Adequate public defenders for the accused.Edit
If we can't afford to give a fair trial to the accused, then we cannot afford to prohibit the actions that we have arrested them for. This is one of the costs that government imposes on the poor.
One of the first steps in the act of being vigilant in the realm of public behaviors is to examine and understand the courts, their burdens, their methods and the overall system. The public defender's office needs to function well and be a trusted source.
Life isn't fair. However, our courts need to be. This is a realm where fairness matters most of all. Justice needs to ring true.
- Request an inventory and study of the public defender's office.
- Research and insist upon regular public reports centered upon jury duty. An overhaul of our jury system might be necessary to insure diversity and vitality of jury service. One possible solution was to allow citizens to be exempt from the commuter tax if they serve on a jury. This one-year tax credit would be a perk for jury members who put in time in an otherwise thankless role. City council could approve an allowance / account for the courts to manage or else make a payment to the court's accounts. I'd rather pay citizens, from city and county, for civic work performed rather than pay a wealthy developer a tax-break.
- Meet with the people who work to give public defender's services to find out their needs.
- Issue an open report on the findings of both personal and organizational updates from the public defender's office.
Weed and Seed Planks include:Edit
- The Weed and Seed program should be able to be funded with local money so it is not such a slave to federal policies.
- Weed and Seed programs need to establish and publicize more accountability standards. The complicated grants and justificiations need to be made public for all to see and understand. Perhaps the measurements are on hand but not visible to those beyond the administration.
- Weed and Seed needs to have a new branch -- Flourish. We should weed, seed, and then flourish.
- The proposed Youth Technology Summit could have strong interactions among the existing Weed & Seed programs.
- Swim teams, water polo teams and leagues, canoe water polo, lifeguard training and other high-level fitness programs, with professional coaches and an army of volunteers should be established in Homestead, Homewood, Greenfield, West End and other such locations throughout the city.
- The Weed and Seed headquarters should be moved into the old South Vo Tech High School along with the South Side Zone 3 Police Station, Citipark offices and Allegheny County Parks and Recreation offices.
War On Drugs Planks include:Edit
- I endorse the programs and message from LEAP, a group of Law Enforcement Professionals who are against prohibition.
- It is wrong for family members pay a grossly inflated rate to receive a phone call from their loved ones in prisons. There is no need for family members to face sky-high telephone charges to communicate with those in prison.
- Verizon/MCI and the State Charge Families up to 630% More For Collect Calls because of a state contract and a prison phone monopoly.
Legalized theft, as in asset forfeiture, must cease.Edit
- End asset forfeiture unless there is a real crime, in front of a real judge.
- Article 4, Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution gives the governor the power to remit all forfeited assets. Without a conviction for a real crime, I'll insist that the state and associated authorities keep nothing.
- What is taken, by means of any assent liquidation from a crime and punishment effort, needs to flow into an area in the state budget that is NOT associated with crime, police and the justice system. For example, I'll lobby that if a car is taken by the city police because a person was dealing drugs, the car can not be used by the police and the assets claimed from the car if it is sold can not be re-invested by the police. Rather, those funds should go to another area of public life, such as parks or schools. These acts would prevent over aggressive police work against the interests of the citizens because the windfalls can't be used for more police devices.