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

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Human Resources uses its powers; The CPRC thumbs its nose at its own

The Human Resources Board meets today at City Hall and one of the items it will be discussing is its decision to convene a public hearing to discuss some of its policy recommendations. This is an interesting development in the process that this board has undergone in the past year to become more engaged in the process of advising on labor policy issues in the city's workforce as well to exercise its powers. Including the power of investigation, which it doesn't have according to the city's manager's office and the power of public hearings, which the city manager's office hasn't commented on it.

Through Human Resources Director Rhonda Strout, there have been some directives by City Manager Brad Hudson and City Attorney Gregory Priamos (who both seem to need a conduit to speak for them) to deny the Human Resources Board statistical information including that on lawsuits filed by city employees. Now mind you, lawsuits when filed are in the public record so to say that the statistical information is not to be available to the Human Resources Board or is outside of its purview is just ridiculous. But if you've been to recent meetings of the barely-there Community Police Review Commission, common tactics have been used to shut down public comment on issues at this body's meetings in a much more aggressive fashion than has been seen so far with the Human Resources Board in terms of narrowing its parameters.

The power of investigation was in the text of the ordinance that lays out the roles, powers and responsibilities of the Human Resources Board until about 2006 when the city council voted to change the ordinance language but technically it still exists under the ordinance language involving "other" powers that this board can exercise. Still, the city manager's office while not viewing the Human Resources Board as quite the threat (or at least as much of a plaything) as the beleaguered Community Police Review Commission have taken some more mild steps of micromanagement which have led the board drafting letters to ask for "clarification" from the city council on several issues mirroring the situation faced by the CPRC last autumn.

But contrast this with the CPRC which refuses to abide by its charter-mandated power to investigate officer-involved deaths and whose members don't seem to want to do anything except hand off all their work for Manager Kevin Rogan to do and put his own spin on, most likely as he is directed by his own bosses in the city manager's office. At least the Human Resources has teeth and isn't afraid to use them, whereas the majority of the CPRC seem content to be a do-nothing body which is there solely to either serve as a "shiny public relations tool" as Commission Robert Slawsby said in his interview or to elevate the individual ambitions of those serving on it.

The Human Resources Board did get stymied by the Riverside Police Department in its attempts to receive a presentation on the issue of the retention of female police officers. The department refused to give a presentation first citing confidentiality reasons and then saying that it couldn't afford to pay one of its employees to go and give a 15-20 minute presentation. Never mind that it doesn't have to pay higher ranking employees (who earn flat salaries in the six-figure range) to work over time. It just sounds like once again the department is getting cagey when it comes to discussing in public its issues surrounding the department's very poor record of retaining female officers.

One departmental management representative said that the department could send a representative to talk to community organizations about this issue but couldn't do so as easily with the Human Resources Board because they had to go through the city council because the board served to advise the city council. What it translates to is that the Riverside Police Department most likely turned down an invitation to discuss this issue because it doesn't want to do so and can't just come out and say that. Hence, the litany of excuses which change with each person that you ask about it. I did receive an interesting email last year which if the allegations in it are true about female officers would 1) explain why the department doesn't want to address this issue and 2) explain a possible reason why former Officer Kelsy Metzer was fired on her first day reporting for work and then had her lawsuit protesting it quietly settled by the city within several months of it being filed.

On a related issue, one instructor from Riverside Community College said that they had recommended many students from their classes to try out for the Riverside Police Department. She was dismayed to discover that while most of the White male applicants made it through, not a single Black male candidate or a female of any race were accepted by the department.

The city of Riverside plans to give community organizations 18 days each year to use the Fox theater at half-price. That means they'll pay $1,500.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Top booking priority for the 1,642-seat theater will go to professional, touring acts, according to the policy. That would include the first scheduled shows -- the Broadway-style musicals "Annie," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Hairspray."

The operators of the theater, scheduled to open in January, also hope to book concerts by nationally known musicians on concerts tours, said Riverside City Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents the downtown area.

Setting aside days for nonprofit arts groups means the theater also will showcase local talent, Gardner said. That could include the Riverside County Philharmonic, the California Riverside Ballet, and the best theater talent from UC Riverside and other Inland colleges and universities, he said.

"It won't be used for weddings," Gardner said.

The theater's professional operator, William P. Malone, will have the authority to decide which groups or performances get access to the stage, he said. The proposed policy does not specify which days local groups could use the theater at a discount, but it would give groups at least 60 days notice if a performance date had to be changed.

Steve Kester, director of the Riverside-based Raincross Chorale, said 18 days isn't enough for a vibrant Inland arts community. He said the city of San Jose has publicly owned theater that makes community acts the top priority.

Former Councilman Dom Betro, whom Gardner defeated in 2007, said that at least 50 days a year should be reserved for local acts. That would bring together the city's arts community, he said.

Gardner countered that the draft policy was developed after he and other city officials met with arts groups at least three times in the past year. The number of days set aside for local shows can be changed, he said. "This is just a start."

One Inland Empire mayor praises another. That would be San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris about Riverside's mayor Ron Loveridge. It's nice prose but it reads a bit like a campaign speech even though the second phase of Election 2009 is still a ways off.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Loveridge's 40 years as a UC Riverside political science professor have provided him with an informed perspective on the American city. He clearly understands our critical transportation, environmental and infrastructure needs. He also possesses real vision for our region's future and will work to develop a new generation of leadership in our increasingly diverse and urbanized communities.

We are fortunate to have a leader of Loveridge's quality and integrity to head one of our nation's most influential organizations.

The Press Enterprise actually takes a critical look at some of the nasty comments left by anonymous people at its Web site. Like people celebrating the tragic deaths of individuals. Gee, that sounds familiar.

Speaking of internet comments there's some interesting ones on the latest update on the aftermath of the destruction of Kawa Market.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

That is just so special. The City of Riverside spend over $650,000 to put someone out of business and ponys up another $400,00 to set a used house and rehab it, then sells it for a whopping $210,000. Does anyone else see a problem with the above equation? I guess they can up the charge per hour on their new high tech parking meters to make up the difference.

Looks nice. It's sad to loose the Kawa market because it is so old, and I do have sympathy for the owners, but it really was in a bad place, and was affecting the neighborhood in a bad way. In certain respects, it probably wasn't the best idea to build the Kawa Market there in the first place, but I'm sure it wasn't expected to attract such a ghetto crowd over time. Restoring the and relocating the historic bungalow to the site was a good move, and makes more sense for the neighborhood.

I agree with you "whooz", for Betro to claim that there was no intent to "break even", I is an outright lie. Somewhere, somehow, there is a motive behind it....and it is not for the public.

Dan Bernstein of the Press Enterprise gave the project higher marks but had this to say.


In 2008, a Riverside real estate expert told me the city could probably get $300K for the bungalow. Early this year, she revised her estimate to $230K. Councilman Mike Gardner says the asking price for the home is $210,000. Not bad for a qualified affordable-home buyer. Not a great return on a $1 million taxpayer investment.

Gardner says the Erase 'N" Replace was never intended to be a moneymaker. To that I say: Mission Accomplished!

Then again Riverside's hardly the first city where keeping poor Black folks out of a mostly White middle-class neighborhood to go to the closest food market has been a much greater priority than "breaking even". Losing money is even preferable.

Riverside vs Corona. At stake, a stop on the high-speed train set to run from Los Angeles to San Francisco in several decades.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sergeant has been charged in connection with sexually assaulting three women. And guess what? Before his arrest, he had a prior history of being investigated in connection with other sexual assautl allegations.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

According to interviews and law enforcement records, these are not the first accusations of sexual misconduct against Fitzpatrick during his 19 years with the Sheriff's Department.

County prosecutors reviewed a similar on-duty sexual assault complaint against him 10 years ago but declined to file criminal charges because of insufficient evidence, according to records of the district attorney's office.

And Sheriff's Department officials had investigated charges that he exposed himself to women twice while off duty, law enforcement sources said.

"The pattern here makes it a most troublesome case," said Michael Gennaco, head of the county's Office of Independent Review, a county watchdog agency.

"It is unfortunate that more wasn't done in 1999 to identify additional victims," he said.

District attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said prosecutors were aware of other accusations, "but we aren't going to comment on the exact number yet, or the circumstances."

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older