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

Friday, July 17, 2009

TGIF: Hate mail and a revenge plot brewing by a former sheriff?

Oh dear, once again someone is unhappy with my blogging and wrote this nice notice letting me know that they're still keeping an (anonymous of course) eye on me.

It's just too bad he still can't spell.


Hey just wonderin does FBM Mary walk all over town because she choses to or because she doesn't have a choice? I saw her this weekend and was just thinking about the previous allegations

Hmmm, you mean the ones you wrote in my blog about me having too many DUIs to be able to drive? You know sir, if you did a bit more walking and a little less surveillance of women walking from your car for kicks (so you can write about it later like some kind of creepy stalker), you might actually look a bit more physically fit and less out of shape and who knows? It might help improve your attitude a little bit, giving society just a little bit of a break. Just a thought.

But I guess that former Councilman Frank Schiavone and his unsuccessful reelection campaign aren't the only taboo topics designated by the sock puppet gallery. It's hard to know which blog postings have this individual's knickers in a knot because he's not mentioned anything specifically.

Still, some people hate this blog and the blogger and that's just how it goes when you're writing about what's up (or down) in River City. Some people will like you and some people won't.

Code Red Revisited?

Did Riverside's City Hall force code enforcement officers to single out the vehicle owned by one of the officers of the NAACP for citation? That's an allegation that's come to light and one that will be explored in a future blog posting. As you know, there are at least two separate lawsuits filed in Riverside County Superior Court by code enforcement officers who allege various forms of discrimination, harassment and retaliation including a forced transfer to a tin shack located in the city's corporate yard (which has already seen a lot of racism occur against Black Public Works employees during the 1980s and 90s). There were no appropriate bathroom facilities, air conditioning in the summer and toxic materials were stored nearby.

Inland Empire Weekly in "Code Red" wrote about similar selective citations and about what happened to code officers when they complained about bad practices. Pretty scary reading that a city government and/or its direct employees would ever be responsible for such a shady practice which was clearly intended to punish employees with grievances. And guess what city residents? It's us who will be paying financially for bad decision making by City Hall in this heinous example of mistreatment of city employees.

But if that's the case, it will hardly be the first time.

Is Bob Doyle Plotting His Revenge from Sacramento?

The blogger at Inside Riverside has reemerged from his or her sabbatical to hatch what is claimed to be an ongoing revenge plot by former Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle to regain control of the throne. The blog which has never been shy of its strong support of current Sheriff Stan Sniff who was elected by three of the county supervisors several years ago has taken on his newly announced political rival Frank Robles. And the blog isn't pulling its punches.


The word we are hearing dear readers is that Robles' campaign is being bankrolled by those contributors who had badges given to them by the Royal Doyle, but had them recalled by Sniff. If this is true, the only reason these people would be stepping up to fund Robles' campaign is if they expect to get either their badges or unearned gun permits back, or both. That's illegal, isn't it?

Either way, Robles is going to have a tough time taking out Sheriff Stan Sniff.

Sniff has done an amazing job rebuilding ties to the community, restoring trust with those that believe Doyle and his cronies violated their trust, and raising morale amongst the rank and file deputies. With the deputies firmly in Sniff's corner, and all the money that that brings to the race, Robles would need to raise a million dollars to beat Sniff next June.

To raise that kind of money Frank Robles will have to sell more badges to rich donors and more promotions to unqualified Doyle cronies in the Sheriff's Department than one can imagine. That's not likely to happen. Frank Robles would probably have to sell his soul to to Devil to prevail against Sniff.

Not surprisingly, his commentary has elicited some anonymous comments.

Fun reading but this tripe is built on "if this is true," and "sources tell us." Stan Sniff, our appointed sheriff, has done nothing to earn my vote. His enormous ego is not justified by his performance in office. I want to see Robles in action before commiting to him, but this hatchet job is built on Jello.

And all of that matters because why? I read that Robles has basically put management on notice that the gravy train is coming to an end and that the scarce money in the department is going to be focused on the officers and law enforcement workers FIRST. Maybe that's why you're taking pot shots at him...because he's actually taking a stand. A stand for cops, not pencil pushers.

Sniff was appointed by the Board to end the corruption that was destroying RSO since Doyle became Sheriff. Even Lingle said he would change the dept's course if they voted for him. Which everyone knows was a lie. The SOFTBALL TEAM still would have been in charge, not the REAL COPS.

Another thing that discredits Doyle and anyone he endorses is the fact that another idiot with one of his executive council badges was hooked up in Newport last month. Doyle said they had all been collected. So did Lingle. They were lying and you can't trust a damn word either of them says.

Election 2010 is already coming out of the gate. Let the games begin. Usually sheriff contests represent themselves more like beauty contest coronations (or in the Inland Empire, appointments by county boards) rather than real elections, but it looks like this one has gotten off to an explosive start already.

Where goes the future of the police department's audit and compliance bureau?

Originally, this bureau was set up as the Attorney General's Task Force under the 2001 stipulated judgment between the city of Riverside and the State Attorney General's office to reform the police department. It consisted of a lieutenant, a sergeant, a detective, an officer and a civilian employee. It oversaw the adoption and implementation of the mandated reforms from 2001-2006.

After the decree was dissolved in March 2006, the Task Force because the Bureau and the staff was trimmed a bit. It became mostly a body which performed audits of the department thickly shrouded in a veil of secrecy.

It's assignment was never really all that popular. In fact at a Chief's Advisory Board meeting several years ago, a past member of the Bureau said that he chose to serve on it because it was either that or working on the graveyard shift of the field division. Still, he worked out pretty well during his service period with the Bureau and got a lot accomplished.

Now, its future is pretty much in doubt given that when its current head, Lt. Brian Baitx retires, the position like most others in the department will be frozen and Sgt. Jaybee Brennan, another member of this bureau performs duties for it as well as serving as the department's public information officer and Chief Russ Leach's adjutant. And in December 2009, the department will hit the sunset period of its five-year Strategic Plan implemented under the stipulated judgment, although Leach has told people at various public forums that the department is actually working on another five-year Strategic Plan to guide the police department with different goals and objectives in mind.

The Riverside Community Police Review Commission is actually holding a meeting this summer. It's been scheduled for Wednesday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. inside the cramped conference room on the Fifth floor. Come down and watch the commissioners squabble for several hours while complaining that it's the public's comments which are slowing the meetings down.

But hey, at least the lights don't turn off every 30 minutes anymore so you won't have any commissioners standing up to leave the meetings, saying I can't take this anymore.

The new liaison for the CPRC from the police department who will be encharged with reporting everything that happens or is said to the department's staff of chiefs is Lt. Gary Leach, replacing Lt. Mike Perea. As of yet, no agenda has been posted for the meeting, which means that someone is going to have to post it either late tonight or tomorrow for it to qualify for proper notification under the Brown Act.

The Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 28 at 6 p.m. (just before the regular evening session of city council) to discuss interviewing applicants for the Ward Two opening on the CPRC.

Mayor Ron Loveridge chairs this commission and Governmental Affairs Committee members, Andrew Melendrez, Steve Adams and Rusty Bailey also serve on it. It's going

A lot of discussion online about the recent Press Enterprise article on the city council's division to close off a street in the Green Belt.


Seems like my first post got lost somewhere. Now I'll have to remember all the brilliant things I was trying to say.

First of all - I think we all realize that this was not an easy decision for the Council to make. We also all realize that nobody likes traffic speeding along their streets. Finally, we all realize that this is not about protecting the green belt or adhering to measure C/proposition R (you do all realize that, right?). It has become clear that there was a lot of "green" involved with this decision about the "green belt" - why else would the City have chosen the absolute worst of a wide range of options, and then wasted the time of their neighbors pretending that they cared what we thought? As the Council was quick to point out, they didn't need to have this hearing - so why hold it at all? The statistics and studies used to support this motion were flawed (as admitted by the City themselves) and obviously somewhere between unrealistic and blatantly dishonest. Why go through the trouble of conducting a faulty study when you decided six years ago it was going to be closed?

The answer, of course, is that the City was working backwards - one or more folks with deep pockets and loud (probably very annoying) voices wanted this done, so they had to find a way to make it happen with as little blowback as possible. The Council is either slightly corrupt, somewhat stupid, or just plain hostile toward those of us who, by simple accident of imaginary geography, are 500 feet too far south.

The "law" laid down by prop C/measure R clearly does not mandate this closure. The city would not be in violation of the law if it chose one of the other equally-viable means of mitigating the alleged traffic impact in the Green Belt without closing hundreds of residents off from route vital to their safety, not to mention their convenient access to city merchants and their general quality of life. It can be empirically and legally proven that this decision was not necessary - so why was it done? C/R are ignored regularly by the city already, so why chose to fight this battle so vehemently? (That’s a rhetorical question).

None of us want excessive traffic in our neighborhoods. Not all of us are selfish, loud-mouthed bully with the money or connections necessary to garner special treatment, however. It might be a bad day for fairness, honesty, safety and common sense – but it’s apparently a good day to be a selfish bully.

I’m trying to raise my daughter to be a good citizen. I’m trying to tell her that she doesn’t get anything she wants just because she wants it. I tell her that screaming doesn’t get her what she wants. I try to tell her that she doesn’t deserve to be treated differently than her peers.

It’s a good thing I didn’t have her with me at Tuesday’s meeting, otherwise I’d be back to square one.

I do not live in the Greenbelt nor in the county area that is affected by the closure. The closure seems drastic and unnecessary. It makes no sense to me to close a perfectly useable existing road in the name of traffic control. "There's got to be a better way". This really looks like someone's personal beef with traffic in their neighborhod. If it's that much of a problem, post it at 25 mph and station a traffic cop or two behind a tree until people learn to slow down. Speed bumps would work too. Why close the road?

The whole preserving the greenbelt stance the the council is BS..look at all the homes going up......and all the groves being graded over in favor of driveways and streets. The council has is priorities @$$ backwards. They allow building and then more building without improving local roads to handle traffic..and when it gets too in this case, they come up with a story and stand by it, close it off, rather than improve the area for it's residents & drivers. stupid brainless leadership, it's all about them and what they want, not us, these hearings are just a formality..they already know what's going to be done.

I'm sorry, councilman Davis.

I think he understands something the other members of the council don't: Ignore the voters of Riverside at your own peril.

Hemet and Moreno Valley are teaming up for stimulus money.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The city councils approved a consortium agreement and an application for the stimulus funds in separate meetings Tuesday.

Because the two cities are among the hardest-hit by foreclosures, they each qualified for a first round of assistance. More than 300 public agencies nationwide received funds.

This second round is competitive and only 80 to 90 applicants nationwide may get a share, according to a staff report by Barry Foster, Moreno Valley economic development director.

Foster said by phone that one reason Moreno Valley is partnering with Hemet is that the cities have similar programs.

"Working together with a consortium of cities and nonprofit housing groups will help you score better," he said.

Hemet is also getting a new (old) city clerk.

A Riverside County Superior Court judge tossed out a lawsuit filed by four San Jacinto Police Department officers.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gary Tranbarger will not give them a chance to amend their lawsuit, effectively ending the case.

Michael Curran, the officers' attorney, said by phone that he is looking at options, including a motion for reconsideration.

Last year Chris Kuhl, a probationary officer, resigned; Ron Navarreta and Scott Jensen, two probationary officers, were terminated; and Pedro Gonzalez, a volunteer reserve officer, resigned.

The plaintiffs said they were threatened with termination after witnessing what they considered inappropriate conduct by fellow officers, including Police Chief Kevin Segawa.

The arrest of a city councilman in Grand Terrace has caused a lot of reflection on accountability issues in that city's government.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Both Schwab, who was city manager at the time, and City Attorney John Harper said Thursday they had never examined Miller's legally required economic interest statements because they were not required to do so.

"I can't imagine how a city attorney would ever keep track of what potential conflicts there were," Harper said by phone.

He said that looking at the documents would have served no purpose because he would have had to examine every item on every council agenda to determine whether there would be a conflict.

Schwab said the economic interest forms are "not something that anybody is supposed to check. It's up to the individual person to turn in those forms and make sure they are accurate."

He said the city clerk collects them and makes sure they are filed on time, "but nobody goes over them to try to look for anything."

In Philadelphia, Black police officers are suing their police department for allowing its White officers to express online racism atthis Web site.

(excerpt, Philadelphia Inquirer)

The suit says that, which bills itself as “the voice of the good guys,” was founded and is moderated by an active duty Philadelphia police sergeant who uses the name “McQ” in his postings.

Sgt. McQ “encourages the racially offensive conduct,” according to the lawsuit.

The Guardian Civic League also sued McQ and the website. The Philadelphia NAACP and the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers joined the league as plaintiffs.

The league said that white police officers post and moderate the site while on duty, sometimes in front of black officers.

On-duty posting contributes to “a racially offensive and hostile employment environment” for black officers, the suit said.

Even the word “domelights,” which normally refers to the police lights on top of cruisers, has taken on an “insulting connotation” among black officers, according to the lawsuit.

The suit cites one posting that reads, “Guns don’t kill people … dangerous minorities do.”

The NAACP is urging people to use their cell phones to report police misconduct.

(excerpt, CNN)

"We know that most of police officers around the nation are excellent public servants. But the few who violate people's rights are often not held accountable," said Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP. "Research has shown that there are many barriers to reporting incidents of police misconduct, including intimidation at police departments and a lack of trust in the integrity of the system, among other reasons. This breakdown leads to an absence of public safety and a deterioration of the quality of life in many communities of color."

The NAACP unveiled the online system Monday at its national convention in New York City. Users can post images from their cell phones or online.

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