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, May 11, 2009

City Council meets, the people vote and the CPRC continues its slide

Benign Positional Vertigo is apparently why looking at a computer screen and other things has been challenging lately. Hopefully, the medicine and exercises will work but it's a condition which has its own time line to complete. The only prohibition I received was for driving, but then I don't drive. But blogging takes a bit more effort these days so I'll try it the best I can.

I've heard that the committee to Save Our Chinatown is having a vigil being held on Tuesday, May 12 at 6pm at City Hall before the regular evening session of the City Council meeting. Some will stay and speak before the city council. The fate of Chinatown mainly its environmental impact report is being decided by a Riverside County Superior Court judge after the SOCC filed a temporarily restraining order against developer Doug Jacobs in early February. Jacobs then took a lot of heavy equipment during a three-day weekend and plowed his way through the parcel in an attempt to offset the restraining order. Many people witnessed this action and some videotaped it. The Rivereside Police Department appeared as well issuing citations for municipal code violations against using loud equipment on Sundays and federal holidays.

The same city council which embraced Jacobs (which isn't difficult to understand given that many of them receive financial contributions from him through their political campaigns) and his project turned around and condemned his actions especially after he told the Press Enterprise that his actions during what some people called "The Valentines weekend massacre" were done through tacit approval of the city council. The city council of course denied Jacobs' allegations and Jacobs must be one of the most confused developers in Riverside.

Speaking of the city council, it meets again. The agenda doesn't quite read like a good book or a menu chart but it's pretty easy to follow the information. There's several discussion items including one on Riverside Renaissance and a plethora of consent calendar items. Still, the meeting could clock in at under two hours.

Sessions include the following:

4 pm: Closed session items and public comment for closed session items which are lawsuits and bargaining sessions among the city's different labor associations and unions.

6:30 p.m.: Regular evening session

The Community Police Review Commission meets on Wednesday, May 13 at 5:30 pm for its "general meeting" which is usually held during the fourth Wednesday of the month but then people should be thankful that the CPRC is still meeting at all.

The agenda includes mostly some language about the CPRC's drafting of a public report in the shooting death of Joseph Darnell Hill which occurred on Oct. 19, 2006. Yes, it was actually over 2 1/2 years ago. Here is the latest copy of the CPRC's public pamphlet on the Hill shooting case.

In comparison here are two public reports done on the deaths of Todd Argow and Terry Rabb which both took place in late 2005. Notice the difference in quality of the reports. These reports were written before the intensive wave of City Hall micromanagement began and former Executive Manager Pedro Payne (who quit rather than be micromanaged) was at the helm. So what that shows you is that factions at City Hall don't want the public to get anything but thinly written pamphlets on the officer-involved death investigations and reviews done by the CPRC. But then that is not much of a problem considering that the CPRC doesn't do its own independent investigations anymore. With four deaths since Sept. 1, 2008, how many has it initiated?


It did pass three motions to initiate investigations into three different onduty deaths that occurred recently, but Manager Kevin Rogan refused to call the investigator. He clearly knows who signs his paycheck.

That number won't change no matter what song and dance City Hall throws you. These independent investigations will never take place. But one of the two city council members who voted in favor of restoring independent investigations said that in order to try to push this issue again, there needs to be a reconfiguration of the city council from the election. Makes you wonder who he's talking about and why this council member endorsed this individual for reelection. But then politics even at the municipal level can be very complex. Sometimes endorsements don't mean what you think they do.

The Riverside City Council elections are currently in the voting stages with mailin ballots having been sent out to people's homes in the even numbered wards. This link will lead you to links which give an update on the numbers of ballots returned so far in each ward. Is your vote included in these figures? If not, fill that ballot out and send it in or turn it in so it has plenty of time to get there before the deadline.

There's an interview with Ward Six candidate, Ann Alfaro here.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

With all of the Hi Density building, how do you see this area in 5 years?

ANN ALFARO: "With all the approval of High Density Building I see a lot of Mis Mash approval with lots of vacancy s. FYI (Black Angus is now closed)"

Why haven't you spoken in defense of speakers at city council meetings when they are being attacked and maligned by some council members?

ANN ALFARO: "I was called a ridiculous Woman by Council man Schiavone 4 yrs ago and rudeness continues."

What is your position on the CPRC (Citizens Police Review Commission)?

ANN ALFARO: "The City is making this a problem. I find no wrong doing by this Commission"

Do you support retaining the Greyhound bus services in the city of Riverside? If yes, what actions will you take to insure that Greyhound stays at a location near the main bus line or the Metro Station?

ANN ALFARO: "The only action I can take at this time is sending in a petition requesting t remain at its present site"

Ward 6 has a large Hispanic population, is there something planned for tomorrow -- Cesar Chavez birthday as he was a role model for farm workers

ANN ALFARO: "If Ward 6 has a large Hispanic population we should see Ann Alfaro as the next Council Person. I didn't read or hear of any plans for his Birthday."

Riverside County's cities will have to spend less than they thought to qualify for road repair project money.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"I think one of the challenges is every city operates differently," said Tom Boyd, Riverside's deputy public works director.

Officials also feared they might have trouble spending as much as they did in the past five years -- when rapid population growth was driving many cities to widen and redesign city streets. Riverside had to spend $12.5 million annually in road repairs, but last year spent $26.7 million because of a citywide street and parks improvement program.

Cities across the county also went on street repair spending sprees to accommodate the growth. Beaumont officials watched as the city's population quintupled in 20 years, as their spending on street repairs increased 12-fold.

Many agreed the growth and accounting differences made it tricky to set new rules.

"There is something wrong with the way we are doing this thing," said David Barakian, Palm Springs' public works director and chairman of the technical committee.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry talks about the importance of investigating elected officials for corruption.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

More important, I want to send the message to any person who would think of engaging in illegal and unethical behavior that he or she will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Period.

I will stop at nothing in my effort to hold those who have behaved improperly to account. The people expect nothing less.

This is just one small, but significant step toward wresting our government away from those who seek only to advance their own self-interests at the expense of the people they are elected to serve.

Our net must be large and it must be cast wide. Our efforts to root out waste and corruption must be vigilant and tireless.

The confidence and faith in our government will be restored to the residents of San Bernardino County. The confidence and faith in our leadership will be restored to the thousands of fine employees of this county who have had their reputation damaged.

The curtains are being drawn on an era of backroom deals and ethical lawlessness. And the sun is rising on the dawn of a new era of open government and true accountability.

This is my pledge.

Another review board standoff in the Florida Supreme Court involving the mechanisms created and implemented in Key West.

(excerpt, Key News)

In this corner, the Key West Citizen Review Board (CRB). In the opposite corner, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association (PBA).

From the very inception of the CRB, a quasi-government panel that investigates complaints against police officers, the PBA has been critical. The PBA mounted a strong campaign against the creation of the CRB a little more than six years ago, when a referendum was put on the ballot to amend the city charter and create the oversight panel. Much to the dismay of the PBA and others, the amendment passed by a large margin and the CRB was born.

After a few skirmishes the first years, the friction appeared to ease, and the CRB and the PBA seemed to agree to disagree.

But this changed a short time ago, after the CRB issued a subpoena to a Key West police officer demanding that he testify before the oversight board. Evidently, as far as the PBA is concerned, this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

In a letter to the CRB, an attorney for the PBA explains that the officer would not be appearing in response to the subpoena. The letter goes on to state that the PBA feels the enabling ordinance that created the CRB violates Florida's constitution and the Key West Police Department's collective bargaining agreement.

Drew Peterson's arrested and charged with murder. But what happens with his children?

(excerpt, Associated Press)

The ex-cop had two children with Kathleen Savio, whom he's accused of killing, and another two with Stacy Peterson, who has been missing since 2007. Drew Peterson's adult son Stephen announced Monday that he has taken custody of the children, but relatives of Savio and Stacy Peterson are looking into whether they can change that.

"We'd seen a lawyer a ways back and were told we'd have to wait until he was charged," said Pamela Bosco, a friend of Stacy Peterson who has acted as a spokeswoman for her family. "We have to go back to a lawyer and see what's available to us."

"It's an issue that's moved to the front burner," said Martin Glink, an attorney representing Savio's father and sister, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson shortly before his arrest last week. He added, however, that he hasn't talked about the issue with his clients or anyone else in the Savio family.

But one of his sons claims his father is innocent in the killing of his third wife. Peterson's defense attorneys have hinted that one of his family members will provide an alibi for the time of Savio's murder. I guess it was so critical, it has to wait until the trial.

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