Gansler Comes A Knocking With Josh Cohen and Is An Endorsement From Our Former Police Chief A Good Thing? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gansler Comes A Knocking With Josh Cohen and Is An Endorsement From Our Former Police Chief A Good Thing?

KNOCK...KNOCK...OPEN UP!!! While some might think it odd for Democratic leaders, especially on the state level, to endorse and support a Democrat in a local primary--especially one with a handful of other Democratic candidates, Josh Cohen was scheduled to have his friend, Attorney General Doug Gansler go door-to-door with him Sunday. Annapolitans will note that Gansler made former Alderman Carl Snowden his director of the office of civil rights and Snowden, as some remember, was arrested not once but twice for DUI while working for former County Executive Janet Owens. Snowden was also credited by the ACLU for bringing the HACA banning policy that has been working so well--according to the candidates themselves, for fighting crime to the attention of the ACLU. What about the civil rights of those living in public housing to be safe from crime--as well as to be protected from unwarranted government intrusion into their lives. A complicated issue indeed--and one that has been reported on here. Cohen says that Snowden is not supporting his campaign.
The AG chose Snowden and the AG has chosen Cohen. Boss Ellen "O" has now proposed that Snowden be on the HACA board ....Gansler endorsed Cohen when he appeared with former police chief Joe Johnson, who made a special trip in from Delaware to stand by Cohen at the court house in August. Residents may remember how Johnson bucked every plea from residents to institute community policing and put more patrols and enforcement into high-crime areas while our shooting and murder rate soared in those places. Johnson did not adjust his policing procedures.

One of the most serious high crime areas was just a block or two away from where Cohen used to live in Eastport--when he used to represent Eastport on City Council--and before he moved to West Annapolis, further away from public housing and not near any crime hot spots. CP called for Johnson's resignation which eventually came about when state officials took notice and stepped in and brought in Chief Pristoop who has instituted such reforms and crime has dropped drastically.

But let us go back to 3/25/07 when The Capital reported on the ongoing dispute--very public dispute between our city and HACA as to how to address soaring violent crime, including murder:

Officials announced they would combine their resources and put together a comprehensive plan. The housing authority was contacted and agreed to participate.
And the housing authority didn't waste any time. Within days, members of its safety committee had drafted a proposal with several short-term and long-term solutions - some of which required support from city and county officials.
The proposal was brought before the mayor's crime committee and later introduced to the full housing authority safety committee, said Dennis Conti, co-chair of the committee. Representatives from the Annapolis Police Department attended both meetings, he said.
On March 15, a second task force meeting was held at the Board of Education building. More than two dozen people were in attendance, including representatives from county and city police and the school system.
Both Ms. Moyer and Chief Johnson had other obligations and did not attend the meeting.  
(CP NOTES--The Chief was absent but he could come from Delaware to make a political endorsement???)

At that meeting, the housing authority unveiled its ideas, which included repairing fencing to close off "cut-throughs," creating a Robinwood baseball team, deploying license plate scanners to record which cars enter the public housing community, and tracking teen rivalries on
The housing authority also proposed adding an around-the-clock community policing initiative. The authority would use secondary employment funds to hire two officers to patrol 24 hours per day and provide a police substation for the community.
Officials said the additional policing would be on a 30-day trial period.
Although she wasn't in attendance, it was Ms. McFall's understanding that the housing authority's plan was incorporated in as a proposal for the group. She said a representative from the Annapolis Police Department was at the meeting for Chief Johnson, and she never heard any objection from the department.
But apparently, there was.

(Dennis Conti, mentioned above, is Trudy McFall's campaign director) And the story continues:

The conflict came to a head after the Annapolis Housing Authority offered its ideas at a March 15 meeting, including license plate scanners and a police sub-station and foot patrols for Robinwood. At the time, city officials remained mum. But on Thursday, Mayor Ellen O. Moyer and Annapolis police Chief Joe Johnson said they won't back the housing authority's proposals.
Chief Johnson went so far as to call the proposals "garbage."
"So now what," said Trudy McFall, chairman of the Annapolis Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. "If those are not good ideas, what ideas are better than that? What are we going to do?"
Ms. Moyer says the city is coming up with a proposal of its own, but Ms. McFall isn't happy the city is working on ideas without the housing authority's input.
After all, wasn't the idea for stakeholders to work as a team, she asked.

CP NOTES: Think about that. Chief Johnson called the ideas "garbage." Chief Johnson let crime soar out of control. Chief Johnson finally resigned. Chief Pristoop has brought about a big drop in crime since that time. Chief Johnson could not come to an important, high-level meeting on fighting crime but he drove in from Delaware to stand by and endorse Josh Cohen. We all know how Boss Ellen handled everything. She sent Tony Spencer to Miami to get ideas....

Incidentally, the church where state officials gathered to announce the action plan, after seeing that Moyer and Johnson were not being effective, was just a block from Cohen's former Eastport home.

Curiously, the UFCW 400, representing our police department, has not taken a role in this primary even though the union has endorsed in previous primaries and the local union steward is known to be close to Johnson as well. They also supported Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson who has also endorsed Cohen in the primary. Perhaps the 400 is hedging their bets and laying low...

I had to laugh when I also re-read the following from the same article:

She [Moyer] said Tony Spencer, her coordinator of community and social programs, is in Miami at a national summit for at-risk youth. There, Mr. Spencer will collect ideas, which may be used to tackle the problems in Robinwood. He will return to Annapolis with the ideas on Tuesday. 

Tuesday. Which Tuesday was that? I hope Mr. Spencer had a nice trip to Miami to gather ideas. Maybe he met with Horatio Caine...

I think the best idea would have been to take serious and concerted action. Read three articles I posted here on CP:  Crime....bad?....getting worse?...getting better? and also IS MAYOR MOYER READY TO "PATMORE" THE POLICE CHIEF?  or here Police Chief Johnson to Resign .

I'll say it again that Chief Johnson let crime soar out of control calling ideas to improve enforcement "garbage" and when he finally resigned, Chief Pristoop brought about a rapid and drastic drop in crime. I think it had a lot to do with cleaning house, putting resources where they were most needed and in listening to citizens. We all know how Boss Ellen handled everything. She fought everything in public, allowing the criminals to read about it and laugh, while our city got shot up, but after retirement, Chief Johnson did drive in from Delaware to stand by and endorse Josh Cohen. And now Doug Gansler, who has hired Carl Snowden in to an important state job, has also endorsed Cohen. Josh Cohen left Eastport to move to presumably safer West Annapolis.

Cohen had this to say when I communicated with him about this article: "I am proud of Chief Johnson’s and Attorney General Gansler's endorsements.  Both are public servants who have dedicated their lives to improving the safety of our communities. Carl Snowden has no connection to our campaign and is actively supporting another candidate.

One of my biggest disagreements with the current administration was its reluctance to take ownership of crime in public housing.  I am proud of the lead role I played on the City Council to bridge an agreement between the Housing Authority and the City Administration by which the City would match dollar-for-dollar additional moneys that HACA spent on secondary enforcement.  As a member of the Finance Committee I helped to secure the initial $150,000 funding for this, and as Chairman of the Finance Committee I increased it the following year to $200,000.

As Mayor one of my top priorities will be to forge a strong partnership between the City and the Housing Authority.  For far too long, the relationship between the City administration and HACA has been characterized by finger pointing and blame on both sides.  That will end when I am Mayor."

Visit Cohen's web-site and see the video from when he got the endorsement from Chief Johnson, Gansler and a sheriff.

Join us every Thursday morning, from 8-9 am for our Sip N' Blog at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road, Annapolis, Maryland, in the Giant Shopping Center. Our discussion on the 17th will focus on the primary election results and the upcoming general. Sept-24--Jennifer Monteith. Stop by on your way to work for your morning latte and meet other local activists. Zu now has a drive-thru window!


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