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Pizza, Parking, & Police:
A Story of Crusty Corruption

Pizza For Parking

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Pizza is one of the most universally enjoyed dishes and a food most people won’t turn down. An alleged story about the temptation to eat the baked dough topped with delicious proteins, cheeses and veggies ended up costing four officers their jobs.

Jeff Clegg is one of the officers who was fired.  Clegg claimed that employees of a pizza shop would park illegally and place menus visibly in their car window.  When a parking enforcement officer saw the menu, they were not to write a ticket.  If a parking ticket did happen to be issued, it was usually voided.

Clegg’s allegations also say that the officers didn’t write tickets to the employees for over two years because of the deal.  Apparently the parking enforcers would frequent the pizza shop so often that they were on a first name basis with the workers.  Some of the officers would even enter through the back and just grab their own meal!

The officers were in a situation where they could have issued 3 tickets a day to the pizza parlor’s problematic parkers, with each ticket having a fine of $25.  At first, $25 per ticket may not seem like that large of an amount.  Over the course of 2 years however, $75 in parking tickets each day would have amounted to over $19,000 in missed fines!

Following an investigation by a city official who’d heard about Clegg’s allegations about the parking-for-pizza scheme, Clegg and three other officers were fired.  Shortly after that happened, the pizza restaurant’s owner complained directly to the city in person about how upset he was about the officers being fired.  At the same time though, he denied that there was ever a free meal deal happening.

A second investigation was launched by a police agency, but no charges ended up being filed against the pizza parlor’s staff nor the 4 officers that had lost their jobs.

 

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Questions:

1) Keeping in mind that this deal could have cost the city up to $19,000 in missed fines, if charges had ended up being filed as a result of the investigations, what laws would the enforcement officers have been accused of breaking and what penalties might they face?

2) Keeping in mind that this deal could have cost the city up to $19,000 in missed fines, , what charges could be brought against the pizza restaurant owner, and what penalties might he be dealt?

3) Suppose the allegations were eventually proven to not be true though: Could the officers take action against the city for being fired over false accusations?   If you think they could, explain how you think the officers would benefit from suing the city – what would they get out of it?   If you don’t think they could, explain what makes you think they’re prevented from filing a case against their employers.


Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
http://kutv.com/news/local/slc-parking-enforcement-officers-fired-for-taking-kickbacks-for-not-writing-tickets

Contributed by – J. Plummer

 

Welcome to Volcano Land:
Your New Home (Maybe?)!

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Hawaii is known for a number of landscapes like beautiful beaches and volcanoes (including three active ones!) With one currently erupting there is a great chance that lava could reach the ocean. When it reaches the sea, the lava cools down and hardens creating more land called lava extensions.

This geological event leads us to a pretty interesting legal question: Since it was created by a natural event, who exactly owns this new land? Before we look for an answer, let’s get some background on where this debate began:

In 1955 a volcano called Kilauea erupted and created over 7.9 acres of new land. A local family purchased previously-existing land next to where the lava extension had formed. The new owners assumed that they had full rights to the recently created parts, and not just the initial land they purchased.   They even paid property taxes and planted trees on it!

Following an eruption in the same area in 1960, the issue of who the land really belonged to ended up being taken to court.   Hawaii’s State Supreme Court ended up ordering the land owners to leave the lava-extension, and then issued the land-rights for the lava extension to the state.

The court ruled that the land created by the volcanic activity was for the “use and enjoyment of all the people”; instead of only allowing one family or person to use the land as they please, everyone gets to use it!.

Since the court ruling established that land created by lava belongs to the state, that meant that all of the land created by Kilauea’s eruption in 1955 belongs to the state of Hawaii. As a result, it was not just the one family and their bit of land that was affected by the court case’s outcome.


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Questions:

1)  Do you feel like the court ruled the right way?  In other words,  should a person who lives near lava-created land have the first chance to purchase it from the state before the government can decide to do something else with the new property?  Would your opinion change if person wanting to purchase the lava-extended land lived in a house 20 feet away?  Would it matter how long they’d been there – say….6 months….or 20 years?

2) In consideration of the questions brought up in number 1 above, tell us why you think the court ruling is or is not good enough, and why there should or should not be specific-laws be created to manage lava extensions in Hawaii ?   Just for context (there is no right or wrong answer, so this isn’t a hint): There is A LOT of volcanic activity near Hawaii.  It doesn’t always create land, but it could.  How that fact influences your answer is up to you!

3)  What about the government though?  Hawaii’s State Supreme Court ruled the land was created for the “use and enjoyment of all the people”.  Based on the wording of the court ruling, should the government be allowed to sell the new land to a business or individual, or should it be forced to use the land for a park, community center, or something along those lines?  Tell us what you think and why you feel that way.

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ywen3y/who-owns-the-new-land-created-by-a-volcano-in-hawaii-kilauea-big-island

 

Contributed by – J. Plummer

Hawaii Community’s New Law:
Don’t Text While Crossing the Street!

Have you ever caught yourself not paying attention to your surroundings because of an electronic device? Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, has signed a bill to make it illegal to look down at an electronic device while crossing the street or highway....

Have you ever caught yourself not paying attention to your surroundings because of an electronic device? Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, has signed a bill to make it illegal to look down at an electronic device while crossing the street or highway. The ban is aimed at making the streets safer and ensuring that pedestrians pay more attention to their surroundings. A first violation gets you a $15 to $35 fine. It’s a $35 to $75 fine for a second offense. A third offense could cost you as much as $99.

This is something that was aimed at public safety.

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Questions
:

1: Why do you think this law is likely or unlikely to take off as a law in cities across the United States? 

2: Choosing to walk and text in the street at the same time seems like a personal choice – if a person wants to be dumb and risk getting hit by a car, that could be up to them, right?  Give two examples of laws that are similar to this one, explain what makes them similar, and then explain why you think those restrictions became laws in the first place. 

3: Why do you think this is a reasonable or unreasonable law in general (meaning why you think it is a good or bad thing that this law exists)?  

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
https://www.cnet.com/news/honolulu-bans-texting-while-crossing-road/#ftag=CAD590a51e




My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity.


- Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]
Project Real
2020-12-16T21:47:04+00:00
My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you


-Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-16T22:04:09+00:00
Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you -Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time.

- Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-11T20:39:35+00:00
Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time. - Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]
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