I took note that Shayne Gallo proposed a Youth Crime Task Force to deal with serious problems with youth crime. I support the idea, though believe that the task force should deal with ALL crime, not just youth crime.
What is more interesting to me is the reaction of the politicos. In 2007, I proposed a Crime Task Force. The proposal was supported by 2 Democrats (Lenny Walker and Clint Brown) and myself. In return, I was accused of racial profiling and racism. Mayor Sottile and Chief Keller vehemently opposed the idea, and the City Corporation Counsel's Office, of which Shayne was and is a member, claimed the idea was illegal under the City Charter.
For proof of these events, click HERE, HERE, or HERE. Each link will take you to a different 2007 story in the Daily Freeman.
Now, let's fast forward to 2011. Shayne Gallo proposes a Crime Task Force for youth crime. Chief Keller has "no comment". No comments were forthcoming from Mayor Sottile or Alderman-at-Large Noble, both of whom attacked my proposal unmercifully. I must also ask how Mr. Gallo intends to create this commission when his own office has already declared it illegal and contrary to the City Charter.
Notwithstanding the incredible hypocrisy of the City Democrats and the Police Chief who lampooned the idea 4 years ago when offered by a Republican and now seemingly have no comment when the proposal is made by a Democrat, I still support the idea, but think it needs to go farther. The task force should concern ALL crime with youth crime and deterrence of youth crime being a large focus.
This is in response to the comment at 11:47. My response is too long for a "comment" and must therefore be added to the article itself.
My proposal was not a citizen task force, though some citizens would have been on it.
I first proposed the idea in my 2006 Minority Leader Speech. Here is an excerpt of the speech which encompassed the proposal.
"We must take an aggressive stance against crime in this city. There are four members of this Council (Aldermen Teetsel, Walker, Senor, and myself) who were supported and endorsed by the newly formed Kingston Safest City Party. We all agreed to support the formation of a Commission against Crime constituted of various members of law enforcement and citizenry which would be dedicated to the research and review of various ways, methods, and ideas to reduce crime and make Kingston the safest -- not safe or safer-- but safest city in the State of New York. Being a man of my word, I call upon this Council to create this commission. We only need one more to join the four of us and we can get it done right away.
Additionally, we need to see the creation of an Ulster County Drug and Gang Violence Task Force. This task force would consist of the Kingston Police Department, New York State Police, Ulster County Sheriff's Office, Ulster County District Attorney's Office, and other municipal police forces throughout the county. The idea would be to pool resources and man power to attack crime and the drug trade throughout the county, but most particularly in the hot spots in the county, which include Ellenville and, most unfortunately, Kingston. Obviously, efforts would be made to include the Attorney General's Office, United States Attorney's Office, and so forth.
This type of task force has been used in other counties and has proven to be very effective. By constructing the task force from so many different sources, it cuts down on the financial burden to each and every municipality in question. We cannot create this task force entirely on our own as we require the support of other municipalities, but we can and should start the ball rolling."
Then, in my 2007 Minority Leader Speech, I said the following:
"In last year’s address, I called for the creation of a Commission against Crime constituted of various members of law enforcement and citizenry which would be dedicated to the research and review of various ways, methods, and ideas to reduce crime and make Kingston the safest city in the State of New York. Four members of this Council (Aldermen Teetsel, Walker, Senor, and myself) all specifically agreed to support the formation of this commission. Only one additional member of this honorable body is needed to make it a reality.
Just a few weeks ago, I submitted a formal request to Alderman-at-Large Noble asking that this idea be presented to the Public Safety Committee or whichever committee he felt appropriate. Hopefully, this item will be on our agendas for this month’s meetings so we can get right to work.
Additionally, I called last year for the creation of an Ulster County Drug and Gang Violence Task Force. This task force would consist of the Kingston Police Department, New York State Police, Ulster County Sheriff's Office, Ulster County District Attorney's Office, and other municipal police forces throughout the county. The idea would be to pool resources and man power to attack crime and the drug trade throughout the county, but most particularly in the hot spots in the county, which include Ellenville and, most unfortunately, Kingston.
Unfortunately, this did not happen in 2006. However, our newly inaugurated Sheriff campaigned very strongly on the creation of this Task Force. It is my hope, now that he has become Sheriff, that Mr. Van Blarcum will follow through. When he does, Kingston must not only join this coalition, but also must be an active and aggressive member."
Though Sheriff Van Vlarcum did eventually succeed in creating his version of a county-wide task force (URGENT), the city never did create the Crime Commission I proposed.
To address your points, Mr. Heppner did not "suggest" anything. He stated outright that such a concept was contrary to the Charter and illegal. I do not agree with him, but that was his opinion. The ruling was made to limit debate and discussion because the Council Majority did not want to vote for my proposal or be on record as being against a Crime Commission. So, they had the Corporation Counsel's Office issue the ruling.
Second, the fact that I had in mind having some citizens on the Commission was not the basis for Heppner's ruling.
Third, I support Shayne's idea. I just am pointing out the hypocrisy of those who once opposed it vehemently, but now are conveniently remaining silent because a Democrat proposed practically the same idea.