Arrogance: What a parking ticket and Aaron Campbell have in common.

By Will Newman II of Canby, Oregon. Will is the research and education director for the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Land Trust. Last August, he contributed "An Open Letter to President Obama and the Democratic National Committee".

A few weeks ago, I was asked to attend a meeting in Portland at the Ecotrust building. I arrived early for the 2-hour meeting, allowing time to locate a parking space. I parked, got out of my car, and went to the machine to get a parking permission slip.

I noted, as I always do (too late), that the machine would only take credit cards or coins – not bills. I began feeding coins into the machine, when it became clear that I was not carrying enough change. Everyone carries 4 or 5 dollars in change, right? I left the machine to return to my car to get more change. When I returned the display on the machine was now blank. The machine had stolen my money.

I then proceeded to insert the balance of the money needed to pay for 3 hours of parking (an additional $3.00) and print out the permission slip. Needless to say, the original payment was not included on the permission slip, nor did the time reflect the full payment. I faced a dilemma: start over (by paying another $4.40 to get a new slip), or make a note on the slip I had, explaining the problem. I wrote on the slip. I then stuck the slip on the curbside window and went to my meeting. Of course, on return about two and a half hours later, I had a ticket for overtime parking. I wrote to the Circuit Court, explaining the situation, and enclosing a copy of the Parking Permission Slip showing my notes about the problem.

But that is all background. Here is the core of the problem:

I received a letter from the Circuit Court, explaining that they had received my “documentation”, but were unable to “forward your dispute to a judge for review” because I had not enclosed “payment for the full bail amount”. Failure to do so would be grounds for the city to impound “the cited vehicle” – take my car away. Without a hearing.

In other words, I must pay the city before I can have my day in court. If I don’t, they will take my car. Sounds like extortion, doesn’t it?

I know that this approach is easier, for the city, and more efficient, for the city. And so it is policy. But it is not easier for me, nor more efficient. It is not fair. It is not even reasonable. Given that the accused is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in this country, I am not sure it is actually legal. But, it is policy.

It is a policy that comes from politicians and bureaucrats who think they are more important than the rest of us. It comes from people who believe that their time is more valuable than ours. It comes from an arrogance that says that our actions are supposed to make their lives easier, not the other way around.

Why get so worked up about a parking ticket, you ask? It isn’t about the parking ticket. It is about that arrogance. The same arrogance that got Aaron Campbell murdered.

Because Mr. Campbell did not immediately respond to multiple conflicting instructions from multiple officials, he was killed. And the Grand Jury says it was a bad thing, but it is policy.

It is that arrogance that allows police to shoot unarmed people simply because the officer fears for her/his life. In the process it ignores the fact that the murder of unarmed citizens is a huge contributor to the tension and distrust that officers feel on the streets, leading them to fear for their lives.

It is that arrogance that allows an armed professional to be held less responsible than a typical citizen, and to murder people because it is easier, and more efficient, than dealing with the real problem.

It is policy, and the policy is followed, and that’s the problem.

It is, quite literally, killing us.

Comments

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think that's a very good analogy. More, actually, as you're saying that it is the same thinking that goes around. Progressives get lambasted on here all the time for picking apart the details in everyday situations, and then get called conspiracy freaks for generalizing to more consequential matters. I think it's just a case of entrenched interests not being fond of lateral thinking. In short, it was nice to read your approach to thinking about the matter.

    Every time I've been to a City Council meeting, it seems that policy discussion inevitable involve a calculus comparing Seattle, Portland and San Fran. If one is quite extreme with a policy, it tends to have an effect on Portland, at least that's my theory. Anyway, I think the bad example leading to the ticket situation is influenced by SF and "City Tow". That was the only time I was ever, in my life, totally unable to fight city hall. "City Tow" is written into the City Charter. A desk sergeant adjudicates all matters, no appeal. It is one of the most brutal, arbitrary and corrupt systems on the planet. The same desk sergeant also adjudicates capitol punishment cases involving animals, again, no appeal.

    At least we don't have to rewrite the City Charter to end our absues.

    It is that arrogance that allows police to shoot unarmed people simply because the officer fears for her/his life. In the process it ignores the fact that the murder of unarmed citizens is a huge contributor to the tension and distrust that officers feel on the streets, leading them to fear for their lives.

    If we understood that we wouldn't be training them in Iraq, would we? From our military to the streets, the system just doesn't get it. Powers that be still believe that if you grab someone by the balls their heart and mind will follow. It doesn't. They just go away scheming how to kick you in the zatch.

  • (Show?)

    a slippery slope from bureaucracy to state-sanctioned to killing?

    no way. shameful of you to equate the two. the parking ticket thing can be address through normal politics, complaint system etc. the unwarranted shooting of Campbell reaches into the bigotries and fears of our entire society. feel free to complain about the crappiness of any bureaucracy, but don't try to place your troubles with a ticket on the same level as what the Campbell family is suffering.

  • (Show?)

    but don't try to place your troubles with a ticket on the same level as what the Campbell family is suffering.

    I don't think he did, TA.

    I think Will was saying, or at least trying to say, that the arrogance he sees in an absurd bureaucratic system can have consequences in small ways and big ways.

  • Tim McCafferty (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bureaucracy! The word inspires contempt, and negativity toward government.

    I understood that policy makers, or politicians were the control system by which a bureaucracy would be made effective. I hear often about the arrogance of the people we hire to effect policy that we either voted for by measure on the ballot, or through our duly elected representatives.

    I think the kind of complaining contained in this article is more of the vilifying of our government, and the people in government, that propelled the people believe the least in government to be in charge of government.

    The issue is that in this American Democracy that the government is us. The "We The People" in the preamble is the whole point then, and if we care about leaving a civil, freedom loving democracy to our children and grandchildren we must come to terms with that.

    Separating ourselves from our government and offering nothing more than vile, and criticism is how we got the miseralbe state of government today. We allowed the most critical, and synical to hold the reins power, and changed government into a war chest for whomever ceases power.

    In summation, if you want government to be more effective, affordable, and respectfull we as a people must be fully engaged in our responsibilities as citizens. We need to be informed, critical, and willing to participate.

    Complaining about a parking ticket and what is standard for any legal remedie of posting a bond while you dispute the charges is not a good example of anything but the writer's impatience with authority. I wish my life could be so simple.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    a slippery slope from bureaucracy to state-sanctioned to killing?

    And you call ME self-righteous!

    no way. shameful of you to equate the two.

    He didn't equate anything. He explained how the same kind of thinking in little matters carries over into important ones. Do you know where you are in space and time? You are reading a guest submission by someone that cared enough to write about it Obviously he thinks it's a big deal.

    The way that Americans reduce everything to the crudest of behavioral litmus tests and think that trying to understand things is pandering to negativity really makes me want to run amok. How is your little diatribe any different than those that say that when we try to understand Al-Queda's POV, we are condoning terrorism? I'm assuming your crapdar is up to spotting that one.

    I would say shame on you, t.a., but I just can't bring myself to form the words. You do it so well, though. Maybe have a good look in the mirror next time you feel so inspired. Let's apply the same standard. Obviously your pro military personnel posts are completely disrespectful of the civilians that are killed by them around the world. We must wring our hands and wail, or we are disrespecting the seriousness of the loss? OK. You go first.

    I really used to think that we simply disagreed on approach. Reluctantly I have to conclude that you're just a jerk. I usually don't pick up on that real fast without the goatee indicator.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: Tim McCafferty | Feb 27, 2010 1:29:24 PM Complaining about a parking ticket and what is standard for any legal remedie of posting a bond while you dispute the charges is not a good example of anything but the writer's impatience with authority.

    So let's start counting. How many people lack the cognitive capacity to get what the post said? That's 2 for 3. That is why American democracy sux!

  • (Show?)

    It has been awhile since I received a parking ticket, but I think I remember that there was a option, probably even a date given, for going to court and making your case without paying any money. As an alternative to appearing in court, one could pay the fine and submit explanations (as you did) and hope for a refund. I am a little more certain this is the process with moving violations. Were you not given a court appearance option?

  • Tim McCafferty (unverified)
    (Show?)

    That is why American democracy sux!

    Posted by: Zarathustra | Feb 27, 2010 1:42:13 PM

    I allways find it amusing that this is the same prospective that makes a progressive out to be Un-American for wanting a sincere governance, a constitutional democracy that was known to the the Greatest Human Experiment.

    So, Amercian Democracy Sux, discarding the millions of Americans whom suffered the greatest sacrifice for that democracy you say sux, what would you replace it with comes to mind?

  • Tim McCafferty (unverified)
    (Show?)

    So let's start counting. How many people lack the cognitive capacity to get what the post said? That's 2 for 3. That is why American democracy sux!/// Posted by: Zarathustra | Feb 27, 2010 1:42:13 PM

    I got the point very well, the writer wants to conflate his little frustration with a parking ticket with the tradgic condition of the Portland Police Bureau and the killing of Aaron Campbell.

    If American Democracy Sux, what would you replace it with?

  • Tim Bovee (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sorry, I think this is so over the top.

    I mean, in one case a grieving, unarmed young man is shot in the back by police in what amounts to government-sanctioned manslaughter, and that's the charitable interpretation of what the cops did.

    In the other case, a few bucks are lost, infuriatingly to be sure, in a malfunctioning parking meter, and bureaucrats do stupid rule-based things, as bureaucrats tend to do.

    Not even the same reality. Sorry. Really. Get a grip.

  • Jean Piaget (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The posters that are displaying outrage are operating at a "concrete operational" stage. It immediately precedes "formal" operations. They don't get it because they have not matured enough congnitively to be able to get it. I used to think that formal operations begin about age twelve, but I'll have to revisit that.

    Most enlightening.

    If American Democracy Sux, what would you replace it with?

    French people. He's wrong that it's the form of government, it's the goverened.

  • WillNewmanII (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mnay people made many comments. I will respond to Tim McCafferty because his comments encompass most of what I think was missed. Perhaps because I didn't write it well, perhpas because many of us have trouble recognizing the pattern in the small as well as the large.

    Bureaucracy! The word inspires contempt, and negativity toward government.

    Actually, I am wary of bureaucracy in any instance - I do not equate bureaucracy with government, although it is common there. Bureaucracy to me is the inflexible supremacy of process over content - of method over consequence. It commonly appears in large corporations, educational institutions, and governments, but can pop up in any organization.

    I understood that policy makers, or politicians were the control system by which a bureaucracy would be made effective. I hear often about the arrogance of the people we hire to effect policy that we either voted for by measure on the ballot, or through our duly elected representatives.

    I am not clear on what you mean here, but I make a clear distinction between those we elect or are hired to manage our governmental activity, and the way that they do it. We authorize the former, and often have little input or influence on the latter. Voting new people into office rarely changes the kinds of policy and practices discussed here. (E.g. regardless of the citizenry's strong support for single-payer health care, those we have elected aren't even considering it.)

    I think the kind of complaining contained in this article is more of the vilifying of our government, and the people in government, that propelled the people believe the least in government to be in charge of government.

    I did not view the article as a complaint. I wrote it as an attempt to bring into the public discourse the idea that Aaron Campbell was murdered primarily because of an environment of fear and arrogance created and supported by a bureaucracy that is supposed to serve us, not kill us, and that that arrogance is visible throughout the system, from the mundane level of parking tickets to the deeply important level of human life. If we are to change the future to prevent this kind of murder by those who are supposed to protect us, we must address the arrogance that feeds this mind set, not simply be focused on the terrible death of our fellow citizen.

    The issue is that in this American Democracy that the government is us. The "We The People" in the preamble is the whole point then, and if we care about leaving a civil, freedom loving democracy to our children and grandchildren we must come to terms with that.

    You might find it worthwhile to visit my blog - Think about it - we ARE the people

    Separating ourselves from our government and offering nothing more than vile, and criticism is how we got the miseralbe state of government today. We allowed the most critical, and synical to hold the reins power, and changed government into a war chest for whomever ceases power.

    I agree that we have the government we elect, in no small part because we have rejected both parties. The answer is to field better candidates, then hold them responsible for what they do in comparison to what they said they would do. For example, it is long past time to vote for Democratic Party candidates simply because they are not as bad as Republican Party candidates.

    In summation, if you want government to be more effective, affordable, and respectfull we as a people must be fully engaged in our responsibilities as citizens. We need to be informed, critical, and willing to participate.

    True, but in an economy where it takes 2 adults working full time (or more) to raise a family of 4, were is the time to keep informed? For that matter, where are the dependable sources of information? Where is the energy?

    Complaining about a parking ticket and what is standard for any legal remedie of posting a bond while you dispute the charges is not a good example of anything but the writer's impatience with authority. I wish my life could be so simple.

    First, for a number of much more serious crimes I would not have to post a bond prior to a court hearing in order to be free of harassment, so long as I was not a danger to the community or a flight risk. In the second place, I do not want the court to waste time on a court hearing, simply for a judge to read an explanation of what happened, look at the evidence, and make an informed decision. I might also mention that the trip into Portland to attend a court hearing would cost me more than the amount of the ticket, so it clearly is not about the money.

    And last, I understand that what happened to me had nothing like the impact on me that the murder of Aaron Campbell has had on him, his family and friends, or the community of Portland. I offer my sincerest sympathies to Mr. Campbell's family and friends, and can only say that I am enraged at the injustice done to him.

    Is it not time we put a stop to this kind of behavior by Portland Police Officers?

  • (Show?)

    The answer is to field better candidates, then hold them responsible for what they do in comparison to what they said they would do. For example, it is long past time to vote for Democratic Party candidates simply because they are not as bad as Republican Party candidates.

    The problem is that within the context of the two-party system it really doesn't matter very much why one votes or does not vote. One of the two Big Box party candidates is going to win the vast majority of the time.

    There are numerous examples of control of a given elective office has switched back and forth between Dems and GOPers and I can't see where that has necessarily produced better candidates in the sense of fighting bureaucratic tendencies.

    I submit that "we the people" are stuck between the rock and a hard place of the two-party system, and that no matter who wins or loses or is voted out of office, nothing substantively changes viz bureaucracy.

  • (Show?)

    the ticket situation: govt arrogance. Aaron Campbell: govt arrogance.

    he's writing about both topics as flowing from the same attitudes, etc. anyone who has studied bureaucracy (as i have; 2 yrs Masters Public Affairs program, UO) understands that what institutions do has less to do with any personal attitudes as with an accretion of decisions made to make the institution's processes & needs more easily attainable. frequently these decisions are made by people trying to figure out how to best serve the public while having to meet legal & administrative requirements. rarely is it the kind of arrogance describe above: bureaucrats, politicians, etc deciding they know better, their time means more, etc. bureaucracies are far less personal than that.

    the cops are very personal. if they were as impersonal as a bureaucracy, Campbell would likely be alive today. the beanbag round probably wouldn't have been fired, much less Frashour's shot. the "arrogance" of cops is a very human arrogance, one that stems from a mix of their humanness and from being part of a paramilitary organization with poor command-control structures.

    the bureaucracy can be changed with the imposition of new rules (which would stem from politicians, etc) listening to the public - something that actually happens frequently around here, although more would be better. (and don't forget: what seems to be better for one individual, or maybe even all going through the system on their personal journey, but be bad for the overall system, and, therefore, for the public being served at large.)

    changing the police will take a new generation of cops & leaders. hugely more difficult project than changing any bureaucracy.

    these two problems aren't even in the same ballpark.

  • It's Oregonians Stupid (unverified)
    (Show?)

    And the Grand Jury says it was a bad thing, but it is policy.

    Actually, it's the cowardice and selfishness of the people who are to blame. A Grand Jury can indict anyone they want, regardless of what even a scumball of a DA Schrunk says. Just like a trial jury can nullify the law. So the rot lies in our own character. There is an authoritarian arrogance rampant in our public officials to be sure. But they remain public officials in our representative democracy because WE allow it.

    Look at your friends, neighbors, co-workers and face the fact THEY are to blame. And YOU are to blame because YOU care too much what they think and what you'll lose by not actually standing up for what is right. If YOU even know what it is anymore because you care too much about being popular, comfortable, admired, etc.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It's best not to be stupid if you're parking downtown. You put money in a meter and expect what? Maybe it spit it out in the change slot and someone took it. Or maybe it spit out a receipt and someone else took it. But the idea that you thought a note written on the receipt would make any difference is ridiculous. The City of Portland's policy, at least as I've seen it, is that if you're facing a $34 ticket, you're going to think twice about playing a game with paying (or think twice before doing something that might look like playing a game).

    While there's plenty to gripe about with parking downtown (I got tagged at the poorly-marked carpool-only spots next to Bijou), this isn't one of them. And to then take a bad decision, and try to spin it into some broader and far-fetched point (equating police with meter policy is specious), is nuts.

    There's no need for bad analogies when looking at what happened with Aaron Campbell, or with police shootings in general.

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    You know what, you were ill-prepared to deal with a parking meter. Not the first time, if your "as always" is to be believed. I'm not above making the same mistake. The difference? I put in the extra 4 bucks and chalk it up to my bad planning. No parking ticket, no fine to pay. It's on me, not a machine that's doing what it's designed to do nor a parking cop coming along later and doing what they're hired to do. I've fought tickets too, when I felt they were unjust, and guess what, every time I noticed on the citation that I was expected to pay the fine THEN appeal. Extortion? Bull crap. If you don't like the system, you have the means through democratic representation to fight it. And that's the major difference between you and Aaron Campbell. He is beyond redress. Aaron Campbell's murder by the police doesn't need your tale for illumination. His death reaffirmed the obvious; police in the US can kill black men with impunity, it doesn't need a riff from a guy who couldn't figure out a parking meter.

  • Tim McCafferty (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The writer presumes a malfunctioning parking meter, and his misfortune with getting his ticket resolved to his satifaction is used as evidence of the courts arrogance.

    You may be as profound as you think you are, and that's never going to be an ample example of government arrogance resulting in the death of a innocent citizen.

    The Portland Police Bureau have resorted to deadly violence as a resolution for circumstances on the street that could have been handle with a conversation, or just some patience. The fact that the PPB chose deadly force is not a result of arrogance. They have over time through their ranks lowered the standard for which such a deadly choice can be made. When that happens, when the people they police degenerate to a threat so quickly, and easily for the Police, thats not arrogance, that's leadership.

    That's a culture that has managed to separate themselves so thoroughly they see many more threats on the job than they should.

  • Ricky (unverified)
    (Show?)

    We must only send black officers to respond to blacks. White to white. Latino to latino and so on. This solve the problem!

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    That's 2 for 8, by my count.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Equating a malfunctioning parking machine to the Portland Police problems with apparent exessive force is a stretch even for me.

    I've noticed the growth of these fancy people-less parking machines in several cities (Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, etc). The arrogance of them is that all drivers should have a debit or credit card that they are willing to swipe into the machine. That bureaucratic insolence is maddening. Many then decide to vote against such insolence by not going downtown.

  • (Show?)

    FUCKING HELL, KARI. WHY ON EARTH DID YOU PUBLISH THIS?

  • Bill Ryahn (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Won't it be great when Government runs our health-care!?

    You got screwed on a parking ticket - wait til you get screwed on an organ transplant...

    BTW, Will Newman, why didn't you take public transportation or ride your bike, or car pool? We only have a few years to save planet earth from Global Warming.

  • Boats (unverified)
    (Show?)

    That was a lot of verbiage looking for an overarching theme.

    Who runs Portland again? There's your common thread of arrogance and stupidity.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: Kurt Chapman | Feb 28, 2010 6:20:20 AM

    Equating a malfunctioning parking machine to the Portland Police problems with apparent exessive force is a stretch even for me.

    What a bunch of fucking idiots! Can we count the times it has been pointed out that he didn't equate the two (including Kari, if you only listen to alpha males)? Either debate that or stifle; you are not entitled to your own facts.

    2 for 12. Am I the only one besides the author and publisher that get this? This may well be the nail in the coffin of my political activity. This and the cell tower thread demonstrate that the requisite IQ points just aren't there to build a functioning Republic.

    You can go back to playing with your poo, now.

  • AB (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'm just going to address the parking meter issue and not the so-called larger themes here. I don't see this as a government conspiracy, just someone who doesn't have the common sense to hit cancel and get his change before going back to retrieve more money from his car.

  • (Show?)

    Matt, Kari didn't publish it. he grants a lot of people the right to post on BlueOregon, and it takes an awful lot before he (or Charlie Burr, Jeff Alworth, Karol Collymore) will step in ask someone to change anything. the most i've gotten are a couple of suggestions (borderline admonitions) to try a different tack. since the writer did not cross any bounds of acceptable posting (disagreement with the idea being posted is not out-of-bounds), the post is acceptable.

    it just happens to be a very bad concept i find indefensible.

  • (Show?)

    Zara, he did equate the two. they didn't end up in the same post accidentally. he means for us to see the continuum between his parking meter woes & the death of Aaron Campbell. they're unrelated? then why write this piece? he wants us to accept his premise that tolerating govt "arrogance" leading to these parking meters is no different than accept the "arrogance" that killed Campbell.

    you're educated enough to know what rhetoric is, Z. why you are trying to argue he's not doing what he's doing is beyond me. unless your only purpose these days is to live life as a Monty Python sketch and argue with everything for the sake of arguing.

  • alcatross (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It is a policy that comes from politicians and bureaucrats who think they are more important than the rest of us. It comes from people who believe that their time is more valuable than ours. It comes from an arrogance that says that our actions are supposed to make their lives easier, not the other way around.

    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, Paris, 27 May 1788

    As the general tone of posts and comments here at BO is pro- public sector and unabated government encroachment into as many aspects of the lives of the citizens as possible, this posting seems oddly out of place here - and I wonder that there should be any consternation or surprise at the author's observation above. As you sow so shall you reap...

  • Betsy O (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For me, what's fascinating about this piece is that Will doesn't seem to carry a credit or debit card with him. And as someone who's frustrated with the number of things that are much harder unless I have such things, it's intriguing that he doesn't either have one or carry it with him.

    What percentage of people who are asked to attend meetings at EcoTrust don't have credit or debit cards? I tried to find what percentage of Americans don't have either, but couldn't quickly find that (seems like 78% of American households have credit cards - and 72% of folks who have debit cards - but not clear on how many people have neither).

    The rest of the piece - someone whining about a parking ticket because he misused the machine, or trying to tie it into a bigger meme - is not interesting.

  • A Conservative Democrat (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gee whiz, this sounds just like the legislature; they take our money and every session return with a blank slate to take even more.

  • rdurig (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This parking ticket is just a very minor slice of how our inefficient our government has become. I personally could site many examples far worse, involving, policy, taking business sides and friendship, changeing the rules to help a friend,covercharging, misinformation.

    Currently in Washington County. I waited over 3 month for final approved of a letter, (they told me my letter would not be approved first time because no letter have in three years). I had a project going for two years needing their final approval,they denied it, sent it back to be redone. The number one reason was it was Dated in 2009, and it was now January 2010. No wonder it took two years and over $100,000 in cost to do something 25 years years ago it took one letter and 2 hours and $25 fee.

    Many counties are NOT working for the people, their goal is to help grow their agencies and power. Heads of agencies (friends and relatives)over drinks have told me this. and our cost in efficient,bureaucracy, and wastes are endless so they (personally)could move up the ladder because the more people they manage the more important their job was.

    The hard thing to believe in my case, I had someone really in Washington County going out of their way, trying to help me, but he couldn't even figure the best path and often I had me (remove a request)after the request was sent in, he would find another path with what he believe would have less bureaucracy. My consultants were amassed that someone even took such a personal interest, and never heard of this path he took, it was so complex it can't even explain it.

    I'm not against government, I against that government has on internal way to improve it efficiencies, in private industry were their is competition, that at some point make efficiencies a focus. So it just is done far better.

    I leave with a quote “Everything government touches turns to crap.” -Ringo Starr

  • Aaron V. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    There is arrogance here, but you at least will get a hearing before a neutral judge if you send the bail in to the court.

    I got a parking ticket (and my car towed!) by the PPB and Retriever Towing, but I challenged both of them, with evidence. I got my money back for both the tow and the ticket - the cop didn't show for the hearing.

    Send the bail in and schedule a hearing - the judge will encourage the cop or citation-writer to talk to you, and if you show the problems you had with the meter, many will move that the ticket be dismissed.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: t.a. barnhart | Feb 28, 2010 10:08:45 AM

    Zara, he did equate the two.

    No, he didn't. The title says explicitly "what... (they) have in common". The tacit assertion is that they are uncommon things. He's said he didn't mean to. Where is the mis-speak that makes them equivalent?

    Another thing I don't get about the outrage at his point, that it is about an attitude, is that the logic he is using is the same logic that underlies community policing. Doesn't that philosophy assume that big crimes don't just pop up out of nowhere, that little everyday things betray an attitude that is likely to produce a life threatening situation? I'm a big fan of it. People don't just decide to commit a crime out of the blue. If you are on the beat and you see a guy finish a can of beer, throw it on the ground and jaywalk, you've got an attitude that will likely lead to bigger crimes and saying something about it when you see the little things can't help but ameliorate more extreme behavior.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but the post isn't about a parking ticket. I felt slightly off-topic mentioning City Tow, but it was a good example of how the attitude is toxic. The post is about "how did we get here, in cases like Aaron Campbell's". He's a guest poster posting outside his area of community organizing, so one assumes that he cares a lot about the Campbell shooting. A slightly tetchy attitude doesn't invalidate the observation. The objections sound a lot like supporters of traditional marriage that claim same sex marriage advocates are trivializing the institution. Most liberals don't put much stock in marriage, from where I sit. The same sex marriage advocates are agitating because they care deeply about the institution. They just disagree on the rituals. The disturbing thing about the responses to this post is the seeming invariant ritual language required to discuss the subject. You can't think outside the box and reform the system using language from within the system. To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life. (and t.a. is smart enough to know that is when Wittgenstein meets Kuhn, so it must be right).

  • john m. (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "reform the system using language from within the system" - Z

    Why doesn't Obama use Ebonics to his advantage? His poll numbers keep dropping and I am not seeing the change I voted for (no public option, continuing war escalation).

    Obama needs to begin using Ebonics in public - not at home!

  • Isidro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mr. Campbell is dead. You're out a few dollars.

  • Bartender (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Matt, Kari didn't publish it. he grants a lot of people the right to post on BlueOregon, and it takes an awful lot before he (or Charlie Burr, Jeff Alworth, Karol Collymore) will step in ask someone to change anything.

    Well someone from Blue Oregon published it, t.a. This is a guest column. At least that's what the by-line says. And I don't see Mr. Newman's name among the "contributors" over there on the right side of the page.

    I've submitted some guest columns here, even had a few published, and it was always Kari who communicated with me. That was awhile ago, so I'm not saying he's still doing it, but someone associated with BO does make the decision to publish these guest pieces or not.

    Why so quick to try to obfuscate this rather mundane point?

  • (Show?)

    i apologize bartender. you caught me. mea culpa. all my lies are laid bare before you brilliant light of reason -- whoever the hell you are.

    my first post was a guest; it was not edited, just allowed. it wasn't anything special, either. Kari (or whoever) found nothing objectionable in this post -- no hate speech, out-and-out lies, etc -- so allowed its submission. it stirred up thought & comment, and that's good enough reason to allow it to be posted. it doesn't mean anyone agrees with the post, just that BO occupies a singular niche in the Oregon blogsophere and that refusing to print a guest post requires either it be heinous in thought/content or just asswipe-poor writing. i disagree with the writer, but it was worthy of posting.

  • (Show?)

    and nothing like a quote from an old (but lovable) rock star to shut the door on any argument.

  • (Show?)

    I would agree that for regular contributors it's more of a passive "publish." But this is a guest column, which I'm almost sure suffered some kind of review, no matter how casual, before it was posted. Perhaps Kari himself didn't publish it, but the ed staff collectively did, and I think saying the individuals did as well in that context is not unreasonable.

    Z, you gotta admit that there is SOME attempt at conflation/relation/correlation being posited between parking meters and police murders. Is he saying his misery is equivalent? No. But the premise that these incidents stem from the same uncaring arrogance is a fair point to contest, IMO. And I don't buy it, frankly. I'm not a big fan of pre-paying your fine in order to contest it, but everywhere I've lived the rules were that you had to pay a courts fee if you contested and lost, so there's always some kind of disincentive to frivolity present.

    So that really isn't arrogance as much as a deterrence to gaming the system. What's the analogue for Campbell?

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: john m. | Feb 28, 2010 6:35:28 PM

    "reform the system using language from within the system" - Z

    Why doesn't Obama use Ebonics to his advantage? His poll numbers keep dropping and I am not seeing the change I voted for (no public option, continuing war escalation).

    Obama needs to begin using Ebonics in public - not at home!

    Because he doesn't know/speak it? Most SE Portlanders are "blacker" than Obama. And proud of it. Humor appreciated though. I would pay good money to watch him say, "Fershizzle, daaaaawg" to Mitch McConnell. We need to someone to respond to the behind the scenes kingmaker plutocrats with, "Who dat"?

    But if he did, yeah, wouldn't that be refreshing? We are way overdue for some true Gonzo politics, imho.

  • One Very Confused Thomas Jefferson (unverified)
    (Show?)

    he wants us to accept his premise that tolerating govt "arrogance" leading to these parking meters is no different than accept the "arrogance" that killed Campbell.

    That's quite odd. You seem to glory in my equating them and government arrogance when I said that no citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law! Parking ticket? He was threatened with deprivation of property without due process. My point 250 years ago was that any government that does that will do the same with your life. How did that statement go from being the highest expression of the dignitity that should be accorded every citizen of a republic to a crass, whining equation of statute and life?

  • WalterFurpi (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Can you imagine talking to Campbell's family this? "Sorry about your son being shot, you know it reminds me of the time I got a parking ticket..."

  • Tim McCafferty (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Posted by: A Conservative Democrat | Feb 28, 2010 11:04:07 AM

    "Conservative Democrat" and your not conflicted!

    Let's see, the "Conservative Democrat," aka DINO, aka "Blue Dog Oxy-Moron" that has been on the fence until they can be a stick in the mud when Congress should pass legislation that would help working Americans, and a regular pecker-wood standing at attention when it's time to reward corporations, and the rich!

    We have in our history called these "Conservative Democrats" other things in the past, like "Dixie-crats" or "Torys."

    I'm a Progressive, and registered Democrat since 1976, and I have spent my life of political involvement with an eye on pushing your type off the fence!

    Take a stand for something, or not. Make a choice as we all know what happens when you stand in the middle of a busy road!

  • Tim McCafferty (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Here, Here Walter Furpi!

    I think your post put the subject in a tragic capsulation that will unfortunately be lost on some.

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "You can't think outside the box and reform the system using language from within the system. "

    Hmm, Paolo Frere too... Problem is that the parking meter system is imminently democratic; it accepts coin as well as debit and credit cards from anyone who wishes to park, regardless of ideology, race, or other factors. It is not, however, idiot-proof, as the author demonstrates. Perhaps that is the system's fault, but I doubt it. The only arrogance I see on display here is the author's, who seems to think he should get a special dispensation from paying bail. But this policy too is plainly spelled out on parking tickets, so is it government arrogance that led the author to ignore it? Parking meter systems are designed to do two things; create turn-over of parked cars in high-traffic areas so that customers can find parking close to merchants and to create revenue for municipalities and, sometimes, private entities. The system works efficiently towards those ends. If the anti-government Ayn Rand sociopaths have a better solution, let's hear it. And the "thinking outside the box" liberationists? Stupid is as stupid does, inside or outside the box.

  • (Show?)

    Will - your piece made me a little sick, I have to say. Aaron Campbell wasn't arrogant, he was clearly (and has been shown) mentally ill and distraught. A trigger happy cop armed with a machine gun killed Aaron and then everyone else - who's only focus for two hours was this kid - subsequently ignored him while he bled to death and German Shepards chewed on him. You say those things as only a person who has never felt the fear of police says.

    I never saw this piece as an editor. If I had, I would have had serious, serious reservations.

  • (Show?)

    This post sort of reminds me of the time just after Margie Boule started writing her now-cancelled column for the Oregonian lo these many years ago and she went to France for a vacation but had a heck of a time writing her column there (in the days before computers were common) because the typewriter keyboards were laid out differently! So she went to the American Embassy and asked to use one of their typewriters and they wouldn't let her! So she had to write her entire column of a few hundred words about her inability to find a typewriter with an American layout on a French typewriter!

    Not that I'm equating the two, but there are some things in common.

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Parking ticket? He was threatened with deprivation of property without due process."

    The statutes governing parking infractions and the process for appealing them contain both procedural and substantive due process. There is a clear pathway to the courts, and the threat of deprivation of property is clearly spelled out, but you have to read it. I suppose that the answer is to install a chip in the parking ticket that reads the text to those too lazy to do it themselves... This whole discussion illuminates just how deeply the culture of victimization has permeated our culture, even the right-wing anti-government cranks are pushing it. "If I feel like I am tyrannized, it must be true!"

  • (Show?)

    Aaron Campbell's murder by the police doesn't need your tale for illumination. His death reaffirmed the obvious; police in the US can kill black men with impunity, it doesn't need a riff from a guy who couldn't figure out a parking meter.

    I don't think an uber victimhood angle is productive or even explanitory. Too many individuals of different ethnicities have died under equally questionable circumstances at the hand of Portland Police to accept that this death has the "obvious" conclussion you've drawn.

  • (Show?)

    Karol

    Sometimes people get a bit too wrapped up in their own worlds. Let's just assume the best of Will. He was pissed about a parking ticket and didn't see how a column like this would be received.

    Breathe in, breathe out. Wait 24 hours. Then post.

  • (Show?)

    Paul, believe me, I did and I continue to breathe and exercise extreme patience daily in the face of things people say. I'm sure others do as well about the things that I say. But Aaron Campbell was shot by the police, left to bleed to death and bitten by police dogs. None of that is OK. None of it.

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "I don't think an uber victimhood angle is productive or even explanitory."

    It's not "uber victimhood", it's a statistical reality. And it's not limited to Portland.

  • RDurig (unverified)
    (Show?)

    A very famous quote and song

    My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside LET FREEDOM RING!

    It isn't let government grow uncontrollable, where people attack individual success, and then realize our jobs will die. form every mounties side. lets loose our liberties.

  • (Show?)

    Let's just assume the best of Will. He was pissed about a parking ticket and didn't see how a column like this would be received.

    Paul - That's just the point. While we celebrate folks in John Day for standing up to the Aryan Nations, it can be both sobering and demoralizing to recognize how unaware otherwise well-meaning people in this town/state can be when it comes to understanding how racism and other forms of systemic oppression operate at a societal level.

    Neither the author nor editor seems to have understood how offensive this post was, or why - i.e., that some people get to experience this "arrogance" in haggles over the payment of parking tickets while others end up dead or in prison, and what that means.

    One more note: I'm not really sure why you felt the need to respond to Karol, counseling restraint and patience, but not to the post itself. Just sayin'....

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Can someone tell me where there's a 3-hour meter near Eco Trust? Is it possible it was a 2-hour meter, and so the 2 1/2 hour meeting led to the ticket?

  • (Show?)

    Karol,

    We who read you regularly are clear that you're not stupid. Since we're clear on that fact, your comment

    Aaron Campbell wasn't arrogant, he was clearly (and has been shown) mentally ill and distraught.,

    must be read as willfully dishonest. Of course Will was not calling Mr. Campbell "arrogant". He was clearly referring to bad actors among the police.

    That you feel that Will has no legitimate right to the victimhood that you reserve for yourself and those you designate, certainly gives you no intellectual standing to intentionally misrepresent his statements.

  • Will Newman II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I find the responses fascinating, and in some cases, saddening.

    It is interesting to see how many people don't actually read what I said, just what they seem to want me to have said.

    Let me try again to distill my piece:

    I did not write the piece because I got a parking ticket.

    I wrote the piece because, once again, the Portland Police murdered an innocent, unarmed fellow human being. And, once again, the victim was a young black man. And once again, no one was held responsible.

    I am neither young, nor am I black. But I am outraged.

    I have also looked down the barrel of a gun held by a nervous, hyper police officer.

    I know there is a categorical difference between a parking ticket and murder. I tried to make it clear to readers, and clearly did not, that I wanted to get people to think about why and how we end up with police forces that murder unarmed citizens. I know it is partly racism, partly classism, partly economics, partly process, partly a citizenry overloaded with other concerns, and a host of other factors, but it is also, to some extent, the attitude that policies and process are more important than people.

    I tried to start with something that many people might be familiar with (the policies surrounding a parking ticket), and show the structural parallels with the murder of an innocent, unarmed, non-threatening fellow human being.

    The parking ticket is unimportant in itself, but the underlying attitudes and processes are critical to why Aaron was murdered. I don't care much if we solve the parking ticket inequity. I care a lot that we solve the problem of fellow human beings being murdered.

  • (Show?)

    It's not "uber victimhood", it's a statistical reality. And it's not limited to Portland.

    To focus on the color of Aaron Campbell's skin, within the context of a Portland Police history of fatally mishandling contact with a series of individuals with some sort of alleged mental health issues does a net disservice to the entire subject IMHO.

    More to the point, it ass-u-me-s that had his skin been of a different shade or tone then he might not have been killed - again, against the demonstrable history of others killed by PPD who did have a different skin tone.

  • dash (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Policies are policies, but in this case, I don't know if this policy should be strictly followed.And in the first place,we should not focus our attention on the parking ticket issue nor the Portland policemen, the article clearly shows what kind of policies and system does these politicians are implementing .As far as I know they should make our lives easier and not the other way around. dash

  • Bartender (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari (or whoever) found nothing objectionable in this post -- no hate speech, out-and-out lies, etc -- so allowed its submission. it stirred up thought & comment, and that's good enough reason to allow it to be posted. it doesn't mean anyone agrees with the post...

    Never said it did, t.a. But feel free to keep jumping to conclusions. I happened to also think this piece was "worthy" of being published - I understand what the author was getting at - and am glad someone at BO did so. I find the comments fascinating. Learning a lot.

    ...refusing to print a guest post requires either it be heinous in thought/content or just asswipe-poor writing.

    Oh please. Are you trying to say that BO will publish anything, as long as it meets that criteria? I myself know that's not true. The only guest column I've had rejected here was one in which I was critical of Dem (as well as Repub) politicians. I assure you, my piece contained no hate speech and was in no way heinous. As for the quality of my writing, it was always good enough before.

    Besides, Karol's comment: "I never saw this piece as an editor. If I had, I would have had serious, serious reservations," belies the truth anyway.

    i apologize bartender. you caught me. mea culpa. all my lies are laid bare before you brilliant light of reason -- whoever the hell you are.

    I guess ALL your lies weren't laid bare, huh? It doesn't take brilliance to recognize such blatant misrepresentation, t.a., but thanks anyway.

    <h2>What a class act.</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon