Thursday, March 31, 2011

City Council - See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil with the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office

Today, a poignant Daily News editorial reported on today's City Council budgetary hearing for the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office. 

Despite a missing $53 Million due to what the editorial accredited to poor record keeping (which I wager to say is THEFT), a complete dereliction of duty attributed to the lack of field deputies in the street working to collect owed funds and seize properties in a timely manner, and being known as a well known patronage pit for completely under qualified personnel; City Council member Curtis Jones, Jannie Blackwell and James Kenney openly praised interim Sheriff (and Green accomplice) Barbra Deeley and the Sheriff's right to remain an elected office. 

This may come as a shock, but I am in full support of the Sheriff's Office staying an elected office. Not for ANY of the reasons offered by City Council, but because I have no faith in the decision making powers of the city's democratic machine to pick an honorable appointee for this historical law enforcement position. Then again, the Republican City Committee hasn't even bothered to find a qualified law enforcement professional to run for this office (even in the midst of heavy scandals in the current administration this election year). 

I want to see this office stay elected because I hate breaking up traditions that can be traced back to revolutionary times because we've let the Sheriff's Office fall in the hands of patronage and racial politics for the last 23 years. 

What Curtis Jones, Jannie Blackwell and James Kenney need to be asking is why Sheriff Deeley has no plans to recruit and expand the Sheriff's Office into what it should be, the chief civil law enforcement agency in Philadelphia. The Sheriff should absorb the judicial warrant squads, have a field collections unit (like NYC has), and should be the primary agency for non-911 based law enforcement in Philly (protection of the courts, city buildings, etc). These council members think nothing of funding the PPA to the tune of $109M to pay a staff of over 1000 officers to collect redundant, short money parking fiines, but funds a Sheriff's Office that should be collecting $1B in owed bail and MILLIONS more in owed business and property taxes $20M to staff roughly 200 deputies, just enough to mind the courthouse and prisoner transports.

If you ask council members, they clearly have either no idea of what a Sheriff is SUPPOSED to do (which Bill Green should considering he lived in South Florida where Sheriff's are the chief law enforcement agency in the county). This is irresponsible and a key contributor to Philadelphia's crippling budget crisis. 

Vote carefully for Sheriff this year. DO NOT ELECT JEWELL WILLIAMS who was the candidate anointed by the same corrupt machine that gave us 23 years of John Green. 

Contact your council members (and those running for the six seats up for grabs this year) and tell them that you (as a taxpayer) are FED UP with paying taxes when scores of Philadelphians fail to do so with no threat of enforcement by the Sheriff's Office.

More Importantly, contact your state rep and the Attorney General's Office and demand a STATE criminal investigation into the missing $53 Million at the Sheriff's Office. 

As citizens, we are responsible for keeping our city agencies accountable foor doing their jobs.

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