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, February 15, 2009

Holidays and happenings

"In light of such testimony which is supported by Riverside's own Section 4.8 policy, it is difficult to understand how the city could assert that its officers are not subject to investigation and are mere victims."

---Motion in opposition to summary judgment, Riverside Police Officers' Association v The City of Riverside (2003)

Summary adjudication should be granted as a cause for action for violation of the Peace Officers Procedural Bill of Rights act (Gov. Code 3300 et. seq.) because Plaintiffs' claim lacks merit as the undisputed material facts show that no officer who was involved in an onduty shooting was suspected of criminal misconduct and was never under investigation or subject to interrogation.....Rather each officer was considered the victim of a crime."

---Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the City of Riverside for the lawsuit, Riverside Police Officers' Association v The City of Riverside (2003)


Doug Jacobs' bulldozers at Chinatown site are cited by the Riverside Police Department for noise disturbance after the developer violates his permit forbidding noisy work on Sundays and federal holidays. Bulldozers were working on both Sunday and today, Presidents Day and numerous complaints were phoned in to police who responded to the site to issue citations.

When is an investigation not an investigation? When the city's attorneys say it's not? And what's changed? These questions will be addressed in future postings.

Speaking of which, there's still a lot of confusion surrounding exactly what the Governmental Affairs Committee mandated for gathering information for a future meeting involving the proposed changes to the investigative protocol utilized by the Community Police Review Commission as stated in the city's charter. It remains to be seen what will come out of that process or if the city council members who are dictating policy and practice for the CPRC will continue down that path. It's not anticipated that any changes in direction will be made for the S.S. Hudson by the city council in the near future because most of the rest of the city council seems content with allowing one or two of them to direct Hudson towards disenfranchising the CPRC.

Did the committee actually mean that the process should continue as an information exchange or was it just to humor the crowd of city residents who appeared at the meeting?

Ward Four candidate Paul Davis made some pretty strong statements at the Friday Morning Club on Feb. 13 that should be coming from the city council dais including one where he said that the direction that City Manager Brad Hudson had received regarding the direction of the CPRC came from his political rival, Councilman Frank Schiavone. Both are facing off in the June primary mail-in election and as of yet, no other candidates have declared for the fourth ward. But Schiavone has started making the rounds of the city's employee unions including its largest for political endorsements and support and has already been endorsed by almost everyone on the dais, reinforcing the closed ranks of the city council against newcomers. Even done by some of those who were themselves newcomers not too long ago. Live and learn, they say.

So the campaigning in a sense has already begun in earnest.

And if you attended the CPRC meeting last week, you would have learned something else. A new player has come to the ever crowded table. And what that means remains to be seen. But it's sure to be dramatic and exciting. And most of all, good blogging.

Presidents' Day is here but still Riverside's a happening place even as governmental businesses, educational institutions and many businesses remain closed for the day, during one of the biggest rain storms of the season.

While bulldozers plowed up the Chinatown site just days after the Riverside City Council denied the appeal filed by the Save Our Chinatown Committee, city officials attended the city's annual Black History Parade and Expo only a few blocks away. Celebrating one culture and history while demolishing another in the same day.

The Committee sought an emergency restraining order on Friday to stop the bulldozers on Valentines Day but couldn't get a hearing date until Tuesday, Feb. 17.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"We expected this to happen," she said.

"We had started monitoring the site. On Saturday morning, two people went there and saw them working on the site. They are pushing dirt back and forth."

Site developer Doug Jacobs said workers were uncovering the site under the supervisor of three anthropologists. No construction was started, he said.

"I pulled all my permits on Friday and we're ready to go," Jacobs said. "We're doing everything with the City Council's approval."

On Friday, Wong's group requested that a judge issue a restraining order to prevent development, she said.

The matter is set for a Tuesday hearing, she said.

"We had to wait weeks and accumulated evidence to show they were getting ready for construction," she said.

Jacobs said he didn't know about the restraining order request or hearing.

The treatment of people of color in Riverside when it comes to property ownership or usage is pretty much consistent. One is reminded of the story of a Black property owner who had land by what's now the MarketPlace area of Riverside. The city was trying to acquire the land through its Redevelopment Agency (which is the city council getting paid $100 more per meeting) and he was upset when he learned that the city was offering more money to the White property owners than they were to him, the Black property owner even though the value of the parcels was about the same. He sued the Redevelopment Agency in federal court and won summary judgment after a judge determined that there was enough compelling evidence that the city violated the equal opportunity under the law clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to take the case to trial.

Even before Latino and Asian-American property owners being disproportionately represented in Eminent Domain cases in downtown Riverside, the Black business owners in the downtown area started disappearing. In 1999, the Black-owned business, Gram's Barbecue was targeted by City Hall when it was located across the street from the Mission Inn Hotel. The city wanted to get that location for the relocation of the restaurant, Mario's Place and Gram's Barbecue would have been ousted had it not been for huge protests by its patrons and other people disgusted by the city's actions. Gram's Barbecue because of this activism found its current home on Main Street.

Another restaurant, Tamale Factory, which used to be in the building now being renovated for UC Riverside's School of the Arts nearly was ousted and again, its patrons protested the proposed removal of a Mexican restaurant from the downtown pedestrian mall. Today, this restaurant sits in its new location in the mall.

And then the taking of the historic Kawa Market in the Wood Street neighborhood not to mention an adjacent house through threats of Eminent Domain. And what exists in place of the neighborhood market which goes back to World War II, a vacant lot surrounded by a fence nearly two years later which belies the city's claim of urgency in this situation.

Former Riverside Police Department Officer Robert Forman will have his information arraignment on Feb. 17 at 8:30 a.m. back in Riverside after having undergone his preliminary hearing in a courtroom in Corona. Interestingly enough if you recall, there's no action or minute trail on how his preliminary hearing was transferred out of Dept. 42 at the Riverside courthouse to one in Corona. Even the Press Enterprise apparently didn't know where it was and had to rely on court records to write a brief on it.

Forman was arrested in October and then charged with three felonies including two charges of oral copulation under the threat of authority and one count of sexual battery. The charges stemmed from alleged incidents between February and April 2008 involving three different women.

The embarrassed Riverside County Sheriff's Department said that off the books deals involving the use of the Ben Clark Training Center led to the problems uncovered in an audit of the facility. How much money wasn't collected by the department? At least $500,000.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

A county audit, released last week, found that more than 10 agencies were granted price breaks at the county's expense for use of the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center from 2005 to 2007. The Sheriff's Department identified them after county officials requested them Tuesday.

The audit's findings reflect what officials say were old rifts between the sheriff and fire departments and informal handshake agreements at the training center. Sheriff Stanley Sniff and Fire Chief John Hawkins say they have since remedied those management and accounting obstacles. Sniff took office in October 2007 and replaced the center's leader, Capt. Mark DiMaggio, with Capt. Richard Coz.

But Sniff's predecessor, Bob Doyle, sheriff during the audit, said he is skeptical that Sniff and Hawkins have overcome the center's longtime problems.

March Joint Powers Authority executive director Lori Stone said her agency may not have paid some fees between 2005 and 2007. But the agency had an unwritten deal with the Sheriff's Department, she said. The joint powers authority gave the Ben Clark center free access to training sites on its land that normally would command high fees for use, she said.

Fire and college officials said they could not comment on the specifics of the audit's findings. But Hawkins said his department did not pay some of its share of Ben Clark center costs during the audit years. He said it was because Doyle's administration was not allotting the fire department its fair share of use of the facilities. Doyle said the fire department was not meeting its obligations.

Press Enterprise Columnist Cassie MacDuff comments the exit of former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus.


"As we have learned, political considerations should not be a priority for any county assessor."

Too bad he came to that wisdom so late, only after his 16-year career in "public service" was exposed as more of a career in political pursuits.

But this isn't the end of the Postmus saga. The district attorney continues to investigate what went on in the assessor's office during his tenure.

The Board of Supervisors must decide whether to retain the special prosecutor it hired as a first step toward removing him.

And the group that launched a recall plans to decide by Tuesday whether to drop the effort, or continue so that a successor can be chosen by the voters instead of by county supervisors.

The recall group threw a "Postmus Postmortem" party Friday night to celebrate. But few people came. Maybe it was just too late.

A man in Lakewood dies after Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies pepperspray and tase him.

In the wake of a projected $500 million deficit in Los Angeles' budget, its city council faces tough questions about contract negotiations with the city's fire fighters and police officers.

Six city council candidates respond.

In San Bernardino, the conflict continues between furloughs or layoffs for public safety employees as that city balances its budget without any funds in reserve.

The latest letter being issued by the San Bernardino Police Officers' Association.

On February 2, 2009, Mayor Patrick J. Morris and the City Council took the first steps on $9 million in proposed budget cuts for the current fiscal year.

The Police Department is slated to bear the brunt of these cuts — $5.4 million or 60-percent of the total. These cuts would negatively impact 71 officers - 49 sworn officers have received termination notices with an additional 22 facing forced demotion or elimination.

As you know, the men and women of the San Bernardino Police Department have worked hard to reduce the number of violent crimes and murders that has plagued our community for many decades, and now we are now faced with reducing our staffing level to below what it was eight years ago when violent crimes gripped our city. What’s worse, these deep cuts represent only short-term fixes. Deeper, more painful cuts may be required in the next fiscal year when the city’s budget deficit is even larger than it is today.The proposed cuts are a step backward for our city.

Since 2001, with increases in the number of sworn officers, the men and women in the San Bernardino Police Department have played a central role in reducing crime. The City’s declining crime rate demonstrates the importance that a larger, more active police force has had on the City.

Now the Mayor and the City Council is set to reduce the Police Department’s size - a step backwards for our community. The proposed cuts go against the voters’ will. San Bernardino voters passed Measure Z and Measure YY in November 2006. The city’s taxpayers agreed to tax themselves to hire 40 new police officers. Since these hiring’s occurred, crime is down. Now the proposed budget cuts will cause a reduction of at least 49 positions - to a level lower than pre-Measure Z levels.

These cuts can be stopped but you need to act now by: Contacting Mayor Morris and the City Council and let them know you oppose their proposed budget “solution” and that it’s wrong for San Bernardino, its residents and business owners, and the 339 hard-working men and women who proudly protect our city. We've included phone and e-mail information in this letter.

Attending the 3 p.m., February 17, 2009 San Bernardino City Council meetings and oppose these cuts in person.

The proud men and women who protect and serve our community, thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerly,The San Bernardino Police Officer’s Association

P.S. We hope you’ll take the time right now to contact the Mayor and City Council to let them know you oppose these harmful cuts to the San Bernardino Police Department. Please attend the Feb. 17th Council meeting if you can.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Name: Phone: E-mail:

Mayor Pat Morris (909) 384-5133

Councilmember Esther Estrada (909) 384-5268

Councilmember Dennis Baxter (909) 384-5222

Councilmember Brinker (909) 384-5333

Councilmember Chas Kelley (909) 384-5278

Councilmember Rikke Van Johnson (909) 384-5378

Councilmember Wendy McCammack (909) 384-5068

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