How the Institutional Racism of Yesterday Still Reverberates Today
The mayor's controversial racial profiling committee had its last meeting in its current form last night. After almost two years, very little has been accomplished, but wait...the work is going to be transitioned into the newly formed Human Relations Committee:
It seems the mayor's office feels that since one committee is incapable of achieving progress on the issue, subsuming the work into a series of sub-groups and offshoots is more likely to get the job done.
"When do you believe the commission will be able to take on the work?" asked a hopeful Jo Ann Bowman, of Maria Lisa Johnson, who is heading up the human relations committee.
"Well, the commission hasn't met yet," Johnson replied.
"This committee covers all these issues," said Copwatch activist Dan Handelman. "And if you break that down you all get to working in different directions."
Police Chief Rosie Sizer told the committee that its dialog had been "at the extremes, revisiting old ground," and she hoped that by transitioning the committee's work into a new form, "more ground" could be covered. It was unclear how much of the new work was going to take place in public, however, and how much would take place behind closed doors. Chief Sizer was also supposed to be delivering a plan on how to tackle the problem by October, but it's unclear where that now stands.
Many present seemed confused by the transition. But in an apparent effort to ease that confusion, an equally confusing handout was distributed to committee members:
We'll let you know what's happening with the racial profiling committee as soon as we can decipher the drawing. But the moral of the story for any future mayor appears to be: Don't waste taxpayers' money on pet project committees when you don't have the will or support to conclude them with practical solutions. Indeed, it's arguable that the diagram drawn on the wall last night was an appropriate metaphor for Tom Potter's leadership on a whole host of city issues: Ending in confusion and disappointment for all concerned.
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