Appeals and Attentions
Let's see, you file fairly early in the year, wrap up City Hall endorsements either before or after the filing deadline and you campaign until the first week in June and then if you're pushed into a runoff and every ward up for grabs this year has been pushed into a second round of voting, then you have to take a breather and gear up for another 4-5 months of frenzied and frantic campaigning.
By the first week in November, most people are exhausted, their heads oversaturated with information and misinformation about different candidates. The moneyed candidates who received thousands of dollars from the two primary sources of contributions, development firms and labor unions are spending every last dime and candidates who run grass-roots campaigns and measure their contributions not in thousands but in hundreds or singles do most of the struggling. Candidates and their minions walk the precinct in the final weeks before Election 2007 comes to a close.
Some interesting surprises came lately.
Did Councilman Dom Betro actually receive more in campaign contributions from the Riverside Police Officers' Association than his rival Paul Fick did during the 2003 election? That union's PAC spent more money this time around than it did in 2003 when it was backing candidates that it hoped would get rid of the Community Police Review Commission, with Donna DotyMichalka receiving more funding than any other candidate though Betro and Councilman Art Gage weren't far behind.
What this means for the CPRC remains to be seen, though it's interesting to see which camps have invested themselves in rewriting the history of that body's findings on officer-involved deaths to make it appear as if those findings and even of all things, policy recommendations were kept hidden from the public. What's really behind this latest drive to do so from some very different corners?
The CPRC is fine for reviewing citizen complaints but when it comes to officer-involved death cases, it should mirror LEPAC? Is this called coming full circle?
As for development interests, they dropped major dollars in the campaigns of Betro, Michalka, Gage and increasingly that of William "Rusty" Bailey, including those who already have found Riverside's Redevelopment Agency beneficial to them. It remains to be seen what all this will translate to after the election.
It's a pretty good bet that since most of the developers are from outside the county, that they won't be casting a vote at the polls in any of these races because they've already voted through their dollars. As for the labor unions, there's always members who vote outside of the official endorsements put up by their leadership, with some praying fervantly that the other guy will take the election because it's hard for every member of a large organization to be on the same page.
In fact, it looks like several of the candidates are already working on attracting some of these individuals in these labor unions. Incumbent Steve Adams, in Ward Seven, lost the support of the labor union that helped put him on the dais four years ago, but it's clear through his comments in public that he's working on getting it back. Par for the course in an election year to help raise the odds in your favor when you're the odd man out.
Two big developers in the city circuit, Mark Rubin and Doug Jacobs, factored into several campaigns of those who they hope will pull out the stops on the dais including eminent domain to get their projects the help that they want. Venerable Duane Roberts, the owner of the Mission Inn, otherwise known as the center of downtown's universe(which is the center of the city's universe) also contributed to those who see his vision.
Some damaged campaign signs were seen in arroyos. It wasn't clear which campaign they belonged to and it doesn't matter. This type of behavior should be a no-no and unlike others, I don't see any need to put a qualifier with that. Besides, it's littering and an affront to the wildlife that reside in the arroyos.
More diatribes from another anonymous person who didn't bother to come up with fake initials which I guess means I'm supposed to respond but I've so been there, done that. It's a bit funny for a while to see initialed individuals accusing other initialed individuals of not being "real" but it does get old.
The truth is, their tactics aren't that much to be proud of and certainly not what a reputable councilman should be proud of, and it's pretty nervy to appeal to the person to defend the same individuals who have practiced those behaviors on her. They are looking for validation of their own tactics by addressing someone who's experienced some of them from that corner.
I think I'll stick to my "agenda" in a city so overflowing with them that you almost feel naked without one and just keep blogging about what's going on here and elsewhere. The initialed brigade can just make personal comments and criticize my wardrobe in the guise of fostering better political discussion and dialogue of course on election issues of course.
I've blogged through much worse than this latest bunch, which is why comments are closed for now here.
It's too bad Betro's campaign workers, the foot soldiers, who are probably out there working hard for him(and there are those who have both worked hard and have been nice) to be saddled with those who prefer to rattle sabers at Craigslist. I've had discussions with other supporters that have been very interesting. Some of the discussions on Craigslist have been interesting to follow as long as you try to skip your way through the soap suds.
So to this latest anonymous person who may or may not be real who I may know or may not know, if my posting amuses you, it's like people say, laughter is good for the soul so keep reading. If it's tickling the funny bone, it's indeed good medicine. And who knows, maybe our paths will cross some time and we can compare "agendas". I'm sure mine pales next to yours but I'm working hard on it.
But it's not my ward that's at stake, so whoever gets in at the end of the day, will be the elected representative. From what I've heard, it's pretty close, hence the attention that individuals like myself are receiving at Craigslist from people who frankly sound more concerned and insecure about their own personal futures than his reelection which ties them all together in a city that appears fairly divided on Riverside's future and who it trusts to choose its direction.
There are many more resources on police-related domestic violence are available online that weren't included in the previous posting.
Kim Lonsway's research paper on the prevalence of domestic violence among officers in large law enforcement agencies found that only 29% of all law enforcement agencies in her survey of 78 departments had a policy tailored specifically to inhouse domestic violence.
Her report included a 1992 study conducted which asked 385 male police officers and 115 wives whether they or their husbands had engaged in any of a list of physically violent behaviors in he past year. and discovered that 37-41% of both groups said that their relationships included this type of behavior. About 28% of officers said that they had engaged in at least one of the behaviors within the past 12 months.
After 1996, Lonsway said that the percentages of police officers who admitted to physically violent behaviors in their marriages dropped to 9%. Of course, that was also the year that Congress passed legislation that would bar any person including a police officer from possessing a firearm if they were convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. Self-reporting could put a law enforcement officer at a higher risk of losing his or her job.
Lessons learned from Tacoma was the subject of another research paper done which examined the tactics used by police officers who engaged in domestic violence against their spouses.
For those who don't know Lonsway, she used to work with the National Center for Women and Policing and several years ago, she contacted a representative at the Riverside Police Department to offer her assistance with suggestions for recruiting and retaining female officers and the response wasn't very friendly. But she's been involved in the issues pertaining to gender and policing for a while and remains committed to the efforts to improve the hiring and retention of female officers as well as how police departments address domestic violence involving their own officers.
The state's court system is going to be quite busy, what with hearing not one but two cases coming to it from recent decisions made in lower courts in Riverside.
Defense attorney Paul Grech is filing an appeal of a local judge's decision to allow the Riverside County District Attorney's office to file death penalty charges against Zeus Serrano nearly five years after he was first charged with the murder of Markees Lancaster, 13 who was shot in a driveby by Eastside Riva gang members.
The filing seeks an order by the appellate justices to halt Superior Court proceedings for Zeus Serrano, 25.
"Then we ultimately want them to deny the prosecution an opportunity to seek the death penalty because of the decision made at the 11th hour," Grech said by phone on Tuesday.
District Attorney Rod Pacheco said in a statement Tuesday that his office remains determined to seek capital punishment against Serrano.
"A 13-year-old boy was murdered because of the color of his skin, and we're pursuing the death penalty against someone who was intimately involved in that boy's murder," Pacheco's statement said.
It's not usual that the death of a Black person, even a teenager merits serious consideration for the death penalty which studies shows, is applied at higher rates towards those who kill White individuals. But if Lancaster had been White and killed by Serrano or an individual who was Black like Lancaster, the District Attorney's office probably wouldn't have waited five years to file an intent to seek the death penalty. After all, this is the office where cases have come back from the appellate courts addressing possible racial bias exercised by its prosecutors during jury selections which don't favor Black or Latino prospective jurors.
And Serrano didn't even pull the trigger, something even the prosecutor admitted in a recent court hearing. The individual who did is not believed to be one of the three defendants being tried for Lancaster's murder, according to all involved.
The other 13-year-old Black teenager who was also shot to death in Riverside, in this case the Eastside just weeks before Lancaster's death was Anthony Sweat. Lancaster's mother had known Sweat's family and had been so moved after his death that she participated in group meetings that took place in the Eastside after the city leaders held candles with the community members and promised that this time, this would be the last one.
Lancaster's son wasn't even the last one.
Sweat's case would probably be one that like Lancaster, would have been assigned to the Strike Force, which are judges sent to Riverside County to hear and clear some of the oldest cases in the system. But charges against two young men arrested in connection with Sweat's killing had been dropped before the team of judges even came to town to rescue the county's criminal justice system from itself.
The two individuals who were being prosecuted for Sweat's killing were released last year after DNA tested on evidence believed to be tied to the killers cleared them. At least one defense lawyer tied with the case said that at least eight individuals had submitted DNA samples in this case and positive samples may have been discovered in this group.
The prosecutor in the case didn't admit that DNA testing had even been done, but it had been completed 18 months after the samples were first submitted and four years after Sweat's murder. The first signs of trouble in the Sweat case arose during the preliminary hearing when the heights, weights and ages of the defendants were six inches, 50 pounds and about five years different than those of the people described by the witnesses to the shooting. The attorneys for the two men raised this issue at the hearing but didn't get anywhere with the presiding judge.
Also taking his case to the appellate court is Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco who wants it to review a panel of judges' decision to uphold Judge Gary Tranbarger's dismissals of two misdemeanor cases. Mind you, this is mere hours after a representative from that office said that it respected the decision of three Orange County judges who backed Tranbarger's actions.
The Orange County judges ruled that court administrators were within their discretionary rights to narrowly define what kind of civil courts should be available for criminal trial.
Riverside County prosecutors disagree with that interpretation, saying any court should be made available for a criminal trial, if the case otherwise faces dismissal.
In the filing with the Orange County judges, prosecutors said the judicial investigation of which available courts was not thorough enough.
"The lower court did not exercise its discretion and conclude that the actual matters pending in the family law and probate departments were more important than the criminal cases under consideration for dismissal," the application says. "This conclusion ... denied the People their right to have a court properly exercise its discretion under the applicable law."
Prosecutors said it was a legal error that "constituted an abuse of discretion."
Uh oh. Tranbarger's probably heading towards another boycott and considering it's an overcrowded, overextended court system, that shouldn't be allowed.
The letter writing to the Press Enterprise's Readers' Forum is continuing in earnest to stump for favored political candidates in the upcoming final rounds of Riverside's city council elections.
The newspaper's editorial board was busy as well, using the recent blackout as a means to stump for more substations and higher electric rates.
The City Council raised electricity rates in December to fund a new $125 million substation and a $100 million new power plant. The council rescinded some of that increase in August after residents complained, leaving a giant hole in the financing for the power improvements. The council has yet to specify how the city will bridge that funding gap.
Friday's outage clearly shows that the utility upgrades are not superfluous luxuries for Riverside. And the episode focuses civic attention once more on the council's public responsibility to make sure the improvements happen, regardless of any political calculation involved.
It's likely that when the city council "reviews" how it went retro during an election year when it revoked the very same electric rate increases that it passed last year, that electric rates could very well go back up. Still, the editorial raises an excellent point. How could the city council pour billions of dollars into development projects in this city under the guise of Riverside Renaissance and stick the future generations with those hefty bills while allowing the city's electrical infrastructure fall even further behind?
Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona’s professional and political futures are in doubt as he's been indicted on federal corruption charges.
Appearing while handcuffed before a magistrate, Carona didn’t enter a plea on seven charges of conspiracy, witness tampering and mail fraud. He is expected to enter a not guilty verdict.
Already convicted of criminal conduct are two of his assistant sheriffs, who may testify against him in court in exchange for lenient treatment.
(excerpt, Associated Press)
After surrendering to federal authorities Wednesday morning and being held in a cell several hours, he was released later in the day on $20,000 bond.
He and his wife held hands as they raced to a waiting SUV and sped off without comment.
He has turned over his passport, but the magistrate denied a prosecution request to confiscate his firearm.
Also charged are his wife and mistress, who is an attorney; both appeared in handcuffs with Carona on Wednesday.
Two former assistant sheriffs already pleaded guilty to lesser counts in exchange for their help building a case against Carona.
David Wiechert, an attorney for Carona's wife, said he believed his client was included in the indictment to put pressure on her husband.
"Police officers are acutely receptive to pressure on their loved ones. They (prosecutors) know that if Michael Carona is willing to take a bullet for his partner, he's willing to take a bullet for his wife."
A public defender assigned to Debra Victoria Hoffman, identified as Carona's mistress in court papers, did not speak with reporters at the hearing. An after hours call to her office was not immediately returned.
Although Carona has been charged with tampering with witnesses, the judge allowed him to keep possession of his firearm even as the prosecutor objected. The indictment against Carona provided some details of what prosecutors believed happened that led to the investigation of his activities and those of the two other defendants.
The indictment charges that Carona engaged in a broad conspiracy to enrich himself, his wife and Hoffman by trading access to his department for cash and gifts.
The indictment says the scheme took root in March 1998 and stretched until August, when Carona allegedly tried to keep one of his chief accusers -- a former assistant sheriff -- from testifying truthfully to a grand jury. Federal prosecutors also charged Carona's wife and Hoffman.
Court documents describe a furious pursuit of money, perquisites and expensive baubles, including more than $200,000 in payments and loans, a boat, a Lake Tahoe vacation, luxury box seats to the World Series, Mont Blanc pens and Ladies' Cartier watches. Carona, 52, is also accused of helping co-conspirators get a piece of a wrongful-death settlement that the family of a dead deputy won in a lawsuit.
Carona said in an interview with The Times on Tuesday that he was innocent and would not resign as head of the state's second-largest sheriff's department. He declined to discussed the specific allegations in the indictment.
"I'm staying because I love the job and I do a good job," he said. "Most importantly, I have committed no criminal acts."
Deborah Carona said Tuesday in a prepared statement: "There is no merit to this indictment, and the government's strategy of using me as leverage against my husband will not succeed."
Hoffman could not be reached for comment.
Carona intends to keep his job but the Orange County Board of Supervisors who oversee the county’s departments may have other plans, according to the Orange County Register.
The county board of supervisors can't remove him but are considering other options.
Next Tuesday, supervisors will consider a ballot measure that would let them remove any countywide elected official who misused or neglected their office, provided at least four of the five supervisors concur with the removal.
The proposal comes from Supervisor John Moorlach, who is prompted not only by Carona's indictment – made public Tuesday – but by the local and federal investigations into county Treasurer Chriss Street.
"The incidents with both of these elected officials made it clear that there is a deficit in the ability of the board to do anything," said Moorlach's chief of staff, Mario Mainero.
The proposed county charter amendment is virtually identical to a measure in place in San Bernardino County, said Mainero. That measure was challenged in court, and prevailed, he said.
Moorlach has called for the resignations of both Carona and Street, citing the importance of the public's confidence in its elected officials. Moorlach is the only supervisor to make such an announcement.
The proposal was delivered to the county clerk's office this morning, and by early afternoon had not yet been distributed to other supervisors. However, board Chairman Chris Norby saw it because he had to approve for it to go on the agenda.
Norby was still considering whether he favored putting the measure before voters, noting that voters may find it distasteful that supervisors are asking for more power – and power to remove officials that voters themselves elected.
But he said voters may also get tired of reading about their indicted sheriff's legal travails.
"If this situation drags on another couple months, voters are going to want some relief," Norby said.
The Two Michaels, round two
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg drew fire for some harsh comments he made about the late New York City Police Department detective, James Zadroga who died of a lung disease last year. Both Michael Palladino, who is president of the Detectives Endowment Association and Zadroga's family members were in shock at what Bloomberg had said at a public forum.
The Chicago Times published column on the ongoing scandals rocking its police department which culminated in a murder for hire plot involving several officers.
Mayor Richard Daley appears to be out to lunch, according To Dawn Turner Trice who is writing about how he still refuses to hand over the list of 52 officers who have generated the most complaints in the department even after petitioning the federal court to do so.
Daley said, in essence, that the aldermen would better serve their communities by dealing with gun violence that, in a matter of five days, claimed the lives of two Chicago public school pupils, Samuel "Sammy" Benavente, 14, and Arthur "AJ" Jones, 10.
"How about a petition to the courts about putting people in jail who commit violent crimes?" Daley said in a tirade. "Where are [the aldermen] when it comes to violence in their own communities? How about a petition there -- all 28? How about looking at more and more children being killed?"
He went on to tell the aldermen that it's easy to criticize police and kick them when they're down. "I believe most police officers are hardworking, decent men and women....That doesn't mean they can't be corrupt. They should not be kicked up and down the street."
I fully understand the mayor's anger about the deaths of these children. You look at the grieving families and you can't help but feel a kaleidoscopic array of anger and sadness and frustration. But to suggest that the aldermen should be focused on street violence instead of the identities of rogue officers misses one factor that contributes to the pathology of a tough neighborhood. To be clear, there are many factors, including persistent fatherlessness, failing schools and the easy availability of guns.
But the focus here is on rogue cops. They have the power to shape the perceptions of the entire community and, even worse, pervert the entire system.
Perhaps if Daley did his job as mayor overseeing the city including the once-again troubled police department, then the aldermen wouldn't be giving him such a hard time that he has to start throwing strawmen.
Brace yourself folks. Unless there's a Halloween miracle, a strike by the Writers' Guild is about to begin given that talks have broken down between the writers and the producers. Anyone who wants to write a screenplay should probably start making the rounds of Hollywood about now.
Will the guild strike? Maybe, but if it's smart, it will hold out until June and see what the Directors' Guild does when its contract comes up for renegotiations.