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, June 17, 2009

Election 2010: Who will be taking on Sheriff Stan Sniff?

It's been interesting watching the postings here about the upcoming mayor's race, with commenters pitting incumbent Mayor Ron Loveridge against alleged challenger Art Gage. It looks like the second phase of Election 2009 is off to a start even before the deadline for candidates to file their paperwork to run for the title of Riverside's official ribbon cutter.

A lot of the focus on Gage is about his position on eminent domain in the wake of a rather controversial project that involved the only recently vilified developer, Doug Jacobs and the need to build office buildings within a neighborhood of houses near the Magnolia Center. Another hot issue are the ties between Gage and Jacobs which were allegedly built through their respective involvement in the Lincoln Club of Riverside County.

Most people expected the battle of the titans to take place involving the mayoral crown in 2012, but it's interesting to see that abbreviated term that was supposed to be Loveridge's swan song arouse a spirit of competition even before it really gets started.

But there's another election that's heating up even though it's being held in 2010 and that's the Riverside County Sheriff's race. Current (and appointed) Sheriff Stan Sniff might wind up facing against a retired Deputy Sheriff Frank Robles in the next election.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Frank Robles, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, made the announcement in a full-page newspaper advertisement. Robles most recently served as a Riverside County chief deputy sheriff before retiring in December 2007, and he is also a former Desert Hot Springs police chief.

"Riverside County's mix of large dynamic cities and small desert towns offers unique opportunities and distinct challenges for law enforcement," Robles wrote in the advertisement that appeared in The Press-Enterprise.

"To face these challenges, our Sheriff's Department demands independent leadership, rock-solid integrity and a leader who knows how to get the most out of limited taxpayer dollars."

Robles, 64, will face a well-funded incumbent. Sniff, who is facing election for the first time, already has amassed a six-figure political war chest.

Sniff was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in September 2007 by a 3-2 vote after former Sheriff Bob Doyle abruptly announced his retirement. Sniff had been fired by Doyle.

Sniff said he is proud of his tenure as sheriff and the changes he has put in place.

"I look forward to the public debate," Sniff said.

If you're at a complete loss of who to vote for, don't worry, this election doesn't take place until next year which leaves voters plenty of time to learn more about these and any other candidates before casting their votes. And it's an interesting process indeed because even though Sniff is the incumbent, he's not been election tested yet, given that he was "elected" by three out of five county supervisors several years ago.

Riverside County's Board of Supervisors is auditing the use of custodial fees after a complaint registered by District Attorney Rod Pacheco that his office is paying more money.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Everyone really needs to sit down and sharpen their pencils and look at how these costs are being allocated," Supervisor Marion Ashley said this week of fees charged by departments such as Facilities Management and Information Technology.

"They all flow to other budgets. Everybody is trying to cut and save money and then bam! Here comes this big cost. We want to understand it," Ashley said.

Chief Financial Officer Paul McDonnell will lead an executive office review and an audit of the charges, known as internal service fees, to ensure they are reasonable.

Auditor-Controller Robert Byrd's office examines fee calculations annually, but the office will now dig deeper and scrutinize base costs, Byrd said Tuesday.

Another veil of secrecy is shielding Colton as it tries to select a new city manager. There's never a dull moment in Colton's City Hall, what with recall elections, questionable city managers and etiquette lessons for conducting public meetings.

(excerpt, San Bernardino Sun)

The council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to keep the document confidential with Mayor Kelly Chastain and council members Susan Oliva, Alex Perez and Vince Yzaguirre voting in favor of the measure.

Council members Deirdre Bennett, Richard DeLaRosa and David Toro dissented.
In March, Bennett and Colton business owner Gary Grossich requested Derleth produce a legal opinion that stated whether or not the city has been violating its Flow of Funds Ordinance by requiring its Electric Utility to transfer a portion of its revenues to the general fund.

The ordinance sets the utility's financial priorities, with payments to bond holders coming first and the transfer to the general fund coming lower on the totem pole, Derleth said.

Bennett, who voted against an 8.7 percent electric rate increase that took effect in May and another 8 percent increase that will take effect Nov. 1, has stated she believes city residents are being charged inflated utility rates so the utility can make bond payments and maintain the transfer. She has said electric rate increases would have been much less if the city abandoned the transfer.

The Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order 40 has been held up in court even as the department struggles to complete its consent decree going into its ninth year.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

The three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal unanimously agreed with a lower court’s decision to throw out a lawsuit in which a Los Angeles man had argued that the LAPD’s policy violated federal and state laws.

In place since 1979, Special Order 40 prohibits LAPD officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether they are in the country legally.
Police Chief Chief William J. Bratton and others before him have said the policy is an important tool, as it encourages undocumented immigrants who witness crimes to assist police without fear of being deported.

The judges rejected the claim of the plaintiff, Harold Sturgeon, that the order violates a federal statute, which prohibits restrictions on the exchange of information between federal immigration agents and other law enforcement officers.

They said he failed to show any instances in which officers had been punished by superiors or otherwise discouraged from passing on information.

The LAPD’s policy, the judges emphasized, does not place any limits on the information that officers can pass on to federal agents regarding a person’s immigration status.

Upcoming events:

Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. City Council meeting and the swearing in of newly elected Ward Four Councilman Paul Davis. With the induction of a new council member, the city council will once again have to reconfigure their roster of committees. Each city council member serves on three of them, as chair, vice-chair and member at large. Will there be any tussling taking place during this round of committee reassignments? That remains to be seen but committees vacated by the ouster of Frank Schiavone include the Governmental Affairs Committee, Development and Land Use.

Wednesday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m. The Community Police Review Commission usually meets at this part of the month but under the new leadership,this commission has not met hardly at all so it's too early to tell whether or not there will actually be a meeting held this day. The Web site has one scheduled to take place inside that cramped Fifth Floor "Large" conference room but it's still no guarantee that any such meeting will ever take place.

The Riverside City Council in its infinite wisdom approved changes to sharply raise animal licensing and spay and neuter fees. One wonders what exactly this will do to the population of dogs and cats running around loose by next year. Perhaps they could have waited until after the economy improved to double the costs of spaying and neutering cats for example.

The Riverside Arlington library turns 100. City Hall has been celebrating this anniversary already by laying off library employees and approving generous pay hikes for assistant city managers and department heads and for trumpeting its intentions to improve two downtown cultural facilities and then saying, sorry we don't have the money to do anything (probably because it's already been spent securing land for the city's development friends including Mark Rubin and the only recently vilified Jacobs).

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