Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

Heya, Pittsburger. Are you up in arms about allegations that the Pittsburg City and police department decided to lure new residents and lull old residents by falsifying crime statistics and pretending that actual crimes are not crimes? Sure you are! And if recent reactions from the CoP are any indication, the city brass seems pretty nervous. You have city leaders springing into action, speaking at the yacht club (you know they are worried when they have to haul themselves before the yacht club!) and speaking on the topic during city council meetings. It looks like the City Manager’s office and City Attorney are in full-fledged damage control.


But, hey, rest assured. As the City Manager Joe Sbranti recently told the East Bay Times, the CoP took the initiative and asked the CC District Attorney’s office to launch a fair and independent investigation into the police statistics. He added that he is fully confident they will find that nothing was reported incorrectly. Similarly, Pittsburg Mayor Ben Johnson reported that he is confident the investigation will exonerate the CoP “100%.” Well, it certainly is refreshing to see the City Manager and Mayor so all-fired confident about the conclusions of an investigation that has not happened yet, when they might otherwise be expected to appear impartial and not draw any foregone conclusions before the investigation has even begun. It is almost like they know what the report will say ahead of time, but that would be impossible. Wouldn’t it?


And, now that we know of their 100% pre-cog confidence in the result, how can we be confident if they prove to be right? There is a reason why politicians in danger of being caught in the flames of a public scandal conflagration say things like “I will not comment on a pending investigation.” Most of the time, that is the whole point of putting on the show of having an investigation by interested parties in the first place, so politicians can avoid commenting on it until it delivers predetermined results. But you don’t tell everybody that the results are predetermined! I really have to hand it to the CoP, here. They managed to challenge the credibility of this investigation at the outset. Well handled.


We also have former Police Chief and current council member Will Casey publicly responding by calling the plaintiff in the lawsuit bringing these allegations to light “a jerk.” Way to keep it classy, Will. But even a jerky clock is right twice a day…or however that saying goes.  And, City Planning Commissioner AJ Fardella took to Facebook commentary to say that this is “bad PR for us. Needs to be cleared up.” Sorry to differ here, AJ, but this is much worse than a matter of bad PR, and your comments are ambiguous. Do you mean “cleared up” in the sense of “thoroughly investigated and resolved to the extent of putting the public’s concerns to rest”? Or were you going more for “swept under the rug and replaced with better stories”? Much in the same way that people usually try to “clear up bad PR.”  We need to do more than that.


We, as a community, need to take this in. We need to demand the truth of these allegations. We need to decide who is responsible if they are true, and how to ensure that it does not continue. We need to take the CoP out of the “suspicious circumstances” file, investigate, and hold those responsible accountable. Otherwise, we may need to take a page from the history book of our former namesake and neighbors to the West, look into changing the name of the city and start over. I wonder how our neighbors would feel about “East Bay Point”?


~ Zorro