Thursday, August 29, 2013

Not Blogging About Work

Oh, there are so many things I could write, but many of them have to do with work and I've sort of promised myself (and my coworkers!) that I won't blog about the job. I have nothing snarky or negative to report -- it would be more like my musings about what's gone well and what it's like to learn to interact with the kids -- but I suppose I should just let all that unfold within for now. Internet discretion is such a drag.

It makes blogging a bit tough, too, because such a large portion of my brain is occupied with work stuff at the moment. C'est la vie.

Did you see the article in a recent New Yorker about police property seizures? As is well known, police departments can seize money, cars, houses and other property that investigators believe was used in or gained via the commission of a crime. Drug money, grow houses, that sort of thing. What I didn't realize, and what this article made clear, is that some police departments are seizing the property of completely innocent people who are never charged with a crime (because there's no evidence) and who are subsequently unable to hire lawyers to get their stuff back. It is truly shocking.

In one memorably recounted incident, police in Detroit busted up a music event at a local museum because, they alleged, the proper permits weren't in place. All the guests, after being made to lie on the ground, were issued citations and forced to turn over their car keys and their vehicles were impounded. They then had to pay hundreds of dollars each to get them back again, or risk forfeiting them entirely.

Tactics like this, of course, earn police departments a pretty penny.

In some cases, like the one in Detroit, courts have ruled that the police have overstepped their bounds. (As I recall from the article, the police have appealed.) But other cases, particularly against individuals, have been less successfully challenged. It's really unbelievable. Go read that article.

Olga is a little sluggish this morning -- I suspect she's eaten some sticks, or bits of Carnival detritus, while in the company of her dog-walker, which will be the subject of a phone call later. (It hasn't slowed her down much -- she saw two cats on her morning walk and nearly pulled my arm off trying to get at them.) Meanwhile the streets are much cleaner this morning, so we're pretty much back to normal.

(Photo: A storefront on Portobello Road. Seems appropriate in light of recent events in Syria.)


37paddington said...

Internet discretion is a drag since I would live to hear your musings on interacting with the kids. Any way to disguise identities?

Reya Mellicker said...

I do hope you'll blog about your job at some point. It sounds fascinating, well within the bounds of internet discretion - it wouldn't be like you to diss individuals or anything.

Enquiring minds want to know!

You and Dave were a big part of my dream last night. Fun.

Ms. Moon said...

I read that article in the New Yorker with my chin dropped to my chest. I mean...really? WTF? How can these police departments get away with this shit?

ellen abbott said...

I was in favor of that law when first proposed and passed and here's why. when I lived in the city there was a small apartment building at the end of the block on the corner, about 5 units I think. anyway, back in the 70s/80s one of the units was a crack house. my friend and neighbor and I would report it to the local neighborhood police outreach station and they were aware of it but they didn't have the proof or evidence needed to clean it out. (not like nowadays when the police are totally out of control). anyway, it wasn't until the property confiscation law went into effect that the landlord evicted them. but, as these things tend to do, it is completely mis-used against innocent people.

Sharon said...

I totally understand the restraint about blogging about work. When I started blogging, I told myself the same thing that I wouldn't blog about work. I think the only time I've mentioned work was about the drive to or from.
I will have to read that article you mentioned. I find what you mentioned here very shocking.

Vivian said...

Detroit is has been on reality TV showing how the give tickets for just about anything they deem illegal.
I will stay in the good old small town Midwest.

Lynne said...

Love that quote! Very apropos.

Does Olga like her dog walker person? I hope she doesn't let her help herself to sidewalk goodies ...

The Bug said...

I blogged about something from work once & was just filled with regret later (it was the post about listening to recorded calls). I just don't want to slip up & say something I shouldn't - I do work for the corporate attorney after all!

But you on the other hand should spill all the beans. Ha! Not really :)

Steve Reed said...

Angella: Well, I don't think I will ever blog about individuals -- more about experiences in general. But never say never!

Reya: I love that you dreamed about us. Ironically I had a dream that same morning that featured Elizabeth from "A Moon Worn as a Shell." It must have been dream-about-a-blogger day!

Ms Moon: I had the same reaction! I couldn't believe I was reading about the U.S.A.!

Ellen: I suppose like most laws it can used well or used inappropriately. I think it's too broad as it stands now, and there are not enough avenues for redress if people feel they've been unfairly targeted.

Sharon: Yeah, loose lips sink ships!

Vivian: Detroit is in especially dire circumstances, of course, but it sounds like many other cities and small towns are coming to rely on civil penalties for operating income. I'm not sure this is what the founders of our legal system envisioned!

Lynne: Olga seems to like her dog walker, whose name is Fraser. But then, she likes anyone who takes her for a walk.

Bug: I kind of remember that post, but not too well. I tend toward caution having been in journalism for so many years, where we were told not to talk about our personal opinions publicly. That's changing now, but I have that sense of discretion drilled into me.

Elizabeth said...

There is much in my own life that is unbloggable -- you entertain us regardless, Steve!