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 04, 2009

Election 2009: The ballots are out and sign vandalism breaks out

The ballots were mailed out today for the Riverside City Council elections. If you live in one of the even-numbered wards, you should receive your ballot within the next several days. So keep an eye out for it and when you get it, cast your vote with the appropriate writing utensil! Remember to sign your ballot too.

The latest is that Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster has endorsed candidate Paul Davis in the Ward Four election. Buster as you know faced off with City Councilman Frank Schiavone in the District I supervisor race last year and won his reelection bid pretty easy and by tossing up high percentages of the votes in Riverside including in the fourth ward where Schiavone's average share fell at about 38%. That wasn't long before the members of the Governmental Affairs Committee tried to push a proposal to change the June 2 election to a plurality vote, meaning that the council seat would go to the candidate with the highest percentage of votes even if it was below 50% of the electorate.

Now of course, any such proposal would have to be approved by the city council and then put on the ballot for the voters to decide upon but even though the heavily stacked Governmental Affairs Committee (which appeared to act as a single entity until Councilman Andrew Melendrez substituted in on the CPRC issue) ignored criticism of the proposal at its own meeting, the entire city council including members of the Governmental Affairs Committee were met with much more vocal criticism when it was forwarded to the entire city council where very likely, it lacked enough votes to pass to even get approved for the election ballot. Even though "democracy" speaking was the argument used to pass a proposal on plurality elections at the committee level, the same argument of "democracy" speaking was used to shoot the proposal down at the council level.

Buster and Schiavone used to be friendlier than they are now. In fact, when Schiavone endorsed Buster in his 2004 bid for reelection against challenger Linda Soubirous, he allegedly received a rather scorching note in yellow felt tip from the Riverside Police Officers' Association when it returned an RSVP for one of his fund raisers. Short and to the point, the notice merely stated, "You're next" next to a circling of Buster's name on Schiavone's endorsement list. But Schiavone wasn't intimidated at all and continued to back Buster despite being pressured to drop him like a hot potato and endorse Soubirous. That's a Schiavone you don't see much anymore and it's a shame.

The two fell out most likely over the whole DHL thing which is being rewritten during this campaign as if Schiavone led the charge to undo serious corruption by Global Port including the production of a map which wholly misrepresented the proposed flight plan of DHL night flights over Riverside. Actually, many say that it was Buster who initially challenged the map, the plan for the night fights including the zoning changes and that for a while, he was like a man in a row boat trying to push his way up a Class V rapid with a tiny paddle. With the rest of the March Joint Powers Commission serving as the rapids.

After all, who cast the first negative vote against the DHL night flights? Schiavone? No, he was still voting "yes" with the others including current Moreno Valley Mayor Richard Stewart (who as a private attorney represented Schiavone during his lawsuit against Davis' campaign statement) while Buster cast the first "nay" vote. It's odd because if you talk to many residents including those in Ward Four, they know that when it comes to anyone who started to question the actions of DHL and GlobalPort, Buster's name comes to mind before Schiavone's. Now did Schiavone turn around and eventually do the right thing?

Yes he did and that does matter a lot in the chronology of what became DHL-Gate, but by then those within his ward and other areas of the city had lost several years of sleep and were called "crazy" and treated as unwelcome gadflies at meetings by their critics? I'm sure these individuals who spoke out against DHL could have filled a "filthy five" or "dirty dozen" list. It's amazing that those who took a lot of abuse from elected officials who were upset with their activism were finally listened to during a county election year.

Does this sound familiar? Just ask Buster's wife, Mary Humboldt who's been treated cruelly on Craigslist and was part of some "filthy five" list created by what's believed to be one of Schiavone's most staunch supporters in this campaign. She's never even raised her voice at city council meetings and was called a "liar" by Migual Morales of the "Riverside Press Club" and treated very negatively on Craigslist by having her mental status called into question. After calling Humboldt a liar, Morales was allegedly hugged by Schiavone's legislative aide.

But the depths of the fallout between Buster and Schiavone was apparent during the annual meeting of the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee to screen applicants for appointment and/or interviews for the city's boards and commissions. At the 2008 meeting, both Mayor Ron Loveridge, the committee's chair and newcomer Councilman Rusty Bailey sat and watched as Schiavone ripped into Buster. It was pretty astonishing to witness this behavior and Loveridge just seemed to sigh until he announced that the meeting was going to begin.

And so it did.

Anyway, this is what Buster writes.

Dear Neighbor,

I served as your City Council Member from 1990 through 1992 and have represented you on the Board of Supervisors for sixteen years. I was born and raised in the Arlington Heights Greenbelt and still farm the same lemon grove my Granddad planted.

I am endorsing Paul Davis for Riverside City Council Ward 4.

Paul Davis is an independent community leader, successful businessman and caring family man. He is committed to protecting our quality of life. Paul supports Proposition R and Measure C, our two growth control laws passed by the voters and upheld by the State Supreme Court. Paul Davis will protect Vitoria Avenue, Sycamore Canyon Park and the large lot zoning of our beautiful hillsides.

Paul Davis worked as a Riverside County deputy sheriff and a Riverside police officer. He supports public safety and the Community Police Review Commission. Crime reduction and prevention are first and foremost for Paul Davis.

Paul DAvis has 20+ years in the finance industry. He plans to run City Hall like a business and stop wasteful spending, reduce debt, and fight against more utility rate increases.

Now that DHL's noisy night flights have ended and its nationwide air cargo operation has closed down, we need strong business-minded leadership from the City of Riverside at the March Joint Powers Authority. Paul Davis is the right man for the job.

Paul Davis will work hard to attract compatible businesses with better jobs to Riverside so residents can live and work here, reducing long-distance commuting and traffic congestion.

I ask you to vote for Paul Davis in the mail-in ballot election during the month of May.

Davis' response to the endorsement is also on the mailer.

"I respect the work that Bob Buster has done to fund public safety, protect our quality of life, and plan for our future in a fiscally responsible manner."

Signs stolen and vandalized!

If the link doesn't work or there's no photo visible below, then it probably means that this posting was flagged on Craiglist before you could read about it on this site. Flagged by an individual or individuals who don't want people to know what has happened.

This post at Craigslist talks about how Davis signs that were posted on a vacant lot in the corner of Via Vista and Alessandro were apparently replaced by Schiavone signs. It had to be done fairly recently because I pass by this block fairly frequently and remember seeing at least three Davis signs posted on this site, including a larger one strung between two posts on a larger sign. Those Davis signs have been posted there for weeks without problems up to at least a few days ago.

What a shock to suddenly see the photo of the same intersection now bearing Schiavone signs and in the spots where Davis' signs had been, they're no longer there. Unless you count the two pieces of sign that are between the two posts which were originally a larger sign that somehow managed to tear itself in half. So this of course anonymous person didn't just steal signs and replace them with Schiavone signs but they also vandalized a larger sign, the remnants of which are still in the photo.

The thing is, so many motorists travel down one of the city's busiest thoroughfares that many of them if they see the campaign signs posted along the way probably remember that what they had been seeing there are Davis signs, not Schiavone signs.


With the permission of the owner of this particular lot (Via Vista & Alessandro) Paul Davis displayed his campaign signs. Sometime in the middle of the night or early morning, his signs were taken and vandalized. What was left in their place were these Schiavone signs. How absolutley dispicable!!! Schiavone should be ashamed of himself. What kind of man is he? What kind of people does he have endorsing him??? What a wonderful representation of a poor sport! If he can resort to this type of behavior, what will he do to our community.Obviously he is feeling very threatened and will stop at nothing to get votes. We do not need a man like this in our Ward. Do you really think a slimeball like this will listen or care about what our community needs? I THINK NOT! We need integrity brought back to our community and clearly Schiavone doesn't have an ounce of it!


The photo above depicts the large Davis sign which was cut or torn into two pieces as well as Schiavone signs that weren't there several days ago.

I think the posting is a little harsh on Schiavone because there's no way to know for sure that he's aware of this conduct let alone authorized it and it could have been done by a Schiavone supporter who's overzealous enough to convince himself or herself that vandalism is an appropriate form of campaigning on his behalf or of serving his reelection bid. But the danger is often that some of the supporters of a candidate whether they be in the inner circle of a campaign effort or on the fringes of the endorsement chain may take their zealousness too far into committing what is a misdemeanor criminal offense. In fact, it's possible that this individual is simply someone who thinks again, believes that he's helping a candidate who might be totally unaware of his actions.

Though try reporting it in a police department which until recently had the councilman whose signs sit there now sharing a household with the police chief of the department which would be encharged with taking any type of criminal report. Try to see what happens if someone were to file a criminal report for this type of action. See how far it goes in the investigative process inside the police department.

Sign stealing is wrong whoever's doing it. It was wrong when it happened to many of the candidates running for office in the 2007 city council elections in Riverside and it was blogged about here pretty extensively and it's wrong now. If you have the temptation to do it, don't act on it because if you do, you're taking away a property owner's sense of free expression, which is one of the most valuable rights that exists in this country.

But is a photo like the one above of what appears to be political sign vandalism at least, is it really all that surprising? Given that anyone who posts or writes or probably even thinks anything that's critical or perceived as being critical of certain candidates gets harassed online in really sick ways that have really nothing to do with politics in general or a city election in particular. No, it's all about trying to intimidate your critics or people that you perceive to be your critics so they won't be active. And like sign vandalism, this is done under the veil of anonymity. They do it brazenly and openly because they're aware of the conflict of interest situation that exists between Schiavone and the management of the police department, which makes it difficult to believe that any investigations of sign vandalism against the Davis camp would go beyond the investigative level if it were reported. They probably know ahead of time that even if a report got filed with the police department, it probably wouldn't go anywhere because who's really in charge of the police department anyway?

As of this evening, there were two larger Davis signs and about four smaller ones posted in that same lot and the Schiavone signs were no longer there. So at least in this case, the signs are like tribbles, they keep multiplying when they're cut down or taken.

Most curious comment on Craigslist of the evening:

"I guess it is a sad day in politics when the despiration and lies come out. What is the Davis people affraid of? why all the personal attacks on everyone and everything?"

Maybe a better question to ask would be what are people so afraid of that they have to vandalize campaign signs? And if you correlate "personal attacks" with "affraid[sic]of", then it appears that the Schiavone supporters on Craiglist have been terrified for several months.

The last candidates' forum was held at the La Sierra Library by the League of Women's Voters and featuring the Ward Six candidates.

Councilwoman Nancy Hart and challengers Bill Scherer and Ann Alfaro discussed their positions on many issues including the Community Police Review Commission.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Asked about investigations of police officer-involved deaths by the Community Police Review Commission, Hart and Scherer both supported the council's recent decision to have the commission wait to begin its probes until after law enforcement finishes its own investigations.

Alfaro said the commission would have more credibility if it didn't have to wait months to start its investigations.

A video of the forum will be available for viewing at, the league's Web page.

The CPRC was the focus of much discussion as it has been in other venues including a community forum held at the Arlington Library on May 2.

The discussion of a proposal to cut firefighter positions in San Bernardino led to a shouting match at a meeting. Not among members of the public but among those sitting on the dais including the mayor and city attorney. Will they be borrowing that etiquette expert that was used by Colton's city government any time soon?

(excerpt,Press Enterprise)

In a meeting marked by shouted accusations of underhanded political maneuvers, San Bernardino City Council members on Monday tabled Councilman Chas Kelley's call to restore four-person crews on nine fire engines.

Council members voted 4-3, with Kelley, Esther Estrada and Wendy McCammack dissenting, to kill Kelley's proposal.

Immediately after Kelley made his motion to restore the funding, Councilman Tobin Brinker moved to table it, and Councilman Dennis Baxter seconded him. McCammack then tried to enter a substitute motion, but Mayor Pat Morris ruled it out of bounds. That triggered a shouting match involving Morris, McCammack and City Attorney Jim Penman, with Penman accusing Morris of arranging in advance to have the motion killed.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff and District Attorney Rod Pacheco are rallying against proposed budget and staffing cuts.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Both Pacheco and Smith questioned the executive office's interpretation of figures, which showed a long-term decline in Riverside County's crime rate and a drop from 2005 to 2007, in line with declines statewide.

Sniff said more recent numbers to which his office has access show that crime could be on the rise. He and Pacheco said increased resources allotted to public safety in Riverside County have contributed to the decline in the crime rate.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Stone agreed with that assessment.

Stone also said he was optimistic the economy and county revenues would recover sooner than predicted. He said the county should consider dipping into its dwindling reserve to fund public safety without harsh cuts. In six months, the county can reassess the situation and see if revenues haven't recovered, he said.

But county executive staff reiterated Monday that quick economic recovery is unlikely.

"In my 27 years as a member of the county family, these are about the worst budget conditions we have had to manage," Luna said, adding: "With stakes this high, decisions will be difficult, but the outcome will be a more efficient and effective government."

The above article has already elicited many comments.

But one blogger blames the cuts on one county supervisor, Bob Buster.

(excerpt, Inside Riverside)

For years Bob Buster, a member of the 1960's counter culture, has had to bide his time and do his best to hide his anti-cop beliefs that can best be summed up by lyrics in the Rolling Stones song, Sympathy for the Devil: "Every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints."

But now with the current budget crisis that has been manufactured by County CEO Bill Luna, the time has arrived for Bob Buster to strike at the cops he so hates, gutting the the budgets of Riverside County's public safety agencies, and leaving them weak and ineffective for years to come.

Yes, you read that right dear readers, Riverside County's budget crisis has been manufactured by its power hungry CEO Bill Luna, with the consent of at least three county supervisors. One of them is obviously County Supervisor Bob Buster. The other two anti-cop votes have yet to reveal themselves.

The fiscal predictions put forward by CEO Bill Luna at first were intentionally too optimistic, luring county department heads into a false sense of security that the economy was in bad shape, but by making a few cuts here and there, things would be alright.

The budget shortfall was predicted to be $90 million this upcoming fiscal year. With the 10% across the board cuts that Bill Luna wanted from each department, the Sheriff would be required to cut $72 million. The District Attorney would have to cut $12 million, for a combined total of $84 million.

This raised some eyebrows.

Sure enough, the Board voted 3-2 against cutting the public safety positions. Not surprising but this threat to cut them arose out of contract negotiations which are taking place between the county's management team and the labor unions. The county's executive officer, Bill Luna threatens the cuts but in this case wasn't backed by the legislative body.

Why wasn't the CEO of the county backed by the legislative body in his efforts? Because this isn't the City of Riverside.

But an early retirement plan for D.A. employees was approved by the board by 4-1 with Supervisor Jeff Stone being the dissenting vote.

Menifee unveils its city seal in grand form. Go and check it out.

Recession Bites!

A city in Washington might be forced to hand its drug-sniffing canine officer a pink slip.

Position Announcement

The City of New Orleans, Office of Inspector General, is now accepting applications for the position of Independent Police Monitor. The Independent Police Monitoring Division is established within the Office of Inspector General. The Independent Police Monitor and all other division personnel shall be appointed by the Inspector General. The Independent Police Monitor shall monitor the New Orleans Police Department, particularly in the areas of: civilian and internally-generate d complaints; internal investigations; discipline; use of force; and in-custody deaths. The Independent Police Monitor shall review and analyze the numbers and types of complaints; assess the quality and timeliness of New Orleans Police Department investigations; review the adequacy of data collection and analysis; review the public integrity bureau's policies, procedures, and resource needs; conduct risk management reviews; review the operations and effectiveness of New Orleans Police Department "early warning system"; review specific issues regarding supervision, training, and discipline; conduct relevant pattern analysis; and other tasks to ensure New Orleans Police Department accountability, transparency, and responsiveness to the community it serves. Additionally, the Independent Police Monitor shall promulgate policies and procedures related to the referenced duties and responsibilities.

The Independent Police Monitor shall be an attorney with substantial experience in criminal, civil rights, and/or labor law, or corporate and/or governmental investigations; or an individual with at least five years' experience in law enforcement oversight, preferably with a graduate degree. Knowledge of law enforcement, particularly of internal investigations of wrongdoing and uses of force, is essential. The independent police monitor shall possess impeccable integrity, sound judgment, and an ability to relate effectively with all those who have a stake in law enforcement including, but not limited to, residents of and visitors to New Orleans, the police department, other law enforcement agencies, and relevant parts of city government. The Independent Police Monitor shall possess an understanding of the city's ethnic diversity, cultural traditions, and socio-economic situation.

The starting salary for this position $131,468. If given a conditional offer of employment, a qualifying psychological evaluation and a successful urinalysis is required. The successful candidate will be subject to an extensive background investigation, which includes a criminal history review. Candidates having any conviction for domestic violence will not be considered for this position.

Please send a detailed resume, letter of application, copies of college degrees or transcrips, and three letters of recommendation, postmarked no later than May 31, 2009 to:

Samuel Stoute
Chief of Personnel
Office of Inspector General

525 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130


Breaking News!

Guess who got the "world's most perfect job"? Open the envelope please.

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