OVER A DECADE, WASTE OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS - A JUSTICE TRACKING SYSTEM THAT HAS FAILED THE CONSTITUENTS OF SAN FRANCISCO.
It has been over a decade since Police Chief Lau, Earl Sanders, Heather Fong, George Gascon, and Gregory Suhr - Mayors Willie L. Brown Jr., and Gavin Newsom and now Interim Mayor Ed Lee - and over a year and a half - some; have called upon the City's Technology Department and the Mayors Office of Criminal Justice for answers and have got - nothing - nada - ziltch - when it comes to our tracking system of the criminal justice system and related issues.
Our mostly inept - poor educated on issues - San Francisco Board of Supervisor love to call for hearings. Nothing much is achieved when one spews hot air - as does Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi - with an eye to becoming the next San Francisco Sheriff.
Supervisor David Chu who called for the hearing - not expecting so many cans of worms to be opened.
Imagine Mayor Gavin Newsom systematically dismantling the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and transferring the many fiscal and facets linked to jurisdiction to the City IT Department - where it has been floating and suffering.
The IT Department paid to do justice in upgrading the system and housing the system and fouling the system - if this is not conflict of interest - I do not know what is.
Recently, against all odds - some six months ago - what once was the home at the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice; mostly some dubious facets of what was once something; is now being put under the purview and administration of the City Administration under Linda Wong.
Linda Wong means well - but she must fully comprehend that she simply - cannot put the system that is deficient on track - with all the hubs and the software and hardware deficient.
Lacking first historical knowledge, second empirical knowledge, and put in charge - mostly just to placate and float a dubious system that genuinely does not deliver.
One computer technician had something positive to say - about the present system and the role of the Oracle software.
I bet you give another computer engineer, another computer technician a chance to evaluate the present Justice Criminal Tracking System - and each will have a lot to say about a system - that begs the question?
Over a decade - and millions of dollars have been spent on a system that has had several people in charge and not one of them in the past - made a concerted effort to attain any standards, make the system efficient, have the software compatible, the hardware updated - and most of all serve the needs of the justice community and all San Franciscans at large.
Here in San Francisco we have a population of about 816,000 and one that grows to a million - when thousands come to work and then return home after they have completed their shift.
On some occasions - our City population grows to over one and half million - when we have the Baseball Games and some large conventions.
The times when the population and actives increase - issues such as crime and other atrocities increase - there is a law that is well know - and the SF Police Department and related agencies are not immune to this law.
Until recently our San Francisco Police Officers did not have computers that were worth the salt.
Some four years ago we had some SF Police Officer who had computers with Windows 95 operating system. It is only recently that the present Police Chief has made an attempt to permit all the SF Police Officers to have Internet email address. Talk about change in the year 2011.
For a long time our SF Police Officers could not access information in real time - when alerted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies of repute.
Which begs the question about any system - if it is web based or compatible with the latest software - hubs where the more recent software can be interfaced and hardware that can withstand the traffic and have reliable connectivity.
Why was a systematic attempt made to dismantle the Mayor Office of Criminal Justice?
Why was there so much discord and why did our SF Board of Supervisors and our previous SF Board of Supervisors and especially the SF Board Presidents - not take up the issue - and have a meaningful, concerted hearing - especially President Aaron Peskin and David Chu.
As Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi alluded - the nonsense that has been going on at the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice - invites the San Francisco Grand Jury - and calls for the Grand Jury to investigate thoroughly the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. It has all the ingredients and calls to heaven for justice - that is if any one has the guts and the balls.
We now have the duties of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice - housed in the Office of the City Administrator. This is a paradox.
Once we had the City Administrator which was an entity in itself.
We had the Executive Branch under the Mayor of San Francisco.
We then had the Legislative Branch - the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Few San Franciscans remember Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr., bringing the City Administrator under his office - the Executive Branch - in 1996.
So, today when some think the duties of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice - the Criminal Tracking System - is within the City Administrator's jurisdiction. Technically and legally it is still under the Executive Branch and under the Mayor of San Francisco - at this time the Interim Mayor of San Francisco - Ed Lee - who not too long ago was the City Administrator.
It is time to investigate the millions of dollars spent and more wasted by the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice - all these many years.
I have been monitoring the ploys and machinations for many years - more since 1995. The following year Mayor Willie L. Brown became Mayor and introduced amendments and introduced measures that adversely affected our City Charter. Few remember the changes but all of them are related to the demise of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and it now bear bones operation - which is a farce.
The City IT Department has been headed by incompetent people over the years - at the many hearings held under the purview of the Safety Committee - folks from the IT would promise you the world and the end result - was just plain, polluted - hot air.
You would think that our Incident Report System by now would all be electronic with no paper involved in large measure. Well, for the longest time - getting a report was difficult, getting a query made under the various more difficult categories - much more then difficult.
Of course we have software and hardware that can do such menial input - but, some one with intent - chose to take the difficult route - and keep the system in disarray and convoluted. Our Chiefs of Police - have tried some but each and every one of them have failed - miserably.
I was listening to the hearing held in Room 250 at City Hall on July 7, 2011 and I hope I could have been there. I have other more serious obligations to fulfill and so missed the opportunity to speak at Public Comment on July 7, 2011 and will have another opportunity on July 21, 2011 - if all goes well.
There was one articulate woman who spoke at Public Comment and her comments focused on one SF Police Officer - who mistreated her, keeps harassing her, and cheated her.
We do not have many Rogue SF Police Officers - but, nature being what it is - we do have some - and we all must be responsible to WEED them out.
An important point that this articulate woman made is linked to the Police Bill of Rights and the many focused legislation in place - introduced by Rogue Legislators in Sacramento - and brought to bear on innocent constituents.
Most of us - so called lay persons - have no clue how our Justice System - works. For those that parlay in a little in the field of law - the issues can be mind boggling, convoluted, shades of interpretation that favors Law Enforcement and so on and so forth.
The Criminal Justice Tracking System has miles to go - but in this day and age - changes can be made with astute and knowledgeable computer technicians at the helm of affair - with sound Computer Project Mangers - creating the right paths and plans and concrete, time focused execution.
The great paradox is that San Francisco is so close to the Computer Headquarters; in fact many consider San Francisco the Center.
The many computer software, hardware, brands such as Apple are first released in San Francisco - I attend the earlier ones and still attend the more notable ones - especially this year and the mention and release of the "Cloud" - which should give the technicians and the Computer Project Manager - something to think about.
We live in a digital world and there was drab talk that we can track those incarcerated in the future - who visit them, who are incarcerated with them, the many other details of this type - that sound good - but defeat the purpose of tracking Criminals and putting on Track - Criminal Justice System. No focus of rehabilitation and focusing outside the box - with meaningful - solutions.
Once incarcerated - the theory is there should be some rehabilitation. The matter of fact - first of all there is no sound justice, second there is no rehabilitation, and thirdly for all practical purposes the Criminal Justice System has FAILED.
Three strikes, our over populated jail system, our lack of compassion, the blatant discrimination linked to people of color, the many other facets linked with our dire economy situation - has now forced us to released those prisoners we incarcerated to foster - the contemporary SLAVE PLANTATION.
Incarceration is a TRILLION DOLLAR business - with businesses carried on in the many jails - now traded on Wall Street. More money is made behind the Wall then most folks who manage the Incarceration System - lead us to believe. Billions are made - complete with the latest tracking system, trained dogs, weapons that can instantaneously kill and cause permanent damage. Who is fooling - whom?
Restorative Justice and other newer ideas have flourished in New Zealand and other places for years. Not here in San Francisco - we talk the talk but cannot walk the walk.
On another note - we need a tracking system that can follow the input and the grading of the Criminal Justice System and who is in charge during which period and how much money has been spent - and what are the consequences and who has benefited - from whatever system is in place.
White Crime is alive and prospering within the many circles that create systems to track Criminals.
You do understand - just by osmosis - if you hang with criminals you imbibe a lot of what one ought not to imbibe.
Earl Sanders the SF Police Chief - often said the biggest gang - is the police.
I really do not know what he meant by that - but if you just follow the dubious activities reported from time to time - linked to the SF Police Department - a shadow of that statement - seems to be valid.
Public Comment on this subject has been focused and in detail - over the years - for sure from the year 2002 to the present. The SF Police Commission is not fully aware of the Criminal Justice System and does not care.
As to those that participate and pat themselves on the back - well, results are shown and noted - when those that talk the talk most - FAIL to walk the walk.
Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy