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King Sarno overstepping his royal office

Jesus Christ!! Springfield has anointed a king. King Domenic Sarno got his four-year term. Now he weilds his power onto immigrants seeking shelter in the arms of Jesus Christ.

How dare our king extend his wishes into the hands of God. He has forgotten he is Roman Catholic. For the king to wage war onto a religious institution (any) is against the American citizens value’s.

A Congregational Church established in a church-designed structure has a kitchen, washing facilities, a rectory. There is an apartment there for a caretaker, no? A woman is there because she is scared. No crime has been committed by her inflicting any harm, physical emotional, or financial upon any citizen in the Commonwealth that I know of.

So, she has a legal family here. King Domenic, a supposed Democrat, says no sanctuary city here. OK. That respects civil law, municipal procedures of arrest, accidents, criminal activity, etc. Not a civil choice of refuge. The City Council is passing up an opportunity to put their king formula back in the bottle. Now!! Term limits. Two 4-year terms as mayor or School Committee or City Council.

The Council of Churches in Springfield is silent, the Roman Catholic Church is silent. They have laid down before King Domenic like they did in World War II.

And our King Domenic has trampled our constitution (“no laws abridging freedom of religion”). And Domenic Sarno is slated to replace Richie Neal.

Time to act on term limits. That’s how democracy can come here in Springfield and not wielding power, as seen by a person who could be king.

—Peter C. DeLuce, Springfield

The Advocate not critical enough of local police

The Advocate published two articles recently that were very complimentary to local police departments.

First, on Wednesday, April 11, Meg Bantle wrote about how Springfield cops were picketing the city, specifically Mayor Sarno, to come back to the negotiating table, as 385 officers have been without a contract for 20 months. Sarno, as the Advocate is fond of pointing out, is a complete disgrace to our entire region. No argument there. More than that, though, the Springfield police are a despicable department that is rife with corruption and brutality, whose punitive policies disproportionately punish low-income black and brown residents. Further, the ACLU singled them out in 2012 for their abnormally high rates of arresting children in the city’s schools. What does this have to do with the union? Police unions are unique in that they work towards insulating cops from accountability and transparency. On Monday, April 16, In These Times released an exposé on how police unions in eight states have backed anti-protestor legislation since Trump’s election. And Springfield’s union, Local 364, is no exception. For example, after a cop was fired over a racist social media comment, a spokesperson for the union went on record claiming the firing was “political.” Bantle’s story, however, by framing it as merely a “labor” story — on the same day as local nurses went on strike and that President Trump signed a law to further censor, and thus criminalize, sex workers online — is incomplete.

Second, on Friday, April 13, Sarah Heinonen published a story about how Northampton police chief Jody Kasper is to be honored by the Western Mass Women’s Fund. Sure, private philanthropy honoring a female police chief is a textbook example of what many have dubbed neoliberal feminism. It is what it is, and many have written good critiques. What is important here is that Heinonen uncritically repeats a quote from Ellen T. Moorehouse, who is programs officer for the Women’s Fund. Moorehouse suggests that Kasper’s department has made “exceptional contributions” that have “shaped community policing for the better.” Perhaps Moorehouse and Heinonen aren’t familiar with Chief Kasper’s work. The argument of Kasper’s 2011 book Progressive Police Supervision is that community policing is no longer relevant or necessary and that it is the responsibility of police officials to focus instead on terrorism and homeland security, etc. Kasper’s tenure as chief has expressed this worldview. Yes, the NPD’s Open Data Department is a welcome improvement in police transparency, but as Heinonen’s article fails to note, Kasper’s department has failed to meet several of the suggestions from Obama’s Commission on 21st Century Policing, including community oversight of the department and of hiring. All that said, it is disappointing that this flattering story is the first we’ve heard about Kasper in the Advocate for quite some time. There were no stories about the Chief’s proposal to install police operated surveillance cameras, we didn’t hear about NPD officers training in Sheriff Joe’s jail, nor did we read about the controversy over ‘tactical weapons and training’ — better known as riot gear.

The Advocate claims to be an “alternative news source,” but with uncritical coverage like this, I’m not sure how it deviates from the norm.

—Will Meyer, Basemental Columnist and author at www.theshoestring.org.