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

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Election 2009: Battle of the mailers (part two) and where is the money?


Drew Peterson indicted and held on $20 million bail for two counts on the murder of his former wife, Kathleen Savio.

"It's Cinco De Mayo, of course you've been drinking."

---Riverside Police Department officer to a motorist at a DUI checkpoint being conducted at Park and University in the Eastside.

"I worked with Paul DAvis for many months out in the west side that included the Rubidoux, Mira Loma, and Home Gardens area. Paul was my beat partner and we each had our own cars and patrolled the area. I think Paul is an outstanding guy and honest and hardworking and I enjoyed workign with him. I always fetl safe working with Paul and he was an excellent partner."

---Al Ewens, Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputy (ret.)

"What he doesn't tell you is that he failed to complete his probationary training-he washed out."

--Inland Empire Craigslist and Frank Schiavone for City Council mailer

Another day, another trip to the mail box, another set of mailers in the Ward Four Riverside City Council competition, which is mercifully heading into its final month and if you want to know why I consider that a huge relief, just visit here and check out the literally hundred comments with either "FBM" and/or "Mary" in their title. Notice how many of them comprise nothing more than unsigned personal attacks.

Schiavone has a list of qualifications on issues for city council. This is a common tactic used by incumbents in reelection bids because they know that their challengers haven't spent one day in office so of course, there's not going to be accomplishments which mainly consist of casting a "yay" vote as part of a legislative body. This strategy of campaigning does provide some avenue of comparing and contrasting records between candidates but not a complete one. And Schiavone does have his list of accomplishments. After all, he's been in office nearly eight years and he's done some good things during that time. Some by himself and others as part of various city council governments. There's nothing wrong with pointing that out as a form of adverstisement.

But while reading it, a statement on the Schiavone column struck me right away in a way that made me ask questions. It's one that oddly enough is under one issue that neither candidate has talked about much this election race and that's "Gangs".

The statement which caught my attention reads as follows:

"Allowed Riverside Police to work with Federal Law Enforcement to deport gang members and drug dealers here illegally."

What's fascinating about this statement is that the structure of most law enforcement agencies tend to be the same from one another. They usually are designed to have a structural hierarchy of leadership in place where the highest ranking employee, either a police chief or a sheriff, at the top of this command structure. One would assume that the Riverside Police Department falls under the same command structure as most other law enforcement agencies in that it's headed by a police chief. And when you look at the documentation of its command and management structure, that is indeed the case.

This chart shows the organizational structure of the Riverside Police Department up to its highest management level. It clearly shows that the department is structured to be headed by a chief, in this case Russ Leach.

This organizational chart shows where the police chief fits in the city's management structure. As you can see, the police chief serves directly under both the City Manager Brad Hudson and Asst. Chief Tom DeSantis. DeSantis serves under Hudson and Hudson serves under the pleasure of the entire city council as Riverside utilizes a city council/city manager governmental structure, according to its city charter.

So taking these organizational charts and the city's charter into consideration, why is it that a council member apparently as an individual is in the position where he can state on a campaign mailer that he's "allowing" the police department to do anything? Since when does a single elected official dictate the enforcement and apparently the drafting of policies and procedures in the police department?

The way Schiavone or his campaign workers wrote it, it makes it sound as if the police department management had to go to him for permission to meet with the U.S. Border Patrol's office in Riverside which it apparently did last November.

There's been some accounts of that meeting between representatives of the two agencies provided by the police department's management and supervisory level up and down its command structure from Leach to Lt. Bruce Loftus who is the area commander of the Central Neighborhood Policing Center, which oversees the neighborhood of Casa Blanca where at least one or more controversial arrests took place by both the U.S. Border Patrol and the police department only hours apart from one another a few months ago.

Not one person I spoke to in the police department mentioned Schiavone's involvement in the situation in any way, not even in passing. The most publicized arrests and detentions of both undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants did take place in a neighborhood within his ward but there was no mention that any of the undocumented immigrants arrested were involved in gangs or dealing drugs. Loftus in fact said that most of the offenses committed were misdemeanor at most and he didn't mention anything involving drugs or gangs.

So it's news to me and no doubt to others that he played the principle role of "allowing" the police department to carry out a law enforcement activity. Why is a city council member doing this "allowing" and not the police chief? Because it seems to me if it's an elected official that's doing the "allowing", then that follows under the practice of micromanaging a city department. Hopefully, it's the kind of hyperbole that one often finds in campaign literature and not what's actually taken place.

The next mailer comes from the Davis camp and it addresses allegations made by the Schiavone camp that he's not a real police officer because he failed to pass the 18 month probationary period at either job. On the front page, you see a copy of Davis' Basic Certificate which under these POST guidelines is given to an individual "who have satisfactorily completed the basic course requirement and the employment agency's probationary period".

This all goes back to the first and so far only lawsuit filed in connection with this election which was filed by the Schiavone camp's legal eagle and Moreno Valley Mayor Richard Stewart against City Clerk Colleen Nichols (who was represented in court by City Attorney Greg Priamos) challenging Davis' assertions in his campaign statement that he was a former Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputy and Riverside Police Department officer.

Presiding Judge Sharon Waters disagreed with arguments against Davis being a former law enforcement officer so he was allowed to use two of his former job positions in his campaign. In his mailer, he states that it's Schiavone who wants the voters to believe he's a "real" police officer instead of a reserve officer. Now Schiavone to his credit has never said he's an actual police officer and has identified himself only as a reserve officer.

Former Mayor Terry Frizzel had endorsed Davis and listed her reasons in the mailer.

"Councilman Frank Schiavone appears to be confused. He is running for City Council, not Police Chief. Frank seems to be obsessed with Paul Davis' work as a real deputy sheriff and real police officer and this is a desperate attempt by Frank to deflect attention away from Frank's own failures in office, like the DHL nightmare and the dramatic increase in our water and electric bills. Every time that Frank gets confused we tax payers end up paying for it. It's time for change at City Hall, let's vote for Paul Davis."

This was one unsigned response to the news about the Frizzel endorsement. Very classy indeed, coming from most certainly a very classy person to use language like that in this comment posting.

You know what's truly amazing, is that you never find this kind of derogatory language used against Schiavone or people who endorsed him. No one's called any of his endorsers "old bats", "losers"(a very adult word, that) or anything similar.

to be endorsed by an old bat, is not something to be proud about. Old bats pray at night on victims to suck their blood. So is it endorsement or embarrassment to be endorse by TF. The answer = embarrassment of course. Davis has no friends, only those that have no life, no future or destiny. He is a loser. So if you are endorsing him, you are in good company, Loser.

Frizzel a loser? Hardly, particularly if you look at those who hold or have held public office as "winners". Frizzel has served both on the city council and as mayor and in her last election bid, she only lost to Councilman Steve Adams by about 13 votes despite being outspent over 20 to 1.

Show Me the Money

The fundraising for the city council elections in Riverside has continued with incumbents out raising their challengers in campaign contributions. This election as you can see isn't going to be as costly for its candidates including incumbents to wage as Election 2009 when several winning and losing candidates raised war chests in the six figures. But the recession has made its mark in the sphere of election fundraising just as it has elsewhere.

One reason is that all three of them could be decided after the votes are counted in the June 2 mailin round. Another is that the big time donors including labor unions and some developers (in some races) aren't trying to oust incumbents.

In addition, all the incumbents are running for reelection this time around unlike in 2007, when Councilman Ed Adkison opted out and two challengers including eventual winner, Chris MacArthur ran both boasting sizable war chests.

This is where they currently stand.

Ward Two

Andrew Melendrez:

Raised: $40,175

Biggest contributors:

Riverside Firefighters Association: $5,000

SEIU: $1,000

Duane Roberts: $1,000

John Gless: $1,000

Riverside Police Officers Association: $500

Ruben Rasso:

Raised: <$1,000 Major Contributions: Himself, $450

Ahmad Smith:

Raised: $3,370

Biggest contributors: Himself, $1,000

Ward Four:

Paul Davis:

Raised: $30,730

Biggest contributors:

RPOA: $2,500 (table at fundraiser)

Solarmax Technology: $2,000

Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster: $500

Frank Schiavone

Raised: $69,500

Biggest contributors:

RFA: $6,000

RPOA: $4,500

Duane Roberts: $3,500

John Gless: $3,000

Ward Six:

Ann Alfaro

Raised: <$1,000 Biggest contributors:

Nancy Hart

Raised: $45,680

Biggest contributors:

RSA: $5,000 '

Duane Roberts: $2,500

SEIU: $1,000

Alan Mruvka: $1,000

Doug Jacobs: $250

Bill Scherer

Raised: $1,000

Biggest contributors: His family

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach removes himself from a case which involves the former campaign treasurer of Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Judge Paul E. Zellerbach, in a document filed Monday, rebutted a motion that Assistant District Attorney Bill Mitchell filed April 22 to disqualify him.
Story continues below

In it, Zellerbach denied what he called "every spurious allegation" including that he has shown bias for his own political ambitions.

In addition, Zellerbach said he is not a current candidate to run for election against Pacheco and chose to recuse himself only to prevent more delays in the case.

"Although this judicial officer has concerns about policy decisions that have been made by the District Attorney, such disagreement does not have any bearing on the ability to be fair and impartial...," Zellerbach stated in his motion.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors received a sharp rebuke from the Press Enterprise Editorial board for what it stated was buckling under to scare tacks.


Pacheco sought a $12 million increase in his budget at a time when all other county services face cutbacks. If arrogance could pay the bills, Pacheco would not face any cutbacks.

Buster asked the crucial question about the DA and sheriff: "Why can't they prioritize?" Exactly. Surely the sheriff can find a better starting point for budget cuts than closing a jail and slashing police patrols. Those should be last resorts -- and the fact that they feature prominently in the sheriff's presentation suggests traditional scare tactics, not realistic budgeting. And Pacheco did not even pretend to prioritize.

County Executive Officer Bill Luna reported in January that the county's spending on public safety -- primarily the sheriff and DA -- has grown far faster than population or crime in the past five years. And Riverside County's DA staffing grew at a far faster rate than San Bernardino County's, yet both counties saw about the same increase in case dispositions. Those trends hardly suggest that cuts to the sheriff and district attorney would jeopardize Riverside County's safety.

Exempting the county's largest discretionary budget entries from cuts would be neither fair nor rational policy. Weighing budget savings against a rise in criminal activity is a false choice. The county can cut costs without putting the public at risk -- and supervisors should demand it.

Menifee got itself a seal. Now it's getting its very own planning commission.

Temecula's police chief moves up in the ranks of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Temecula like quite a few cities in the county contracts its police services from the Sheriff's Department and the "chiefs" of these departments are usually captains.

A former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy was charged with drug dealing.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Peter Paul Felix, 25, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to bring drugs into the North County Correctional Facility and six other drug-related crimes after surrendering to authorities in a downtown courtroom. Monique Ciara Garcia, 21, an alleged accomplice, also pleaded not guilty to similar charges, authorities said.

If convicted, each faces up to 12 years in state prison, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Hassett.

Felix, a two-year department veteran, resigned in October after investigators caught him allegedly receiving cash and drugs from Garcia in a Baldwin Park parking lot.

Before joining the Sheriff's Department, Felix had had at least one previous run-in with the law. He was convicted of misdemeanor petty theft after Glendora police arrested him in May 2002. He was sentenced to one day in jail and three years' probation, according to prosecutors.

Felix was among the hundreds of deputies hired by the Sheriff's Department at a time when the agency was seeking to bolster its ranks. A department watchdog warned in a report earlier this year that the department had eased its hiring practices in 2006, giving jobs to recruits who in the past would have been rejected. Some of those hired had criminal records, drug and alcohol problems and financial woes, according to the report.

But an Orange County Sheriff's Department deputy charged with sexual assault in Riverside County will remain in jail.

What do Riverside County and toilet paper have in common? Dan Bernstein of the Press Enterprise can tell you.

Why are Massachusetts police officers doing illegal criminal searches on celebrities?

Western Municipal Water District rates are going up including in the part of Riverside it services.

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