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Not merely a waste of taxpayers' money

Posted: Friday, March 29, 2002

I concur with Lisa Zimmerman's opinion that the Capital Transit bus driver in the "candy bite incident" led to a complete waste of taxpayer funds and "dis-served" the public. However, I do not agree that it was "clearly ... a continuation of a pre-existing feud between the driver and the passenger."

While the Empire article makes such an interpretation reasonable, knowing Jamila Glauber and her son for about seven months, I believe that this interpretation is quite inconsistent with her character and behavior. She is a very reasonable, intelligent, responsible and mature working mother. Far from going out of her way to push people's buttons, as the Capital Transit supervisor clairvoyantly suggests, she consciously avoids controversy because her ethnicity, including her traditional dress, makes her a target for sick and prejudiced people.

It is not just the waste of taxpayers' money. The incident is more serious because the driver turned a completely trivial event into a serious confrontation with a potential fine and jail sentence for a single mother. Furthermore the driver knowingly prevented Jamila Glauber from exercising her appropriate parental responsibility of seeing to her son's needs after school.

If the driver was such a "by the book kind of guy" that a bite of Snickers pushed him over the edge, he would not be able function behind the wheel in a town full of drivers who consistently violate less trivial speed, signaling, lane changing rules, etc. This sounds like double talk on the part of the Capital Transit supervisor. What "pushed his buttons" was far more likely Jamila's ethnicity. This is a serious issue, which should not be trivialized and dismissed, as the supervisor does, since Capital Transit employees have received cultural sensitivity training specifically to avoid prejudicial profiling and targeting of individuals for official abuse.

Nick Coti

Juneau



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