Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor...So We Can Spy On Them

The OC Register is reporting that for the past seven years, the Anaheim Housing Authority and the Anaheim Police Department began a policy of spying on Section 8 recipients. The Anaheim Housing Authority would routinely provide the names of Section 8 recipients to the Anaheim PD to “investigate” them without any cause or motive other than they were a Section 8 recipient. The Police Department of course uses the claim that this was to try and search for potential wanted criminals and was done in the name of “public safety.” Sounds like profiling to me and it also sounds like a violation of the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which is supposed to keep us safe from unreasonable searches, and this goes for unwarranted and unsubstantiated checks into our background.

When the framers of our Constitution came up with this Amendment, it was to ensure that government and law enforcement did not encroach into our personal lives and our personal belongings and give us the privacy entitled to us. Being poor is not a probable cause to encroach on ones privacy and I am sure framers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would be appalled at what has taken place in Anaheim. A couple of Republicans I have spoken to are taking the position "what do they have to worry about if they have nothing to hide." That ugly rationalization for government intrustion and flipping the bird at our sacred Bill Of Rights once again rears its ugly head.

Most cities have a policy of investigating Section 8 recipients when there is probable cause to doubt whether the person receiving Section 8 is ineligible. Santa Ana hires private investigators to look into claims and complaints of fraud. Apartment managers refer complaints and potential criminal activity on section 8 tenents to the authorities. This is how the system is supposed to work, the authorities investigate when there is REASONABLE CAUSE. This is why the framers created th 4th Amendment, to protect us from being victims of a police state.

Mayor Pringle, will you be like Rudy Giuliani and defend clear violations of people’s constitutional rights by the police or will you stand for the values of the nation you and your party so often tout as the greatest nation on Earth. Pringle has apparently simply fix policy at the next council meeting, but that is not enough. Clear and blatant abuses of authority took place for seven years, Pringle needs to go further and punish the people in the Housing Authority and the Police Department who abused the authority given to them through the social contract. Will Pringle hold the Anaheim PD and the Housing Authority accountable for behaving more like the KGB?

Or is this a message to the working class? Come to Anaheim, where we will spy on your every move if you make under $30,000 a year.


  1. Just playing devils advocate.

    4th Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures- right?

    It says-The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    "Their Houses'

    If you live in government housing, it's "our houses"

    Persons on probation or parole have no 4th Amendment rights. Should persons on the public dole?

  2. One should never be treated as a felon if they seek help from public assistance. Taking a free individuals Rights away from them for no other reason than being poor should never be acceptable. It shouldn't matter which Amendment, and nobody seems to even question the 1st Amendment Rights, but many seem to think the 2nd & 4th are totally fair game. WRONG! They are all equal Rights of a free individual. It’s a taking without due process.

    BTW, announced today in The Register, that this practice of spying was stopped, at least according to the mayor.