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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Election 2009: A challenger emerges


The arrest warrant in the case of Riverside Police Department Officer Robert Forman has been unsealed, according to a judge's ruling this morning. Forman also was arraigned on three felony counts of sexual assault. More to come.

"People recognize honesty and integrity. When commitments are made you follow through. If I make a mistake, I'll take responsibility for it and not pass the buck."

---Ward Four Riverside City Council Candidate Paul Davis, to

Election 2009 hasn't officially kicked off in Riverside and in fact, it won't until the filing deadline for city council candidates is reached early next year. However, there are candidates' names already floating around, including three for Ward Four, all Republicans and two for Ward Six, one Republican and one Democrat. And that's not counting the incumbents who have moved beyond the "will I or won't I" phase of the political campaign and have all declared through announcements at the Web site of a popular political fund raising organization.

Some months ago, I spoke with one inspiring Ward Six candidate who's tight with one individual already on the dais, in fact they go fishing together. He was interested in running but hadn't decided whether or not to, because it depended on whether he could handle that and his business at the same time.

So far, candidates are shy and don't want their names put out there until they choose to introduce themselves to the city's voters and announce their own intentions to run. It's a wait-and-see-what-the-other-guy-does-first kind of situation. That plays out until people have to put up or shut up by the filing deadline to enter into the competition called, Election 2009.

But one who has already put his hat in the ring, is Ward Four prospect, Paul Davis who officially announced his candidacy. In a matter of speaking.

(excerpt, RTO Online)

Davis decided to enter local politics after becoming frustrated with recent City Council decisions that have increased expenses for Riverside residents including doubling the cost of electricity. "Someone has to force the city to take some fiscal responsibility," Davis told RTO Online.

May Davis thinks Paul is the man for the job. "It's about time," she said when asked her opinion of Paul's entry into politics. "Paul has the knowledge and the motivation to work for the people of Ward 4."
Paul operates the Riverside store and May runs the Moreno Valley operation. The pair very diplomatically declined to say who is the better operator but agree that a "very healthy" competition exists that includes daily phone calls to compare numbers.

Riverside has seven council members. Three are up for re-election in June. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, a special run-off election is held in November of odd-numbered years which is consolidated with the County-wide election on that same date. Davis will attempt to unseat Ward 4 incumbent Frank Schiavone, a custom homebuilder elected in 2002. Davis is very direct in his criticism of Schiavone. "He doesn't communicate with the people and he does not do what's in the best interest of his constituents."

As Riverside nears the end of another census period cycle, Ward Four once again has mushroomed into the most populated ward in the city with 57,000 residents through massive growth in its southern neighborhoods. Traditionally, this ward has the highest voter turnout. It will be parceled up again at the next redistricting process but this election happens years before that will take place.

Davis, a former law enforcement officer turned businessman anticipated that Schiavone will spend at least $200,000 to try and keep his council seat and that the mail in ballot system used in the preliminary round will work against a non-incumbent. Still, there are political forces more powerful than high-spending and incumbent home field advantage as Election 2007 clearly showed.

The first endorsement that Davis will focus on obtaining will be from the Riverside Police Officers' Association which has endorsed Schiavone in every election since at least 2001. The Riverside Police Administrators' Association will not be involved in the endorsement of political candidates during this upcoming election cycle.

Also being bunted around as a possibility in Ward Four is a retired deputy chief of the city's fire department. But the last couple of weeks, the talk has focused around Davis.

The challenges faced by the candidates on the issues will be similar to those faced by individuals who ran for the presidency, namely that being the economy. With more budget cuts and possible employee layoffs being seen in this city possibly as early as January (when the city does its mid-year analysis of its annual budget), candidates will likely be questioned intensively on this issue especially the preservation of the city's basic services including public safety, public libraries, public works, public utilities and public parks.

Not to mention that labor contracts will be expiring and new MOUs will have to be negotiated by several of the city's bargaining units during next year. These contracts will be negotiated during an economic period in the city which is undergoing major budget cuts. The last contract negotiation period that took place in 2006 especially during the summer months was the most turbulent in recent history, with strike votes, lawsuits, rallies at City Hall and allegations of intimidation and retaliation including those detailed in at least one lawsuit filed earlier this year surrounding the decision of one of the city's bargaining units to sue the city.

It will be an action-packed election season to be sure.

If incumbents tell you they're not running or you hear that they're not, be wary because this is a common tactic incumbents often use to flush any potentially powerful rivals out early on in the race. All four incumbents have either started fundraising or putting feelers out that they intend to run.

The always popular Michael Williams Company organizes fundraisers for different candidates including those running locally though its focus is primarily on incumbents.

Mayor Ron Loveridge has announced he will be running for yet another term of office. One of his goals while in office is to win the presidency of the National League of Cities. No seriously! Hopefully, during his campaign he'll tell us what his goals are for Riverside. Although in all fairness, one of the most interesting candidate dialogues I ever participated in was during the 2005 mayoral election when Loveridge and candidates Ameal Moore and Terry Frizzel all sat in the same room for one of the few times during the long campaign season and it was very interesting. All provided good, well-thought out responses and the interplay between them was fascinating.

Names that pass through people's lips as his main challengers so far include former Ward Three Councilman Art Gage and former mayor, Terry Frizzel though neither has made any announcements of intent to run as it's still early in the process but people are talking about them!

Ward Six Councilwoman Nancy Hart has announced through this site her intentions to run again.

Ward Four Councilman Frank Schiavone is also running again and is back with Michael Williams after a break away during his election bid against District 1 Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster.

His first fundraiser will be held on Wednesday Jan. 28 between 5:30-8:30 p.m at Ciao Bella Ristorante on Spruce Street.

Ward Two Councilman Andrew Melendrez has done the same thing.

In fact, he will be hosting this fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Cask 'n Cleaver on University Avenue. Tickets start at $125 a plate.

Hart and Loveridge have already started raising money for their political campaigns earlier this year.

Inland Empire cities caution those who ran for political office that it's time to remove your signs even as ballots are still being counted in several cities.

The housing crisis in the Inland Empire which is among the worst in the country continues.

Has the proposed Colton railroad crossing gone kaput?

Meanwhile in San Bernardino County, scandal-plagued Assessor Bill Postmus speaks out in rebuttal against this recent Press Enterprise

(excerpt, Postmus, Press Enterprise)

After reviewing all the facts -- facts that came to light only after aggressive reporting by The Press-Enterprise -- it was learned that political considerations promoted by one elected official has influenced the increased scrutiny of my office. The P-E has reported that it was one politician who secretly launched the investigation into my office.

Additionally, it was reported by The P-E that the same politician who launched an investigation into my office may be considering either running for my position in an election or forcing me out and installing himself in my stead.

Such machinations, uncovered by The P-E's reporting staff, certainly lead one to conclude that politics influenced specific criticism of this office.

When I was first elected to public office in 2000, I pledged to govern differently, and I have. I challenged the corruption exhibited by county officials during the 1990s and helped eradicate that culture.

In the 2006 race for county assessor, I ran against an incumbent politician whose unethical behavior cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in the settlement of discrimination lawsuits. This county is moving beyond those days of embarrassment, scandal and shame.

Has my office sometimes fallen short of meeting the public's expectations? Sure it has. Most government departments may disappoint at one time or another. No elected official is a model of perfection.

However, I will continue to work to reform this department for the better, and I will do so in a very public and transparent manner. Residents deserve no less.

He's right but what if they also deserve better than him?

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has vowed to crack down on his deputies who drink alcohol off duty and then fire their weapons, after a recent rash of such shootings.

The latest incident took place when a deputy drank 11 alcoholic beverages who stuck a loaded gun in his friend's mouth and then pulled the trigger, killing him and that sparked the crackdown. His rationale? He didn't know the gun was loaded but how would he if he were drunk out of his mind and even if he did know, would he care?

But there have been other incidents. Just this year alone according to the article, 61 deputies in Baca's department have been arrested on drinking charges including 39 who were behind the wheel of a vehicle at the time.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Since 2004, more than a dozen sheriff's deputies have been involved in incidents in which they were accused of displaying or shooting a gun while under the influence of alcohol.

An off-duty deputy who had been drinking at a party during the early hours of New Year's Day accidentally shot a man in the leg while trying to show off a new holster, law enforcement officials said. The deputy has been placed on leave. Prosecutors are reviewing the case for possible criminal charges.

An off-duty deputy, driving while under the influence in 2004, hit another vehicle and was accused of pointing his gun at men from the other vehicle when they approached him. The deputy pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was suspended from the Sheriff's Department for 15 days.

An off-duty deputy, who was drinking with friends at a bar in 2003, tussled with a security guard and then attempted to intimidate the guard by displaying a firearm in his waistband.

Merrick Bobb, special counsel to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on the Sheriff's Department, said Baca's proposed policy would place the department at the forefront of an issue that has long been recognized as a problem for law enforcement.

"It has not received the attention it deserves," said Bobb, who first raised the issue of off-duty shootings and alcohol in the mid-1990s, when he analyzed 28 shootings and found that six involved deputies who had been drinking.

How common is it for law enforcement officers to brandish and discharge their weapons while drunk and while off-duty? Does it get investigated? Are criminal charges filed because both of these behaviors are illegal? Do they get swept under the carpet and ignored behind the veil of secrecy?

How much education is there given to officers that alcohol and guns don't mix well? It might seem like common sense but if there's this many incidents in one agency, then common sense isn't working very well. If they are rewarding those who engage in this behavior in any law enforcement agency, then things really aren't working well in that department no matter what its representatives say.

Speaking of sheriffs and guns, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchins' recent actions on gun permits has upset some people.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

The crackdown has infuriated gun-rights advocates and some permit holders, who accuse Hutchens of violating their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. They have addressed the county Board of Supervisors, demanding intervention, and have threatened to back an opponent to challenge Hutchens' reelection in 2010.

"My office has been inundated with e-mails and quite a few phone calls," said Supervisor Chris Norby. "They're concerned and confused as to what's going on."

Hutchens said she was surprised by the reaction. "There's so much important stuff going on with the department, I didn't expect there to be so much feedback on this," she said.

Under California law, sheriffs and police chiefs may issue a concealed carry permit to anyone with "good cause," or a legitimate reason, to carry a firearm in public. The law grants law enforcement executives broad discretion in issuing the permits.

As a result, the number of permits varies widely throughout the state -- with rural counties such as Fresno, Kern and Tulare at the top of the list.

Norby intends to ask his colleagues on Nov. 18 to adopt a new county policy that would require the sheriff to renew all previously issued permits unless the holder committed a crime or misused the permit.

"It's not like there's too many of them out there, relative to our population," Norby said. "I don't think it's excessive, so I don't see the need to reduce them."

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older