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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How 1990 norms came back in style

"You're right, I've had a life that's been absolutely blessed. I've met millionaires, billionaires, I've traveled on personal airplanes, and I never shook anybody down for any [expletive], so. . . . Not that I haven't, you know, drank some great wine, and had great booze and . . . got some, you know, phenomenal [sex] along the way."

---Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona describes the perks of the job.

"Clean the place (downtown depot) up, put in lighting, have some terms and conditions (the Hound must obey) ... Downtown crime is committed by downtown people. The notion of someone jumping off a Greyhound on the way to see grandma and selling a dime bag is not happening."

---Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach to Dan Bernstein

The agenda for the city council meeting on July 8 in Riverside will be posted today and the agenda and item reports will be posted online by 5 p.m. This is to accommodate the holiday scheduled for Friday, the 4th of July.

The city is currently on the summer schedule when city council meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. This may cause each meeting to run a bit longer than the blink-and-it’s-over meetings that take place the rest of the year. But be mindful, some of the most critical items and issues in the city's purview somehow appear on the city council meeting agendas during the summer months especially August when many residents and their families are on vacation. This is indeed the case with the blue ribbon panel that has been meeting during the past several months to come up with recommendations for the expansion and renovations of the downtown library and metropolitan museum.

The city council is tentatively scheduled to receive its report and recommendations on Aug.12 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone who is following the process of what's going to happen with these two cultural institutions should be at this meeting if they can attend. If not, send your thoughts to the mayor and city council's offices at City Hall.

But if you want to know what's on the agenda ahead of time this link will usually get you there. The agendas are also posted in the glass cased bulletin board in front of City Hall on Thursday afternoons.

Here's more information on the library and museum projects.

Powerpoint presentation on joint library and museum projects.

Riverside Branch blogs about the panel's recommendations on the projects and the process here and you can read more at Renew the Library.

The Riverside Police Department has promoted Sgt. Leon Phillips as its new lieutenant and he will be assigned to the field operations division as a watch commander. His assignment before his promotion was in the department’s Audit and Compliance Bureau. That division which is under the chief’s office is responsible for directing the implementation of the department’s strategic plan and in monitoring that implementation. It was formerly known as the Attorney General’s Task Force when it was formed in 2001. It hasn't been stated yet by the department whether or not any other promotions will take place including to fill the sergeant position vacated by Phillips.

The position is believed to be the one vacated by a retiring Ken Carpenter, who had headed the traffic division. The transfer of that position to the field operations division comes in the wake of concerns about the staffing level of lieutenant watch commanders on work shifts going into the summer months. Not to mention the staffing ratios for officers to supervisors in field operations which was recommended to remain at a 7 to 1 ratio to accommodate the youthful patrol division. But except for a question or two, the city council didn't really seem to think all that much about what was going on in front of them. And when the meeting ended, it might have been out of sight, out of mind for most of them.

In the face of these and other issues centered on the police department, the city council has decided to take the wait and see attitude. It's likely that this strategy will probably be as successful now as it was in the mid-1990s when the city council did pretty much the same thing. It's amazing to watch people repeat the mistakes that they themselves didn't make, that several of them had avowed that they would never make, but that's exactly what happened last Tuesday night when the city council showed that unfortunately there's truly a dearth of leadership in its midst when it was really needed. Instead, that day will be known now as one where collectively as a legislative body, the Riverside City Council took a huge step backward into the last century. Short-term problem solving that's unmindful of long-term consequences as one person called it. Unfortunately, at crunch moments, it's not exactly like there's been a shortage of that on the dais. Why that is, then and now is the $22 million question.

Speaking of the police department, Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein offers up a potpourri about Riverside. Including the injunction that brought the police department and Riverside County District Attorney's office closer together and now threatens to divide them.


Till now, RivCo DA and RPD have been coy 'n' stonewallish about how the Eastside gang injunction is being enforced. Now, rays o' light.

Police Chief Russ Leach: "I hate the word sweep or raid. It looks like we're aggressively going after something we don't know exists." The injunction is "a tool" to "go after a specific crime." Leach says this is what the community wants. "We have to live in that community and work in that community."

Might not pass muster with the DA, whose office charged two alleged Eastside Riva gang members with injunction violations: vandalism, possession of a controlled substance with gang "enhansements," etc. Press release said RPD sought the injunction (Leach said the DA wanted it) and "it is up to the local law enforcement agency to enforce it."

"Though we have deferred in the past to the local agency," said Pacheco, "we will defer no longer. I will not sit idly by while Eastside Riva gang members terrorize the community."

New gang rivalry! DA vs. RPD.

More on that clash of wills between the two men here. The bone of contention is arrests that were made on the same day that the Press Enterprise released a story about how no arrests in connection with the injunction against Eastside Riva had been made by that point. Then the saber rattling began.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"When a law enforcement agency requests a gang injunction from the district attorney's office, that request is made with the commitment from the local law enforcement agency that they will enforce the injunction when it is made permanent," Pacheco wrote in the statement. "When this second part of the gang injunction goes unfulfilled, the full potential of the injunction can not be realized. Though we have deferred in the past to the local agency we will defer no longer."

Pacheco did not specify in the release how he plans to enforce the injunction. Attempts to reach Pacheco late Wednesday were not successful.

Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach said he did not want to respond to Pacheco's comments because he had not discussed the issue with Pacheco. But he did say he is happy the injunction was finalized.

"Obviously we are in favor of (the injunction) or we wouldn't have committed all these hours with detectives ten months before the injunction was finalized and we are going to enforce it. But people's definition of enforcement may differ ... When individuals break the law and it comes to our attention we are going to enforce the injunction and make the arrest," he said.

Pacheco wrote in the release, "I will not sit idly by while Eastside Riva gang members terrorize the community. We will use every resource available to us to make sure that Riverside County is a safe place for families, children and businesses, not a safe haven for gang members."

Pacheco is brushing aside the police department to do his thing, which is to enforce an injunction against a Latino gang in Riverside. There's also an injunction against a Latino gang in Coachilla Valley. Those are two ways to show Republican backers of any future state attorney general bid (and Pacheco's had campaign committees formed to contemplate this) that Pacheco is not soft on Latinos. But it makes one wonder if the parties involved in going forward with the injunction in Eastside ever thought about how it would be carried out ahead of time and discussed it with each other either directly or through intermediaries. Is it about fighting crime? Is it about fulfilling political ambitions?

Leach was always clear at community forums that it would be a tool and not a club and community leaders were clear that they didn't want it to be sweeping either. As for Pacheco? Well, he nixed community appearances in the Eastside and subjected the Eastside Think Tank to having to go through background checks by his investigators before they would be allowed to meet with him, an ultimatum they flatly declined. On top of that, Pacheco purports to advocate for a community he won't step foot inside of even to talk to residents and community leaders about their concerns about what's going on in their own neighborhoods.

This drama is sure to continue, no doubt.

San Jacinto vs Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, round one.

At stake is hundreds of acres of real estate the band wants to annex to expand its casino. But there's some opposition due to recent events involving its relationship with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Open space is getting more scarce in the Inland Empire, however.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Tribal Chairman Robert "Bobby" Salgado said Tuesday he had seen the June 23 letter and wondered why San Jacinto officials are worried about violence on the reservation when they have their own crime to deal with.

"He (Ayres) wants to be telling us that it is not safe to be out here," Salgado said by phone. "They have their own issues they need to take care of."

Salgado said the city has gangs and criminal elements. "Why don't they deal with them," he said.

He declined to comment further.

It's not about the crime. It's about the land as it's always been.

After the latest round of scandals, San Bernardino County elected officials explore the idea of ethics. The people there who no doubt are fed up at the status quo are thinking of putting an initiative on the ballot to create an ethics commission. Sound familiar? Riverside tried that in regards to placing an ethics code in the city's charter and that didn't exactly work out very well in terms of actually putting a meaningful accountability mechanism in place.

More information on the latest probe.

Here's a primer to bring you up to speed about the past political scandals that have plagued this county.

The dustup between the heads of Los Angeles County's two biggest law enforcement agencies on who gangs are targeting continues to be played out in the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

Oh my goodness! The lawyers for former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona are trying to suppress audio tapes which depict him making racist and sexist comments. On tape, Carona said "n----r" numerous times and talked about his sexual escapades. What a shock. Yes indeed.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

The use of vulgar and offensive language by Don Haidl and Mike in conversations instigated by the government is both unfortunate and regrettable," according to the motion. "Relying on their close friendship and knowing that he was taping their conversations, Mr. Haidl sought to engage Mike in private banter where the terms used by both men would be clearly offensive and embarrassing to them both if revealed to others."

Carona, 53, resigned in January and is set to go to trial Aug. 26 on charges he misused his office to enrich himself and others, including his wife and former mistress.

New York City might be preparing to settle the wrongful death lawsuit filed against it in the Sean Bell shooting case. Bell was shot and killed by NYPD officers including three who were acquitted of criminal charges at trial. The department underwent remodification of its special units after the shooting.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

It would be more efficient and would save the parties significant resources if, at this juncture, the parties pursue avenues other than discovery to resolve this case," Assistant Corporation Counsel David Hazan stated in a June 27 letter to the judge.

Hazan noted in the letter that he was not speaking on behalf of Detectives Michael Oliver, Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper and Paul Headley.

But the NYPD has other problems to worry about like keeping track of its gun seizures.

Boston's police department is having a very difficult time finding qualified people to hire as officers.

(excerpt, Boston Herald)

This year’s police academy class is only 60 percent full, despite a slick, $100,000 ad campaign that failed to attract enough candidates who could withstand tough BPD vetting.

While most of the current students are well-suited to wear the badge, Deputy Superintendent Marie Donahue, the academy’s director, said many were completely unprepared. Some couldn’t even finish a half-mile run.
“Maybe they’re influenced through a false sense of what this is about,” said Donahue, who couldn’t wait to be a proud member of the BPD when she was hired about 30 years ago.

“The heart and soul of the job is the patrol, but they want something prettier. They want something exciting. I don’t know that they realize a lot of it is not that glittery.”

The numbers tell the story. The academy budgeted for 80 students. Only 60 survived the vetting process. Of them, 12 have already dropped out - most citing the physical demands.

A rather alarming article about what heat waves will look like by 2100. Global warming will heat the earth as it dries it, driving temperatures in many cities way up.

Some sample temperatures that might arise during sustained heat waves from the Yahoo article.

Los Angeles: 117

New York City: 106

Atlanta: 110

Chicago: 115

Kansas City: 116

Paris: 109

Southern France: 118

Lyon: 114

Delhi: 120

Bagdad: 122

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older