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 13, 2010

River City: Where Ethics are Challenged But Silence is Golden

"When the truth is suppressed, only lies remain."

---Commenter at

"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing."

----Edmund Burke

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.”

---Elvis Presley.

“Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.”

---Clarence Darrow

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

--said by someone but not Maria Antoinette

Who Owns City Hall, those Who Occupy It?

[The house where some very questionable behavior by some who occupy it came to light recently after being covered up by the city since beginning in 2005.]

To Protect or Serve


To Stock City Hall's Box of Toys?

Who Decides?

[The Riverside Police Department's administrative headquarters where some very questionable behavior has happened lately as the acting chief who is retiring very likely in lieu of disciplinary action continues to impose...disciplinary action. With a new chief coming in soon, it's not clear who will have the keys to the police department that's apparently become a box of goodies and toys to some denizens at City Hall but it will be interesting to find out along with whether the department's new head Sergio Diaz will be allowed to be an autonomous chief or the next puppet.]

I read with interest this blog which attempted to call Press Enterprise columnist, Dan Bernstein and I out for the events that we've both been writing about involving this city in the past few months. Beginning the day we both learned about the car accident and traffic stop involving the city's former police chief and were trying to put together the pieces of what had transpired while there were attempts by the city to cover up the fact that an accident had even taken place.

And that's what the city was doing in the first hours and days following the DUI incident involving one of its employees. The city tried to both contain the incident and it also tried to erase it in hopes that it would never slip outside its protective walls. The feeling of them doing that was very palpable as the first lies began to be told behind closed doors, while the city tried to figure out how to handle a critical incident about to spiral out of control. Essentially, the plan appeared to be how to mislead the public to believe that a criminal DUI incident with a "high profile" person who received preferential treatment would either be marketed as no accident at all and if that failed, as next a "fender bender" and then a "traffic collision" to be reported and filed away.

Out of sight, out of mind, they say.

The latter is evidenced in the handwritten report about the "traffic collision" that was written by Sgt. Frank Orta (now medically retired), a man so freaked out by the public release of his report that he felt fearful, according to transcripts detailing his interview with California Highway Patrol. He even said at one point when he had received an email from his deputy chief and told investigators that this employee had multiple shootings on his record and he didn't know what this employee would do to him. Orta or his wife had contacted by phone, his brother in law Councilman Andrew Melendrez not long after the DUI incident. Was this done by Orta in an attempt to protect himself? And if so, from what?

Of all the transcripts in the CHP's investigative report, Orta's in some respects was the most troubling to read. He stood on the cusp of what happened, as a supervising sergeant with one foot in the field with his officers, the other at the level of where he also spends time doing work in the office where politics can reign. It's a difficult balancing act and that's why some experts say that being a sergeant can be the most challenging position of all. But for Orta, he had two officers who though relatively inexperienced knew a "political train wreck" when they saw one and on the other side, two upper level officers conferring by phone about how to handle Leach. Orta was the court recognized DUI expert at the scene and according to his interview, he knew Leach was probably a DUI and he said he told then Asst. Chief John DeLaRosa that when on the phone with him before engaging in a discussion about how he would handle Leach if he were a normal everyday motorist. Which as it turned out, was only an academic discussion because Lt. Leon Phillips didn't direct the investigation and ultimate arrest and/or citation of Leach but instead drove him home apparently after one final phone discussion with DeLaRosa.

Orta would go on to write what was a highly questionable police report that was ultimately signed by former Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel after he had been told by DeLaRosa that City Attorney Gregory Priamos (who clearly knowing political dynamite when he saw it, quickly denied it to the media) had reviewed it. Strangely enough the copy of the report released to the media and public didn't include Esquivel's signature.

And so the attempt to cover up continued...

But in the middle of all these actions, there were also efforts to make sure that could never happen and that the truth would be told. And in the end, the truth won out...and ultimately the city will be a better place for it...eventually. This is important for people to know because many people have told me that after all that's happened, they've lost their hope and trust in their government. It's important for them to know that most of them are people who make a difference in different places of the city's canvas including at City Hall so it's important to keep that hope alive.

But now we're supposed to ignore that truth and focus on what's positive even if it's anything but true. During the window of opportunity to confront what's happened in our city, in its halls of power and do something positive and constructive to set the city on a much better path than it's on. To me, that sounds much more "loving" than simply closing your mind and pretending it didn't happen.

There are some amazing things that took place during that time period that can't be covered here given the climate in this city that has arisen but they would restore faith in people even during this difficult time that the attempted cover up of an illegal action of the highest ranking police department employee failed not by accident but by design. The latest revelations of illicit badges, guns and cold plates weren't accidental either but by design.

The truth, as Salvador calls his blog was out there but the public wasn't ever supposed to know any of it. That wasn't accidental either but by design. But the best laid plans of mice and men, don't always come to pass and the plans to keep Leach's accident a secret didn't either. People have already paid the price for their truths yet Salvador wants people to forget what they've heard and read and move on essentially with blinders on. He wants people to look at a city that no longer exists because the city of many secrets tried to hold onto one too many and is now paying the consequences of years of deception.

No lie can live forever, Martin Luther King, jr. once said and it looks like on different fronts, that's certainly been the case with City Hall. But the truths are being treated as more harmful than the lies. The truth is being treated as hateful and destructive than the lies.

There are people out there who deserve the thanks of the residents of this city but that can't happen safely until there are major changes in the fabric of this city that still even in the face of all that's happened in the past several years, remains more intent on punishing the messengers rather than addressing their messages. And this city has the financial settlements on lawsuits alleging this kind of misconduct both in its labor force and among city residents to prove it, all paid for at the expense of city residents. Because the city officials and management employees don't actually have to pay any of the costs of their own actions and decisions, they keep on engaging in them, obviously not giving a whit who pays for it. This city has a history of retaliating against its more willful employees as it calls them in ways to try to harm them and take away their livelihood and then when these people fight back often successfully, City Hall sends the city residents the legal expenses. Okay, if we pay these bills, then maybe we should hold a public vote among city residents to determine how much money to spend litigating these lawsuits and better yet, to try to get to the roots of the problems in this city that create the conditions for lawsuits to be filed and hold the city accountable for its own actions. It's difficult in this situation to think of anything more constructive and positive to address this serious situation which in itself is hateful and destructive behavior.

To adopt Salvador's "my way or the highway" message would be in complete disregard of the truly positive and constructive efforts made by individuals in the face of some of the most negative and destructive actions taken by some denizens at City Hall and in the upper management of the police department in recent memory. To honor the actions of those who stop those who tried to keep the public from finding out about these actions for several years not to mention the efforts to reduce a police chief's DUI accident and incident to a "traffic collision" to be filed away or even a "fender bender", it's important to keep pushing forwards, to keep the pressure on those at City Hall including the elected leadership until this painful chapter of the city's history rides out its natural course.

Until the truth, the whole truth about what actions have taken place along the line of those already exposed, there's no chance at all this city to break this destructive pattern and enter into a period of positive and constructive action which would be necessary for it to forge ahead. Both for the very troubled police department hit hard by the actions of those at City Hall as well as City Hall itself. Neither happened over night, they didn't even happen on Feb. 8 at Arlington and Rutland, but both had been festering under the radar of most people for some years.

The news that most people have been reading about the actions including what strongly appear to be violations of state laws (which were "corrected" only after those involved essentially were caught) by people entrusted into positions of both power and public trust. Yet, we're supposed to forget them, to pretend they didn't happen, to see them rather than what they are? Salvador and those that he defends want us to see criminal acts as "trifles" and to pretend they never happened including the fact that those who engaged in that behavior have never really been held accountable.

Instead, their privilege protected them and then they turn around and tell the people that it's their mission to ensure equal protection under the law in this city...well for everyone else perhaps but themselves. And the privilege that they enjoyed is what helped create the privilege that the police management personnel tried to afford Leach by giving him a ride home instead of to jail after his DUI incident. Like with the criminal violations, they made excuses about what they did only after they got caught doing it. It would be much better if they could do something loving and positive and constructive like just admitting what they did and apologizing to city residents for it but as you can read, instead they passed the buck. Perhaps they consider these legal violations "trifles" as well.

As far as "trifles", there certainly have been many of those happening lately.

It's been one revelation after another since that day, with the well not even tapped into some of the serious issues that have impacted this city going years back, but finally coming to fruition in recent weeks. The incident involving Leach wasn't an isolated incident, it was the city's tipping point, the beginning of the time when eyes were focused on it and the police department and there would be no going back. But there's no going forward either until the truth is completely shown and there's nothing left to cover up.

I found it interesting as I believe this is the third time this year I’ve been called out for destroying the city for Riverside merely for writing about what’s pretty much in front of me but who's counting? That’s giving an awful lot of power that I don’t have and credit in this case for something negative that neither I nor Bernstein deserve. Neither of us created this situation, this train wreck you might call it. We just write about it. And thanks to the city's own actions, there's been plenty to keep both of us busy in the past few months.

The timing of Salvador’s blog posting was very good as I’ve been working on a piece on the attitudes shown by various characters at City Hall when asked about their participation in some highly questionable and possibly illegal actions that took place during the past several years. The quotes in the Press Enterprise by those essentially caught with their hands inside the cookie jars or in this case on badges, cold plates and guns, have been very illuminating and interesting both to read and to analyze, in the context of what’s been transpiring in this city during the past five years since the dynamic duo first arrived. What's provided an interesting and very noticeable contrast to the litany of excuses issued by one elected official and two city management employees has been the silence by the elected leadership in this town in response to the antics of several of their dais mates. The silence that a lot of people are talking about right now around the city and more than a few people have asked, this is the same elected government which expects the public to trust it with the city's ethics code and complaint process which is supposed to offer city residents some public redress against antics like those which have come to light in recent weeks.

No wonder so many ethics complaints wound up in for the City Attorney's office to arbitrate in violation of the Code. No wonder those very few which have wound up in front of the only slightly more appropriate venue, the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee have shown what a toothless process that is in practice even as community organizations have called for ethics complaints to be heard by an independent panel of perhaps retired judges. The only one ethics complaint mechanism that can truly hold elected officials responsible for their ethical...lapses or misdeeds are the city's registered voters who have one chance to do that per ward (or mayoral seat) every four years. If you want a city council that is accountable to the voters or that will keep its direct employees accountable to it, then go to the polls and cast your vote for the individual who's best able to deliver on that.

In fiscally difficult times, that's really the most cost-efficient, money saving measure that a city resident can take especially when you consider how many dollars the city's paid out settling lawsuits behind closed doors or losing them at trial because of its problems policing its own behavior. The city residents were reminded of that just several weeks ago, when the city settled lawsuits filed by two former police lieutenants, Darryl Hurt and Tim Bacon, who alleged retaliatory behavior and inappropriate and illegal activities by several former and current elected officials and city management staff. The city claimed it settled the lawsuits to save litigation costs but the city residents received a front row seat as to why the city really settled those cases because it turned out that these two plaintiffs had the goods on the city after all.

The passing of the buck, the denial in the face of evidence and the attitude that it’s “old news” when it’s only old because the city spent the past several years including paying off a huge settlement on a lawsuit to keep it from being discovered by city residents. On the last part, the joke was on the city because the information that they spent tax payer dollars trying to hide, came out in the public forum anyway.

No, this mess that’s still unfolding is entirely of City Hall’s making and it’s largely due to a failure of real leadership in this city. And Salvador is repeating what appears to be the civic leadership’s philosophy which is just to ignore what’s happened, all the illicit and probably illegal activities come to light and hey, I’ve got something pretty to distract you with over there. That’s one strategy to deal with the crisis that’s hit the city and the distrust which has arisen in many parts of it in the past several months but the only outcome of this behavior is to ensure a moment of peace until the next shoe drops or the next scandal arises.

It’s kind of like a “let them eat cake” mentality that the ruling class dismissed the majority populace with and which often led to class rebellion in many countries all around the world. Riverside’s not quite like that as in our city that most often happens at the voting polls, but the dismissive attitude that Salvador seems to espouse which reflects the leadership he’s defending even in the wake of revelations about criminal investigations at City Hall and the police department, is actually going to just ensure more of the same.

Why? Because with this kind of attitude, it’s read by many as tacit permission to continue with inappropriate behavior at a building which belongs to the city residents and is leased to those who currently occupy it in four year increments. In Salvador, the behavior is just his read on the situation but when elected officials and city management have an arrogant and dismissive attitude even in the face of the revelations of the past few days, it’s much more destructive than just about anything can be to this city.

Anyway, the text below is what appeared on the blog. Criminal conduct and scandalous behavior accompanied with a complete lack of accountability that continues to this day is equated with “ past city trifles” and if you don’t go along to get along (the unwritten motto of the ‘Hall), then you’re hateful and destructive. It’s ironic that someone who advertises that he prints the truth that others keep hidden is actually encouraging the hiding of truth by framing it on generalized personality traits that all people exhibit in one form or another because human beings after all, are very complex.

(excerpt, The Truth Publication)

The Press-Enterprise columnist Dan Bernstein and the author of the Five Before Midnight blog, Mary Shelton, insist in digging into past city trifles, instead of being positive and constructive.

With the hiring of a new Chief of Police, the negative events of February 8, 2010, its horrible aftermaths and other past controversial issues should be put to rest, and we should concentrate in the present and promising future of our town.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who love and construct, and those who hate and destroy.

Wow, indeed. Is the world really that black that white outside of Marvel Comics that only two types of people exist within it? If that were truly the case, it would be a very boring world indeed and the population of it would be much smaller because the truth is, most people don’t fall in one extreme or the other but lie within these two extremes. But I have to say that I’m glad to be paired with someone like Bernstein who I deeply respect and enjoy reading. It’s nice to be included in such good company as I’ve enjoyed reading his insightful and entertaining columns through the years.

Unlike Salvador, I believe that in this column where he writes about “parallel universes”, Bernstein is spot on. He’s talking about the “truths” that most people want to keep hidden and during these difficult times, that’s very important and it’s actually much more a means of finding both a constructive and positive pathway through all this disgrace and scandal to something much, much better. Hiding from the truth and advocating that others do so in concert has never, ever led to anything that’s constructive and positive in any truly meaningful way. In fact, history often shows including in Riverside that hiding from the truth and advocating that others do too, leads down to the opposite path towards the next civic crisis or scandal.

Sweeping dirt under the carpet and then telling people to hey, focus on that pretty painting still leaves the dirt beneath the carpet for someone else to address and clean up. It’s much better to compliment the painting with a clean floor, which will enhance its beauty further.

But to say that writing about the crazy, wild, illicit and ultimately disappointing conduct that's been going on at City Hall and some other places is leading the city down the path of destruction is kind of silly but it's interesting food for thought on a slow Sunday. But while he states that, he’s ignoring the individuals in power who were egotistical enough to put their personal need to play police officer over the police department which has suffered greatly on their watch. They don’t appear to be nearly as interested in its health or welfare as much as they are on how to exploits its resources including engaging in what’s clearly a very problematic guns transaction. One that was so questionable that the city had to confiscate the weapons and then resell them through a local gun dealer in order to essentially to launder the illegal transaction and let the players involved in it off the hook. Would this same treatment be afforded to individuals who aren’t in powerful positions including people like Salvador or would he and others be treated more severely? And even after this had transpired, city management employees still believed they were in the position to point fingers at other city employees and aver about how they needed to treat all people equally under the law.

Obviously the double standard is still alive and well even if it's not called that.

My outlook on this whole situation is just clearly different, that's all than this other blogger and my opinion is that if anything were to destroy this city, it's the corrupt behavior that apparently has been taking place both inside City Hall and its satellite, the Riverside Police Department. And the sad part of it, is that those who engage in it frankly don't give a damn about it. After all, they know who will remain silent to protect them. What do you think happens when you have high ranking employees running amok without anyone keeping them accountable, when those who should be doing that job have sold or given away all of their accountability mechanism piecemeal to the employees running amok. Just like Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's epic story, they have lost control of their creation and people are essentially being told not to notice.

In both City Hall and the police department, the majority of employees who do the work (even as some of them have to file lawsuits to protect themselves in the workplace) even as there are layoffs and vacancies are professionals and also public servants who carry out the work in this city. They are bearing the brunt of the negativity for the actions and decisions taken by others including those who had held their trust as well. Yet that's nothing but a "trifle", rather than confront it and deal with it, just move along and say, there's that nice looking tree over there.

But in both venues above, there's serious problems involving the people who lead and manage them. In both places, the people at the type are showing quite clearly through their actions and their words to justify those actions that they don't give a whit about the people below them who will be the ones who pay the consequences for those actions and the distrust that is generated from them by city residents. And the arrogance of these belief systems is what's hateful and destructive, and yet that's apparently seen as a "trifle" as well, even as its impact on this city continues unabated because no one in power is willing to take any responsibility for it and the damage it's caused.

Riverside has many nice and positive things about it, mostly the people who populate it, but the behavior of those who run it has been somewhat lacking and very, very disappointing. If it keeps going on the way it does, this sentiment will help define the decisions that voters make in the next round of city council elections next year. And maybe feed the anti-incumbency sentiment in this city which has already sent three city council members into retirement in both 2007 and 2009 and appears poised to send at least a fourth one when votes are cast next spring. Because while this other blogger might be hearing otherwise, most of the discussions I have had about my blog are how people are furious and upset with what's been going on at City Hall in the past few months, even years. And the fact that what's been written about here and in the press so far, is just the tip of the iceberg.

When I look around for what's positive and nice, I just don't see it in City Hall these days certainly not in the chambers of power. But then I don't go there to socialize, I go there to do my part as a resident to redress the government even when it treats me and others rudely for doing so. I go there for answers to questions that myself and many others have been asking but unfortunately, except for a party line and there by those at the top, not much is released that's really the truth. And unfortunately, if you're really interested in what's true, you're not going to really find while trying to work yourself inside its power structure. And all these sordid developments that are spilling out of the walls of City Hall are probably the major reason why.

The city government will spend an hour with developers who line their campaign coffers yet only afford city residents three minutes in front of them and they'll sit there in their chairs like Councilman Steve Adams, a key player in some of these events and listen to developers who line their pockets yet when they have to hear the public speak, you have people like Adams who get up and walk out of the chambers until the public comment period is over. Yet the sheer arrogance of that kind of behavior is but a mere "trifle". No actually it's that arrogance that apparently led Adams to factor into the decision making involving at least three high-ranking management positions involving two male lieutenants and the "fat bitch". But again, the public wasn't supposed to know about these mere "trifles", they were to be kept secret so that people would both never know and then be given the bill to pay so that the city government could do its best to ensure that this information be kept secret.

It would be refreshing at moments like these to look at City Hall as a positive and constructive place of doing business and there are many times when in the more smaller, every day ways that it fits this bill. But right now, it's clear that there is another uglier, more destructive side of it which is responsible for the scandalous incidents which have only recently come to light. The mere "trifles" that people are supposed to walk by and ignore what's in front of them and say, that building looks pretty nifty.

Some people in high places at the 'Hall appear to be too busy doing other things like shielding employees who run around decking themselves out like cops and covering up illicit behavior and when it does finally erupt, dismissing people's concern and outrage by saying it's "old news".

When in reality, it's just old news to the people who engaged in it and anyone who helped them cover it up from public exposure. The fact that three criminal probes were conducted by the State Attorney General's office the first 24 months that Hudson and DeSantis came into their positions should really alarm most people and the reaction that I've heard about what's been going on is that it does just that. But what's even more disturbing to hear is that there's a feeling of resignation that goes with it, in that people aren't even surprised anymore and they just shake their heads and say, what do you expect, this is River City after all. And that's the biggest shame of all, but those in City Hall who believed that they were above accountability, transparency and the laws that govern the rest of the city through their own destructive behavior placed City Hall in that position. Simply reporting and writing on what's plainly there, isn't destructive except to those with interests in maintaining the status quo.

But the city has many positive things about it and once you leave the 'Hall and its scandals, you don't have to look hard to find them.

It's people in the city helping each other, helping neighbors, officers lending a helping hand in different ways and neighborhood block parties to welcome new people. Coming together to work on issues in their communities and neighborhoods even as City Hall tries to pick and choose which community and neighborhoods to "register" and which to "officially" recognize which is just silly because these organizations belong to those who create and join them. They don't belong nor are they the property of City Hall.

I found the blog very interesting, its criticisms more personalized than the response you'll find to it here which is intended to focus on the larger issue of whether the person drives the story or the story drives the person. The answer's often both but it would be irresponsible as a blogger in the face of all this disgraceful conduct by individuals at City Hall and inside the police department to just ignore it. Just as it would be to ignore the fact that despite all these scandals, there are many good people as well who do great things.

I'm responding to it here because it does bring up some interesting issues. Obviously he and I blog for very, very different reasons and I respect his reasons and his hard work at trying to promote the city and those at City Hall who he's friendly with but I don't share that same vocational zeal to promote City Hall especially when there's already well paid employees there to do just. But it's ironic that a blog that states that it posts the truth that others try to hide is essentially advocating other bloggers and media personnel to keep the truths that have only begun to emerge with how City Hall really does business hidden from the public. But on a personal level, to each his own.

Especially not when City Hall is engaging in some conduct that I and many other city residents feel has created an environment of anger, distrust and in some cases, resignation about the city, its government and its police department. It didn't take many people to cast the ongoing reality show about the incident involving Leach and his DUI crash but it doesn't always take a lot of people to do serious damage especially if those who are involved, are in positions of power and status in this city. Unfortunately, if I do as this blogger recommends which is essentially to go along to get along and bury my head in the sand, it's only a matter of time until the next breach of trust and scandal breaks because this isn't an isolated incident, this is really part of an ongoing pattern and practice in River City. And ironically, what's going on in the Fox Theater (which is this blogger's issue of passion and he's done a good job exposing that mess) is very much entrenched in that same pattern and this blogger appears to recognize it, but unfortunately doesn't appear to see the larger landscape.

Okay, it's a bit simplistic to define the world that way in black and white when most of it is actually gray but if we use that definition to define people who want an accountable City Hall as hateful and destructive and those who would rather maintain that status quo of corruption and deception as "love and constructive" that doesn't seem like a very good world to live in. When city employees and elected officials are allowed to break or use their privilege to bend the laws that govern most of us, and those who happen to have a problem with that are seen as the bigger problem. When chiefs go driving drunk and get sent home instead of being booked and cited, and believe it or not, the city residents were never, ever supposed to find out that there was even an accident. The reason that we all know about it has nothing to do with the police department's management, nothing to do with the city management or anyone at City Hall. If Mayor Ron Loveridge was tipped off about it by the anonymous woman, do you really believe that he would have ever let the public know or issued a public release about it? Based on the actions taking place at City Hall on Feb. 8 and after that, probably not. The media outlets banging on their doors and windows forced the city government's hand on that issue.

If you believe that Loveridge would have called a press conference to talk about it, then you really haven't been following his mayoral career for the past 17 years and you probably believe in the tooth fairy too. And when a police chief who's supposed to direct the enforcement of the law instead breaks up and then is left off the hook because of his position, the public most definitely had the right to know about it. And City Hall and the politicians that the voters entrusted to among other things be accountable and honest, have the obligation to step up to the plate and tell them before the heat's turned on and they're forced to do so. And unfortunately, Riverside's City Hall only told the public because it was forced to do so. There's nothing really constructive or positive about that "trifle".

The investigation of Leach's criminal conduct that was farmed out to another agency was farmed out the afternoon after the incident when the media outlets like the Press Enterprise began burning up the phones at City Hall and the police department turning both places into pressure cookers. It might have been just at that point that both entities realized they could no longer contain Leach's drunken behavior.

In reality what's been done by City Hall and the police management in the past few months and even earlier is well more destructive than anything that's been written about it. Whether it's hateful or not, you'd have to ask the cast of characters in both places who had their finger prints all over this mess from even before Leach was pulled over by two police officers, roaring drunk and inside a heavily damaged city-owned vehicle.

No, the reason why the residents of this city even know the truth is because individuals who knew about it and believed it was wrong including the cover up took tremendous risks to expose it. City Manager Brad Hudson didn't want anyone to know. Asst. City Manager didn't want anyone to know. Acting Chief John DeLaRosa didn't want anyone to know. Loveridge didn't want anyone to know. City Attorney Gregory Priamos took steps so that no one would know, telling his own bosses that alcohol was not involved in the accident, then reviewing a highly questionable report so a now-departed deputy chief could sign it (which the city hid by not releasing the signed copy to the media and public). Priamos also disallowed any document or record that could have potentially linked him to the incident from being released to the media (including Santana's blog)by claiming attorney/client privilege when he could have taken out a felt tip marker and redacted anything referring to that privilege.

But clearly not everyone stayed silent on this criminal behavior and its cover up and the city residents should be very thankful for that. It's hopeful to know that even while those in powerful positions either have nothing to say even in the wake of apparently illegal conduct involving some denizens of city council, are providing glowing reviews of these individuals or put a tight lid on it that there are people out there who think differently and act accordingly in a city that's more punitive against the messenger than it is against the individuals like Leach who play starring roles in their messages. In a story where there's villains, there are heroes too and they are just as complexly drawn because it's a complicated world we all live in.

Salvador has his obviously very strong opinion and it's fine and since he's friends with most of the people who's behavior's being called out on the carpet, it's understanding that he might want to ignore it and it's understanding that he might not want anyone else to pay attention to it either. But sorry Salvador, but my readership just doesn't seem to agree with you about. Many of the readers that I speak to from all corners have a serious problem with what's going on in this city and those entrusted to run it, manage it and some of those who make the decisions involving police it.

I don't go to City Hall to make friends and I'm sure there are some people there who would rather I don't darken their chambers and hallways at all. But this building belongs to the people of Riverside and we lease it to those who occupy it and every four years those leases come up for renewel. I'm a civic watch dog and I've never been shy about that because I believe that government is at its most constructive and positive self when it's treating everyone equally and fairly and when it remembers that it works for the people of Riverside and not the other way around.

Government is by the people, for the people and every once in a while, it needs that reminder especially during times that this city's faced in the past few months.

What's "trifle" about This Photograph?

Got Cold Plates?

[The sheet which shows the listing of cars to be cold plated in the city's motor pool. Notice that there's a familiar name on this list which hasn't been yet associated with this practice which was determined to be illegally done and it's someone who at the time was on the dais. That name was added "per" DeSantis. It's not clear whether or not the cars actually listed on this form were issued cold plates. Click the picture to enlarge it.]

Two Different Police Employees

Two Different Roles

Which One Still Works for the City?

[Former Police Lieutenant Darryl Hurt who's being paid as part of a settlement of his lawsuit not to show up for work because City Hall wanted him out of the department that badly. After the disturbing situation involving the badges, guns and cold plates which he and Lt. Tim Bacon, who's also received similar terms, exposed in their lawsuits, it's not difficult to see why. When Hurt and Bacon turn 50, they will be officially retired.]

[Acting Police Chief John DeLaRosa who remains in that position making the decisions that police chiefs make even though he's been implicated in the mishandling of Leach's DUI stop and where he adopted the tactic exercised by city management which when caught, is to throw a subordinate under the bus. DeLaRosa announced his retirement, saying he made poor decisions but was it to avoid termination?]

To be continued...including a list of constructive recommendations to address this pattern of negative and destructive behavior

And in case you missed it...another plug for Bernstein, my co-partner in hateful and destructive behavior.

Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein analyzes the gun, badges and untraceable plates storyline and he hits many great points.


City Hall, including at least one elected, dismisses this top-level law breakage as old news. But just because the Glocks are now kosher and badges have been returned and cars now have legit plates, doesn't mean the illegal acts never occurred or the wannabe ardor has cooled. This makes it hard to trust Hudson and other City Hallsters who profess surprise at the Leachable Moments -- not just the DUI, but the behavior so many have said preceded it.

Renaissancers say move on, but emerging from the Dark Ages ain't easy.

The city just paid $550K to two ex-RPD lieutenants who accused council members 'n' city bosses of derailing their careers. (The crack city attorney had said the case had no merit.) Tim Bacon and Darryl Hurt will also retire at top captains' pay.

The city manager supervised a boozing chief. When he resigned, Hudson replaced him with an acting chief who didn't act.

Now, Hudson has appointed a new chief who will report to a guy (Hudson) with a concealed weapons fetish and a sidekick (DeSantis) who shares a salivary zeal to possess the tools 'n' trappings of copdom.

Hiring interviews are secret. But I'd love to know how the new chief, Sergio Diaz, reacted when Hudson said, "And of course I'll need a helicopter. And a taser."

The most he should get is a beanie with a propeller.

The death of a CHP officer

Public Meetings

Tuesday, June 15 at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The city council will meet and discuss this agenda. On the consent calendar is this item detailing the city's attempts to apply for 15 new police officer positions through the Department of Justice's COPs office grant. This process is so competitive that for every $1 spent under the program, there was $9 requested. The city applied for this money last year but didn't get any.

Coming Soon...

The Mad, Mad World of Orange Street Station:

The Walls of Shame

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