Friday, February 2, 2007

What's a "mere citizen" to DO?

Moving to the "burgh" from Harrisburg, I heard the complaints, and saw clearly the problems mere citizens face in our town. Park 2 minutes past 4:00PM, or in one of the many posted areas, and your car is immediately towed to an expensive impound lot (Cash only, please .. no checks), Jaywalk or commit one of the many legal infractions of the day, and you face arrest and fines at the hand of on-duty police, backtalk one of the many "moonlighting" uniformed police officers or sheriff deputy's, who work the local bars, festivals, concerts and other private events, and face harsh "street justice" AND then arrest, if you are not shot dead first by one or several of these illegally working so called "moonlighters". Yes, it is ILLEGAL for these uniformed police officers to work these so called "details", but WHO CAN STOP THEM?

On the other hand, if you are a FOP member here in "da burgh" you need not face the "mere citizen's" parking woes - you too can violate state vehicle code and put a little or big round "FOP" decal over the numbers on your private vehicle's tags, and park with impunity in any "no parking" zone or expired meter you like, for however long as you wish. After all, WHO CAN STOP YOU?

It is immoral and a violation of state ethics decisions for officers and sheriff deputies to solicit gratuities, or accept fees or other payments for their official duties, and it is illegal for these city and county employees to offer to contract their employment out as guards or security, but this has not stopped them from approaching business owners while they are on duty, and "suggesting" that these business owners "hire" them off-duty at sometimes three times the rate that a legal guard could expect to earn.

Some bars have faced the decision of being reported as a "nuisance bar" or hiring "off duty special details" which usually consist of the officer that "suggested" this hiring (sometimes for CASH - no 1099 please) and his off duty pals. Yes, it is both immoral AND illegal for the Pittsburgh City Police and Sheriff's deputies to contract to perform this "detail" work .. but that little fact has not stopped them from fleecing local and outside businesses and agencies of perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illegal income over the years (some of it cash).. after all (they think) WHO CAN STOP THEM?

Over the last several years, I have made the Pittsburgh Police Department aware that these actions are taking place, and that they are illegal, but they have chosen to ignore my complaints, the immoral actions of their officers and their officers superiors within the department, who share the financial benefits of this illegal racket ... and most importantly, the department, it's chief and the mayor, have all ignored the very law that they have sworn to uphold - for the financial benefit of officers who during their official shifts reportedly earn the second highest rate paid police officers in the whole country. Why not> WHO CAN STOP THEM? William Valenta, a police supervisory employee, was personally made aware by myself of the illegal FOP decals that many of his officers had placed over their license tags, in violation of state law. Not only did he not manage to get this violation of law stopped within his own department .. later he was appointed to the Office of Municipal Investigation, where he continued to refuse to discipline these renegade officers, for their illegal parking scam .. despite many documented complaints having been filed against these scofflaw officers, who continue until today to cover up their license plates with FOP decals, and continue to park in "no parking" zones with impunity. After all, if officer William Valenta has smugly refused to stop them .. WHO CAN?

Who will stop this illegal protection racket?

Who will protect us from the illegal actions of our protectors?

Stay Linked to this Blog, and let's see. The answer is: "enough mere citizens" - Will we get them interested?

More details posted here by myself on an irregular basis - I am respectfully soliciting the viewpoints of mere citizens, officers, media and anointed officials: Please post your reply.

1 comment:

PittsburghJack said...

Grant said: "Park 2 minutes past 4:00PM, or in one of the many posted areas, and your car is immediately towed to an expensive impound lot (Cash only, please .. no checks"

It is my opinion that this is one of the single most problems facing our city today. It goes to the root of why many people choose not to utilize our city and consequently why our downtown is dying, if not dead. I addressed this issue in my blog way back in 2004. See here:

The rest of your allegations are something that I was aware of and I applaud you for your efforts. Maybe with the proper amount of exposure and public outcry, this city can once again be reclaimed by the citizens. I have thought for several years now that something happened - I cannot exactly say when or why, but sometime in the early 80s I would estimate - where the police in this town went from being our protector to being our harrasser.

Good work, Grant. I am looking forward to updates.