Dear Mayor Leone, While the sometimes bitter election for the two City Council seats that is now behind us, there is still one area that needs to be addressed at once; that is the slanderous, racist pamphlet sent was distributed by the Concord Police Officers Association (POA) defaming candidate Edi Birsan.
While Edi no doubt will turn the other cheek and move on, the people of Concord need a resolution to the contents of the mailer. The POA needs to say in a clear way that their members do not stand for judging people by their name, racial heritage, or religion.
Why is this necessary one might ask? If this issue remains unresolved, defense attorneys in Superior Court will be able to present the POA hit piece to jurors to show policeman cannot be trusted and are prejudiced against and people of color and ethnic origin.
Even half believing such a notion would be a great disservice to our community. I also think it would be a good idea to take up the POA’s hate piece with Concord’s Chief of Police and the City Manager’ office. After conferring with them, the City Council should be certain the type of racial hatred and prejudice exhibited by the POA against Edi Birsan should have no place in Concord government on any level.
As the POA’s attacks on Edi Birsan were done in the spotlight, their apologies to him along with his constituents should be made in a public forum such as at a City Council Meeting or a letter made public. Lastly, the individual who wrote the pamphlet for the police department should be given a “red card” and be kicked out of politics in the community indefinitely.
Richard J. Eber
CC City Council, City Manager, Chief of Police, Joe Higby POA, Edi Birsan
THAT SAID, HERE’S WHAT I REALLY THINK
My wife says I am crazy to take on the POA on the matter of their hate mail brochure sent out to scare citizens to vote against Edi Birsan in the City Council race. She is concerned that our house will come under surveillance and traffic citations will rain on our family.
I personally do not fear such a plight. Even if the Concord P.D. were targeting me for my strong views against their organization’s political activities, it is worth it. The issue of racism, ones religion and ethnic background are not to be trifled with. If we learned anything from fascists during WWII, it was that “benign neglect” is not a good option when the race card is pulled.
In this case, the vast majority of Concord Police Officers have not shown in their work, the vicious innuendo’s that the anti Birsan Pamphlet tried to spread. By and large, the Concord Police force is comprised of good people. Unfortunately, this does not give them a pass for the damage that the POA did. To their credit, the citizens of Concord did not buy this either. The 300 plus comments on Claycord and letters on this subject that Halfway to Concord published show ample proof that the POA’s hit piece has no place in our Community.
Ironically, the POA mailer most likely did their trailing candidate Tim McGallian more harm than good. A vast majority of people I spoke to were so outraged that they voted only for Birsan to punish the POA for their slanderous accusations against him. While there are politico’s who push the issue aside by saying “everybody does it”, the POA’s brochure was definitely judged to be “One Toke over the Line” by most folks.
Now we ask that with the election over, should we continue to pursue the POA for their dirty work. I say “yes” because the Police Department is in the public domain and has higher standards to meet than the private sector. There is a definite difference between the expected ethical conduct of an individual carrying a badge versus a normal citizen on the street.
This reality should not escape Joe Higby, President of the POA. While no one thinks he wrote the vicious attack against Birsan, Higby has the responsibility for clearing the air on this matter. Perhaps it was a bit of an overreaction for me to ask him to resign as POA President, but the seriousness of this matter demands that Higby put the public’s concerns to rest.
Now we come to who actually did write the infamous hit piece for the POA? While many insiders point to McGallian and Helix’s campaign manager Mary Jo Rossi as the culprit, there is no hard evidence linking her to this piece of trash. However, it quite probable that Rossi at least hired and/or approved the contents for the brochure attacking Birsan. Such a reality places a large burden on City Council members as Rossi, has managed most of their successful past campaigns.
“As the world turns” in Concord politics sounds like a great name for a soap opera about our beloved city. We have all the necessities for such a program. “treachery”, “false accusations”, “slander”, and “double dealing” to name a few. All that is missing is a “love triangle” which is definitely not between Edi Birsan and the POA!