And in what will come as a surprise to no one, the homophobic guy who's led racially-charged marches through minority sections of town is advocating "Zero Tolerance".
Per yesterday's Sentinel Article:
Zero tolerance, from the city's police department to its code enforcement officers, is needed to revive the blighted neighborhoods here, according to mayoral candidate Ted E. DeSalvatore.Yeah, discretion and diplomacy are terrible traits in a leader! Heaven forbid we elect a mayor who understands that not everything is black and white!
"I'm not looking for discretion, I'm not looking for diplomacy," he said in an interview this week with the Sentinel & Enterprise's editorial board. "I want to identify the hot spots, our blighted areas -- the worst ones -- and within them, which are the worst dwellings. Going in with the intention to make sure they stop doing business the way they're doing it no matter what."
Wait a second, dwellings do business? Huh?
Of course, it's not really fair to make fun of the guy's inability to form a coherent sentence. If it were, I'd have to make fun of this terribly poor choice of words (my emphasis):
"After dealing with drug dealers on the corner, my inspiration was to continue on," he said.... and making fun of that is just too easy.
Then there's this one:
"I don't live far away from 'hell zone.' I'm on the edge of it," he said. "I walked it, I drive it. I'm pretty much like the thermometer, I've had a good grip on the pulse of the community."It gives me an idea for a new campaign slogan for him, though. "Vote Ted, he's the thermometer of Hell zone!" If you're reading, Ted, you can use that one free of charge!
Also, way to badmouth Fitchburg some more! Nobody's at all tired of that. On the other hand, I have no difficulty believing that Ted's neighbors would view their neighborhood as "Hell Zone", I just suspect it's for different reasons than he does.
On to the zero tolerance bit though:
"I want a guy [for the new police chief] that's going to be a top cop. I want him to keep his nose out of the politics and I want to leave the social-service work to social-service workers," he said, offering praise for Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York and current Republican presidential candidate's approach to combating crime in New York. "I believe we need to have pretty much a zero tolerance."Oh man, do you really want to hitch your wagon to Rudy "my only accomplishment as mayor was my city got struck by a terrorist attack" Giuliani?
Okay, that's not entirely fair either. Prior to 9/11 Giuliani was better known for police brutality, increasing racial tensions, harassing a lot of innocent people for no reason, racial profiling, and of course cheating on his wife and generally treating his family members like shit. Why do you think his daughter supports Obama for president?
DeSalvatore later said, "There have been a lot of restrictions on our local guys and girls," partly because of "a touchy-feely thing that was brought in by the previous chief. Nice guy, but I think he was much too soft for the environment that we're in."I believe "guys and girls" here refers to police officers (and I'm sure the female officers love to be called "girls").
Of course, here's the big problem. Shockingly, the Sentinel neglected to put this statement in context, but I'll fill in the blank. Chief Cronin's approach was actually working quite well. I've written about it before here. In a nutshell, crime has been decreasing. Want to see for yourself? Go get the 2006 Fitchburg Police Department annual report here (it's a .pdf).
I'm not going to go into a whole analysis of the thing, but the "Crime Index" on page 10 (page 12 of the pdf) gives the basic story. Lower is better.
- 2002: 2,302
- 2003: 2,526
- 2004: 2,546
- 2005: 2,286
- 2006: 1,927
Here's an old quote from Cronin:
Cronin said the department has been focusing on more than just suppression, acknowledging through programs, reinforcement and advocacy that crime is a much larger issue affected by outside factors such as economics and race.Yeah, that's a very sensible approach. One that actually addresses the source of the problems rather than just punishing people after the crime is committed. If you stop it at its roots you don't have to worry about that.
"We've generated a big picture way of looking at the problems," Cronin said. "You can't keep hitting things in one way, you can't keep arresting people and ignore the outside factors that have contributed to the crime, and minority status and poverty are right on top."
Of course, Ted would presumably call that "social service work", which as we know he doesn't care for. More sensible people would call it addressing the roots of the problem. If you want to keep crime down it makes a lot more sense to keep it from occurring in the first place. If you want to live in a police state though, Ted's your man!
Why does DeSalvatore keep harping on crime so much? Well, it's all he's got. As far as concrete plans for improving the city go, he's way behind Donnelly and Wong. Anyone who votes for him is going to do it because Ted's convinced them that they're in some sort of imminent danger and only he can protect them.
Unfortunately for his campaign (but fortunately for the people of Fitchburg) that's simply not true. Come the primary, Ted will hopefully realize what Republicans the country over have been finding out: you can only scare people into voting for you for a limited time. Once the truth becomes known and the boogeymen of your own creation dissipate, so does your political career.
Let's hope people realize that truth sooner rather than later.