Apply parking laws fairly

by: Tribune File Photo, Law-enforcement volunteer Stan Harmon writes up a ticket for a person illegally parked in a disabled-parking spot. Letter writers respond to Harmon’s job and methods.

In the Sept. 15 edition, Jacob Quinn Sanders wrote a front-page article titled 'Parking posse,' in which he talked about the efforts of a retired, wheelchair-bound Portland police officer in routing out scofflaws who violate handicapped parking rules.

The article describes two incidents, one in which the overbearing, cursing ne'er-do-well was allowed to leave with no action and no documentation of the license plate.

The other, an 'overweight' crying woman, who even lifted her shirt to show her back brace, was given a $450 ticket. There was the story.

Instead, the story went on about the retired officer as he opined: 'If they break the law, they get the ticket, and that is that, no excuses.' So, the message here is: If you are a big, strapping, menacing white male, you get a pass, but if you are some poor, 'overweight,' obviously limited female, tough luck, right?

Ray O'Driscoll


Criminals get all the breaks

Your article (Parking posse, Sept. 15) just goes to show that crime does pay. People who park in these spots know they are breaking the law and they don't care.

They know that if they yell, threaten, scream or cry loud enough, they will get away with the crime. The law only works for decent law-abiding people; criminals get all the breaks.

In a perfect world, the law should be administered equally to all people, but it isn't.

Patricia Stanek

Southeast Portland

Sometimes, a warning is enough

I have been disabled and in a wheelchair for the past 15 years due to a spinal cord injury. I do not like it when people take advantage of handicapped parking (Parking posse, Sept. 15).

I appreciate Stan Harmon's desire to educate the public about not using handicapped parking if they are able-bodied.

But on a number of occasions, I have seen him working at the Fred Meyer store at Southeast 148th Avenue and Division Street. At times, I think he hands out a $450 ticket when a warning and a kind word would have been just as effective. I feel that Harmon is doing good work, but there is significant room for improvement in the manner in which he deals with people.

Dan Clendenon

Southeast Portland

Deputy should be fired immediately

It is outrageous what was done to several women by the traffic cop who violated their privacy and their feelings of safety and trust during traffic stops (Giusto moves to fire deputy, Sept. 19).

The fact that the cop was not immediately fired and prosecuted is another in a seemingly unending example of both governmental arrogance and public servants either unwilling or unable to exercise common sense.

We are constantly exposed to public policies, procedures, laws, budgets and individuals that are irresponsible or out of control.

Any person who is responsible for public safety and given public trust should be held to the highest standards. Don't we want our sisters, daughters and wives to be able to trust the police?

I think if judges or law enforcement officers violate the public trust in any way, they should be fired without retaining any benefits. Furthermore, if the trust is violated in any serious way, they should be prosecuted and the penalties should be substantially stiffer than if they were not public servants.

The fact that the cop was given a warning and keeps his job is insane. This demonstrates some government servants' sense of immunity from their bad acts and the reason for the same.

Dale Marshall

St. Helens

There already are ways to fire deputy

Everyone involved with the Christopher Green affair (Giusto moves to fire deputy, Sept. 19) is posing. Sham conduct seems to be the rule, not the exception.

Green, a Multnomah County sheriff's deputy, was posing when he claimed to be trying to identify female criminal suspects by body features normally covered and out of sight to witnesses. In any case, such examinations always are done in a secure and private setting in the jail, and nowhere else, and according to the jail's policy on such.

County Sheriff Bernie Giusto is posing when he says that there are no charges upon which to base discipline and termination actions.

Michael Schrunk, the county district attorney, is posing when his best and brightest have to resort to roundabout ways to get the sheriff to fire Green - instead of looking in their lawbooks.

Try these Oregon Revised Statutes on for size, Mr. Schrunk:

ORS 163.275, Coercion, C-Felony, 'Compelling or inducing another person to engage in conduct he has a right to abstain from…', esp. (4.) 'Falsely accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be brought against the person.' Probable cause looks good here.

ORS 162.235, Obstructing Governmental Administration, A-Misdemeanor. The lawyers will have to tell you whether lying to a superior about the commission of a crime while on duty constitutes this offense, but it probably does.

ORS 162.415, Official Misconduct in the First Degree, A-Misdemeanor, esp. (2) 'The public servant knowingly performs an act constituting an unauthorized exercise in official duties.'

The workings of the sheriff's Internal Affairs Section are even more labyrinthine than those of the district attorney, but Giusto might look to these work rule violations to see if they fit the circumstances:

W1.100.020 Appropriate Action Required, Subsections W1.100.020.01, Performing Official Acts in a lawful, restrained, dignified, impartial and reasonable manner; W1.100.020.03 Being considerate of the rights, feelings and interests of all persons. W1.100.030 Cooperation (with other members); W1.100.040 Truthfulness (this used to be an automatic firing when violation of Truthfulness was sustained); W1.100.050 Conduct (don't bring discredit, etc.); W1.100.070 Obey the Law (see above).

It's not as if there is neither cause nor law nor rule to conclude this case. The fact that the case has not been concluded reflects discredit upon both the offices of the district attorney and the sheriff and, by extension, on the entire community.

George Schneider, Retired Multnomah County Deputy Sheriff