Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sgt James Crowley had 8 Previous Citizen Complaints Against Him Including Racial Profiling

Are the Cambridge police capable of policing their own?

It is a difficult decision for a citizen, especially one who resides within Cambridge and must face these police every day, to actually go forward and file a complaint against a police officer, at the police station. I believe that for every complaint filed, there are a dozen who didn’t file the complaint, either because they did not know they could do so, or due to concerns about retaliation.

Reports that 8 citizen complaints had been filed against Sgt James Crowley were finally released today, weeks after the highly publicized arrest of the disabled Harvard professor at his own home. However, at the time of the arrest and droping of all charges of the Harvard professor, news media swarmed the story, repeating over and over again police assertions that Crowley was an exemplemary cop, who teaches a course on racial profiling, and could therefore never have behaved in an unfair way toward the professor. The MSM demeaned the Harvard professor, further, by repeting the police union's and the police commissioner's praise for both Crowley and for police proceedures. The media stories failed to include the fact that 8 other citizens had filed formal complaints, including two that alledged racial bias, because the police withheld this information.

How different the national story would have read if this information had been redily available..."Cop with 8 past complaints does it again!"

We learn that the police deemed none of the complaints against crowley to have any merit whatsoever.

What that shows is that the police, believing themselves members of “The Brotherhood,” take care of their own.

It shows is that these 8 complaints were whitewashed.

What it also shows is what I explained twice to Police Commissioner Robert Haas, “If you don’t hold Sgt James Crowley accountable, he will keep on doing it, and eventually he will do it to the wrong person.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Should The DCR Close Public Pools In Mid August?

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has closed public pools in cities of Lowell, Brocton, Springfeild, Allston-Brighton, Worchester, Everett, Cambridge, Somerville, Lawrence, and more. The kids and working families that live in these cities have no way to get to lakes and ocean beaches.

This comes in the midst of a heat wave. It was 94 yesterday and 95 today, with high humidity making folks feel miserable and Cities declaring a heat emergency, opening "cooling centers."

The State of Mass claims they are too poor to keep pools open for "poor" kids.

However, the City of Boston operates 20 public pools, and Mayor Menino is extending the hours the Boston pools will be open until 9pm.

Two pools that were schedualled to close Monday, in Cambridge, recieved a one week reprieve, when City and State pols worked with the DCR to have the city pay half the funding. This even though the DCR claims it's not money, but that the lifeguards are college students who have left to return to college. The DCR claims that it costs $12,000 weekly to operate each pool.

I believe the DCR pools should be opened from Memorial day on weekends until schools close for summer, then daily thru Labour Day. DCR should have plans to open earlier in May and later in September when heat waves come early, like last year, or late as sometimes happens. This year we had plenty of cool rainy days until barely a month ago, and now the pools are being closed in Mid August, in Mid summer, with no place for kids to go.

DCR runs the pools and answers to the Stewardship Council which oversees DCR and all things environmental. RAISE YOUR VOICE AND BE HEARD! SEND AN EMAIL.

Please submit any comments to the Stewardship Council in written form via email c/o Jeff Daley at or via mail to DCR Stewardship Council, c/o Jeff Daley, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114.

Call your State reps and senators. This is not just about where you swim, but serving a public need for those who are in need.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Should Public Servants In Powerful Positions of Responsibility, Like the Transportation Secretary be Allowed to Lie With Impunity?

Today widespread disatisfaction with Mass Transportation Secretary Aloisi could be heard from Republicans, newspapers, TV and radio news, not to mention talk shows. At issue is the lack of transparancy, to state it mildly, or more frankly, the lies being told by Aloisi about the ouster of the MBTA's General Manager.

The video above shows Aloisi promising to be truthful going forward, but the Boston Globe published emails between Aloisi and Dan Grabauskas that shows it was in fact Aliosi who pushed for the unpopular fare increase, not the Grabauskas. What has folks truely upset, is that even after Grabauskas came out and explained he opposed the fare increase, Aloisi, and Gov Deval Patrick continued to misinform "We The People" claiming, falsly, that Dan Grabauskas was at fault, when in fact it was Aloisi.

Even as more heads roll at the MBTA, major TV news reports that it is not only the Republicans that want Aloisi out, but prominant Democrats as well. Voters calling in to talk radio are now blaming Gov Patrick, because, most of them point out, deval Patrick should have known who Aloisi was, and what a great manager Graubauskis is.
In addition many critized the Gov for his slander of Grabauskas, blaming him for the two trolly crashes, that investigation determined to be human error and not mismanagement.

We The people need to consider what level of transparancy we are comfortable with, and how many lies and slanders we can tolerate from our elected officials. For myself, I cannot trust those in leadership positions who lie and blame others, unfairly. We need leaders we can trust, because we are also busy doing our jobs, and when we entrust public officials with the peoples business, we do not expect betrayal.

Meanwhile, the toll inequity law suit against the Turnpike Athority is rolling.

Should Cambridge MA Swimming Pools Be Open During Summer?

Should outdoor public swimming pools be open during the summer? Marty raises a good point, and I wonder how much money was spent to open the Magazine Beach pool from late June thru mid August? If any of you have this info, please share it with us all.

As many of you know, I have advocated for keeping our swimming pools open from Memorial Day thru Labour day, with contingency plans to open pools on weekends, earlier, or later, if hot weather dictates the need. I think that from Mem day through the end of the school year, shortened daytime hours, afternoons, and long weekends would suffice.

It seems unfair and unjust for those who live in the Harvard and MIT community, as well as those who have access to expensive private pool memberships can swim on these hot, humid summer days, while the children of our residents, taxpayers, and so called working poor, are to be denied what seems to me to be a basic service for City residents.

Shall we return to opening the fire hydrants? Please.

Will it cost money to open our pools to our children during the summer? You bet it will cost money! What better way to spend taxpayer's dollars, than to ensure a safe, healthy and fun way for children to expend their energy during hot hazy humid summer days?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Should Property Taxes Be Used to Pay for the MBTA?

The MBTA "assessment" is raised aprox 2.5% yearly, and on Cambridge for 2010 it is $8,302,878 on some 101,000 population, or aprox $82.00 per person. However, the City passes this head tax on to property taxes, resulting in some individuals having to pay 2, 3 even 4 times their "fair share." seniors and people with disabilities are unfairly burdened by this "hidden property tax" to pay for the MBTA. Small business is also burdened, unfairly. And while some will claim it is a small amount of money, I see that those who ust the T to communt to work, and earn a good living, expect the poor, unemployed, seniors, disabled, even babies to pay this "small amount" for them. If it is such a "small amount" let those who work pay for their own transportation.

In what many believe to be bad politics, Gov Deval Patrick, through his appointees, has ousted The MBTA's General Manager, Dan Grabauskas, by paying off his contract in full, basically paying him not to show up for work. For now, the MBTA will have it's attorney to head up one of the largest public transportation systems, and surely one of the most diverse and troubled.

Among other things, the MBTA has it's own "private police force," opperates ferries, high speed rail service, and is working to fulfill agreements to end disacrimination based on disability due to the law suit filed by BCIL.

When Dan first came on to T management, he immediately vistied Towns and Cities, taking spontaneous questions, and listening to, and responding to comments from seniors to bike users. He has been most available and transparent, and fixed things from urine in the elevators to the "Hidden Service Cuts," a secret policy he ended last year, after I documented this "unofficial policy" with photos, bus numbers and times, to demonstarte that busses had been pulled off service routes without either hearings nor public notice.

What most folks do not realize is that the funding of the MBTA was changed, and not for the best, in 2000, with an effort to shift funding of the MBTA to property taxes. This is achieved through MBTA assessments on Cities and Towns, and cambridge pays over 8 million. property taxes now make up some 10% of the MBTA's budget. That is not progressive, it drives up rents, and I wonder just how many of you think property taxes is the right way to fund public transportation? Regressive enough for you?

The MBTA has a huge buget shortfall. How should they raise the funds? have your say..

Attend a public workshop or the public hearing We invite you to attend one of the public workshops to share your comments and discuss your suggestions with MBTA officials. The public hearing will be an opportunity to offer your recorded comments. Comments at all meetings will be considered by MBTA staff and Board of Directors for further action. A court reporter will be present at the public hearing to record comments.American Sign Language services and assistive listening devices available at all public workshops and hearings. All locations are accessible to persons with disabilities.

• Written comments will also be accepted through September 4, 2009 and should be
mailed to MBTA, Ten Park Plaza, Boston,MA 02116, Attention: Fare Proposal Committee.

• You can also submit your comments electronically at the MBTA website
at, and by phone at (617) 222-3200, TTY (617) 222-5146.

The schedule of public meetings, including a series of workshops and concluding with a formal hearing, is as follows:

Monday, August 10
Gardner Auditorium-State House
24 Beacon Street
4-7: P.M.
Interpreter: Chinese, Spanish
Written Material: Cape Verdean Creole,
Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Spanish

NOTICE: Gov Patrick has cancelled all
the following public meetings....

Tuesday, August 11Revere
Garfield Elementary School
176 Garfield Ave.
5:30-7:30 P.M.
Interpreter: Spanish
Written Material: Khmer, Spanish

Wednesday, August 12
Thayer Public Library
798 Washington Street
5:30-7:30 P.M.
Interpreter: Chinese
Written Material: Chinese

Thursday, August 13
Somerville High School Auditorium
81 Highland Ave.
5:30-7:30 P.M.
Interpreter: Portuguese
Written Material: Haitian Creole, Portuguese,

Monday, August 17
City Hall Annex, Room 313
120Washington Street, 3rd floor
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Written Material: Spanish

Tuesday, August 18Framingham
Town Hall - Blumer Room
150 Concord Street
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Interpreter: Portuguese
Written Material: Portuguese, Spanish

Wednesday, August 19Worcester
Union Station, Union Hall, 2nd Floor
2Washington Square
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Interpreter: Spanish
Written Material: Spanish

Thursday, August 20
City Hall Council Chambers
77 Park Street
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Written Material: Cape Verdean Creole,

Monday, August 24Haverhill
Haverhill Public Library
99Main Street
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Interpreter: Spanish
Written Material: Spanish

Tuesday, August 25
Grove Hall Community Center
51 Geneva Ave.
5:30-7:30 P.M.
Interpreter: Cape Verdean Creole
Written Material: Cape Verdean Creole,

Tuesday, August 25Roxbury
Roxbury Community College
Media Arts Center
1234 Columbus Ave.
5:30-7:30 P.M.
Interpreter: Haitian Creole
Written Material: Cape Verdean Creole,

Wednesday, August 26Fitchburg
Fitchburg State College
Ellis White Lecture Hall
160 Pearl Street, Hammond Building
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Written Material: Spanish

Thursday, August 27

State Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza
5:30-7:30 P.M.
Interpreter: Chinese, Spanish
Written Material: Cape Verdean Creole,
Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Spanish

Friday, August 7, 2009

Are Mass Police Held to the Same Standards of Justice That "We The People" Are?

Some people believe race was the problem in Crowley's arrest of Gates. Others see the problem as wider that just race.

In How Do We Build Community? Hope and Healing, I discuss the very issue of inclusion, including race and disability. One of the most amazing things about the Gates Crowley story is the way the MSM has once again glossed ovet the disability of Prof Gates. I am sure that "people" do not believe that disability had anything to do with this, at all. In fact, by brushing this issue aside, we cannot even examine it. Worse, most folks do not even know. Why? Are we afraid of the truth? Mark J is right when he suposes that race may not the be-all behind the "unfortunate" arrest of an innocent disabled black Prof at his home at Harvard in Cambridge.

Obama's speach on "race" provides us with real insight into what the barrier of attitude is, and how it handicaps us.

The attitude that I see here in Cambridge MA, and throughout MA, is the police are not held to the same standards of human behavior that the "citizenry are held to. Police that commit felonys are "diciplined" but continue to "serve" without the support and trust of "we the people."
Like in Hamilton, Danvers and Cambridge, there is the "hurry up and move on" attitude that only enables police mis behavior. One cannot but wonder if the AG's marraige to a Cambridge Police officer, now retired, "colours" her "perceptions?" I cannot imagine that these same crimes, when committed by ordinary people, would not be prosecuted by Coakley to the fullest extent of the law. Why then does she coddle police who cannot or will not obey the laws we all are supposed to live under? How can we trust police who themselves have no respect for the law?

(Be sure to read the comments, which is where you will see the divid between the view of the people and the view of the AG. And this case is not about race, but that does not mean that in the gates Crowley arrest that race was not a factor. Surely there can be more than one factors when police abuse their power, and then lie about it.)

Sweeping things under the rug, often referred to as "moving on" or "putting this behind us" is just another way of avoiding the lessons we need to learn, and changing our attitudes. It is just another way to continue our denial. We are creeping into a police state, and the police more and more behave like an occupying force.

"Under the terms of an agreement brokered through Attorney General Martha Coakley's office, the officers will keep their jobs, but each will have to work 30 days without pay, take an additional 30 days off without pay and pay a $5,000 fine to the town.

Like the officers in Hamilton, the Danvers officers faced criminal prosecution if they did not accept their punishment."

I fail to see how minority communities can trust a system that repetedly exonerates police who commit felonies yet continue with one arrest without probable cause after another, with the judge throwing cases out one after the other, but with innocent folks ending up with coris, while the police who lie and commit purgery walk away scott free. I am a membey of the so called white privleges class, but I myself can no longer trust police in the State of Mass, as long as their enabler is enthroned in the office of the AG.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Councillor Marjorie Decker Not On The Ballot For 2009?

Looks like Marjorie Decker failed to submit enough signatures on her nomination papers in a timely way and she won't be on the Nov 3 ballot for City Council this year. Robert Winters, who runs a great web site about politics in Cambridge, and supporte candidate pages for those who are running for office, a great public service, reported today that Decket missed the cut.

Is it possible that she decided not to run at the last moment, or was it just an oversite on her part? I have not seen this reported in the news, probabally because reporters cannot contact either the Election Commission nor Decker today.

One thing is sure, people who use guide dogs are relieved that Decker may not return to City Council, because she is trying to have guide dogs banned from City Council meetings when she is present, due to her claim that they bother her allergies. Decker does not want to take allergy meds, refusses to change her seat, and sit away from the public section, wan't waer a mask, or use any ventilation equipment. She has also not applied to the City for a reasonable accomodation, based on "disability" acording to employee rules, and the City manager, only, reported that she asked him to ban guide dogs due to her allergies.

I would like to point out, that I had already agreed to relocate my seet to the far side of the public seating area, some 30' away from her, in a very large, well ventilated, public meeting hall. Still, Decker won't be satisfied until people who use guide dogs are segregated to a completely seperate room.

So, if it is true that marjorie is not on the ballot for City Council, and she may not be reelected to City Council, then guide dogs will be howling in celebration!

It is never right to exclude people who are protected from discrimination, based on race, religion, gender, disability, etc. It is always wrong to seek segregation as the first solution to "problems."

Memo to E. Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge re Sgt James Crowley

From: Kathryn Podgers Subject: Sg Crowley: When does a police officer come to one's home, and NOT show his ID?To: "Mayor Denise Simmons" Cc: "Craig Kelley" , "Ken Reeves" , "David Maher" , "Tim Toomey" , "Mar Decker" , "Henrietta Davis" ,, "Sam Seidel" , "Robert Healy" , "Rich Rossi" , "Bill Dwyer" , "Kathy Watkins" , "Robert Haas" , "Steven Williams" , "Bethany (AGO) Brown" , "Phyllis (MOD) Mitchell" , "Phyllis (MOD) Mitchell" , "Marilyn Wellons" , "David Harris" , "Jillian Fennimore" , "The Bridge" , "Roy Bercaw" , "pat arcand" , "Dan Rea" ,, "Martha Walz" , "Neal Alpert" Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 11:26 PM

When did it happen that a police officer would come to your home, and NOT show his ID?

Then, when the occupant asks for name and badge #, he still refuses to ID himself, at that point, is the Cambridge Police officer following Department rules? or not?

We in Cambridge finally got a "new" police commissioner to put an end to problems like this, but we still have some officers who believe thay can get away with it. Commissioner Robert Haas has worked hard to set a fine example for the police so they know what the standards are. Sgt James Crowley has repetedly violated these standards, to the shame of the other fine officers, who don't deserve to have their fine efforts smeared by Sgt James Crowley's sociopathic behavior.

I have a good relationship with both Neal Alpert, office of the Mayor, and Police Commissioner Robert Haas.

I am also an Mass Office on Disability, MOD, trained Community Access Monitor. I regularly monitor and document Mass Arch Access Board, State Safety Code violations, and Federal Civil Rights Act of 1990, the ADA, violations, and then bring them to the attention of the City, so the City can correct the violations, voluntarily, so it isn't necessary to file complaints. Unfortunately, there are those in the City of Cambridge that do not wish to comply with the ADA. I have a good relationship with the DPW, Superintendent of Streets and Sidewalks, Bill Dwyer. I am a founding member of Citizens of Feasible Compliance, a group of citizens who believe that the City should follow both State and Federal Law, and voluntarily comply with regulations and standards.

On Nov 6, 2008, Citizens for Feasible Compliance had a meeting with the Police Commissioner Robert Haas, Deputy Superintendent Steven Williams, the police legal advisor, Neal Alpert, myself and other member of Citizens for Feasible Compliance at the office of the Police Commissioner.

One of the items on the agenda was Sgt James Crowley's behavior towards myself.

We discussed his repeted threat to have me arrested, falsly accusing me of creating a disturbance, falsley accusing me of yelling at him, and an assortment of other lies. In fact, it was Sgt James Crowley who would show up at a construction site, and demand I leave, not take photos, get into my face, screaming and yelling, schreeching, like a stereotype of a drill sgt in a "B" movie. When I would show him my ID, and explain what I was doing, and BTW, I was in contact with DPW Bill Dwyer, while they were on the way to check the contractor was complying with state safety code, when I would ID myself, Sgt Crowley would threaten me with false arrest. "I'm gonna call for a patty wagon to come and take you away."

This behavior, interferring with me while I am exercizing my civil rights, and the threat of the use of force, unlawfully, is a Colour of Law Violation.

We explained to Police Commissioner Robert Haas, that if Sgt Crowley was not disiplined, we feared he would continue to threaten others, because we did not believe his threats to me were personal. (there are witnesses)

Based on my observation, there are only a few officers in Cambridge who are problems. Sgt James Crowley is one of them, he is an unstable, cruel, sociopath.

I have always been supportive of the police, and support fully, community policing, and the bike police. However, the idea that there are no rotten apples, and that the police force should cover up for the bad actors, is not only not a good model of policing, but hurts most the reputation of the department, which then will lose the trust and support of the people.

Also, do not believe the outrageous literally fabulous story that is the police report. The arresting officer, not following rules, brushing aside civil rights laws, writes a self serving prolie report filled with lies.Please, use your common sense!

The City of Cambridge has ongoing problems complying with Federal Civil Rights Laws, as well as State Law, and the Mass state constitution, they do NOT need a rogue police officer holding them back as they seek to improve their image and move forward.

After 20 years on the force, Sgt Crowley should know that

1. When a neighbor calls that they see someone entering or B&E a neighbors house, that is NOT probabal cause to go into the house. We have had the Police Commissioner testimony In City Council on this issue.

2. When you approach a house, based on such a report, and without any evidence of a breakin, and without the occupant's call to the police, the police officer should knock, and show his ID. Clearly, Sgt Crowley didn't do that. Why not?

3. If you can reverse the colour issue for a moment, a Black Man, dressed in a Police Uniform, but alone, without another officer, knocks on the door of a white man, and demands the white man open the door, and show him ID, but refuses to ID himself. What would you do if you were the white man? Is there anyone that believes colour is not a part of this? because we do not need more denial, we need to move beyond denial.

You would't ask the man to show his Police ID? With name and badge #? Prof Gates did what any of us would do, and Sgt Crowley took issue with it, refusing to ID himself, and who knows what else Sgt Crowley said. he obviously FAILED to take control of the situation, instead he inflamed the issues. He became personally "insulted" and retaliated against an innocent man, who had committed no crime whatsoever.

4. In my opinion, the only mistake Prof Gates made was opening the door so the police officer could get in, before the Sgt IDed himself. I believe that Gates should have called Harvard police immediately.

However, the issue here is that Sgt Crowley seems to believe that he can order around ordinary citizens and threaten them with arrest, as though we were all homeless. Prof Gates, myself, and my friends and neighbors do not believe we live in a police state. We do believe that we should have police who can conduct themselves in a professional way, that does not bring shame on our City, the Department and themselves.

I will be following this up, I will testify In City Council next Monday evening, and I will make a Youtube Video on this.

In this instance Prof Gates in not the bad guy, who played the race card, but an innocent mman who had committed no crime. He was abused by this individual officer, and the City of Cambridge needs to take action, not just use words, to hold this officer accountable..

And, Oh, BTW, the City of Cambridge does NOT have a functioning police review board, could that be part of the problem, with rogue police con fident that internal complaints will whitewash their "mistakes?"

This afternoon, at 4pm, the Cambridge Police were still refusing to ID the arresting police officer. I was told they will not ID him, until they finish their investigation into who was responsible for the leak of the police report. It seems that the Cambridge Police continue to take care of themselves, instead of serving the public.

The Cambridge police should immediately release the police report, be transparent, abd understand that they are governed by the people of Cambridge, not the people are goverend by the police.

take care, folks,

Kathy Podgers
Pearl St
Cambridge, MA 02139