Thursday, August 14, 2008

Papers, please!


Claremont Insider points out that there is going to be a checkpoint Friday 6pm-2am. They call them DUI checkpoints, but as we've discussed here before, ain't nothin' DUI about it -- it's about stopping ordinary people to see if they've done anything wrong. The Insider posted a great cautionary tale back in July, in which the cops busted out their portable fingerprinter in order to discover that, gosh, the guy had done something wrong and required arrest!

What infuriates me most about this -- although I am nearly apoplectic about just the principle of the thing -- is that peaceable-looking middle-class white folks like myself get waved through these checkpoints with a smile and a tip of the hat, while the brown people and the obviously-down-on-their-luck people get the third degree.

No wonder one of our city council people opposes on principle any proposal that has the stink of the middle class about it, regardless of how much it would benefit other residents of the city.

The photo is of the new motorcycle-cop uniforms in Massachusetts, which were designed to "instill fear." Ain't that just grand? Big Brother searches scare me plenty; the Colonel Klink uniform is beside the point.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I am not a fan of waiting in one of these checkpoints... I do have a problem with the attitude that some on the city council have on the laws that are just being enforced.
When going through a checkpoint I have a current license, insurance and a seatbelt on. If a person can't say the same they shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car. That is it for me in a nutshell.
Back to the city council person I am mainly talking about. She is well known for voting against the middle-class (yes white)wants and needs that are put forth in this city. Her tirades about these checkpoints lately is, in my opinion, an embarrasment to Pomona let alone the police dept.
Also, if she had her way the historic districts in Pomona would never have happened.
I am a uber-liberal, gay white guy that loves all people living together etc but I don't think that the checkpoints are such a bad thing. Don't hate me Meg.
Mark

LinknPark said...

Im with you Mark. I to am a confessed liberal and always have been, but something about being hit by a illegal with no papers, insurance,or license that got back in to their car and drove away when confronted changed my mind about the whole situation. Why do I have to obey the rules if they dont?

That afore mentioned city council person is ridiculous at best and does give our city a terrible name. Maybe she should move to Santa Ana, and wave her flag up there with the anarchy that goes on in that city.

I love our diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and have a diversity of ethnic friends. I am completely pro-immigration (my grandparents were immigrants from Italy, so I wouldnt be here without it), but everyone should be here legally, with papers and insurance per California state law. Thats the state I want to live in, and I think a state that the majority of Californians want.

If you arent doing anything wrong, you shouldnt have to worry about checkpoints. Dont drink and drive, have a license and insurance; buckle up...easy! Don't hate me either Meg.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Claremont has allowed as many as 17 and counting new liquor licenses in the new Village mall. I would venture to say a checkpoint on Indian Hill on any Friday or Saturday night would discover that many people are leaving the Village over the legal limit. It is interesting to me that drinking in the Village is very much encouraged but once you venture home and get to Foothill Blvd. you are a sitting duck.

Anonymous said...

On the plus side... Pomona doesn't have the money to buy fear inducing uniforms for it's police force!

Ed said...

I think I understand Meg's position, because it's a very slippery slope when police have the authority to stop individuals when there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

That said, would there be an issue to requiring all vehicles to have breathalyzers installed or ignition switches that are dependent on a valid license?

I view the checkpoints, not as a constitutional rights infringement, but a necessity driven by technological limitation. If you're requiring certification and licensing to operate a lethal device, then ensuring compliance to that requirement seems prudent. I for one, sure hope airline pilots are required to be licensed.

Here's one: what about your local food establishment? Are they required to allow access to health inspectors? I don't really know the answer, but I can take a guess.

If it's an immigration issue, I'll certainly sign a petition asking the state to untie immigration status from a driver's license. Unfortunately, since our governor has decided it is, I'm reluctant to carve out a special exception to an individual just because they are here illegally. How do we distinguish an illegal non-resident who could pass the driver's test from one who couldn't?

I'll also support discontinuing the checkpoints if licensed, insured "non-whites" are being detained longer than licensed, insured "whites". Hopefully, someone is periodically checking.

Thoughts from yet another liberal!

linknpark said...

All valid points Ed, and as a Poli Sci minor way back in college I remember countless discussions about slippery slopes. Bottom line is this, it is possible to be here documented on either a work visa (yes they do exist) and applying for a green card at the same time. If you possess either of those you are able to apply for a California license (I used to help guys do this that I worked with back in college all of the time). There is no excuse to be here without documentation, and there are ways to do it; no one seems to enforce the laws, so no one seems to care about going through the process.

I wholly agree with discontinuing the checkpoints if they are harassing law abiding citizens, but whats the deal with city politicians getting upset about undocumented, uninsured drivers getting cars impounded. Try to go to another country, live there and drive without a license or papers; same would happen.

Anonymous said...

Just weighing in. The checkpoints have always disturbed me. I had never been thru one until we moved out this way, and was stopped on Arrow in LaVerne by LVPD every few months. My take on them was always that it was more sinister and Big Brother than the police checking if you had a driver's license or trying to prevent DUI's, since the checks were weekend mid afternoons, and near the line going into Pomona. My husband and I are both in the legal field, and we both thought the checks were about hassling undocumented immigrants and poor, brown people.

I was frankly suprised to hear the checks had started in Pomona. I am actually happy that a certain council woman spoke up about them, tho I think in retrospect even she regrets using the words that she did, since it's come to cloud the actual issue.

I agree with Meg on this one. Having both brown and white people in our family can be eye opening with regard to an issue like this one. I did have the displeasure of being stopped at a checkpoint on Garey one time, which made me an hour late for a birthday party in Corona. Luckily, I was not on my way to a job or something.

Anduhrew said...

Linknpark, do you know how difficult it is for Chinese citizens to get a visa? near impossible. a friend of mine lived in China for ten years after college. he met a girl and for the past three years has been trying to get her to visit she even has a degree and is educated. constantly rejected. it's no wonder there are undocumented people here the process is near impossible for some people. It SHOULD be made a bit easier but probably won't.

How did this turn into an immigration issue?

At these checkpoints the police will look into your car and not just glancing but with PRYING eyes. doesn't anyone feel that that is a bit invasive?

Anduhrew said...

BTW did anyone go to the City meeting last thursday about the parking issue? I want to know what happened.

Ed said...

We seem to be looking at this from so many different angles. I guess I don't see a racial component to the checkpoints unless you cite their choice of locations as being racially selective. Although that argument might have a certain reality in Claremont, the demographics of Pomona make the argument moot. I could see validity in the argument that poor neighborhoods may be targeted, so I would be in favor of oversight on location to ensure even distribution.

I don't see the police intrusion argument, because I view the state as having a responsibility to insure that only licensed drivers are operating motor vehicles. I would draw the line on searching a vehicle or being required to show an ID when walking on the street, but not when driving a vehicle.

I haven't reviewed the Supreme Court's decision on checkpoints, but if they passed legal muster only as "DUI" checkpoints, then I might be inclined to agree that checking licenses and insurance is overstepping the mandate of the court. Of course, as Linknpark's experiences show, one can't discount the public safety value of ensuring that only licensed, insured drivers are operating vehicles.

Sorry for the length, I grew up in a family that likes to discuss issues, and Meg tossed out a worthy one.

BTW I'm not suggesting that all races are treated equally by all police officers. My above comments on race are only related to conduct at checkpoints.

Ed said...

Anduhrew, what parking issue?

Anduhrew said...

There was supposed to be a meeting last thursday at 5:30pm about parking in Downtown. They wanted to discuss whether they'd have parking meters put in, street parking removed entirely or additional parking etc... But it was specifically focused on the Downtown 2nd st. area.

Anonymous said...

Checkpoint is on Foothill Blvd, westbound, at Dartmouth; the west end of Harvey Mudd College. If you proceed one block past Mills, you are in it.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, the trick is to go down two lane roadways (when available), freeways, or through residential neighborhoods that don't appreciate checkpoints in their neighborhood. Incidentally, the drunks know this. So they use Palomares instead of Towne or Garey, Harrison instead of Foothill, etc.

linknpark said...

Anduhrew, this turned into an immigration discussion because besides drunk drivers, unlicensed motorists are the other people police are trying to remove from the roads using checkpoints, and with good reason. Undocumented immigrants are some of the individuals that are unlicensed, along with a variety of other people including convicts, felons, underage drivers, etc. A particular city council woman was brought up because of her objection to undocumented workers being cited.

To answer your other point, getting a work visa for an immigrant that is already here sponsored by their place of employment (in my experience at least) is fairly easy; at least the way we did it. I helped at least a dozen guys in the lumber industry do it. Not sure what the situation with your friends Chinese lady friend is, I would guess partly that she is from China and there are further restrictions on resident visas because of her country of origin (due to recent governmental and industrial espionage, although I wouldn't hold me to that, and I am not positive), including restrictions on tourist visas (which I was unaware were difficult to obtain into the United States because I have international friends visit me all of the time).

Ed said...

With the article in today's Daily Bulletin of the Pomona PD K9 officer who was struck by an unlicensed, intoxicated driver @ 2:52PM, I doubt the City Council will be to eager to dump the checkpoints.

Just for people to consider: Aren't the poor, licensed drivers actually being disproportionately hurt by the unlicensed, uninsured drivers? Basically, the cost of uninsured motorist coverage is a larger percentage of the annual income for those residents in the poverty range. In addition, assuming all factors are equal, the financial impact of a collision should increase with decreasing income (e.g. lost income from work, replacement cost of vehicle, etc). I'm just stereotyping here, but I'm guessing the wealthy will carry better vehicle and health coverage. Even with a short hospital visit, for the poor in our society, a collision with an uninsured driver could be catastrophic.

I'd rather see politicians advocate for bike lanes and a better mass transit system. Anyone had to rely on Foothill Transit to get to school or work lately? My daughter took 3 buses, paid two fares (only one transfer allowed), and took an hour to travel from Pomona to Glendora.

John Clifford said...

To Anduhrew and LinknPark,

Re: the visa issue. If the girlfriend is a tech worker it may be a problem of all of the H1B visas being used up. Microsoft and other tech companies have been complaining bitterly that they can't get enough foreign workers because the US doesn't graduate enough engineers. So those tech companies have filled up the allotments of tech workers and unless you're being sponsored by one of them, good luck.

Am I bitter about the US not only exporting jobs, but bringing in foreign workers when there are a lot of folks here who are out of work?

Hmmm, About three years ago I lost a job of over 10 years because the company was exporting the jobs to India. NOT because there were no American's to do the job, but because it was too expensive to produce textbooks in the US when there was a large labor force in India who would do the work at half the price (that was even using 2-3 times the number of workers to do the same work). Now, that company has announced that they are closing their Los Angeles facilities at the end of the year. So now another 40 or so folks will also lose their jobs. I only hope that the Indian employees will buy some American products since the American workers won't have any disposable income. Oh . . . we don't actually produce anything for them to buy.

So our tax money (used to purchase textbooks for all of our children) now goes to India while American workers end up the unemployment lines.

Bitter??? Why would I be bitter???

Anduhrew said...

Mr. Clifford, sorry to hear that. what makes it worse is that many of these exported jobs actually cost less than what it would be to pay for a slave. We can thank the WTO for making sure those wages stay low.
(p.s. the visa girl is in communications and she's just trying to get a tourist's visa)
Linkn Park, so those checkpoints aren't just for checking intoxication. they are there to see if you have your papers, something about a police state just doesn't seem right to me.

K said...

I don't want to live in a country where I continually have to show my papers. Now sure, there's the whole "driving's a privilege" bit, but, honestly, how practical is it to get around LA without a car? Sure you can do it (and I really respect those who do!), but your opportunities are pretty curtailed.

From that standpoint, claiming that we have to show our papers when driving, then acknowledging that we pretty much have to drive, it seems like we pretty much have to show our papers, and that's painful.

As a tech guy, don't get me started on H1B visas. I've seen some ridiculous abuses of 'em.

K said...

Ummm, as long as I'm whining about having to drive, let me also echo Ed's call for better public transportation, so we have other options besides driving. Besides helping out with energy consumption, it'd also help provide more opportunities to those who don't have the bucks to buy and maintain (and insure) a car.

John Clifford said...

K, sorry to bring up the H1B issue, but this was a great place to vent on the day before I went and visited the 40-50 people who will be out of work in a couple of months.

As to the "show your papers" part of the discussion. Because it's so politically heated, I've kind of shied away from it, but followed the thread with interest.

We must remember that these are not random stops. EVERYONE who drives into the area of the checkpoints gets stopped. I know that Meg suggested that she gets "waved through" while those with a little more "ethnic" look get harassed. However, that has not been my experience as I've been asked "for my papers" every time that I've been through one. This is the reason that the courts have upheld the checkpoints, because they are equal and even-handed. While we like to think that we shouldn't ever be stopped without "cause," that isn't necessarily the case. There is a history of instances where public safety concerns make such inspections necessary. Anyone who has been out of state is required to stop at Fruit Inspection Stations because public safety of our food supply is deemed important enough (I know, that one they wave me though too!).

By the way, I take the train and redline subway once a week to teach in downtown. While it takes me longer than if I drive (even with traffic) it is much less stress and I can get work done during the trip. However, the dream that you can get anywhere you want to go in LA via public transport is only something to dream about for our grandchildren as it will take huge infrastructure and society today (read corporate society) is not willing to pay ANYTHING for infrastructure. As to letting private industry come up with a solution to the transportation problem, they already have, oil and cars. Problem solved.

John Clifford said...

Just re-read that rambling last post.

To clarify: I'm not crazy about the concept of checkpoints, but I understand them. I like public transportation and support it, but don't think it's going anywhere fast (ooh, unintentional good one).

Anonymous said...

I'm in a particularly good mood right now, so let's just all pat ourselves on the back for expressing our different viewpoints without resorting to verbal assaults. And Meg deserves credit for broaching a 'touchy' subject.

Ain't life grand! We can all agree to disagree.

Ed

Anonymous said...

All right everyone!
Group hug!

Mark

me said...

OMGoodness, things have gotten so touchy feely over here. Suppose I can fess up now that I was the Anonymous "just weighing in" above. John, you wear a beard, and as such I wouldn't expect that you would get waved through.

G of P

Anonymous said...

According to the DB, a citizen's forum is planned for 6:30PM Thursday @ Centro Promesa de Dios, 235 W. Third St., if anyone is interested in attending.

Anduhrew said...

speaking of LA and cars, I wrote an entry recently about walkability in cities. I mentioned LA county as a whole was not walkable. I received a few comments of people offended that I said their city of LA was not walkable. there ARE certain areas in LA county that you can get by in without a car. BUT they are relatively small. and once outside those regions getting by is much too time consuming. just be careful what you say to angelinos recently about LA, cars, transit, and walking. (and yes i have lived in the city of LA)

calwatch said...

Looks like the meeting degenerated into a shouting match where cops were called. Unfortunately, this issue can be really divisive. I wonder if Primitivo Castro will use this as an angle against Paula Lantz, as this may be his only opening. The problem is that out of the few Hispanics that are citizens and can vote, the majority of them support checkpoints, especially with the reforms that Chief Romero made. That certain councilmember (Carrizosa) was voted in primarily because of Dan Rodriguez's incompetence and general unease from the voters, combined with attaching herself with the Norma Torres train.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else attend last nights meeting at Centro Promesa de Dios?

meg said...

I wanted to (especially after reading Calwatch's report!), but I had already made plans to meet friends in Culver City for dinner (see separate post). I'm eager to hear more about it, though.

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

calwatch said...

http://www.topix.net/forum/source/inland-valley-daily-bulletin/T3RJV6VVBC9669KRP was the article, unfortunately, it was removed as it doesn't look like it made the news hole today (maybe tomorrow). You can read the comments though.

meg said...

Thanks, calwatch. Man, those comments are pretty scary.

John Clifford said...

Wow, those comments WERE something else. One of the reasons that I was reluctant to get into this argument was that I might get lumped in with some of them.

Everyone should obey the laws. That's what makes society work. However, sometimes the laws are not good and those need to be changed. Instead of checkpoints. Perhaps we should be allowing anyone to get a driver's license. That way we can ensure our safety on the road, enforce insurance rules and at least get the bad and drunk drivers off the road.

I'm sure that I'll be accused of suggesting that giving a drivers license would be somehow approving illegal immigration. Sorry, but I want those here to be safe and I want to be safe. The issue of illegal immigration needs to be separated from the issues of safe driving and public safety in general. While many may see them as overlapping, I'm much more concerned about the one over the other.

calwatch said...

By the way, tonight's checkpoint is at Towne just south of Holt Avenue (both directions, the mandatory sign is posted just north of the Walgreens).

Ed said...

John, no argument from me. With the current political climate, I doubt licensing illegal immigrants has even the remotest of chances.

Have we (Pomona) ever had a checkpoint on Towne north of Arrow? Can anyone recall the location of the last five checkpoints?

calwatch said...

On Page 11 of this link, it has the locations of the past police checkpoints over the past 12 months from June (add Price and Holt and Towne and Monterey to that list).

Location Date Vehicles Arrests Impounds Total SuspendednRevoked
Screened (DUI Arrests) Total 30 Day Citations License Citations
Issued (VC 14601)
Valley & Kellogg 5/16/08 2301 1 (1) 74 2 83 11
Mission &San Antonio 5/3/08 2952 2(1) 108 6 125 16
Garey & Freda 4/25/08 4298 2 (2) 70 4 82 13
Reservoir & Olive 4/12/08 4027 4 (3) 152 4 170 19
Mission & Curran 3/28/08 6323 2 (1) 194 6 200 26
Towne & Monterey 3/8/08 3822 4 (2) 154 5 162 26
Holt & Hershey 2/23/08 CANCELLED
Holt & Union 2/8/08 4478 1 (0) 106 9 111 19
Garey & Freda 1/26/08 CANCELLED-- RAINED OUT
Reservoir & Second 1/2/08 2373 2 (0) 139 4 150 11
Mission & Curran 12/1/07 3207 2 (0) 126 2 140 16
Valley & Kellogg 11/29/07 3712 1 (0) 98 2 100 13
Towne & Monterey 11/9/07 4352 5 (3) 113 9 120 18
Garey & Lexington 10/27/07 5190 2 (0) 174 9 190 15
Reservoir & Olive 10/12/07 4090 6 (2) 150 3 160 10
Holt & Hershey 9/24/07 3865 6 (2) 145 10 165 20
Mission & Curran 9/10/07 3603 4 (0) 151 12 180 16
Garey & Freda 8/31/07 4756 4 (2) 64 3 72 9
Garey & Pearl 8/18/07 4003 2 (2) 96 1 98 13
Reservoir & Olive 7/28/07 3209 6 (2) 131 2 145 15
Holt & Indian Hill 7/13/07 3946 10 (2) 84 2 95 11
Holt & Union 6/23/07 3639 4 (3) 176 6 200 18
Towne & Monterey 6/6/07 3615 3 (2) 77 4 85 17
Holt & Hershey
Mission & Curran
Mission & Curran

5/18/08
5/11/07
4/28/07

3157
4889
5417

7 (3)
10 (7)
10 (5)

80
158
154

3
11
9

100
170
160

14
12
15


The police are generally pretty uncreative and are happy with doing what seems to work. You want locations which are away from residential areas, that have enough parking to stage violators, and are next to business that understand what is going on. Hence, they use Towne and Monterey, Mission and Curran, Valley and Kellogg, etc. over and over again. (There is occasionally a checkpoint at Indian Hill and American, but that is run by the City of Claremont without Pomona's involvement.) Surprisingly, no checkpoints for people just coming off the 10 freeway (the closest one is Garey and Freda (McDonald's), or Garey and Pearl (the Mobil station). The only one that remotely intercepts freeway-type traffic is Olive and Reservoir. In other cities, checkpoints are often placed within half a mile of the freeway onramp.

Because of the siting of checkpoints, and the laws requiring warning signage, it is fairly easy to avoid them. Drive on minor streets rather than arterials, or on the freeway; if you are going to drink and drive, don't do it on Friday and Saturday night, or at least hang out in the car until 4 a.m. when the cops have gone home (and you are more sober); and when you see a backup in the middle of the night for no good reason, or a bunch of lights that you've never seen before in the middle of the roadway; it probably is a checkpoint.

I have seen one morning checkpoint, in Baldwin Park a few months ago on Pacific. Not sure what that was all about. An interesting project for someone to take on is to gather statistics on how useful checkpoints are. Send a Public Records Request to each city to request information similar to the Pomona press release. I think that the results aren't going to please anyone.

calwatch said...

Add Fair and Arrow as well.

If you care, here was the final article as it appeared in the paper, here is an unusually fair (from Indymedia) account of the meeting, and here is some video of the incident, along with some poorly written prose accompanying it.

Anonymous said...

Another shooting in Pomona this morning. I believe it was four people shot and one dead. Ok we need lots of check points all over the city. We are at war with Urban terrorist and make no mistake it is war and you may be the next one shot in your front yard. People who are stopped need to have their car completly searched for guns, alcohol, stolen stuff and whatever and they can search my car anytime. We need to get these coward scum of the streets. Lots of checkpoints at night may help.

Anonymous said...

I no longer live in Pomona, actually out of state now, but was in the area in the recent past and endured being stopped in one of these "checkpoints", although it was in Ontario, not Pomona. It definitely gave me an eerie feeling of "Big Brother" for sure. I made a quip to the officer about the bad guys coming to him instead of him chasing them, and commented that it must take all the fun out of it for the police. He said this is the "new way" and it is what the public wants. I doubt that, if it is the way the majority want to live, then fine. But I can't believe that and would like to see the issue put on the ballot locally, at least in Pomona. The problems that Pomona has will not be solved by checkpoints, but by good, aggressive police work and lots of presence on the streets.

Incidentally, I went to school with Paula Lantz and know that she has always been a person of the highest integrity. I don't know what her opinion is on this issue, but I know you won't find her misrepresenting her record or accomplishments in any way.