Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rockford passes new legislation to combat already-illegal activity

Reckless driving, disobeying traffic laws, property damage, drinking and driving, drugs, nuisance noise, uninsured and unlicensed drivers. Yep, there were already laws against these, but in a highly-publicized dog-and-pony show/witch hunt orchestrated by out-of-touch aldermen, the Rockford City Council added one more law to the books in short order Monday.
When hundreds of these spiffed-up cars gather late at night for mobile soirees, police could break up the party for any number of reasons. Apparently, only seizure of participants' vehicles is enough of an incentive for officers to uphold the law, however.

Yes, you read that correctly. Not "impound," but SEIZE. So far, local media haven't made this distinction, and it's an important one that gives police just a little more power to ruin your day. If you don't think it could possibly apply to you, you're a fool and a dullard.

When I visited the special hearing on the subject at City Hall last week, Ald. Wasco wondered whether the proposed ordinance, which deals specifically with fines and impounding, could allow police to seize these ne'er-do-wells' rides as well. The short answer is, the new law doesn't provide for this, but there's more to the story.

Because the "hood ryders" naturally speed off in every direction when cops arrive, the state's attorney can authorize seizure of the vehicles under an aggravated fleeing statute, assuming that cops manage to accurately scribble down their tag numbers.

Lesson learned by hood ryders: Remove or obscure your license plates while breaking the law.

Why the need for the impound ordinance? Mini-chief Michael Booker said that once a vehicle is impounded for involvement in hood ryder activity, the registered owner (not necessarily the driver) would be made to sign a form acknowledging the car has been used for illegal activity, agreeing that any subsequent violation of a similar nature would result in full seizure. If the owner doesn't agree, the police will not relinquish the car from impound. Raises some interesting constitutional questions, doesn't it?

How this affects you: If you have kids who drive your vehicles, you're at risk of having your wheels permanently commandeered by the RPD should your offspring get caught up in this. And let's face it - if you happen to be a minority, it's just one more way the cops are gonna fuck with you.

So, because police, for whatever reason, have not nipped this shit in the bud before now, the city has basically legislated a new form of racism. Instead, how 'bout we cut money from the PD's budget for every time they failed to enforce existing laws? And just to keep them honest, any proceeds derived from the hood ryder vehicle seizures, fines and impound fees should amount to that much less money the city has to give to the department's budget.

Law enforcement is supposed to be about serving and protecting, but cops have decided it makes more sense to turn a profit, and that ought to piss off every taxpayer. Demand that these gumshoes do the jobs they're paid very well to perform, and without the need for new laws.

On a completely unrelated note, Ald. Mark was not at the council meeting Monday night. That makes me wonder if he wasn't taking Harris Bank executives out to titty bars instead.

The recent failure of Amcore Bank, which has since been bought by Harris, is undoubtedly viewed as a huge opportunity for Mark and his Metrocentre keepers.

As you'll recall, Mark was given a cushy, sweetheart job selling corporate suites for the big, orange problem child as a way to convince him not to run against Larry Morrissey in the last mayoral election. Meanwhile, however, he hasn't been delivering sales particularly well.

Harris, owned by hockey-loving Canucks, is a major sponsor of the Chicago Blackhawks, whose farm team is none other than the Rockford Icehogs. See where this is headed?

If Mark can't sell "Harris Center" naming rights to take some of the weight of the Icehogs pork off the taxpayers' backs, he needs to be fired. Doug, in this case, we actually wish ye well.

1 comment:

  1. They need lic. plate numbers? Why, are there multiple cars in Rockford with custom all-over Newport/Lemonheads/IL Link Card (my fave) paint schemes?