Letters for October 7-13, 2004
Good Cop, Bad Cop
Vigilante justice: I was interested in Trevor Aaronson's September 30 article about the Hollywood police, and for good reason ("Strong Arm of the Law"). I have been, along with another guy in South Central Hollywood, patrolling our neighborhood for three years. We report drug activity, which is rampant, and have gotten all kinds of flack and threats from the bonehead cops for driving around and calling public attention to the problems.
We have provided authorities with lists of the trouble spots to watch, but they don't watch. We have to practically wrestle them in the mud to get them to show up when we call, and when they appear, they rarely do anything. I have the feeling that when we go after these problems, we are stepping on someone's pocketbook. The cops simply do not want anyone interfering with what appears to be their little "gold mine." I have taken down neighbors' accounts of what is going on, with times and dates, for about a month. I will continue doing this for a few months and then share that information with the state attorney and the attorney general of Florida.
Officer up: My children were two of the people involved in the July 2003 marijuana arrest mentioned in "Strong Arm of the Law." My dealings with Officer Pete Salvo were nothing if not professional, respectful, and compassionate. I find these allegations difficult to believe.
Watch those coppers: Trevor Aaronson's story has inspired me to become a community activist. You see I too have been greatly affected by Detective Pete Salvo. I will be organizing my community to take action in regard to establishing a citizen review panel of the Hollywood Police Department's conduct. This is way overdue.
Impeach that Bush Leaguer
Enter the president: Thank you for your terrific article about the impeachment of George W. Bush ("Bush's Crimes," Bob Norman, September 30). I like to keep my finger on the pulse of local politics, which is why I enjoy your articles. I also like to dabble in the law, which is why I am writing about the impeachment article.
Look up a case titled In Re Yamashita. It led to the execution of a Japanese general deemed responsible for the acts of his subordinates, despite the fact that he had no knowledge of the atrocities; the United States was doing everything in its power to disrupt communications. In Bush's case (I just cannot bring myself to refer to him as "president," especially after his debate appearance left me wondering if he had returned to the joys of Kickapoo Joy Juice), his subordinates certainly were committing atrocities, so Yamashita applies. Even worse, he most likely knew about them.
Now, I am not suggesting that the death penalty should apply here. I think the punishment should fit the crime. I propose an appropriately lengthy prison sentence for both Bush and Cheney. But wait -- there's more: Perhaps they could share cells with the grunts who were following their orders. The thought of B + C receiving the Abner Louima treatment from some 20-something young woman seems appropriate
Lester P. Behan
Via the Internet
Just inadvertent: This letter is in response to Bob Norman's August 26 article, "The Big Lie," which slammed the North Broward Hospital District. It attributed to me, a "23-year veteran" Legal Aid attorney representing the indigent in Broward County, that the indigent do not get proper care. That was incorrect and misleading. What I told Norman was that both the private and public hospitals in Broward County have some procedural problems that prevent some patients from getting their medications, which does not ensure proper care.
These problems are systemic in nature and certainly can be rectified if public and private hospitals work with Legal Aid. The district and the private hospitals have agreed to sit down together with Legal Aid to identify the cracks that the poor fall through. Let it be known by this veteran attorney that none of the hospitals has evidenced a purposeful intent to deny care to the poor.
It has been my experience that the bigger the entity, the more likely cracks will develop in the system and not be noticed by administration. Legal Aid Service hopes to continue working with the public and private hospitals to identify and resolve major cracks, thereby benefiting the poor and other members of our community. We have met with the private and district hospitals and conclude that their concern is as genuine as ours.
Sharon Bourassa, Esq.
Legal Aid Service of Broward
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