Tags >> public safety
Dec 02
2009

Modern Piracy

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , transportation , public safety , ocean , news , law enforcement , international , history , economy , coast , Africa

Bruce Robinson

Terrorism in the 21st century is not confined to hot spots in the middle east or attacks on urban centers elsewhere. The upsurge in piracy in waters off Africa and Malaysia can be seen as another form of terrorism, but one that is driven by economic pressures rather than ideological concerns.

The pirates of east Africa, many of them former fishermen who have lost their traditional livelihood, almost always seek ransom for the ships they commandeer. But history professor Richard Kirk, who has made a special study of piracy over the past nine years, notes that the fate of captured vessels in the South China Sea is often much more dire.

 

It’s quite rare for passenger ships to be targeted by pirates, but Kirk knows of at least one instance in which a modestly sized cruise ship came under attack.

 

The original swashbuckling buccaneers of the 16th century are the basis for the romanticized image that has endured, and Kirk says their era lasted almost two centuries.

 

Pirate attacks in 2007

 

Pirate Attacks in 2008

 

 

Nov 17
2009

San Quentin Adult Education Cuts

Posted by Bruce Robinson in public safety , politics , policy , Marin , legislation , jail , government , education , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

Can state budget cuts lead to an increase in crime? That’s the fear as adult education programs at San Quentin and other California prisons try to implement a 45% reduction in funding.

With a budget for adult services that has been slashed by 45%, deep cuts are inevitable, admits Elizabeth Siggins from the California Department of Corrections’ office of Adult Programs (left) . Here, she outlines the steps being taken as her department tries to get the maximum social benefit from the money that remains.

One of the programs at San Quentin that will feel the burden of the cuts is the Robert E. Burton Adult School.  Although California does not have data specific to this state, Elizabeth Siggins says studies from other sources affirm the value of inmate education as a tool for reducing recidivism.

While the precise benefits of inmate education have not been quantified in California, the Correctional Educational Journal asserts that "every dollar spent on education saves $2 for taxpayers through reduced recidivism." The cost and effectiveness of educational programs within the California Corrections Department was examined at length in a February 2008 study by the State Legislative Analyst's Office.  Included in that study is the graph below, which compares the cost-effectiveness of inmate education programs with other adult prison services.

Oct 27
2009

Auto Impounds

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , rights , public safety , protest , poverty , policy , law enforcement , justice , jail , immigration , government , California , activism

Bruce Robinson

Impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers is a discretionary call for police officers, one that can be an expensive hardship for immigrant workers in Sonoma County.

Once a vehicle has been impounded, the law dictates that it will be held for the full 30 days, but the owner can request a hearing to get it released soon. Sgt. Dough Schlies of the Santa Rosa Police Department, explains how that process works.

Here's the full explanation of the Santa Rosa Police Department policy governing the release of impounded vehicles.

While acknowledging that the law grants police officers individual discretion to decide whether or not to call in a tow truck when they find an unlicensed driver, Davin Cardenas, an activst and organizer with the Committee on Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County is concerned that those decisions often vary widely. And he suspects that in at least some cases, ethnic profiling is involved.

"Vehicle impoundment" is governed by Section 14602.6  of the California Vehicle Code. This is the California Highway Patrol's explanation of that law.

From the announcement of the Halloween Day march in Santa Rosa:

"On October 31st, the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County will sponsor a march and symbolic Trick or Treat at City Hall to bring awareness about the impounding of immigrants automobiles. We want to let people know what we are asking for, as well as what our responsibilites are in order to bring change about. Bring the kids! Bring a costume! We will also be promoting the usage of safer forms of transportation, such as carpooling, bicycles (bring your bikes!), and walking. There will be face painting prior to the march, as well as a whole lot of candy. Where: Begin at 665 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, Ca (Dollar Tree parking lot)
            End at Santa Rosa City Hall
When: Saturday October 31st
           3pm - 6pm (rally and face paint begin at 3pm, march at 4pm)
For more information, contact the Committee for Immigrants Rights of Sonoma County at
(707) 571- 7559.

Aug 31
2009

Greywater Rules Relaxed

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , Sonoma County , resources , public safety , legislation , Health , government , environment , construction , climate change , California

Bruce Robinson

Residential greywater systems are now legal in California, and most modest residential installations don’t ever require a permit. But exactly how the changed rules are being implemented remains a little murky.

 

Sonoma County PRMD deputy director Duane Starnes explains why diverting laundry water outflow to a greywater reservoir also requires some additional changes to the household’s existing plumbing, such as the diversion valve shown at right.

Art Ludwig, a long-time advocate for legalizing greywater systems, says the state’s new rules allowing them carry an almost symbolic significance that extends well beyond mere plumbing.

Ludwig's Oasis Design website has detailed and illustrated instructions on how to install a "laundry to landscape" greywater system.

The Bay Area's Greywater Guerrillas are another online resource.