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, March 24, 2009

Election 2009: The RPOA begins its campaign toward openess and transparency

***UPDATE****CPRC Commissioner Jim Ward resigns*****

CPRC meeting canceled due to lack of quorum! Not surprising considering the past attendance records of the current chair and vice-chair. Hopefully, they'll find a quorum soon, meet and conduct some of the business they should have finished months ago.

Mark this day on your calendar. It's a red-letter one.

A major police association has come forward (in a manner of speaking or at least been outed on Craigslist) and asserted that it's pushing for "openness" and "transparency" in government. Okay, that's not exactly pushing for these qualities in the police department but you have to start small and build from there which is hopefully the motive behind the RPOA's pledge to improve access to government by pushing for the release of the police personnel records of a former Riverside Police Department officer. Of course, that individual is also now running for office against the councilman who's probably received more endorsement money from the RPOA PAC than the rest of the elected officials put together. And part of the reason for disclosing police personnel records in this case is to *prove* whether or not he's a police officer or can call himself that title.

It's interesting that this is what the Ward Four council race has been steered away from including a discussion and debate on the issues impacting the ward which judging from canvassing residents in different places in this ward, is what people want to hear and read more about. But the issues will have to wait until the officer "real or not" question has been hashed out again and again.

But there are elements of that situation which are noteworthy and interesting and this is one of them because it's historic in the realm of police personnel record issues. Sit down before you hear this. Yes, it's true, a police union actually is pushing for the disclosure of a police personnel record. Okay, ready for the smelling salts yet?

An anonymous person posted here that the Riverside Police Officers' Association and Ward Four City Council candidate Paul Davis are at loggerheads over whether or not his confidential file from the Riverside Police Department will be released. And if I were Davis, I would release it but I'd make it clear that the RPOA, a labor union which defends the rights of officers from too much exposure under PC 832.7 and other relative state laws pushed for that. Because if that action is taken it might impact the outcome of more than one election this year in more than one voting population.

Because this action can be viewed in two different ways.

It can be seen by union members as a true attempt to release the records of an officer-turned political candidate to truly inform the voters through "openness" and "transparency" which itself is not a bad thing. However, it can also be seen as a union pushing for that release of something that's practically sacred in the ongoing necessity to keep secret, to assist a candidate that they've endorsed in every election he's ran in since 2001. This could inadvertently spread concern and even fear among police officers in the union given that most police officers are of the view that their records should be private and sealed from any public view and not exposed to public reveal ever. Not such a good thing in this scenario because it could foster a climate of, who will be next?

Which category this response falls in is something that won't be known for months and probably not by the public ever because the law enforcement population itself hasn't really been renowned or built a reputation for promoting either "openness" or "transparency" of its own back yard and none of the police associations have either until apparently now.

Just ask State Senator Gloria Romero.

At first glance, it's the ultimate of ironies, that a police union is actually planning to release an officer even a former officer's confidential records if that's the case although if a waiver's been signed, technically they aren't confidential unless the release of those files was restricted to a certain agent or venue. Because even if an officer or former officer waives his personnel records to one agent of course doesn't mean it's a blanket waiver. Often there's restrictions in being able to communicate what's in a personnel record which is contingent on the extent of the waiver granted which should be in written form. And what the waiver entailed in this case is a determining factor on what the situation actually is.

If it was a complete or unlimited waiver, then the record's essentially public and the RPOA's position of releasing it is built a little less on quick sand. If it's not, then it's a much more tricky situation overall and more problematic for any law enforcement union to navigate through even whether the intention is to be more "transparent" or merely to assist their candidate of choice, Frank Schiavone in his election efforts. If it's done in this situation, then every law enforcement association in the state might turn on it as an act of betrayal of one of their own (more so of the person's file than the individual) for political gain.

For that reason and several other obvious ones, it's a double edged sword for a law enforcement labor union to push to do this action especially since the union itself is in an election year. But it's intriguing as well for individuals like myself who believe that peace records are way too cloaked in secrecy and who has seen the negative impact first hand that all this secrecy has on my feelings safety. You try having an investigation involving you in a peripheral way shrouded in secrecy so that when a group of pissed off whoevers come after you on your site because they really hate the investigators but can't vent to them, so that you have no frigging clue what the hell is going on. You try passing an officer in the hallway and then learning later that this is not the first time you've "met". Only he's not saying nasty things about you in the hallway like he did on your site. If you're in this situation, then you realize the joke is truly on you.

It's ironic that it very well could be a police labor union who lights the path for greater transparency of other police records down the road. Those of police officers who habitually are "bad apples" not merely "washed out" trainees if that's indeed really the case here. Hopefully, the kinder, gentler world of this glasnost delivered RPOA style will continue to bear fruit in other ways. It will be the pebble in the smooth lake that sends ripples long distances in every direction. Of course, it could be a one-trick pony, a one-hit wonder. The RPOA's version of Mickey or Baby Come Back.

So I will be following this case with great interest including any court battles or decisions and the impacts on the Ward Four election in June and the RPOA elections next November because this case could go all the way through the convoluted court system in this state and set new case law for PC 832.7, hopefully loosening the bonds that chain it a little bit more in the interest of openness and transparency. Then the police union committee can have a press conference taking credit for that new case law and commemorate it by putting their own personnel records on public display if they choose to run for political office.

I'm for Davis releasing his records but it should be the beginning of the push for openness and transparency, not its end. And it shouldn't end with him.

And if the police union can foster that new beginning and run away with it in their pledge to be more open, more power to it and its pledge towards more openness and transparency. Maybe then, city residents will be able to access even statistical information on citizen complaints and internal investigations and discipline without being denied this basic information by the police department. In fact, tomorrow might be a great day to send out a similar request for information that's not confidential but discretionary because I just know this time that this "openness and transparency" will facilitate the release of this nonidentifying, statistical information on police misconduct investigations. In fact, if the RPOA wins its case, I plan to get transcripts of the proceedings to include in my CPRA requests as exhibits defending the release of this basic statistical information which has been denied to the public since 2002. It would be like, great and groovy if this works because Riverside like, is the only major city in California which refuses to release this statistical information.

Next up, in the interest of "openness" and "transparency", the union since it is showing that it is standing for these things in a non-opportunistic way could lead the way in allowing for the city to honor a legal opinion given by Attorney General Jerry Brown to release the names of officers involved in incustody deaths. Exceptions can be made for true "public safety" situations but it appears that the police department is back to issuing blanket denials for releasing this information. This campaign, this mantle for justice in the area of "openness" and "transparency" would continue in the obvious light and spirit which it was intended rather than violating the sanctity of a peace officer record to help a political candidate win that's been endorsed by the RPOA.

Given that the fourth ward elections are already contentious and names are already being floated around for the RPOA elections in eight months, this could truly be an election year for the books and the year's just begun! It will also be worth following if the RPOA continues on its mission to promote openness and transparency not only in government but in its own backyard as well, the police department. This is truly a worthwhile endeavor that it has taken on and hopefully, with this press release, we haven't seen the last of this campaign for openness and transparency.

At any rate, here's the press release issued by well, whoever. Because there's not enough well, openness and transparency for this person to release their name.


Ward 4 City Council candidate Paul Davis who was dishonorably discharged from the Riverside Police Department after only 5 1/2 months on the job as trainee is doing everything he can to keep his personnel file from going public.

Davis today threatened the Riverside Police Officers Association with a lawsuit should they release any documents from his file.

A few weeks ago, Davis while seeking the endorsement of the Riverside Police Officers Association agreed to waive the confidentiality of his file to allow the directors of the RPOA to review his service record.

After granting this waiver and interviewing with the RPOA, the Association unanimously voted to support Frank Schiavone for re-election.

We are left to wonder what the Riverside Police Officers on the RPOA Board saw in the file that made them all decide to go against Davis, even after they had already contributed to his campaign.

Sadly, the voters may never know since Davis had his attorney send them a letter rescinding his confidentiality waiver and threatening to sue any of them that reveal what they read in the file.

This sort of conduct is not what we should expect from a person who wants to represent us. This is is the behavior of a power hungry man who wants to hide his past from the people so he can trick them out of their votes by pretending he was once a cop, when in fact he washed out as a trainee.

Another irony is that Davis is campaigning on bringing more openness and transparency to government, but he refuses to be open and transparent about his failures as a police officer trainee.

Hopefully the court will unseal his file on Thursday morning and we can all find out the truth about Paul Davis, and whether or not the rumors about his emotional and mental instability are true or not.

What's interesting is that this individual tries to make it appear as if the RPOA interviewing committee viewed his file then saw something that caused them to reject him in favor of incumbent Frank Schiavone (when it's likely no oddsmaker in Las Vegas would cover a wager for Schiavone being the endorsed one). But go back and read the sequence of events which is detailed in the following way.

After granting this waiver and interviewing with the RPOA, the Association unanimously voted to support Frank Schiavone for re-election.

There's no mention whatsoever in this sequence of accessing Davis' file before the interview (which would have been the prudent time to do such a review in order to formulate related interview questions) and that's quite an important process to leave out so maybe the anonymous press officer should run and check out the appropriate sequence of events.

And anyone would have guessed that the RPOA PAC would have voted to support Schiavone as they have in every election going back since at least 2001 when he first ran against incumbent Councilwoman Maureen Kane. It supported him in city and county elections. In fact, he's probably their most solid ally on the dais right now although the recent patching up of things with Councilman Steve Adams might have helped make that popularity contest at least a little bit closer. And given that it's their money and those of their members, it's their right to institute a process to select candidates to endorse however way they see fit. And that process should be open and transparent at least to its membership.

It's ironic because some say the RPOA or members of it asked Davis to perform an audit of the city's finances to help them decide if the future financial state of the city would be to help them develop strategies for the ongoing contract negotiations. But then that was before he decided to run for office and the situations are slightly different but it's odd that the situation between union members and Davis has become so acrimonious as of late because they even donated to his campaign even as unknown people who claimed to be in the "know" posted rumors on craiglist about Davis "washing out" which incidentally was posted beginning before he even filed his candidacy papers.

Even as at least one anonymous individual posted a comment on Craiglist months ago warning Davis that if he did run for office, his past as these nameless people called it would be exposed. Now it looks that promise is bearing fruit in at least several attempts to do this because he in fact did decide to run and more anonymous people have come out of the woodwork alleging he's mentally unfit, he's a "washout" and so forth.

But quite a few police officers seem to like Davis though who could blame them for being a little bit quiet about that right now?

This is one reason why there's never a dull moment in municipal elections. So much drama. All you need are two opposing characters to wrestle in a decorative fountain, ala Dynasty and you will have it all and it's only the second month. Somewhere beneath it all is an election and election issues. Oh, somewhere but not in River City.

But the information and the insinuations of "rumors" continues from of course nameless folks. They usually do.

The unidentified public information officer for whatever, believes that the release of the records will substantiate rumors that Davis is mentally and emotionally unstable. You know I asked myself the same questions and expressed the same concerns when law enforcement officers hid themselves behind aliases (some better than others, both the aliases and the hiding) and posted harassing comments on my site including one who apparently didn't even last long enough in the hiring process to get washed out by another law enforcement agency before getting hired in Riverside. So I can totally relate to where this argument's coming from.

And it's nice to know that the same questions of course will be asked about the stability of other "washouts" and former "officers", Paul Bugar, Daniel Hotard and Jose Nazario who didn't pass probation.

Although curiously enough, former Officer (and convicted child molester) Adam Brown did pass probation. So did some other officers who got fired or "retired" and the one who was so rough around the edges when hired in the early 1990s he had to ride around with a former sergeant for a month. There are also worse things than "washing out" of a police department found to be in violation of state law barely 10 year later and the state constitution according to former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Especially if you're given a pass/fail test at a certain police facility during a certain period of time.

As for "rumors", indeed it's always nice to know if they're true, like the really bizarre ones I occasionally get like the married male officer who has sex onduty and then records it for some reason on his digital recording device (which if true is then of course downloaded in the department's database) or the sergeant who allegedly likes to wave his gun around offduty and was assigned to a division which brought a certain degree of irony to this situation.

Not to mention the truth behind some of the "retirements" given out in the past several years and some volunteers in the citizen patrol division who allegedly like to tell racial jokes. Rumor mills are exactly that, rumor mills and it's hard to know what's true and what's not. Because in a well-managed, well supervised department, these things would never happen would they? Of course not. Then instead, it would be called a train wreck.

At any rate, if the RPOA continues its newest pledge to promote "openness" and "transparency" past this particular election, then we should all support it on that bold quest. Bravo and may we see more of this openness to come as part of its platform in that direction.

Coming up: A wish list of records to be released in the interest of "openness" and "transparency" to promote a better police department and city government in the spirit of the crusade that the RPOA has begun.

And now for a different look at the same issue...

As someone who blogs on issues involving oversight of police departments in general and one in particular, I've found it interesting and very helpful reading other blogs and Web sites which address the same issues in their cities and counties. And there are quite a few out written by both civilians and former law enforcement officers which are very informative and insightful. Yet despite all the rewards of engaging in this form of blogging (and there are many), there is a downside as well as many of these bloggers have found.

This article by one of these excellent bloggers from Injustice in Seattle was posted at the Chicago Sun-Times not too long ago and it addresses some of the issues that arise when bloggers are on the receiving end of bad behavior.

In the past several years since I've experienced some of these downsides to blogging, I've learned that other police accountability bloggers have as well and some have given up because they're literally too scared to continue or afraid that harm might come to themselves or their family.

I can surely relate to wrestling with that decision myself on occasion including recently and it's good to have support from readers who are local as well as those who blog on these same issues who are not from this area.

In fact, it took me quite a few months to really experience the more positive benefits of blogging because about 95% of the comments I received on my blog when comments were open were very negative, some harassing, some threatening intermixed with porn language and rants about bath houses and massage parlors. These comments continued until I disabled comments in May 2007. During the very prolific comment period in the autumn of 2006, the commenters dropped more information about themselves which was quite interesting.

But later on, the blog attracted much wider readership and I began to hear from people who liked reading it and got something positive out of it. My readers who I've met include some very interesting (and surprising) people which represent a fairly diverse cross-section of people. Even now as I'm struggling with technical issues, it still has been a more positive experience blogging than a negative one, though there's still people out there who clearly dislike me and the blog.

But what's hard is when people write comments harassing not me but my family. Derogatory comments have been written about my mother's uterus as among other things being "filthy". And people wishing harm on them.

After all, that comes to mind when you read something like this which was left on my site in November 2005.

(excerpt FBM)

You really don't have anything better to do? I pray that someday, in a beautifully poetic example of justice, you, or better yet, somoene you love is the victim of a brutal violent crime. The suspect will undoubtedly be one of the worthless parolee animals that walk the "U" near where you live. One of the animals who you glorify in all of your propaganda, who are constantly "harrassed" by the horrible RPD. How about we leave the East Side to who should really be patrolling it... Animal Control. Surely they're better suited to handle the "problems" than Police Officers.

Keep up the wonderfully cleaver and original hate-filled writing that you do so well. You're really doing a great job improving your community.

Best Wishes, Kevin, R.P.D.

The Press Enterprise decided to do an article about my blog in late December 2005 with the department's blessing.

I returned to the office to receive messages from a reporter by phone and email that they were doing a story on it which shocked me. I had found out only two days earlier that an investigation of sorts had been initiated from the police chief. The first person who told me that they had been reading it was someone working with the State Attorney General's office. I had already been contacted by a reporter several weeks earlier who wanted to read it after hearing about the blog from several police officers including ones she had written about in one of her articles. One in particular had asked her first if she knew me and then asked her if she read my blog, quite some time before she asked me about it. I knew of that particular officer and was really surprised that he knew about it. Though I probably shouldn't have been in retrospect.

At the time, I knew I was getting people posting including some claiming to be police officers but had no clue who they were and whether they were or weren't.

"Kevin" at the time was a fairly young patrol officer (much less experienced than he sounds in print) area assigned to what's now called a neighborhood policing center where I live. After the investigation was completed, he was reassigned to another area of the city. The police department knows his real identity and so do I but he was someone I had never even heard of before. That would be the case of at least two others who I had some vague recollection of them but we had never met. The thing both of them had in common was that they were featured in earlier blog postings but more in passing. Although at least one of them accessed the site including through a city computer (conveniently bookmarked under a search for his surname on one occasion some months after the blog comments ceased) at a time one posting was left in the summer of 1986.

I'm not going to reveal it because as hard as it's to come to terms with the words he wrote particularly involving my family (who is well aware he wrote them) he has and has had the opportunity now to work on changing his views hopefully of the Eastside in that what they need are police officers concerned in engaging in community policing and working with residents to address quality of life issues related ot crimes in that neighborhood. Other police officers who have been assigned to the Eastside have managed to do that very well without labeling a neighborhood's residents as something that needs to be policed by animal control. Hopefully this individual has worked with some of them since.

He would be the anomaly in those who posted on my site in terms of his experience level. "Kevin" didn't work in the police department during the era of the Tyisha Miller shooting that closed out the 20th Century leaving a city in turmoil and unsure of its direction as well as the direction of its police department. "Kevin" didn't work in the police department when the city and former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer negotiated and then later entered into the five-year stipulated judgment. He wasn't a police officer in Riverside when the city council passed the ordinance which created the Community Police Review Commission in 2000. "Kevin" like the majority of the police department's police officers inherited all these things when he arrived.

On the other hand, "Kevin" is a member of the incredible influx of younger officers that filled the gaps left by a massive exodus leaving the department in the wake of the Miller shooting and the signing of the consent decree. By about 2003, the department had experienced an 80% turnover. The average age of its patrol officers had plunged from about 32-33 to 23 years and about 2-2 1/2 years experience. Given that some experts believe it takes about three years for law enforcement officers to feel more confident in performing their job duties and responsibilities, that puts the bulk of the department's patrol division below that experience level.

This lack of experience places greater emphasis on the supervisory positions especially sergeants. As a condition of the stipulated judgment, the department was mandated to install and maintain a ratio of seven officers to one supervisor and to monitor the implementation of this reform. In March 2006 after the dissolution of the decree, the city council voted to keep this componant of the decree in place, for reasons that should be obvious. Yet the reasons seem to be lost on the city management which has left three sergeant positions and one lieutenant position frozen in light of budget cuts. The situation with Riverside's police department is better than it is with most including San Bernardino which struggled with furloughs and laying people off and Hemet which actually did. But even with the brighter picture, there's no assurances from City Hall about when these positions will be reinstated even as the five-year Strategic Plan involving the police department approaches its expiration date in December.

"Kevin" didn't appear to be much of a fan of either the stipulated judgment let alone the Strategic Plan based on his comments, which is a bit odd considering he was hired by the city after both of these actions were taken and must have known about them as part of his hiring process. And certainly, the limitations that are involved with mandated reform and somewhat regimented blueprints that serve as a guide to an agency's future development can be constricting, but they have provided more training, more supervision and more equipment to police officers as well. The department was able to fully take advantage of the admonition not to use budget constraints as an excuse not to institute reforms in these and other areas. The department's three bargaining units were able to keep their bargaining rights in place, according to language included in the stipulated judgment. Compare and contrast the difficulties the unions experienced in contract negotiations during and after the consent decree period.

And he's probably not alone in believing that opportunities often come mixed with obstacles and that both must be navigated in any reform process. There's not really one "Kevin" but probably groups of them in any police department. In a profession that is hiring increasingly young officers as older ones retire, this is probably the case everywhere. These officers comprise the newest generation of law enforcement officers in this country, representing a cross-section of life whether they are college educated, former military personnel and/or worked in other professions. Different kinds of individuals are being drawn to the profession and being hired as officers then was the case 20 years ago.

Before you feel sorry for "Kevin", he did wind up winning a civic award honoring his work as a police officer not too long after the blog investigation had ended. He would not be the only officer who had been investigated to be treated in that fashion which makes one wonder whose investigation it really was, the department's or the state's given that the department made little distinction in award giving between officers who were apparently exonerated and those who weren't in the same investigation. Maybe it didn't see any difference. If so, that's quite a revelation after a five-year consent decree expiration which was supposed to teach it the difference.

What that reflects is the subject of another blog posting on Police Culture 101. Not that the people who gave out these awards had any idea what was going on because PC 832.7 prohibits them from knowing anything about certain aspects of the policing background of their award recipients. But 832.7 wasn't created to protect the public.

"Kevin" may have come off more jaded than one would think of an officer who actually had very little experience as a Riverside Police Department officer at the time but he was much less jaded than the group that adopted monikers from different police shows including what turned out to be the favorite of one of them, Starsky and Hutch while growing up. They were the accumulation of a longer period of time spent becoming unhappy with the police department and unlike "Kevin", they had spent a longer period of time in a department that was not under state oversight than one that was.

The "Starsky" brigade demographically are somewhat different from a "Kevin" and since there's more than one of them (though they appear to share similar traits), they represent a different facet of law enforcement. They clearly not only knew each other but they knew who each other were. They seemed even more frustrated with their agency and their station in it than the more youthful "Kevin".

And in most social groups including small ones, there's usually an Alpha. In this case, it was probably an older White male who probably had at least 10-15 years in law enforcement working a variety of assignments. Perhaps had applied to other law enforcement agencies but got turned down. It wouldn't be surprising given this individual's pique at the focus on Black officers (including one in particular) and female officers and the discrimination they faced that they factor themselves to be a victim of some form of reverse racism and/or sexism. After all, a retired lieutenant who had filed a reverse racism and sexism discrimination lawsuit in 2000 did appear and post under his own name on this site for a period of time.

Then there's this guy who appeared on Craigslist who had previously also posted on my site. It's not likely this person worked in law enforcement but it's probable that he works in a law enforcement related position or one that allows contact with them because he himself was unable to become a law enforcement officer. He's probably a White or Latino male in his mid to late 40s and unmarried and someone who has serious issues with women. He appears to know me a lot better than he lets on. After all, this poster is the one who on several occasions included my rarely used middle name in his posts.

He's a regular on Craigslist posting late at night or early morning and has also harassed Chani Beeman by saying she's anti-police but interested in finding out the name of her son who works for the police department. Incidently, her son seems to be a polite and professional law enforcement officer and has been praised by others.

FBM Mary,

First of all, I do not know what you are rambling about as I have never met nor communicated with you before. The information I know about you has been posted on your blog and various other websites. Based on that, the opinions that you present on your blog sound disturbing. A continuous theme on your blog is that you constantly claim to be a victim of harrassment. I then must contend that you do not know what harrassment is. Stop being a victim of your own self-righteousness. Most disturbing is when you accuse councilman Frank Schiavone as being " sexist " for a comment that may be construed as disrespectful at worst, but not sexist. Sounds as if paranoia has caught up with you. May I suggest that you get a life, as you seem to have way too much time on your hands belittling public officials.

" anonymous "

This is one sample of another posting that this unidentified individual wrote in 2006. He's revisiting some of the same issues that he has with me three years in 2009 including his perception that he's engaging in harassment because I deserve it. And for his little speech above on taking responsibility for one's actions and playing the victim, he has written over 50 rabidly vile postings and never taken responsibility for anything that he's written. It's most likely he did it because he perceived that the others on the site were officers (and it appears he was right) and was hoping for reinforcement but curiously enough, there were individuals on the site that acknowledged each other but didn't seem to pay any attention to him nor provide him with the attention that he seemed to really want. So he tried harder and got nastier as time went on.

It would be interesting to see if this individual ever had any restraining orders filed against him.

(excerpt, FBM)

Mary,I am basing the fact that you are a nut case on opinions that I have heard in this city from regular citizens to public officials. They say you are a nut, crazy, idiot, lame, paranoid, scank, filthy, nasty, dirty, smelly, ugly, pathetic, wannabe, unattractive, boring, unsociable, wanting, whiny, misfit, attentionwhore, outcast, undesirable, psycho, schiz loner, tramp and that you have no life of your own, shall I go on ? Public officials whisper that you are a nutcase; with the mics off. I am sure that you have heard these comments and many more nasty remarks, directed at you from people on a daily basis, but I am sure you take those comments as a compliment because it is you that is narcisstic.Ann Coulter would rip the likes of you and your "ilk" to shreds.Thank God for Ann Coulter; witty, smart, and attractive!

This is one of those occasions I can actually feel sorry for Ann Coulter!

However, I doubt that this person actually heard any of these derogatory terms. At the time, two elected officials contacted me telling me they didn't know any such person who would talk about them this way. Yet this person clearly feels some sort of power by claiming association with powerful figures, whether they be elected officials and perhaps police officers without there actually being any such association. Although it's possible that this individual has been involved in political campaigns though it's doubtful the candidates themselves won those elections.

But this person deviated from the vengeful stalker persona on several occasions to bash me as not being a "real" woman. Because of course, he adored real women but he was harassing me and if he did that, it had to be because I wasn't really a woman. But his view of women seemed to be (as long as it wasn't me!) overidealized, and his rhapsodies on male/female relations seemed to be something out of Harlequin (which is interesting given the low readership of these types of books by men) rather than reality. Consequently, it's not too difficult for any flesh and blood woman to fall out of that standard or off of that pedestal. The dynamic of this particular cyber harasser was certainly odd in comparison to the others but still scary at the time. Reading his postings now just reminds me of bitter, petulant little boy who's looking for attention and validation from authority figures.

Riverside County supervisor Jeffrey Stone's sister did "pro bono" work according to him. However records showed he paid her out of his campaign fund.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

But records show he paid Lori Stone more than $180,000 in campaign money last year for political consulting and professional services and he assigned her the free use of a county car with taxpayer-funded gasoline included.

Over the past three years, Stone's campaign payments to his sister totaled about $330,000.

In reporting this story, The Press-Enterprise tried to interview Lori Stone and another staff member. Jeff Stone directed them not to comment and asked that requests be referred to him.

Stone then declined to discuss the issues in person or by phone, saying he wanted all questions submitted in writing by e-mail. The Press-Enterprise declined. Stone then sent a lengthy e-mail defending his sister's use of a county car and her volunteer service.

"In addition to Lori putting in 50 to 60 hours a week of her time to improve the quality of life of women in the 3rd District, she was having to endure a personal expense of transporting herself throughout the County to do the fine work she does," he wrote. "I felt it was a lot to ask of a full time volunteer to not only donate her time to the County pro bono but to expect her to pay for all her travel expenses."

Okay, Stone but check out the comment section on the article. Over 50 responses so far.

The aide to one of the San Bernardino County supervisors has resigned.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

In a statement this morning, Derry said he accepted the resignation of chief of staff Jim Erwin about 6 p.m. Monday.

"It's the right thing to do for the county, for the 3rd District, and for Jim," Derry said in a statement.

Derry said there are no candidates for a new chief of staff, but Steve Hauer, who currently handles constituent services, will assist the supervisor in day-to-day operations of the office.

"We will continue to move forward," Derry said in the statement.

Probation officers recommended that former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona spend 78months in state prison.

Galveston is trying to expand the independence and power of its civilian review board.

(excerpt, The Police News)

Board Chairwoman Julia Hatcher, followed by community activists Leon Phillips, argued back and forth for an hour and a half with Police Chief Charles Wiley and City Attorney Susie Green, about what areas of police business the Civilian Review Board may and may not review.

Since the formation of the board, whose duties are set out by city ordinance, a minority of the members have tried to expand it's powers to the extent that it may review decisions by field level supervisors in areas not authorized by the city ordinance.

Several thousand dollars of the current police department budget has been spent in an effort to provide training and to appease members who have continually objected to the number of hours, the schedules, and the topics of training required of board members. The training curriculum, established by the police chief, has been a bone of contention with a couple of the members and training sessions have been, "total chaous at best," Chief Wiley said during the meeting.

Observers in the meeting included representatives from the Texas Municipal Police Association, the states' largest police organization with which the Galveston Municipal Police Association is affiliated. GMPA President Jimmy De Los Santos, GMPA board member Justin Popovich, City Attorney Susie Green, Assistant City Attorney Roberta Cross, and Assistant City Attorney Lloyd Renderer. A few other observers stood outside the packed meeting room and listened.

Five of the seven board members were present. In addition to Hatcher and Phillips, board members Robert Johnson, David Miller and former Galveston County Commissioner Eddie Janek, Sr.

Janke and Johnson expressed displeasure that the same issues that had been discussed and rehashed over and over, were being argued again.

Hatcher said she called the meeting upon instructions from city council who expects her to report back to them at the next city council meeting, scheduled for Thursday. City Attorney Green was quick to correct her that the 'city council' had not asked for the report, but rather one or two members of the council who were not named.

Mother Jones writes this article about the relationship between taser deaths and the use of the "excited delirium" explanation. This has become a very controversial issue in different circles creating much debate.


Of all in-custody deaths [not involving firearms], excited delirium syndrome is the most common form," notes Vincent Di Maio, a Taser expert witness, retired Texas medical examiner, and coauthor of the 2005 book Excited Delirium Syndrome: Cause of Death and Prevention .

But as a medical condition, the term is meaningless. "We have no idea what any of the causes are, what the biology behind it might be, what underlies it, how being in this state leads to death with supposedly some intervention with a Taser or other force," says Matthew Stanbrook, a faculty member at the University of Toronto medical school.

Purported ED signs range from "bizarre" behavior to sweating and high body temperature, attraction to shiny objects or glass, foaming at the mouth, a penchant for disrobing, aggression, and superhuman strength. Such symptoms could result from "alcohol withdrawal, acute schizophrenia, bipolar disease, stimulant drug intoxication, psychological illness plus stimulant drugs, hypoglycemia, an infection of the brain. I could go on," says Christine Hall, a Canadian ER physician who researches in-custody deaths.

"The bottom line is this," says Andrew Dennis, a Chicago surgeon, part-time police officer, and medical researcher who coauthored three studies of Taser's effects on swine. "You have a lot of people who are acting psychotic, and often law enforcement is asked to deal with them. Some subgroup of this population is going to die, and we don't know why. This potential at-risk group is the quote-unquote excited delirium group. But there are no common threads to identify this at-risk group. As far as I'm concerned, everything discussed about excited delirium is conjecture."

A deceased police officer gives the gift of life.

The film, The Black Stallion turns 30. Check out the DVD which is not easy to find these days.

Poetry in motion (YouTube) is the best words for this sequence especially the part where the young boy stranded on an island with the horse rides him for the first time through the ocean, accompanied by a score written by Carmine Coppola. Cassole was actually a pretty small Arabian horse (especially considering how short the actor is) who was dyed for the movie but he looks larger than life in these shots. He had a very nicely shaped head, not quite a chin that would fit a tea cup but fairly close.

Arabians aren't very fast, they're somewhat spirited but they can run all day, which makes them excellent endurance horses. But Cassole was a very spirited, tempermental stallion who wound up at some point after the film was made gouging one of his eyes out.

A few shots are present where the horse wore a bridle (including the final sillouette shot where you can see the horse reacting to rein pulling) but some pretty skillful if painful (hitting withers at full speed does hurt) looking horsemanship. Keeping your seat at about 30 or so miles per hour on a 1,000 animal without reins and a saddle's no easy feat. At least he had the luck or sense to fall in the water including the shot where he clearly does a face plant in the tidal puddle (which is on Sardinia)! Though the shot about 2:15 where he barely misses contact with the horse's legs (and my third ankle fracture resulted from striking a moving hock while getting thrown off a horse) was a bit nervy. In my case, I had to do a running mount (this time not landing too far back on a horse with ticklish loins), get on the horse and stand up on its back before jumping off in a running dismount. It's all fun.

Ah, youth!

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