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

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Election 2009: The CPRC a "hot" issue?

It's interesting but it seems that several posts I've written that have been cited here at Inland Empire's Craigslist are being flagged for removal not too long after being posted. It seems that some people would rather people not read them, especially those postings about what's been going on with the Community Review Police Commission. But then given how this issue has been handled lately by city government, it's not surprising that they would be flagged and it probably would be less than surprising if it was actually known who was behind the flagging.

If these nameless individuals can't harass and intimidate you from writing (including attempts to post where they believe I live), then trying to flag the posts for removal is probably next on their list. Don't they realize that incumbents go into elections with about a 20-point advantage and are very difficult to vote out of office? Yet, they come up as being more than a bit desperate through actions like these which follow earlier postings about bras, undergarments, orgasms and "filthy five" lists. Which I guess have something to do with the upcoming election but I'm not sure what. They just sound a tad bit worried about the prospects of their candidate of choice. Maybe they just get really nasty every time the polling results just aren't to their liking. But their candidate enjoys tremendous advantage in this election as a well-heeled incumbent and you'd think they'd be more happy about that. Alas, they clearly are not for whatever reason.

A councilman reported to me that he looked into the allegations that Councilman Steve Adams made the other night against the investigative firm retained by the city to investigate officer-involved death cases for the Community Police Review Commission because they concerned him. It's nice to see that kind of response from at least one elected official.

If you recall, Adams gave a diatribe soon after Councilman Mike Gardner outlined his counter proposal on how investigations of onduty deaths could be handled by the CPRC. Included in his diatribe were shocking allegations that an investigative firm used by the CPRC had fabricated witness statements in connection with one of the cases. However, according to this councilman, the allegations that Adams made were essentially groundless. It will be interesting to hear what action if any that the investigative firm which was at the center of the allegations takes as a response but you can't blame it or its investigators if they're not too happy with what Adams said. As one person said, he wouldn't be surprised if the firm's lawyers got involved.

But it's interesting to see what drove Adams to that point where he came up with his latest attacks against the CPRC investigative firm. What drove him there was a separate and apparently unanticipated counter motion by Councilman Mike Gardner and the fact that it had a second. Apparently desperate times called for desperate measures. But for Adams to engage in that conduct without an offer of evidential information, was not very professional and if he knowingly made false statements about the investigative firm, highly unethical.

Still, here's an interesting set of questions from one commenter and what's very interesting is how this dialogue of sorts plays out. It's nice to see that some people have graduated at least temporarily from ranting about breasts, bras and undergarments to take on such issues as civilian oversight in Riverside but the first posting this person provided didn't paint the entire picture.

I watched the City Council meeting today regarding the CPRC. Contrary to what the FBM blogger says, wasn't the vote to keep things as they are? Mary seems to think otherwise. I know it's a complicated issue but I thought the vote was for "no change" yet Mary says the vote was to follow Mr. Hudson's orders.

Which is true? Is it changing or not? What I got from this meeting was it is exactly what the voters put into place. I'd like Mary to explain how the vote changed anything?

Here's one response.

You're right, it is a complicated question. The vote was to keep in place a change that was made in the investigative protocol by a directive issued by Brad Hudson last summer. Before that, the CPRC had initiated 11 officer-involved death investigations since November 2002 within a week of the incident. Do you believe that if an entity follows one process for six years and then changes to another for only several months, that this does constitute a change in protocol? I would think so. The city council's vote ratifies a change in protocol, not a protocol that's remained unchanged.

So yes, the city council voted 5-2 to follow Hudson's orders to the CPRC via his written directive. Of course, that's a bit of a simplification because it's clear that Hudson most likely was taking his orders from at least several city council members when he instituted the directive in the first place. Those individuals showed their hands on Tuesday night and the reaction has been quite interesting to watch from their respective wards. Quite a few people from Ward Four didn't attend the meeting but instead spent time campaigning for your candidate's opposition in that ward. I guess they felt doing that would better help the CPRC in the long run than to show up at a meeting to be patronized by elected officials whose knowledge of the CPRC wouldn't fit a thimble or insulted by people like Adams.

The voters put Measure II in the city's charter in response to the city council's interference with it given that the majority of the city council including Adams and Schiavone publicly opposed the CPRC at that time. At the time, the measure passed the muster of 60% of the city's voters, the investigative protocol for officer-involved deaths was exactly what Gardner said it was, which was to initiate OID investigations usually within one week of the incident. It was not what they voted on the other night. Having talked to many residents in this city on this issue, many have expressed concern that the changes that the city manager's office has made on the CPRC is the same form of interference that concerned many city residents in 2003-04. They see a protocol that's worked on 11 cases with no problems and that's not by chance, that's through the hiring of a professional investigation firm that's made great care when conducting its investigations and by the commission behaving responsibly as well through its several executive directors/managers. It's too bad the police department doesn't have as good a record managing its own parallel investigations, having been sued once (and settled) and it looks like it might be sued again on a related front. It's also interesting to hear all this talk about the integrity of the criminal investigation involving officers involved in these onduty deaths when the city just several years at tax payer expense argued in a MSJ in that earlier lawsuit that OID investigations weren't criminal investigations at all.

What the city has essentially done is strike the word "investigate" from the city's charter because you can bet that if the CPRC decides to investigate any of the four current outstanding OIDS, that the city will not allow them to do so or allow them to access their own budgetary funding to hire an investigator. You might as well take that one to the bank right now.

Also, contrary to what the police chief and several city council members want you to believe, no CPRC investigator ever went to the scene of an officer-involved death while it was being processed. And contrary to what Mr. Adams alleged, no CPRC investigator ever fabricated witness statements. Hopefully, someone from the city council or city staff will step forward and set the record straight on that issue because that really needs to be done and the fact that no one on the dais even questioned Adams on that statement is very troubling. But then again, the professional bar of behavioral standards on the dais has taken quite a beating in the past year or so. As a result, watching an active elected official slander an investigative firm is hardly surprising.

This person didn't like my response and called it "pontificating" and then makes it more than clear that it wasn't a sincere inquiry for information but what's known as troll bait. The person asks a question, you answer it. They claim you didn't and that they're asking it again and the more you try to answer it, the more they say you didn't and at some point, they usually start making personal attacks. This person did after a whopping one post. Hardly the actions of someone who sincerely wanted more information about an issue impacting the CPRC.

The person's response to acknowledgment of their purpose for writing those posts? A temper tantrum of personal attacks. Somehow, this person sounds more and more with each post, less like a concerned citizen wanting more information on a civic issue and more and more like one of Schiavone's supporters, probably one of the ones who waxes on about bras, panties, the "filthy five" and one woman's mental status. Being polite, clearly a facade this person can't hold for very long. Although two straight posts is a record for this individual and I'm actually quite impressed with the relative restraint this time around.

Again, if the vote was to maintain the current procedures of the CPRC, how was that not honoring the original vote of measure II? WHAT HAS CHANGED? Plain. Simple. What changed? Why do you not say it?

Oh and of course Davis didn't say he established the CPRC - he never heard of it until a few months ago and is now an expert. BTW - did you NOT see the retraction here about the oversight on Schiavone's camp about the CPRC establishment. Oh, yeah, you did and commented on it being the right thing to do. But clearly today, you find it as an attack venue? Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. Just the facts ma'am. Oh, you don't have those. Just smarmy responses.

An "attack venue"? I merely mentioned it to see what kind of response it would get from the Schiavone camp to feed the dichotomy of any misstatements of Davis being "lies" and any of those by Schiavone as being "oversights" and "errors". Thanks to this person for their assistance in this endeavor.

To each his or her own, I guess. But if you haven't been following the history of the CPRC for the years it's been around including the six years it began investigated officer-involved deaths not long after they occurred, it's difficult to explain what was long-standing practice and what's the "changes". Unfortunately, that's what the majority of the city council and its direct employees are counting on. That's one of the reasons that two public meetings will be held on the CPRC in the next several weeks, to clear up the misinformation that the city's been putting out during the past nine months.

What the city government is doing is pulling what's known as a reversal. They are doing one thing while stating that they are doing the opposite. They make the changes interrupting six years of investigations of 11 cases, and then saying that they are making "no changes". Go figure.

There's also this diatribe against candidate Paul Davis for what, advocating for civilian oversight? Understanding that it's a "hot" issue for many Ward Four residents before Schiavone did or does? For doubting the sincerity of an elected official or a candidate's sincerity in calling himself an advocate for the CPRC? Well, those are legitimate concerns of course of any candidate especially considering the precedent set by the current Ward Four councilman.

Here's the comment.

Bullcrap! Paul Davis didn't even know what in the hell the CPRC was until his campaign advisors told him it was a "hot" issue. All he can say is "he supports it". Mighty big of him. Are you so naive to believe this fraudelent man will actually carry your torch? He has been proven to be a liar and he's saying whatever you want to hear without a clue as to the reprocussions of those words.

I live in ward 4 and I am seriously concerned about his tactics. He's a say all, promise all piece of work. He reads from prepared responses and doesn't have an original thought. To top it off, wow, he's pretty damn angry and out of control with his temper.

It's interesting to note at all forums held to date, he's the ONLY one exhibiting out of control pissyness.

A response.

Well, at least Davis didn't say he established the CPRC two years before he even took office. But you raise an excellent point about how candidates speak on issues and advocate for them before and after elections. Just look at Rusty Bailey. He claimed to be a CPRC advocate but he's clearly not. He also claimed to be an independent thinker and he's clearly not.

The problem is as you said, you never know how a candidate is going to act as an elected official until after they win office, are sworn in and start serving that position. That also applies to incumbents as well. There was a time when I believed that Schiavone truly respected the will of the Measure II voters and would honor that by not interfering with the CPRC. If someone tried to convince me of that now, I'd say okay, let's go look at some beach front in Idaho if I believe that Schiavone's an advocate of the CPRC.

I'm thrilled beyond belief that even Schiavone's camp realizes that the CPRC is a "hot" issue as you've said. That shows that it's come a long way and that's a start.

Have a nice day,

Mary at FBM

I guess the latest tantrum response solves the mystery about whether or not these two individuals are indeed the same individual or not. I'm thinking that it's one person. But this individual is not done.

Then this of course anonymous individual makes a personal attack against a political candidate's child. How desperate does a person have to be to do that? How many votes does this person think he or she will earn for her candidate of choice by doing so? It's a cruel and very mean thing to do, period so why do it, unless you're telling the world that's the way you are? But then this unidentified individual blames others for an action that he or she chose to engage in, presumably as an adult? It's one thing for adults to go at it with each other but bringing children into it? Shame on you.

As this individual so amply demonstrates in this posting that they not only do so but actually blame others for that decision to do so. Sometimes the best way to respond is just to let the response speak for itself. This one speaks volumes.

Whatever floats your boat.

Still no answer I see.

Davis' campaign threw the crap out there.

Shouldn't have insinuated the lies that they did - (that was okay by you I guess - since your are the fairness fairy and didn't see fault in that)

Responses to outrageous accusations deserve a response. Life's bloated "facts" deserve a response.

Further, when a child is obese at that age it's the responsibility and blame of the parents.

Someone was sooooo not watching the hen house or the cupboard or fridge for that matter!

And he wants to "manage" the City. Let's ask the question first: How's the family working out for ya?

(future post - do the math)

And this was from someone who just last week claimed to be a neutral party. Hardly seems true does it?

If you were a political candidate, even a well-entrenched incumbent, would you want someone like this "campaigning" for you? Hopefully, the answer is obvious to every political candidate in this election.

Another day, another political debate as the city council candidates appear before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Candidate Ann Alfaro was spotlighted in the Press Enterprise. She's running for the Ward Six seat.

In other news, if Riverside is truly committed to laying off as few full-time employees as possible, then why is Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis allegedly telling employees in several departments that they will be laid off if they make concessions on their pay? Hopefully, it's not as bad as it sounds.

Corona, the city that Riverside's often compared to in terms of layoffs has a mayor who believes that city's economic rebound could come as early as this summer.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

City officials need to bring the budget under control, Nolan said, and the presentation noted the more than 10 percent cut made to the city work force in September. However, officials have said no further layoffs or drastic cuts will be needed.

In the past year, violent crime and auto thefts have dropped, several new parks have opened, the city has launched a new customer service program, and enforcement pushes on graffiti and transients have shown results, according to city officials.

Projects in the pipeline include a new police headquarters, a network of bike trails, the El Cerrito sports park, and commercial and residential development around a transit hub on North Main Street.

Nolan predicted the Inland economy will begin improving by August, but some local businesspeople remain uncertain.

"It's a challenging environment, especially because we deal with small business," said Jean Gonzales, a chamber member who handles operations for local business directory the Little Yellow Pages.

"There's a lot of discounting going on. People are afraid."

Hemet offers its employees cast rewards for cutting spending during these difficult fiscal times.

A major mall owner has filed for bankruptcy. It's General Growth Properties which owns Moreno Valley Mall, Redlands Mall, Tyler Galleria and Montclair Plaza. Only the first two malls are included in its petition.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

General Growth is a real estate investment trust, and its properties are held through numerous local and regional corporate entities. Properties that are part of joint ventures are not included in the bankruptcy filing.

No mall closings are likely to result from the filing, and company officials said all day-to-day operations of its shopping centers and other properties will continue uninterrupted. Three of the Inland General Growth malls are at near full occupancy and relatively healthy, while the long-struggling Redlands property is being eyed for non-retail uses.

General Growth's filing is the largest ever for a real estate company. While it has been hurt by slumping retail sales that have led to numerous store closures nationwide, its problems stem primarily from its inability to refinance loans during the past five years as it grew to own and operate more than 200 properties.

In its filing, General Growth listed assets of $29.5 billion and debts of about $27.3 billion.

Drew Wetherholt, a national retail group director in the Ontario office of commercial real estate services firm Marcus & Millichap, said General Growth's debt problems have been known for several months, and its filing came as no surprise.

"The average consumer will probably notice no difference," Wetherholt said.

Alcohol consumption is a growing problem by employees of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Last year, 70 sworn and civilian employees of the Sheriff's Department were arrested. The majority of those arrests involved employees driving off-duty while under the influence of alcohol, according to an annual report produced by the county Office of Independent Review. In many cases, drunk deputies were carrying firearms at the time of their arrests.

Michael Gennaco, the head of the office, said alcohol-related arrests have nearly tripled since 2004. Alcohol-related incidents in 2009 are at the same pace as last year, he said.

In one case last year, an off-duty deputy who drank heavily at a New Year's party inadvertently shot his cousin in the lower abdomen while showing off his new holster.

"From one point of view, this incident was a fluke, an accident that could have been much worse if the bullet had struck a vital area," Gennaco wrote in his report. "But the investigation of the incident made it clear that the event would likely not have happened if either the deputy had not been intoxicated or he had not had his firearm on him."

As a result of that incident, Sheriff Lee Baca sought to implement one of the nation's toughest policies barring deputies from carrying firearms while under the influence of alcohol. The unions have opposed the policy, saying that it would endanger deputies. The matter is now with the county's employee relations commission.

Two Riverside Police Department dispatchers receive awards. Also, an award-winning Riverside County public defender.

Do you trust electronic voting machines? That's something that the Riverside County Board of Supervisors want to know.

Menifee's city attorney addresses a conflict of interest situation.

Here's a new local Web site put up by the University Neighborhood Association.

University Neighborhood

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