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

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Comments and commentary abound in River City

There's been a lot of outstanding commentary this week on different issues impacting the city of Riverside which may or may not be the City of the Arts but has handed off the City of the Transit Hub to San Bernardino by ejecting Greyhound and dismissively telling its 80,000 yearly passengers where to take it, which is some place else. Any place else but Riverside. Elderly, disabled, poor or any combination? You can just hop on two or three dial a rides at $2.00 or more a stint to get to San Bernardino or take RTA buses but only five days a week and no holidays. You can always take a cab according to several council members which might cost even more than your bus ticket but who's counting? Riverside's government is out to make your lives a little bit more difficult, because frankly, your kind just isn't really wanted in Riverside and certainly not within the vicinity of either the Mission Inn Hotel or the Fox Theater, because for some reason, the elderly, poor and/or disabled passengers are viewed as a scourge on society because they rely on alternative forms of transportation and the members of our city council and most of their campaign contributors do not.

Face it, if the Greater Chamber of Commerce which welds the downtown power with the Riverside Downtown Partnership doesn't like you, then you're not welcome and neither are your forms of transportation that you need to get around. But the interesting thing about being elderly is that many of us, God willing, will be in those shoes some day and face those challenges including getting around from one end of town to another or one end of the country to another.

City officials actually suggest that their constituents use the above forms of transportation to get to their buses in San Bernardino but the problem is, few if any of them actually did the research to find out if these were actually viable options for people. That should have been one of the first things that they should have done before even considering taking away a vital form of transit for many of Riverside's residents.

What you probably won't actually be able to do if you're a former Greyhound Bus Lines passenger is climb aboard Councilman Steve Adams shuttle service to San Bernardino because he and his dais mate, Councilman Frank Schiavone were joking when they made those comments several discussions ago about personally driving disenfranchised bus passengers to San Bernardino's Greyhound Bus Station. It might be funny to them but it's not to the tens of thousands of people who have lost a vital service due to the decision making in front of and behind closed doors by those doing the joking.

That was before they actually used their jokes about providing public transit as a rationale to vote for ousting Greyhound out of downtown. It was just one of those meetings that you can't actually believed happen until you've seen it. But the truth is, that a governmental body shows its true level of class by how it treats its most vulnerable constituents and it's often through watching this take place, that it tells you exactly what kind of city government is in place.

The plight of Greyhound was one topic written about by a city resident, while others included the controversial incident involving an off-duty police sergeant from another agency who was held at gunpoint by a Riverside Police Department officer on his own property and a curious turn in the upcoming Riverside City Council races.

The latest article involving Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Wayne Guillary and the status of his investigation as stated has attracted another vigorous discussion, with people on all different sides of this controversial incident weighing in including some from the last round of debate a while ago.


"kindjustice" questioned the whole idea that Guillary had to identify himself as an officer to the Riverside Police Department officer.

Old guy: Get your head out of the sand and wake up. If you read the Dec. 7 2008 article, Wayne Guillary did try to identify himself to the RPD officer but he wouldn't allow him to do so.

And Crazyhorse: Just when does an off-duty officer sitting on his own property have to identify himself to a rude police officer? Guillary was under no complusion to do so and wasn't doing anything wrong. Being black in America can be hell while dealing with law enforcement officers. Guillary was lucky he was not shot and killed like the two young African American men killed recently, one in Anaheim and the other in Oakland. Additionally, if you understand the law, the officer (RPD) violated Mr. Guillary's 4th Amendment right.

Indiangiver: Your name fits you well. you need to take back your comments and read the previous articles. You are way off base.

"Crazy Horse" who said he had a great law enforcement career without getting "punked" before he retired responded with his or her two cents.

I'm not saying if this LAPD sergeant is right or wrong. I don't know or care. That's his problem. But those who rock the boat, especially when they're off duty and get mixed up in something with another agency, even if they're right, almost never come out of it intact. Fact of life, all your flowery crap notwithstanding.

That LAPD sergeant, if he's reading this, knows I speak the truth. His 4th amendment rights weren't violated until a jury says they were. A lot of good that does him right now. Sounds to me like both sides may have gotten a little stubborn. Only problem is, the RPD officer was on the clock, and the LAPD sergeant was not.

Then comes his backup in the form of "J Doe doesn't care about it" or something like that.

Ive got 'crazy horse' on this one, just like the article states, that the so called 'victim' in this case is "driving the publicity", if he was actually confident that his accusations against RPD were true, then he shouldnt need to see the incident report, nor should he feel the need to worry about "when and how he could address the accusations made in it". seems to me that he must have really grown sick of the commute to LA, and wants to expedite his stay at home retirement the expense of the City of Riverside....

Pretty interesting, coming from J Doe, which is a bit ironic in the greater context of written material. But it's likely that this latest round of discussion about this situation is just getting started.

Besides, Guillary's interest in the incident report could stem from a variety of different reasons. It could be as one person stated that he did something wrong and that's why he's worried. It could also be that what happened to him is true and then he found out from his sergeant that there's a report that exists rewriting the incident with him being combative. If you told the truth about an incident and then found out that a false version was being presented as factual in an investigation against you, then of course you're going to want to see what someone else wrote about you that contradicts what happened. That's only natural and has been born out in other cases where there's been a dispute over the version of events in an incident. And I would think that any police officer in his situation would be demanding that their union attorney get them a copy of an incident report that he or she believed had information on it that wasn't true. That's probably a given.

So there's not much in the way of a conclusion that can be drawn simply by Guillary's interest in seeing an incident report that he alleged was being withheld from him while it had been given to his supervisors at the agency which employs him. It might even add or be indicative of the confusion over the situation where a finding of sorts has been announced by the department after it had been saying "no comment" before an investigation has been completed.

Inside Riverside has that Frank Schiavone Essay Contest going on at his or her site and has received some entries including one written to the tune of the "Brady Bunch" theme song. Right now, it's some guy named Jim Stewart facing off with a pack of sock puppets, both of whom have added lyrics to old (and copyrighted) songs. It's amazing how Election 2009 [tm] hasn't even officially been launched yet from the gate and the competition of sorts has already begun. Who'd of guessed it would all begin with a essay competition in the spirit of those sponsored in schools by organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution?

But with candidates waiting in the woodwork to declare their intentions in all three wards up for grabs during Election 2009, this could be a pretty interesting election cycle. If there is a high number of declared candidates, they might have to be prepared to go all the way through a grueling election cycle that doesn't often end until the first Tuesday of November.

And with former councilman, Dom Betro popping himself back in the public eye through op-ed pieces chastising his replacement Mike Gardner, albeit in a passive-aggressive way and his appearances to speak before important democratic committee gatherings, speculation has abounded on whether this means he'll be coming to an election venue soon.

Would he be running for mayor? Inland Empire Magazine speculated a while back that either he or former councilman, Art Gage would vie for Ron Loveridge's seat but what actually happened is that both of them failed to be reelected to their council seats.

We'll all have to wait and see.

A Riverside resident wrote this interesting op-ed piece in the Press Enterprise about some ideas for a Greyhound Bus Station within the city limits.


Oh, and by the way, the first stop on my Greyhound trip was to the San Bernardino station. The station is located in an area of San Bernardino that does not appear to be safe at night. The vagrancy level seemed to be down around the station but that could be due to the fact that the station is gated.

Here are various suggestions I garnered from this trip:

Use Victorville's example and relocate the Greyhound station and Riverside's public bus station to the Amtrak/Metrolink transportation hub.

Use Barstow's example and relocate the Greyhound station to an area of Riverside that will help attract restaurants and shops to a centralized location.

Use Las Vegas' example and keep the Greyhound station in the same general location, but move it inside one of the many parking garages downtown.

Use San Bernardino's example and keep the station where it is but with security gates. Require Greyhound to arrange its service to Riverside around the station's hours of operations.

The Riverside City Council has postponed its biennial review of whether or not to raise its own salaries until Jan. 27, at 3 p.m according to this agenda. Why the city council or whatever it calls itself at 3 p.m. in the afternoon is holding a review about its own salary allocation process is a very good question because surely the city council and mayor are aware that many people can't appear during its afternoon session to address this issue.

Of course, this is more a sign of how in tune with the current times our city government is, given that if they raise their salaries while their city manager has laid off employees and frozen many city positions (not to mention new contracts being negotiated by some of the city's bargaining units), they can kiss their reelection bids goodbye. That should place at least three city council members and a mayor with aspirations of national recognition in their proper perspective, given the heat that politicians in other cities who tried to raise their salaries and perks during what Schiavone has called a "global meltdown" have received from their constituents.

But it looks like at first glance that they plan to maintain their current salary levels. Smart decision.

Speaking of the city council, the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee is set to meet again on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 2:30 p.m. It met a week earlier to screen and evaluate prospective appointments for openings on the city's boards and commissions.

You actually have to dig in the committee meeting archives to find the meeting agenda for a return to addressing prospective appointments for the Planning Commission. Here is the report which tells you nothing but that attachments are available at the city clerk's office. If you remember, the Planning Commission was undergoing a reconfiguration because it was one of only two boards and commissions were members applying for reappointment were not automatically allowed to remain on the board or commission.

Some dispute came up at the committee's Jan. 6 meeting under a prospective candidate for the Planning Commission suggested by Schiavone, as to whether or not he had actually served on this commission a while back.

After all the controversy about creating new buildings for Riverside County's District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices in French Valley, it turns out that the developer doesn't have the necessary funding.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

County supervisors voted unanimously Nov. 25 that French Valley Business Center, LLC must show financing by the first supervisors meeting in January. Otherwise, they agreed, the county will begin seeking another builder by the second meeting, which occurs Tuesday.

But supervisors have given the developer of the buildings in French Valley a few weeks more, said Rob Field, the county's director of facilities management.

Supervisor Jeff Stone will meet with the development company's partners Tuesday, said Stone's chief of staff, Verne Lauritzen. Difficulties with scheduling delayed the meeting until after Jan. 6, he said.

"They have claimed all along that they do have financing set up and they will have financing in place, and we are hoping Tuesday that is what they tell us," Lauritzen said.

French Valley Business Center's managing partners, Bruce Keeton and David Phares, wrote in an e-mail Thursday that the company is committed to the project and "in the final stages of completing construction financing."

But the developer does not have the funds to build the county offices, Field said.

"We entered this deal in good faith and expected them to meet the deadlines," he said. "We are feeling a bit let down."

The assistant chief from the Los Angeles County Fire Department who is facing animal cruelty charges in connection with the death of a dog makes his first court appearance this week.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Johnson's attorney, John Sweeney, said witnesses identified in charging documents have contradicted themselves during different interviews. Sweeney also said witnesses were unable to see the attack from their vantage point to Johnson's property.

"I think this case is pretty cut and dry about Glynn Johnson defending himself," Sweeney said. "It's not the prosecution's version of the facts."

While prosecutors say they are ethically prohibited from speculating about the outcome of specific cases, they say the charges will be backed by evidence and testimony provided at trial.

"We don't file charges with the expectations we're going to lose at trial," Riverside County Assistant District Attorney Chuck Hughes said. "We expect to win cases when we file charges."

Beaumont's mayor is resigning.

No jury verdict as of yet in the federal corruption trial of former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona.

How to become a sheriff from Do you really want to know?


The Commission on Disabilities meets on Monday, June 12 at 6 p.m. at City Hall to purportedly speak on the Greyhound Bus situation.

There will be a public meeting on Monday, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the Kansas Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Church which is on Kansas and MLK, streets addressing the CPRC and the latest dilution of its ability to do much of anything.

The Group meets Thursday, Jan. 15 at 7 a.m. at the Coffee Depot in downtown to listen to guest speaker, City Manager Brad Hudson who will speak on the city's budget in the face of economic downturns and how it will impact city services.

The League of Women Voters, DANA and other organizations are hosting a public forum on Greyhound at Thursday, Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Women's Club on 10th and Brockton. Appearing at this forum will be Councilman Andrew Melendrez, the Riverside County Transportation Agency, the Riverside Transit Agency and the Riverside Police Department.

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