Pubdate: Sat, 23 Oct 2004
Source: Waukesha Freeman (WI)
Copyright: 2004 The Waukesha Freeman
Author: Glenn Van Haitsma


As an independent voter in this election season, my vote will go to the 
candidate who most consistently demonstrates a humane concern for all 
persons, regardless of their fame or fortune or party affiliation. By that 
principle, my vote will go to the 5th Congressional District candidate 
Bryan Kennedy, not to incumbent F. James Sensenbrenner.

Consider this case in point: As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, 
Sensenbrenner has been asked repeatedly to schedule hearings on glaring 
human rights abuses, as well as misuse of funds, in the 16-year-old federal 
grant program known as the Byrne Grant. He repeatedly puts off such hearings.

The Byrne Grant program commits some $500 million a year of our tax money 
to set up hundreds of anti-drug task forces across the country, with little 
or no supervision. There are 45 such task forces in Texas alone. The system 
hands out more funding to those task forces which report more drug arrests, 
no questions asked. In Tulia, Texas, white "investigator" Tom Coleman 
milked the system by getting 46 people, 40 of them black, arrested and 
imprisoned solely on his uncorroborated word. After months in prison, these 
innocent victims of racist corruption were pardoned and released. 
Investigations of such perversity are under way in nine different states, 
but such scandals are not enough to move Sensenbrenner to schedule hearings 
on the abuses of this federal program.

However, we now read the headline, "Sensenbrenner wants hearing in Hamm 
controversy" (Freeman, Oct. 7). After all, going public in Hamm's defense 
plays well in Sensenbrenner's home district. Never mind those poor, black, 
innocent victims in Texas. A hearing might embarrass Sensenbrenner's 
good-ole-boy colleagues Tom DeLay and Trent Lott.

U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth accuses Sensenbrenner of 
using the Hamm issue "to raise his profile in an election year." Of course, 
it's quite obvious. Sensenbrenner puts personal self-promotion and partisan 
politics above any concern for a more just and humane society. That's an 
abuse of his responsibility as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Glenn Van Haitsma
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