Friday, April 8, 2011

Baker City--All Cops On the Poor, All the Time!

Persecuting the Old & Poor--I feel so much safer now!
[Edited 4/9/11]

If the Baker City Council, City Manager Mike Kee (& ex Police Chief of Ontario, OR), the "Justice" Court, and Baker City Police Department, have ever, and I mean ever, overstepped the bounds of moral, ethical, civil, and sensible human conduct, it was during the last month or four, when code enforcement officer Shannon Regan and Chief Wynn Lohner, allowed the police, under the color of law, using a very misguided and classist intstrument in the form of City Ordinance 3292 , to persecute two older, 80 plus year old people, and a disabled tenant, on Court Street in our "fair" town of Baker City. Their "crime?" Allowing "stuff" to be accumulated on their already ramshackle old property in an out of the way poor neighborhood that is already full of "stuff" and ramshackle old properties. Hang' em high, right?

In a supposedly "democratic" country where the Wall Street fat cats go free after causing a global collapse, and where we deny millions of our people basic health care (& etc.), where "You have 25 percent—almost 25 percent of the income in the upper one percent," (Stiglitz, Democracy Now!), and where BakerCity's own infrastructure is crumbling, Baker City spends tax dollars persecuting the poor. You can read it every day in the "crime" reports. Some of the folks are actually potential threats, but "stuff" piling up on the property of 80+ year olds in an out of the way poor section of town next to a dilapidated industrial zone? I'm sorry, but Baker City government has run amok.

See Baker City Herald:
Code enforcement conundrum

The article above is a must read for at least part of the story.

See also City Manager, ex-Police Chief Mike Kee touting it as an achievement:
Baker City Weekly Report, April 8, 2011.

Please notice in the city's photos that poor is still poor, ramshackle is still ramshackle (Although they cherry-picked the "after" photos.), even after the city ran up incomplete charge of $1,780, not including your taxpayer dollars for the officer's time for the persecution.

This is the latest evolution of the classist persecution of poor people that began most visibly when the police and City Council went after a disabled life-long Baker City resident back in 2009.

Background articles:

SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2009
Property Maintenance Jihad Targets Disabled Life-long Baker City Resident

FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2009
Democracy In Baker City, Plus Calder Update (YouTube)

Law, Order, and Perhaps a Little Justice?

After the Ron Calder fiasco, the City Council, composed of business people, an old locally grown "Judge," a well off retired government employee, a mindless ex-sheriff's deputy, and a librarian, passed a tightened ordinance that they believe allows them to continue the persecution of the poor in Baker City. That is the ordinance that the police and the "Justice" Court used to go after defenseless poor and (really) old people recently. Given that the number of police, and their budget, in some measure depends upon "crimes" prosecuted and "prevented," I believe the ex-police chief City Manager uses these attacks on old people, and other incidents, in an effort to pad the police budget. It used to be called Fascism, now it is business as usual.

Please note that the ordinance, written to please some well off property owners, realtors, and hopeless anal-retentives, as well as the Council, says that:

"The general rule of nuisance law as established by centuries of legal precedent is that no one has absolute freedom in the use of his or her property, but is restrained by the coexistence of equal rights in his or her neighbor to the peaceful, safe, and enjoyable use of their property, so that each, in exercising his or her right, must do no act which causes injury to his neighbor.

The City Council further finds that unsafe, unsanitary, and otherwise improperly maintained premises and structures within the City of Baker City adversely affect the value, utility, and habitability of the property within the city as a whole. In addition to the obvious hazards which these conditions pose to public health, safety, and welfare; they specifically cause substantial damage to adjoining and nearby property."

The Council has added the clauses, of questionable legal validity, that "otherwise improperly maintained premises and structures within the City of Baker City adversely affect the value, utility, and habitability of the property within the city as a whole." and "they specifically cause substantial damage to adjoining and nearby property." Hopefully, the poor among us will find the resources to contest the legal complexities and vagueness of the claims, and the corollary that in order to live in peace with the rich or otherwise comfortable, we must not adversely affect the value of their property (even if we don't possess the will and money to do otherwise).

George Carlin - It's a big club and you ain't in it

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