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Speak Out 6/11/07

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dealing with crime

LAST WEEK I witnessed more than 20 teenagers loitering in the Town Plaza parking lot at midnight. There was also a young man who had been beaten sitting on the front step of the snow cone stand. I was disgusted as I watched a patrol car drive through the parking lot and out again, never stopping to address either of these situations. Yet on several occasions, I've noticed a patrolman in the Andy's Custard parking lot during the middle of the day, only a couple of hundred yards past the speed-change sign with radar gun in hand waiting to catch someone speeding. What is the purpose of our police department? Is it to generate revenue for the city by setting up speed traps? Or is it to stop crime and protect citizens? When will our police department stop looking for crime among its honest citizens and start dealing with the issues right in front of their eyes?

Seeking pardons

NO SOONER than Scooter Libby's sentence was announced were his high-profile Republican friends asking for a pardon. Remember all those Iran-Contra folks who were let into high positions afterward and pardoned? Republicans don't like taking responsibility for anything unless it benefits them.

Bargaining decision

THE INDEPENDENCE School District violated its agreement with employees and ignored their contract. The Supreme Court agreed with the workers. If you make an agreement with employees (public or private), you have to live up to your agreement. Because of the State ex rel. Missey v. City of Cabool decision in 1969, public employees already had most of the collective bargaining rights enjoyed by the private sector. The Supreme Court simply acknowledged what was already a fact in the state. Public employees have the right to negotiate with their employers. The employers have the right to reject the workers' request. The workers do not have the right to strike.

Party history

WHAT'S UP with all the complaining about graduation parties? Back in the 1970s we had them every year with several kegs and hundreds of students at the party. No one got in trouble. We all drove home, and there was no big stink about it. What's wrong now?

Pool traffic

I WAS at the Capaha Park pool this weekend and noticed a significant increase in traffic because the pool is open and baseball has started. I was surprised to see a young man on a motorcycle driving the wrong way in the one-way circle drive in front of the pool. I was even more surprised to see him park his motorcycle on the sidewalk at the top of the stairs. I assumed a pool employee would step out and ask him to move the motorcycle and follow the one-way arrows in the future. Imagine my surprise when I saw him go into the pool area. He was an employee. Pool employees have reserved parking spots right in front. Of all people, they should know that the drive in front of the pool is one-way. I hope in the future everyone will be more cautious, especially now that school's out and the swimming pool is open for lessons and open swims.

Frightening speech

AS A child, I would pull a chair near our radio and listen to President Roosevelt's speeches. It may have been the tone of his voice. However, as a person in my 70s, I listen to Bush, and he frightens me.

Recycling at center

WHY CAN'T we have clearly marked recycling containers at the Osage Community Centre or Arena Park or other places so we can also recycle there? All of the plastics are being thrown into the trash.

Replacing lights

I CALLED AmerenUE about a street light that's been out for some time. I thought the light bulb would be replaced promptly, but it wasn't. I called again and was informed that street lights are not a priority. I couldn't believe this kind of response. It seems this is a safety issue that should be dealt with promptly.

Big difference

IN ANSWER to the "Not a free pass" comment: The difference between the Great Depression era and this era is that during the Great Depression, you had the rich jumping from rooftops. In this era, you have poor people standing on rooftops begging to be saved. That's one huge difference.

Lottery priority

I SAW in the paper where about 60 people in May and 50 in April pulled away from the filling stations without paying. I can understand that. You go into pay and have to wait until the clerks get done selling lottery tickets. There must be more money in the lottery business than there is the gas business.

Drinking excuses

IT IS scientifically proven that a very small percentage who drink beer and alcohol do it in moderation. If it works for you, great. I am from this planet, but my head is not buried in the sand. The messages we send our children will affect their lives long after we're gone. Any other excuses?

Legal clarification

THANK YOU, Morley Swingle, Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney, for interpreting the minors-in-possession law. Everyone I've talked has wondered about the legality of the Sikeston police ticketing innocent bystanders at that backyard party. Now they know it was illegal. Many of these students asked to take breathalyzer tests or blood tests, but the Sikeston police turned them down.

Time with your children

I'M SICK of hearing about a water park every time I pick up the paper. If you can't afford to send your children to a pool, then how are you going to afford to send them to a water park? You want to send your children to a water park so you can have the day off. That's fine, but it would be nice maybe if you would take your child to the water park and spend the day there with them.

From the heart

I THOUGHT Gary Rust's column about prayer was thought-provoking. I enjoyed it. I have a reply to it. Our daily actions always affect someone, be it family, friends or people we come in daily contact with. Our minds reflect the state of our heart, which then becomes our action. These three phases do not happen instantaneously, but they slip in slowly. And minds are changed from "I shouldn't, I wouldn't, I couldn't" and allow "maybe" to slip in, sometimes unnoticed, followed by "why not?" then "OK." Our minds become captive to feelings of our hearts. Our actions then follow through, be they good, bad or indifferent. If we would only along the roadway of life check our hearts before our minds are made up and our mouth has spoken words and caused actions difficult to explain or retract. In whatever situation we may find ourselves, peace of mind comes from the heart.

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Wow, Morley Swingle can read. Let's give him a cookie. I wish he could read when he's charging people. And don't even agrue with me because absolutely nobody is 100% law-abiding. Let's look at driving: you've never sped, ever?, you've always completely stopped at a stop sign?, you've never impeded traffic?, you've always used your turn signal? How about as a pedestrian: have you ever jaywalked?, what about walking along a street on the wrong side?, and how about not using a sidewalk when one is available? Let's look at grocery shopping: you've never given a child a cookie, grape, or piece of candy off a shelf? How about ethical decisions that are good for society like recycling, driving a fuel efficient car, holding the door open for someone, or waiting to pull out into traffic when you have enough room and time to accelerate (to the speed limit, PLEASE!) at your pace?

Get my drift? Everybody is guilty of something; but it's how you contribute to society that's important. Kids are going to drink and Morley Swingle is going to overcharge people so they "become better citizens". You know, a charge that is not in allowance by the laws. Oh yes, Morley Swingle can read so well.

-- Posted by ynot on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 1:35 AM

Let us not forget the Democrats when we talk pardons. President Clinton is unsurpassed when it comes to pardons. His catering to the Puerto Rican vote for Hilliary's run for the Senate resulted in pardons being offered to sixteen FALN terrorists guilty of 130 bombing attacks in the United States between 1974 to 1983 resulting in six deaths and scores of wounded.

Let us not forget the pardon for Mark Rich. a fugitive who fled the United States, renounced his American citizenship, and settled in Switzerland to avoid answering federal fraud charges. Rich's wife Denise fought hard for the pardon and distributed financial favors for and wide to win favorable consideration. This included $450,000 to the Clinton library, $10,000 to the Clinton's' legal defense fund, $70,000 to the Hilliary Clinton campaign or committees that supported her campaign, $7,000 worth of furniture to the Clintons, and $1 million dollars to the Democratic Party and other Democratic candidates.

Clinton signed 140 pardons on his last day in office including other controversial ones such as Hilliary's brother Hugh Rodham, former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, and Susan McDougal to just name some of them.

There have been other controversial pardons granted by Presidents of both parties. However, in my view, the Clinton pardons have set a "gold standard" that will be very difficult to be equaled by current or future Presidents.

-- Posted by Balmy on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 1:51 AM

Pardons? Can you say "Richard Nixon"?

-- Posted by iago on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 5:42 AM

Now the lottery has another reason to be stop. It promotes drive off's for gas purchases. Get real. Does the word 'asinine' mean anything to the writer? If you are even tempted to drive off without paying for gas because you are in such a big hurry to get someplace, perhaps you should leave earlier and consider changing your driving habits. Don't blame the lottery for problems it does not create. It has enough on its on.

-- Posted by KingsKid on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 7:02 AM

I think some of you are confused. You are complaining about Mr. Swingle in regards to the Sikeston issue. You should be contacting the county prosecutor in Sikeston to communicate your concerns.

-- Posted by insider63785 on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 7:08 AM

Regarding the comment about teenagers LOITERING in the Town Plaza or other places around town -- maybe Cape should look into a NO LOITERING policy -- or is there one already. Ticket the teens for standing around if they seem to be such a burden on SnoCone patrons.

-- Posted by Rodney King on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 8:22 AM

Why does this person even CARE if a bunch of teens were hanging around in a parking lot? Oh my GOSH, let's call the police...teenagers are socializing! I never understood why a group of kids congregating in a parking lot was such a thorn in people's sides. I can understand how that would irritate someone if they were blocking parking in the middle of the day. But this person said that it was around midnight. Okay, so some kid looked like he's gotten in a fight...maybe he did, who CARES, as long as he is still breathing. Did he get in a fight with YOU? No? Then mind your own business. This town has nothing for teenagers to do (other than a midnight movie) when it's late. As long as they are not breaking the law...leave them alone, they're not hurting anyone. If they ARE breaking the law, THEN you need to call the police. Then Morley Swingle, in all of his retardation, can take care of it.

-- Posted by foodie on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 8:46 AM

Yes, I can say Richard Nixon!! That pardon definitely was controversial. Maybe we should have put the country through the nasty process of prosecution for years instead of a pardon. That is a legitimate debate. However, I do not believe Nixon was a terrorist that blew up people and left others like Diana Berger of Cherry Hill, NJ six months pregnant with her first child when her husband was killed by an FALN bomb or Joesph Connor age nine and his brother age 11 lost their father in the same attack. Other attacks left police officers maimed and blind. To put everything in perspective, It might be interesting to hear how those folks feel about the Clinton pardons offered to the FALN terrorists compared to the Nixon pardons or other controversial pardons offered by past Presidents.

I can say Richard Nixon but I can say Bill Clinton much louder and more often.`

-- Posted by Balmy on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 9:42 AM

Let me try this one more time: not only has Morley Swingle affected my life, but he has affected lives of MANY OTHER PEOPLE I KNOW. If his office is doing their job correctly and to the law, there is no way the vast majority of people I have spoken to will get overcharged. My only theory is that Mr. Swingle overcharges people as a hope that, if they get charged to his liking, they are even more likely to get their act straight. Of course this is more than a traffic violation, android24; and I refuse to drop this issue because not only was I overcharged according to the law, but my whole case was illegal (cop tailgated and followed me for three miles, illegally stopped me on private property, illegally asked me to exit my vehicle, illegal search and seizure, incorrect police report and the list continues up to the point where Morley Swingle overcharged me according to the law). More people in this town need to realize that Morley Swingle and our whole justice system, in general, is not all that it's cracked up to be. Just look at Parris Hilton and all of the stuff that she has pulled and the punishment she received.

I have been screwed over by more than just Swingle, also. Don't even get me started on Barry Hovis and all of his misinterpretations of the law when he was a SRO at Cape Central (why do you think he was just a SRO for awhile anyway?).

Oh, foodie, I added to the Speakout blog from May 20, 2007 ;).

-- Posted by ynot on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 9:43 AM

If you all don't like Swingle -- why not get behind a new candidate the next time this position is up for re-election. Squeaky wheels do get the grease you know.

-- Posted by Rodney King on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 9:48 AM

I totally agree with you PrudentDriver. While I have never had the pleasure of dealing with Mr. Swingle (now he is going to hunt out my real name on semissourian.com and prosecute me for something), he has screwed several of my friends and family for moronic things. The fact is that if you are not "somebody" in Cape Girardeau (and who really strives for that anyway?) you are royally screwed. I don't think that it is AT ALL beyond the Cape police department to harass an individual. They do what they want when they want, IE: they'll stop you for speeding...unless you're running from them and then when you get into the county limits (after you've crashed though citizens property) they'll let you go and never get a plate number or an exact description of your vehicle. They are laughable sometimes, really.

-- Posted by foodie on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 10:13 AM

People I have been saying all along that

Swingle has to go.What is needed is some attorney with the intestinal fortitude to run against his stupid ***.Sorry, but thats what he is.His book sucked too by the way.

As for Barry Hovis, he is a joke along

with most of the police officers in this town.They do not understand the term"Protect and Serve".They do understand "Revenue".I have talked to a police officer who no longer is on the force who told me his superiors told all of them to look for revenue from the more well to do teens and young people.All this while the near south side of Cape is crime infested.OH!,but they are too scared to go down there and clean things up...

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 10:52 AM

Prudentdriver, I do not know anything about your circumstances but it appears you and some of your friends have made many enemies with the police department, the DA's Office, and other authorities in Cape and Cape County.

Having been in law enforcement, I do know some of the thngs you mentioned that were done to you can be done legally, i.e. tailgating you, stopping you on private property, asking you to exit your vehicle, searching you and your vehicle, etc. under certain circumstances. Not knowing the Missouri Penal Code or your circumstances, I can not say what was legal and what was not.

Like you I have a theory, You have given law enforcement reason(s) to be suspicious of you or you are one of the unluckiest people in Cape Girardeau County.

In either case, If I were you, I would relocate to some other part of the country. Pehaps Los Angeles, CA. I understand that the sheriff and DA there are pretty sympathetic.

However, I would strongly advise against moving to Maricopa County, AZ as Sheriff Joe Apaio is very unsympathetic and houses his inmates in a desert tent jail and they pick up trash on the highways in the hot Arizona sun.

To take from Shakespeare, the gentlemen doth protest too much, me thinks.

-- Posted by Balmy on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 11:01 AM

Oh By the way foodie,

I you kids need a place to hang out why not

di it on Pacific St.or Hanover Street.Its much safer hanging with those big crowds because I never see any police down there.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 11:07 AM

Well GREYWOLF, I don't need any place to hang out, as I am no longer a teenager and have not been for a while now. But my point is that those teens are not hurting innocent people by loitering in a parking lot. If they get in some ignorant fist fight (as most teens can do), then let the police deal with it, IF THEY ARE CALLED OUT TO DO SO. Otherwise...who cares?

-- Posted by foodie on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 11:30 AM

Hey Balmy,it sounds like you might have worked for the Cape Girardeau Police Department.Sorry pal,it is not legal to pull someone over in their vehicle for just looking suspicious or being suspicious!

That is called being harrassed!Typical

of Capes finest.I hope you have a real job now!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 11:37 AM

This is the first time I've ever chimed in on a subject, but prudentdriver is correct as I and other people I know recently found out that it's all about the money. I was recently ticketed for something that I did wrong, but also 2 other tickets were issued that I was not guilty to. You can't fight the system unless you have big bucks, and even when I mentioned to my attorney (who also gained big time from my incident) that I got a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt which I did have on, his response was, "It's only ten bucks, you might as well pay it and forget about it." The other issue I had was that I would have to have a physician called in to testify that I had a medical condition and that it would cost me about $1500.00 to do just that part, not counting the huge attorney fees I already incurred, whenever I was diagnosed back in 1982 and his physician's dictation of that condition would not hold up in court, he would have to be present so he would make money off that too. I was also cited with driving in the wrong lane. That was also false. What I got pulled over for I agree that I needed the ticket, but the other 2 tickets were not true. You all can slam me with this if you want, but unless you've been there first hand like me and many other people I know, then I don't believe you can comment and if YOU have been there, then you KNOW it's all about the money.

-- Posted by leighann457 on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 12:26 PM

Sorry to disappoint you Greywolfe, I have never worked for the Cape Girardeau Police Department or any other law enforcement agency in the state of Missouri. My law enforcement background was in Texas. Like I stated previously, I know not of the specific circumstances nor do I really care. I do know that under the Texas Penal Code and the Penal Code of many states, I could as an law enforcement officer follow you or most anyone else for three miles and find reason to pull you over. Like I said, I believe there is a bit more to this than prudentdriver is telling but again it is none of my business and I do not care. The court ultimately decides what is legal, not you or the officer. Reasonable suspicion can cover a wide range of behavior in the eyes of the legal system.

I know many disagree, but driving is a privilege and not a right. If it is relevant to you, I am a licensed commercial driver and have not been stopped or ticketed for more than twenty years. Probably a combination of luck and skill but I am proud of it anyway.

-- Posted by Balmy on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 1:42 PM

For years teens have been hanging out at Capaha park. How is this any different than them hanging out at town plaza. They are being teenagers, so let them.

-- Posted by semostudent on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 2:36 PM

Evidence and fact seem not to matter when some view presidential pardons.

-- Posted by iago on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 3:12 PM

Well Balmy,

thats another good reason why we should give Texas back to Mexico.I guess Constitutional rights mean nothing in Texas.I suppose if you follow someone long enough they may forget to stop completely at a stop sign and that gives you reasonable cause to pull someone out of their vehicle and search them.

Not in my book it doesn't!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 3:55 PM

Greywolfe, your last response is so ludicrous that I will not dignify it with a response.

In my view, your spate reflects your attitude regarding the law and those risking their lives to uphold it.

"Your book does not count" Fortunately for the masses, the court has the only book that counts.

-- Posted by Balmy on Mon, Jun 11, 2007, at 6:58 PM

Whew! I am glad this blog has gone in a positive direction. Balmy, even though you must understand that I now view you as one of "them," you're just going to have to trust me on this because there was no probable cause, at all; in fact, the sheriff came up to my window and said, "Get out of the car," and he never, ever gave me a reason on why he stopped me, even though I repeatedly asked him. Additionally, he was in violation of the law for tailgating me for three miles, period. If I were to tailgate, I would get stopped and cited. Also, the property owner has to complain about my presence on their property for an officer to confront me. Personally, I have grown up and I do not break the law to the extent that I once did; unfortunately, some of my friends, on the other hand... Considering that my charges were suspended in position of sentence and have since been "erased" from my file, I don't really care anymore either; it just irritates me to no end that people actually support Swingle.

The only problem with campaigning against Swingle is that nobody wants that job, and I don't blame them.

Leighann457, you should participate more often. I have essentially given up submitting regular Speakouts because they're too controversial for this paper to publish.

Switching gears with no pun intended, Foodie, I absolutely agree with all that you say and I must reiterate: there is nothing to do in Cape Girardeau as a teen, let them peacefully congregate.

-- Posted by ynot on Tue, Jun 12, 2007, at 12:04 AM

The French journalist, A. Guignon, wrote "When everyone is against you, it means that you are absolutely wrong-or absolutely right".

You want us to believe that the prosecuting attorney, the city police, the sheriff and everyone else is against you for no reason at all?

You don't catch the attention of so many in authority by running stop signs and forgetting to use the turn signal.

I might suggest that you get a law degree and become the next prosecuting attorney. Maybe then all of the wrongs in this county will be right again.

-- Posted by semoatty on Tue, Jun 12, 2007, at 3:06 PM

Did I ever mention the city police, semoatty? Like I said, all of that was in my past. Anyway, I'm already an engineer (a real one, not a train driver), why would I want to become an attorney? It's not a pleasurable occupation, in my opinion.

Go ahead and quote the French. I've been there and I don't want anything to do with that country.

-- Posted by ynot on Wed, Jun 13, 2007, at 12:23 AM

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