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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Election 2009: Who won; who lost and who got raises

As everyone in Riverside knows by now, Paul Davis ousted Councilman Frank Schiavone in the election to determine who would represent the city's fourth ward. His official swearing in date will take place Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. according to the City Clerk's office.

Election 2009: Winners & Losers


Paul Davis: The obvious winner who pulled what some called a "stunner" or a "huge upset" in the Ward Four election, but was it really? Davis came in with strong support in the southern section of the city's largest ward and expanded it through an extensive canvassing strategy which began several months before the filing date. Lacking the name recognition of his incumbent, he put himself out there, attending meetings and talking to people. It paid off on election day in a big way.

Shoe leather: The number one piece of equipment needed to launch a successful political campaign is plenty of this material. There's no substitution for door to door canvassing of prospective voters. Not mailers, not phone banks, not paid advertisements on cable television and most definitely, not turning city meetings into your own political advertisements.

Chris MacArthur: With Schiavone, the council's old "alpha dog" gone, all MacArthur sees is clear space. Will he try to move into Schiavone's vacancy? His aide certainly wants him to do so. Unfortunately, his aide's his biggest weak spot.

Grass-roots campaigning: This election like two earlier ones proved that spending big bucks doesn't necessarily get you a council seat anymore. The successful 2003 and 2007 grassroots campaigns of Dom Betro and Mike Gardner showed that a little money and a lot of worn shoe leather could go along way and that includes victory.


Frank Schiavone: Yes he lost the election but that's not why he's on this list. As the two-time incumbent, it was his to lose and he and his crew formulated a strategy which apparently involved zero time canvassing ward neighborhoods and precincts. Instead, it relied solely on mostly inflammatory mailers to win voters. Schiavone blamed his loss on his supporters that didn't turn out to vote thinking his victory was assured. But there's only three things in life that are absolutely certain: Birth, Death and Taxes. And a vote that's cast aside and an election which is left for others to decide, is most often a failing strategy but one which many an incumbent has utilized and found themselves out of a job. Davis and his camp remained confident in his chances of victory but they went out and made it happen by doing the day to day campaigning, rather than leaving it to chance.

Councilman Steve Adams: He's just lost his only staunch ally and will likely spend the last two years of his city council career whistling in the wind. And it's likely that even if he reconsiders and decides to run again in 2011, he won't get reelected.

Negative campaigning
: Former Councilman Art Gage tried it in 2007 against challenger Rusty Bailey and Schiavone tried it at least twice at both the city and county levels. but how did they fare in their respective elections? Zero for three. And how did candidates whose supporters harassed their critics at Craiglist list fare? There's yet to be a candidate who wins office whose supporters have utilized that strategy. Supporters of candidates who have harassed this blogger online? Zero for three. Maybe this should provide some form of clue to aspiring politicians and their crews that negative campaigning at least in recent years has had zero effectiveness at winning elections.

Labor Unions: They all picked the incumbents which was a safe choice. And actually two out of three isn't bad and for several unions, it's actually an improvement on their past records but the endorsement process particularly in the fourth ward contest fractured and splintered several PAC committees and union boards, not the least of which is the Riverside Police Officers Association which saw quite a few members of both bodies resign as part of the fallout of an apparent division over the Davis/Schiavone race. When revelations of alleged misconduct by Schiavone most notably the Bradley Estates affair came to light, several supporters had misgivings about the endorsement but by then their die had been cast. The fallout of the election process on that organization might still be playing out all the way to its elections in November.

The Riverside Police Administrators' Association's sudden turnout from its neutral stance to endorsing city council candidates including Schiavone raised some eyebrows. Most particularly its decision to endorse Schiavone, one of two elected officials being sued for political harassment and retaliation by two police lieutenants who were previously active in the RPAA's leadership and PAC. What was behind the 180 degree change by the PAC? There's many rumors abounding about this situation.

Ripples were also noted in the SEIU's General Unit which also endorsed Schiavone amid a split vote.

All of them are faced with the arduous task of regrouping at least politically and several of them, much more than that.

Out-of-ward endorsements:
A lot of people put a lot of credence on endorsements by other elected officials, publications and organizations like labor unions and the chambers of commerce, but these entities have very mixed records when it comes to successfully picking winners. For example, during Election 2007, the Press Enterprise and several labor unions including the Riverside Police Officers' Association didn't field great records in their endorsements. Yet some of Schiavone's online supporters kept repeating these endorsements like a mantra as if they actually had anything to do with how people picked their candidates in the fourth ward. First of all, most of the people doing these endorsements aren't registered voters in Ward Four and more importantly at the end of the day, the only "candidate endorsers" who matter are the voters. Unless you seriously don't think that Schiavone would willingly trade in all his endorsements and replace them with one, the voting public.

Cyberharassment: This falls under the category of negative campaigning of sorts but how many elections did it win this time? None. Will these people slink back underneath their rocks? That remains to be seen.

Brian Floyd and those political consultants from Banning: Their losing streak in local elections continues... Soubirous, Cardelucci, Rasso, Schiavone... Still, they make a pretty good living at it.

Riverside Renaissance: Yes, we hear all the time about how successful it is cramming oodles of public works and other type projects in a five year period but the true financial impact on the city is fairly sketchy, something it seems that voters in various wards have picked up on. After all, the 'Renaissance, for all its purported wonders, has in part (or at best in spite of it) sent its third city council member to the unemployment line through the election process since 2007.

On the Fence

S.S. Hudson: The city manager who's been left to his own devices or directed by a minority of dominating city council members has lost some of his direction. So what will be do or be directed to do next? Who will step forward and stir this ship? And what of the mini-me, DeSantis?

Community Police Review Commission: The much defanged and neutered police oversight mechanism has just lost its number one adversary on the dais. With only one councilman, Steve Adams, left who strongly opposes civilian review, what does the future hold for any possible resurrection of this beleaguered body including its ability (or current inability) to fulfill its charter-mandated duties including its investigation of officer-involved deaths which was pretty much tabled by Hudson and Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis at the direction of several council members including most likely, the one just issued a pink slip.

Councilman Rusty Bailey: The West Point Academy graduate is currently rudderless since he's spent two years playing follow-the-leader with Schiavone, most particularly on the Governmental Affairs Committee. So what's the councilman with the most academic background yet the least inclination to put it to use going to do now?

Melendrez/Hart: Both breezed to easy victories over less than formidable competition but what will they do after celebrating their wins? Will they adjust their representative style or will they maintain their current courses?

Police Chief Russ Leach: Will he reemerge from some sort of exile he's been in (particularly from public meetings) and be allowed to run his department again as its police chief or will the police department continue to be micromanaged by City Hall?

Who's getting raises/Who's not in the Riverside Workforce

If you work for the city of Riverside and are a member of one of the half dozen or so bargaining units, then you're probably aware that there's contract negotiations going on at City Hall behind closed doors right now. One bargaining unit, the Riverside Fire Fighters Association already nixed any ideas that they would receive any salary increases and other bargaining units were looking at similar pay freezes. In the meantime, full and part-time employees were being laid off due to budget cuts.

But fear not, because not every city employee has to worry about having a salary freeze or even facing a salary cut. If you're a department head or in a management position, you could actually be looking at a pay raise of up to 15% or more.

These pay raises actually went into effect in December 2008, during the time period the city began its layoffs of full-time employees. Here are some of the lucky employees positions who saw their annual salaries increased markedly even in these economically difficult times.

This is the breakdown: Jan. 2008/Dec. 2008/ increase/% change

City Manager: $256,680 $275,004 $18,324 7%

Assistant City Manager: $191,316 $225,516 $34,200 15%

City Attorney: $203,850 $208,668 $5,088 2%

City Clerk: $131,820 $135,120 $3,300 2%

Department Heads:

Police Chief: $234,000 $277,176 $43,176 16%

Fire Chief: $221,208 $254,388 $33,180 13%

Director, Public Works: $173,928 $205,008 $31,080 15%

General Manager, Public Utilities: $193,740 $250,692 $56,952 23%

Human Resources Director: $148,908 $175, 524 $26,616 15%

Director, Planning: $165,660 $195,276 $29,616 15%

Director Parks & Recreation: $165,660 $195,276 $29,616 15%

It's interesting that as the fire fighters freeze their salaries, their chief gets a 13% and in the police department, the police chief got a 16% pay increase when at least 80 officers have yet to receive their merit increases. Hopefully this means that the current police chief will be more visible at public events and take more of a leadership in the again, micromanaged police department.

Attacks against civilian oversight being waged in other cities besides Riverside.

In Maine, the state legislature has said no to civilian oversight.

(excerpt, The Lincoln County News)

Rep. Donald Pilon (D-Saco) submitted the bill, along with several co-sponsors to address the issue of police-involved fatal shootings in the state. Every incident in which a police officer shot and killed another person was found "justified" by the Maine Attorney General's Office.

The AG's Office found in every case, the officer involved had not committed a crime that could be prosecuted. As reported in an earlier interview with Bill Stokes, head of the Criminal Justice Division in the Office of the Attorney General, the division does not take into consideration disciplinary issues or departmental policy.

Prompted to dig further into what sponsors of the proposed bill have said is a loophole in the law, state representatives and citizens alike still want answers to the shootings.

"The Attorney General has a very limited scope of questioning," Rep. Lisa Miller (D-Somerville) said.

Lincoln County representatives and residents have expressed their interest in the formation of the bill since the 2007 shooting death of 18-year-old Gregori Jackson of Whitefield by reserve Waldoboro Police officer Zachari Curtis in addition to the other cases statewide.

The proposed bill was co-sponsored by seven Maine Senators and six Representatives on both sides of the aisle, including House Speaker Hannah Pingree (D-North Haven).

According to Rep. Lisa Miller (D-Somerville), the Criminal Justice Committee recommended local examinations of individual shooting incidents.

The Criminal Justice Committee did not pass the bill as proposed by Rep. Pilon, but passed the entire bill as amended. According to the Legislature page on the state website (, Governor Baldacci signed the bill on May 19.

"It's not quite enough citizen participation as we would like," Miller said, adding, "I'm willing to let this process play out for awhile."

In Florida, a recently issued court order will strip civilian review mechanisms of both investigative and subpoena powers.

(excerpt, News-Press)

Cecil Pendergrass, Gulf Coast Chapter PBA president and a former Fort Myers police officer, said the ruling from Judge Maura T. Smith of the Orange County Circuit Court of Appeals takes away subpoena and investigative powers from such review boards.

In a 13-page ruling, Smith cites that police agencies are already subject to investigation by the state attorney’s office, state grand jury, state criminal courts, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigations, United States Department of Justice, federal grand jury and federal criminal courts.

“A board such as the one that is proposed on the November ballot is unnecessary and now unconstitutional,” Pendergrass said. “We consider this a great victory.”

Pendergrass said PBA’s lawyers are in the process of exploring a possible injunction against the Lee County ballot proposal. Pendergrass said the vote would unduly cost taxpayers money to vote on a board that would ultimately be considered unconstitutional.

Anthony Thomas, chair of Citizens for a Better Fort Myers, the organization that collected the signatures to get the issue on the ballot in November, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

A community meeting layed out the divide that exists between community and police relations in East Texas.

(excerpt, News 8 Austin)

Monday night community members charged that APD uses excessive force more frequently than reports would suggest.

"I just do not believe that all these shootings, or any of them,
were necessary in any way and that, for whatever reason, the police have yet to come up with a system of use of deadly force that actually protects the citizenry," resident Rudolph Williams said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo at one point defended the department's duties, saying much of the community's criticisms should be directed at issues of education and the criminal justice system.

"All the police policies and procedures are not going to stop shootings unless we get our kids graduating from school," Acevdeo said. "This department is going to fight to keep kids in school where they belong."

One of the Chicago Police Department officers involved in a bar fight was convicted of aggravated assault during a bench trial.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older