Thursday, October 18, 2012

Confirmation Confirmed

Dropped by the Batts confirmation at City Hall last night.* Came in late because every fckn parking machine around the city hall square was broken. Ended up arriving at the ochre-n-buttercream sanctum of room 4 w/parking unpaid and a 1/2 hour late, just missing Robert Cherry's testimony- - Cherry's a (former? current?) homicide detective and head of the police union, with a curiously strong Boston accent. Asked, "so how'd it go, are you for him or against him?"
     "Eh, for him, we're going to give him a chance."
     "And then what?" I asked, which got an ambiguous chortle.
Then from behind the dias asked, "so here's the question on everyone's minds..." ooh, I thought, they're going to ask him if he ever hit his wife in the face with a mug, or about that veteran who got nailed with a canister at Occupy Oakland, or about the OPD receivership! Here we go!
    "... where are you going to live?"

Batts declines to say where he is living; "Im a resident of the city of Baltimore." "What district?" "One of the districts"

   Took a seat inside downstairs and rest of the hour I could stand continued in the mein of a hot buttered lovefest, with an endorsement from some slender white man from some neighborhood association giving an endorsement, then copious praise from councilpeople for respective officers and district commanders. Some male councilmember wryly noted that though Batts could now cash a paycheck he still has to make it through the hearing to assume the title, and one of our fine feisty sexagenarian black ladies from behind me was like, "oh, he gone cash that check all right, pffsshht!" (Muttery older black ladies are always the highlight of any civic event, IMO, and if you go to one you should sit near as many as possible.)
    I couldn't place his voice at first but when I closed my eyes he sounded just like Rod Rosenstein-- must be the Harvard in em.
    Young endorsed plainclothes officers reporting to districts (they don't now, I guess?) and Batts was all like, "people tell me I look like you, Jack!" and gave some kind of general noncommittal answer.
   Anyway after about an hour I was worried about a $32 ticket (didn't get one, even a block from the BPD HQ and with three cop cars parked by city hall) and had domestic duties, but Fenton reports that heat was taken:
"But there were tense moments as well: Four residents asked about or referred to reports from a publication in Long Beach alleging that Batts had been involved in domestic-violence incidents there years earlier. He has not been charged with a crime. Among those who raised the issue was Jean Allen, the president of the Edgewood Community Association, who said she had seen the accusations online. "Whether it's true or not, it's there," she said of the allegations being in the public realm. "We all want to know more about him."
Batts took questions only from council members, who did not raise the issue.
The Baltimore Sun has attempted to verify the report, reaching several people named in the article or by its author. None said they had direct knowledge or evidence. Though Batts declined to discuss the article in detail, he has called it 'humiliating' and said he had been cleared through multiple background checks."
So there you have it-- dissent quashed-- and darn me for not signing up to testify and asking him about Occupy, receivership, lobstergate and domestic-violence accusations my danged self. Sure he would have been confirmed anyway but if I had spoken up maybe he would have felt like he had to at least answer Jean Allen. I'm so over police/officials here feeling like they are answerable to no one, and they are, all because wusses like me don't seize the opportunity to demand answers, dammit. I have let you all down. But hey, Batts says he might make Comsat meetings public. Good idea-- more transparency and they could meld that with community meetings:

Justin Fenton @justin_fenton
Left on cutting room floor: Batts said he's flirted with idea of making Comstat meetings public, taking it on the road ... Comstat meetings are the weekly stat-sharing among commanders; reputation as a beat-down session. It'd go 180 degrees if taken public. meetings are commanders talking to residents. Comstat is commanders talking to commanders abt intel, strategy.


Cham said...

Geez Louise, you were thinking about questioning the omnipotent Commissioner while at the same time not having your car properly metered on the street? Had you done that your car would have been relocated at an impound lot in Western Siberia.

Next time you want to do anything that crazy, be smart and take the light rail, your lawyer's phone number and some cash for the jail's commissary. Nobody likes to be without soap.

The Baltimore Spectator said...

Unfreaking believable. I course I would have asked those tough questions, but I'm still in exile from city hall. Hey, the people of this city have set the bar of acceptability to where public officials here have to answer to no one.

Folks like us who ask the tough questions, pushing the envelope a little are readily minimized and marginalized. At least I am.

mb said...

Ha, you guys reminded me of Richard Pryor as "the Wiz." Now, how does one get exiled from city hall?

The Baltimore Spectator said...

Ask Tom Kiefaber!

mb said...

Ah, no thanks

Cham said...

Getting exiled from city hall is easy. I haven't been exiled yet, but my friend has. There is an unfriendly security team at the entrance. Once you appear on their radar you're out.