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, April 30, 2009

TGIF: Elections and other electives

The Riverside Police Department launched an investigation of one of its school resources officers, for handcuffing two sixth-grade girls after a complaint was filed.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The officer, Genaro Escobedo, took the girls out of class, handcuffed them in the school's main office and read them their Miranda rights, according to police complaints the girls' parents filed Thursday. Parent complaints said the officer's actions, which also included screaming at the girls, constituted assault.

Riverside police Lt. Larry Gonzalez said the officer was within his rights to arrest the girls, because at least one of the girls was accused of throwing dirt at another child.

"If you throw an object at somebody, that can be assault," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said police are investigating to determine whether the officer's actions were reasonable. The investigation likely will take no more than two months, he said.

Escobedo will not be allowed to discuss the incident during the investigation, Gonzalez said.

He said officers can use their discretion to determine when to handcuff suspects, and there are no specific guidelines that apply to using handcuffs on children.

Hundreds of people including members of labor unions and immigration organizations came out and rallied and marched in Riverside, meeting at the University of California Riverside and the Caesar Chavez Community Center in the Eastside before marching down to City Hall.

There, they listened to guest speakers talk about different issues and events taking place in the next few weeks including a state-wide special election which includes a slew of propositions to vote on that tie into the recently passed state budget.

Riverside itself is in the midst of an election cycle with three of its council ward seats up for grabs. Mail in ballots will be heading your way around May 4 if you're a registered voter in one of the even-numbered wards. If not, you'll have to wait another two years to get your opportunity to elect your legislative representative.

Important information on the June 2 municipal election from this site.

Important Dates:

May 4: Ballots mailed out

May 11: Postage goes up from $0.42 to $0.44 for state-wide election

June 2: Deadline for ballots to be received

June 26:
Winners of Riverside election declared

More important information for the June 2 Riverside municipal election.

Ballot drop off locations

Voting instructions

Speaking of labor issues, the Riverside Human Resources Board meets again on Monday, May 4 at 4pm in City Hall. On the agenda among other items, is the drafting of a letter by the board to Police Chief Russ Leach asking why the board's invitation to the department to send a representative to brief it on the issue of the hiring and retention of female officers has been rebuffed. If you recall, the board had invited the police department to make this presentation but Leach had said that due to budget cuts, the department couldn't spare a single person to make this presentation.

The department tried the same tactic with the Community Police Review Commission last year when it asked for training by the department. Initially, the department said no, we can't send anyone because we cut personnel costs so much including over-time that we can't spare a single person to attend the meeting to do training. Not long after, the department's management did a 180 degree turn and agreed to send someone to do the training.

Human Resources Board Chair Erin House had spoken to Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel about the issue but Esquivel said that the requests had to go through the department's Personnel Captain Mike Blakely. Esquivel has said that he himself would be interested in presenting on the issue of female officers and their retention rates (which he said was improving) to community organizations but that requests by the board had to follow a different process including being made through the Human Resources Department.

The police department's audit and compliance panel had allegedly done an internal audit on the issue of female officer retention in the department and initially, the city attorney's office said that the board could not access any information on the audit due to state laws pertaining to peace officer personnel information. However, the city then continued to roadblock the board's request for even general information separate from any internalized process.

However, an instructor at Riverside Community College who had been recommending individuals in her classes to apply to the Riverside Police Department said that all the African-American male candidates and female candidates were rejected by the department.

The Press Enterprise posted on the standoff at the Wood Streets involving the Riverside Police Department's field officers and METRO/SWAT team but never provided information on its conclusion so some people did that in their comments here. Finally, a brief article was posted on the outcome.

Two Riverside City Council candidates running for the Ward Two spot have challenged the incumbent's record with being responsive to constituents. They are facing against incumbent Andrew Melendrez who was elected in 2005.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Melendrez said that when he took office in early 2006, there were only two or three active neighborhood groups in Ward 2. He worked with residents to create more neighborhood groups, and 14 now deal with him regularly, he said.

"People now know what's going on, and it gives them a feeling of connection to City Hall," Melendrez said.

Smith, who is running for the first time, said in his campaigning he runs into residents all the time who say they've never met Melendrez, who say no one has ever asked them what they want City Hall to focus on.

He would ensure residents were more aware of City Hall's projects, programs and services, he said.

"I think City Hall could do a much better job of explaining everything," Smith said.

Rasso, who is seeking the Ward 2 seat for the third time, said he, too, hears about a disconnect: on one side, residents and business owners, and on the other, City Hall. Rasso said he would work to close the gap.

"I believe in representing all the voices," he said.

Melendrez has been very active in meeting with neighborhood groups and holds a monthly forum in the Eastside on the first Thursday, but some people say there's more of a disconnect between him and other neighborhoods in the second ward. Still, Melendrez has done a lot of bridge building during his first term and attends a lot of meetings as the number of registered community groups in the Eastside has grown.

Rasso's facing against Melendrez for the second time, but his campaign doesn't seem to be quite as energetic as it was four years ago when he won the first round of the election only to lose the runoff. He's lacking the endorsement from the Riverside Police Officers' Association that he had that year as its political action committee chose to endorse Melendrez instead and that PAC was his primary supporter the last two times around.

In Ward Six, one of the largest issues discussed by its political candidates in the impact of growth.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

When he's criticizing, Scherer lambastes the entire city government rather than Hart alone.
Story continues below

"A government should show the utmost restraint in the decisions it makes" and Riverside has not been showing restraint, he said.

His main complaint is the city's use of redevelopment, a tool meant for the elimination of blight. In particular, he's critical of the way the council, acting as the city Redevelopment Agency board, has authorized eminent domain to force owners to sell their land to the city so the agency can sell it to developers.

Between 2004 and 2006, the council authorized eminent domain for redevelopment purposes 13 times. Its last such vote was in September 2006.

Scherer said he favors phasing out the Redevelopment Agency and letting the free market improve blighted parts of Riverside.

He's even ambivalent about the use of eminent domain for parks and the Fox Theatre renovation, he said.

"Eminent domain tells you the government thinks it can make decisions better than hardworking citizens can," Scherer said.

Riding in Riverside's (which is an excellent blog on public transportation in Riverside) blogger lists his endorsements in the city council race. The comments attached to them are interesting to read because they address how the candidates including incumbents stand on public transit and transportation issues. He's definitely right in his assertion that the only "friend" that those who ride public transportation including the RTA buses in Riverside is Melendrez whereas neither Frank Schiavone nor Hart have particularly stellar records in supporting public transportation or even that through private enterprise such as Greyhound. Who can forget the jokes that Schiavone and Councilman Steve Adams made while voting to force Greyhound out of Riverside? Jokes about giving people rides to the bus terminal in San Bernardino to board a Greyhound bus there. But public transit seems to be low on the radar for most of the city council even as its needs will likely increase in future years.

The blog also reminds people that the RTA fares are going up pretty soon.

A Moreno Valley councilwoman speaks out about a recall effort.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The councilwoman is facing a recall challenge from a group of residents who were angered that Hastings voted to approve a warehouse project that includes a Skechers distribution center in her district earlier this year.

Hastings said the group has a "selfish special interest" in preserving more space for the San Jacinto Wildlife Area and so they can ride their horses. Meanwhile, about 14,000 Moreno Valley residents are unemployed, she said.

"I've had people asking me, 'When is Skechers going to come in? I haven't had a job in two years,' " Hastings said by phone.

The recall group announced its plans at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Activist Deanna Reeder said Hastings had ignored the city's general plan and compromised her integrity in voting on the project, because the developer, Highland Fairview, donated money that had gone to support her election last November.

Hastings said the money that Highland Fairview contributed was spent independently of her campaign committee and without her consent or knowledge.

"I took no money from Skechers. I took no money from (Highland Fairview President) Iddo Benzeevi," Hastings said.

The criminal trial involving a Moreno Valley Police Department officer being charged with rape under the color of authority goes to the jury for deliberations.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Paradise said that Kushner stopped the women during separate incidents seven years ago and as a result of their meth addictions they felt they were forced to comply with his sexual advances.

"It's difficult to understand why a cop would take such risks," Paradise said. "It appears that the more dangerous it was, the more exciting it became for him."

Kushner said he had met a woman in a bar in July 2002 and called her a week later for a date and consensual sex while off duty. However, that woman, who had an out-of-state-warrant, said Kushner stopped her while she was walking barefoot on her way home and said, "I hate to see you go to jail. What are we going to do about this?"

Kushner's attorney, Virginia Blumenthal, said the woman was using Kushner for a cover as her boyfriend so her family would not become suspicious or aware of her outstanding drug warrants.

"There was nothing forced about this. They had a dinner date," Blumenthal said. "There was no kidnapping. There was no rape going on."

The two Riverside County supervisors with the $50,000 city vehicles have agreed to make some concessions in their car allowances.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Supervisors John Tavaglione and Marion Ashley had announced a few weeks ago they planned to relinquish their cars and take a $550 monthly vehicle stipend and mileage reimbursement from the county instead. They said they wanted to save the county money.

Both supervisors changed their mind about returning the cars to the county or buying them back after consulting with staff. Other supervisors also told them turning in the cars could cost taxpayers more money.

Tavaglione will keep his county car, a 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid, but will pay all gas and maintenance costs associated with it, said chief of staff John Field. Generally, the county provides and pays for gas and maintenance for supervisors' work vehicles.

Ashley wrote a check from his campaign funds for $10,000 to help pay down the cost of his 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, chief of staff Robin Hastings said. Ashley will also pay for 20 percent of gas costs, something he has done for a while but has not documented until now, she said.

County fleet staff advised Ashley that it would be less expensive to taxpayers if he did not turn in or buy back in his car, Hastings said.

"Fleet services said just keep the car," she said. "But he wasn't comfortable with that. He still wanted to do more ... He feels now that it's as if he didn't buy a new car."

A former San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputy has been charged with extortion in the case of a San Manual Tribe member.

San Bernardino's looking again at cutting fire fighting services.

Former Canyonlake City Councilman Richard Kessler is sentenced to house arrest after he had plead guilty to embezzlement involving a government-issued credit card.

The preliminary hearing continues in the case of an assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department who has been charged with animal cruelty.

But by the end of the day, the presiding judge had ordered him to trial.

Injustice in Seattle has been doing a mapping project for police abuse and misconduct nationwide. He's just put up his results for April. Fascinating but very sobering reading indeed.


May 29, 2009, 5:00 p.m.




Independent Reviewer


Fresno: A culture of excellence where people get the best every day. As an agency, our key objectives are to satisfy the needs of the public and of our employees, while managing our financial responsibilities.

The City of Fresno is seeking a professional with significant experience in performing specialized audits of investigations involving highly confidential issues of significant scope. This position requires excellent communication skills as the incumbent serves as a liaison and resource to the community with the goal of strengthening the partnership between the community and the Police Department. Additionally the incumbent serves as a resource to police officers and managers for consultation regarding recommendations for changes to policies. If you are a highly experienced and knowledgeable professional in this field, and if you value responsive government and solution-oriented leadership, we invite your continued interest.
Must be experienced in and knowledgeable of police procedures, legal research, and analyzing criminal, constitutional, labor, and civil rights law. A law degree from an accredited college or university is desirable. Special Requirement( s): Possession of a valid Class C California driver's license may be required at time of appointment.
Following the filing deadline, individuals whose experience most closely meets our current needs will be invited to participate in one or more interviews involving City staff, stakeholders and community members with an appointment anticipated shortly thereafter, upon the completion of a thorough reference and background check.


To be considered for this outstanding career opportunity, please submit your Resume, Cover Letter, and current salary by 5:00pm, Friday, May 29, 2009. Resume should include detailed information regarding experience and reflect scope of recent responsibilities, as well as years and months of beginning/ending dates of positions held.

Submit to:

Robert L. Rodriguez, Senior Human Resources Analyst
City of Fresno Personnel Services Department
2600 Fresno Street, First Floor
Fresno, CA 93721-3614
(559) 621-6966 – Fax: (559) 498-4775

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

As Riverside went, so shall Maywood go

"The badge and the gun -- they're power. And that power has to be exercised with restraint under the law. In Maywood, this wasn't the case."

---State Attorney General Jerry Brown at a press conference

“"I decided there were systemic problems with the Riverside Police Department,” Lockyer said. “There were a lot of instances in which African-Americans were beaten, Hispanics beaten and tossed in the lake, and Gays and Lesbians harassed and beaten. I spent a year and a half negotiating with the Riverside Police Department for such basic demands as psychological evaluations for officers before they are hired, up-to-date training, community relations boards, availability and training in use of non-lethal weapons, TV cameras in the chief's office and the squad room and video and audio recording in police cars.” The intent of these reforms, Lockyer said, was to break the macho culture of the police department and the racism and sexism that went along with it."

---Former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer about Riverside's police department at a public appearance in San Diego in 2003.

What: State mandated reforms are coming to another police department near you.

Where: Maywood, California

When: Don't know but it can't be too soon for this trouble-plagued agency

California State Attorney General Jerry Brown has mandated a series of reforms involving the Maywood Police Department which will be the second police department in the state after Riverside's to be placed in a consent decree by this office. The announcement stemmed from a press conference Brown gave in Maywood announcing the results of an 18 month probe into the police department by police practices consultant Joe Brann.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

A veteran policing expert who oversaw the attorney general's probe called Maywood "one of the worst" departments he had ever seen.

The attorney general's office launched its investigation in April 2007, shortly after The Times published an article calling the department "a haven for misfit cops." The article revealed that at least a third of the officers on what was then a 37-member force had either been forced out of previous police jobs or had had brushes with the law while working in Maywood.

The attorney general's report offered a top-to-bottom critique of the department, citing inadequate screening of officers before they were hired and a lack of proper training and supervision once they were on the job.

The culture of the department, the report found, was "permeated with sexual innuendo, harassment, vulgarity, discourtesy to members of the public as well as among officers, and a lack of cultural, racial and ethnic sensitivity and respect."

The report's authors faulted the Maywood City Council for failing to hold the Police Department accountable.

At what appeared to be a hastily arranged news conference Tuesday afternoon, the police chief and several City Council members said they had already begun to overhaul the department.

"My belief is that the things in that report are things of the past," said Chief Frank Hauptmann, who was appointed to the job in December.

What's so fascinating about the happenings in Maywood is the sense of deja vu they provide for people in Riverside which takes us all back to early 2001 when then State Attorney General Bill Lockyer made a similar announcement and received some very familiar responses from a then defensive city government which responded in a similar way that Maywood's power structure did. Which then elicited the same response from Brown that the same comments from Riverside's City Hall elicited from Lockyer.

Here's what happened in Maywood.


At what appeared to be a hastily arranged news conference Tuesday afternoon, the police chief and several City Council members said they had already begun to overhaul the department.

"My belief is that the things in that report are things of the past," said Chief Frank Hauptmann, who was appointed to the job in December.

The attorney general's report acknowledged some recent improvements, but said that the current reform effort was "in its infancy" and that "the underlying structural and cultural causes of many of the deficiencies . . . have not been remedied.

Now look what Lockyer said to an audience at an appearance in 2003 when he spoke about the reforms he pushed on the Riverside Police Department.

(excerpt, San Diego Indymedia)

Lockyer found that the Riverside City Council balked at signing on to the deal. They did some things of their own, which they'd done three times before, and each time there had been slight improvements and then things had got worse again, he recalled. “Finally I went to one of the Council meetings and said, The choice is, you adopt the reforms or I will sue you and we'll see what the federal courts have to say.’ They said, ‘"Our constituents don't like outsiders coming in",’ and I said, ‘"I've got news for you. All your constituents are my constituents as well. They voted 7-2 for the reforms, and two years later the Riverside police chief, a new one they brought in from outside" he said, Had it not been for Lockyer's intervention, nothing would have changed.”

So it appears that it's customary for state attorney generals to be a bit forceful in their language when trying to rein in recalcitrant cities to do what they neglected to do for years and that's ensure that their department grows along with their cities and are complying with federal and state laws at all times. But like Riverside before it, Maywood's police department was alleged to have violated state laws due to a long period of negligence by the city council and police department. Neglect which lasted decades before finally coming to a head through the announcement made over a year ago that Maywood Police Department would be facing at least three outside probes.

The cities will of course deny that this ever happened to the bitter end and in Riverside's case, even beyond that. At a Community Police Review Commission meeting, the issue of Riverside's own foray into a consent decree was brought up by a commissioner and City Attorney Gregory Priamos quickly interjected that the violations of the state's constitution and state law made in Lockyer's writ to Riverside County Superior Court were simply allegations. Allegations which incidentally the city never admitted to allowing its police department to commit, language asserting such was included in that which made up the settlement agreement between the city and the state. But Priamos was just as adamant that there was no merit to the allegations as he was when the city entered into the decree.

What to call a Consent Decree: Riverside and Maywood

It's not clear what this reform mandate issued to Maywood will actually be called. There's a story that has floated around Riverside for years that there was a bit of a skirmish in the halls of power at Sacramento over what to call Riverside's own consent decree, the first issued by a State Attorney General's office both in the state and in the nation. Apparently, Mayor Ron Loveridge, a lover of language, begged and pleaded with Lockner not to call the five-year court-ordered reform process a "consent decree" (which is technically, actually a term associated with reform processes issued by federal agencies including the Department of Justice) and Lockyer after probably rolling his eyes several times, finally relented and it was called the much more benign term, "stipulated judgment". No doubt there was genuine fear that calling it a "consent decree" would scare tourists away from Riverside's downtown which after all, was still recovering from a year's worth of protesting done largely by men, women and children of color who aren't exactly wanted in the pristine downtown mall.

It's not clear yet what Maywood will call its own mandated reform process if a judge agrees to put the city and its department under a decree of sorts. Hopefully, it will stake a greater priority to the process itself rather than what it's actually called including on the press release.

Will there be civilian review in Maywood?

Another component that came not as part of the consent decree imposed on Riverside but as a parallel development was the creation and implementation of the Community Police Review Commission which until recently served as the form of civilian oversight in Riverside. Maywood flirted with civilian review not long after Riverside had installed its commission and had invited several members of the CPRC to give a presentation at City Hall but this meeting apparently never took place.

But if Maywood ever gets a form of civilian oversight, it has to of course undergo its own course which hopefully would be far different than what's happened in Riverside where civilian oversight was installed. Then it was attacked by City Hall and the police union which funded some of those elected officials at City Hall. Then a majority of the city's voters put it in the city's charter to avoid this kind of behavior by city officials and the police department. Of course as the case has clearly shown, the micromanagement by City Hall truly began in earnest within two years of the passage of Measure II. About nine months ago, it got ramped up several notches by City Hall and has given us the very dilapidated and ineffective police commission that we have today.

It looks like so far Maywood will avoid the same fate.

Who will lead the reform process?

That's an important question that arises in any city or county placed under a federal or state consent decree in terms of who will push the reform process forward. In many police departments, the police chiefs have not survived federal and/or state pattern and practice investigations themselves or they might not last the duration of the federal or state consent decree process. Police Chief Jerry Carroll retired from the Riverside Police Department before its state investigation was even completed in 2000. Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks didn't outlast the consent decree posted on Los Angeles by the Department of Justice.

In Riverside, there were inhouse and outside acting or interim police chiefs running the department until about nine months before it entered into its stipulated judgment with the state.
Russ Leach, a former LAPD captain and El Paso Police Department chief, was hired in autumn 2000 to lead the police department and still holds that position today, three years after the dissolution of the stipulated judgment which took place in March 2006.

Maywood lost its police chief when the scandals about its problems including corruption broke several years ago. The city council appointed a series of interim chiefs including two with criminal convictions in their records and one of those had been fired from Maywood's police department after being caught on surveillance camera having sex while onduty with the owner of a donuts shop. The third interim chief didn't have a criminal record and remained employed during the investigation that was conducted by Brown's office until he was replaced by the current chief last December.

The investigative report into Maywood's department blamed part of what happened on the city council which is similar to what happened with Riverside where Lockyer attributed much of the negligence and problems with the police department on the city government.

Lockyer's assertion was many a time that the reform process in Riverside involving its police department had to involve the three partners of public safety which were the community, the police department and City Hall. The same emphasis likely will be made in Maywood during its reform process but like Riverside, what will ultimately tell the tale of success or failure depends on the sustainment of that effort among these stake holders in the process.

That's what happened in Riverside in 2006 when City Manager Brad Hudson was assigned the task of ensuring that the implementation of the police department's strategic plan continued onward after the dissolution of the judgment. A task which took him a lot longer and some hefty resteering of the S.S. Hudson to get him to do successfully. By that time, the department had struggled with staying on course with the reforms it had implemented under the judgment with management displaying uneven progression among its ranks in terms of taking what it had learned from the consent decree period and applying it in practice without any outside oversight.

Now in 2009, the department has to address hiring freezes and promotional freezes at the supervisory levels, with staffing ratios pertaining to officers to supervisors not at the levels they should be. This mirrors the situation that took place in the late 1990s during a much more mild economic downturn. That and a weakened form of civilian oversight that matches efforts made to weaken its predecessor, LEPAC in the 1990s, make for an interesting if not entirely promising road ahead.

Over 40 people attended the Ward Four city council candidates debate held at the Villegas Community Center in Casa Blanca. Up at bat were incumbent Councilman Frank Schiavone and challenger, Paul Davis. And the verbal sparring made it an interesting evening.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The two argued on issues ranging from the Riverside Renaissance to parking problems on street-sweeping days. The spirited 1½-hour exchange sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Northwest Riverside County drew about 60 residents to the Villegas Community Center in Casa Blanca.

Davis criticized the funding of the Riverside Renaissance project, which was approved in fall 2006 and will cost more than $2 billion. He said the city passed the plan without a ballot initiative, then realized, "Oops, we forgot the library."

Davis said city government needs to open its books to involve the public in decision making. The financial burden will fall on the next two generations, he said.

Schiavone said Riverside Renaissance is 2½ years ahead of schedule and is akin to "Obama's stimulus package" because it has created thousands of jobs. The library and park in Orangecrest have become "flagships for the city" through Renaissance dollars, he said.

That was one of the most hyperbolic comments of the evening, when Schiavone said that President Barack Obama modeled his stimulus package after Riverside's Renaissance, completely forgetting that more likely, Obama modeled the Economic Recovery Act on programs instituted by former President Franklyn D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. What would have been more accurate to say is that the State Attorney General's office modeled its reform mandate for Maywood's police department after one used in Riverside, which would actually put Riverside in a better light because that was a landmark piece of reform. But hey, at least neither one of them said they invented the Internet or established the CPRC or anything like that.

Both candidates presented interesting information about themselves fairly deep into what has been a contentious election cycle and as the date approaches when the mail-in ballots will be sent out, the election is still heating up but it's winding down as well.

Many of the questions asked the candidates surrounded parking, public works improvements and the city's finances, particularly involving the expenditure of the Riverside Renaissance. The forum was held by the League of Women Voters as part of its ongoing series for this election cycle. They asked questions, then fielded questions from city residents and then added a bonus round at the end through the final statements.

One of the legislative aides, who works for Councilman Chris MacArthur submitted two question cards according to several people attending the event. But other individuals who attended the forum submitted their questions as well and some of them were selected for being answered by the candidates.

Davis asked City Hall to open up its financial records covering the expenditures of all the projects placed under the umbrella, "Riverside Renaissance" while Schiavone asked Davis to release his personnel files from his employment with the Riverside Police Department. Miguel Morales, who is a member or the member of the "Riverside Press Club" had asked this question at a recent forum at the Stratton Center, but Morales wasn't present at the candidates forum at the Villegas Center.

Morales spent public comment during one recent city council bashing Mary Humboldt, calling her a "liar". Another city resident attending that meeting saw Morales apparently being embraced by Schiavone's legislative aide after he had made those comments against Humboldt.

Humboldt just ignored the mean-spirited behavior of her critics and continued doing what she always does which is to try to enforce the city's growth control measures passed by the city's voters because the city chooses not to follow the will of the voters with those laws any more than it does with the CPRC. Of course, Humboldt being active is going to foster more angry and nasty comments against her and that's very unfortunate. But she still keeps doing the work she does anyway when addressing issues such as the CPRC and growth control issues involving the development of the city's hilly areas.

"Swine" flu strikes the Inland Empire. But how severe is it?

Former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus appeared in court. At the same time, the Press Enterprise Editorial Board urged that the investigative report produced by the county be made public.


The board's statement did not explain why the county could not release the report immediately, instead of waiting for supervisors' decision on suing. Two extra weeks of secrecy hardly seem pivotal to any potential legal case, especially as the board intends to make the document public anyway. Nor did the attorney conduct a criminal investigation that might require secrecy.

A two-week delay hardly seems justified, but even so would be an improvement over the county's handling of the last outside attorney investigation. Supervisors sat on reports about a county jail purchase and a questionable land deal for months before releasing the documents in 2006. About all the secrecy accomplished was to drive public skepticism to new heights.

A county with a history of high-profile scandals cannot afford to let suspicions of government flourish unchecked. Releasing the report is the best way for supervisors to demonstrate that the supervisors give top priority to the public interest, and not political convenience.

A huge $4 million jury's verdict to the family of Arthur Lewis who was killed by Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputies several years ago.

(Excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Late Tuesday afternoon, a jury in Riverside County Superior Court awarded $1.6 million each to Lewis' two young sons, and $750,000 to each of his parents, who witnessed the incident in the living room of their home.

"It was a big sigh of relief to get some kind of justice for my son," Lewis' mother, Jessie Lewis, said by phone.

Bruce Disenhouse, the attorney representing Riverside County, did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

Lewis, 33, was a U.S. Navy veteran and Moreno Valley High School graduate.

His parents had called 911 on Oct. 30, 2003, seeking medical assistance, because he was not eating or taking his anti-anxiety medication.

A deputy arrived at the parents' home and called for additional help because he believed Lewis would physically resist, according to a Sheriff's Department statement released after the incident. The officers used pepper spray and wrestled Lewis to the ground.

Lewis stopped breathing, and deputies performed CPR until paramedics arrived. He was taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Hemet plans to try to recover its costs for nonemergency calls to the city's fire department.

It doesn't happen often but in the case of the assistant chief from the Los Angeles County Fire Department who is facing animal cruelty charges, he testified at his preliminary hearing.

Bizarre "fan" mail alert.

Apparently if you're a female blogger who discusses local politics, you have to be obsessed with politicians or a woman who's been spurned. Would any rock dweller write this about a male blogger who had the audacity to write about a local political election? Of course not.

What kind of sexist drivel is that? Hardly surprising from a guy that thinks calling me a "spinster" is going to require someone to pass out the smelling salts. Some day, we'll have a more enlightened society when relics like this individual and their outdated attitudes are pretty much rendered obsolete.

I'm beginning to wonder if I spurned him somewhere along the lines. If I did, clearly it was for good reason. Eeek!

At any rate, here is the missive in its unadulterated glory.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

Mary is clearly obsessed or fantasizing about Schiavone.Good God Lady !! I have never seen one person write or talk about someone as much as Mary talks about Schiavone.She acts as though he is the center of the universe.

Bitter is as bitter does

There's a couple truly creepy ones for this category. These are just sick and kind of obsessive I think. Notice, both of the targets are female.

Read these two postings at Craigslist and ask yourself, who are the bitter ones?
Because the postings below are exactly what bitterness and anger sound like in most people's opinions. And yeah, given that one anonymous person has posted what he believed to be my neighborhood online at Craigslist, I'm going to be very careful in case one of these disturbed individuals shows up at my front door when harassing me online just isn't enough to get them off anymore.

Seriously, how do you think these individuals would react if their candidate did lose the election based on what is written below? Do you think they would react to loss well? Does it look like it? Reading their hateful rhetoric including sexually graphic posts about my breasts and so forth is kind of scary and sometimes it makes me think twice about blogging because I don't always know if it's safe to do so. But I do have supporters out there and that helps mitigate the fear factor of having creeps like this try to intimidate myself and others who have criticized the city's direction or even just questioned it.

What "all of us" is learning is that you dare criticize a politician's practices in this town, this is what his supporters write about you. Not political criticism about what you write about but personalized attacks about your body parts, your undergarments, mental status and where they think you live. That's not criticism except in the mind of someone filled with bitterness and hatred.

This is why people don't go to city council and speak out at meetings and people have told me this.
This is just really sick stuff. It's intended to try to prevent me from blogging and other people from speaking out. It's especially sick considering who's doing it because I have never actually met most of these people in my life. But most people see it for what it is which is ugly.

Yes I agree. FBM Mary is proving to all of us that she can be as ugly on the inside as she is on the outside.
FBM Mary is a very bitter person at that. But hey, wouldn't you also be bitter if you had no talent whatsoever, and no respectable local newspaper would hire you as a reputable reporter.
Most people might want to keep that ugliness inside hidden to thyself, but not FBM, she has a vengeance for anyone who dares cross her.
During this election year, FBM is currently targeting the incumbents (Frank Schiavone and Nancy Hart) that don't agree with her politics.
Oh but FBM will not target her Ward 2 Councilman Andy Melendrez despite his voting against Chinatown (one of FBM's causes).
FBM Mary thinks that we do not want her to blog, that is not the case, blogging allows FBM to express the rage within herself so as not to go postal upon innocent citizens. Although that does happen if you've seen her at council meetings.

Yes, blogging, medication and lots of walking is the prescription for this overzealous and angry feminist.

Here's another rant by an obviously happy, contented individual. This one was written against Davis' campaign manager, Catherine Barrett Fisher, presumably.
Again, no name signed to it but then there never is. After all, who would want to own up to this type of crap? They know most people wouldn't like what they were doing which is why they don't sign their names to it.

As to the forum tonight - Even CBF had a hard time keeping her Malicifent look on her face! She clearly wanted to shove those repetitive, non-sincere words back down her candidate's throat! The word for the night was "squirm"! As in what Davis did in his hot seat!

In a nutshell, uninformed, unimpressive, and basically "un" everything this city has strived for. He could not have been a weaker candidate

Where else does rants like these come from, but truly bitter-hearted individuals? Individuals who have much to lose if their candidate does perhaps? They sure act like it one would think. Just like they did last year in the county supervisor race but for some reason this year, the volume is cranked up a notch in nasty and highly personalized rhetoric.

Where does this kind of ugliness come from? And what does it say about a political candidate who surrounds himself with such people who likely only show this side of themselves when they hide behind anonymity. But then there's a reason to that and it's called cowardice and maybe a bit of desperation.
But why the desperation? It's just an election.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mid-week odds and ends

It's interesting to see how much discussion and focus has been placed on the Community Police Review Commission in recent weeks at various debates, forums and meetings attended by candidates, both incumbents and challengers, running for seats in three different wards represented by the Riverside City Council. But there you have it especially in the fourth ward which features two candidates who have turned what began as a rather quiet Election 2009 into the marquee event. And blogging about this election has been such a thrill, I can't even tell you. Thanks for the support from those who read this blog and have expressed it.

There's been a barrage of nastiness at Craigslist coming from one particular camp in this particular city election. Isn't it interesting how eight candidates can be running for office but the supporters of only one have resorted to such nasty rhetoric at Craigslist even being nasty to the Riverside resident who helped set up the site so that city residents and others could post about events and issues in Riverside city and county, not to mention elsewhere. Talk about not being a good house guest!

But similar nastiness surrounded the District One county supervisor race last year and like this year, for the most part, came from again, one particular camp. Oh was it the same camp? Well, surely that's a coincidence and nothing more. Yes indeed. But the barrage of negative karmic comments expressed at Craiglist have centered on the CPRC as of late and it's been a little while since I've been harassed for supporting that panel. Which means of course that the CPRC has grabbed attention in this election thanks to the shenanigans which have taken place at City Hall surrounding the nine-year-old commission since last summer. An interesting development in Election 2009, but one that had been in the making for months prior to when any of the candidates filed their papers declaring their intent to run for office.

Accusations were launched on Craigslist that candidate, Paul Davis is a johnny-come-lately when it comes to caring about the CPRC. Part of that perception might have resulted because he wasn't running for office backed by a police labor union which endorsed him in large part because he opposed the CPRC. That was where Schiavone was sitting in 2001, mere months after the CPRC had begun receiving and reviewing complaints after being created through ordinance in the spring of 2000. Maybe Schiavone was more well-known for being associated with the CPRC but that was in part because he received law enforcement endorsement money given out at the time to candidates who opposed the CPRC. Schiavone's had his issues where he's come through but the CPRC isn't one of them and it never has been.

Dr. Samuel Walker, from the University of Nebraska, Omaha told me once that in California, police unions had lost more battles to weaken civilian oversight than they had won so they turned towards the political process of municipal elections to fight their battles there. He said that about six months before those elected officials who opposed civilian oversight constituted a majority on the city council.

Also, at least one city police officer apparently recommended to Davis a couple of years ago that he apply to the CPRC when an opening came up for a Ward Four-specific appointment. Ultimately, that position was filled by Linda Soubirous who had run against District One Supervisor Bob Buster four years before Schiavone did.

But when members of one particular political camp anonymously of course aren't using Craigslist as their litter box of choice, it's a great place to find out what public forums are taking place on which issue, when and where the candidate forums are being held, when, where and by who in this city. This enables voters in the three wards up for grabs to seek out forums where their ward's candidates are appearing and to learn more about them and their stances on the various issues impacting the specific wards as well as the city in general.

Inland Empire Craigslist

The ballots which are mail-in are due at their destination on June 2 and consequently need to be mailed enough days ahead of time to get to their destination by that date. Some people have been told that it's enough to have their return ballot postmarked on June 2 but this is not the case at all. If anyone's telling you that, either they don't know the right information or they are willfully misleading you.

They're due to be mailed out to registered voters by May 4 and so it's important to fill them out and send them in and remember that you have to pay the postage which is set to increase by two cents on May 11 from $0.42 to $0.44 so make sure you're paying the correct postage while mailing out your very important completed ballot.

The above applies to voters in Wards Two, Four and Six. When you get your ballots, cast your vote as soon as possible and place the right postage to send it back. Your vote's your voice so exercise it.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors are squaring off against the labor unions by pushing them to exchange salary cuts for threats of layoffs. Threatening layoffs is not exactly an unheard of tactic used to push unions into taking concessions during contract negotiations even during years of plenty, but the ongoing recession and its impact on the budgets of local governments is playing a major role in this latest skirmish between the board and the county's bargaining units. Will there be layoffs in the county's public safety departments? That remains to be seen but after seeing the drama that played out in San Bernardino within the past couple of months, it's difficult to predict exactly what will happen and how much bloodletting there will be in the county's workforce which has seen some already, not to mention a 10% cut which is being implemented by most county departments save one.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The board has agreed to allow county CEO Bill Luna to cut retirement contributions in half, plus impose furloughs up to 120 hours and reduce annual leave buy-downs. Luna has projected that those actions would constitute a 10 percent reduction in personnel costs. He has challenged the county's unions to take similar steps to save employee jobs.

"I think we need to show them we mean business," Wilson said. "We're moving toward a tunnel of disaster."

At least two unions say they aren't prepared to make any deals.

"We understand there's a crisis," said Fred Lowe, business manager of Local 777 of the Laborers' International Union of North America. "But we want to do anything we can to protect our members."

Riverside County is negotiating with at least three of six unions that represent about 15,000 of its roughly 20,000 employees. The supervisors have been pressing unions for cooperation to reduce costs and prevent layoffs.

As an alternative to cuts or union concessions, Luna has proposed that supervisors lay off about 1,000 employees during the next budget year, which starts July 1.

News from the fronts of the contract negotiations between Riverside's City Manager Brad Hudson and the city's own bargaining units isn't much better at the moment. It's still fairly early in the season but most of the unions are already looking at potential salary freezes and losing provisions in their former MOUs which are set to expire soon by the end of the fiscal year. Will they be threatened with layoffs if they don't concede? On the bright side for the bargaining units will be that this provides them the opportunity to discover if the city's reserve is really as flush as being said to the tune of $45 million, or not. A good guess would be, probably not.

Two items on the wish list for the city's two police unions. One, being the unfreezing of sworn positions from entry level to the classified position of captain and the other being that the sergeants (and eventually officers) obtain a similar MOU currently enjoyed by detectives since about 1993 which enables any vacant detective position to be promptly filled. The sergeants in particular, wish they had that same mechanism in place as their numbers have decreased through retirements and the officer/supervisor ratios have allegedly increased above 7 to 1 in the field division in recent weeks or months.

At least one union, the Riverside Police Officers' Association asked candidate, Paul Davis last year to do an audit of the preliminary financial budget passed by the city last June and he predicted a shortfall of about $14 million within six months which did come to pass and the picture has worsened since then due to less than anticipated property and sales tax revenue. But the police union might be facing salary freezes for its members from the city, instead of any form of pay hikes. And this may have changed sentiment in some of its members towards the incumbents currently on the dais as a result. How much so if that's the case remains to be seen in the weeks ahead.

If you recall, the RPOA and the Riverside Police Administrators' Association both endorsed incumbents across the board in this city council race, which was particularly interesting in the case of the RPAA because this unit had initially taken a neutral stance to avoid favoritism but then decided first to contact political candidates for interviews and then to endorse the incumbents including Councilman Frank Schiavone who is currently included as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by two members of the RPAA including its past president. The lawsuit alleged retaliation against the two lieutenants and potentially a third for participating in labor union activities including the endorsement of city council candidates during Election 2007.

Members of past RPOA and RPAA bargaining teams have said that labor negotiations can be very intense and prolonged trying the wills of those on both sides. During the particularly arduous labor negotiations of the summer of 2006, both police association filed litigation against the city alleging different violations of fair labor practices. Both lawsuits were ultimately settled.

It doesn't like this round of labor talks will be any smoother even as the city sails through rougher waters all around.

The investigative report focusing on former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus just might be made public after all after some hemming and hawing by the supervisors in that scandal plagued county.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The results of the probe by attorney John C. Hueston were presented to the board in a closed-door meeting that lasted nearly four hours Tuesday.

Board Chairman Gary Ovitt said the supervisors read the report and the board is considering litigation based on information in it. Reading from a statement, Ovitt said the board would not comment on the contents of the report or the potential litigation.

On May 12, the board will decide whether to begin legal action and will make the report public, Ovitt said.

"The board appreciates the public's interest in this report and the public's patience, which is why the board is pleased that the report's release is now imminent," he said.

A member of Murrieta's Planning Commission resigns. What's kind of alarming is that this is the second resignation from the Planning Commission in recent days. If they're not careful, they might start looking like the CPRC in Riverside.

The preliminary hearing began for an assistant fire chief from Los Angeles County's fire department charged with animal cruelty in connection with the death of a dog.

Trolley service is coming to Temecula but at least one line is shutting down in Riverside. So don't get too attached to the downtown trolleys.

Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein's report on the alleged smackdown between Riverside District Attorney Rod Pacheco and Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach has attracted a host of comments about Pacheco's office. It's a rare article about the D.A. that doesn't include pages and pages of commentary from the anonymous peanut gallery.

Subpoena power spreads to Columbia, Missouri where there's been efforts to create a civilian mechanism for some time.

(excerpt, Columbia Daily Tribune)

City attorney Fred Boeckmann completed the new draft of the ordinance yesterday. He said he does not think the panel would issue subpoenas often. The subpoena power would apply primarily to people or documents outside the department because another provision in the ordinance would require police officers to cooperate fully with the review board or face discipline, including possible dismissal.

“I don’t imagine it would be something that would be used a whole lot,” Boeckmann said, adding that the city’s Personnel Advisory Board has similar authority. “It could come in handy sometimes.”

Rex Campbell, a co-chair of the Citizen Oversight Committee that unanimously recommended civilian review of the police department last year, said the committee did not include a recommendation about subpoena power because there was just a one-vote difference among the members in favor of not allowing it. “It was a contentious issue among the committee,” Campbell said.

Another member of the oversight committee, Columbia attorney David Tyson Smith, said he was surprised the subpoena issue was included. He said he favors allowing the review board to issue subpoenas and is pleased with the draft overall. “So far, it complies with the spirit of the recommendation of the oversight review committee,” Smith said.

Two New York City Police Department officers have been indicted for raping an intoxicated woman.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

Officer Kenneth Moreno, 41, a 17-year NYPD veteran, raped the woman in her E. 13th St. apartment while his partner, Franklin Mata, 27, acted as a lookout and misled radio dispatchers, prosecutors said.

"(Mata) knew his partner was having sex with a semiconscious woman," Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

The cops pleaded not guilty after surrendering at the lower Manhattan court house.

They face up to 25 years in prison on rape, burglary and official misconduct charges in the Dec. 7 incident.

Investigators say the woman's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, making her unable to legally consent to sex.

Riverside County prepares for Swine flu but so far fortunately hasn't seen any definitive cases of the virus. Some experts believe that the pandemic will be lukewarm in the spring, stop during the summer months (as this season is not conducive to the spread of influenza viruses) and pick up in the autumn. If the virus spends the summer time meeting up with other viruses and exchanging DNA at the viral equivalent of a single's bar, then the situation would be much worse than it appears now. After all, the Spanish flu didn't look like much in April of 1918 but hit the world with a vengeance after spending its summer months recombining avian DNA with that belonging to human flu viruses. But then it's difficult to ever predict the course of a flu virus.

But before whatever happens, happens, the scientists will have to come up with a new name for the virus, H1N1, because it's probably not true Swine Flu which isn't communicable between people, just porcine and humans. This virus, the first of its kind, is a marriage or merger between viral DNA belonging to birds, humans and pigs. Meaning it's a virus that's been around so it might be premature to be certain it started in Mexico.

Wanted: Faux home owners

Some people sent me the link to the YouTube video some anonymous person made depicting or parodying myself, The Riverside Press Club person, Michael Morales and former CPRC commissioner, Jim Ward. And what was in Ward's hand? Some said an alcohol flask. I seriously hope not. But the clay figures are kind of creative and somebody put some work into it.

The individual claimed that they used audio for a recent meeting but if so, it wasn't from one all that recent or likely, even the same meeting.

I remain blissfully ignorant on this video because alas, the audio component of my computer has been knocked out and it's hard to read the faces of claymation figures to figure out what's being said.

Given that nearly 19% of Riverside's population is Deaf or hard of hearing due to the presence of one of the two state schools for the Deaf in Riverside, the video should have been presented in closed-caption form so as not to be exclusive to hearing folks. Something to keep in mind when producing future "audio" videos.

Still, I was a bit puzzled at why I turned out looking like Skipper. But what's important is that it does say is that the CPRC is becoming a campaign issue which is very nice to know, given what's been going on in the past year.

Ward's actually no stranger to being being parodied as it's called if that's what happened in this video.

He was once allegedly made fun of via video by over a dozen Riverside Police Department officers attending a training session in 2004 and when one attendee complained, she was allegedly told by current Asst. Chief John DeLaRosa (who was apparently the highest ranking officer overseeing that three-day course) that he couldn't say anything about it. Hopefully, this video was at least nice where he's concerned because he did put seven years working tirelessly at least 30-40 hours a month to try to get the commission both to work effectively and to be responsive to the community.

Then again, a female volunteer was allegedly told the same thing by her supervisor when she tried to file a complaint of a racially hostile environment in the police department in 2007 after one person she was partnered with asked a male officer at a coffee place if he wanted to hear an "African-American" joke. So maybe the party line, is just to say that nothing can be done about any of this.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Meetings and matters

"City managers are often micromanagers and don't want their staff to be outspoken."

---Former San Jose Police Auditor Barbara Attard to the Fresno Bee.

"Our county is of the philosophy as little disclosure as is mandated is best."

---David Wert, spokesman San Bernardino County on the release of the Postmus probe.

The Inland Empire Weekly tackles the issues involving the Community Police Review Commission in Riverside. Part of the coverage in the article focuses on the battle from the dais between two city council members that took place at the city council meeting held on April 14 over conflicting proposals on the investigative protocol.


Among the council, the discussion became an ideological battleground between two members.

On one side sat Ward 4 rep Frank Schiavone, chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee. The GAC did their own investigation of 18 similar police review agencies in California, such as one in Long Beach, and found that all others waited until law enforcement and/or DA investigations were completed to begin their process.
Riverside’s commission should have been operating in this manner all along, Schiavone’s argument goes. A GAC report claims the Riverside commission was set up to be consistent with the Long Beach police review board.

“We want to maintain protocol,” says Schiavone. “It’s the CPRC that is not adhering to their own policies.”

Opposing Schiavone was Ward 1 rep Mike Gardner, one of the commission’s original members. Gardner quickly refuted Schiavone. “Long Beach had no language on how to handle investigations,” says Gardner.

Gardner then said that for the first CPRC review, the commission indeed did wait until law enforcement finished its investigation. “It took a year . . . [which was] too long.” Subsequent reviews were handled differently, but attempts to draft language to codify the new policy were never completed.
Schiavone and Gardner put up competing motions, with Gardner’s going down to defeat 5-2 (Ward 2’s Andy Melendrez sided with Gardner) before Schiavone’s own motion passed by the same 5-2 vote—giving an official blessing to City Manager Hudson’s prior directive.

Still, the fight is far from over. It is not clear what authority the council has to pass motions regarding an independent commission. According to the City Charter, Chapter 2.76, the commission is an advisory group to the council, the city manager and the police chief. Other than appointing (or removing) commission members and reviewing an annual commission report, the council seems to have no other official jurisdiction over how the commission operates.

As it now stands, a city mechanism that was intended to serve as an independent watchdog of the police isn’t so independent any more and a body that was touted to promote police accountability appears fully accountable to City Hall and not the citizens it was intended to serve.

Actually Schiavone's comments were erroneous and it's highly unfortunate that Schiavone and several "at will" city employees have maintained that the CPRC should adhere to its written protocol on officer-involved death investigations when as Gardner stated correctly, there aren't any such written protocol. The best that could be said about this unfortunate development of trying to force the CPRC to use written protocol for officer-involved deaths which was never intended for that, is that either these individuals just do not understand the CPRC or they are getting incorrect information from those they trust to give them the answers. And they assume that the public will buy it.

In the history books, there's only a pattern and practice that took place uninterrupted and without complaint from 2002-2008 due to dissatisfaction with the CPRC's delay in investigating the first officer-involved death in 2001. But despite the lack of written protocol, elected officials and their "at will" employees (and their "at will" employees and so on), continue to try to sell this fabrication to the public that a written protocol for officer-involved death investigations does exist.

This bill of good is sold by these individuals despite an assertion made last autumn that the defining moment for them in terms of the need to "fix" the CPRC came in June like a lightning bolt when it occurred to someone in the city manager's office that there was no written protocol for officer-involved death investigations by the CPRC. Of course that excuse proved to be as shaky as quicksand when City Hall changed its mind and decided to blame the CPRC's decision to launch a preliminary investigation into the July 11 death of Martin Pablo through a 5-3 vote, for its crackdown on how the commission conducted its investigations. It's almost as if they just couldn't make up their minds who or what to blame for past actions and who or what to use to justify their current deviation from a protocol that worked not through chance or luck, but through design and through diligence, hard work and professionalism to ensure that a criminal investigation (even during the era when the city refused to call any aspect of an officer-involved death (or shooting) investigation a criminal investigation) wasn't compromised. And no one, not a city council member, not a city manager representative not even the police chief (who appears to sit on a shelf to be dusted off to perform on rare occasions) could say or state otherwise.

Is there a written policy included in the city's charter that allows the city council to define a board or commission's policies and procedures? No there isn't but besides the lack of written permission allowing it to do so, the city council has done so anyway and that's asking the commission to do the impossible which is to adhere to a written protocol which was written for handling citizen complaints, not incustody death investigations.

This sentiment is shared by many people including those who watched that same city council meeting and those who watched the latest train wreck meeting held by the CPRC which within the past year has essentially become a tool of City Hall. At that meeting, over 30 Riverside Community College students watched, many appalled at the commission display its loyalty to the powers that be at City Hall and to shunt itself once again, from the communities of Riverside. Due to the lack of community outreach in the past year or so, many people including leaders have little idea what the role and function of the CPRC is. The dearth of community outreach during this time serves to the advantage of factions at City Hall which have tried to define the CPRC in their own image, rather than what's in the City Charter.

The Riverside City Council is hosting another public meeting with this one starting at 4p.m. and the regular evening session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is not likely to be very long. The only discussion item is an oral report on the Riverside Renaissance which has no written backup material at all.

There is this public hearing addressing the upgrading of student housing near the University of California, Riverside campus.

The consent calendar isn't all that impressive either but includes this item involving legal expenses surrounding the Save Our Chinatown fight in the courts.

Included in the committee announcements at the end of the agenda is the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee which won't be screening applicants to fill the Ward Two spot on the CPRC vacated by the resignation of Jim Ward last month. But then again, searching for the proper political appointment takes energy and it takes time. There's about eight applicants so far in the pool including current Ward Two council candidate, Ruben Rasso. Usually if a seat is vacant for 60 days or longer, then Mayor Ron Loveridge is responsible for filling it, however that process doesn't apply to the CPRC.

It increases the odds that the eventual CPRC commissioner will not come from the current applicant list but that it will be someone proposed by one or more of the city council members in a process that has become increasingly politicized since the passage of Measure GG in 2004 which put ward representation on the city's boards and commissions in the city's charter. Increasingly in recent years, politicians at City Hall have used that process to try to pack boards and commissions with political appointment, the latest being CPRC Commissioner Robert Slawsby who is included in Schiavone's list of endorsements as is his predecessor, Linda Soubirous. Both were appointed to the commission as Ward Four representatives.

Slawsby benefited from a 4-4 tie between him and another candidate. Schiavone said that he should get the say because it was his ward and immediately Councilwoman Nancy Hart changed her vote to Slawsby and Schiavone told Loveridge, that's my vote.

But just before the evening session of the city council meeting, this annual report will be presented by the Metropolitan Museum Board which if you recall has been in the news a lot lately because of the controversy and fanfare over the futures of both the downtown museum and public library.

Riverside County is clamping down its finances and Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco might have to bunk up with other city departments in his spanking new office building. It remains to be seen how that will go over or whether heads are going to roll over this development.

Riverside County's board of supervisors meet to discuss some financial issues with the annual budget on Tuesday, April 28 at 9 a.m. with capital projects coming up on the docket at 1 p.m. The board meets in the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon St., Riverside.

With all the bombshells dropping down about the county's budget picture last week, expect a packed house.

In San Bernardino County, the latest news on the ongoing probe into former Assessor Bill Postmus is that while the supervisors might get a copy of the investigation, the public might never see it.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

John Hueston, who was hired in late January to investigate then-assessor Bill Postmus, will meet with the supervisors in closed session after their regular meeting, said Supervisor Neil Derry and a spokesman for board Chairman Gary Ovitt. Postmus resigned in February but the county asked Hueston, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Enron executives, to complete his investigation.

It wasn't clear Monday if the report would be made public.

"All I know is the report is ready and we'll get to read it," Derry said.

Ovitt spokesman Burt Southard said he believes the bulk of Hueston's report is done but couldn't say for certain until after the board had heard his presentation.

"Nobody has any idea of what's in it," he said.

Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times Blog)

Federal Judge Andrew Guilford was harsh as he handed down the sentence following a four-hour hearing during which the former sheriff’s attorneys argued for leniency, saying the media had sensationalized the case.

“Lying will not be tolerated in this courtroom, especially by law enforcement, especially by the leading law enforcement official in the county," said Guilford, who held up a copy of the book “The Importance of Being Honest” and read a passage to Carona.

Carona, dressed in a gray suit and blue necktie, spoke only briefly, thanking Guilford for his “kindness and courtesy.”

“Mr. Carona violated his sworn duty and utterly ignored his responsibilities to the citizens of Orange County by engaging in the conduct that led to his conviction and sentence, conduct that culminated in an agreement to obstruct justice by concocting a story to cover up his corrupt behavior,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien in a statement. “Today’s sentencing shows what will happen to elected officals who place their own interests above those of the constituents they are sworn to serve.”

Carona will be held on bail pending appeal until July 24. The judge wanted him to be able to see his son's graduation.

The judge said he was troubled by comments made by Carona after the jury's verdicts were delivered.

(excerpt, Orange County Register)

Carona spoke only briefly during the three-hour hearing, thanking the judge for the “kindness” and “courtesy” shown to him and his wife. But it was his behavior after his conviction that drew the judge’s ire.

He told reporters in January said he felt “beyond vindicated” when the jury found him not guilty of the five charges – but convicted him of witness tampering, a felony. He has always maintained his innocence.

But Guilford said he found it troubling that Carona seemed to be celebrating a victory when he had been convicted of a serious felony.

“Carona,” he told the courtroom shortly before he handed down his sentence, “has given no indication that he wouldn’t ask someone again to lie.”

One of the jurors in the case, Ron Kuykendall, attended the hearing and said the judge’s sentence was “a lot more than I thought it was going to be.”

But he said he agreed with Guilford’s reasoning: “I think he hit the nail on the head. (Carona) is a government official and more is expected of him. All the good things he did, that’s part of the job.”

Injustice in Seattle writes about the new auditor in Seattle for the Office of Professional Accountability. This is the form of civilian oversight over law enforcement in this large North-Western city.

This development comes as San Jose's newest police auditor resigned not long after being appointed by the city council after news came out that his brother was a San Jose Police Department officer. He replaced the incredibly independent Barbara Attard who paid for her independence by not being reappointed by the city council to a second term.

Attard told this blogger that she had been trying to bring independence to the process of investigating onduty deaths by police officers but that City Hall didn't like that much. But why did Attard scare the powers that be in San Jose?

This is why.

Ironically, she was one of the people contacted by myself and various factions in City Hall and police department during some survey in how oversight mechanisms in different cities and counties conducted civilian oversight. What some of these individuals didn't tell Attard is that they were interesting in doing what she herself was battling against in San Jose and that was to micromanage a form of civilian oversight in Riverside.

Attard remembered coming to Riverside and speaking before a research committee on civilian oversight during 1999, when she was director of Berkeley's Citizen Review Board. She held that job before being hired by San Jose to replace Teresa Guerrero-Daley who also spoke before this committee and the entire city council at a special workshop conducted in 2000.

But that's been the struggle with civilian oversight mechanisms in California and other places and no more will that impact be seen than with the auditor model or a model that includes an auditor component. After all, that's both the strength and the weakness of this particular model. It all rests in how effective, independent and transparent the individual auditor is after they fill the position.

San Jose's been fortunate in that regard at least up to this latest soap opera involving how a city council managed to hire its latest auditor, an insider in the city's financial audit division, without adequately addressing the obvious conflict of interest situation arising by hiring a relative of a police officer to oversee that law enforcement agency.

The newest city in California to adopt the auditor model, Fresno, will have to grapple with this same issue even as hundreds of community members showed up to support the auditor proposal.

But the question remains in Fresno. Does the Fresno auditor stand a chance?

(excerpt, Fresno Bee)

Auditors in other cities say that whether the auditor's office succeeds in its main purpose of improving relations between police and the community will depend on a number of things, some of which are not under Swearengin's control.

They include:

Whether rank-and-file officers, whose union opposed the auditor plan, eventually make peace with the idea.

Whether community groups that wanted stronger oversight will come to accept an auditor who is empowered only to monitor and review police investigations, not conduct its own.

How City Hall responds to the auditor's findings and recommendations, and what happens if it disregards or rejects them.

How well the auditor's office keeps the public informed about its findings, and to what extent City Hall interferes with that process.

In short, said University of Nebraska professor Samuel Walker, the city's auditor will be as successful as the city and its top leaders -- namely Swearengin, City Manager Andy Souza and Police Chief Jerry Dyer -- allow it to be.

"It comes down to strong political leadership," said Walker, who heads the Police Professionalism Initiative.

If the answer came using the example set by San Jose, the answer might be maybe. If the answer came through using the example set by Riverside, the answer would be a resounding no.

A job is opening up in San Francisco's office of civilian oversight. Unfortunately, at this time there's not enough pertinent information included in the job description to attach a micromanagement score to it.

8177 Attorney (Civil/Criminal)
Recruitment #PEX-8177-055498

Department: Office of Citizen Complaints
Date Opened: 4/24/2009 8:00:00 AM
Filing Deadline: 5/15/2009 11:59:00 PM
Salary: $98,514.00 - $172,588.00/ year
Job Type: Permanent Exempt
Employment Type: Full-Time


Appointment Type:

Exempt: Exempt employees are considered "at will" and serve at the discretion of the appointing officer. Currently there is one exempt position located at 25 Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102.


The Office of Citizen Complaints, a San Francisco city agency that investigates civilian complaints of police misconduct, is looking for a licensed attorney with at least three years of experience, including trial and motion work in a criminal or civil setting. The job requires the ability to speak and write in a clear and effective manner, to establish and maintain effective working relationships, to exercise independent, unbiased judgment when considering merits of administrative investigations and excellent investigation and litigation skills.

Example of Duties:

*Under the supervision of the Chief Trial Attorney,

*Performs difficult and professional legal work in connection with prosecuting administrative police misconduct investigations.

*Prepares and reviews complex legal investigations and recommends findings in accordance with applicable laws and Department procedures.

*Prepares and independently oversees cases that proceed to hearing and settlement.

*Serves as the prosecuting attorney representing the OCC and/or the SFPD in administrative disciplinary hearings before the Chief of Police and Police Commission.

*Interviews witnesses, handles discovery and motions, proposes settlement and engages in all phases of pre-trial and trial-work during administrative disciplinary hearings.

*Performs professional legal work in all phases of administering the OCC's work.

*Analyzes and prepares legal opinions on legal matters affecting the OCC.

*Interacts regularly with other legal professionals, court officials, legislators, community activists and law enforcement agencies, relative to assigned legal matters.

*Researches and interprets policies and procedures relative to the OCC and the SFPD, and, where appropriate, proposes best-practice recommendations.

*Provides training and outreach to OCC staff, law enforcement, community groups and civilian oversight agencies.

*Performs other related duties as required.


Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from an accredited law school and at least three years of experience as a practicing attorney.

License: Requires active membership in good standing of California State Bar Association

Knowledge of: Federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances as applied to civil or criminal law.

Ability to: Speak and write in a clear and effective manner, and establish and maintain effective working relationships. Requires considerable ability to exercise independent, unbiased judgment when considering merits of administrative investigations.


Applications, resume and cover letter are now being accepted through an on-line process. Visit sf to begin the application process by registering an account. Select the desired job announcement (PEX-8177-055498) , then select "Apply" and read and acknowledge the information. Select "I am a New User". If you have already previously registered, select "I have Registered Previously". Follow the instructions given on the screen.

If you don't have access to a personal computer, computer kiosks are available for public use in the lobby of the Department of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. The hours of operations are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please place your resume and cover letter in the "Supplemental Application" area of the on-line application. The final filing date is May 15, 2009.

Any questions please contact Ms. Pamela Thompson at telephone # (415) 241-7770 or Pamela.Thompson@

Applicants meeting the Minimum Qualifications are not guaranteed an interview.


Verification of the qualifying experience may be required at a later date. When requested, verification of qualifying experience must be documented on the employer's business letterhead and must include the name of the applicant, job title(s), dates of employment, description of job duties performed, and signature of the employer or the employer's authorized representative. Employees of the City County of San Francisco may submit performance evaluations showing duties performed to verify qualifying City experience. Failure to provide the required verification when requested may result in disqualification from candidacy. Verification may be waived if unavailable or it cannot be obtained. The applicant must submit a signed statement explaining why verification cannot be provided. Waiver request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


1. Applicants are advised to keep copies of all documents submitted.

2. Applicants with disabilities requiring reasonable accommodation for this process must contact Ms. Pamela Thompson by phone 415-241-7711 (voice) or, if hearing impaired, (415) 241-7770 (TTY), or in writing to the Office of Citizen Complaints, 25 Van Ness Avenue, 7th floor, San Francisco, CA 94102 Attn: Ms. Pamela Thompson, as soon as possible.

3. Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco is a part of this announcement. It can be obtained at http://www.sfgov. org/site/ dhr_page. asp?id=566.

Joyce M. Hicks, Executive Director
of Citizen Complaints
Issued: 042409, EXEMPT8177

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, typically a 7.5% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact your departmental personnel officer.

We encourage you to submit your application on-line as this is the preferred application method. If you experience difficulties, please contact the exam analyst at the phone number listed on the above announcement.

Contact us via conventional means. You may contact us by phone at (415) 557-4800, or apply for a job in person at the Department of Human Resources.

More Fan Mail... because after all, it's another day in River City.

This endearing rant from some unsigned but apparently very irate Schiavone supporter. The same one who was ranting about what high school I attended only last week and making some innuendos about that. That and screeching about my breasts and somehow tying that into some form of political commentary just makes this person seem quite stretched out like a pretzel. But anyway, this is what he or she wrote about the April 25 blogging which they clearly didn't like much. But then this person would prefer it if everyone just marched behind them in lock-step because if you don't, you too can be put on "filthy five" lists and have your breasts, bras, orgasms, undergarments, A.A. meetings (even if you don't go), marital status, sexual orientation, high school and anything else they can come up with, become fodder for them all under the excuse of promoting the incumbent candidate in Ward Four as the obvious choice.

Seriously do these sound like folks you'd want to hang out with?

This was the blog posting where I was pretty much analyzing what was printed on two mailers put out by both Ward Four candidates. So I guess not everything that's on one of the mailers is true?

One has to ask oneself that if Schiavone is the smart and educated choice and he very may well be (although his fans on Craigslist haven't done much to sell him as a candidate), why is it that some of the members of some sort of anonymous peanut gallery so bitter and hateful towards others who offer up different opinions than simply blanket endorsing candidates because they are incumbents?

It might help this individual sell their candidate if instead of ranting and gnashing their teeth, they simply outlined why voters in the fourth ward should pick him over his challenger.


Go ahead and read the April 25th blog of Five Before Midnight. As you do so, you will see that it is comprised of OPINION, INSINUATIONS, TWISTED FACTS and OUT AND OUT LIES!

Yeah, THAT'S a reliable source of information! Hardly!

As to the bold, large type poster who is FBM's BIGGEST FAN - she hates everything about the City and is trying to shove Paul Davis down our throats for that only reason - not because he's a good choice - but because he ISN'T the incumbant.

Yeah, THAT'S a reliable source of information! Hardly!

Schiavone is the smart, educated choice!

Riverside and Temecula both made a top 100 list.

No Swine Flu reported yet in the Inland Empire.

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