Government efforts to tell business owners how to hire and pay employees continue to be in the news. While I do not represent myself as an expert in this field, I have had the opportunity to work as a middle manager in New York City with one of the largest corporations in the world as well as to own and operate a small business here in Key West. That at least provides a basis for some thoughts and opinions on this topic and, as is my custom, I will share some of those thoughts and opinions with you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: EVERYONE WHO DOES THE SAME WORK IN THE SAME ORGANIZATION SHOULD BE PAID THE SAME. That concept may sound good when uttered by a naive politician looking for votes, but in the real world, it just is not practical. The truth is that, in any large company or other organization, different employees (men and women) with the same job title are paid different salaries. That is the norm, not the exception. Here’s why. Continue reading
Dennis Reeves Cooper
EARLY VOTING. One more time: If you want to consider yourself a good citizen, you need to register to vote and then vote in every election. There is almost no good reason not to do this. Election day this year is November 4– but Early Voting started last Monday. The Key West location for Early Voting is the Supervisor of Elections Office on Whitehead at Southard. The office is open for Early Voting Monday- Saturday, 8;30am- 5pm. Last day to vote early is Saturday, November 1. On the ballot, voters will see choices for governor, U.S. House of Representatives, several other statewide offices, a County Commission seat, two Mosquito Control seats, a circuit judge runoff, as well as several state constitutional amendments and local referenda. For an advance look at the ballot, log onto the Supervisor of Elections website: keyselections.org
IS LEGALIZED MARIJUANA COMING TO TOWN? Maybe, When you go to vote, you will see a proposed state constitutional amendment that would authorize the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. If approved by a majority of voters, will we soon see a prescription-only pot store on Duval Street? Continue reading
With the advances of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist army in Iraq and Syria, America is once again reacting to the argument that we have to confront the bad guys over there or we will have to fight them over here. So our anti-war president has reluctantly authorized the use of American air strikes on ISIS positions. The new war is being supported by a few allies– including even a few Muslim nations. But the President has solemnly promised that there will be no American boots on the ground. Critics, including a number of military experts, quickly came out of the woodwork to point out that, while even “pinprick” air strikes might slow down the ISIS terrorists, somebody’s boots on the ground will be required to defeat them. I want to suggest here that, under the immediate circumstances, the “slow-down-ISIS” strategy may be the right strategy. Continue reading
Apparently, enough is enough. Use of excessive force by police officers, that is– real or imagined. More and more police departments across the nation are equipping officers with body cameras that can record both audio and video. The increasing use of this new technology has two goals: (1) Help try to catch cops who might use excessive force during arrests and other interactions with citizens; and (2) To try to protect cops from false allegations by citizens.
Just last week, the New York City Police Department unveiled new body cameras that officers will wear as part of a pilot program to test the technology. One of the cameras being tested is about the size of a pack of cigarettes and weighs 3 ounces. Another camera being tested looks like a small microphone and can be worn on a collar, a baseball cap or helmet or even on the frame of a pair of glasses. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said that he expects the cameras will help to reveal the truth in “he-said-she-said” situations. Continue reading
State Attorney Catherine Vogel’s office is corrupt. This statement might appear to some readers to be an attempt on my part to be a bit sensational. But it’s not. Informed government-watchers reading this are more likely to simply yawn and silently ask, “So what’s your point?” I have been reporting to my readers for years the varying degrees of corruption on the part of the various residents of the State Attorney’s Office (SAO). I have repeatedly pointed out that prosecutors knowingly allow police officers to present false under-oath testimony against defendants — including, but not limited to “facts” from falsified police reports.
To grasp the truth of the concept that I am presenting here, you need to understand that the objective of the SAO is not necessarily justice — the objective is to win cases. Continue reading
Last week, I again wrote about the Blue Wall of Silence, the unwritten “commandment” in law enforcement that cops don’t rat on cops– no matter how illegal or near-illegal a police officer’s conduct may be. I pointed out that this rule is almost absolute, not only because of peer pressure, but also because, typically, whistle-blowers are not protected by police management. In fact, the law enforcement careers of police officers who are too honest– officers who refuse to play the Blue Wall game– are often destroyed.
The classic example of this truth here in Key West is the case of former police officer Tom Neary. Neary was suspended in October 2007 and finally fired in June 2008, charged with conduct unbecoming a police officer. The official list of allegations against Neary gave the term “trumped up” a whole new meaning. But make no mistake here: The real reason that Neary’s law enforcement career was destroyed is that he threatened to go public with information about a bogus investigation ordered by then-Police Chief Bill Mauldin with the objective of ending the political career of City Commissioner Mark Rossi. Continue reading
If you are a regular reader of Key West The Newspaper (The Blue Paper), I hope you read John Donnelly’s thoughtful commentary on the “Blue Wall of Silence,” published here two weeks ago. If you missed it, click on “back issues” on this website’s home page and call up the August 8 issue and scroll down to “Police Investigating Police Will Not Expose Criminal Cops– nor Protect Citizens.” Donnelly quotes police officers (anonymously, of course) explaining their “rationale” for failing to speak out or downright lying about other officers who may have broken the rules (at best) or who have maybe even committed a crime (at worst). Continue reading
The fact that various wars, large and small, continue to rage around the world suggests that, sometimes, it’s really easy to start a war. Maybe too easy. Perhaps the classic example of too-easy might be World War I– which started almost exactly 100 years ago. The Great War, the War to End All Wars, started in June 1914, with the assassination of the archduke of Austria-Hungary. Historians did not start calling it World War I until the start of World War II, when it appeared that we were going to have to start numbering our wars. Today, the assassination of a government official of a minor nation might not even be a major news story, much less start a war. But that event triggered a chain of events that would result in the deaths of millions of soldiers and civilians in Europe, as well as thousands of Americans after the US became involved in the war. Continue reading
Dennis Reeves Cooper with Bill O’Reilly in 2001
Since I have been writing a weekly column for the new Blue Paper online, the editors have periodically accompanied my column with a photo of me appearing with Bill O’Reilly on his show on the Fox News Channel. A number of readers have asked me when and why I was invited to appear on the O’Reilly Factor– the highest rated cable news program. Longtime readers know the story, but new readers may not. So here it is again. Longtime readers please pardon– but we have a lot of new readers.
When I ran Key West The Newspaper, I often pushed the envelope when it came to controversy– as the new editors still do. Back in 2001, one of our prime targets was an out-of-control police department. Needless to say, this pissed off then-Police Chief Buz Dillon. And on June 22 of that year, he used an obscure state law to have me arrested and jailed for writing about an on-going internal investigation. Now while I was confident that those charges would never stand up, the immediate fact was that I was facing criminal charges and that I was going to have to find the money to hire a lawyer and defend myself in court. Beyond that, I was concerned about my reputation and the reputation of my newspaper. Rightly or wrongly, many people assume that anybody arrested and charged is probably guilty. Continue reading