Thursday, June 26, 2008

What The Heck IS An Ombudsman?

The local Council On The Aging is always advertising for people to join the program. They listen to and look into complaints made by residents of the local homes for the aged. The Spokesman Review has one. Their function, by definition, is to look after the interests of the public.
ombudsman |ˈämbədzmən; -ˌboŏdz-|
noun ( pl. -men)
an official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints against maladministration, esp. that of public authorities.
ORIGIN 1950s: from Swedish, ‘legal representative.’
The Spokane Police Department needs one. Though the relatively new police chief has done much to bring some semblance of order and responsibility to the department it still strongly resembles Camp Run-a-Muck.

This is another situation where, as a senior, I wonder if I'm losing my ability to reason. This is a position of independent oversight. The Spokane Police Guild is resisting. Why are they even involved? This is like Congress passing a law, sending it to the President for signature, him signing it then making a signing statement saying he has no intention of paying any attention to it. Bush is famous for this! Spokane seems to be following suit. Maybe because it's the Republican stronghold in Washington state. Follow the leader!

The strings being tied to the selection process for this position are enough to strangle any possibility of success. It is beyond pathetic and should be an embarrassment to all involved in the process.

Many here in the Coeur d'Alene area are constantly finding fault with how the city is run, some of which is justified. It is said the City Council wouldn't recognize an open meeting law if it jumped up and bit them and due process is not in their vocabulary. Maybe so. Maybe no. At least they function.

If I were a resident of Spokane I'd be fearing for my safety. If any action was misinterpreted by the long arm of the law, recourse would be slim to none. Running around in little tight circles by the Mayor and City Council trying to keep everyone happy is non-productive. That pile of dirt under the carpet is growing too large. It has long been obvious.

The citizens of Spokane deserve better. Just ask the family and friends of Otto Zehm.

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