Sunday, September 14, 2008

More On Palin And Charging Victims For Rape Kit

Reclusive Leftist in a post about attacks against Sarah Palin wrote: "no, she doesn’t think rape victims should have to pay for their own rape kits"

Here's the comment I left on her blog:

This is her stated position, but the reality is that while mayor of Wasilla the police chief Palin selected to replace the police chief she fired did believe this enough to revoke the city's policy of paying for rape kits.

The complaints about this policy change led, at least in part, to a new Alaska state law which Police Chief Charlie Fannon publicly opposed.

This policy change during Palin's time as mayor and the state law which overrode that policy means that Palin either did support charging rape victims for their forensic exams -- who could try to get their insurance to pay all or part of the bill if the rape victim had health insurance -- or she was incompetent enough in several areas (reviewing budget and policy changes, not reading news coverage on city policies, not reading state legislation which overruled local policies) that she allowed something she opposes to happen until the state of Alaska made that illegal.

Here is the official statement from Palin:

Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said in an e-mail that the governor "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test." "Gov. Palin's position could not be more clear," she said. To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice."

Comella would not answer other questions, including when Palin learned of Wasilla's policy or whether she tried to change it. The campaign cited the governor's record on domestic violence, including increasing funding for shelters.

This refusal to answer specific questions negates the trustworthiness of Palin's official generic response.

My belief is that Palin couldn't have been so incompetent that she didn't learn about the policy of making rape victims responsible for the cost of their rape kits until after Alaska state law made this illegal.

If she did know about this change in policy, she had already proved herself willing and able to fire the police chief of Wasilla as she demonstrated through the firing of longtime Police Chief Irl Stambaugh. She could have fired her appointee Police Chief Charlie Fannon, but she didn't.

"We had a lot of people that were kind of dead wood," said Colleen Sullivan Leonard, a staff member in Palin's office. "We needed people with new energy and a new vision."

By keeping Fannon, Palin clearly got what she was looking for. Yet she wants to deny responsibility when that new vision caused a backlash.

Huffington Post looked at the police budget to confirm claims by former Police Chief Stambaugh that the city paid for rape kits during his term.

Checking the budget confirmed former Chief Stambaugh's claim. He had included a contingency of $15,000 in his budget for the department's 1st year of existence (1993-1994), $5,000 for 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, and $13,000 for his final year as police chief in 1996-1997, spending $11,625.

Duwayne Charles Fannon, his replacement, halved the budget request in 1997-1998, with a request of $7,298, spending $3,454. However, it seems he began the "victim pays" policy in the 1998-1999 fiscal year. That year, he requested $3,000 but spent only $205. This data can be found in the Document Central section of Wasilla's website.

For anyone who wants to use the budget descriptor of contingency as a reason for then Mayor Palin not knowing what these numbers meant, that is proof of incompetence at best. If your city has spent over $10,000 dollars on one line item in the past and the amount spent in a recent year is $205 that is a noteworthy change.

If this change came about because of a demand for budget savings everywhere permissible by law, that is clearly a dangerous request. Unintended results from Palin's decisions are still her responsibility.

This decrease in numbers also make me wonder if Police Chief Fannon didn't want to investigate all of the rape reports made in Wasilla. This policy change could have been his way of keeping the riffraff (those raped by someone who would claim "it was consensual") from reporting their rapes. Fewer rape investigations would also save the city of Wasilla money.

I was appalled, but not shocked when I came across a post by some blogger named Rick Davies.

Palin’s town used to bill victims for rape kits

I got this article sent to me in an email. I’m actually laughing that the dems, while criticizing the depths that the GOP will go to (making a big deal about the “lipstick on a pig” outrage) that they would bring this to light.


What's equivalent to using a common political term (also used by John McCain) shortly after Palin used "lipstick" as a punchline?

Allowing uninsured and under insured rape victims in your town to owe money for the cost of their rape kits?

Those 2 don't look at all interchangeable to me. I cannot begin to compare the policy of making rape victims financially responsible for their rape kits -- and therefore discouraging uninsured rape victims from reporting -- with what might or might not have been verbal jab at Palin.

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