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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

People, places and things

Save Chinatown

The Riverside City Council will be discussing the proposal to approve the construction of developer and campaign contributor Doug Jacobs' medical office building. Although the vote is probably sewn up given that it was approved by the Land Use Committee, people active in this campaign to preserve some of the site's history will be showing up to the meeting to speak up and speak out anyway as they have in various forums and meetings for months now.

The plan to allow Jacobs to move forward was approved by Chair Rusty Bailey and members, Frank Schiavone and Chris MacArthur of the Land Use Committee and all they have to do is pick up at least one other vote on the city council to push it through. Council Members Steve Adams and Nancy Hart are pretty safe bets for providing those necessary votes. As has been stated here and said in different places, any decision that needs to be made on an agenda item is most likely made before it gets to the public meeting.

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 7

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Place: City Council Chambers, City Hall

Hopefully, one thing that will evolve from this process is greater activism in the city government election process next year.

The Riverside Police Department's dispatchers coached 911 callers to perform CPR on individuals, according to a press release. Commenting, was the manager of the Communications Division, Sgt. Lisa Williams.

This article provides advice to law enforcement officers and police dispatchers on how to improve what was called, a "love-hate relationship" between the two. There's also an interesting discussion about this article.

Press Enterprise
Columnist Dan Bernstein is analyzing the audit of the process used for election voting in Riverside County. And guess who just walked in the door? A blast from the past.


Two weeks ago, following another Save R Vote salvo, the supes backed an audit of RivCo's election process. Who should conduct the audit? The supes weighed in.

Roy Wilson: "I think we need to ... get an independent source that's acceptable to Save R Vote as well as to the county board."

Jeff Stone: "We'll have to come up with some fair way so tha t... the Save R Vote organization and the Registrar feel comfortable that this third party is unbiased ..."

John Tavaglione: "I really think this is such a critical issue we should focus on the Big 4 (accounting/audit firms). They have services in place that do things like this ..."

And Bill Luna, the new county exec officer: "I think what we need (is) to enter into a RFQ from reputable firms that will give us a fair and unbiased review."

But here's what Luna's pitching now: "The executive director of Save R Vote provided a list of firms that were both acceptable and unacceptable to that group. However, I am recommending a firm that was not on either list."

Luna wants the supes to hire (for $165K) Best Best & Krieger and enlist the Riverside law firm's Public Policy and Ethics Compliance Group headed by the (ex) Handsome DA!

That being former Riverside County District Attorney Grover C. Trask, who ruled that office for a couple of decades before taking the BB&K job.

Riverside County CEO Bill Luna had this to say about Trask, who was so good at his job, there was no need (and besides no time) for a competitive bidding process.


Grover Trask, writes Luna, "is a highly credible individual who is intimately familiar with the electoral process, and who has unquestioned integrity."

Save R Vote's Tom Courbat dismisses Trask as "a good old boy."

Oh, but the county is filled with those and some say, people from Riverside City wanted to be like the county and people from the county wanted to be like part of the city and so forth. Luna stressed that the situation is again, too immediate and too urgent to go through the competitive bidding process. Familiar words on different fronts.

The election watchdogs respond.

Press Enterprise Columnist Cassie MacDuff takes on lessons learned from the recent Metrolink crash.


Other surprises emerged in the wake of the tragedy: for example, that Metrolink engineers don't work for Metrolink.

The commuter rail has outsourced most of its operations, including driving trains and maintaining tracks, since it began service 16 years ago.

Outsourcing was done in the name of efficiency and cost-saving, as well as quickly launching a service with experienced workers. Amtrak was the first contractor. Now, a multinational conglomerate does it.

But cheaper is not always better, as Metrolink's board of directors has bitterly learned.

Competitive bidding on contracts should ensure agencies the best bang for the buck, said Metrolink board member and San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris. But "it may compromise some essential oversight."

Metrolink will add a backup engineer on as many trains as it can. Where the money will come from isn't yet known.

It may also take over pre-employment background checks of engineers.

And Metrolink may add cameras in train cabs to monitor crews -- a good idea since engineers could easily chat and distract each other.

A lot of students at John W. North High School in Riverside being tested for TB after a student there became sick with the disease. For the people who test positive for the bacteria, there will be antibiotics for at least six months.

The Press Enterprise is supporting a mixture of incumbents and newcomers in the Lake Elsinore City Council election.

Federal prosecutors want to nix some statements made by former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, calling them "hearsay". The trial on corruption charges will be starting by the end of next month.

(excerpt, Orange County Register)

Jury selection for the trial, which will be heard before U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford, is scheduled to begin Friday. The estimated seven-week trial is slated to begin Oct. 28.

Carona will be tried alongside Debra Hoffman, a Newport Beach attorney who has been described by prosecutors as his longtime mistress. She is charged with conspiracy, public corruption and bankruptcy fraud.

His wife, Deborah Carona, has also been charged in the case, but will be tried separately.

In Monday's filing, Assistant United States Attorney Ken Julian asked the judge to toss out portions of secretly recorded conversations between Carona and former Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl – who had pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and agreed to tape the conversations.

Carona's defense attorneys had unsuccessfully fought to keep the conversations out of the case. The talks, which occurred in July and August 2007, include statements that prosecutors say reveal the ex-sheriff admitted to getting cash and gifts.

But prosecutors now want parts of these conversations stricken from the case. The filing, written by Assistant United States Attorney Ken Julian, asks a judge to remove Carona's "self-serving, exculpatory statements"
in the conversations, characterizing the remarks as "inadmissible hearsay."

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy has been fired and will be prosecuted on attempted murder charges after assaulting his wife and another man.

(excerpt, Orange County Register)

Police believe Robert Avery McClain, 34, assaulted his wife and another man, whose name the department would not release. Police would not comment on reports that McClain suspected the male victim of having an affair with his wife.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Aura Sierra said McClain's employment with the department has been terminated. McClain was hired in November 2007 and assigned to the department's custody division, Sierra said.

Irvine police Lt. Rick Handfield said Tuesday that there were puncture marks near the victim's groin, but stressed that "any characterization of an attempted castration is way exaggerated."

The deputy was arrested Monday on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault and domestic violence.

Maintenance staff arriving at a leasing office in the 1000 block of Payton called police at 7:15 a.m. Monday after finding a man injured and bleeding, Handfield said. The victim, who had been cut with a sharp instrument, was taken to a hospital.

Irvine police soon learned that McClain's wife had driven herself to another hospital, telling staff that she had been assaulted as well. She also told Irvine officers and the hospital staff that the other assault victim was an acquaintance of hers, and claimed that McClain was the assailant, Handfield said.

The officers who tased a mentally ill man standing on a roof made a mistake, said New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly defended the NYPD's Emergency Service cops as the nation's best-trained for dealing with troubled people.

"Last year we handled 87,000 calls to address emotionally disturbed people and obviously the vast majority of them went well," Kelly said.

"But we are human beings. Sometimes we make mistakes. Reporters even make mistakes, people on Wall Street make mistakes. So sometimes mistakes are made," Kelly said.

All 440 members of the elite ESU squad have been ordered to get an eight-hour refresher course on how to deal with mentally unstable people after psychiatric patient Inman Morales died last week. The first retraining started yesterday.

The ESU squad already goes under what Kelly considered the most intensive training in dealing with mentally ill people in the United States. Two of them including a lieutenant have been placed on desk duty for violating procedures.

The refresher training for all 400 members of the squad was to begin today. But will the training also address why these officers used a less lethal device as essentially a lethal one, given that the policies and procedures of the NYPD like in other agencies that use tasers stated that they were not to be used in situations where individuals might fall and either die or hurt themselves unless absolutely necessary.

Was a retired New York Police Department detective a medical guinea pig?

A Gathering of Cultures

Saturday, October 11, 2008, 11 – 5 pm
Free Admission Downtown Riverside in White Park (3936 Chestnut Street)

Explore and learn about different cultures! The 10th Annual Family Village Festival, a free community event for all ages, will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2008 from 11:00 – 5:00 pm in Downtown Riverside in front of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum

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