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

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Club 215 Dancer: "I never said any of that" and Why Men in Power Love Bars and Strip Clubs

Sometimes River City just gets too strange for words.

For a city of about 350,000 of what the denizens of Orange County derisively call "dirt people" stuck in the middle of a blazing smog choked valley, there's just never a dull moment. Most of the residents of this city, or what its mayor refers to as the "jewel of the Inland Empire" spend their days as normal people, doing more normal things but as for the other crowd like politicians, ex-politicians and police chiefs, well that might appear too boring and sedate for their tastes. They have their own lifestyles, their own means of recreation which most people don't know about until they're splashed on the pages of the media.

There's a joke among political bloggers about how long it will take when you start your blog before you have to use the word "stripper" or "scandal" together (even better, together) for the first time. In Riverside, as it turns out, it's no different than anywhere else including the much larger cities. In that regards, yes Riverside is just like Mayor Ron Loveridge said, a cosmopolitan center indeed.

Politicians and police chiefs do things that most ordinary people either don't have time to do or the inclination or perhaps the money which is go to steak houses to conduct business among the city's other power brokers and then there are the strip clubs, places where those in power that are primarily male in nature and numbers often seem to congregate. Is it to get away from a changing world where power is increasingly being shared by the two genders in business and government? Feel threatened by a female boss, supervisor or even a subordinate, go find one that's profession is to make you feel less threatened by women. Maybe that's why politicians and higher ranking police officers including those in management love strip clubs so much.

There's no women holding positions of power there with them. But then as some women have said, the women are too busy at home raising their families and running a household to engage in that activity and the trouble it might bring. Perhaps that's the case, not that women are invited to the meetings often held by male power brokers unless they're there to provide entertainment. People often say why do people bring up the whole strip club deal when talking about chiefs and politicians as if that's a bit strange. Not really, when you consider how intertwined they have become as politics and police management are both areas where women are gaining slowly in numbers. Though women are underrepresented in all levels of government and especially all levels of law enforcement, perhaps their numbers are getting high enough to drive more men into enclaves where women aren't encroaching their turf.

To each his own it seems, but it's interesting how there's a relationship between the increasing participation of women in these areas and the rush to strip clubs by some men who still hold a lot of power.

Rumors have abounded in the city's fabric about racial and sexist (and sexual) banter at meetings being held by city employees including those at the highest level. Rumors of employees driving around in city owned vehicles after drinking, in at least one case sustained. Rumors of employees hanging out in bars and strip clubs frequented or even controlled by criminal gangs. Rumors of governmental business being conducted by male power brokers (again, no women allowed in this club). Tales of legislative aides calling women "the biggest bitch around" and of telling candidates for the chief's position that they're no longer in the running at social gatherings. City officials acting out on the dais and antagonizing speakers. Rumors of high-ranking city employees being less than honest to the elected officials who directly employ them, on serious issues.

911 phone calls being made of city management employees welding guns at women to feel even more like powerful men and no real investigations being conducted which makes the city management's indignation over the initial non-investigation of Leach's incident laughable. Rumors of a city employee facing felony charges of fraud being tipped off by his boss so he could flee the jurisdiction.

As events surrounding the Feb. 8 DUI incident involving the former police chief, Russ Leach, as much attention became focused on the events which preceded the traffic stop that was heard (and now seen) around the country as the actual incident itself. Mostly because the focus was on how much Leach had drank, and where. Who had served him the liquor that had left him tipsy on the dash cam video recently released by the California Highway Patrol. Then there was the drama of Club 215 and pole dancers and the fact that the police chief and others frequented such a place where women serve only to entertain male clientele.

The incident took on a more lurid turn which is strange considering that at least with women, we mostly know that in the world of politics and the male dominated profession of law enforcement, often times that's how women are viewed. Sitting in the criminal trial of former Officer Robert Forman who had been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse under the color of authority and listening to male officers testify about joking about and playing with the underwear belonging to the woman Forman was ultimately convicted of assaulting. All she could do was sit in a chair and watch them act out sexually as grown men in positions of great authority reminding the woman in their midst of what she represented and who was in control. The female trainee, Officer Megan Edwards, testified about how "embarrassed" she had been to witness that behavior as the only woman in that workplace surrounded by men and an officer with zero job protection. She didn't participate, she probably wasn't invited to do so or even included but she did fail probation several months later.

It would take Forman a little longer to get fired by the police department that had already seen him through one prior case of sexual misconduct while onduty.

Relatively few male officers participated in that act though two were field training officers but none who did reported it to supervisors and it's not clear where they were just that three sergeants had been onscene at some point. But the woman's view of law enforcement officers in general was shaped by that experience as well as the sexual assault by Forman enough to be afraid of them when they came out six weeks later on a domestic disturbance call.The behavior of a few has a definite impact on how all or a majority of them are viewed in ways that maybe they don't think about at the time they are engaging in that activity. And they make it harder for women to trust male officers and they make it harder for male officers to be able to work in situations involving women as victims, witnesses, suspects or even co-workers. What do you do when you're a male officer trying to respond to a call and the woman's too scared to let you in because she had a bad experience with a male officer?

Ask Officer Justin Mann who faced that situation with one of Forman's victims who wouldn't let him inside the door just six weeks after her experience with Forman. He testified about it at the Forman trial.

But it doesn't seem to be all that big of a stretch to view that behavior at the apartment in the spectrum of the department's own management including a chief who views women as entertainment even as he headed an agency where the attrition rate for women was nearly double that of the men. As stated in other postings, the management culture, good or bad, sets the tone for the rest of the department in many different ways.

The scandals involving male politicians and sex workers and strippers far outnumber any involving female politicians probably because the women are too busy struggling to survive in male dominated arenas whereas when men see their encroachment in what have long been viewed as their domains, they retreat to enclaves where women's roles are restricted in order to "relax" to remind themselves who's still in control. Whether male law enforcement executives retreat to these same enclaves for the same reason in reaction to a law enforcement profession that's no longer just for men only, that remains to be seen.

Not that the profession still doesn't try to shift back to the good old days...

Sexism in the Upper Echelon of the RPD?

One Councilman, Two Lieutenants, Two Different Genders

Two Different Outcomes

[Councilman Steve Adams sitting here as mayor pro tem but was he also the "final say" involving at least two captains' promotions in the Riverside Police Department? His brother Ron, a retired officer, was a defendant in a sexism lawsuit filed by a former female sergeant and currently works for the city.]

Male Lieutenant Not on Adams' Good Side

Had Dinner with Adams to "clear the air" , promoted soon afterward

Female Lieutenant not on Adams' Good side

Promotion: VETOED without appeal at a Corona restaurant

I received some interesting information some time ago way, way before all this began which related the entrenchment of male supremacism or what people call the "good old boy" network in the upper levels of the Riverside Police Department. And after all this intrigue coming out about high ranking officers frequenting strip clubs while others favor more tame sports bars to engage in male bonding rituals, some of the parallels between recreational choices and an administration built that's pretty much devoid of women can be seen more closely. Allegations of sexual harassment buried at the highest levels, allegations of penalties for women who don't go along with it at different levels and cell phones used for other purposes than just conducting police business, all add to a casual and very loose atmosphere where men still make the decisions at the top and women still are a minority within the ranks thinning out the higher they go, even though as the communities both genders protect and serve are majority female. Where men who might have ogled female exotic dancers or strippers the night before have to make personnel decisions including those involving promotions that involve female employees, particularly those that are officers. Something male candidates for promotion don't really have to face.

When promoting a woman to a position in supervision or not can come just hours and one hangover after seeing a different woman wearing next to nothing, working just to entertain the men who frequent her workplace.

And it's traditionally been difficult for women to advance. Before February, there had been no successful promotion of a female officer into supervision since 2004.

That had also been the case with men of color who were trying to promote to the department's highest level, governed by what one former Black officer called the "exclusionary rule", a reinterpretation of the legal term familiar to most law enforcement officers as a clause of sorts in legally conducted searches and the collection of evidence. His definition didn't apply to searches but to the unwritten rules that governed the police department at its highest levels of power. That men of color particularly those who are not Latino are to rise to a certain level, and no further as at least two high ranking men of color retired out quietly after being just as quietly informed that they had reached the highest level they would ever see.

One of them just walked away after over 30 years on the job without a retirement party, moving forward without looking back. A long career ending without even a whisper.

What this individual had to say to me was how sexism and its forms including sexual harassment parlayed into the construction of the upper level of the police department which was largely devoid of women. Today, there's only one female captain in the upper echelon and there's been some information told about the arduous nature of her own promotional process to that level. In her case, Leach presented her as his candidate for promotion but it was vetoed after she had been notified and sometime within a three hours window by Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis who was apparently acting on the behalf of Councilman (and retired officer) Steve Adams. Adams incidentally is related to Ron Adams, a defendant in the largest payout on a lawsuit alleging sexism in the department's history. With what Meredith faced, if she had sued she could have easily broken that record especially in a climate which has seen sexism lawsuits settle in the high nine figure range without even going to trial.

But the city doesn't really fight these lawsuits. It might say it does but what's actually going on is that it's either making or allowing to be made decisions which only serve to hurt its own defense of why it's already essentially committed a violation. The plaintiff's best friend in River City is what it's suing meaning that if you're an employee in the city's workforce and you ever have to sue the city, you can definitely count on the city to help you win your case. Something for the casualties of the final days of Asst. Chief John DeLaRosa's regime should keep in mind when they consider filing their own civil litigation.

Just ask Officer Roger Sutton and former Sgt. Christine Keers, whose cases and their payouts were greatly enhanced by the city's "defense"against them. The city loses most of the labor cases filed against it for good reason because in the act of defending itself, the city often winds up doing the plaintiff's work for him or her and many of these plaintiffs have a head start by having good cases to begin with.

At least two captain candidates both apparently for whatever reason were on the wrong side of Adams. It's not as clear why Meredith bothered him so much that he essentially vetoed her promotion but Adams and then Lt. John Carpenter fell out allegedly over Carpenter's association with two lieutenants, Darryl Hurt and Tim Bacon who were heavily involved in the Riverside Police Administrators' Association including its political action committee. If Carpenter's promotion truly rested in the hands of "clearing the air" with Adams and Adams mandated that behavior then it seems that Adams' involved himself illegally in Carpenter's promotion as he allegedly did in the earlier case of Meredith's. That behavior involving Carpenter was just as inappropriate and unacceptable as that involving Meredith. Both promotions would have been inappropriately interfered with by an individual who knew fully well (and testified to this fact) that to do so was a violation of the city's charter and he believed, state law as well.

But what was just as telling was that there was one very fundamental difference between how the promotional process of Carpenter was handled and how that involving Meredith's played out. And the fact that they begun in very similar circumstances but wound up with two very different outcomes speaks to the existence of sexism within not just the department's upper echelon but City Hall as well.

When you follow along with the different threads of testimony from different parties involving these two promotional processes, it's pretty clear that you had two candidates, one male, one female who both had alienated or upset the "good old boy" network in the city and one was afforded the privilege of appeal, the other had the door slammed in her face. Carpenter's sin was more tangible than that involving Meredith. His transgression had to do with Adams' apparent belief that Carpenter hadn't backed him politically during the 2007 election cycle and because of his association with the political action committee of the RPAA along with Hurt and Bacon. As for Meredith, it appears that her main known transgression with Adams was her gender, which is underlined by the words that Adams allegedly used to describe her in some context when he said she wouldn't get promoted.

Those words were "fat" and "bitch". Two words that are used to denigrate women including those in male dominated professions and in positions of power within those professions. It's interesting how John Carpenter is well, John Carpenter but Meredyth Meredith is referred to in ways other than her name. Two words that if she had sued might have been worth a couple million dollars a piece. When someone illegally interferes or blocks a promotion and throws in a few slurs with it, the object of that treatment can pretty much write their own check. Something that it might have been helpful information for City Attorney Gregory Priamos to pass along during the orientation seminar for incoming elected officials under the category of how not to put the city at risk of civil liability.

If the city added that category to the orientation training, seriously it could save tax payers a fortune in legal bills and settlements but that's a whole different blog posting.

It's interesting to read the different accounts surrounding the promotional processes, aborted or successful involving candidates like Carpenter and Meredith. Because both times, the name of Adams pops up as putting a damper on the forward advancement of both professionals looking to move up through the ranks. Why would that be, is it truly a matter of coincidence? Everyone's denying that there was any involvement by anyone outside of the promotional process with any promotional processes including Carpenter yet it never occurs to them that simply having this threesome meet over dinner to reconcile Carpenter and Adams is in itself questionable conduct. Under the charter, department heads like Leach can promote. The city management gets "final say" under that same charter which wasn't really exercised involving the police department until Hudson's arrival in 2005 with the first promotion being vetoed within six months by city management.

But seriously, if Leach has a candidate to promote what does it matter if Adams likes him or not, especially since the dispute between Carpenter and Adams apparently dealt with issues such as elections and political endorsements which are not related to city or police business? But apparently it did matter if Adams felt okay with Carpenter being promoted to captain. Why else does a deputy chief, a councilman and a captain candidate meet to "clear the air" after the promotion of Carpenter as Leach's choice stalls. And then within 24 hours of their meeting by noon the following day, Carpenter is promoted to captain.

The city of Riverside and its legal eagles headed by Priamos clearly didn't want city residents to find out because the lawsuit was settled on the eve of trial. But while there's plenty still to be stated about the promotional processes at the upper levels of the police department, what's striking here is the disparate treatment between that afforded Carpenter compared to that shown to Meredith. These differences clearly show up in sworn testimony offered by some of the parties involved in these case and in fact are difficult to miss.

As stated, Meredith's promotion was blocked at the last minute allegedly by Adams' involvement and she's not notified ahead of his time of any problems he has with her, whereas Carpenter through the intervention of both Leach and former Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel gets a chance to remedy his issues with Adams even though the three of them decide not to Shop Riverside and head off to a Corona restaurant to broker their peace treaty.

It's interesting indeed how the male lieutenant on Adams' wrong side has that opportunity but a female doesn't because Meredith apparently was never contacted by Leach or Esquivel to meet with Adams in an out of town, out of sight eatery to clear up any issues he had with her before he gave his green light to Leach and Hudson. Leach did support the promotion of Meredith as his candidate of choice up to a point but whereas the department's management apparently engaged in a "clearing of the air" between a male lieutenant like Carpenter and Adams in a way they didn't with Meredith. Ironic lesson that's been missed by Carpenter who once sued alleging that his promotion to lieutenant had been blocked by reverse racism and reverse sexism, with the latter allegation being related to Meredith's promotion to lieutenant in July 1999.

The hoops that Carpenter apparently was pushed to jump through to become captain weren't appropriate, they may have been illegal under the city's charter and he shouldn't have been placed in that position but there was a channel for him to pursue to remedy his situation that wasn't made available to his female counterpart. It's been alleged that Adams had said that Carpenter would never get promoted while he was in office and since Carpenter did, that meant Adams had no influence. But would have Carpenter been allowed to be promoted if he hadn't "cleared the air" with Adams out in Corona? And was it really a professional promotional process to place a lieutenant seeking promotion in that somewhat precarious position in the first place?

Still Meredith didn't have the same opportunity to present her case to "clear the air" in a matter of speaking that Carpenter enjoyed.

But then if sexism rules the top level of the police department and permeates into City Hall, then differential incidents involving similar situations between a male and female promotional candidate are hardly surprising are they? After all, most of the men in the power structure of the police department and possibly more than a few at City Hall didn't congregate and hang out in social environments where women existed as equals but in places where women did one of two things. They either waited on them or they entertained them.

Is it any surprising if women don't mean much more in an environment that more closely resembles law enforcement?

In the wake of all this analysis of whether or not sexism impacts the highest level of the police department, news broke that the former police chief and former councilman had something to say about the recent buzz in the press about the investigation of witness tampering being done in relation to the case involving Leach's DUI investigation conducted by the CHP. Allegations that were being raised and investigated by the Riverside County District Attorney's office that former councilman, Frank Schiavone had coached or influenced a Club 215 dancer on how to handle questions by investigators from the CHP.

As it turned out, Schiavone and Leach had something to say about that.

She Said He Did and Now She Says He Didn't?

Not too long ago, the Press Enterprise broke a story that was also reported here and on other sites about the investigation being done by the Riverside County District Attorney's office on former Riverside councilman, Frank Schiavone for alleged witness tampering in connection with the California Highway Patrol's DUI investigation against former Riverside Chief Russ Leach. Schiavone recently in an interview given by him and Leach claimed the only conversation he had with an investigator from that office was over the phone with the investigator saying that someone was trying to jack him or that he might be a victim while he was in Mexico but the D.A.'s office never followed up, he said. He never heard from that office again.

The District Attorney's office hasn't yet decided what to do with the investigation being conducted by the office's Public Integrity Division.

Now, Schiavone and Leach have come out swinging back at District Attorney Rod Pacheco as he faces reelection to issue a statement challenging the allegations and investigation. Both men said the FBI in Los Angeles and the State Attorney General's office have been contacted to investigate Pacheco. Both denied that Schiavone engaged in witness tampering and Schiavone played a recorded conversation of his own with the exotic dancer, Michelle that took place after the phone call recorded by the District Attorney's office. Earlier, Michelle had reverberated her allegations here that Schiavone coached or influenced the statements she gave to the CHP investigators.

But on a audio taped conversation that Schiavone initiated with her after the one taped by the D.A.'s office, her account of the incident had changed during that interim.

The recording's grainy but Schiavone calls Michelle to return an earlier call and she said she needs some money to turn her utilities back on which will cost about $500 but she'll take half or around $350. Schiavone then talks about the investigation against him including the phone call that he had with her that had been taped by the District Attorney's office. She says that Leach and her had just gone out on several dates and hadn't had sex.

She then denied telling the investigator that Schiavone had influenced her by telling her what to say.

" that's their words and what they're telling you," she said, "I never said any of that."

She said that she would get on the witness stand if they wanted her to do so and said that they were trying to throw "Russ" under the bridge and she didn't want to do anything to hurt him or Schiavone.

Towards the end of the phone call, she asked about the money and Schiavone said it might be viewed as inappropriate if he loaned her the money under the situation and so she asked him if he'd loan it to her mother.

"Put me under a lie detector or in a court of law," she said.

And so with this phone call, the case of the retired chief, the ex-councilman and the exotic dancer which has rocked the city of Riverside for days has continued to twist and turn telling more people in this city than they want to know about lives of their politicians and law enforcement officers. And how matter of factually these individuals or insiders to the political structure talk about strip clubs and those they employ, it's a bit jarring for most people.

The tape's got to satisfy an exception to the state's two-party recording law in the Penal Code, which Schiavone said it did because he had been receiving threatening phone calls from unknown parties, that were also reported to the District Attorney's office which he said didn't act. Club 215 after all is rumored to be controlled by a certain gang that doesn't favor foot travel or cars as its signature form of transportation. Yet for some reason, police employees and politicians apparently congregate there for personal reasons including entertainment. Individuals from the same circles who come out and scold those who live in poor neighborhoods about who they associate or live with that is believed to be gang affiliated can freely move in and out of establishments where gang members congregate without further scrutiny.

The irony certainly isn't lost on most residents of "gang" neighborhoods like the Eastside, Casa Blanca and Arlanza that they can be raided by hundreds of police officers driving in tanks because they have family members with gang affiliations but that the city's own police officers including its highest ranking ones and elected officials can freely frequent businesses with strongly known gang affiliations like Club 215. Has anybody who frequents this club been told that you can't go there because it's gang affiliated and if you associate in a place where gang members go, it's like being one yourself. They tell that to people whose mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nephews, cousins or girlfriends are determined to be associated with gangs. You hang or live with these people, don't be surprised if we come calling or looking for you. Whether this enforcement is acceptable or not is the subject of many a community forum or meeting as most people know and is something that will always be debated and even often, the subject of controversy. As both Leach and Schiavone surely know having been in positions of power in law enforcement and government in the past several years.

Yet, how many high ranking police officers like chiefs and elected officials are told the same thing, because the gang that is associated with Club 215 has been investigated for killing people and may be investigated for violent acts in other nearby cities.

The particular gang organization (though it calls itself a club) that most frequents Club 215 was the subject of raids in relation to some suspicion of some serious violent activity in cities like Hemet where police officers have been subject to attack and had their lives threatened. Which just goes to show if you're poor and non-white, you have to pick the company you pick and your family much more carefully than if you're more affluent and are in law enforcement or politics. It just strikes a chord of irony that those affiliated with law enforcement would want to associate in a club where gang members appear to be entrenched who could possibly have declared war on a law enforcement agency.

But what city residents have been pointing out for a long time and certainly in the past few months is the double standard between themselves and those in positions of power in various arenas in this city. But that simple principle is just lost on too many people who are in the latter, even as those in the former have made their points very clear throughout the aftermath of the Leach incident.

Still, this was a turn of events in the Leach incident that has sent the situation in another direction.

But if the tape holds up under the law and is as it seems to be, then it can do one of two things. It can exonerate Schiavone of the allegations if Michelle is telling him the truth on the phone. It could also be a case where a woman who's just had everything in her home turned off and has a kid and mother to raise is so desperate for money that she'll say what she needs to get it because her focus the entire time appears to be on her financial straits. Which makes her problematic as the primary witness in a case against Schiavone, because she's produced two taped phone conversations where she's said entire different things about her interactions with Schiavone. That's not going to get her very far on any witness stand in any preliminary hearing or trial and it really shouldn't.

Either way the tape can weaken the case if it's allowed into evidence under the exception, PC 633.5. Even if not admissible, when it's covered by the more mainstream media who know it exists, it might generate plenty of discussion among city residents again in a city where the drama just doesn't stop. Whoever said Riverside was boring (and ironically Schiavone as a councilman wanted to sue a television show for having a character say that about Riverside) is out of their heads.

Schiavone once donated money to Pacheco's campaign and Leach has stood beside him in his uniform dress in more than a few press conferences but it appears that the three of them have had some serious falling out, according to Leach and Schiavone.

Schiavone alleged that he had upset Pacheco after the county's head prosecutor had tried to get him to pass a resolution through the city council backing the office's injunction against East Side Riva. He refused to do that and pulled the item off of the agenda for a brief closed session meeting where he told elected officials and others that it would bring dangerous gang members into the chambers who were unaware of how the legislative process worked. And he had asked City Attorney Gregory Priamos what he thought this whole witness tampering thing was about and the city attorney had said,

"The badges".

After State Attorney General Jerry Brown came down with his opinion on faux badges, Pacheco had gone to the city and Schiavone as chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee for all the badges belonging to code enforcement officers and retired police officers and the city didn't want to do it. Even while the city at some point had been embroiled in its own "badge" controversy which will be posted about here in future postings and it's not clear whether or not that coincided with Pacheco's contact with the city government though he did review the city management's "badges" when that situation was under investigation by the state. And that Pacheco had been upset about some top-secret meeting he thought Schiavone had held with Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach while he was thinking of filing against Pacheco.

Leach said that Pacheco was unhappy with his unwillingness to enforce the gang injunction in the Eastside.

Schiavone issued a statement on the matter:

"This is consistent with grand jury findings of how he runs this office," he said, adding that nothing would be turned over to the District Attorney's office, but only to the other law enforcement agencies."

It remains to be seen where this latest installment of this series of event that has kept Riverside spinning for months now is going to head off into in the coming days and weeks. But any and all evidence should be examined in this case as they should be in any cases handed off to the District Attorney's office, before any decision is made, period. The integrity of any investigative process is certainly more important than either one of them. And this is coming from someone who was glad that the voters including myself told Schiavone to take a hike and today as I write this, I'm much more thankful that the voters did that. The difference at City Hall now is very noticeable since there's been that shift in power.

And Leach, well he should get himself to rehab and deal with his drinking because unfortunately he sold out a police department filled with hard working employees really just to protect his drinking (as the other priority is to do anything to get that next drink), an addiction that will eventually kill him and I know, having lost too many family members to alcoholism (all who denied having problems with alcohol) so I know how that road goes and even more importantly how it ends if you don't make the right turn at the fork in the road. But if the ultimate betrayal of everything he ever worked for with the RPD and that of those who worked alongside him in the community and department isn't enough to do it, it's not clear what will lead him to make those changes in his life. Hopefully he will because there's a much better life for those who do and this road he's on rarely ends well for those who take it. But then the situation involving the DUI incident was some curious mixture of two dynamics, a culture that protects management's head at all costs and the one that surrounds those who are "heavy drinkers" with a circle of what are called enablers. Seriously, the best friend for Leach right now will be the one who kicks in the ass and tells him the life he saves is his own.

But, every person investigated by a prosecutors office deserves due process and that's what the D.A.'s obligation to do just that no matter who the D.A. is and who the person being investigated is. If it's a poor resident in a poorer neighborhood, a working class person or yes, even a former politician somewhat on the slimy side, all deserve equal protection under the law.

There was some mention of how these men's lives have fared since they've seen better days and that's duly noted but what's been caused in the aftermath of this way of doing business in Riverside which both men fully participated in is a city of residents and a police department which have become collateral damage not to mention tremendous distrust in the city's populace towards the department and government. They should really take a good look at what's happened to the city, to the department and to everyone that both enfold. The decisions that city councilmen like Schiavone and police chiefs like Leach exacted a huge price on the city and department that began quite a while before Feb. 8. And the damage that entailed was much easier to cause than it will ever be to repair.

Schiavone did discuss how he's got sympathy towards those who are falsely accused (and in that spirit, he should use his power then to lobby towards fairer treatment of those in such situations who have no means to defend themselves) but then the Leach incident and how it was handled by a police management and probably a city management too still hiding behind the code of silence has caused too much damage to ignore. A police department that had spent the past 10 years trying to reform, reinvent itself and restore trust in the city has been severely damaged in the past several months though evidence paints a portrait that this process began some years ago. The actions they took had consequences and mostly on others who were penalized through no fault of their own, as we shall see and those cannot be easily fixed.

At any rate, that ongoing situation is obviously still playing out.

Former Lt. Mark McFall (whose retired) speaks out on the intent to fire Lt. Leon Phillips on the comments thread at the site.

"Mistakes were made by ALL of the higher-ups in this, to one degree or another, placing Lt. Phillips in an untenable situation. Now City Hall wants to make a scapegoat out of him and wipe out his spotless 28-year career of dedicated service with this one incident! What an incredible injustice that would be! And, of course, all supported by the lynch mob mentality demonstrated in these blogs. A city gone mad, for sure . . ."

Rod Pacheco: hould he stay or should he go? Which brings to mind that on Tuesday, June 10, there's an election for state and federal primaries, propositions and some county offices. So go do the civic thing and vote.

Here's the list of Press Enterprise endorsements. Because there's an election, that mean that the city council meeting this week in Riverside is very short. It's still taking place but there will only be this afternoon session on the same day as the election so all the electeds can hit their parties.

Alas, no meeting of the Community Police Review Commission which remains in limbo until it decides when to hold its special meeting to you know, decide when to meet.

The problems with crosswalks in Riverside.

Fighting City Hall in Wildomar.


The City's Double Standard on the Use of Racial Language in the Workplace and how it can even get you a job at City Hall!

Two Case Studies Involving the Riverside Police Department

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