Here is a case which highlights the inherent corruption and inefficiency of Western democracy. I am reminded of the Filipinos fighting for a parliamentary style democracy. A little research will show that parliamentary democracy is just as bad.
This case, reported in the San Diego Tribune, draws attention to a law suit by the San Diego Police Association against the City government. The problem with this case is that the attorney who advised the police association had a reasonable case, but it was always going to be a difficult case to win. It highlights the problem with justice in Western countries, that it is no better than the justice system in Communist countries. The difference is that we think we are free, and we preserve a pretense of justice.
The City of San Diego pay $58 million in legal fees in 2010. Most of the legal cases were considered 'frivolous'. Many people will take these comments at face value, but its a lot of political posturing. I don't think they were frivolous cases. I think they were important cases, handled by an abysmal legal-judicial system.
The case highlights a lot of problems:
1. The conflict of interest - government as law maker and executor, running the police. The police ought to be privatised and regulated by private regulators. Government ought to have no executive authority.
2. Monopoly extortion - You have two monopolies extorting wealth from each other, the problem for police is that a union is weaker than a government who makes the rules, and who merely passes its legal costs onto long-suffering taxpayers. There are no consequences for the government who merely needs to pass on costs to taxpayers. There is no effective competition against a bad system.
3. Arbitrarily law - which means prosecutors and judges have no way of knowing the outcome. Our justice system is a lottery. Will the judge go by the spirit of the law, or the word of the law? Such dilemmas highlight the contradictions in the system. We need to see an end to statutory law, and a return to simply common law, until that system can be refined. Common law is law based on principles, held in context. Statutory law is out of context, potentially unprincipled, and vulnerable to loopholes and corruption by bad decisions. It inherently leads to subjective law making. Once corruption enters, you will not root it out.
I think the attorney Petersen has a case because there is extortion involved. His problem is arguing that point when the whole system is based on extortion, and judges have rubber-stamped it. Arbitrary rule is the basis of our legislature. The reason why there are kickbacks of all sorts and dubious decision making is because decisions are not required to be reasonable. The reason they are not required to be reasonable is because they are not 'argued' or 'defended', they are imposed by extortion, using money, 'political numbers', not reasons. It does not help that our politicians have amalgamated into parties, they were once independent. The problem is that their interests are divided on arbitrary 'jurisdictional' grounds, as opposed to reasons or issues. Unless and until people are fighting for issues, where reason is the standard of value, you can rest assured that you will continue to see arbitrary, senseless decision-making and an endless expansion of waste. Taxes will continue to rise, and political middlemen will keep on passing on costs to the 'long suffering', psychologically repressed taxpayer.
The only solution is political reform. The most simplest reform would be a refinement to the Constitution of the USA, Australia, Britain requiring politicians to be reasonable, i.e. For reason to be the standard of value, and disclosure of arguments to be the basis of political discourse. It sounds simply enough, and it is. It would make a huge difference. It would not however be enough. The system needs an overhaul. I wish I could say philosophers are better today, but they are probably worse. The issue is not quality, so much as 'quantity of good' anything. Even science has turned into a popularity contest.