Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Drops in the bucket here and there

***Attention, you might have problems viewing this blog over the weekend because of a failure involving the stat log which unfortunately also impacts the blog's ability to be loaded with computers using IE 6.o and possibly 7.0. It's still possible to load the blog in Firefox***

It's been downright chilly these past couple of days but the real weather is coming back by the weekend so it's time to throw those parkas and boots off.

Heating up in Pasadena is the news that current Riverside Asst. City Manager Michael Beck is a top candidate for the city manager position there, but he's already running into some opposition from city residents who are following what he's done and what the city manager's office have done in Riverside .

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Beck's strength is economic development, which may clash with a consensus in favor of preserving historic buildings and a rising sentiment that recent rapid growth threatens the old city's charm and character, Bob Kneisel, who is active in Pasadena preservation circles, said Thursday.

Kneisel lived in Riverside from 1972 to 1982 and served on the board of the Old Riverside Foundation, a preservation group, for 17 years.

Two other Pasadena preservationists, Marsha Rood and Christle Balvin, confirmed that they and others share Kneisel's concerns.

Beck said in an e-mail that in all cases, he acts to implement City Council policy.

"I can assure you I have been supportive of the preservation and the adaptive re-use of historic structures," he said. "I have been active with the Fox Theatre rehabilitation and committed to the preservation community that we would hire a historic monitoring consultant to ensure the restoration followed the Secretary of Interior standards."

But Riverside city residents and preservationists out in Pasadena have watched as one historic building after another in Riverside has been targeted for demolition. Out with the old and in with the new seems to be City Hall's motto and the 'Hall tells Beck what to do ultimately because he works for them, a point that Councilman Mike Gardner made clear in the article. But given that historic buildings are also treasured in Pasadena, those who want to preserve that heritage are now feeling a bit of apprehension. They fear that bulldozer alerts will come to locations near them, in a city well known for its historic buildings and one that's taken great pains to preserve and restore them. There are over 1,000 buildings including in the National Registry that are within the city's borders.

Hopefully, Pasadena's City Hall will have a meet and greet between the city's residents and the top finalists for the top administrative position so that the candidates can answer the questions.

Old Pasadena

Old Pasadena, Then and Now an online tour of its historic buildings

Planning Department's coverage of historic buildings

Will he stay or will he go? Beck has some issues to be sure but it'd be a shame to lose an employee from the city manager's office who can actually go out and interface with city residents from all neighborhoods without packing a pistol. Which means for one thing, no reading in the newspaper about 911 phone calls being made by terrified individuals alleging that a city employee is brandishing a gun in an argument.

Beck's very courteous and friendly to people he talks to as well and takes the time to explain things which is an important attribute of any city employee. He's aware that he's the public servant for city residents whose taxes pay his salary and not the other way around.

There's a lively discussion on the issue of building a medical building on what was once Chinatown taking place here. There's been a lot of organizing on this issue by the city's Chinese-American community surrounding the planned development of the historical site by developer and frequent campaign contributor, Doug Jacobs.

George Wong and Wong Way provides some information from an excellent Web site about the history of Asian-Americans in Riverside.

August is the month of hot days and holidays so not much is going on in terms of meetings during the first two weeks of the month. Things should pick up again in September after Labor Day, when you can put your white shoes back in the closet and pick up your meeting agendas.

Still, here are some dates for events and meetings in Riverside and nearby areas:

Aug. 5 between 6-10 p.m. kicks off National Night Out. University Neighborhood Association will be holding their event on this date at Islander Pool on Blaine Street.

Jurupa Valley event

Canyon Creek HOA event

Aug 6 at 5:30 p.m at City Hall is the planning commission meeting where the Valencia Hills cul-de-sac in the University neighborhood will be evaluated. The University Neighborhood Association has been following this issue.

Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall where the blue ribbon panel for the expansion and renovation of the downtown library and museum will be presenting their recommendations to the city council. Public comment is encouraged on this issue at least from this blogger and hopefully, the city government as well.

Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall is the Community Police Review Commission special meeting where it will discuss its investigations into several officer-involved deaths including Douglas Steven Cloud. Its investigation into the death of Joseph Darnell Hill may be on the agenda but the CPRC voted to send its new investigator, Ray Martinelli out to take another look at it due to the rather sparse report submitted by the Baker Street Group investigator. It's not been announced whether or not there will be further discussion of the ongoing situation involving the city attorney's office blocking the CPRC from investigating the death of Martin Gaspar Pablo.

Aug. 16 The 30 day extention granted by the planning commission for the impact study on old Chinatown is up.

Sept. 3 at 3:00 p.m. at City Hall is the Governmental Affairs Committee's attempts to evaluate the pretty much diluted ethics code and complaint process. The entertainment value alone makes this meeting worthwhile to attend. If there's any way to weaken this process any further, the Governmental Affairs Committee will be bringing it to the city council on Sept. 16.

Corona's homeless shelter might be closing its doors according to the Press Enterprise.


"We are living hand-to-mouth, and right now is day to day for us," said Pastor John "Buddy" Suitor, president of the shelter's board. "With the economy we are in now, charitable giving around the nation is at a super low. Even the grant money is drying up."

On a budget of about $1,000 a day, the shelter offers 50 emergency beds and 50 transitional living beds for its nine-month program that helps people save enough money to afford to live on their own. On average, the organization provides shelter, food, clothing and support services for about 70 people a day.

"We've struggled in the past, but we are on the brink of having to close it," Suitor said. "Never before have we had to inform our staff or the public that we might close."

Because the shelters in Riverside are filled to capacity, many homeless people who would have been referred to the Corona shelter may have no place to go.

A panel of judges in Orange County's superior Court have again upheld the decision to allow civil, family and other noncriminal courts to continue on with their legal proceedings without being shut down for the purposes of hearing criminal trials. For the past several years, the criminal court system in Riverside County has been severely backlogged with felony and misdemeanor trials to the point where cases have been dismissed by judges and civil trials are being conducted in abandoned school buildings.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The Orange County judges said Riverside County jurists' stance that "the work done by the family, probate, traffic, small claims and juvenile courts was of great importance to the community and that depriving the community of these remaining judicial services would be highly detrimental to its citizens ... is a valid and relevant consideration."

The ruling upholds two misdemeanor case dismissals made by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gary Tranbarger on Jan. 26, 2007.

One defendant was charged with unlawful dumping, the other with vandalism. Both cases had reached the final possible day to either be heard or dismissed because of Sixth Amendment guarantees of a speedy trial.

During a late Friday afternoon session, Tranbarger said all available criminal and civil trial courts were already in use across the county.

The judge refused prosecutors' requests to take the unusual step of sending the cases to courts that don't normally hear criminal trials -- family law, probate and traffic court among them.

"In a county severely overburdened by criminal cases, which has already abandoned traditional civil trials in deference to the policy of criminal case was a proper exercise of discretion for the trial court to refuse to divert its remaining judicial resources to try the two misdemeanor cases," the Orange County judges wrote.

John Vineyard may have lost his run at a judicial position on the bench during the past election, but now he's a court commissioner and he's hoping to be a judge some day.

What does the future hold for Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department? The two sides should negotiate not engage in power plays according to the Editorial Board of the Press Enterprise.

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board stated that Inglewood must step to the plate and address recent officer-involved shootings in its city.

Part 4 of an interesting and informative series of articles on how law enforcement interacts with mentally ill people is filled with information. Some of the behavioral and cognitive conditions covered in this article include Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Epilepsy and Dementia.

Part 1 addresses symptoms of mental illness and strategies.

Part 2 addresses mood disorders including anxiety as well as mental illnesses including Schizophrenia.

Part 3 addresses personality traits and disorders and people who are intoxicated.

The mayor of Berwyn Heights had his home raided by SWAT officers who killed his two dogs.

(excerpt, Washington Post)

"My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs," Calvo said. "They thought we were drug dealers, and we were treated as such. I don't think they really ever considered that we weren't."

Calvo described a chaotic scene, in which he -- wearing only underwear and socks -- and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and interrogated for hours. They were surrounded by the dogs' carcasses and pools of the dogs' blood, Calvo said.

Spokesmen for the Sheriff's Office and Prince George's police expressed regret yesterday that the mayor's dogs were killed. But they defended the way the raid was carried out, saying it was proper for a case involving such a large amount of drugs.

Sgt. Mario Ellis, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said the deputies who entered Calvo's home "apparently felt threatened" by the dogs.

"We're not in the habit of going to homes and shooting peoples' dogs," Ellis said. "If we were, there would be a lot more dead dogs around the county."

A police officer from New Lebanon, Ohio was fired after an onduty shooting but his firing was recommended by the police chief some days before the shooting happened.

The son of a deputy in Florida impersonated him.

A study done up in Canada found that batons are more dangerous than tasers.

(excerpt, National Post)

The Canadian Police Research Centre report examines 562 cases where Calgary police used Tasers, pepper spray, batons, weapon-free control techniques and vascular neck restraints -- "choke holds" -- on people resisting arrest.

The 14-page study found that Tasers "scored high" in safety for both suspects and officers in Calgary, a city of over 1 million. Though it was used in nearly half of all cases involving suspects resisting arrest, only 1% ended up hospitalized, and 87% sustained either minor injuries or no injuries at all, according to the report.

Batons, on the other hand -- used in only 6% of force-involved arrests -- caused the greatest rate of serious injury. Fewer than 39% of subjects were uninjured. More than 3% were hospitalized, and nearly 26% required outpatient treatment.

"The commonly held belief . . ." that Tasers carry "a significant risk of injury or death . . . is not supported by the data," said the report, researched by Dr. Christine Hall, an epidemiologist based in Victoria and Calgary use-of-force expert Staff Sgt. Chris Butler. The report says the stun guns are "less injurious than either the baton or empty-hand physical control."

A quiz for police officers on whether or not they fit stereotypes.

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