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, May 29, 2009

Election eve in Riverside

“If you speak with nine out of 10 officers of color they would tell you that when they hear sirens, in their head they are thinking: ‘I hope these cops know that I’m one of the good guys.’

----State Senator Eric Adams to New York Times

The annual Riverside Neighborhood Conference took place at California Baptist University.
People attended the free event to participate in workshops and learn more about city departments.

The city council in Riverside still plans to meet on June 2, the deadline for the ballots that are being cast through mail in the city council elections but the meeting begins at 3 p.m. and this agenda is much abbreviated, highlighted mainly by this budget workshop. But it's likely to be a brief meeting so that the elected officials can run off to various campaign parties that are being held all over the city. It's not clear how long it will take for all the vote gathered to be counted in order to declare winners in each ward that's up for reelection this year. One thing that might separate this preliminary round from its predecessor in 2007 is that it might be the final round for all three of the wards.

If you recall, the mailin elections for four wards in June 2007 led to four runoff finals to be held at a polling site near you later on that year in November. That's not likely to happen this time around. What's expected to happen instead is that there will be three winners who will be elected to serve on the city council.

Ward Two Councilman Andrew Melendrez is heavily favored to win his ward. His biggest rival four years ago, Ruben Rasso, is running on a shoe string campaign this time around. Ward Six incumbent, Nancy Hart is not expected to have a difficult time defeating her rivals either, both of whom are running grass-roots campaigns that haven't picked up much momentum. In fact, the election buzz in that ward has been kind of quiet.

The most competitive and certainly most publicized election race has been in the city's largest ward, Ward Four, where incumbent Frank Schiavone and challenger Paul Davis have both waged aggressive campaigns and each one's camp is confident of victory. Who will win and what the margin will be is unknown at this point but subject to much speculation.

At any rate, it's been a long election season and it's finally nearing its end at least for the short duration but most likely, all three races will be decided.

Then there will be a few months of relative quiet and then comes the mayor's election in the autumn.

And of course, there will be election results posted here as soon as they come in. Blogging's been interesting as it is in the case of most city elections although it's nice to see that this one has finally ended on one level because of the harassment that's taken place online since I started blogging on it several months ago.

I should have known what it was going to be like when I started blogging after having experienced how rough blogging was during the Riverside County Supervisor race last year between incumbent Bob Buster and Schiavone. Back then, Schiavone's supporters weren't any more secure about their candidate than they were this time around. Unlike last year, he could win this round but you'd never guess whether or not his campaign network and supporters believed that were the case based on some of the strange online behavior from some anonymous people who claim to support his candidacy.

It started off in the end of January before the filing deadline had even approached. This post was written but did it discuss civic platforms or politics? No, it discussed of all things, my breasts.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

Whats the matter. Mary can dish it out but she cant take an itty bitty (oh there i go again) criticism? Lets see how strong she really is and lets see howlong this one stays up. Really liked the suggestion that cup sizes be added to the save riverside poll.

When it comes to one of our favorite shriekers, FBM, we already know that she doesn't waste the time or effort trying to restrain those little lumps. Yup, they're out there for anyone to see if they have keen eyesight cuz their so small. But theyve been more noticeable on recent cold days. Just a bit too nippie, huh, Mary? Yuck i think Ive made myself want to barf.

It continued onward but this jewel marked the trend of increasingly nasty posts that were to come. And the irony of this posting is that it's written by someone who was once quite vocally anti-cop. But then last year, he endorsed Buster against Schiavone in the supervisor's race. Oh never mind. Some people change those like they change hats.


Initial poster how correct you are about FBM, but didn't you know that FBM know's everything and is never wrong about anything.
I'll even bet that FBM had multiple orgasms over the 4 Oakland cops that were killed by a parolee.
Was that story even covered on the FBM blog ?

Another then-anonymous poster showed up not long after to cheer this charmer on.


Yep! FBM has no concern for all of the cops that give their lives in the line of duty. Nope, her concern is for the predatory criminals that cause so much pain and misery onto law abiding citizens. Idea, how about blogging about the cops that are fatally killed in the line of duty on a weekly basis. Not FBM's concern, FBM would rather blog about the criminal that happened to be shot or assaulted during the commission of a crime. This is what gets FBM off. Let her do her thang though, most know that FBM's missing a few marbles upstairs. A real 5150.

This person too had ample opportunity and a venue to blog about the deaths of the four Oakland Police Department officers in a tragic shooting but instead pimped them to harass me. How sad is that? But then comes this one.

FBM probably dreaming that the RPD would pull FBM over and ask FBM to submit to a full search and seizure.

nite nite! : )

It's not that I haven't had police officers write harassing messages before on my blog and as it turns out, the majority of those posts were apparently written by employees that I either hadn't met and one I hadn't even heard of before. So I'm used to these kind of comments whoever is writing them.

On March 24, somebody left this interesting narrative of what happened involving the Riverside Police Officers' Association's endorsement process surrounding the Ward Four Election race.


Ward 4 City Council candidate Paul Davis who was dishonorably discharged from the Riverside Police Department after only 5 1/2 months on the job as trainee is doing everything he can to keep his personnel file from going public.

Davis today threatened the Riverside Police Officers Association with a lawsuit should they release any documents from his file.

A few weeks ago, Davis while seeking the endorsement of the Riverside Police Officers Association agreed to waive the confidentiality of his file to allow the directors of the RPOA to review his service record.

After granting this waiver and interviewing with the RPOA, the Association unanimously voted to support Frank Schiavone for re-election.

We are left to wonder what the Riverside Police Officers on the RPOA Board saw in the file that made them all decide to go against Davis, even after they had already contributed to his campaign.

Sadly, the voters may never know since Davis had his attorney send them a letter rescinding his confidentiality waiver and threatening to sue any of them that reveal what they read in the file.

This sort of conduct is not what we should expect from a person who wants to represent us. This is is the behavior of a power hungry man who wants to hide his past from the people so he can trick them out of their votes by pretending he was once a cop, when in fact he washed out as a trainee.

Another irony is that Davis is campaigning on bringing more openness and transparency to government, but he refuses to be open and transparent about his failures as a police officer trainee.

Hopefully the court will unseal his file on Thursday morning and we can all find out the truth about Paul Davis, and whether or not the rumors about his emotional and mental instability are true or not.

What they don't mention is how much internal upheaval that process, both in general and specifically, caused within the RPOA's Political Action Committee with at least two of its members resigning from the committee and/or board of directors.

Anyway, the highlights continue when not-so-anonymous continues his blathering, doing what he usually does and that's waiting until someone else writes something nasty first and then picking up his pom poms. He's easy to spot. Look for four things, the extra spaces that he puts in his sentences, his sentence structure, his use of contractions and his yen for writing about sexual content. Again, this was the guy who used to dislike cops before he wanted to be one and endorsed against Schiavone offline while apparently stumping for him this time around online.


FBM Mary,

First of all, I do not know what you are rambling about as I have never met nor communicated with you before. The information I know about you has been posted on your blog and various other websites. Based on that, the opinions that you present on your blog sound disturbing. A continuous theme on your blog is that you constantly claim to be a victim of harrassment. I then must contend that you do not know what harrassment is. Stop being a victim of your own self-righteousness. Most disturbing is when you accuse councilman Frank Schiavone as being " sexist " for a comment that may be construed as disrespectful at worst, but not sexist. Sounds as if paranoia has caught up with you. May I suggest that you get a life, as you seem to have way too much time on your hands belittling public officials.

" anonymous "

Here's a gem from April 24.


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 one from April 21 that struck some interest because of something that had happened a week earlier.


You're welcome. I might agree with you.

But you know you are going to get a smart ass comment to your comments. It usually will reiterate the victimization of saps who chose to not wear undergarments and orgasms and don't shower and such. She likes those analogies and defends those people (since she is one of them) to no end.

I don't know where you get the weak father figure and not popular with boys in school - but it's good foddar!

As to where she's from - my best guess is Colorado, St. Scholastica Academy in Canon City, CO to be exact. ( or was it says our journalist for Black Voice is from there - and that's our Mary).

As far as how she makes a living. . . . who knows. I'm guessing it's selling her crap to newspapers, particularly the Black Voice.

Why did she leave? Only Mary knows.

Her obsessions with cops and everyone else - use your imagination!

This one struck me as interesting because about a week or so earlier, I received an email notifying me that a person had signed my guest book at This was what was listed in my Guestbook.



Back to Profile Home Page »
Mary, you have 8 signatures in your guestbook.
Signatures Community Actions
Mike Eveland
Apr 8 2009
Robert A. Millikan High School
Add to friends
Add to bookmarks
Leyden Hahn
Dec 30 2008
Colorado Northwestern Community College Add to friends
Add to bookmarks
Patricia Morris
Mar 1 2008
St. Scholastica Academy

What was interesting about this is that the city of Riverside employed a "Mike Eveland" until last year as a police officer.

Whether this is the same individual or this is just a coincidence, is not known. Because after all, there are probably a few men with that name who are currently in their early to mid-fifties. Just one of those unsolved mysteries but information from that profile began showing up on Craiglist on around April 8 including my incorrect age, incorrect perhaps because most people assume that all people graduate from high school at the age of 17.

And it's interesting to see information displayed on Craigslist from my profile within a week or so of having someone sign the guestbook. But then again, you never know. Just another strange event during Election 2009.

April 8 gave birth to this posting which generated more of its kind as anonymous posters tried to figure out which other uppity woman to place in the fifth position


Craigslist readers probably know about the "dirty dozen", that rag-tag group of self-proclaimed "activists" that rally together every Tuesday night with pitchforks and torches ready to spew their hatred? Well, some of us feel (we've been talking on the streets too) there should be a top five list. Top ten won't work because that would leave just two not being recognized and that just wouldn't be fair.

These would be the top five individuals, well, let's just call them the "filthy five". You know, the cream of the crop of "activists". Wait, cream of the crop isn't necessarily the correct word - more like the curds and whey. You know the yucky stuff!

I nominate:

1. Mary Shelton
2. Karen Wright
3. Yolanda Garland
4. Jim Martin
5. ...................I'm having a hard time with this one.

Who has a suggestion for #5?

Including this followup.


Mrs. Buster was a name thrown around for #5. The trouble was, we didn't know what to call her. Sometimes she's Mary Humbolt, sometimes she's Mary Buster. Maybe we should just call her Sybill because she seems to have multiple personalities.

Oh and of course I agree with yout about the infamous FBM author Mary. You did notice she was #1. Really, if she can afford the internet, she can afford a bra! But then not wearing a bra certainly does draw attention to oneself

And these highlights were all before the election campaign entered into the home stretch in May. Compared to that month, the preceding months were these anonymous folks getting started.

Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein takes a closer look at the county grand jury's report on the Riverside County District Attorney's office.


When I read the words "grand jury report," I just expect more. An appendix, not an appendectomy. (Even the jury's report on the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District consumed four pages!)

Though the "sworn witnesses" weren't identified, the report could have been much more helpful in laying out what happens when deputy DAs dash to their supervisors (who in turn run to their supervisors) to get "approval for everything."

How much more time and expense does this add to a buckling system?

Exactly how does this affect the rate at which cases slog through the pipeline? This is oversight.

Same with the DA's Executive Division. The grand jury says abolish it, which is what a lot of people say. The grand jury says it "replicates duties performed by existing staff." Fine. Where's the duplication? And how much does this half-million-dollar division really cost? I've been told it's closer to a million.

If I were handing out grand jury grades, this report would get an "Incomplete." "See Me," I'd scribble.

These days, I guess you even have to offer grand juries extra credit before they show their work.

Bernstein's colleague, Cassie MacDuff takes on the scandal involving former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus.


When I spoke to Ovitt by phone Thursday, the newly appointed chairman said the lack of specificity may have been deliberate, based on a lawyer's advice. After all, the DA has an open investigation, so Postmus isn't off the hook. Postmus' spokesman Ted Lehrer, however, told me that he and Postmus wrote the speech. No lawyer vetted it, Lehrer said.

So now that Postmus has apologized, does the board drop removal proceedings? Cost concerns dictate that it be seriously considered. (County Counsel Ruth Stringer has said it will cost up to $1

million and could take up to two years.)

Postmus promised in his speech that he won't run for re-election in 2010. Should the board take his word for it? Or should it continue removal proceedings to keep his feet to the fire and make sure he doesn't break that promise? On Jan. 27, the board will discuss all of those options. It will do so in public, Ovitt said.

Score one for open government.

The Press Enterprise Editorial Board urged a recently arrested councilman in Rancho Cucamonga to resign.


The councilman's arrest, and the nature of the charges against him, will cast a cloud of suspicion over every decision he makes on the City Council. The Hueston report and the district attorney's filing paint Gutierrez as someone selfishly concerned with his own welfare, regardless of the consequences to the public pocketbook. And a councilman accused of theft from the public can no longer credibly oversee the use of taxpayer money.

Yes, people accused of crimes are entitled to the presumption of innocence. But holding elected office requires a higher standard than merely not being convicted. Public perceptions matter in government, and Gutierrez will only damage the city's reputation by clinging to office.

He should leave, now.

Later, the Editorial Board asked itself, is San Bernardino County in the midst of a pervasive scandal?

As it cuts its services and raises its fairs, will the Riverside Transit Agency be seeking federal monies?

Policing While Black or Friendly Fire?

A New York City Police Department officer shot another one to death mistaking him for a criminal. This shooting has attracted a lot of national attention but it's not uncommon for Black law enforcement officers to be shot and killed by White police officers in the same department. Other disturbing incidents have taken place involving police departments from Oakland to Providence. Omar J. Edwards, 25, died of injuries suffered from a single gunshot wound to his back.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

The city cop who fatally shot an off-duty officer in East Harlem was identified Friday as a 30-year-old Long Islander who has been on the job 4 1/2 years, sources said.

Officer Andrew Dunton is based at the 25th Precinct in Manhattan and - at the request of the district attorney's office - has not been questioned about the killing of rookie cop Omar Edwards.

Mayor Bloomberg said detectives were reviewing security tapes and questioning the suspected thief Edwards was chasing - with gun drawn - when he was shot and killed.

"The only thing that can come out of this is to improve procedures so perhaps it doesn't happen again," Bloomberg said.

"We all know policing is a dangerous job and accidents happen when people have guns in their hands, even legal guns in this case which they are authorized and trained to use."

Further investigation of the tragic incident will be done, with some asking for probes to be initiated from outside agencies.

(excerpt, New York Times)

The shooting has once again raised questions about departmental procedures involving communications among plainclothes officers — particularly those in different units — as well as issues of race.

Officer Edwards was black, and Officer Dunton is white.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said on Friday that he was “concerned of a growing pattern of black officers being killed with the assumption that they are the criminals.”

“This calls for federal investigation and intervention to sort out the facts and bring about a just resolve,” Mr. Sharpton said. “Can police investigate themselves fairly and impartially? It would seem very difficult at best and unlikely in fact.”

Mayor Bloomberg said on his morning radio show that investigators were reviewing security tapes of the shooting, which he maintained was not deliberate, and interviewing witnesses. Investigators were also questioning the man Officer Edwards had been chasing.

"The only thing that can come out of this is to improve procedures so perhaps it doesn’t happen again," the mayor said. "We all know policing is a dangerous job and accidents happen when people have guns in their hands, even legal guns in this case which they are authorized and trained to use."

He added: “It’s easy for people to say, ‘oh, you know, how can this happen,’ but when the adrenaline is running, and you don’t know where the bullets are coming from, and you don’t know who that person is on the other side of the street, it’s easy to second guess. That’s why they are trained. Can you ever do enough training? I suppose not.”

But this incident reminds me of a question that was asked to newer officers who were undergoing cultural diversity training. They were shown two separate pictures. One depicting a White man pointing a gun at a Black man and the other showing a Black man pointing a gun at a white man. Then they were asked to interpret what each picture showed, meaning what they believed was taking place.

The answer is, that without further information and observation, there's no way to tell what's going on except what the pictures show. But they show what's happening, not why. Studies showed that officers were more likely to believe that the first picture represented a White male police officer apprehending a Black criminal whereas the second picture depicted a Black man robbing a White man at gunpoint. It's not difficult to see one of the tragic outcomes that can arise from that kind of "profiling" based on race.

Cops firing on Cops: A Troubling History

(excerpt, New York Times blog)

Many of the city’s own guidelines for preventing such episodes came about after the 1972 shooting death of a black undercover police detective, William Capers, by a white patrolman.

Although such cases have been relatively rare, they have attracted great scrutiny in recent years.

In November 1992, a black undercover police officer, Derwin Pannell, was trying to arrest a fare beater when he was mistaken for a mugger and shot by white fellow officers outside a subway station in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Police officials initially said the episode, involving an inadvertent encounter between two teams of plainclothes police officers, was not about race.

Officer Pannell said his fellow officers opened fire without warning. A grand jury declined to charge two officers in Officer Pannell’s shooting, and Officer Pannell himself said that any criminal charges would have deflected attention from what he believed to be the core of the problem: inadequate training.

In August 1994, a black plainclothes transit police officer, Desmond Robinson, was shot and wounded by a white officer, Peter Del-Debbio, on a crowded East Side subway platform. The case generated outrage because of evidence showing that the black officer was shot several times in the back while he was falling or already lying face down. William J. Bratton, who was then the police commissioner and is now the police chief in Los Angeles, appointed a special department panel to study the racial attitudes of police officers.

Officer Del-Debbio was indicted on assault charges in May 1995 and was convicted of second-degree assault charges in March 1996; prosecutors asserted he had used excessive force, but they said that race was not a factor. He was dismissed by the Police Department, but he was spared jail time.

In January 2006, a rookie police officer, Eric Hernandez, was assaulted at a White Castle restaurant in the Bronx, and then shot three times by a fellow officer, Alfredo Toro, who was responding to a 911 call. He died 11 days later.

And what is the headline that you almost never read? Black officer shoots White officer

One Black NYPD shot by a White one several years ago asks: Has anything changed ?

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

For Robinson, the fatal shooting of Omar Edwards Thursday night in Harlem, brought back an all-too-familiar scenario: A black man chasing someone, gun drawn; a white cop springs into action, and shoots the gunman, who turns out to be a fellow officer.

Robinson said that despite the increase in minority officers in the NYPD, there remains "a predisposition that the African-American is the bad guy.

"If you see a white guy running down the street you think he's a police officer, when most people see a black guy running down the street there is no thought he could be a police officer."

Is it more dangerous to be a Black officer?

Some officers of color react to the fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Omar Edwards.

(excerpt, New York Times)

One runs his hand across his corn-rowed scalp; he is disgusted. “Same deal always,” he says of the deadly encounter between colleagues on Thursday night. “They’ll say it’s about training.”

A block away, a Latino officer with six years on the force acknowledges being conflicted. “Tell you the truth, I feel bad for the shooter. It happens so fast, and now he has got to live with this.” His voice trails off.

At the Newkirk Avenue subway station, a black officer of many years’ experience stares straight ahead. “There’s your training and there’s your reaction,” he says quietly of such split-second tragedies. “That’s two different things.”

Oscar Grant, the man fatally shot on New Years Day by a BARTs officer in Oakland failed to obey orders according to another police officer who testified at the preliminary hearing of the officer charged with the shooting.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer Marysol Domenici testified during the fourth day of a hearing to determine whether former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle will stand trial for murder in the death of Oscar Grant.

The 22-year-old Hayward man was shot in the back as he lay face down on the train station platform early New Year's Day as officers tried to control a group of unruly passengers.

Domenici said Grant and his friends yelled profanities and did not obey her orders to sit down moments before Mehserle fired at Grant.

She said she was fearful when she heard taunts coming from Grant, his friends and passengers on the train.

"People were saying 'I'm going to get your name and badge number. . . . (Expletive) BART Police, you don't know anything, you're just security guards,' " Domenici said during testimony in Alameda County Superior Court.

"We're outnumbered and nobody's complying with our orders," she said.

"They were just all over the place. At that point, yeah, you feel for your life and safety."

Five police officers in Burbank's department are suing alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

(excerpt, Associated Press)

The lawsuit, filed this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks damages of up to $25 million, said the plaintiffs' attorney. It also names seven police officials who allegedly tolerated slurs about race, ethnicity and sexual preference directed at officers and suspects.

The plaintiffs say those who reported the harassment were threatened and demoted. They also allege that police Chief Tim Stehr and other officials conspired to exclude minorities from the best jobs in the department.

Plaintiff's attorney Solomon Gresen said the Police Department "is run as an insider's club where if you aren't white, male and heterosexual you had better keep your mouth shut and play along with the bigots or suffer the consequences."

The plaintiffs said they were regularly exposed to slurs such as "beaner," "towel head" and other objectionable language.

Lt. Omar Rodriguez, a 21-year veteran of the department and one of the plaintiffs, claims he was put on administrative leave and reassigned to patrol after he filed a complaint about harassment and discrimination.

Cindy Guillen-Gomez, also a plaintiff, claims she was threatened with rape and passed over for promotion in favor of men who scored less than she did on the detective examination.

This is what domestic terrorism looks like.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Election 2009: Into the home stretch

Swarms of bees take over Magnolia in Riverside for several hours! No one was badly hurt and the roving bees were left to find new headquarters for their honey making operation.

In Riverside, there's less than a week left before voters in three of the city's wards have to either mail in or turn in their ballots. The deadline for the ballots to be received for processing is Tuesday, June 2. So if you live in one of the even-numbered wards, you need to fill out your ballot, sign it and get it in the mail or to a collection center. Remember, your vote is your voice and it's there to be exercised so go out and as Nike once said, Just Do It.

In the Ward Four race, about 7,333 votes have been tabulated so far as having been received for that election. This contest is the most anticipated of the election, having gotten most of the attention and unfortunately, if you blog about it, quite a bit of it has been negative at least anonymously online but I've had many conversations with people who read some of the blog postings which were much more positive. But blogging about politics is never boring at least, what when you have had anonymous people post that you've a 65-year-old been convicted of burglary in 2000 and ad nauseum about your body parts, personal hygiene and your choice in lingerie. Not exactly comments that any right-minded person would put their names on but dozens of comments like these were written about myself and other women including Terry Frizzel, Mary Humboldt, Karen and Yolanda Garland.

Even the fact that I have Vertigo has been used to make fun of me, just as other attributes of these other women have been used to make fun of them.

I was slammed by personal information from my high school just a week after my guest book was signed by a man who's named matched that of a retired city employee who apparently happened to be tight with another retired employee who wrote unflattering comments about Ward Four candidate, Paul Davis on one of the mailers coming out of the Schiavone campaign.

It's been a difficult several months blogging on this election since I read the first anonymous comment associated with the Schiavone supporters making fun of my breasts. The quality and style of postings by these anonymous commenters who apparently believed that this was the best kind of campaigning that they would do never reached a high point after that.

The ugliness of the anonymous comments that I faced during this election beat out those that I had received last year during the county supervisor race between incumbent Bob Buster and Schiavone. Although I didn't get anything nasty from anyone who endorsed Buster, except for one commenter who endorsed Buster last year but has apparently switched camps.

But there's still time to vote though you might want to think about using the drop off places for your ballots if you don't mail them off by May 29.

In the meantime, this email's being circulated through the voting population in the fourth ward from the supposedly "platform less" candidate.

Paul Davis 14-Point Plan

1. Open the books at City Hall.

2. Reduce out of control spending and live within our means.

3. No new taxes.

4. Reduce our electric and water utility rates.

5. Campaign finance reform to limit amount of special interest money in elections.

6. Sever all ties with March Global Port and keep March for military use only.

7. Create more good high paying local jobs to get residents off the freeways.

8. Hold six Town Hall meetings every year throughout Ward 4.

9. Make our neighborhoods safer.

10. Welcome your participation at City Hall.

11. Protect open space & uphold Proposition R and Measure C.

12. Provide more recreational opportunities to give teens an alternative to gangs and crime.

13. Empower the Police Review Commission to accomplish their oversight mission.

14. Oppose use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another.

It will be examined in detail in future postings but there's nothing on this list that's new if you have spent some time talking to the candidate.

My posting on the Riverside City Council's legislative aides and the salaries they make struck a chord with one Craigslist commenter, not surprisingly. Here is one response posted there.


FYI, FBM you are incorrect in your assumptions, or "sources" - it's $50,000 and absolutely NO BENEFITS WHATSOEVER. No retirement, no medical, no gas, no re-imbursement for any expenses, no sick leave, no vacation. It's an outside contract position.

Sounds like someone is a bit piqued about the lack of benefits with this position but I do appreciate this detailed narrative on the pay scale for city council legislative aides from someone who clearly seems to know what it involves. This individual, unsigned of course, provided a great service to the vast majority of people in Riverside who know very little about the nitty-gritty about these positions including their annual salary by providing this information. If many readers at Craigslist had been able to read it, they could have learned some interesting information.

But alas, it was not to be as the Fates would call it.

Mysteriously enough, this rather informative posting was removed from Craigslist not long after I had responded to it this morning. One minute it was there, the next, gone as if the author had a change of heart about what he or she had just written. Fortunately, I had saved the link because it provided some interesting information useful for people to know and tried to access the missing posting through that channel. The posting did come up but when I refreshed the link, this is what came up instead.

This posting has been deleted by its author

It struck me as very interesting that a post which simply included information about one of the city employment positions would be struck down like that, so that no one could read it.

I scratched my head at that one, trying to figure out why someone would post such an informative comment on the nuts and bolts of the salary packages attached to legislative aide positions only to delete it. What's the point of doing so? Is there a reason?

All I can do is shake my head, thinking they must have had their reasons for doing so. And maybe, just maybe, it's 50,000 of them.

And the vertigo's been a bit of a challenge this week leaving me feel like I have a bad case of motion sickness most of the time, but I guess I should be thankful that it makes one Schiavone supporter happy that I've gotten sick.


Thank goodness for vacations and vertigo. Not as many bold, large font postings and not as many sarcastic, barely coherent posts. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :-)

Really classy person here. But then at least he or she's stopped talking about breasts and bras for a few minutes. But believe it or not, this posting's author also removed his or her own posting.

Fastest disappearing link of the day

Still, the fastest disappearing link will likely be this one which will probably be flagged and removed by the time anyone reads this posting. And sure enough, within hours, it was flagged and removed likely by a supporter or two of the Schiavone camp.

Hemet's police department gets a new police dog.

A councilman in Rancho Cucamonga has been arrested.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Investigators arrested him on suspicion of grand theft and misappropriation of public funds after 9:30 a.m. while he drove near his home, district attorney's spokeswoman Susan Mickey said.

Gutierrez, who bailed out of jail this afternoon, was among six former assessor's employees sued May 12 by the county after an internal investigation concluded they had done political work on county time under then-Assessor Bill Postmus.

Bail for Gutierrez at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, was $45,000. But Gutierrez, 49, walked out of West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga at 1:20 p.m., San Bernardino County sheriff's officials confirmed. He posted a $45,000 bail bond, records show.

And the home and office of Moreno Valley's city manager was the focus of a search warrant by Upland Police Department officers.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Sgt. Cliff Mathews said the victim is an Upland resident, but he declined to elaborate on the allegation or how the victim was harmed.

"Because it is still ongoing, we're not releasing any additional information on the allegation," Mathews said by phone.

Gutierrez was at work Wednesday, city spokeswoman Michelle Dawson said by phone. He could not be reached for comment.

Investigators took computers and documents and downloaded information from the Moreno Valley city servers, Mathews said.

Police have made no arrests, he said. Detectives plan to complete the investigation, which will include a forensic review of the computers, and submit the information to the San Bernardino County district attorney's office to see if charges are warranted, Mathews said.

"We are not going to make an arrest prior to the review by the DA's office," he said.

The Press Enterprise Editorial Board spanks the Riverside County District Attorney's office on the wake of the grand jury report which spanked that office.


The district attorney blames the congestion on a shortage of judges and on judges' willingness to grant too many continuances. Those factors do play a role, but have existed for years. Yet the case backlog and the overflow of criminal trials worsened noticeably since Pacheco took office in January 2007. And still the district attorney rejects any need to change his case management policies.

And a report last year on Riverside County's courts by state Associate Justice Richard Huffman said Pacheco "does not acknowledge his responsibility to limit the criminal cases filed or the criminal cases taken to trial to the judicial resources available within Riverside County." The DA's approach has distorted the criminal justice process while crippling the county's civil court system, Huffman noted.

Make no mistake: The district attorney's policies are a political stance, not a matter of public safety. Other counties manage to balance civil and criminal caseloads, even with a shortage of judges, without overwhelming the court system or letting crime run rampant. There is no reason Riverside County cannot do the same.

Politically driven policies that clog the courts with criminal cases will only harm the county's justice system. And spending money on frivolous staffing in the middle of a budget shortfall insults taxpayers. Such actions require change, not adamant insistence that any criticisms simply stem from ignorance.

Hemet City Council passes a resolution to try to address cuts in its fire services while half of Norco's firefighters face layoffs due to budget cuts.

More proposed changes going on involving Riverside County's buildings.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Riverside County could change its general plan to allow for public buildings in all zones of the county except conservation areas.

Planning officials say the proposed change merely clarifies vague and redundant wording. It's only significant impact, they say, is to enunciate that public facilities cannot be built in conservation areas. But some residents worry that the amendment would make it easier for public projects such as jails or communications towers to be built too close to homes and schools.

"We see major concerns," said Menifee resident Ann Weston. "It means they can put whatever they want anywhere."

Planning officials say the change would not do that. All public projects would still go through the state-mandated environmental review process, which weighs all impacts to surrounding communities, said planning Commissioner John Snell.

A public hearing on the proposed general plan amendment is scheduled for Tuesday's supervisors meeting. If supervisors vote to approve it, it would come up for another vote at a later meeting. If approved again, it would go into effect 30 days later, said principal planner Adam Rush.

The general plan serves as a blueprint for future growth and land use decisions in the county over the long term.

Two separate grand jury investigations, two separate counties but are there parallel findings?

A Los Angeles Police Department officer was the subject of a raid by the SWAT team in his own department.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

In the early morning darkness of May 25, 2006, Franklin's two worlds -- his life on Woodlawn and his life in the LAPD -- collided.

The phone in his upstairs bedroom woke him from a dead sleep at 4 a.m. His wife was away visiting her family, and their two small children slept down the hall. The voice on the line identified himself as a lieutenant with the LAPD's elite SWAT unit. The house, he told Franklin, was surrounded. Peering out of the bedroom window, Franklin saw it was no joke: a knot of heavily armed officers were pressed up against the house. Snipers were perched on the neighbor's porch. A helicopter hovered overhead.

Franklin had no idea what his own Police Department would want with him. He asked for time to roust his 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. He had 20 minutes, the SWAT officer said, or police would come in and get him.

Before Franklin pulled open the front door and walked into the blinding glare of spotlights, he put himself between his little boy and girl and took their hands in his own. "I wanted the police to be able to see our hands," he recalls. "I didn't want to give them any reason to shoot us."

Officer-involved shootings are on the upswing in Long Beach's police department.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Five people were injured in officer-involved shootings during a seven-hour period from Wednesday afternoon to early Thursday, authorities said. One of the victims was a police officer apparently struck by "friendly fire."

So far this year, Long Beach police officers have shot nine people. By comparison, the Los Angeles Police Department -- with 10 times more officers -- reported nine officer-involved shootings, and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department -- also about 10 times as large -- reported 10 such shootings.

Long Beach police officials acknowledged it was an unusual number for a short period but noted the circumstances were different in each case and involved violent suspects who failed to comply with commands or threatened officers with weapons.

"It's hard to predict when we have these clusters," said department spokeswoman Jackie Bezart. "We are doing the best we can to maintain order like we always do and maintain safety for the citizens like we always do."

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Election 2009: Show us the money, again

Just when I thought that blogging about the Riverside City Council elections of 2009 could never top the experience of blogging about the District One Riverside County supervisor contest last year at this time, along comes another series of anonymous rants at Craigslist to put that belief to the test. My vertigo puts me to bed earlier than I would like so I don't see most of these visits to the site done at the wee hours of the morning and it's hard not to be shocked at the obsessive nature of an often long list of postings with my name or "FBM" in their title. It's kind of freaky sometimes especially when you consider the content of a lot of these postings, but what's strangest of all, is where they come from because after a while spent reading dozens if not hundreds of these often incoherent rants, it's harder not to know who's writing them.

Especially since one of the most important things to do is just keep your ear to the ground (the non-vertigo ear of course) and just wait for these anonymous folks to be so filled with themselves that they think they will burst if they can't tell someone what they've been up to. That apparently happened in this case and the identity of that individual would have been a lot more surprising a few weeks ago or maybe if I learned it while they were engaging in similar activities just one year ago on behalf of the candidate running for a different elective office.

Craigslist had been quite busy since the posting that was done on this site yesterday, with anonymous members who appear to be among Councilman Frank Schiavone's supporters writing on that site that I have been convicted of felony burglary in 2000 and also this infraction for being an unlicensed driver. They post a link to the Riverside County Superior Court site to support their allegations. I read it and thought, wow these people really don't have much faith in their candidate's chances of winning reelection. I probably believe it's a more likely outcome of the election than they apparently do. It seems that the more desperate they feel, the uglier and more frequent their anonymous rants become on that site.

But alas, that individual that they listed is not me.

For one thing, I'm not 65 years old like the convicted burglar nor am I brown-eyed and 5'0 like the second offender. My address doesn't match that on any of the documents involving either case. It looked like a lot of people were shocked by the posting and I had people ask me if it was me. Most people who've been following what's been going on Craigslist know that I've been one of the main targets of hateful and frankly, sickening posts there by people purporting to be Schiavone's supporters and that this is just more of the same. But I'm not the only one that they've targeted there. When faced with their own behavior, they whine that the "other side" has done the same thing but the proof just isn't there because if you look at the long list of postings done on Craigslist during Election 2009, you will find the vast majority of the negative ones written by individuals claiming to be Schiavone supporters. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

And when they're not ranting anonymously about people's personal hygiene or choice in lingerie, they're flagging posts for removal anonymously because they don't trust the readership at Craigslist to be able to read them for themselves and formulate their own opinion. That's really sad that there's individuals who try to dictate what you will read and what you want on a Web site like that which has served as a forum, both good and bad, for people to post events, election information and most of the time, opinions.

Not surprisingly any link to this site has been flagged for removal many times. People email or send me the links to the flagged posts to prove that they existed if I hadn't seen for sure myself. Again, this is being done by people who don't trust the other readers on the site to be able to formulate their own opinions on issues and other people's opinions themselves and want to shape the opinions of these people by pruning the site of any postings that they don't feel people should read and every single time, it's a posting that they disagree with themselves like this one which when posted was linked to this particular posting on this blog.

So it's one thing when trying to remove content that you disagree with and then harassing those who write it is done online but it's another when there's been parallels in Riverside's city government where more and more business seems to take place behind closed doors in secrecy like that ad hoc "research" committee created by the Governmental Affairs Committee (chaired by Schiavone) addressing investigative protocol of the CPRC. The public was never notified when and where those meetings took place, given a list of the committee's members ahead of time let alone invited to sit in and watch, let alone invited to participate. In fact, it's a good bet that most of the city's residents didn't even know that the committee had been created at all. And this is simply one example of how secrecy and opaqueness is being the rule and not the exception at City Hall, leaving the tax-paying public uninformed about a lot of what's going on.

And let's see, when it comes to harassment, look at how people who've spoken critically of city government have been treated by the city council. They're subjected to paper shuffling, sidebar conversations, name-calling and other behaviors by a city council which is similar to what has happened in other cities but at least Colton had the sense to hire an etiquette expert to give its city council members recommendations on how to behave during meetings. Riverside's city council nearly always tones down its own behavior during respective election years and this behavior usually subsides but after all the votes are counted, it will pick up right where it left off.

I'm used to their tactics because this is how these Schiavone supporters who appear by the way to be very privy about the details of his campaign have been behaving since I guess they discovered that Craigslist provided them with a venue to spew hatred and garbage anonymously as described by this unsigned person. They've gone after other people as well including Mary Humboldt, Yolanda Garland and Terry Frizzel, all women, simply because they don't like what they've said at city council and other public meetings. So instead of criticizing their stances on civic and political issues face to face or at least online, they instead place them on "filthy five" lists and make fun of their mental status, personal hygiene and whether or not they wear a bra or not. That's not a tactic one uses when you hold a political disagreement or difference of opinion with a person, that's when you just like to make personal attacks that can't be traced back to you.

It shows how out of touch not to mention how juvenile the behavior of these individuals is, because they must really believe that postings like that are going to win their candidate votes when most people vote by the issues and how they impact them and their families, and most people tend to be turned off by personal attacks on people's looks which are clearly intended to try to shame people from expressing opinions different to their own.

One unsigned person did have a response to all this.

(excerpt, Craigslist)

If no crime was committed then why is Schiavone, Priamos, Morales, and all you mud slingers acting like a deer in the headlights of a speeding car lately? Nobody has anything real to say. You're all just a bunch of little pre-schoolers throwing insults. Making up pretend stories and talking about showers and bras and body odor.

Are you really that blown away that you can't come up with an intelligent, cohesive, adult thing to say? Isn't anyone on Frank's side mentally older than 12?

Is this really Frank campaign? Is this what it's come to?

Of course, predictably the response to this post was the "I know you are but what am I" line that most of us used at one time or another when we were under the age of 12. After all, that's the age range where mirroring behavior like that exhibited in the posting below first appears.


There was no crime committed and nobody resembles any deer except Davis. Davis has nothing real to say.

Talk about pre-schoolers throwing insults, Davis' people are pretty damn good at it themselves, without regard for the truth I might add. They just throw it on the wall to see if it sticks.

Is Davis really that blown away that he can't bother with the facts? Is anyone on Davis' side even mentally stable, let alone 12?

Is this really what Davis' campaign has come to? Sad Indeed.

Nice Try.

You can argue about whether or not any crimes were committed in the Bradley Estate Affair but what's difficult to argue against are the statements that these anonymous people who are obsessed with bras and deodorant have never written anything of any substance while they've been on Craigslist. And the sad thing is that they had many opportunities to do so, by selling the positive attributes of Schiavone of which there are some, but apparently they don't even seem to agree with that because why be nasty as they have been when it would be much more effective to sell their candidate as the best man for the job?

These allegations raised by unsigned members of the Schiavone campaign are interesting but their actions, not exactly surprising. Fortunately, there's only several weeks of this election left and then they'll disappear beneath the rocks from where they came from. They always do.

And what's interesting is how this type of behavior is rewarded publicly as well. Just witness the case of Migual Morales of the so-called "Riverside Press Club" who stood up at a city council meeting and called community activist and "Friends of the Hills" member, a "liar" and soon afterwards, was seen being embraced in the back of the chamber by Schiavone's legislative aide.

But then judging by some of the unprofessional behavior by several legislative aides, maybe it's time to revisit the issue of whether or not this city can afford to pay out $49,000 plus benefits for positions that are exempt from a competitive recruitment and hiring process and seem to have no list of professional standards for conduct. What often happens is that the winning politician of an election gives the job as a reward to one of his campaign workers and that type of action can be problematic as quite a few governmental corruption scandals have begun through similar circumstances when accountability, fair labor practices and transparency is taken out of the hiring processes of legislative staff. Having legislative aides set up the way that it currently is just smacks of rewarding campaign workers with jobs at City Hall.

This behavior was in response for writing about the most recent mailer circulated by the Paul Davis campaign which discusses Schiavone's "other resume" including a 1999 bench warrant allegedly filed against Schiavone on a civil case for $1,500. Anonymous individuals on Craigslist insist that there's two Schiavones and that the one in that case is probably the one from Rancho Cucamonga, not their Schiavone. Still, being anonymous, it's hard to know what to think except that if their truth were so compelling, it's still not enough for any of these rock dwellers to garner much strength to it by identifying themselves and bringing it to light. Granted, it would be tough at this stage of the game after seeing how some of them have conducted themselves at Craigslist especially if as some people suspect, they do occupy high places in the Schiavone campaign. Being anonymous, it's hard to know for sure who they are but it's also hard to overlook the postings they write which include campaign information that most of the public just isn't privy to. And it's harder when quoted material from some of those anonymous posts winds up being included on campaign mailers.

As for there being more than one Schiavone, that's already been established. There's at least two of them. One who supports the CPRC and one who opposes it, for example.

As far as cute little postings at Craigslist, this one gets honorable mention for being well, intelligent.


Traffic must be slow at the FBM blog when Mary at FBM must bring her demented philosophy to Craigslist.
If I wanted to know your opinion, I'd read your blog.
Can't you make your point in a brief paragraph ? blah blah blah Shut Up!

Unfortunately, I had to stop comments on my site in part to get him to "shut up". But he found himself a new hovel to reside in and some leaders to follow.

In Election 2009, Schiavone's raising the most money for his campaign. Again, the figures generated in these fund raising drives pale beside those raised by several incumbent councilmen and their challengers in the city election two years ago when campaign war chests containing money in the six-figures wasn't an uncommon thing.

But it's likely to be a shorter election cycle with fewer candidates and one fewer seat up for grabs. Unlike the last election cycle, this one's taking place during a recession, which is impacting donations certainly from the developers who usually bombard campaign war chests. However, the money spent this time around is certainly less than just two years ago.

Throw in the fact that one city council member, Mike Gardner, who ran a grass-roots campaign ousted one of Election 2007's biggest earners, Dom Betro and another grass-roots candidate Terry Frizzel nearly unseated Steve Adams, have changed the way that money's raised these days.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Schiavone, who is seeking a third term, started the campaign as the leading fundraiser and has not relinquished that position.

Major contributions to Schiavone include $1,000 from the Riverside Police Officers Association, $1,000 from citrus rancher Janet Gless, $1,000 from the Service Employees International Union, Local 721 and $1,000 from Moss Bros. Dodge in San Bernardino.

For the filing period, Schiavone reported $37,071 in expenditures with $11,512 in unpaid bills.

Schiavone's challenger, small-business owner Paul Davis, raised $6,600 for the filing period.

Major contributions included $2,500 from Rent-A-Center and $500 from friend Ethel Harmatz, of Oceanside.

Davis reported $7,454 in expenditures for the filing period.

Fundraising in the other two ward contests also continued.

Ward Two

Andrew Melendrez: $8,214

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $500

Carolyn Young, developer: $500

Ahmad Smith: No donations

Ruben Rasso: $4,970

Southern California Braiding Company: $1,000

Brown Insurances Services: $500

Ward Six:

Nancy Hart: $2,800

Riverside Police Officers' Association: $1,000

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $500

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277: $300

Ann Alfaro: None

Bill Scherer: $80

The downtown new office towers which were to become Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco's new palace is expected to weigh in on the recently released grand jury report discussing problems in the District Attorney's office. Let the games and gamesmanship begin.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The report, released late Friday, says the district attorney's office could and should eliminate its nine-member executive division, which cost the county half a million dollars this year. The savings would help the county tackle its mounting financial crisis, the report says.

The grand jury said the division replicates duties previously performed by existing staff.

Pacheco's office responded in a letter, rejecting the report's recommendations and telling the grand jury it failed to recognize the executive division's essential communications, outreach and victim support work.

County supervisors are expected to discuss the district attorney's executive division and decide how to handle the report at the June 2 board meeting, officials said.

"Some kind of independent review ought to take place, but that is going to take time," Supervisor Bob Buster said. "But for the short term, all the indications are that the district attorney can cut his budget back to the required amount without undermining essential prosecutions."

If supervisors opt to follow standard procedure, County Executive Officer Bill Luna and his staff will draft a response to the grand jury report, said county spokesman Ray Smith. Supervisors must then approve the response before it is sent back to the grand jury, he said. The response deadline is Aug. 18.

Perris is another city considering early retirement packages for its employees.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

City officials hope the early retirement offer will cut long-term costs and keep them from laying off workers. The long-term cost-cutting move is just one way the city is trying to keep its expenses in line with plunging sales and property tax revenues.

"We're facing the fiscal impacts of this economy. Other cities have been laying people off for the last 12 to 18 months and now it's catching up to us," said Councilman Mark Yarbrough. "Tax bases have dried up and there are no building fees to speak of."

He said so far the city's $15 million reserve has spared officials from having to look at layoffs or cutting services such as parks, recreation and police or fire protection.

The recall effort against a Moreno Valley Councilwoman has three elected officials supporting it.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Mike Rios, former Councilman Frank West and Robert Burks said in separate phone interviews that they believe Hastings misled the public by saying during the campaign that she would not support anything that would harm the community, and then voted for a warehouse project that includes a large Skechers distribution center after she was elected.

Burks noted that the project developer, Highland Fairview, donated money to the Moreno Valley Taxpayers Association, which spent money independently in support of Hastings' election -- something that Hastings said she didn't know about until a candidate forum.
Story continues below

"I think that's a real big issue. You tell people you know nothing about it, then you end up doing things to benefit (the donors)," Burks said.

There's a shortage of deputies in Highland, a city located in San Bernardino County.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

In Highland, a city of 52,000 with sometimes as few as three patrol deputies, such scenes can trigger an unwelcome domino effect.

"Imagine trying to control that," said Art Alvarado, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy assigned to Highland who responded to the Feb. 1 killing with help from deputies from the sheriff's Central Station. "Three people can't do it."

That chaos is rare, but the issue it creates across the 18-square-mile city is not.

"Now you've got us and Central (station deputies) tied up," Alvarado said. "Think about it. Who's handling all the other calls?"

Almost every Inland law enforcement agency is competing for federal stimulus dollars to hire more officers. Some say Highland, which pays the sheriff to patrol the city, has the most pressing need.

Adding three deputies through the grant -- as the city hopes to do -- would bring its total to 25. When the station's captain, lieutenant, five sergeants and two detectives are included, Highland has 31 full-time sworn officers, a ratio of about 0.6 officers per 1,000 residents.

The national average is 2.4 officers per 1,000.

More information about the alleged hit that former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson might have ordered against his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Currently, he stands indicted and facing prosecution in her murder.

(excerpt, Fox-News)

JAMIE COLBY, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: We’re talking bombshell, bombshell news today. The Will Country state's attorney said the Drew Peterson tried to hire a hitman to kill third wife, Kathleen Savio, that Peterson offered 25 smackers for the murder of his wife.

The state's attorney also said Peterson told a fellow police officer in 2004 that the divorce from Kathleen was going to ruin him financial, and that his, quote, "life would be easier if we were just dead."

FOX News’ Jim Murphy, our producer inside the courtroom in Illinois, is joining me on the phone. Jim these are stunning statements from the state's attorney. Is this something you think was presented to the grand jury?

JIM MURPHY, FOX NEWS (Via telephone): It was not discussed in court today whether or not that would presented to the grand jury. But I think you described it perfectly. It certainly was a bombshell.

When I came into the courtroom today, I was sitting near, relative to Stacy Peterson as well as the Savio family. Obviously, there could be very visible reaction, but you could tell there were shaken by that news today.

COLBY: Absolutely. And the timeline of when it happened, the potential purchase of a hit man for $25,000 was just weeks before she was found dead in that dry bathtub. And then the comment to the officer also around the time that there were about to decide how much alimony he was going to have to pay.

The judge denied reducing a $20 million bail, and $20 million is considered high in that state for what he is indicted for, these charges.

So do you know why he did it? Did it have anything to do with the fact that Drew Peterson benefited financially from Kathleen Savio's death and that money might be used for bail?

MURPHY: Certainly. There were a couple of strong points that James Glasswell (ph) the Will County state's attorney made today, one being that Drew Peterson violated a very serious oath, that to serve and protect as a police officer. And he thought he should be held to a higher standard.

Meanwhile, the body recovered near the Des Plaines River in Illinois yielded few clues and many unanswered questions remained including its identity.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Even if the body is identified, further investigation will likely be needed to tell how long it was in the water, or when the person died, said noted forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who is familiar with the cases of missing Will County women Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic.

Baden, who is not involved with last week's discovery, said the cause of death may never be known.

"This is the kind of body that could be in the water for one year, or five years, because there was a lot of destruction from the body," he said. "The first thing is, who is it. Once you know who it is, you can get a better determination of how the body got there."

The DNA could be extracted from bone marrow or other cells, experts said.

"Frankly, you've got bones," said Dr. Peter G. Candel, a pathologist and senior partner at Holy Cross Hospital who is not involved in the investigation. "There is residual cellular material that can be found in the marrow, the bone itself or adherent tissues. ... You just need to get molecules of DNA out to do comparison."

Did a Chicago Police Department officer charged in the fatal hit and run of a teenaged boy receive preferential treatment from the justice system? His blood alcohol tested just a hair beneath the legal level for intoxication but the test was delayed over 12 hours.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Asked if Officer Richard Bolling received preferential treatment, Daley replied, "I hope not. I know the superintendent will be looking at that as quickly as possible ... They will have to investigate that, definitely."

To this date, the police department has refused to identify Bolling as the off-duty officer who allegedly was behind the wheel of the speeding car that struck and killed Trenton Booker.

The officer's identification was supplied by the Cook County state's attorney's office after he was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident where a death or injury occurred and reckless homicide.

There are also questions why the department waited four hours after the accident before administering a Breathalyzer test, and waited another eight hours before drawing blood to test Bolling's alcohol level.

And relatives of the boy claim the officer's court hearing was moved up an hour over the weekend to avoid them and the media.

Bolling is a 17-year veteran assigned to the narcotics and gang investigation section. His father is Douglas Bolling, a former Wentworth Area commander, a former Harrison district commander and a former tactical officer.

In refusing to identify Bolling, a police spokeswoman on Saturday said in a news release that the department was "unable" to disclose his name "per union contract."

But police sources said there is no contract provision that bars disclosing the name of an officer who has been charged with a crime, and one source lamented the impression of favoritism the action made.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Micromanaging the CPRC and more mailers

"My life would be easier if she[Kathleen Savio] were just dead."

---allegedly said by former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson to another police officer, three weeks before the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, according to prosecutors.

The intensive micromanagement of Riverside's Community Police Review Commission again made the Press Enterprise,which commented on the increasing tension both within the board and between the board and the community. This article is one of the strongest done by the publication to date and it brings the saga of what once was a form of civilian oversight in the city up to date. It points out that the investigative practices done by other civilian oversight mechanisms is more "varied" than the portrait carefully and selectively painted by the city. It also points out accurately that Chief Russ Leach made statements in the public record in 2002 that he believed that the CPRC should begin its investigations when it wants. But was that before or after he became Councilman Frank Schiavone's housemate? If Leach had refused to go along with the program about micromanaging the CPRC performing on cue verbally when asked to step up on stage (yet showing curious body language while off-stage including agreeing with CPRC supporters), would he have been evicted by his "landlord"? Because Leach has been all over the place when it comes to expressing his views to different individuals in different issues just on this one particular issue.

This thorny situation and all the natural perceptions of conflict of interest that accompany it are reasons why in most cities across the country, elected officials, their direct employees and department heads including of law enforcement agencies keep separate addresses.

Not River City of course.

Like it or not, a situation like that raises all kinds of questions including issues arising both out of City Hall and the police department, which is heavily rumored to be micromanaged by City Hall. Ask anyone who they believe is running it including inside either, you'll get a pause and then any one of a bunch of different answers including that they've never met or even seen the police chief who only seems to appear at public meetings that the city manager's office or city council needs him to perform at including those involving the latest round of micromanagement of the CPRC. That's a shame because for the first five years or so, Leach was an intelligent, innovative and very committed leader of a department improving itself, but those days are clearly behind him even though he's technically on contract until 2013. That's just three years after the dissolution of the city's consent decree with the State Attorney General's office.

Some experts on the issue of civilian review comment and as it turned out the Press Enterprise did its own little survey of accepted practices. They found that different cities and counties engaged in different practices, which didn't surprise me or anyone else that didn't tailor their study towards a particular end like the city apparently did. Requests for copies of similar studies done by CPRC Manager Kevin Rogan and Police Sgt. Jaybee Brennen have gone unanswered by the city. Do written copies of their research projects exist? That's an interesting question. They certainly haven't been made available to the public.


Peter Bibring, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, has said the city's report on the practices of other police review entities is misleading.

"This report paints a picture of civilian oversight bodies as being passive and deferential until the police investigation is completed and that is simply not the case," he said.

Calls to other police review bodies in the state revealed a variety of practices.

Francine Tournour, director of the Office of Public Safety Accountability in Sacramento, said she is immediately notified of officer-involved deaths. She goes to the scene and gets briefed by investigators. She gets to observe interviews with officers and eyewitnesses. If she has questions, she can submit them to interrogators during a break.

Carol Trujillo, executive officer of the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board in San Diego County, said the 11-member board does not investigate a case until after the police and district attorney have completed their reviews.

Last month, the Riverside City Council agreed 5-2 that the commission should wait to investigate officer-involved deaths until the police wrap up their investigation.

Councilman Frank Schiavone was the most vocal proponent.

"This is not a crime scene investigation," he said of the commission's role. "This is police review."

Councilman Mike Gardner, a former commissioner, voted against the change.

"If it's not broken, don't fix it," he said in an interview.

It's too bad Gardner's the only one who sees the obvious but then he's the elected official who served on the CPRC including three years as its chair. And he's probably the only one on the dais who was willing to challenge Schiavone's attempts to micromanage the CPRC first at the subcommittee level and then at the city council level. Although to give credit where credit is due, his colleague Councilman Andrew Melendrez challenged Schiavone and Councilman Steve Adams when they tried to push policy changes on investigative protocol on one of the city's boards and commissions without even bothering to take it to the full city council for discussion and vote in a public venue.

Most of the people are pointing their fingers at the Riverside Police Officers' Association, one of Schiavone's biggest financial benefactors as the source behind the latest micromanagement at City Hall. But the union's leadership asked the same questions. It's not that it disagrees with what Schiavone, Hudson and DeSantis have done in terms of changing the investigative protocol of incustody deaths by Riverside Police Department's officers but for that organization, it was more a question of timing.

Why now, it asked along with everyone else. Why indeed? That's the question that many ask but no one's really answered yet.

Schiavone wasn't so much a vocal proponent of the CPRC not doing "crime scene investigations" until he needed to begin filling his campaign coffer for a third-go-around at being a city council member. Of course, most people know that the CPRC's never done "crime scene investigations" but since when has the truth mattered to City Hall when it comes to pushing its agenda regarding the CPRC?

The comments by the city council are very important. After all, if Hudson and his adjutant, Tom DeSantis decided to change the protocol suddenly out of the blue then most likely that direction was given to them by one or more elected officials. Most people believe that those elected officials were Schiavone and Councilman Steve Adams, taking advantage of a city council that's fairly lackluster on this issue. After all, clues about the involvement of these two men came to light when Schiavone made some declaration a while back that the Governmental Affairs Committee, which he chairs, is the sole jurisdiction to address issues involving the CPRC even though the Public Safety Committee had been receiving reports twice a year from the CPRC for several years without any outside challenges or complaints by Schiavone or anyone else.

Soon after that, the investigative protocol on officer-involved deaths changed for the first time since 2002.

Several city council members have said that they're willing to bring the issue back to the city council for decision but added that some "reconfiguration" would have to occur on the city council first. It doesn't take much speculation to figure out what they mean by that.

Some community members reacted as they have been during the past several months. Not that they figure into the equation at all, because if they did, the city government would have respected the passage of Measure II in 2004 which it didn't. Instead of properly interpreting the will of the voters as wanting City Hall to keep hands off the commission, it went after it even more energetically. And those in the lead like Schiavone justify their actions by trying to paint their critics as "political activists" with an agenda. But if you really believe that Schiavone's as staunch an advocate for the CPRC as he claims on his campaign Web site, there's some nice beach front property in Idaho that you might like.

It's interesting that it's these folks along with the recently maligned (also by Schiavone supporters, coincidence?) "Friends of the Hills" when the only "agenda" these city residents have is to push the city to remain in accordance of voter-passed initiatives. Something that several of those directing the current action at City Hall seem loathe to do.

Both Teresa Cloud and Leslie Braden who are family members of Douglas Steven Cloud and Joseph Darnell Hill attended every meeting where the CPRC's members discussed the shootings of their loved ones. Both of them were very frustrated with the process and watching how they were treated by the commissioners because of course, there are commissioners who ignore community members who visit especially newer ones while they laugh and joke with the police representatives and city employees who attend sending a clear message that their allegiences are with City Hall and that city residents are just nuisances to be dealt with.

These were the last two incustody deaths to be independently investigated by the CPRC. Unless there's changes at City Hall, they will probably be the final cases for a long time to come.


Some family members of those killed by officers said they have lost confidence in the commission.

Teresa Cloud's son, Douglas, was shot and killed by Riverside police following a vehicle pursuit in 2006. The city settled with the family for $800,000.

Cloud attended commission hearings for months, wanting to find out whether the city had kept its word to incorporate the case in police training.

She never got an answer.

"The whole thing is just really a farce," she said.

Neither the commission nor the police department will say whether the city uses the case in training.

This month, the commission decided 5-1 that the fatal shooting of Joseph Hill in 2006 was within department policy. Hill fought with officers during a traffic stop and grabbed a police Taser.

His sister Leslie Braden said before the hearing that she didn't think the commission has done any good. Commissioners ought to be elected as opposed to appointed by the council, she said.

"It's really a waste of people's time."

And finally if you're looking for the Strawman Argument of the Day, here it is and it's a great one from current chair, Sheri Corral.


"We need to remind ourselves that our role is advisory," she told commission members when she took over as chair in March. "We have sometimes acted as if it is our role to direct city government and elected officials, rather than to simply offer them advice that they can accept or reject. We are not a city hall review board."

No, but maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have one? But this is so far off from what the CPRC is doing, it can only be said by someone who attended fewer than half the meetings last year and apparently plans to convene very few meetings this year. But that's the latest tactic of commissioners and even Rogan to deflect criticism of the micromanagement of the CPRC, by saying that things aren't under the purview of the CPRC because the CPRC can't saction or tell the city council what to do when nobody has asked anything of the sort. But Rogan, Corral and City Attorney Greg Priamos have not just said that the CPRC can't do anything but they've used this excuse to try to shut down public comment by individuals or to interrupt them while they are speaking. It's a bit ridiculous now that the commission led by Art Santore have made it clear that listening to the city's residents is such a waste of time and slowing down their work by reducing the time and opportunities for the public to address the commission. But that they do this and then can't sit and even pretend to listen to public comment (without squirming, rolling eyes, talking to each other or other assorted mannerisms) without interrupting them.

Another day in the election season that's taking place in Riverside this year, another campaign mailer, this one from the Paul Davis campaign. Davis is challenging Councilman Frank Schiavone for the Ward Four seat. This one is a glossy piece of paper folded up into three parts, with the front part reading, "Frank Schiavone's other Resume (The one he hopes you never see.)"

Inside it includes a mini laundry list of incidents dating back to 1987 involving Schiavone's construction business and a lawsuit filed against him in San Bernardino County Superior Court by a former business partner. One day, Schiavone didn't appear to court for a hearing so the following happened in court so the judge spanked in a manner of speaking. When I read this on the mailer, I thought no way. Surely if this had happened, his campaign would have mentioned it in the interest of openness and transparency so I thought this one was a stretch. As it turned out according to court minutes, not so much.

(excerpt, Hoover v Christman, SCVSS46941)

04/13/1999 - 8:30 AM DEPT. S15

BAIL SET AT $1500.00

Since it's a civil court, it's more of a "contempt of court" situation and the minutes on the case did state that the judgment was paid out by Schiavone on this particular case. He did finally show up in court and paid off the judgment not too long after the warrant was issued. But this is something on the public record, so you can look it up and see it for yourself, unlike the innuendos thrown out by the so-called "Riverside Press Club" which states as fact that candidate Paul Davis was fired from the police department, and that an official report taken by a city official shows that Davis brandished his service weapon at a "minor" at Poly High School without providing any information about where to get this public record. After all, if the "Riverside Press Club" has seen it, can't it tell prospective voters where to get copies of it so they can see for themselves? Not that "city officials" would be involved in a situation like that if it did happen because "city officials" don't involve themselves in issues pertaining to the Riverside Unified School District which is a separate entity than City Hall.

The "Riverside Press Club" also claimed that the Friends of the Hills was under investigation by the State Attorney General's office for filing "frivolous" lawsuits, most if not all of them having been decided in its favor or settled with the city.

But that's what the accusations and mudslinging from the Schiavone campaign's been about mostly. Including taking a quote attributed to Frank Schiavone in an unsigned comment on Craigslist and attributing it to a personnel action form filled out by a police representative, according to one of the mailers coming out of the Schiavone campaign. Something not explained or passed along to the Ward Four voters reading that mailer who might have actually believed those words appeared on an official police department document since Schiavone's campaign only included a portion of that particular document on the mailer.

Most of the other listings are about permit violations by code enforcement, tax liens and a $221,906 judgment against Schiavone involving the construction of one of houses done by his company.

The final item mentioned, is that involving the already well-known allegations of political corruption and retaliation that were raised by Riverside Police Department lieutenants Tim Bacon and Darryl Hurt while they were active in the Riverside Police Administrators' Association. Bacon and Hurt, who was president of the RPAA alleged in their lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that after the RPAA's PAC chose not to endorse Steve Adams in his 2007 reelection bid, that Adams warned another officer that he wouldn't get promoted because he was supporting one of Adams' opponent.

Hurt and Bacon also alleged that Schiavone warned another lieutenant to distance himself from the other two if he wanted to get promoted. Interestingly enough, a third lieutenant who used to hang out with Hurt and Bacon during city council meetings when the RPAA was making an appearance did kind of disappear. But is it really difficult to believe that a councilman can be influential in promotions if he's living with the individual, the police chief, who's encharged with promoting officers at the time? That's the stickler in the whole situation which is going to be one reason why the city residents are going to pay out some serious money on a lawsuit like this one filed against a self-insured city. Unfortunately for the tax payers if this case does go to trial, all the lawyer has to do is ask Schiavone and Leach where they lived during the time period of the allegations and then the city can hand the jury its check book, because even if both parties kept their professional lives completely separate, in cases like this with human beings deciding the facts, perception can be as strong as reality.

One reason why the city will probably sooner than later settle what it initially of course, called a "frivolous" lawsuit filled with "frivolous" allegations. What else is it going to do? Risk an expensive trial and possible public exposure to potentially even more civic liability. Definitely not, it prefers to keep these things behind closed doors, you know where most of the city's business seems to be conducted these days.

Even the "research" ad hoc committee looking into investigative protocol for the CPRC met in complete secrecy behind closed doors. That's not unusual, it's simply par for the course in a city where there's a lot of talk about openess and transparency especially during election years but that's all it is at the end of the day, all talk.

The RPAA initially nixed getting involved in the 2009 city council election preferring to be neutral before changing its mind and endorsing all the incumbents running for office including Schiavone.

Someone anonymously of course made allegations that I and other people all listed were getting paid to post on Craigslist by unspecified parties. This is a continuation of an earlier posting by Migual Morales of the "Riverside Press Club" which endorsed Schiavone, that we're all under investigation by the Atty Gral office for filing frivolous lawsuits and funneling the city's settlement money back into the Davis campaign. Sounds a bit strange? Well, I guess after the whole Bradley Estates affair played out, some of Schiavone's online support crew had to come up with something of their own. I can't wait until the fully documented version with foot notes comes out by Mr. Morales about what happened with the funneling of this lawsuit money. I mean, what do you do if you've never even filed a lawsuit or been involved in a group that did?

There is no doubt now, Mary Shelton, Karen Wright, Yolanda G. James M, Paul C. child molester, Save Riverside, Friends of Hills, are being paid by corrupted money, obtained by frivolous law suits. Interesting, to see how Mary, Karen and others post comments pro Davis here. Why don't they return those monies.

Here's another one in the same vein, again unsigned.


My source in the AG's office revealed they have quite a file on the Save Riversid and friends of the Hills gang and look for indictments to be handed down on the ringleaders soon. Aparently they have been scamming law abiding property owners with threats of law suits and eminent domain actions if they don't pay up the blood money. The funds are then used to fund ponzi scams throughout the city. It is about time they are caught.

But this anonymous individual made this latest series of posts about the Attorney General's office apparently ongoing investigation of the Friends of the Hills, an allegation raised by Morales of the "Riverside Press Club", even more poignant with this addition.


How much is Mary Shelton, Karen Wright, Save Riverside, Friends of Riverside Hills are getting paid for comments on C.L. and other postings. That's what I want to know. the above mentioned cruzaders, spend several hours a day posting like crazy. Attacking Frank Schiavone and prasing Paul Davis. Certainly someone is paying the crazy posters for their job. I only hope that the money paid is used to buy implements of toiletry, soap, cologne, bras, deodorant and desinfectants. They really needed [oops, I guess this comment got posted before it was completed]

Those online Schiavone campaign workers are such classy individuals indeed. Don't you want to run out and recruit them for your political campaign too?

The Riverside County Grand Jury returns a scathing report on the District Attorney's office. This department since it's been under the helm of Rod Pacheco has seen its conviction rates drop dramatically, its cases clog the criminal courts and at least 20% of its prosecutors including many of its experienced ones jump ship.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

But Supervisor Bob Buster said he would like to see an audit or other investigation of Pacheco's office. In the meantime, Buster said, he would like to make some of the recommended changes to save money and achieve justice in a more efficient system.

"We're in a crisis budget situation. We can't afford to have one office out of the county not really trying to be cost-effective and efficient," Buster said. "This pushes us in the right direction," he said of the grand jury report.

The report comes as the county executive office is seeking $6.7 million in cuts to the district attorney's budget to help plug a $130 million county revenue shortfall for next fiscal year.

Pacheco has resisted cuts to his budget, saying they would jeopardize public safety.

Former Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Soccio said the grand jury report adds credence to what many in the legal community have been saying for a while.

"The deputy district attorneys are being forced to work under conditions that don't allow them to do justice," Soccio said.

Pacheco's office not surprisingly denounced the grand jury's report very loudly.


Pacheco's office dismissed the entire report, criticizing the grand jury.

"The limited, skewed, and naïve report of your body is profoundly disappointing," the response from Pacheco's office states. "In that it is unjustly critical of the men and women of our office and fails to recognize, or even note a level of effectiveness that has before never been attained only adds to the unfortunate tenor of your report."

The response also denied intimidation in his office, saying his workers support him. As proof, the response said that his 2010 re-election bid has been endorsed by both the deputy district attorneys' union and district attorney investigators' union.

Rotating managers among offices is a long-established practice in the office, the response also said.

Other links:

Grand Jury's report

D.A.'s response

Not surprisingly, this article is already eliciting quite a few comments, dozens in fact about what's going on this time in the District Attorney's office.

I have to agree with the Grand Jury on this one sooo much. When the Rod-man decided to spend an extra half a million on his pet project I saw a good man disappear.

I have watched his office pursue ridiculous cases (not against gang bangers) against people just for the headlines. He would not present a reasonable plea bargain for minor offenses that should not be tried at all let alone as a felony.

Pacheco and his SS style of leadership is trying for numbers to boost the funding and he is not looking at his position as he should by law. His job is not supposed to be Chief Persecutor. He is supposed to be an officer of the court. I have no doubt that the day will come where exculpatory evidence in possesion of the District Attorney will not be brought forward because of his harsh leadership style. That means innocent people going to jail. That is not what we need. Pacheco won't like that kind of glory and it is already coming his way.

Ahhhh,,easy Crazy Horse. I'm not a fan of Pacheco, but don't tell me plea bargins are good for society, and good for Riverside County. Criminals that need to get hammered, need to get hammered. And as far as I'm concerned, the reason we are not having the crime problems of San Berdoo, is because our county has had a reputation of Hammering criminals, especially gangsters. Gang bangers know Riverside's reputation and track record, which has had an impact. His management style might be in question, and maybe he has political aspirations, but let's not blame him for cracking down on crime in Riverside County.

Bullcrap. I've played this game long enough to know how business is supposed to be done. Pacheco's an idiot and the vast majority of those in the criminal justice system on both sides of the fence think so as well. Plea bargains are entirely necessary in order to keep this overburdened system from collapsing under its own weight.

There has NEVER been any word on the street that a defendant cannot plead himself out. Plea bargains are being negotiated as we speak. They're a necessary part of the equation. Just because someone pleads out does not mean they get a walk in the park. They just don't get hammered as badly.

Who paid for that raised gold letter podium in the photo shown above? You know it was our taxpayers, not Rod! Sue is in place because she raised 40k from farmers in the Coachella Valley for Mr. Pacheco, Rod's words not ours! He is for sale and so is our precious justice system. Bob Buster is right! Bring in a federal grand jury "investigate" this corrupt public offical and restore our DA office to credibility. However, Rod says he's "got a great relationship with the U.S. Attorney and the Attorney General." That is Rod speak for "you can not touch me". Lets not forget that this is the same guy who spiked the investigation in to union leadership corruption in our county. Weeks later he gets a big fat pay check in the form of a donation to his campaign! He obstructed justice as a payback and that is well known here in the office. Those of us here at the DA's office need help and welcome Mr.Busters investigation. As for a local level, forget it Bob, you better take this to the U.S. Attorney General yourself and not expect help from the other board members. Remember Jeff Stone has a son Rod hired here to be a DDA! One should even question if he could legally vote on DA issues in the first place? Only Supervsiors Tavaglione and Buster have had the courage to "just say no" to our corrupt exulted leader Rod Pacheco.

FINALLY. The truth comes out. Go Soccio! Oh, and the ONLY reason the office "endorsed" his re-election bid was because he threatened layoffs and budget cuts if they did not! And, they had to do it BEFORE these Grand Jury findings were published. Nobody says he isn't smart, but this is hardly a ringing endorsement. If you haven't been there, you could never imagine. I left because I took an oath to "do right" not to blindly follow some "supervisor" who kisses up to the big boss. I make a lot less money, work more hours, do less interesting work but I can look myself in the mirror. Thank Heavens for Gary Windom and his crew, otherwise EVERYONE in the county who didn't endorse the DA would have a criminal history. KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!

The former San Bernardino Police Department chief has some parting words about the storm of controversy that preceded his departure.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Calls for Billdt's ouster increased this year when nearly 50 officers were threatened with layoffs during the city's fiscal crisis. The union eventually reached a deal with the city to avoid layoffs or furloughs, but some said Billdt did not strongly support them.

"There are things we think he should have done differently that for whatever reason, he didn't," said union President Rich Lawhead.

He added that the union is looking forward to "mending fences and building bridges" with incoming Chief Keith Kilmer, who starts June 1.

Although they often clashed, Lawhead said he sent Billdt an e-mail with his best, letting him know he was only representing the interests of union members.

"I love this profession and admire anyone who makes it 20-plus years, let alone 30-plus years," Lawhead said. "I can't wish him anything but a long and healthy retirement."

Morris said Billdt's resistance to the union's efforts was "a statement about leadership in our community."

Like Lawhead, the chief declined to rehash the disputes.

"Politics should not play into this," Billdt said. "It should be about doing what's best for the community and working on strategies to address the underlying causes of crime."

It turns out that former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus had little to no experience in finances when he was elected to the position. This has brought up the old issue of whether a position should be elected or appointed.


A county-commissioned investigative report released this month alleges that Postmus and his aides used the assessor's office to run a political machine at taxpayer expense and did little tax-assessment work. The county Board of Supervisors is now suing Postmus and five others to recoup public funds. Postmus and at least two others also face criminal investigations.

California's constitution requires county assessors, sheriffs and district attorneys to be elected to office. There are no professional requirements for candidates running for assessor.

But Postmus scandal-plagued reign as assessor raises questions about whether it's better to fill some government jobs by appointment, rather than putting the positions on the ballot.

Local and state officials say the danger of having unqualified, politically beholden officials would be greater if assessors were appointed, though Postmus' case raises questions about the need for requiring candidates to have some qualifications.

Postmus himself has said his successor should have relevant experience and should not be a career politician.

"The Board of Supervisors should give the highest consideration towards appointing a steward of the public trust with experience in the field of fiscal policy, preferably an individual with proven experience in the property tax assessment process," Postmus wrote in his Feb. 6 resignation letter. "As we have learned, political considerations should not be a priority for any county assessor."

Current Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchins is laying out her anticipated campaign bid next year for the job she was appointed to last year.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Asked to quantify the size of her political opposition, Hutchens replies, "Internally or externally?"

The response sounds more ominous than she means it, because she doesn't think there's a vast conspiracy afoot. "I think it's a pretty small group," she said, generally lumping them into camps of people upset with her reversal of Carona's more liberal position on giving out concealed weapons permits and issuing guns and badges to professional volunteers who lent services to the department. That Carona gave some to friends and others in exchange for political favors formed part of the criminal allegations against him.

What connects the camps, Hutchens said, is an unhappiness with their decreased access to the sheriff's office.

Trying to assess someone's election chances a year before the primary is akin to tracking the movement of a ship on the horizon. Hutchens' campaign consultant, Dave Gilliard, said he's not convinced she'll even be opposed in 2010.

Hutchens chuckled at the mention of it. "I don't want to assume I won't," she said. "I want to be prepared for the fact that I will."

Hutchens, the county's first female sheriff, appeared affable and relaxed, even when asked if she would name names of her detractors -- a question many politicians would sidestep. She quickly tossed out a couple, including former Carona advisor and onetime state GOP party Chairman Michael Schroeder. She didn't name the Board of Supervisors, but she could have -- some have joined in the critique of aspects of her first year.

Hutchens spent her career in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, rising through the ranks from patrol officer to a division chief in Lee Baca's administration. Moving through a bureaucracy requires some political savvy, but Hutchens says running for office is a different animal.

"I was appointed by three people," she said, referring to the Board of Supervisors majority that gave her the job in 2008. "That's much different than being elected by voters. So, I don't have a clear electoral mandate in that sense."

Aided by the power of incumbency, she's speaking several times a week to community groups. It's an edge that no potential opponent can match at the moment, and it gives Hutchens practice at something she hasn't had to do before: sell herself.

She knows she'll benefit from being the candidate who succeeded an indicted sheriff.

"Once a new sheriff came in -- it didn't have to be me -- it signified that 'OK, we're moving on,' assuming that person would be making changes," she said.

Former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson tried to put a hit on his third wife, Kathleen Savio less than a month before she was murdered.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Drew Peterson tried to hire someone for $25,000 to kill his third wife before he killed her, Will County State's Atty. James Glasgow said today in court.

And Peterson told a police officer he would be better off if Kathleen Savio was dead because he would be financially ruined by a pending divorce. She was found drowned in her bathtub three weeks later, a gash to the back of her head.

Peterson, who was on the Bolingbrook police force at the time, ran into another police officer at the Will County Courthouse and told the other officer, "My life would be easier if she were just dead," Glasgow said in this afternoon's hearing.

In the meantime, the family of Peterson's current wife, Stacey who's been missing since Oct. 28, 2007 are awaiting the results of DNA tests on human remains found near the Des Plaines River in Illinois.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

DNA testing is being done on the partial skeletal remains, which consisted of a rib cage, spinal column, and partial left and right femur bones, according to Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil, who said results likely won't be known for two weeks. But sources close to the investigation said the results could be returned as early as next week.

A preliminary autopsy performed Thursday could not determine whether the body was that of a man or woman, its race, or identity. The remains included shreds of jeans containing a small amount of money, and the person had been dead for several months or more. The coroner's office said it was unclear how the body parts were severed.

"We know the identity is not going to be known until they do DNA testing," said Melanie Greenberg, a spokeswoman for Stebic's family. "We're cautiously hopeful that it might be Lisa. If it's not Lisa, our second wish is that it would be Stacy Peterson so that at least one of our families could get closure."

In memory of Capt. John Wister Haines, of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, MIA, POW and KIA.

born: 1912

died: Oct. 24, 1944 on the Arisan Maru

Survived by his brothers, Casper, William, Dutch and his mother Ella Wister Haines and their descendants.

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