This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 13, 2007 10:09 AM. The previous post in this blog was Tipping point. The next post in this blog is Enjoy the Tostitos Wildwood Trail. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fireman Randy on the human field goal

Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard sends along a copy of an e-mail message he wrote to some Portland residents regarding this week's infamous Fire Bureau melee:

Xxx and Xxxx-

I too was and am very troubled by what I saw on the video.

I hope you understand that there is going to be an extenstive and very serious investigation of this incident and that it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment until that investigation is completed. At that time, I am happy to give you my impresson of the incident based on all of what will be learned during the current investigation.

I will tell you that, in my experience, I have never seen or heard of an incident involving firefighters in an incident such as what I observed on the video. However, I do think it is important to listen to all sides during the investigation before any of us draw a conclusion...yet.

I have the highest confidence in both Commissioner Erik Sten and Fire Chief David Sprando that they will make their judgements based on the facts and then take the appropriate action.

I do appreciate your email...thank you....Randy

Comments (11)

I would like to know whether in a rape case if an investigation is proper to ascertain if a claimed victim was or was not a prostitute.

You must distinguish between conduct and status of the parties. Citizen first, firefighter second.

There is not a single thing outside of the DA's office that trumps the state statutory policy choices that have already been made as to what conduct constitutes a crime.


I am not in a conciliatory mood.

Does status trump all? Does political connections trump all?

As to the CoP response, quite apart from that of the duty of the DA to do his job, I would look no further than how the hiring policy treats the existence of a prior assault charge before hiring an applicant. Conduct that would prevent the hiring of someone should surely be something that any employee would be on notice of -- actual or constructive -- as not tolerated.

The right to demand a jury trial is recognized on behalf of the state as well as a defendant. This right of the public cannot and should not be subsumed by the political vagaries of a legislative type body, here by the city officials. Should I really have to bark out here about the resemblance this has to other places -- and times -- in the rest of the world? Creeping authoritarianism, in plain sight, through acquiescence and apathy.

I'm glad someone has confidence in Erik Stevn to do anything of substance.

I'm amazed someone has confidence in Erik Sten to do anything of substance.

While I'm not a big fan of Commissioner Leonard in general, I think this was a pretty good response. At least he is giving the system a chance to do what it's supposed to do. As with children, sometimes the best approach is to let them know that we expect them to do the right thing.

Why is this an administrative/councilor investigation? Looked to me as if it should be a criminal assault police investigation.

Our DA, prosecute a law enforcement officer for assault? Surely you must be joking.

"Very troubled by what I saw..."

..."it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment..."

As if "very troubled" is not loaded with judgement.

Imagine the Shiite-Baptist Wing of the Christian Coalition meeting a candidate to lead their fundraising efforts, and learning that he and his partner, Steve, have always wanted to live in the South.

I think they would be "very troubled" with the job candidates sexual orientation, but it would be inappropriate for them to make any comment during a job interview.

But they're not passing judgement on anybody: nothing but tabula rosas here.

Why is Leonard the guy out front on this? I guess folks assume since he's the retired fireman he'd be the go-to guy on such matters. Where in the heck is Sten? You know...the fire commissioner.

But they're not passing judgement on anybody: nothing but tabula rosas here.

Judgement implies the assignation of guilt or responsibility which Leonard pointedly did NOT do. He saw the video, was "very troubled" by what he saw, and stated that fact. That you honestly expect anyone to be a "tabula rasa" after seeing that video is simply ridiculous. Even taking into account your situational ethics and pro-cop/firefighter/union bias, etc., if you aren't, at the least, troubled with what you saw, then apparently nothing troubles you. Seeing the video may elicit different reactions in different people, but having no reaction at all is just impossible in the real world. You see what you see and it's tabula scripta

Unless you close your eyes.

Why is this an administrative/councilor investigation? Looked to me as if it should be a criminal assault police investigation.

Who said there isn't a police investigation? Unlike the administrative folks, they don't often make snap announcements on the day of an assault. Y'know, that whole "investigation" thing.

I'm not suggesting Commissioner Leonard shouldn't feel whatever he wants. I'm often troubled by meth addicts, sp'angers, and children/babies that aren't properly dressed for winter weather.

I'm troubled by the Tram Scam, Portland's underinvestment in public infrastructure, and the hypocrisy of a progressive community with a disproportionately huge (and largely drug/alcohol addicted) homeless population that is banning trans-fats and smoking in public parks.

But if Commissioner Leonard claims to be "very troubled" and then says he's withholding comment until the investigation is complete, then I'm confused. If he already told us he's "very troubled" then he's not withholding his comments entirely.

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