Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Unintended Consequences of Firing WITHOUT Cause

[Update Below] [Update II]
There's more on the David Tyson firing of Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen in the Tuesday, June 28, 2011, edition of the Times-Standard. Front page headlines. Headlines that are competing with Governor Jerry Brown's gridlock problems trying to balance the budget when trying to deal with Ideological Believers that are beyond any reason. If the truth be known, the same problem is driving this issue. There is one new and refreshing ingredient in the mix this time, at least in Eureka: ANGER.

The headline: Police chief firing draws anger – "Forum highlights public discord; petition calls for firing of Eureka city manager."

Here, Thadeus Greenson for the T-S is reporting on what transpired during a “Community Forum” held Monday night to rally support against the firing.” The following noteworthy comment sets the tone of the proceeding, but really highlights the fundamental underlying problem in the firing of Garr Nielsen:
I'm really ashamed to be a part of the city of Eureka now,” (current Councilwoman Linda) Atkins said, going on to charge that Nielsen's firing was done to “demoralize the community” and that the city council and Tyson are unresponsive to the will of Eurekans. “I waste time Tuesday nights at city council meetings with the way members of our council don't listen to their citizenry.” [Emphasis added]
Underlying Problem: The highhanded, arbitrary, authoritarian, ideologically driven believer's dictatorial governance and enforcement, neither answerable nor accountable to anyone. Many people in Eureka believed that they had finally got a police department that was actually responsive – actually served the people's needs with Chief Garr Neilsen. Getting that back or even the perception of a responsive police department is virtually impossible now. No man or woman worth a dime would ever take on the Police Chief's duties in Eureka under the present circumstances - The Sword of Damocles hanging over that job. To be sure, they'll fill the position, the moneys too good, but that person will be totally worthless and won't give a pinch of rat crap for the City of Eureka or its people. I'm not saying that Garr Nielsen did either or that he didn't have a skewed understanding of the people's policing needs. He, at least, as far as many people believed brought some positive changes in the past 4 years. If nothing else you at least got some positive response, even if it beggared a solution.

By getting the community to support him and his policies to the extent he was actually garnering, he was doing something else that threatened the City Council and their Manager, David Tyson. He was making the police department and every police officer, in and of itself and in and of themselves, legitimate in their job and in their authority. They didn't need to, either individually or collectively, bully, threaten or coerce anyone into going along with who and what they said they were. As police officers they may of even begun to get a little respect. That directly threatened these conservative believers and they certainly couldn't have any of that.

Are we looking at a little bit of the Arab Spring in Eureka, California? Will the tax-paying residents of Eureka begin to get the responsive and personal consideration required of legitimate elected representatives? I seriously doubt it when their imprimatur can operate in total secrecy to the perceived detriment of their responsive community. 

[UPDATE :: Tuesday, June 28, 2011]
As usual you can find an interesting cross-section of blogger comments here and again here. (Latest addition here, same blog)  Take them for what they're worth, blogger comments being what they are. Interesting response to Linda Atkins comment. I'd say she put her finger right on the pussy sore infecting Eureka.

I'm not real impressed with Garr Nielsen's responses so far either. The best thing everyone involved in this mess could do is put out the facts so everyone can see. Force the City Council to be responsible and accountable. They will be in the end anyway. That is when everyone in Eureka feels the bite of their totalitarian government. If like Councilwoman Linda Atkins says, "members of our council don't listen to their citizenry" maybe it's time for that "citizenry" to take note of their neighbors that support, sustain and finance;  those that voted these non-responsive people into office that insist on governing in secret.

[UPDATE II :: Wednesday, June 29, 2011]
Two "My Word" articles appeared on the Times-Standard's A4 Opinions Page today. The first one, Perhaps it's time to clean up the city charter was written by Howard Rien, also quoted by Times-Standard's Thadeus Greenson in his report yesterday. Rien says, and since he apparently had a hand in setting up the current Charter, "[T]he city manager can, basically, fire any employee except the city clerk and the city attorney." The de facto reality is that the City Manager runs the city. The implications that had for the Eureka Police Department and in particular, Garr Nielsen are implicit and for the community at large, explicit.

The second "My Word" article is by the aforementioned Chief himself. His little bit of gutless whimpering is the obvious reason he was fired: "Godspeed to EPD and the Eureka community." Anyone purporting an ounce of manhood - self-worth and personal integrity that actually gave a damn about the EPD and the Eureka community would use this opportunity to clear the air. Show everyone some respect by letting them decide what is and what is not. No one is the least bit interested in being TOLD how to think; what is and what is vaguely NOT. This comment, with all his apologies, "taking personal responsibility for all his mistakes," plus this "And I am sorry that the end came in an abrupt and demeaning fashion, but it serves no purpose to abandon my dignity by wrestling in the mud or stooping to the level which seems to have been a remnant of all that was wrong with the police department." totally justifies David Tyson's actions.

What Garr Nielsen, the City Council and David Tyson thought they were doing to improve the EPD and their standing with the Eureka community, what we've all got as a consequence is exactly mirrored in this pathetic and rather arrogant example that sees itself as some sort of parental organization not answerable to anyone. Garr Nielsen's purported beliefs regarding the Eureka Police's standing in this community, as he tries to tell us, is as empty and hollow as he turned out to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment