oro Valley allowed to address the town council sessions? Are town employees allowed to address the town council? Is Marshall Morris (President of the Oro Valley Police Officers Association) a resident of Oro Valley?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

The over-the-top reaction is a tactic to instill fear and shame into those who criticize them. It's a way to threaten them into silence. It's the same tactic that Mayor Hiremath uses during council meetings when Zinkin or Garner make a statement that he doesn't like. Attack their character, attack their credibility, ridicule them, shame them into silence. The reaction is always out of proportion to the "offending" comment.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

And their overtime pay for working only an 8-hour week.