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

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Happy Fourth and some IOUS for you

The Riverside County Superior Court has stabbed the public's right to access documents right in the heart with this recent move to charge people who visit its on-line site to view or print online documents. Many people who have relied on court documents, say in exposing the recent Bradley Estates mess surrounding former City Councilman Frank Schiavone and City Attorney Gregory Priamos see this as a step being taken by the county to not earn money to put back into the court's operational budget but as a means of discouraging or even preventing people from being able to find out what Riverside County and its cities are really doing, often times with tax payer money.

Just to look at a document that's 10 pages or less, you have to agree to pay $7.50 with $0.07 a page from that point on. Shameful, shameful, shameful. Yes, the county's broke but charging people just to view public court documents online is not going to clear up the county's fiscal picture very much if at all.

Legally, you can be charged for copies of public records but not for looking at them which means that lines will grow longer at the courthouse to get free access to those documents and not a whole lot of money will be made for viewing them and copying them online. And that's just what our overly congested court system needs is more people to make it more jam packed, crowded and backlogged. And this time without any help from Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco.

Fewer fall classes at Riverside Community College this autumn and more IOUs being issued by a state with no settled budget.

On what used to be the Kawa Market stands a historic house ready to be moved into by its new owners.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

If all goes as planned, the hardwood floors will echo with the patter of children's feet by the end this month. The city is selling the three-bedroom, 1,410-square-foot home to a couple with two children, ages 5 and 3.

The family meets the low-to-moderate-income requirement to qualify for the house, priced at the appraised value of $210,000, said Eva Yakutis, the city's housing and neighborhoods manager.

The city invested more than $1 million moving and renovating the house.

The intent never was to break even, said former Councilman Dom Betro, who initiated the transformation about two years ago.

The ideas was to provide an affordable home, preserve a piece of Riverside history and improve a neighborhood, he said.

What's interesting too is reading Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein's latest analysis on the Fox Plaza or what he calls the Pipe Dream.

He also discusses the city's decision to buy four buildings in close proximity to the Fox Plaza project which it claims will be used to secure future parking. Yeah right. Bernstein appeared to agree.


About four years ago, the city cut a deal to buy the buildings' parking lot so that patrons of Fox Plaza -- a phantom hodge-podge o' shops, condos, etc. -- would have a place (much of it underground) to park.

But the deal had an expiration date: 5 years. If the Fox Pipedream wasn't completed, the parking lot would revert to the owners. Time's a-flyin' and there's not much in the pipeline for the pipedream. The city doesn't like its monolithic design, it now totally hates the idea of condos and it has no idea when or if the developer will ever get financing. Tick tock.

With the parking-lot deal soon to expire, the city finally admitted it has zero confidence that this project, whatever it is, will make deadline. (It might be flat lined.) Rather than allow the parking lot to revert to the building owners, city officials hit on a brilliant idea: just buy the buildings. Then the parking lot will revert to them!

The city will end up owning almost an entire square block when you throw in the abandoned (via City Hall eviction) buildings (Stalder, etc.) it wants to demolish to make way for the pipedream.

Despite the city's deeply touching generosity toward a private developer, the Fox Plaza may never amount to anything more than vapor. But the city will be heavily invested in prime real estate and ideally positioned to toss out the owners of Simple Simon's, Flowerloft, etc. if a bigger, slicker pipedream ever comes along.

We call that innovation.

If I were the owners of some of those businesses, I wouldn't get too cozy in those spots considering who their new landlord is.

Former Riverside Police Department Officer Robert Forman lost his defense motion to have all the cases against him tried separately or what is called bifurcated. Forman was arrested last October on felony charges of sexual battery and oral copulation under the threat of authority, stemming from alleged incidents with three different women. He plead not guilty and then had his preliminary hearing moved at the last moment out to Corona of all places where the judge decided that there was enough evidence for him to stand trial on the charges.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Forman, 39, was not in court for Wednesday's hearing. He was represented by attorney Mark Johnson. Forman has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of using his authority as a police officer to force women to perform sex acts on him and a felony count of sexual battery.

Forman, who was arrested on Oct. 15, 2008, had worked for the Riverside Police Department since 1996. Riverside police Capt. Mike Blakely said Forman is no longer employed by the department.

Johnson said after the hearing that he wanted the charges -- based on accusations made by three women -- prosecuted separately because it offered his client a stronger chance of prevailing.

"The cases are weak," Johnson said.

But Fields said during the hearing that it was appropriate to prosecute the charges as one case because of the similarity of the alleged offenses and because it showed "a propensity to commit these type of offenses."

The trial is tentatively scheduled for later this summer. But most likely, it will probably be delayed. Then he'll probably get acquitted by a jury worried about a guilty verdict scaring people from wanting to become police officers and be back to the Riverside Police Department within a year.

Speaking of who won't be coming back, former Officer Jose Nazario won't be rehired by the police department any time soon. But perhaps not for all the listed reasons people including this blogger have provided. The real reason might be back in New York State where Nazario is from. That might also be the reason that a lot of the fanfare about bringing him back to the fold of the police department has died down.

Here's one local view about what needs to be done with the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee.

The San Bernardino County Grand Jury in its report urged that some reforms be implemented to address serious ethical problems in the county's government.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The 2008-09 grand jury final report -- a nonbinding annual review of county government by a panel of private citizens -- focuses on the operations of county departments, agencies and officers.

It includes a section devoted to governmental reform, a major concern of the grand jury because of an ongoing investigation into the assessor's office that has led to the resignation and arrests of former Assessor Bill Postmus and three former aides.

"This attitude of 'anything goes' by a few needs to be changed," foreman Burrell Woodring wrote in his introductory letter.

The report commends a proposal by Supervisor Neil Derry to establish an ethics commission, stating that an "independent and unbiased" panel should be formed.

In his letter, Woodring notes that the proposal could be delayed by budgetary issues but suggests that it may be better in to spend the money now.

Derry estimated the cost at $500,000 a year.

"Unfortunately, for the past five years, the board has expended several million dollars to various lawyers to investigate several ethics violations and accomplish the very thing that a well-financed Ethics Commission would do," Woodring wrote.

The San Jacinto City Council considers extending its contract with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department another five years.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The 2009-10 contract will cost the city $7,437,000, the report states. The council meets at 7 p.m. in the San Jacinto Unified School District board room, 2045 S. San Jacinto Ave.

The city will have about 88 hours of daily patrol coverage, equivalent to 18 deputies, and six sergeants. Additional services include a traffic enforcement officer, school resource officers and specialized teams, including regional gang and narcotics task forces.

City Councilman Jim Potts said a recent survey and comments from residents indicate people are "absolutely happy" with the service.

"We got a very good deal for the first five years," said Potts, a police volunteer.

Wi-Fi Report:

Some interesting news out of this front. AT&T purchased a company which will oversee the future operation of the Wi-Fi networks installed by Riverside replacing the current contracted company assigned to that duty.

Here are some stats taken on performance issues at different access points.

Century near Alessandro:

Distance from AP: 10 ft

Signal: Excellent

Connects: Yes

Internet: Yes

Speed: poor loading speed, attempted to load, but internet drop off. **

Crashed browser pages*: Yes, before drop off

Email sent: No, email couldn't be sent

*browser pages crashing while loading due to problems with ad placement or redirect page on the ATTMETROFREE network by one of its advertising firms during the past several weeks.

AT&T notified: Yes

Date of repair: N/A

** due to 25%-100% packet loss in Gateway pathway through network in that area of the city. Cause of packet loss: Unknown Repair date: N/A

University/Canyon Crest

Distance from AP: 20 ft

connect: Y (excellent)

internet: y

speed: Fast

browser crash: Y

email? Yes, load provider, email sent in two seconds

University near Iowa (Paradise Ultimate Spa)

Distance from AP: 15 ft.

connect: Y

strenght: excellent

internet: Yes

speed: fast

browser crash: Yes

Email: loaded Yahoo, emailed 2 seconds

Chicago near Towngate Center/Market building

Distance from AP: 25 ft.

connect: Y

strenght: good

internet: Yes

speed: fair to poor. spotty

browser crash: Yes

Email: couldn't load yahoo email page

Ping? Y

Yahoo: 25% packet loss

Sitemeter: 25% loss (one timeout) 100% (four timeouts)

Network Pathway Pings: (packet loss/timeouts) 0% 50% loss (two timeouts) 25% (one timeout) 50% loss (two timeouts) 100% loss (four timeouts)

Chicago near Enterprise

Distance from AP: 15 ft.

connect: Y

strength: good

internet: Yes

speed: good

browser crash: Yes

Email: Y 2 seconds

Chicago near Ransom

Distance from Access Point: 25 ft.

connect: Y

strength: excellent

internet: Yes

speed: fast

browser crash: Yes

Email: Y 2 seconds

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

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