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

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meetings and matters

"City managers are often micromanagers and don't want their staff to be outspoken."

---Former San Jose Police Auditor Barbara Attard to the Fresno Bee.

"Our county is of the philosophy as little disclosure as is mandated is best."

---David Wert, spokesman San Bernardino County on the release of the Postmus probe.

The Inland Empire Weekly tackles the issues involving the Community Police Review Commission in Riverside. Part of the coverage in the article focuses on the battle from the dais between two city council members that took place at the city council meeting held on April 14 over conflicting proposals on the investigative protocol.


Among the council, the discussion became an ideological battleground between two members.

On one side sat Ward 4 rep Frank Schiavone, chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee. The GAC did their own investigation of 18 similar police review agencies in California, such as one in Long Beach, and found that all others waited until law enforcement and/or DA investigations were completed to begin their process.
Riverside’s commission should have been operating in this manner all along, Schiavone’s argument goes. A GAC report claims the Riverside commission was set up to be consistent with the Long Beach police review board.

“We want to maintain protocol,” says Schiavone. “It’s the CPRC that is not adhering to their own policies.”

Opposing Schiavone was Ward 1 rep Mike Gardner, one of the commission’s original members. Gardner quickly refuted Schiavone. “Long Beach had no language on how to handle investigations,” says Gardner.

Gardner then said that for the first CPRC review, the commission indeed did wait until law enforcement finished its investigation. “It took a year . . . [which was] too long.” Subsequent reviews were handled differently, but attempts to draft language to codify the new policy were never completed.
Schiavone and Gardner put up competing motions, with Gardner’s going down to defeat 5-2 (Ward 2’s Andy Melendrez sided with Gardner) before Schiavone’s own motion passed by the same 5-2 vote—giving an official blessing to City Manager Hudson’s prior directive.

Still, the fight is far from over. It is not clear what authority the council has to pass motions regarding an independent commission. According to the City Charter, Chapter 2.76, the commission is an advisory group to the council, the city manager and the police chief. Other than appointing (or removing) commission members and reviewing an annual commission report, the council seems to have no other official jurisdiction over how the commission operates.

As it now stands, a city mechanism that was intended to serve as an independent watchdog of the police isn’t so independent any more and a body that was touted to promote police accountability appears fully accountable to City Hall and not the citizens it was intended to serve.

Actually Schiavone's comments were erroneous and it's highly unfortunate that Schiavone and several "at will" city employees have maintained that the CPRC should adhere to its written protocol on officer-involved death investigations when as Gardner stated correctly, there aren't any such written protocol. The best that could be said about this unfortunate development of trying to force the CPRC to use written protocol for officer-involved deaths which was never intended for that, is that either these individuals just do not understand the CPRC or they are getting incorrect information from those they trust to give them the answers. And they assume that the public will buy it.

In the history books, there's only a pattern and practice that took place uninterrupted and without complaint from 2002-2008 due to dissatisfaction with the CPRC's delay in investigating the first officer-involved death in 2001. But despite the lack of written protocol, elected officials and their "at will" employees (and their "at will" employees and so on), continue to try to sell this fabrication to the public that a written protocol for officer-involved death investigations does exist.

This bill of good is sold by these individuals despite an assertion made last autumn that the defining moment for them in terms of the need to "fix" the CPRC came in June like a lightning bolt when it occurred to someone in the city manager's office that there was no written protocol for officer-involved death investigations by the CPRC. Of course that excuse proved to be as shaky as quicksand when City Hall changed its mind and decided to blame the CPRC's decision to launch a preliminary investigation into the July 11 death of Martin Pablo through a 5-3 vote, for its crackdown on how the commission conducted its investigations. It's almost as if they just couldn't make up their minds who or what to blame for past actions and who or what to use to justify their current deviation from a protocol that worked not through chance or luck, but through design and through diligence, hard work and professionalism to ensure that a criminal investigation (even during the era when the city refused to call any aspect of an officer-involved death (or shooting) investigation a criminal investigation) wasn't compromised. And no one, not a city council member, not a city manager representative not even the police chief (who appears to sit on a shelf to be dusted off to perform on rare occasions) could say or state otherwise.

Is there a written policy included in the city's charter that allows the city council to define a board or commission's policies and procedures? No there isn't but besides the lack of written permission allowing it to do so, the city council has done so anyway and that's asking the commission to do the impossible which is to adhere to a written protocol which was written for handling citizen complaints, not incustody death investigations.

This sentiment is shared by many people including those who watched that same city council meeting and those who watched the latest train wreck meeting held by the CPRC which within the past year has essentially become a tool of City Hall. At that meeting, over 30 Riverside Community College students watched, many appalled at the commission display its loyalty to the powers that be at City Hall and to shunt itself once again, from the communities of Riverside. Due to the lack of community outreach in the past year or so, many people including leaders have little idea what the role and function of the CPRC is. The dearth of community outreach during this time serves to the advantage of factions at City Hall which have tried to define the CPRC in their own image, rather than what's in the City Charter.

The Riverside City Council is hosting another public meeting with this one starting at 4p.m. and the regular evening session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is not likely to be very long. The only discussion item is an oral report on the Riverside Renaissance which has no written backup material at all.

There is this public hearing addressing the upgrading of student housing near the University of California, Riverside campus.

The consent calendar isn't all that impressive either but includes this item involving legal expenses surrounding the Save Our Chinatown fight in the courts.

Included in the committee announcements at the end of the agenda is the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee which won't be screening applicants to fill the Ward Two spot on the CPRC vacated by the resignation of Jim Ward last month. But then again, searching for the proper political appointment takes energy and it takes time. There's about eight applicants so far in the pool including current Ward Two council candidate, Ruben Rasso. Usually if a seat is vacant for 60 days or longer, then Mayor Ron Loveridge is responsible for filling it, however that process doesn't apply to the CPRC.

It increases the odds that the eventual CPRC commissioner will not come from the current applicant list but that it will be someone proposed by one or more of the city council members in a process that has become increasingly politicized since the passage of Measure GG in 2004 which put ward representation on the city's boards and commissions in the city's charter. Increasingly in recent years, politicians at City Hall have used that process to try to pack boards and commissions with political appointment, the latest being CPRC Commissioner Robert Slawsby who is included in Schiavone's list of endorsements as is his predecessor, Linda Soubirous. Both were appointed to the commission as Ward Four representatives.

Slawsby benefited from a 4-4 tie between him and another candidate. Schiavone said that he should get the say because it was his ward and immediately Councilwoman Nancy Hart changed her vote to Slawsby and Schiavone told Loveridge, that's my vote.

But just before the evening session of the city council meeting, this annual report will be presented by the Metropolitan Museum Board which if you recall has been in the news a lot lately because of the controversy and fanfare over the futures of both the downtown museum and public library.

Riverside County is clamping down its finances and Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco might have to bunk up with other city departments in his spanking new office building. It remains to be seen how that will go over or whether heads are going to roll over this development.

Riverside County's board of supervisors meet to discuss some financial issues with the annual budget on Tuesday, April 28 at 9 a.m. with capital projects coming up on the docket at 1 p.m. The board meets in the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon St., Riverside.

With all the bombshells dropping down about the county's budget picture last week, expect a packed house.

In San Bernardino County, the latest news on the ongoing probe into former Assessor Bill Postmus is that while the supervisors might get a copy of the investigation, the public might never see it.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

John Hueston, who was hired in late January to investigate then-assessor Bill Postmus, will meet with the supervisors in closed session after their regular meeting, said Supervisor Neil Derry and a spokesman for board Chairman Gary Ovitt. Postmus resigned in February but the county asked Hueston, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Enron executives, to complete his investigation.

It wasn't clear Monday if the report would be made public.

"All I know is the report is ready and we'll get to read it," Derry said.

Ovitt spokesman Burt Southard said he believes the bulk of Hueston's report is done but couldn't say for certain until after the board had heard his presentation.

"Nobody has any idea of what's in it," he said.

Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times Blog)

Federal Judge Andrew Guilford was harsh as he handed down the sentence following a four-hour hearing during which the former sheriff’s attorneys argued for leniency, saying the media had sensationalized the case.

“Lying will not be tolerated in this courtroom, especially by law enforcement, especially by the leading law enforcement official in the county," said Guilford, who held up a copy of the book “The Importance of Being Honest” and read a passage to Carona.

Carona, dressed in a gray suit and blue necktie, spoke only briefly, thanking Guilford for his “kindness and courtesy.”

“Mr. Carona violated his sworn duty and utterly ignored his responsibilities to the citizens of Orange County by engaging in the conduct that led to his conviction and sentence, conduct that culminated in an agreement to obstruct justice by concocting a story to cover up his corrupt behavior,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien in a statement. “Today’s sentencing shows what will happen to elected officals who place their own interests above those of the constituents they are sworn to serve.”

Carona will be held on bail pending appeal until July 24. The judge wanted him to be able to see his son's graduation.

The judge said he was troubled by comments made by Carona after the jury's verdicts were delivered.

(excerpt, Orange County Register)

Carona spoke only briefly during the three-hour hearing, thanking the judge for the “kindness” and “courtesy” shown to him and his wife. But it was his behavior after his conviction that drew the judge’s ire.

He told reporters in January said he felt “beyond vindicated” when the jury found him not guilty of the five charges – but convicted him of witness tampering, a felony. He has always maintained his innocence.

But Guilford said he found it troubling that Carona seemed to be celebrating a victory when he had been convicted of a serious felony.

“Carona,” he told the courtroom shortly before he handed down his sentence, “has given no indication that he wouldn’t ask someone again to lie.”

One of the jurors in the case, Ron Kuykendall, attended the hearing and said the judge’s sentence was “a lot more than I thought it was going to be.”

But he said he agreed with Guilford’s reasoning: “I think he hit the nail on the head. (Carona) is a government official and more is expected of him. All the good things he did, that’s part of the job.”

Injustice in Seattle writes about the new auditor in Seattle for the Office of Professional Accountability. This is the form of civilian oversight over law enforcement in this large North-Western city.

This development comes as San Jose's newest police auditor resigned not long after being appointed by the city council after news came out that his brother was a San Jose Police Department officer. He replaced the incredibly independent Barbara Attard who paid for her independence by not being reappointed by the city council to a second term.

Attard told this blogger that she had been trying to bring independence to the process of investigating onduty deaths by police officers but that City Hall didn't like that much. But why did Attard scare the powers that be in San Jose?

This is why.

Ironically, she was one of the people contacted by myself and various factions in City Hall and police department during some survey in how oversight mechanisms in different cities and counties conducted civilian oversight. What some of these individuals didn't tell Attard is that they were interesting in doing what she herself was battling against in San Jose and that was to micromanage a form of civilian oversight in Riverside.

Attard remembered coming to Riverside and speaking before a research committee on civilian oversight during 1999, when she was director of Berkeley's Citizen Review Board. She held that job before being hired by San Jose to replace Teresa Guerrero-Daley who also spoke before this committee and the entire city council at a special workshop conducted in 2000.

But that's been the struggle with civilian oversight mechanisms in California and other places and no more will that impact be seen than with the auditor model or a model that includes an auditor component. After all, that's both the strength and the weakness of this particular model. It all rests in how effective, independent and transparent the individual auditor is after they fill the position.

San Jose's been fortunate in that regard at least up to this latest soap opera involving how a city council managed to hire its latest auditor, an insider in the city's financial audit division, without adequately addressing the obvious conflict of interest situation arising by hiring a relative of a police officer to oversee that law enforcement agency.

The newest city in California to adopt the auditor model, Fresno, will have to grapple with this same issue even as hundreds of community members showed up to support the auditor proposal.

But the question remains in Fresno. Does the Fresno auditor stand a chance?

(excerpt, Fresno Bee)

Auditors in other cities say that whether the auditor's office succeeds in its main purpose of improving relations between police and the community will depend on a number of things, some of which are not under Swearengin's control.

They include:

Whether rank-and-file officers, whose union opposed the auditor plan, eventually make peace with the idea.

Whether community groups that wanted stronger oversight will come to accept an auditor who is empowered only to monitor and review police investigations, not conduct its own.

How City Hall responds to the auditor's findings and recommendations, and what happens if it disregards or rejects them.

How well the auditor's office keeps the public informed about its findings, and to what extent City Hall interferes with that process.

In short, said University of Nebraska professor Samuel Walker, the city's auditor will be as successful as the city and its top leaders -- namely Swearengin, City Manager Andy Souza and Police Chief Jerry Dyer -- allow it to be.

"It comes down to strong political leadership," said Walker, who heads the Police Professionalism Initiative.

If the answer came using the example set by San Jose, the answer might be maybe. If the answer came through using the example set by Riverside, the answer would be a resounding no.

A job is opening up in San Francisco's office of civilian oversight. Unfortunately, at this time there's not enough pertinent information included in the job description to attach a micromanagement score to it.

8177 Attorney (Civil/Criminal)
Recruitment #PEX-8177-055498

Department: Office of Citizen Complaints
Date Opened: 4/24/2009 8:00:00 AM
Filing Deadline: 5/15/2009 11:59:00 PM
Salary: $98,514.00 - $172,588.00/ year
Job Type: Permanent Exempt
Employment Type: Full-Time


Appointment Type:

Exempt: Exempt employees are considered "at will" and serve at the discretion of the appointing officer. Currently there is one exempt position located at 25 Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102.


The Office of Citizen Complaints, a San Francisco city agency that investigates civilian complaints of police misconduct, is looking for a licensed attorney with at least three years of experience, including trial and motion work in a criminal or civil setting. The job requires the ability to speak and write in a clear and effective manner, to establish and maintain effective working relationships, to exercise independent, unbiased judgment when considering merits of administrative investigations and excellent investigation and litigation skills.

Example of Duties:

*Under the supervision of the Chief Trial Attorney,

*Performs difficult and professional legal work in connection with prosecuting administrative police misconduct investigations.

*Prepares and reviews complex legal investigations and recommends findings in accordance with applicable laws and Department procedures.

*Prepares and independently oversees cases that proceed to hearing and settlement.

*Serves as the prosecuting attorney representing the OCC and/or the SFPD in administrative disciplinary hearings before the Chief of Police and Police Commission.

*Interviews witnesses, handles discovery and motions, proposes settlement and engages in all phases of pre-trial and trial-work during administrative disciplinary hearings.

*Performs professional legal work in all phases of administering the OCC's work.

*Analyzes and prepares legal opinions on legal matters affecting the OCC.

*Interacts regularly with other legal professionals, court officials, legislators, community activists and law enforcement agencies, relative to assigned legal matters.

*Researches and interprets policies and procedures relative to the OCC and the SFPD, and, where appropriate, proposes best-practice recommendations.

*Provides training and outreach to OCC staff, law enforcement, community groups and civilian oversight agencies.

*Performs other related duties as required.


Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from an accredited law school and at least three years of experience as a practicing attorney.

License: Requires active membership in good standing of California State Bar Association

Knowledge of: Federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances as applied to civil or criminal law.

Ability to: Speak and write in a clear and effective manner, and establish and maintain effective working relationships. Requires considerable ability to exercise independent, unbiased judgment when considering merits of administrative investigations.


Applications, resume and cover letter are now being accepted through an on-line process. Visit sf to begin the application process by registering an account. Select the desired job announcement (PEX-8177-055498) , then select "Apply" and read and acknowledge the information. Select "I am a New User". If you have already previously registered, select "I have Registered Previously". Follow the instructions given on the screen.

If you don't have access to a personal computer, computer kiosks are available for public use in the lobby of the Department of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. The hours of operations are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please place your resume and cover letter in the "Supplemental Application" area of the on-line application. The final filing date is May 15, 2009.

Any questions please contact Ms. Pamela Thompson at telephone # (415) 241-7770 or Pamela.Thompson@

Applicants meeting the Minimum Qualifications are not guaranteed an interview.


Verification of the qualifying experience may be required at a later date. When requested, verification of qualifying experience must be documented on the employer's business letterhead and must include the name of the applicant, job title(s), dates of employment, description of job duties performed, and signature of the employer or the employer's authorized representative. Employees of the City County of San Francisco may submit performance evaluations showing duties performed to verify qualifying City experience. Failure to provide the required verification when requested may result in disqualification from candidacy. Verification may be waived if unavailable or it cannot be obtained. The applicant must submit a signed statement explaining why verification cannot be provided. Waiver request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


1. Applicants are advised to keep copies of all documents submitted.

2. Applicants with disabilities requiring reasonable accommodation for this process must contact Ms. Pamela Thompson by phone 415-241-7711 (voice) or, if hearing impaired, (415) 241-7770 (TTY), or in writing to the Office of Citizen Complaints, 25 Van Ness Avenue, 7th floor, San Francisco, CA 94102 Attn: Ms. Pamela Thompson, as soon as possible.

3. Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco is a part of this announcement. It can be obtained at http://www.sfgov. org/site/ dhr_page. asp?id=566.

Joyce M. Hicks, Executive Director
of Citizen Complaints
Issued: 042409, EXEMPT8177

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, typically a 7.5% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact your departmental personnel officer.

We encourage you to submit your application on-line as this is the preferred application method. If you experience difficulties, please contact the exam analyst at the phone number listed on the above announcement.

Contact us via conventional means. You may contact us by phone at (415) 557-4800, or apply for a job in person at the Department of Human Resources.

More Fan Mail... because after all, it's another day in River City.

This endearing rant from some unsigned but apparently very irate Schiavone supporter. The same one who was ranting about what high school I attended only last week and making some innuendos about that. That and screeching about my breasts and somehow tying that into some form of political commentary just makes this person seem quite stretched out like a pretzel. But anyway, this is what he or she wrote about the April 25 blogging which they clearly didn't like much. But then this person would prefer it if everyone just marched behind them in lock-step because if you don't, you too can be put on "filthy five" lists and have your breasts, bras, orgasms, undergarments, A.A. meetings (even if you don't go), marital status, sexual orientation, high school and anything else they can come up with, become fodder for them all under the excuse of promoting the incumbent candidate in Ward Four as the obvious choice.

Seriously do these sound like folks you'd want to hang out with?

This was the blog posting where I was pretty much analyzing what was printed on two mailers put out by both Ward Four candidates. So I guess not everything that's on one of the mailers is true?

One has to ask oneself that if Schiavone is the smart and educated choice and he very may well be (although his fans on Craigslist haven't done much to sell him as a candidate), why is it that some of the members of some sort of anonymous peanut gallery so bitter and hateful towards others who offer up different opinions than simply blanket endorsing candidates because they are incumbents?

It might help this individual sell their candidate if instead of ranting and gnashing their teeth, they simply outlined why voters in the fourth ward should pick him over his challenger.


Go ahead and read the April 25th blog of Five Before Midnight. As you do so, you will see that it is comprised of OPINION, INSINUATIONS, TWISTED FACTS and OUT AND OUT LIES!

Yeah, THAT'S a reliable source of information! Hardly!

As to the bold, large type poster who is FBM's BIGGEST FAN - she hates everything about the City and is trying to shove Paul Davis down our throats for that only reason - not because he's a good choice - but because he ISN'T the incumbant.

Yeah, THAT'S a reliable source of information! Hardly!

Schiavone is the smart, educated choice!

Riverside and Temecula both made a top 100 list.

No Swine Flu reported yet in the Inland Empire.

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