July 31, 2013, 3:33 AM Eastern US time
POLYGRAPH public officials.
1) As advocates for NSA spying on innocent
Americans and innocent people in other countries
always say: "If you have nothing to hide, then
you have nothing to fear." Well then, EVERY
public official should be honored to support this
idea, and even more honored to be depicted
in association with this petition. What a FANTASTIC
photo-op for the rising star in politics to be linked
with this fantastic idea which, I am sure, over 90%
of the public will support (even if the petition-throttlers
who work for the political interests try to minimize,
censor, block and sabotage this petition by
signature-bouncing and all the other techniques
we've seen recently.)
2) Politicians are all eager-beaver to line up behind
all legalistic attempts to honor the teaching profession
by grandstanding ideas which require all teachers to
be background checked, and by passing the same
teaching background-check laws over and over again
just so these politicians can photo-op their way to
success, fame and fortune in the evening news.
Other ways in which the teaching profession is
honored is for teachers to be tarred, feathered and
run out of town on a rail (electronically, mind you -
so it's "nice" and modern - no real tar or burning
crosses used in these cyberlynchings) for sending
text messages which are harmless. Well then,
let's have every politician reveal all of their
e-mails and text messages too, and they
can be subjected to the same honorable
scrutiny as teachers. After all, if politicians
have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear,
right? EVERY TEACHER and every teaching
organization should ENDORSE THIS PROPOSAL
and SIGN AND SHARE THIS PETITION!
3) Public officials all take an Oath of Office on
their own word of honor, to preserve, protect and
defend the Constitution. Their own word of honor
once per year in a polygraph test will be a strong
indicator of whether or not they believe they have
been abiding by that Oath, and whether they intend
to do so in the future. Of course, there may be those
who are a little nervous and who fail the polygraph
even though they pass the REAL test of performance,
and there will also be those who - through lack of
conscience or an abundance of sheer nerve, pass the
test with flying colors even though they are
lying through their teeth. But time will tell as well.
4) Even if the politician or public servant or
contractor or other public figure who takes
the polygraph test FAILS the test, that isn't the
end of the world. Check out this biography from
Wikipedia, from which I have selected and slightly
edited certain items: the article shows that
despite failing a lie-detector test,
a bureaucrat who becomes a politician can still rise
to enduring greatness and a glorious legacy.
(PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION NOW if you
are pressed for time, and come back and
read this amazing story which proves
my point, later. Promise?)
Francis Lazarro "Frank" Rizzo, Sr.
(October 23, 1920 – July 16, 1991) was an American
police officer and politician. He served two terms as
mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from
January 1972 to January 1980; he was
Police Commissioner for four years prior to that.
Rizzo joined the Philadelphia Police Department in the 1940s,
rising through the ranks to become police commissioner in 1967.
He served in that role during the turbulent years of 1967 to 1971,
garnering a reputation as a tough, hands-on commissioner.
One of the most well-known actions taken by Rizzo's police officers
were the raids on the Philadelphia offices of the Black Panther Party
on August 31, 1970.
The raids took place just after the Black Panthers had declared
war on police officers nationwide, and one week before the Panthers
planned to convene a "People's Revolutionary Convention" at
Temple University. The officers performed a strip search on the
arrested Black Panther members in front of the news cameras
after a Fairmount Park Police Officer had just been brutally murdered.
The picture ran on the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News,
and was seen around the world.
Rizzo's looming presence during the Columbia Avenue Riots
is credited by many for keeping the lid on widespread looting
and violence during that time of danger in Philadelphia, PA.
Rizzo was personally responsible for the promotion of
several black officers during his tenure as commissioner.
While he was deputy police commissioner, practices that
kept black officers from patrol cars were ended.
It was during Rizzo's tenure as deputy commissioner
in which officers assigned to the city's predominantly
minority neighborhoods worked out of patrol cars in teams of
one white and one black officer per car in an attempt to
reduce friction between the citizens and police.
As commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department,
Rizzo had one of the largest percentages of black officers
among large U.S. police departments, with
Guardian Civic League members comprising 20% of the department's
officers in 1968, at a time when the police departments of
other major US cities had little if any success in recruiting
Rizzo resigned as Police Commissioner in 1971 to run for
Mayor of Philadelphia.
Election to first term:
Rizzo was already functioning as mayor before his election.
Toward the end of the term of Mayor James Tate,
Tate publicly announced, on television and other media,
that he was going to retire and that he was naming Frank Rizzo
as "de facto" mayor of Philadelphia.
In interviews on local television news programs, he was asked
if this was legal and Tate laughed and said that he was retiring.
In 1971, Rizzo faced three opponents for the 1971 Democratic
mayoral nomination: Congressman William J. Green,
a former Democratic city chairman; State Representative
(later State Senator) Hardy Williams, and
former City Councilman David Cohen
(later a long serving councilman at large, from 1980 to his
death in 2005). Cohen withdrew from the race and endorsed
Green. Rizzo then won over Green and Williams.
In the November election, Rizzo defeated former (and future)
Councilman at Large and Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
President W. Thacher Longstreth.
Rizzo, unlike his opponents, did not issue campaign position papers;
he felt his slogan "Firm but Fair" explained his view of his role.
Immediately following Rizzo's death in July 1991, Longstreth
broke down and cried at the news of the death of his friend, Frank Rizzo.
From the start of his first term in office, Rizzo faced many
political problems. The Evening Bulletin interviewed former
Mayor and School Board President Richardson Dilworth
about allegations he made in the San Francisco Chronicle
that Rizzo had used the police for political espionage.
Grateful for the positive publicity that local media had
given him as police commissioner, Rizzo gave jobs
to about two dozen local reporters. This apparent
quid pro quo caused suspicion about Rizzo's previously good press.
Two months after being sworn in, Rizzo endorsed Richard Nixon,
a Republican, for re-election. In return for Rizzo's support,
the victorious Nixon administration granted more federal funding
to Philadelphia. However, Rizzo alienated many Democrats
by his support of a candidate of the opposing party.
The Democratic city committee, especially, viewed
Rizzo's support of Nixon as a betrayal.
Democratic Party Chairman Peter Camiel and many
Democrats on the city council were also displeased
with Rizzo's endorsement of President Nixon for re-election
Lie detector scandal:
Rizzo's debacles with the media continued for some time into his
first term. He was known for frequently holding press conferences,
where he discussed various relevant and irrelevant matters,
often in colorful language and a bombastic attitude.
In one incident, after Rizzo was accused by
Democratic Party Chairman Peter Camiel of offering Camiel
patronage jobs in exchange for permitting Rizzo to choose the
candidates for district attorney and city comptroller,
Rizzo retorted that Camiel was a liar.
One reporter from the Philadelphia Daily News asked
Rizzo if he would submit to a polygraph test in order to prove
that Camiel was lying. Rizzo agreed, as did Camiel.
Rizzo was extremely confident that the test would come out
in his favor. "If this machine says a man lied, he lied",
Rizzo said famously before taking the test.
However, the polygraph test revealed that Rizzo
appeared to be lying about offering Camiel the positions
in return for choosing candidates, and Camiel appeared to be truthful.
(Afterward, Rizzo said that polygraph tests are unreliable,
in street language.)
Election to second term
"Just wait after November you'll have a front row seat,
because I'm going to make Attila the Hun look like a faggot."
— Rizzo, during his 1975 reelection campaign.
In the 1975 Democratic primary, Rizzo defeated State Senator
Louis G. Hill, Dilworth's nephew, who was supported by Camiel.
In the November election, Rizzo defeated independent candidate
Charles Bowser, a leading black Philadelphia attorney and former
City Councilman-at-Large; and Thomas M. Foglietta, who later
represented a large portion of the city in Congress.
An interesting feature of Rizzo's mayoralty was the establishment,
with his complete approval, of a publicly funded
"Anti-Defamation Agency" to combat pejorative jokes
sometimes told about Philadelphia.
The agency's most publicized action was a boycott of
S.O.S. Soap Pads, after a television commercial aired
nationwide in the summer of 1972 which included a
disparaging reference to the city.
The manufacturer withdrew the commercial.
During Rizzo's terms as mayor, construction started on
The Gallery at Market East shopping mall and the
Center City Commuter Connection, a railroad commuter tunnel
with a station right underneath the mall.
The Philadelphia Gas Works, known locally as PGW,
had been managed by a private company.
During Rizzo's tenure, it was taken over by the city.
PGW then implemented senior citizens discounts,
generous municipal labor contracts and the expansion of
patronage hiring. Formerly considered one of the best-managed
municipal utilities in the United States, it later became a
long-running fiscal and corrupt embarrassment to the city.
During Rizzo's second term, two reporters at
The Philadelphia Inquirer, William K. Marimow and Jon Neuman,
began a long series about incidents of police brutality that
allegedly had been covered up by the police department.
The series won a Pulitzer Prize for the Inquirer.
Tax increase and recall attempt:
In his successful 1975 mayoral campaign, Rizzo campaigned
under the slogan, "He held the line on taxes."
Then, almost immediately after the election,
he got the City Council to increase the city's wage tax
from 3.31% to 4.31%, one of the highest in the nation.
The juxtaposition of the campaign slogan, which had
dominated the airwaves, mailboxes, and telephone poles
of the city for months, with the record tax increase infuriated
Rizzo's opponents and led fiscal conservatives to join them.
The Philadelphia city charter contained a provision for a
recall, if 25% of the registered voters signed recall petitions.
Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal activist group
that had played a key role in moving Philadelphia from
Republican to Democratic control in the late 1940s
and early 1950s, took the lead in gathering
the needed signatures.
The committee to recall Rizzo methodically organized the
wards of the city, and shocked political professionals by
gathering well over the 250,000 signatures required.
The campaign to recall Rizzo attracted many thousands of
volunteers and millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
Polls showed Rizzo losing by a wide margin.
Rizzo's allies counterattacked by challenging the validity
of the signatures. They also challenged the constitutionality
of the recall procedure itself.
Then the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, by a one vote margin,
declared the Charter's recall provision to be unconstitutional.
The decision was written by Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix, the
first African-American judge elected to the State Supreme Court
with Rizzo's support in 1971.
Rizzo opponents, while greatly disheartened, elected
Ed Rendell as District Attorney in 1977
Reporter Robert R. Frump recalled that Rizzo would frequently say,
with long pauses in the last part of his sentences,
"My opponents are saying 'Vote Black! I say....vote....your mind!"
Rizzo was also known for saying: "The streets in Philadelphia
are safe. It's the people who make them dangerous."
Between 1983 and 1986, Rizzo served as a security consultant
at The Philadelphia Gas Works, and hosted one of Philadelphia's
most popular radio talk shows, a tradition later emulated by his son,
Republican City Councilman Frank L. Rizzo, Jr. During his time at
PGW, he saved the utility over 3 million dollars by curbing the
theft of gas.
Rizzo had been a Republican until the Dilworth Administration,
then a Democrat while mayor, even while supporting Richard Nixon;
he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor in
1983, losing in a close primary election to Wilson Goode, who then
became Philadelphia's first black mayor, known for his ordering the
bombing of Osage Avenue in 1985 - which Rizzo roundly criticized.
In 1986, Rizzo switched again to the Republican Party, and ran as a
Republican in the mayoral election of 1987, and set out to do so
again in 1991.
In 1991, Rizzo won the Republican primary against former
Philadelphia District Attorney (now chief justice of the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court) Ron Castille, in a hardball
campaign where Rizzo made accusations about Castille's
drinking habits and his veracity. Rizzo's win brought some
rumblings of a last political hurrah, with Rizzo vowing to
break stereotypes associated with his political legacy,
and vowing specifically to campaign in black neighborhoods
(which, in fact, Rizzo did). On the Friday before his death,
he walked through the predominantly black West Philadelphia
52nd Street neighborhood with community leaders.
For the November contest against the Democratic candidate,
former District Attorney (and later two-term Pennsylvania governor)
Ed Rendell, there were also expectations that Rizzo would again
employ hardball tactics. On July 16, 1991, Rizzo died in
his campaign office of a massive heart attack shortly after
his primary victory.
He was pronounced dead upon arrival at 2:12 p.m. EDT
at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.
Rendell went on to win the November election and serve two terms as mayor.
End Of An Era In Philadelphia:
Rizzo's funeral was large, with tens of thousands of people
lining the streets of the motorcade from the Cathedral Basilica
of Saints Peter and Paul to the cemetery. There was no funeral
larger than Rizzo's in the history of Philadelphia, as people
lined the streets five deep from the Cathedral to the cemetery
north of Mount Airy.
A statue of Mayor Rizzo waving one of his arms in greeting,
created by Zeno Frudakis, stands in front of Philadelphia's
Municipal Services Building. The 10-foot-high statue was
paid for by contributions from Rizzo's family, friends, and supporters.
Also, in his stronghold neighborhood of South Philadelphia,
where he received a great deal of Italian-American support,
a mural portrait of Rizzo is located on the 9th Street Italian Market.
"The Cop Who Would Be King", by Philadelphia Bulletin journalists
Joseph R. Daughen & Peter Binzen, is widely considered an
authoritative account of Frank Rizzo's rise to power. Sal Paolantonio's
"Rizzo: The Last Big Man In Big City America" is the current
definitive biography. Phyllis Kaniss' book,
"The Media and the Mayor's Race", is an analysis of local
journalistic coverage of the campaign, detailing Rizzo's
last political campaign up until his death; it contains details
on the political hardball he played against Castille, and
planned to play against Rendell.
Rizzo had a tremendous impact on Philadelphia politics as
an extremely polarizing and colorful figure.
Philadelphians were either extreme supporters or detractors.
Rizzo's politics were primarily in the conservative wing of the
Democratic party. His political appeal, however, transcended
political parties. His switch from the Democratic party to the
Republican party spawned a political term, "Rizzocrats"—
eople who would follow Rizzo regardless of party affiliation.
Rizzo had a controversial relationship with the media.
He sparred with beat reporters, and yet hired several
into city posts after his re-election in 1975.
Reporter Andrea Mitchell, in her book "Talking Back",
and Larry Kane, in his book "Larry Kane's Philadelphia",
both stated that when they heard about Rizzo's death,
they broke down and cried.
This is how the article ends - and thus ends the life story
of an American who was larger than life, in a sense that
his story, with its ups and downs, is both a clear call to
duty according to the virtues of our true strengths
and a clear warning as to our weaknesses; because
the story of Frank Rizzo is also the story of America.
Committee of 37 Peace Initiative
PO Box 877
Edgmont, PA 19028-0877