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The controversial Columbus Police aviation division is again receiving harsh criticism.
"Overnight, one of the Columbus Division of Police helicopters traced an, um, interesting route, circling over a neighborhood on the Southeast Side of the city and spelling out 'CPD' in the air," Columbus Alive reported Saturday, linking to the flight path on FlightAware.
FlightAware flight path of N551CPScreengrab.
Columbus City Council president pro tempore Elizabeth Brown blasted the flight on Twitter, saying she was "beyond frustrated."
This after last week helicopters circled a nearby neighborhood for someone w a misdemeanor warrant. That’s an expen… https://t.co/epx9Pbd2qZ— Elizabeth Brown (@Elizabeth Brown)1618672085.0
The Department released a statement noting it "became aware of negative online comments" and is "reviewing" the flight.
NEWS RELEASE 4/17/21 4:47PM: https://t.co/M2f8Wk4p11— Columbus Ohio Police (@Columbus Ohio Police)1618692434.0
The aviation division has been controversial.
"Only 10 weeks ago, the Columbus Division of Police helicopter unit was flying high into a bright future, with officials planning for its sixth decade of operation by phasing in a new chopper model later this year. But after the George Floyd protests erupted in late May, putting new scrutiny on the militarization and funding of police departments across the nation, the unit is suddenly under a microscope. Some community members are demanding the expensive operation simply fly off into the sunset," The Columbus Dispatch reported in August of 2020.
"Of the 906 written comments submitted by the public during hearings last month into the division's operations, 207 of them, or 23%, involved helicopters. Some people say they largely don't like the noise, the feeling of police surveillance and military operations. But most said they don't like the high cost — money that could be put toward social programs," the newspaper explained.
Social worker Stephen David said "It definitely feels like the helicopter is omnipresent" and that it "sounds like a war zone" in his South Side neighborhood.
"The real issue is that we're spending our money on things that are actually not going to get at the heart of the issues that we're trying to address," David said. "I'm distrustful of how the city Division of Police uses our tax dollars."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has positioned himself at the front of the line to be the 2024 GOP nominee, conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat argued on Saturday.
"It's just that this time the theory is less a message than a man: Right now, the party's autopsy for 2020, and its not-Trump hopes for 2024, are made flesh in the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis," he argued. "The proximate cause of the enthusiasm for DeSantis is his handling of the pandemic, and the media's attempted manhandling of him. When the Florida governor began reopening Florida last May, faster than some experts advised, he was cast as a feckless mini-Trump, the mayor from 'Jaws' (complete with open, crowded beaches), the ultimate case study in 'Florida Man' stupidity."
"A year later, DeSantis is claiming vindication: His state's Covid deaths per capita are slightly lower than the nation's despite an aged and vulnerable population, his strategy of sealing off nursing homes while reopening schools for the fall looks like social and scientific wisdom, and his gubernatorial foils, the liberal governors cast as heroes by the press, have stumbled and fallen in various ways," he argued. "So DeSantis has a good narrative for the Covid era — but his appeal as a post-Trump figure goes deeper than just the pandemic and its battles."
Douthat argues that DeSantis is the best hope for the donor class to regain control of the GOP from Trump.
"This is not exactly the kind of Republicanism that the party's donor class wanted back in 2012: DeSantis is to their right on immigration and social issues, and arguably to their left on spending. But the trauma of Trumpism has taught the G.O.P. elite that some compromise with base politics is inevitable, and right now DeSantis seems like the safest version of that compromise — Trump-y when necessary, but not Trump-y all the time," he argued."
Douthat compared DeSantis to other Republicans that are considered hopefuls.
"Still, if you were betting on someone who could theoretically run against Trump, mano a mano, and not simply get squashed, I would put DeSantis ahead of both the defeated Trump rivals (meaning Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz) and the loyal Trump subordinates (meaning Mike Pence or Nikki Haley). Not least because in a party that values performative masculinity, the Florida governor's odd jock-nerd energy and prickly aggression are qualities Trump hasn't faced before," he argued. "The donor-class hope that Trump will simply fade away still seems naïve. But the donors circling DeSantis at least seem to have learned one important lesson from 2016: If you want voters to say no to Donald Trump, you need to figure out, in a clear and early way, the candidate to whom you want them to say yes."
Members of the Louisiana Republican Party received a "fiery speech" from GOP Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser on Saturday, The Advocate reports.
"In an interview afterward, Nungesser also said his office is being probed by the FBI -- apparently over grants made by his office -- an investigation he claims was ignited by fellow Republicans who see him as a rival," the newspaper reported. "The speech came at the Republican State Central Committee, which comprises the state GOP's infrastructure, in downtown Baton Rouge."
"He blasted the Louisiana Committee for a Conservative Majority, run by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and Attorney General Jeff Landry, for 'crucifying"'fellow Republicans, and suggested Landry can't win election as governor in the current open primary system because he is too far right on the political spectrum," the newspaper reported. "Nungesser said later his comments were aimed at the Louisiana Committee for a Conservative Majority, which Landry and Kennedy operate with the goal of moving the state Legislature to the right."
How general election nominees are selected is a major source of the disagreement.
"Tensions between Nungesser and Landry -- both of whom are considered likely candidates for governor in 2023 -- have long been simmering, especially over the issue of closed primaries. Louisiana has a unique open primary system that Nungesser wants to preserve. Landry wants to ditch it in favor of a system where Republicans and Democrats separately choose their candidates for the general election," the newspaper explained. "The fight between proponents and opponents of the move has crept into public view in recent months. But Nungesser's speech is the most visceral example to date of the bitterness of the dispute. Nungesser indicated he will run for governor in 2023 as long as Congressman Steve Scalise of Jefferson is not a candidate."
Read the full report.
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