Is there really a class called City Hall 101?
And yes, there used to be a class called City Hall 101 that was offered during the conference, but its name has been changed since then.
The Plenary speaker was a community organizer from Portland, Oregon who wrote a position paper back when Tom Potter was still a police captain in the Portland Police Bureau. I heard a rumor that he's current the mayor of that city.
Then there were three separate workshop sessions scheduled. The best strategy was simply to spend a bloc of time at several different ones.
In between them was lunch served by buffet at the university cafeteria. It was crowded in the air conditioned dining room so many people ate outside in the heat. The food wasn't bad, the desserts especially the Reeses Peanut Butter cake were sumptuous.
Unfortunately, some people who opted for the cream of chicken did feel a bit queasy after lunch.
After lunch, was the infamous annual exercise of the neighborhood caucus elections. Having been elected as an alternate to the neighborhood partnership association in 2004 and then receiving a letter from the city voiding my election because the rules had suddenly been changed, I'm a bit cynical about such things.
Neighborhoods should be able to select their own representatives without having to have them vetted by the city who's going to favor those that it supports. The latest requirement is that you have to attend one of their training sessions. Hopefully, at least it's free.
But I was late to the caucus thing because lunch was too delicious and the conversation too interesting so the election was already over by the time I got there so I visited some of the other caucus meetings.
Attendance by the city's officials could have been better, but several did attend, including former GASS member, Art Gage who was shaking hands and talking with a lot of people, having to make up some ground from his defeat in the first round of Election 2007.
Mayor Ron Loveridge opted out of his second conference in a row, but it was attended by city officials including one is up for election this autumn along with those who are running to win spots on the dais representing Ward Three and Ward Five.
Chris MacArthur and Donna Doty-Michalka who will both be running to replace outgoing councilman, Ed Adkison both attended the event. MacArthur is still flip-flopping on whether or not he supports the Community Police Review Commission. Sometimes he says he does. Other times, he says the opposite. You know how it is.
Representing the third ward, was Gage who if you remember, lost the preliminary round of Election 2007 to neophyte William "Rusty" Bailey. Bailey attended also as did another political candidate, Peter Olmos who is currently working on Gage's campaign. That's strange considering originally he supported Bailey but then again, it was a long, eventful election season and unfortunately for the city's residents(if not its bloggers), there's still a long season left until the final vote is tabulated and we all find out who will be representing the residents in all four of the odd-numbered wards for four years.
Oh wait, that's not counting any council members who opt out of serving the entire term and decide to run for higher office instead. After all, not only is there a mayoral race next year, but one for county supervisor in the district which represents a huge chunk of Riverside proper.
Gage and Olmos attended a workshop titled, "City Hall FAQs" led by Asst. City Manager Michael Beck while Bailey attended a workshop that addressed doing outreach with the homeless. Olmos is an interesting guy for a Republican. He left after lunch to go shoot some pool, but did say he's thinking of reentering the political arena in a few years.
Other council members in attendance included Ward Two councilman, Andrew Melendrez and Ward Six councilwoman Nancy Hart. Only Hart survived the entire event to its very end when even the flower bouquets were raffled off.
The BASS quartet opted out of the public function, as did the competition of the two members of this quartet that are heading off to the final rounds of Election 2007 in November. Perhaps there was a separate conference that was more exclusive and more to their tastes elsewhere, or perhaps they took advantage of the upcoming holiday.
After all there were few development firms present at the conference. Gasp,. it would be like a fish out of water.
Actually, four fishes. But it was surprising not to see Ward Seven incumbent, Steve Adams in attendance. Word is that he's either trying to get back in the good graces of his former backers, the Riverside Police Officers' Association or they are with him but that the RPOA as of now is staying out of the fray which is probably a wise choice on its part after Adams had badmouthed it at the same time he was telling prospective voters it was endorsing him through his distribution of old campaign brochures and posting of just as old yard signs. These behaviors are of course, so uncool.
Dan Bernstein of the Press Enterprise is stirring up trouble again talking about the backlog of criminal cases in the Riverside County Superior Court. He's been hanging out at the court building tracking the dilemma that has afflicted the court system to the point where hardly anyone can fit inside any of the courtrooms anymore and the lobbies on each floor are packed. Even with 12 judges coming down to Riverside on emergency duty, it doesn't seem as if the daily crowd will be dispersing any time soon.
Some inmates do not eat the prunes, grapes, apples, etc. they are served in jail. They store them in bags and let them ferment. Jailhouse brew. Or pruno. Our Man Loza had been busted for felony pruno. Judge Luebs asked the lawyers what they wanted to do about it?
Brian King, the defense lawyer, deferred to Abbie Marsh, the prosecutor. Could King have been hoping the DA would prosecute felony pruno, allowing his client to stay in jail?
Prosecutor Marsh: "I believe that we will likely be moving to dismiss." But she had to ask her supervisor, and when court reconvened, Our Man Loza had a new friend! A most curious ally!
Prosecutor Marsh: "I don't want you to dismiss it. I do think it should go to trial." (She had to be thinking, "Two, four, six, eight, bump up Rod's conviction rate!")
Defense attorney King: "I think we are going to have to set for prelim, your Honor." (He had to be thinking, "I can barely keep a straight face. My guy's staying in jail!")
Our Man Loza had to be thinking, "Yesssss!"
Luebs: "Given the fact that I have just sentenced him to 25 to life, the notion that this case (Felony Pruno!) is in the public interest, that it needs to go to trial, strikes me as a bit absurd.
"Given the number of cases that need to be tried, and the number of people that are crying out for justice, the fact that I have murder cases that are many years old, the thought that we would be devoting resources to trying this case (Felony Pruno!) at this time just makes very little sense to me."
A Riverside County Sheriff Department deputy discharged his weapon at a dog inside a residence in Lake Elsinore claiming that the dog was charging at him, according to an article in the Press Enterprise.
Before long, Hughes heard a man yelling at the open door of his mobile home, which sits on a fenced-in lot in a rural area outside Lake Elsinore. Hughes said he couldn't make out what the man said.
Angel ran toward the door and barked as Hughes followed, but it was too late. A Riverside County sheriff's deputy was at the threshold with his gun drawn and shot at the dog, Hughes said.
Angel was unharmed, but the 63-year-old Hughes, a ham radio operator who said he suffers from numerous health problems, including diabetes, said he panicked.
"My pulse went off the scale," he said.
The deputy told him not to worry, Hughes said.
"He calmed me down by saying it was a blank."
Hughes said he later noticed a bullet hole in the floor, which he said led him to believe that the deputy had lied.
Although a San Bernardino County jury acquitted former deputy, Ivory J. Webb of criminal charges in relation to the onduty shooting of Elio Carrion in January 2006, the U.S. Justice Department is taking a look at the case, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times.
The U.S. Attorney's office will decide after reviewing the transcript of the trial whether or not it will file charges against Webb for violating Carrion's civil rights violations. His family hopes that the agency will do so, even as Carrion filed a law suit in U.S. District Court.
"It is rare for federal authorities to bring the same or similar criminal charges after an acquittal in state court," said Rebecca Lonergan, a USC law professor and former federal prosecutor. "You do have well-established policies in place that there is presumption against filing the same charges federally."
But Lonergan, until recently deputy chief of the public corruption and civil rights section of the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, noted that federal officials do make exceptions — as they did when they pursued charges against the four Los Angeles police officers involved in the 1991 beating of Rodney King.
Federal prosecutors take particular care in investigating public corruption cases in which there are potential civil rights violations, she said. They examine potential flaws in the prosecution's strategy, or any ties between prosecutors and law enforcement that could have affected the case.
Webb's boss, excuse me former boss, was very happy at the results of his trial.
San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod defended his department Friday as one of the best in the country and said the Webb shooting was one of the most difficult incidents the department had ever faced.
"I truly believe our deputies go to work every day with the intentions of doing the best job they possibly can to make our community safer, with no intent of hurting anyone in the course of their duties," Penrod said.
The sheriff has declined to say whether Webb was fired last year or left the department on his own accord. He said Friday that he did not know if Webb was seeking a law enforcement job, but that he would not be reinstated at the San Bernardino County department.
Penrod said he had spoken to Webb several times since his departure and did not think there were "bad feelings" between Webb and the department.
"He's part of our family," Penrod said. "Everybody was pretty thrilled" with the acquittal.
Will he be enough of a member of the "family" to be taken back into its bosom? Because if that's true, then the San Bernardino County's Sheriff's Department should be the ones to take him back rather than say we're very happy and thrilled at his acquittal while silently stating through its actions that as long as he's not in our backyard.
Speaking of which.
Is a Riverside Police Department officer who was fired in the early 1990s after being acquitted at a criminal trial in relation to very serious onduty misconduct working in another law enforcement agency in this state? That should provide hope for other officers in his shoes in terms of being charged with that particular form of illegal conduct, well except for the ex-officer who's doing 17 1/2 years in state prison for the same thing.
Unfortunately, there's no real way for the public to know and the profession would like to keep it that way through pushing against legislation such as that which went through Sacramento last week. After all if the officer above hadn't been tried in court in relation to his misconduct, no one would know about it.
The Los Angeles Police Commission spanked the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Division for being lax on its paperwork in relation to the failure of watch commanders to sign off on arrests and searches conducted by officers under their charge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to a recent audit, the percentage of searches that were signed off by supervisors had dropped off remarkably since a similar audit conducted last year. This development is kind of embarrassing considering that the LAPD just entered into the seventh year of its five-year consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department. That decree was extended by a federal judge last year despite intense pressure because key reforms either had not been completed or they had not finished the two-year compliance period required after being implemented including the department's Early Warning System which was supposed to be installed by 2004.
The good news is, that there's plenty of years left before this consent decree is extended into the next century.
Erin Kenney of the Los Angeles Police Department's Audit Division told the commission that without adequate documentation, the department had nothing to support a probable cause for searching a suspect.
Such documentation of gang-related arrests is a key part of the federal consent decree agreed to by the city in the wake of the 1990s scandal involving misconduct by anti-gang officers at the Rampart Division.
Police Commissioner Anthony Pacheco said he was "personally embarrassed by this audit."
"I think these numbers are horrible, and they've been horrible since 2006 and into 2007," he said. "I think that the department needs to be realistic that it's inappropriate to have decreases in performance."
Commission President John Mack said, "It is totally unacceptable."
Andre Birotte, the commission's inspector general, said that the numbers were a key part of the consent decree's requirements and that the latest decline was "a cause for concern."
"This is Year 6 of the consent decree. This isn't something new," he said. The decree was extended after an initial five years because the LAPD failed to meet all its requirements.
Save our State and the Minutemen will be showing up on July 3 at a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission to support the "persecution" and "firing" of LAPD officers in relation to the May Day incident. An obvious problem is that no one's been fired in relation to the latest LAPD incident to be broadcast the world.
I guess things are slow in Orange County this holiday weekend. Lucky L.A. County.