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, October 21, 2008

The Riverside Supes: Just say no.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the purchase of the Regency Tower for its new District Attorney's office, despite attempts by Riverside City Councilman Frank Schiavone to delay that vote in its eleventh hour. Four of the five supervisors approved the sale, with Roy Wilson being absent from the proceedings. Riverside city in a sense got left holding the bag in the county's wake having "provided" land to a developer who turned around and sold his project to the county, in part because there was no language in the agreement between him and the Redevelopment Agency to stipulate that the office space be sold or provided to private companies.

Schiavone was in the Press Enterprise insisting that he was looking out for the Redevelopment Agency's interests but what would have accomplished that is better negotiation strategy by its assigned negotiating team. Once the damage was done by not having a protective clause written in the contract in light of the serious problems afflicting the construction business which might tempt a developer to take a good offer from Riverside County, complaining about it is kind of like spitting in the wind.

And Schiavone was apparently alone in the wind, with even Interim Asst. City Manager Belinda Graham (and presumably her boss, city manager and former county employee, Brad Hudson) in disagreement with his contention that there was a parking space subsidy not to mention other unnamed colleagues on the dais who also apparently differed in their readings of this issue.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

City Councilman Frank Schiavone said Monday he would ask county supervisors to delay their vote. The city had provided developer Moshe Silagi with land to build Regency Tower as a redevelopment project aimed at drawing private offices, additional jobs and business patrons to downtown.

Schiavone said the city subsidized parking facilities for Regency Tower by about $4 million, and should have the chance to recoup that money if the developer is going to sell to a public agency.

Supervisor John Tavaglione said before voting that he had spoken with the city manager and other Riverside officials and they did not share Schiavone's concern. No city officials or representatives spoke at today's county meeting.

It's interesting that no representatives from Riverside, elected or otherwise, took to the podium at the meeting to speak out on this issue. After all, it's likely they would receive more than three minutes to do so. But none of them did.

So one of Riverside's pet projects downtown is now officially in the hands of the county. The saga of downtown Riverside continues onward.

A new computer simulation program may help with the hiring process and retention levels for Riverside Police Department dispatchers.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Sgt. Lisa Williams, who oversees the dispatchers, said overtime helps bridge the gap in service but takes a toll on dispatchers.

"The dispatchers we have are highly trained professionals; we just need more of them to apply," Williams said.

She believes a new computerized system will help find people who can juggle multiple tasks at once -- something a paper test could never do.

Williams is also developing classroom curriculum she hopes will offer better training. Previously the trainees only received on-the-job training.

She hopes this combination of testing and training will help her find and keep dispatchers who make good decisions quickly.

They're hoping at the department that testing people's ability to multi-task under pressure might help screen out the best applicants.

The Police Review Commission in Riverside will be meeting again and among other things, will discuss the joint letter sent by Mayor Ron Loveridge and Mayor Pro Tem Rusty Bailey to the commission defending City Manager Brad Hudson's directive to essentially prohibit the commission from doing any timely investigations of officer-involved deaths. Not on the agenda to be discussed are the letters two commissioners received from Councilman Frank Schiavone. Between the three city council members who wrote the opinion piece backing Hudson's directive and the two different individuals who wrote the letter to the commission, five elected officials including four city council members have expressed or engaged in releasing joint letters or written statements on the same issue.

The Riverside Transit Authority has cut back its routes of travel even in the face of increased ridership. The good news is that it's only planning to cut six routes instead of the original 11.

Pleading guilty for stalking a fellow deputy is Riverside County Sheriff's Department Deputy Eric Lance Hamilton.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The defendant was arrested in May on allegations he stalked Investigator Christian Dekker. Hamilton and Dekker were members of a special enforcement team based in the sheriff's French Valley station.

Hamilton became fixated on Dekker after Dekker witnessed and reported "acts of misconduct" against team members, according to an affidavit in support of the arrest warrant.

After one team member was placed on leave and another was about to be disciplined, Dekker began receiving anonymous annoying phone calls traced to a team cell phone in Hamilton's possession, the affidavit alleged.

Dekker was also told by Hamilton that he had "just signed his own death warrant" by reporting the team, according to the affidavit.

On two occasions, Hamilton stared at Dekker for minutes before speeding away, the affidavit stated.

It doesn't get much more competitive than this in politics. Fourteen candidates, one open seat in Norco. Also heated is the Rialto city clerk contest.

Press Enterprise Columnist Cassie MacDuff wrote about the impact of racist mailers used in elections and discussed her feelings about the Obama Bucks mailer put out by the Chaffey Community Republican Women which has put the Inland Empire back on the map albeit not in the best of ways.

But she also wrote about this mailer too.


Meanwhile, the Rialto Police Benefit Association and Rialto Professional Firefighters drew fire for a political mailer featuring a photo illustration of a Hispanic gangbanger with a hairnet and chest tattoo pointing a gun at the camera. Below the photo is the caption, "You can expect to see a whole lot more of us if Deborah Robertson gets elected to Mayor."

Robertson, who is African-American, denounced the negative stereotyping of Latinos and called on Mayor Grace Vargas, "the highest-ranking Latina in the city," to denounce it.

"I find these images disturbing and insulting not only to my family and me but to you and your family as well," Robertson said in a written statement.

Police union President Robert Smith said, "This isn't racial. This is about public safety."

The public safety unions haven't forgiven Robertson for voting in 2005 to replace the Police Department with the Sheriff's Department. They also say she won't meet with them.

Roberston said the city manager asked council members not to meet with union officials during labor negotiations.

The controversial fliers by the police and fire fighter unions even upset the candidate whose face appeared on them.

(excerpt, San Bernardino Sun)

Randy Ammons, president of firefighters' union, said a political consultant created the fliers, but the unions approved them.

"We're responsible for it," he said.

Ammons said the fliers were "probably a little bit more than what they should've done" but the public needs to know the unions support Vargas because she supports cops and firefighters.

Ammons said Robertson doesn't approve of the unions' contracts and will outsource public safety to San Bernardino County agencies. Robertson denied this assertion.

Ammons also said Robertson doesn't communicate with the unions and refused to partake in candidate forums sponsored by them.

"It says, `I don't care about your support. I don't care about you,"' he said.

Cpl. Robert Smith, president of the police union, said the fliers aren't any tougher than Robertson's threats to replace the Police Department with the Sheriff's Department, which the City Council - with the help of Robertson's vote - approved in 2005.

Vargas voted against the decision, which the council later overturned.

Smith said the lone thug on one of the fliers is Latino, not black.

"We are not suggesting that black gangsters are going to infiltrate the city if Robertson gets elected," Smith said.

No, they're just suggesting that Latino "thugs" will be infiltrating the city if Robertson gets elected which is of course a whole lot less racist. There's many better ways to get their point across in a political campaign and if their high-priced political consultant (because it's hard to find an inexpensive one) doesn't know this, maybe they should shop around for another one. Unless they did like the San Bernardino Police Officers' Association did and hired the founder of Save Our State who's been photographed with people holding Confederate and Nazi flags to do their "outreach" for them.

San Bernardino County and its sheriff's department have also settled a lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman who was forced to take off her hijab while being strip searched.

San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus has been asked to respond to the county grand jury report but will he?

Two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies are accused of beating up a fire fighter.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Joshua Titel and Brian Richards, both 31, pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court and were released without bail. According to prosecutors, the two deputies beat and kicked the victim on June 24, 2007. The firefighter, Stephen Paige, underwent several weeks of medical treatment before he returned to work, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County district attorney's office.

The fight took place outside a private residence in Pomona after an altercation between the two off-duty deputies and the victim, authorities said. It's unclear what caused the dispute.

A former high-ranking officer was indicted for lying about the torture of individuals by police officers in the Chicago Police Department.

(excerpt, Associated Press)

A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday accused former police Lt. Jon Burge of perjury and obstruction of justice for statements he made in 2003 when answering questions for a civil-rights lawsuit.

The arrest capped a long-running controversy over allegations that beatings, electric shocks and death threats were used against suspects at Burge's Area 2 violent crimes headquarters.

Burge, 60, who has long denied wrongdoing, was arrested before dawn at his home in Apollo Beach, Fla., the U.S. attorney's office said. He had moved to Florida after he was fired in 1993.

"He has shamed his uniform and shamed his badge," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the indictment.

Burge appeared Tuesday afternoon before a federal magistrate judge in Tampa and was later released on $250,000 bond. Outside the courthouse, he told reporters he will plead not guilty.

Asked if the indictment came as a surprise, Burge said, "I'm not at liberty to say anything, but yes it did." He left in a pickup truck.

More racial slurs, this time by a sheriff in North Carolina.

(excerpt, Associated Press)

So he helped make North Carolina the first state where every county can team with federal authorities to train local officers to identify and track jailed illegal immigrants, speeding up the deportation process.

But in a newspaper interview last month, Bizzel complained that "Mexicans are trashy" and pointed to several children playing and said "All they do is work and make love." Though he quickly apologized, his contrition wasn't enough to ward off critics who call his comments evidence that the nation's increasingly popular efforts to enforce immigration statutes locally have nothing to do with law and order.

"The chief law enforcement officer is demonstrating his racism in public, and he's allowing his officers to do the same," said Tony Asion, the executive director of nonprofit advocacy group El Pueblo and a retired Delaware state trooper. "It gives them the green light to treat Latinos any way."

Bizzell declined to comment to The Associated Press about the remarks to the News & Observer that caused the uproar, and the Johnston County commission has rebuffed calls for his resignation.

Former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson tries to explain the questionable results of his polygraph test which apparently interpreted his responses to questions about his wife's disappearance nearly one year ago as being "deceptive". Imagine that.

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