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

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Election 2009: Show us the money, again

Just when I thought that blogging about the Riverside City Council elections of 2009 could never top the experience of blogging about the District One Riverside County supervisor contest last year at this time, along comes another series of anonymous rants at Craigslist to put that belief to the test. My vertigo puts me to bed earlier than I would like so I don't see most of these visits to the site done at the wee hours of the morning and it's hard not to be shocked at the obsessive nature of an often long list of postings with my name or "FBM" in their title. It's kind of freaky sometimes especially when you consider the content of a lot of these postings, but what's strangest of all, is where they come from because after a while spent reading dozens if not hundreds of these often incoherent rants, it's harder not to know who's writing them.

Especially since one of the most important things to do is just keep your ear to the ground (the non-vertigo ear of course) and just wait for these anonymous folks to be so filled with themselves that they think they will burst if they can't tell someone what they've been up to. That apparently happened in this case and the identity of that individual would have been a lot more surprising a few weeks ago or maybe if I learned it while they were engaging in similar activities just one year ago on behalf of the candidate running for a different elective office.

Craigslist had been quite busy since the posting that was done on this site yesterday, with anonymous members who appear to be among Councilman Frank Schiavone's supporters writing on that site that I have been convicted of felony burglary in 2000 and also this infraction for being an unlicensed driver. They post a link to the Riverside County Superior Court site to support their allegations. I read it and thought, wow these people really don't have much faith in their candidate's chances of winning reelection. I probably believe it's a more likely outcome of the election than they apparently do. It seems that the more desperate they feel, the uglier and more frequent their anonymous rants become on that site.

But alas, that individual that they listed is not me.

For one thing, I'm not 65 years old like the convicted burglar nor am I brown-eyed and 5'0 like the second offender. My address doesn't match that on any of the documents involving either case. It looked like a lot of people were shocked by the posting and I had people ask me if it was me. Most people who've been following what's been going on Craigslist know that I've been one of the main targets of hateful and frankly, sickening posts there by people purporting to be Schiavone's supporters and that this is just more of the same. But I'm not the only one that they've targeted there. When faced with their own behavior, they whine that the "other side" has done the same thing but the proof just isn't there because if you look at the long list of postings done on Craigslist during Election 2009, you will find the vast majority of the negative ones written by individuals claiming to be Schiavone supporters. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

And when they're not ranting anonymously about people's personal hygiene or choice in lingerie, they're flagging posts for removal anonymously because they don't trust the readership at Craigslist to be able to read them for themselves and formulate their own opinion. That's really sad that there's individuals who try to dictate what you will read and what you want on a Web site like that which has served as a forum, both good and bad, for people to post events, election information and most of the time, opinions.

Not surprisingly any link to this site has been flagged for removal many times. People email or send me the links to the flagged posts to prove that they existed if I hadn't seen for sure myself. Again, this is being done by people who don't trust the other readers on the site to be able to formulate their own opinions on issues and other people's opinions themselves and want to shape the opinions of these people by pruning the site of any postings that they don't feel people should read and every single time, it's a posting that they disagree with themselves like this one which when posted was linked to this particular posting on this blog.

So it's one thing when trying to remove content that you disagree with and then harassing those who write it is done online but it's another when there's been parallels in Riverside's city government where more and more business seems to take place behind closed doors in secrecy like that ad hoc "research" committee created by the Governmental Affairs Committee (chaired by Schiavone) addressing investigative protocol of the CPRC. The public was never notified when and where those meetings took place, given a list of the committee's members ahead of time let alone invited to sit in and watch, let alone invited to participate. In fact, it's a good bet that most of the city's residents didn't even know that the committee had been created at all. And this is simply one example of how secrecy and opaqueness is being the rule and not the exception at City Hall, leaving the tax-paying public uninformed about a lot of what's going on.

And let's see, when it comes to harassment, look at how people who've spoken critically of city government have been treated by the city council. They're subjected to paper shuffling, sidebar conversations, name-calling and other behaviors by a city council which is similar to what has happened in other cities but at least Colton had the sense to hire an etiquette expert to give its city council members recommendations on how to behave during meetings. Riverside's city council nearly always tones down its own behavior during respective election years and this behavior usually subsides but after all the votes are counted, it will pick up right where it left off.

I'm used to their tactics because this is how these Schiavone supporters who appear by the way to be very privy about the details of his campaign have been behaving since I guess they discovered that Craigslist provided them with a venue to spew hatred and garbage anonymously as described by this unsigned person. They've gone after other people as well including Mary Humboldt, Yolanda Garland and Terry Frizzel, all women, simply because they don't like what they've said at city council and other public meetings. So instead of criticizing their stances on civic and political issues face to face or at least online, they instead place them on "filthy five" lists and make fun of their mental status, personal hygiene and whether or not they wear a bra or not. That's not a tactic one uses when you hold a political disagreement or difference of opinion with a person, that's when you just like to make personal attacks that can't be traced back to you.

It shows how out of touch not to mention how juvenile the behavior of these individuals is, because they must really believe that postings like that are going to win their candidate votes when most people vote by the issues and how they impact them and their families, and most people tend to be turned off by personal attacks on people's looks which are clearly intended to try to shame people from expressing opinions different to their own.

One unsigned person did have a response to all this.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

If no crime was committed then why is Schiavone, Priamos, Morales, and all you mud slingers acting like a deer in the headlights of a speeding car lately? Nobody has anything real to say. You're all just a bunch of little pre-schoolers throwing insults. Making up pretend stories and talking about showers and bras and body odor.

Are you really that blown away that you can't come up with an intelligent, cohesive, adult thing to say? Isn't anyone on Frank's side mentally older than 12?

Is this really Frank campaign? Is this what it's come to?

Of course, predictably the response to this post was the "I know you are but what am I" line that most of us used at one time or another when we were under the age of 12. After all, that's the age range where mirroring behavior like that exhibited in the posting below first appears.


There was no crime committed and nobody resembles any deer except Davis. Davis has nothing real to say.

Talk about pre-schoolers throwing insults, Davis' people are pretty damn good at it themselves, without regard for the truth I might add. They just throw it on the wall to see if it sticks.

Is Davis really that blown away that he can't bother with the facts? Is anyone on Davis' side even mentally stable, let alone 12?

Is this really what Davis' campaign has come to? Sad Indeed.

Nice Try.

You can argue about whether or not any crimes were committed in the Bradley Estate Affair but what's difficult to argue against are the statements that these anonymous people who are obsessed with bras and deodorant have never written anything of any substance while they've been on Craigslist. And the sad thing is that they had many opportunities to do so, by selling the positive attributes of Schiavone of which there are some, but apparently they don't even seem to agree with that because why be nasty as they have been when it would be much more effective to sell their candidate as the best man for the job?

These allegations raised by unsigned members of the Schiavone campaign are interesting but their actions, not exactly surprising. Fortunately, there's only several weeks of this election left and then they'll disappear beneath the rocks from where they came from. They always do.

And what's interesting is how this type of behavior is rewarded publicly as well. Just witness the case of Migual Morales of the so-called "Riverside Press Club" who stood up at a city council meeting and called community activist and "Friends of the Hills" member, a "liar" and soon afterwards, was seen being embraced in the back of the chamber by Schiavone's legislative aide.

But then judging by some of the unprofessional behavior by several legislative aides, maybe it's time to revisit the issue of whether or not this city can afford to pay out $49,000 plus benefits for positions that are exempt from a competitive recruitment and hiring process and seem to have no list of professional standards for conduct. What often happens is that the winning politician of an election gives the job as a reward to one of his campaign workers and that type of action can be problematic as quite a few governmental corruption scandals have begun through similar circumstances when accountability, fair labor practices and transparency is taken out of the hiring processes of legislative staff. Having legislative aides set up the way that it currently is just smacks of rewarding campaign workers with jobs at City Hall.

This behavior was in response for writing about the most recent mailer circulated by the Paul Davis campaign which discusses Schiavone's "other resume" including a 1999 bench warrant allegedly filed against Schiavone on a civil case for $1,500. Anonymous individuals on Craigslist insist that there's two Schiavones and that the one in that case is probably the one from Rancho Cucamonga, not their Schiavone. Still, being anonymous, it's hard to know what to think except that if their truth were so compelling, it's still not enough for any of these rock dwellers to garner much strength to it by identifying themselves and bringing it to light. Granted, it would be tough at this stage of the game after seeing how some of them have conducted themselves at Craigslist especially if as some people suspect, they do occupy high places in the Schiavone campaign. Being anonymous, it's hard to know for sure who they are but it's also hard to overlook the postings they write which include campaign information that most of the public just isn't privy to. And it's harder when quoted material from some of those anonymous posts winds up being included on campaign mailers.

As for there being more than one Schiavone, that's already been established. There's at least two of them. One who supports the CPRC and one who opposes it, for example.

As far as cute little postings at Craigslist, this one gets honorable mention for being well, intelligent.


Traffic must be slow at the FBM blog when Mary at FBM must bring her demented philosophy to Craigslist.
If I wanted to know your opinion, I'd read your blog.
Can't you make your point in a brief paragraph ? blah blah blah Shut Up!

Unfortunately, I had to stop comments on my site in part to get him to "shut up". But he found himself a new hovel to reside in and some leaders to follow.

In Election 2009, Schiavone's raising the most money for his campaign. Again, the figures generated in these fund raising drives pale beside those raised by several incumbent councilmen and their challengers in the city election two years ago when campaign war chests containing money in the six-figures wasn't an uncommon thing.

But it's likely to be a shorter election cycle with fewer candidates and one fewer seat up for grabs. Unlike the last election cycle, this one's taking place during a recession, which is impacting donations certainly from the developers who usually bombard campaign war chests. However, the money spent this time around is certainly less than just two years ago.

Throw in the fact that one city council member, Mike Gardner, who ran a grass-roots campaign ousted one of Election 2007's biggest earners, Dom Betro and another grass-roots candidate Terry Frizzel nearly unseated Steve Adams, have changed the way that money's raised these days.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Schiavone, who is seeking a third term, started the campaign as the leading fundraiser and has not relinquished that position.

Major contributions to Schiavone include $1,000 from the Riverside Police Officers Association, $1,000 from citrus rancher Janet Gless, $1,000 from the Service Employees International Union, Local 721 and $1,000 from Moss Bros. Dodge in San Bernardino.

For the filing period, Schiavone reported $37,071 in expenditures with $11,512 in unpaid bills.

Schiavone's challenger, small-business owner Paul Davis, raised $6,600 for the filing period.

Major contributions included $2,500 from Rent-A-Center and $500 from friend Ethel Harmatz, of Oceanside.

Davis reported $7,454 in expenditures for the filing period.

Fundraising in the other two ward contests also continued.

Ward Two

Andrew Melendrez: $8,214

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $500

Carolyn Young, developer: $500

Ahmad Smith: No donations

Ruben Rasso: $4,970

Southern California Braiding Company: $1,000

Brown Insurances Services: $500

Ward Six:

Nancy Hart: $2,800

Riverside Police Officers' Association: $1,000

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $500

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277: $300

Ann Alfaro: None

Bill Scherer: $80

The downtown new office towers which were to become Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco's new palace is expected to weigh in on the recently released grand jury report discussing problems in the District Attorney's office. Let the games and gamesmanship begin.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The report, released late Friday, says the district attorney's office could and should eliminate its nine-member executive division, which cost the county half a million dollars this year. The savings would help the county tackle its mounting financial crisis, the report says.

The grand jury said the division replicates duties previously performed by existing staff.

Pacheco's office responded in a letter, rejecting the report's recommendations and telling the grand jury it failed to recognize the executive division's essential communications, outreach and victim support work.

County supervisors are expected to discuss the district attorney's executive division and decide how to handle the report at the June 2 board meeting, officials said.

"Some kind of independent review ought to take place, but that is going to take time," Supervisor Bob Buster said. "But for the short term, all the indications are that the district attorney can cut his budget back to the required amount without undermining essential prosecutions."

If supervisors opt to follow standard procedure, County Executive Officer Bill Luna and his staff will draft a response to the grand jury report, said county spokesman Ray Smith. Supervisors must then approve the response before it is sent back to the grand jury, he said. The response deadline is Aug. 18.

Perris is another city considering early retirement packages for its employees.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

City officials hope the early retirement offer will cut long-term costs and keep them from laying off workers. The long-term cost-cutting move is just one way the city is trying to keep its expenses in line with plunging sales and property tax revenues.

"We're facing the fiscal impacts of this economy. Other cities have been laying people off for the last 12 to 18 months and now it's catching up to us," said Councilman Mark Yarbrough. "Tax bases have dried up and there are no building fees to speak of."

He said so far the city's $15 million reserve has spared officials from having to look at layoffs or cutting services such as parks, recreation and police or fire protection.

The recall effort against a Moreno Valley Councilwoman has three elected officials supporting it.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Mike Rios, former Councilman Frank West and Robert Burks said in separate phone interviews that they believe Hastings misled the public by saying during the campaign that she would not support anything that would harm the community, and then voted for a warehouse project that includes a large Skechers distribution center after she was elected.

Burks noted that the project developer, Highland Fairview, donated money to the Moreno Valley Taxpayers Association, which spent money independently in support of Hastings' election -- something that Hastings said she didn't know about until a candidate forum.
Story continues below

"I think that's a real big issue. You tell people you know nothing about it, then you end up doing things to benefit (the donors)," Burks said.

There's a shortage of deputies in Highland, a city located in San Bernardino County.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

In Highland, a city of 52,000 with sometimes as few as three patrol deputies, such scenes can trigger an unwelcome domino effect.

"Imagine trying to control that," said Art Alvarado, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy assigned to Highland who responded to the Feb. 1 killing with help from deputies from the sheriff's Central Station. "Three people can't do it."

That chaos is rare, but the issue it creates across the 18-square-mile city is not.

"Now you've got us and Central (station deputies) tied up," Alvarado said. "Think about it. Who's handling all the other calls?"

Almost every Inland law enforcement agency is competing for federal stimulus dollars to hire more officers. Some say Highland, which pays the sheriff to patrol the city, has the most pressing need.

Adding three deputies through the grant -- as the city hopes to do -- would bring its total to 25. When the station's captain, lieutenant, five sergeants and two detectives are included, Highland has 31 full-time sworn officers, a ratio of about 0.6 officers per 1,000 residents.

The national average is 2.4 officers per 1,000.

More information about the alleged hit that former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson might have ordered against his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Currently, he stands indicted and facing prosecution in her murder.

(excerpt, Fox-News)

JAMIE COLBY, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: We’re talking bombshell, bombshell news today. The Will Country state's attorney said the Drew Peterson tried to hire a hitman to kill third wife, Kathleen Savio, that Peterson offered 25 smackers for the murder of his wife.

The state's attorney also said Peterson told a fellow police officer in 2004 that the divorce from Kathleen was going to ruin him financial, and that his, quote, "life would be easier if we were just dead."

FOX News’ Jim Murphy, our producer inside the courtroom in Illinois, is joining me on the phone. Jim these are stunning statements from the state's attorney. Is this something you think was presented to the grand jury?

JIM MURPHY, FOX NEWS (Via telephone): It was not discussed in court today whether or not that would presented to the grand jury. But I think you described it perfectly. It certainly was a bombshell.

When I came into the courtroom today, I was sitting near, relative to Stacy Peterson as well as the Savio family. Obviously, there could be very visible reaction, but you could tell there were shaken by that news today.

COLBY: Absolutely. And the timeline of when it happened, the potential purchase of a hit man for $25,000 was just weeks before she was found dead in that dry bathtub. And then the comment to the officer also around the time that there were about to decide how much alimony he was going to have to pay.

The judge denied reducing a $20 million bail, and $20 million is considered high in that state for what he is indicted for, these charges.

So do you know why he did it? Did it have anything to do with the fact that Drew Peterson benefited financially from Kathleen Savio's death and that money might be used for bail?

MURPHY: Certainly. There were a couple of strong points that James Glasswell (ph) the Will County state's attorney made today, one being that Drew Peterson violated a very serious oath, that to serve and protect as a police officer. And he thought he should be held to a higher standard.

Meanwhile, the body recovered near the Des Plaines River in Illinois yielded few clues and many unanswered questions remained including its identity.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Even if the body is identified, further investigation will likely be needed to tell how long it was in the water, or when the person died, said noted forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who is familiar with the cases of missing Will County women Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic.

Baden, who is not involved with last week's discovery, said the cause of death may never be known.

"This is the kind of body that could be in the water for one year, or five years, because there was a lot of destruction from the body," he said. "The first thing is, who is it. Once you know who it is, you can get a better determination of how the body got there."

The DNA could be extracted from bone marrow or other cells, experts said.

"Frankly, you've got bones," said Dr. Peter G. Candel, a pathologist and senior partner at Holy Cross Hospital who is not involved in the investigation. "There is residual cellular material that can be found in the marrow, the bone itself or adherent tissues. ... You just need to get molecules of DNA out to do comparison."

Did a Chicago Police Department officer charged in the fatal hit and run of a teenaged boy receive preferential treatment from the justice system? His blood alcohol tested just a hair beneath the legal level for intoxication but the test was delayed over 12 hours.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Asked if Officer Richard Bolling received preferential treatment, Daley replied, "I hope not. I know the superintendent will be looking at that as quickly as possible ... They will have to investigate that, definitely."

To this date, the police department has refused to identify Bolling as the off-duty officer who allegedly was behind the wheel of the speeding car that struck and killed Trenton Booker.

The officer's identification was supplied by the Cook County state's attorney's office after he was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident where a death or injury occurred and reckless homicide.

There are also questions why the department waited four hours after the accident before administering a Breathalyzer test, and waited another eight hours before drawing blood to test Bolling's alcohol level.

And relatives of the boy claim the officer's court hearing was moved up an hour over the weekend to avoid them and the media.

Bolling is a 17-year veteran assigned to the narcotics and gang investigation section. His father is Douglas Bolling, a former Wentworth Area commander, a former Harrison district commander and a former tactical officer.

In refusing to identify Bolling, a police spokeswoman on Saturday said in a news release that the department was "unable" to disclose his name "per union contract."

But police sources said there is no contract provision that bars disclosing the name of an officer who has been charged with a crime, and one source lamented the impression of favoritism the action made.

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