Orland chief shares holiday poem

Talk about hitting the wrong button.

Orland Police Chief Bob Pasero said this week he inadvertently forwarded a parody of a Christmas poem via e-mail to local radio, newspaper and television reporters. The poem celebrates the state execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams and was forwarded to the News & Review from a media source that asked not to be identified.

The poem has been widely circulated on the Internet in the wake of Williams’ Dec. 13 execution, which was loudly protested by death penalty opponents to the very end. A remorseful-sounding Chief Pasero explained a day after he sent it that he highlighted the wrong recipient list when he passed the poem on, meaning to send it to a lower-ranking officer, not the press in three counties.

Instead, his electronic message went to the editor of Tri-Counties Newspapers, radio stations KPAY and KHSL, the Valley Mirror Newspaper, the Chico Enterprise-Record and Chico’s North Valley News (a combination of Channels 12 and 24).

The poem, based on a Christmas classic, begins, “Twas the night before Christmas and all through San Quentin, the crips were protesting, and liberals were ventin'. The cyanide hung by the chamber with care, in hopes that the reaper soon would be there. The inmates were nestled all snug in their bed; except for Old Tookie, who soon would be dead.”

The altered lyrics describe “a lineup of actors, all liberal, half queer” and go on to say that the execution would mean “one less savage today.” The poem concludes with the line that Williams “cried like a bitch as they gave him the needle.”

Williams, co-founder of the infamous Crips street gang, was convicted in 1981 of four murders. Supporters pointed to his later efforts to steer kids away from gangs and the series of children’s books he authored from his cell as reasons to spare his life.

An appeal to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency failed in part because, the governor said, Williams never admitted to the crimes and thus failed to show proper remorse.

Chief Pasero said one day after sending it, that he had yet to hear from any of press who’d received the e-mail by mistake.

“It was supposed to go to a single person,” said a subdued Pasero. “It was just a mistake and there is nothing I can do about it now.”

Pasero, who’s been the tiny Glenn County town’s chief since the beginning of this year, plays bass guitar for a seven-member Christian band called Thru FÄTH, which records at Good Shepherd’s Studio. The studio has a Web site that includes an explanation of the band’s multi-colored logo, designed by Pasero, and unusual spelling of its name.

“The red border of the word ‘Fath’ is a reminder that the blood of Christ covers us with forgiveness,” it says while the misspelling is intentional “reminding us that we all make mistakes—that we are all sinners, saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”