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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Election 2009: When Kafka visted River City Hall

***UPDATE*** CPRC issue going to full city council

"He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building."

----Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, who sat in the tourist section of the Governmental Affairs Committee meeting.

Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves.

---Lewis Carroll

"The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different."

----Aldous Huxley

Evil is whatever distracts."

---Franz Kafka

"Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable."

---Franz Kafka

"History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought."

---Etienne Gilson

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."

---George Bernard Shaw

"It's all political now. The Chief of RPD is a retired Marine, and he would probably love to give Nazario his job back..but unfortunately he's only a political pawn for the city manager. He doesn't really run the show at RPD."

---written on a Web site by an individual very partial to a certain 1970s police show about two undercover officers from a fictional town in Southern California, and whoever wrote it is just saying out loud what a lot of people are thinking. One noteworthy thing about this dude is that he hasn't been wrong yet at least about the city.

"Frank Schiavone helped establish Riverside’s Community Police Review Commission to provide citizen review and oversight of the Riverside Police Department."

---From Councilman Frank Schiavone's campaign Web site. The CPRC was established through ordinance by the city council in early 2000. Schiavone was elected to the city council in November 2001. Do the math.

What: Governmental Affairs Committee

Where: Mayor's Ceremonial Chamber, Seventh Floor, City Hall, River City

When: Wednesday, April 8 at 3 p.m.

The Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Councilman Frank Schiavone met during 3pm inside the Mayor's Ceremonial Room at City Hall. Schiavone was joined by Councilmen Steve Adams and Andrew Melendrez (subbing in for Rusty Bailey). They held a round table with police employees including Chief Russ Leach, city staff members and two members of the top-secret ad hoc research committee which met some time, some place during the last several weeks. On the sidelines sat the community members and commissioners, along with legislative aides working for Schiavone and Councilman Chris MacArthur. The physical separation of the "stake holders" which is a term that's been thrown around a lot, which are definitely not community members and community members became apparent the moment people stepped in the room. But that's been the way that the CPRC has been run for quite a while.

One person after a few minutes of sitting and watching the show described the meeting as "Kafkaesque". And that's why it's hard to summarize what happened at the Governmental Affairs because it had so little to do with what was actually going on. It was some side-show, a carefully rehearsed and staged production, the only thing missing was a popcorn vendor. It talked around the issue but not about the issue itself.

The meeting was scheduled last week. Earlier visits to the Governmental Affairs Committee section of the city's site led to the statement that the next meeting of this committee was in May. On Friday, the site stated information on the "special" meeting (given that the April 1 meeting was canceled a while ago). Then the meeting was held at 3pm when most people couldn't attend. Schiavone, Adams and Leach used the shortage of people as a sign that people weren't interested. As far as people contacting them about the CPRC, that's probably true.

As usual, there were some historical facts that were of course, misstated, including Schiavone's assertion that the Charter Review Committee (which ad hoc committee member, Damon Castillo served on) first became involved in proposing a ballot initiative for the CPRC after actions attempted by former councilman, Art Gage at the budget reconciliation hearings in 2004. What's fascinating is how City Hall plays with history. I was reminded of that while listening to a fascinating revisionist interpretation of how the CPRC doesn't have an established history of scheduling meetings on the second Wednesday of the month.

Schiavone said that Gage had made a motion during one hearing to cut the CPRC's budget by up to 80%. That's actually true, but then Schiavone went further to say that the motion didn't even receive a second. However, actually it was seconded. Schiavone himself later that day while getting off the elevator with former Councilman Ed Adkison said that it received a "weak" second by Adams. Adams, of course also serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee as well and was sitting next to Schiavone when Schiavone said that the motion wasn't seconded.

But even so, Schiavone omitted a huge fact and that is that, Mayor Ron Loveridge had threatened to do what he's never done before in his entire mayoral career and that was threaten to veto this motion if it passed. At the time, the most votes it could have received was four, those being Adams, Gage, Schiavone and Adkison, the so-called "GASS quartet". If Loveridge had followed through with his threat, it would have needed a fifth vote to override his veto and there was no fifth vote. So any elected official could decide, okay I'm not going to stick my neck out and vote for a motion that's going to fail and as a result, totally show my hand involving the CPRC.

Another interesting historic fact got twisted in Schiavone's revisionist history and that is that Castillo played an instrumental role in the proposing of what became Measure II and it was only a result of what Gage had attempted to do. Actually, the truth is that there were members of the committee, namely Art Garcia, who had following the progression of the CPRC even before serving on the Charter Review Committee. Garcia became concerned during the 2003 city council elections when two councilmen, Gage and Adams, who were endorsed and financially backed by the Riverside Police Officers' Association were elected on the dais. Both initially waffled on whether or not they supported or opposed the CPRC until after they were elected. Gage actually told me he supported it while running for office, but his actions during 2004 clearly show he didn't support it at least not as a viable body and months after that, he called the CPRC a "piece of trash" at a city council meeting. If that's a "supporter", then show me an opponent.

So Schiavone did get it right in that Gage isn't a supporter. But this isn't about Gage at least not alone. It's about the attempts of Schiavone and Adams to distance themselves as elected representatives away from the city council majority which turned the CPRC into a political football in 2004 and even earlier. The only way the CPRC could have threatened enough for the community to fear its survival and viability in this city and the Charter Review Committee led by Garcia and Rose Mayes (who proposed and seconded the motion to catalyze the later creation of Measure II) to travel down the path towards considering whether or not it might need to be put in the city's charter was if an acting majority on the city council opposed the CPRC enough to get rid of it by voting to dissolve the municipal code which originally created it. The actions of one city official aren't enough to concern a committee of appointed city residents to bring a discussion on the CPRC's inclusion in the city's charter to the table and the actions of one city official aren't enough to cause 60% of the votes cast in the November 2004 election to advocate the creation of a new charter amendment involving the CPRC.

As history has clearly shown, these concerns felt by the charter review committee's members as well as the city's residents were right on the mark. Castillo might have been a committee member but what Schiavone and the rest of the Governmental Affairs Committee did not disclose is that Castillo had a contract with the city through the mayor's office to evaluate the direction of another commission, the Human Relations Commission. Adams at one point made a snarky comment to the audience about Castillo not having a job with the police department which was true but didn't take that further and assert that he never had any type of employment, independent or otherwise with the city. But Adams' comment was similar to many made that day by elected officials and their direct and indirect employees, at best half-truths.

Then Adams tossed out some straw men including some vague reference to not being corrupt, which really didn't have anything to do with what was said and taking people up to the State Attorney General's office himself if they were being abused by police. It's hard to take any such claim seriously that's made by Adams because he once promised at a city council meeting to personally shuttle Greyhound Bus Lines passengers from Riverside to the station in San Bernardino. So you have to kind of look at both statements with a somewhat skeptical idea and once you do that, they both kind of lose their punch.

While Castillo drafted language for Measure II's pro-statements, most of the credit for spearheading its creation goes to Garcia and to those who first presented the issues about the CPRC to the Charter Review Committee. The idea to possibly include a recommendation involving the CPRC was in the works before Gage made his move against the commission during the budget reconciliation hearings towards the end of the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Doing the vast majority of the speaking at the meeting were Schiavone and CPRC Manager Kevin Rogan. Leach who has made a habit of being for or against an issue depending on who his audience is was given permission to speak by Schiavone several times but spent the rest of the meeting awaiting further instructions. Leach's days as a strong, authoritative chief who brought a lot to this city and the department are clearly behind him. In fact, they've probably been behind him since not long after City Manager Brad Hudson came to town and that's a real shame because he brought a lot of innovation into the police department and made many contributions. But he's hardly seen anymore except when either Schiavone or the city manager's officer needs him at a meeting and then either one or both put him front and center.

At any rate, not much else that could be said about a clearly staged production though Melendrez acquitted himself a bit by stepping forward and asking for a discussion by the full city council but Adams and Schiavone outvoted him and let it "die" in committee. That's interesting because it shows that both Schiavone and Adams didn't believe they had the votes on the dais to guarantee passing their agenda at that level. So rather than allow "democracy" (which is a word that Schiavone threw around a lot when pushing the plurality election proposal he stumped for last year) to decide this issue, Schiavone and Adams stamped that out, because they were concerned that it might not go their way at the council level. They didn't want to be transparent and allow more public participation in this issue by holding an evening meeting that featured the CPRC on the discussion calendar which would be televised. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Much better to create a top-secret ad hoc committee which to this day, no one even knows the dates or location where it met and then have three city council members make a policy decision regarding a commission (rather than give advisory recommendations to the city council which is its job)at a meeting held on a week day afternoon.

That's a shame but not surprising from these two council members. But rather than just reiterate what they do as a pattern and practice, it's better to point out to the true leader and down-right hero, Melendrez who truly represented the 60% of the city's voters who voted to pass Measure II and served as a hopeful counterpart to the proof positive that the voters were right in the necessity of placing the CPRC out of the path of political micromanagement, even if they were naive that this action would actually work to protect Riverside's civilian oversight mechanism.

So the committee voted to stick with the Hudson protocol of not really investigating officer-involved deaths and that was the agenda that slipped out several times during the meeting which could only be described as entertaining and Dramamine inducing.

More anonymous people at Craigslist discussing whether campaign signs are still up or police records are being withheld and incidentally, who should be on the "filthy five" list. Actually I felt pretty proud when I read this and when I passed it along to some friends of mine who are happy to stay out of speaking about the city at all lest they be criticized about their choice in "undergarments" (with one saying, "we're supposed to wear undergarments?"). Anyway, it's pretty clear how classless the people are who write such things and that's exactly why they don't attach their names to comments like that. I think if people really knew who a couple of them are, they'd be dismayed and shocked. Except for the one individual who I'm sure know one has even heard of.

But being paired with Karen, Yolanda and Jim, I'm actually thrilled, especially when the alternative I guess is to be paired with anonymous rock dwellers who claim to be thrilled with the city yet spend their time making personal attacks about people's choice in underwear. What's a good word for that?


And while whining about the hatred vented by those they don't like, they are putting on a pretty good show of exactly what hatred looks like. My inbox thankfully included emails by those who read the latest rants on Craigslist, who clearly know the difference.

But think about this. The Davis campaign people seem to be out there working hard walking and canvassing the fourth ward to try to win an election. The Schiavone camp? Hanging out on Craigslist and writing about undergarments? When they're not spilling information coming from inside his campaign all over Craigslist.

Which of the two strategies do you think will win an election? And I received similar hateful rants in connection with two political candidates in two campaigns out of eight in three different city and county elections and not a winning candidate among those two campaigns. Why? Because in both cases, the eventual winners were out spending most of their time campaigning and the more desperate the campaign supporters of several candidates became, the more hateful they got on Craigslist. If they're working their knickers up over "bras" and "undergarments" of women, they must be more worried about the final outcome of the latest election than I thought.

And speaking of the whole "dirty dozen" thing, at least that gentleman had the guts to call people that in public and not hide behind a rock and do it that way. And having talked with that gentleman, interestingly enough, the first thing he asked me is why I stopped going to meetings and stopped speaking out for a while. He didn't agree with everything I said and maybe very little but he did respect what I did and said and we wound up having a good conversation. Just something for these anonymous folks to keep in mind when they make such past references without knowing what they're talking about.

Anyway, here's the comment. Give me a few hours to write up my acceptance speech!

But this is from Schiavone's campaign folks. After all, these anonymous writers didn't say they supported Andrew Melendrez, Ruben Rasso, Nancy Hart, Ann Alfaro, Bill Scherer, Ahmad Smith or Paul Davis. But each and everyone of them (and there's probably about three) said they endorsed Schiavone before spilling information about his campaign including his interview process and apparently what they allege was that involving Davis with the Riverside Police Officers' Association. This is not information that the average Riverside resident let alone Ward Four voter knows. They sound a lot like "insiders" of Schiavone's campaign because on Craigslist, through post, over post, they've taken great pains to make that clear to the readers that they are indeed working inside the campaign before they started focusing on writing nasty comments.

Again, does the average Riverside resident know about an exchange that one anonymous Schiavone supporter wrote about alleged threats by Davis to sue the RPOA over his personnel file? Does the average person even know (or care) about the status of a police file that goes back nearly 20 years? The answer to that is clearly, no. And if they did, do they know the blow-by-blow details of what transpired? No, the average city resident and voter doesn't know these things.

It was kind of stupid for this crew to write intimate details of a political campaign involving one candidate and then to switch to putting together "filthy five" lists and wax about bras and undergarments.

Craigslist readers probably know about the "dirty dozen", that rag-tag group of self-proclaimed "activists" that rally together every Tuesday night with pitchforks and torches ready to spew their hatred? Well, some of us feel (we've been talking on the streets too) there should be a top five list. Top ten won't work because that would leave just two not being recognized and that just wouldn't be fair.

These would be the top five individuals, well, let's just call them the "filthy five". You know, the cream of the crop of "activists". Wait, cream of the crop isn't necessarily the correct word - more like the curds and whey. You know the yucky stuff!

I nominate:

1. Mary Shelton
2. Karen Wright
3. Yolanda Garland
4. Jim Martin
5. ...................I'm having a hard time with this one.

Who has a suggestion for #5?

Thankfully, someone did.

Mary Humboldt, a kick-ass activist if there was one. Why is she "filthy"? Because she and other men and women like Yolanda have the audacity to challenge the city council when it violates two growth control ordinances that were passed through the democratic process by the city's voters. She and other members of a grass-roots organization have sued the city on these violations, raising money through yard sales to pay their lawyers and they've won some major victories.

If that's reason enough to be called "filthy" by some anonymous circle jerker and have her and the undergarments of other women scrutinized because if you notice, there's only one man on the top five, then I'd say that most people would agree that says a lot more that's less than flattering about anonymous ilk who write such things about women than the women (and man) themselves. I first learned about this "honor" after looking in my email inbox and reading emails I had received about it.

Humboldt ended up on the list less than 12 hours after speaking in defense of the CPRC at the Governmental Affairs Meeting. It looks like someone didn't like that. Someone like Mr. "O", the one who spews postings about where women are getting their multiple organisms. Funny in a meeting where most of the people in attendance work for the City of Riverside.

I nominate # 5 to be: Mary Humbolt ( Supervisor Bob Busters wife )

but surely Mary Shelton (5 before midnight) is the filthiest of the 5 dont'cha think ?

It's hard to be really devastated to be included on a list that's put together by some rock dwelling people who refuse to even put their own names to their own "top five" list.

You have to ask yourself, how do "undergarments" wind up in a conversation about politics anyway? But then I've been asking myself the same thing about "orgasms" and alas, still don't have an answer except it's like I stated, someone or some people engaging in an internet circle jerk. It's actually kind of strange.

And just when you think these individuals can't prove their class even further, one of them writes this about Humboldt:

Mrs. Buster was a name thrown around for #5. The trouble was, we didn't know what to call her. Sometimes she's Mary Humbolt, sometimes she's Mary Buster. Maybe we should just call her Sybill because she seems to have multiple personalities.

Oh and of course I agree with yout about the infamous FBM author Mary. You did notice she was #1. Really, if she can afford the internet, she can afford a bra! But then not wearing a bra certainly does draw attention to oneself!

What's next? A bra-burning joke, most likely. Because after all, these are the most original campaign workers in Riverside picking on a woman who really has few enemies but the ones she does have are quite vocal, though mostly about her husband. Having sat and watched a Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee meeting several years ago, where Mayor Ron Loveridge watched dismayed as two members of that committee rather than screening applications for board and commission appointments ripped into Mary Humboldt and her husband after one of them was quoted in the Press Enterprise article, figuring out the direction where this particular nastiness is coming from just isn't all that difficult.

Picking on Mary Humboldt this way is just hateful, pure and simple. It's hateful and it's mean. There's some people who talk about what hatred is, which these people do and then there are people who show just what it is, which these people do also.

But this is why many people don't get involved, because they're afraid that they'll be treated like this by anonymous individuals who have reasons to remain that way because they don't want people to know who they are. If you are a woman and you go down to a city council meeting and criticize the city council, do you really want to go online and read about your breasts, or whether or not you're a bra or what they think is your choice in underwear? Yet the people who post comments like this make it clear that there's some sort of connection between being subjected to this treatment and speaking at city council meetings.

They'll protest that this is not the case but they've just shown you that it is indeed.

But for people who profess to be so happy with what is going on in the city, they sure act in an obviously hateful manner. They say others "sprew hatred" while they call people "nutcases", "crazy", make comments about their underwear, make comments about whether or not they wear a bra, make comments about women solely to denigrate them. Most people would agree that making statements like those is what engaging in hating is all about. What's pathetic is that they're doing it purportedly on behalf of a political candidate and that most of their targets of hate are female.

Again, how many men are on their "filthy five" list again?

I'd sure hate it if I had people of that ilk trying to get me reelected, because these individuals all say that why they're writing these comments are because they support Schiavone. Apparently, they can't go out like most campaign workers do and canvass neighborhood and talk to the fourth ward residents. No, they hang out on the internet and write comments such as the ones above which truly serve as good examples to most reasonable people what it means to "sprew hate". Which is one way of campaigning but is it an effective way of getting someone reelected? I guess that remains to be seen.

But the feedback I've gotten "on the street" is that most of this is coming from "inside the 'Hall". Is that true? Perhaps so, perhaps not but that's what the "street" (and off of it as well) says. Except Mr. "O" who doesn't work at City Hall. Thank goodness for small favors, I guess.

The Black barbers of Moreno Valley have filed their lawsuit.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Los Angeles law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP filed the lawsuit in federal district court Wednesday on behalf of Kevon Gordon, Ronald Jones and Raymond Barnes.

The three barbers, all of whom are black, allege that the search was conducted April 2, 2008, without their permission or a search warrant and violated their civil rights.

Multiple police officers participated in the searches, which were conducted "in a matter more befitting a drug raid than a licensing inspection," ACLU staff attorney Peter Bibring said at a news conference Wednesday at the Hair Shack, a Sunnymead Boulevard barbershop owned by Gordon that was searched.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, as well as a court order preventing the agencies from using racial profiling and limiting the use of police in administrative inspections intended for business regulation.

Moreno Valley Mayor Richard Stewart said he hadn't seen a copy of the lawsuit yet, but that the businesses were not targeted by race. The city has an obligation to protect public safety and maintain community standards for all licensed professionals, whether they are doctors, contractors or barbers, he said by phone.

Increasingly, ICE is detaining and even in some cases, deporting United States citizens.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Castillo is one of many citizens and legal residents held for suspected immigration violations -- some for a few hours, some for much longer. No agency tracks such incidents so statistical totals are not available.

Officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement downplay the problem.

"ICE does not detain United States citizens," said spokesman Richard Rocha, adding that agents thoroughly investigated people's claims of citizenship. "ICE only processes an individual for removal when all available facts indicate that the person is an alien."

He declined to comment on Castillo's case or others, citing privacy concerns or pending lawsuits.

The surge in ICE workplace actions during the Bush administration spawned fierce complaints from employees caught up in dragnets at factories, slaughterhouses and poultry farms.

Mike Graves, a two-decade veteran of the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, said he was handcuffed and held for eight hours in December 2006 when ICE agents raided Swift plants throughout the heartland.

"My government treated me like a criminal, and I didn't do anything wrong," said Graves, a native of Iowa.

Comic relief of the day:

From Schiavone's Web site. This deserves its own post but it's difficult to believe that he actually helped establish the CPRC in late 1999, early 2000 when he wasn't even elected to the city council until late 2001. Oops.

Frank Schiavone helped establish Riverside’s Community Police Review Commission to provide citizen review and oversight of the Riverside Police Department.

The Community Police Review Commission has greatly helped to restore the public’s confidence in the Riverside Police Department since the Commission has proven that 97% of the complaints made against Police Officers have been unfounded.

In 2004 Schiavone voted to put an initiative on the ballot that allowed the people of Riverside to determine whether or not the Community Police Review Commission should be a standing body that is part of Riverside City’s Charter. The voters overwhelming decided to maintain the Community Police Review Commission.

Frank Schiavone supports the role the Community Police Review Commission was established to fulfill and will fight all attempts by political activists to misuse the powers of the Commission to interfere in criminal investigations

Yes, he's so dedicated, he fought against such interference for the past seven years. No actually, he didn't. No, they did starting with the Pablo case in July, no they did when they started being concerned in June and so it goes...

The officer-involved shooting of a mountain lion cub by Santa Paula Police Department officers was ruled, inappropriate.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older