Election 2008: Message to Democrats, vote Republican
One of those who was killed, John Dylan Masgula, 18, was a creative writing student at the University of California, Riverside and his family lacks the funds to bury him.
One of the survivors, Sarah Knight, 20, is recovering and her parents, Cary and Risa Knight are owners of the Upper Crust, a restaurant located on the downtown pedestrian mall. Their daughter worked there along with Masgula. The Knights always have kind words for their customers, many of whom are regulars at their sandwich shop and it's always a pleasure to eat there. So if you pass by there, think about dropping by and give them some words of support during a very difficult and painful time.
More properties have been acquired by Riverside's Redevelopment Agency through Eminent Domain threats, proving that when dreams clash, the ones that are realized belong to those with the most power.
(excerpt, Press Enterprise)
When the City Council, acting as the agency board, approved the eminent domain suits against the Garners in 2006, the justification was that their properties were blighted -- the Merrill property held boarded-up buildings and the garage was run-down -- or not being used to their full potential in the case of the parking lot.
"We're happy we were able to come to terms with the family," Assistant City Manager Michael Beck said. "We're enthusiastic about the parcels playing a more vital role in the city's economy."
But Carlsbad resident Sarah Garner, whose family owned the land, said they accepted less money than the land was worth to avoid going to trial.
"We feel like we were taken advantage of, to say the least," she said.
The whole affair was disappointing because the family had plans for each parcel, Garner said, and the lawsuits put an end to those plans.
While there are tax advantages to having property acquired by eminent domain, Garner said, it will be almost impossible to reinvest the proceeds in parcels that have as much potential as the parcels they were forced to sell.
The Redevelopment Agency demolished the buildings on Merrill and put in a parking lot.
So, it seems that the parking lot wasn't the issue, it was who got to own the parking lot. So is the history of eminent domain and threatened eminent domain in Riverside against local businesses.
The Riverside Office of Neighborhoods and the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership held their annual conference for city residents at California Baptist University. Several hundred people participated in workshops addressing everything from how to conduct a neighborhood meeting, to co-producers in public safety on seeking neighborhood assets and building from them.
Several city council members including Ward Five's Chris MacArthur and Ward Six's Nancy Hart were seen milling about and sitting in on workshops.
MacArthur spent several minutes greeting city residents from Area Four which included portions of Wards Four and Ward Five including Casa Blanca, Arlington, Arlington Heights and Ramona. He said though he realized portions of it were in Councilman Frank Schiavone's ward, he also had constituents who lived in the area and people's ears perked up when he handed out his cell phone number for anyone to give him a call, adding that he was the kind of elected official who wanted to sit in people's living rooms or stand on their driveways and talk with them.
What's always stimulating are the discussions which take place in between the seminars including at lunch which is included in the event. It's amazing to listen to how many people attending were frustrated at how the city council was conducting its business, how they were discouraging public comment and people felt excluded from the process. If this sentiment is a common one across the city, then next year, Election 2009, is going to be a very interesting one and could continue a trend first seen in Election 2007.
One real treat was the return of Pedro Payne who holds a doctorate degree and is now working and conducting research at the Robert Presley Justice Center for Crime and Justice Studies at UCR. If you remember, Payne was a city employee who held positions both as the director of community relations and executive manager of the Community Police Review Commission. A valued employee with the communities of Riverside if not with those who employed him. Although he's clearly in a better place now, how he was treated serves as a reminder of how important it is to value the "assets" who work for the city as well.
Mayor Ron Loveridge gave a keynote address at the conference, but I missed it. What was waiting on my answering machine was a paid political message that he had done for Councilman Frank Schiavone who is running for District One supervisor for Riverside County. What was both interesting and problematic was that Loveridge began his message by saying that he and all Democrats were voting for Schiavone and he urged those he was addressing to do the same.
Okay, sounds cut and dry but as has been the case about everything in Election 2008, nothing's never that easy. What Loveridge doesn't really address is that he's turning what is supposed to be a nonpartisan race into one between a Democrat and a Republican because why else would be telling people through a canned phone message to join him and all Democrats in voting for a particular candidate. Most often, when they do that, it's to support a fellow Democrat and since most local elections are nonpartisan, some regional organizations representing the Democratic Party opt out of endorsing as an entity in different cities.
Only the other thing Loveridge doesn't tell you is that Schiavone isn't the Democrat, Incumbent Bob Buster is and Schiavone is in fact, a Republican.
In a city where Democrats who have supported Republican candidates or worked on their campaigns have had their loyalty to the Democratic Party questioned including during Election 2007, it's highly unlikely that any large segment of members of the Democratic Party would be pushing to endorse or encourage their members to support a Republican candidate. In fact, locally some members of the Democratic Party complained that they were unfairly treated for working on or supporting the candidacies of those who identified as members of the Republican Party or another political party who were running in a nonpartisan process.
Even though local elections are considered to be nonpartisan, the members of the Democratic Party were expected to support the campaigns of Democratic candidates and were viewed with suspicion if they supported, campaigned for or voted for Republican candidates. There were even rumors of loyalty oaths being required for signature though these accounts weren't confirmed.
Yet now, a prominent Democrat politician is urging for his fellow crew mates to vote Republican in a nonpartisan election that breaks those boundaries when a major political party or two decides to get involved. These are indeed strange times, with politics making strange bed fellows.
In fact, except for Loveridge and possibly Councilman Chris MacArthur, those on the dais who have endorsed Schiavone versus those who have endorsed Buster have divided themselves along political party lines. The only question mark is Ward Three Councilman Rusty Bailey who's a "declined to state" and has endorsed Schiavone. But then some political watchers have designated Loveridge a Democrat in name only.
So Loveridge's call to the masses from inside the Democratic Party to vote for a Republican candidate is the latest chapter in this election which has taken some interesting and even bizarre twists and turns. With two days left to go, there's certainly more to come.
Here's a statement from a brochure from the Schiavone camp which I found crumpled while crossing the street. I haven't received his mailers in several weeks but had heard all about them. Yes, it's the one with the ambiguous photographs of unidentified individuals, someone said possibly Riverside County employees, which has been attributed by proximity to the text below.
"Bob Buster has given millions of dollars in benefits to illegal immigrants. And you paid for it."
It's not clear whether or not the men depicted in the photographs are supposed to represent county workers who aren't mentioned anywhere in the text above nor are they the ones being addressed in that statement. It's not clear whether or not the men depicted in the photographs are supposed to depict undocumented immigrants either and if they are, then did the individuals taking their photographs ask them or did they use actors? At any rate, the use of these photographs with no attribution and no explanation of what these men represent is problematic in many different ways that obviously were above the notice of whomever in Schiavone's campaign put it together especially since it's clear from at least the top photograph that the men didn't pose for the picture to be used specifically in a politician's campaign. Isn't it nice to have your picture taken unknowingly and then have it appear in a political campaign perhaps in a negative way?
And they all appear to be Latino at least in the top photo which was placed right next to the text about Buster giving benefits to "illegal immigrants".
What's also problematic too and racist, is that in the image is a faintly depicted image of a map of Mexico including its border portion which is helpfully labeled, "Mexico". This makes it clear that Schiavone's campaign is trying to tie in illegal immigration to Mexico and Mexicans as also depicted by the picture of the "wall". Maybe Schiavone and his campaign team aren't aware of this but not all undocumented immigrants are from Mexico and not even all of those which are Latino are from Mexico. Many undocumented immigrants come from countries all around the world including those in Europe, especially from what used to be the Soviet Union and its satellite nations under communism.
But then to portray an accurate portrait of undocumented immigration would not fulfill the inflammatory intent that has been present when all undocumented immigration can be associated with Mexicans which virtually all the negative sentiment is. So you have a political campaign (and his isn't the only one) that's not playing on the truth, it's playing on emotions.
But it's ironic given what the Schiavone campaign said about the appearance of a dark-skinned man in another brochure associated with undocumented immigration, that the presense of the two on the same brochure had nothing to do with each other. It's hard to believe that this time, they don't. It is however, very disappointing. Some Latinos in conversation have complained about the campaigns being launched in both sides, feeling that both campaigns have pretty much viewed them as necessary losses. And given that they're the fastest growing demographic of voters in the county, it's disappointing that this has happened.
Then there's this statement,
"Meanwhile, Buster received a vote of NO CONFIDENCE from our Riverside Sheriffs because of his soft on drug policies."
Actually, no that is not quite true as the reality is much more complicated than what is being portrayed in one sound byte. But then someone should remind Schiavone that the vast majority of people who use WIC programs are actually citizens of the United States and if he wants to abolish WIC, he should just come out, say that and include it in his campaign platform.
But the statement on the RSA's no confidence vote four years ago is confusing. Maybe that's why there's no source attribution for this campaign statement in the mailer. The reasons why the Riverside Sheriffs' Association issued a no confidence vote in June 2004 were related to his vote on labor issues that the union supported and the vote was a culmination of other issues. His position on the labor issues triggered the challenge in the 2004 supervisor's race by Linda Soubirous who was fronted by the RSA and other police associations.
Then maybe in the next two days, there will be a bunch of backed up mailers and phone messages from Riverside city employees talking about how Schiavone plans to handle trivial issues including traffic, the housing crisis, the allotment of law enforcement resource in unincorporated areas versus contract cities and other issues that people are actually talking about rather than focusing on the issue they're not.
Inside Riverside, the blog about the politics of Riverside County hasn't been active since the appointment of Sheriff Stan Sniff last year, but right now there's a discussion on Schiavone and DHL here.
I believe that Frank Schiavone was doing the right thing by voting to allow DHL to pull night flights out of March. In a time where our fellow citizens are losing their jobs at an alarming pace. Frank Schiavone and his fellow members had the foresight to see that by allowing DHL to operate at night more product will be moved, and thus allowing for the emolyment of citizens to fill the new night positions.
As far as the noise factor, only a fool would move next to an airport and cry about the noise coming from it. That makes as much sense as moving next to a missile test site and later cry about the sounds of explosions.
In Norco, the city manager is telling the city government that the city's broke and its reserves are depleted, which no doubt will impact further budget discussions.
The Riverside Sheriffs' Association has announced that it wants its own members and members of the public to stay away from Soboba Indian Casino, calling it too dangerous after citing that six people have been killed in recent weeks.
All six by its own deputies, in shootouts on the reservation which is a lot especially considering that the contract which authorized the Sheriff's Department to serve as a police agency there expired last July.
(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)
Due to recent violence against Riverside County deputy sheriffs and a concern that the situation remains unstable for [union] members as well as the general public, the Riverside County Sheriff's Association is recommending that its members and the general public avoid the Soboba Casino for their off-duty leisurely activities," the alert said, before listing nine other Indian casinos to patronize.
Tribal Council member Rose Salgado said the tribe didn't want to bring the public into the controversy.
"The recent tragic events were unrelated to the casino and had no impact on the safety or welfare of either casino patrons or employees. In fact, the casino parking lot was used as the command center for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the media during both incidents," she said in a statement. "It is not productive to have an outside agency such as the Riverside County Sheriff's Association hinder the process of mediation between the tribe, the United States Department of Justice, and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department -- an agency that they are supposed to be helping, not alienating."
Riverside Supervisor Jeff Stone out on the campaign trail demanded new leadership on the tribal counsel which responded with these words.
"We have continued to ask for a government-to-government relationship, for them to be sensitive to our customs and traditions, and recognize and respect the tribe's sovereignty," she said. "We realize . . . that we have a long road ahead of us to educate elected officials and the communities of the intricate and dynamic functions of tribal government."
Repairing San Berdoo is on the mind of one local columnist.
In Columbia, Missouri, an important vote that could decide the vote of civilian review in that city is set for June 26.
In related news, the city is confounded by a report on racial profiling released by a consultant it hired.
Among the data found, was the fact that White complainants were 10 times more likely to have their complaints sustained for misconduct than were Black complainants.
(excerpt, Columbia Tribune)
During the committee’s two-hour meeting last night, the most heated debate once again centered around a report of complaints filed with Columbia police between 2005 and 2007. The report found that out of 130 complaints, officers’ actions were deemed "improper" in 30 percent of complaints filed by whites compared to 3.2 percent of complaints filed by blacks.
Committee member and statistics expert Jeff Milyo presented an analysis of the report that differed from a May 1 presentation given by Tracy Greever-Rice, associate director of the University of Missouri’s Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis. Greever-Rice told the committee she couldn’t do any statistical analysis on the data and it was hard to draw conclusions from the report because of a lack of information.
Although some committee members said they think the information proves police treat minorities differently than whites, Milyo said that’s not a fair conclusion without taking into account why disparities in the data exist.
Milyo, an MU professor who specializes in dealing with disparity data in political economics, said disparities are expected by race in data of traffic stops and complaints, but that doesn’t mean police are racist.
"You can’t just look at disparities and make inferences about treatment," Milyo said. "You have to question whether they are the product of underlying social conditions in general or are they the product of something else."
Two officers from the Philadelphia Police Department who are being investigated for alleging beating a man hard enough to break his jaw, are also under investigation for an earlier incident, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Earlier this week, the two officers, both five-year veterans, were criminally charged with assault and related offenses for an unrelated case in August 2007 in which they caught a 37-year-old man painting graffiti and then allegedly severely beat him when he tried to flee. Ramsey has suspended the officers without pay with intent to fire.
That case prompted the commissioner to review their personnel records, which showed the June 2007 complaint filed by the teen's mother, who said her son was struck repeatedly.
Ramsey's order to reopen the case comes after the televised police assault May 5 of three suspects, which led to the firings of four officers and disciplinary actions against four others in a move that has rocked the department. Ramsey has said that use of excessive force will not be tolerated.
"We want to make sure that we did not miss anything and make sure that there is not a pattern of behavior," Chief Inspector Anthony DiLacqua, recently appointed to oversee internal investigations, said of the new investigation ordered.
In the meantime, the man whose jaw was broken by these two officers wants an apology.
A woman is killed and a police officer who lied about the circumstances of her killing gets his wrist slapped.
Former Atlanta Police Department Officer Arthur Testler was sentenced by a judge to 4 1/2 years in prison for his role in the coverup of the murder of Kathryn Johnston, 92, by a group of narcotics officers, most of which have also faced criminal charges.
McKenney asked Johnson for the minimum one-year prison sentence, and called relatives and one of Tesler's neighbors to vouch for his character and ask the judge to allow him to return soon to his wife and four children, ages 10 months to 13 years.
The shackled Tesler blinked back tears as his wife, Kelli, expressed their remorse for the tragedy and described her husband as a good man and "a dad who has to regularly beat up monsters in the closet before bedtime."
The prosecutor, Kellie S. Hill, asked the judge to sentence Tesler to the maximum of five years in prison "to do what is just for Ms. Johnston."
Hill said Tesler could have told the truth at any time.
"For those monsters that he can't fight for his children, he can blame himself," she said.
Here's a job opening for the chief investigator of the Office of Citizen Complaints in San Francisco.