Thursday, March 6, 2014
Arlington's Democratic Leadership Creating Integrated Punitive Social Control Databases
Yesterday was the first day of the County Board's FY 15 budget work sessions and first up were the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Circuit Court, General District Court, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judges, Commonwealth's Attorney, County Treasurer, Commissioner of the Revenue, Magistrate's Office, and Voter Registrar. All are Democrats, like the County Board. And, like the County Board, they are major decision makers for the rest of us.
What have these folks been up to and what do they have planned for FY 15? Well, besides their usual activities, running the courts, collecting taxes, and so on, they're well on their way to creating huge integrated databases including everyone who has any transaction or interaction with the legal system whatsoever (parking tickets to unpaid taxes to felonies) and many who have had no interactions with Arlington's legal system at all but are engaging in non-conforming and otherwise suspicious behavior.
The Clerk of the Circuit Court will soon have all civil, criminal, and land records on-line. Circuit Court Judges (like Judge Bill Newman) are happy they're going to have more money to try more drug offenders (even though elsewhere marijuana possession is being decriminalized). General District Court Judges are happy that all traffic summonses will soon be on-line.
Commonwealth's Attorney Stamos is happy that putting massive amounts of parking ticket data online will help solve her perennial problems with bad parking tickets. She and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judges are looking for much more use of "early intervention" whereby children, adolescents, and adults who violate some social norm (as one Commonweath's Attorney's employee joked, "They read books instead of participating in wholesome sports activities, like basketball") are tagged for "surveillance and intervention" by schools, police, and courts and their records of nonconforming behavior put into another social control database.
Last, but not least, County Treasurer O'Leary is expanding his "Special Collections Vehicle System" whereby retired Arlington police officers drive around Northern Virginia in vehicles equipped with license plate reader cameras to apprehend Arlington-resident vehicle owners who are shopping at places like Tysons and are in arrears in paying taxes, fines, and fees. Data from this operation are shared with the Commissioner of Revenue's Office where they will be integrated with income tax data in another big database.
Since Arlington County Democratic Committee members have been integrated into all county agencies for years - the Arlington Democratic Party IS County Government - the goal in the near-
term is to have ACDC activities seamlessly interact with County Government activities.
Needless to say, the County Board was quite pleased about the progress of ACDC-County Government's social control information system implementation agenda for FY 15.