Probation Officers' Association (POA) spokesperson Richard Perino has a modest proposal for certain young lawbreakers "whose parents rely on welfare and drug dealing," in the April issue of Focus. "It's a fact that these problems are concentrated among certain black kids," Perino says, going on to discuss moms who "spend their welfare check on crack," have "a kid every year" and keep "just a can of beer in the refrigerator." His remedy? "Well, you take that family out of the urban environment" and put them in a "highly structured camp environment" somewhere in the wilderness, far away from the 'hood.
And keep them there.
Perino's loose lips have inspired the National Organization for Women, the Coalition for an African American Community Agenda, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice to call for his resignation.
"Under First Amendment rights, Perino can say whatever he wants," says center executive director Vincent Schiraldi. "But he shouldn't be saying things like this as an official POA spokesperson."
Perino says the tempest is politically motivated -- he and Schiraldi are old foes who disagree on how juvenile offenders should be rehabilitated -- and he also says he's been misunderstood and misquoted.
"It was one of those cut-and-paste deals," Perino says of the article.
Advertisements for Himself
Bruce Brugmann's San Francisco Bay Guardian continues to rile the sensitive sensibilities of the neighborhood press. The Guardian began outraging the nabes during the last election with accusations that they'd sold out to the powers that be for the slim price of political ads. The most recent uproar centers on Ron Curran's May 17 Guardian column, in which he whacked the New Mission News for publishing "unquestioningly" the claims made by Committee on Jobs apparatchik Mark Mosher at a public event. An editorial in the May 19 City Voice retaliates against the Bay's foremost conspiracy theorist, denying that a corporate entity buys a publisher when it buys an ad. "If this were so," the editorialist writes, "Brugmann would be beholden to the phone-sex industry."
By Amy Linn, John Sullivan, Jack Shafer