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September 2021
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California Legislators Continue To Anger Cops By Introducing Legislation Demanding More Transparency And Accountability

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An immense amount of reform has hit cops in California over the last few years.The state very recently made it possible for public records requesters to obtain records about police misconduct -- something that had been statutorily-shielded for decades. That, of course, made local law enforcement agencies unhappy. They sued. They let the state Attorney General argue against the interests of California residents. They fucked around and found out. And yet, they still pretended they could shred their way through this.There's more reform on the horizon. If cops didn't like having their misconduct records being made available to the public, they're really not going to like what's coming next. The general public could have access to even more records -- ones that may confirm assumptions about cops and their motivations.

In the two years since a state transparency law went into effect, San Francisco police have released previously secret disciplinary records from dozens of police shootings and a few incidents of police misconduct.Now the same state lawmaker behind Senate Bill 1421 is pushing new legislation that would expand the scope of disclosable records beyond the current parameters, which only include shootings and proven allegations of dishonesty or sexual assault.The new legislation, Senate Bill 16 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would also require police to disclose cases involving sustained findings of bias or discrimination and unlawful searches or arrests.
All this bill needs is the governor's signature. That law enforcement failed to have this killed before it could make its way to the governor's desk perhaps indicates their unions and lobbyists are no longer as powerful as they once were. And police officers have no one to blame but themselves for the lack of sympathy displayed by politicians and the public they were supposed to be serving for all these years.BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE.Let's sit back and enjoy the vicarious anguish of government employees who've gotten away with so much for so long. More trouble is on the way for the supposedly small group of "bad apples." (Cop shops love their bad apples, btw.)
Senate Bill 2, authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), would remove some immunity provisions for law enforcement and peace officers, as well as public entities employing them who are being sued because of something they did.Under the bill, if former officers are convicted of a felony, they can never return to any kind of peace officer position. Although, those who are later found to be innocent, or if their conviction is reversed or expunged, can. Likewise, applicants to law enforcement positions would be disqualified immediately if they are found to have committed crimes against public justice, such as bribery, falsification of records, and perjury, or if they had previously had peace officer certification revoked.
This seems so obvious it shouldn't be controversial. Bad cops shouldn't be allowed to become sign-able free agents if they've violated the law. They're in the law enforcement business. If they can't follow the law, they shouldn't be able to call themselves law enforcement officers.Of course, there's incoherent opposition.
Opposing lawmakers, as well as many law enforcement organizations, have charged that the bill leaves police officers at the risk of being denounced due to revenge against being the arresting officer, as well as bias concerns on the decertification board due to it being mostly members of the public.“It is grossly unfair,” said Republican Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta) on Friday. “None of the other 46 states [with decertification boards] have a similar composition. None of them are this lopsided.”
I don't even know what "due to revenge against being the arresting officer" is supposed to mean. And the Assemblyman's comments do nothing to clarify the complaints. All it does is amplify the outrage officers are apparently feeling in response to being forced to be both accountable and transparent while collecting paychecks written by the public.If you can't handle the heat, give up your pensions and GTFO of the kitchen. It's time cops were given as much scrutiny as retail workers. If they can't handle that, they've got plenty of options in the private sector.

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-Sep-2021
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Judge In Scouts BSA Trademark Case Says He's Going To Rule In Scouts BSA's Favor On Summary Judgement

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Well, well, it appears that this particular story is going to move faster than I had thought. And, to be frank, I kinda sorta get it. We had just discussed Scouts BSA, formerly The Boy Scouts of America, seeking summary judgement in the trademark suit brought by The Girl Scouts of America. You can go back through the old posts for the detailed context, but the short version is that the Boy Scouts decided girls aren't as icky as they previously thought and rebranded as Scouts BSA to be more inclusive. This created a bunch of confusion with The Girl Scouts, some of it very much due to the actions of local Scouts BSA chapters, such as:

-“As a result of Boy Scouts’ infringement, parents have mistakenly enrolled their daughters in Boy Scouts thinking it was Girl Scouts,” the lawyers said, adding that this never occurred before 2018.-The lawyers said Boy Scouts councils in Illinois acknowledging improperly using the Girl Scouts’ slogan in Cub Scout recruiting materials and pictures of Girl Scouts to promote a Boy Scouts “Scouts Sign-Up Night!”-They said a western Massachusetts Boy Scouts council posted a recruiting flyer on Facebook including a photograph of a girl depicted in her Girl Scouts Brownie uniform.-Meanwhile, Ohio Boy Scouts used the Girl Scouts trademark to try to get a local newspaper to write an article, suggesting a storyline entitled “Boy and Girl Scouts Looking for Members” even though the recruitment involved only the Boy Scouts, the lawyers said.-Minnesota families looking to sign up their girls were erroneously told the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have merged. Meanwhile, in Indiana and South Dakota, some parents mistakenly signed up their daughters to girls’ programs in the Boy Scouts.
It was due to those real examples of confusion that I had predicted the judge in the case would not rule for Scouts BSA on summary judgement... but it appears I was wrong. And perhaps specifically on the trademark question, the judge is right when he spoke openly about his intention to find in favor of Scouts BSA.
A Manhattan federal judge said Wednesday during a hearing that the Boy Scouts of America didn't infringe the Girl Scouts' trademarks by using the term "Scouting" to advertise to girls.Senior U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in what he called "temporary findings," said he planned to rule for the Boy Scouts on its summary judgment motion, finding the group can use the general word "Scouting" to describe its co-ed programs without causing confusion with the Girl Scouts."'Boy Scouts' is a brand, 'Girl Scouts' is a brand, but 'Scouting' alone is an activity," Hellerstein said.
And he's right about that. The truth is probably that nobody should have a trademark on the term "scouting". It's entirely descriptive of what the organization is and does. If this ruling is centered strictly on the claim of trademark infringement, I can see it making sense.Which leaves the issue of the actual customer confusion here and what to do about it. The GSA notes as much itself.
Ewing responded that the Girl Scouts weren't trying to stop the Boy Scouts from offering services to girls, and only wanted to stop the Boy Scouts from causing confusion."The issue is unfair competition and the way in which Boy Scouts is marketing and branding its services – it is not doing so in a way that communicates to the public who the sponsor is and what the organization is, and the law allows a remedy for that," Ewing said.
Given the examples of confusion born from the tactics of Scouts BSA marketing, it appears there would be a valid trademark infringement claim based on those actions, just not for the use of "scout" or "scouting" in general.Regardless, it appears the court is going to rule for Scouts BSA on this suit. I imagine the GSA may want to file suit instead for the individual infringement claims based on the marketing material, which I cannot imagine Scouts BSA winning at the summary judgement phase.

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-Sep-2021
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