Tully also does a bit of a mea culpa in his column today, admitting he had been wrong on the issue of pea shake houses. Tully said, "Earlier this year, I foolishly wrote that, 'I've never understood the outrage of those people who complain so loudly about pea-shake houses.'" "Well, I was wrong." Tully relates a letter he receieved from Derek Tow:
After that line was published, many people who live near the houses wrote to tell me about crime, litter and loitering. A man named Derek wrote of "having to explain to kids what is going on in that house." He asked about government's blind eye.
"Put this house and operation in any decent neighborhood and see what happens," he wrote. He was right. And his worry is justified. As Anderson said, a benefit to addressing low-level crime is you can prevent worse crime in the future.
Look at the cash and guns seized during recent raids, and it's easy to imagine a bloody night at one of these houses.
Tully compares efforts at cracking down on pea shake houses to those of former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who was successful in dramatically reducing crime there during his eight years as mayor. "It should also give residents hope that Anderson will follow the Rudy Giuliani model -- the one that says don't ignore lesser crimes." "The one that says it's important to send a message that no crime is acceptable." Anderson, as the new head of the merged police department must be given credit for the recent crackdown if we're going to hold him responsible for the rising crime rate. The real test is whether Anderson will have the political will to keep the pea shake houses closed once police have raided them. If the past is any indication, they will re-emerge from such raids even bigger than before.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (R) would do well to take a cue from Tully and Guiliani on this one. You may recall Brizzi referred to efforts to crack down on pea shake houses as "silly." Brizzi is backing Guiliani for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Interestingly, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R) also announced this past week he is backing legislation to strengthen state enforcement of these types of illegal gambling activities because of the unwillingness of local prosecutors, like Brizzi, to take this criminal activity seriously.