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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pay Attention to What's Behind the Curtain

"Just how much do we pay these two guys? I know it is over 6 figures each and yet they couldn't even cough up to buy their own glocks and holsters. My wife is a school teacher making a lot less, and she buys all kinds of stuff for her job from her own pocket. The reason it is important for us to look at their behavior with the guns, badges, cold plates, weapons permits, shredding documents asked for in a public records requst, is this.... if we can't trust them to do the right thing when no one is looking on this stuff, how can we trust them with the billions of tax payer dollars being spent with Riverside Renaissance? I think is was a mistake for the council to turn over so much power and oversight to these people."

----"Guest", Press Enterprise

Our values lie in a government that helps its citizens in a timely way to obtain information. Our values lie in a broadening base of public participation, involvement and interest, providing new ideas and energy.
Our values lie not in hiding embarrassment and unpleasant occurrences. Our values lie not in preventing dissent.

---Riverside City Charter

To each his own as another blogger chastises the Press Enterprise for essentially doing its job as a media outlet which is to report the news including that which happens in Riverside. This was in response to the series of articles the publication did on the guns, plates and badges scandals that they wrote after conducting interviews and researching documents including sworn testimony by various figures at City Hall and inside the police department. Then the publication wrote articles and editorials on what it called the city's "spotty" record in complying with public document requests. It did so because it didn't receive copies of all the documents it received through requests under the state's public's record act. If the city had complied with those requests as required by law, then it's more than probable there wouldn't have been coverage of this issue including the disappearance and probable destruction of documents at City Hall.

The blogging raises some interesting points and certainly has the right to criticize the press but doesn't really poise a convincing argument on why city residents shouldn't be concerned about what's transpired in the city and has come to light in recent press coverage. It doesn't offer a viable alternative to the choice to push for better accountability and transparency inside Riverside's City Hall in the light of the events of the past few months and even longer. It essentially tells people to just accept what's happened because look at all the good these people do, which is the most oft used excuse used in cases when corruption and wrongdoing in the public sector come to light. In fact, the city leaders in Bell California are using the same excuses to justify their monstrous salaries they earn or pay their employees.

It labels legal violations involving gun sales as "naivete" by seasoned administrative employees saying that the newspaper's painting a much worse picture than things really are. Well, because this person knows it to be true and has sworn under God. That's well and good and the city management is fortunate to have such a loyal supporter in its corner but the tentative argument that public officials have the right to arm and equip themselves like officers even in ways that circumvent the law and then hide that fact from the public might be a bit difficult to sell in the current climate in Riverside.

The version of the "truth" that the Press Enterprise wrote is viewed as being worse than the reality by this blogger, yet there's not much in the way of support material provided to contest what the Press Enterprise has presented in its series of articles on some disturbing incidents that took place inside City Hall. These events took place between 2005 and 2008, including those which attracted the attention of criminal investigators from the State Attorney General's office. Having reviewed quite a bit of documentation including that involving those scandals, it's provided a bit of foundation to understand that it's quite possible that what the Press Enterprise diligently reported is but a tip of a very big iceberg. Meaning if what's reported is disturbing (and many city residents did agree), then what is going on that hasn't been reported? It would have been interesting to see this blogger explain further why he or they don't believe that what's come to light is an issue that should concern city residents and any supportive material he or they might have to delineate that thesis.

In the meantime, questions are still being asked and concerns are being raised at least in this corner of the universe, outside the shadow of City Hall. It's one thing to swear before God that people are really sincere and nice. It's another to try to sell alternate ways of looking at the recent transgressions simply because they involve powerful individuals at City Hall. This isn't actually about whether people are "nice" or not. This is about what kind of behavior is being engaged in at City Hall when no one appears to be watching in light of what's come to light when attention has been paid to it.

Are the guns, badges and cold plates scandals isolated events, or part of a larger pattern and practice of problematic behavior and decision making at City Hall? That's a question that this blogger runs into very often from those who have been following what's been happening and to say that people are concerned is a bit of an understatement at this point. It's a bit condescending to tell people that it's much ado about nothing...just because. The Press Enterprise no doubt spent hours, days and weeks working on its stories and had to resort to hiring attorneys to try to obtain documents that should have been available to them upon requests because there are state laws in place that dictate so. Were those laws followed, is another question on the growing list of them.

Was it right for the city to thwart the attempts of reporters to uncover the truth about what's going on, that which others might have wanted to keep hidden? Was it for or against the interest of the people, meaning city residents, that City Hall is supposed to serve to keep all this hidden for several years, preferably forever or at least until it became "old news". Was it instead in the best interests of a select group of players at City Hall to keep everyone else in the dark? And doesn't City Hall realize that by doing so, it feeds into the nature of humans to become even more curious? After all, when you're essentially being told not to look behind the curtain isn't it natural to want to take a better look?

What the Press Enterprise is doing investigative reporting and writing about what happens in this city including inside its halls of power. To this, I saw bravo because that's the media's job as the fourth estate is to report on the news including what's being done by local government and it's not like the reporters and their editors and publishers of this publication have had to look too hard or wide to find plenty to write about involving City Hall. It's hardly the media's fault that the news coming out of the 'Hall just isn't so good lately. Tales of illegal actions ranging from creating and issuing badges, to illicit guns sales to the destruction or denial of public records are what's taking place on the Fifth and Seventh Floors of the publicly owned headquarters for the city's government.

Is the press supposed to ignore it because it's being done by what one media outlet calls "nice people" under oath to God? And being in the media doesn't spare you from attacks by "crazy" or upset people either as the Press Enterprise's lobby is manned by security personal to screen anyone who enters presumably to protect its employees. The publication that I wrote for, the Black Voice News, received numerous anonymous threats and had over 20 of its news racks seized by the city upon the order of City Hall and was singled out as the only publication in Riverside required to purchase a $1 million insurance policy. Most likely, for not writing what the city wanted people to read. Later, the publication settled a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court with the city of Riverside.

Inland Empire Weekly was pulled from the downtown main library several years ago after running several critical articles on Riverside's City Hall including its banishment of several code enforcement workers to a metal shack at the city's corporate yard after they filed grievances against the city. Public inquiry led to its restoration soon after.

Politics isn't the only profession that can be dangerous or where people can be attacked.

Many reporters, which this blogger did refer to, have been victims of threats and others have been kidnapped, murdered and tortured in many different countries around the world from Colombia to Iraq to Mexico to the Philippines. I knew a woman who as a little girl in Guatemala saw her father get grabbed from his home late one night by military guards working for the Guatemalan government and he was never seen again. But then hundreds of thousands of people died in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, their bones the only testaments to what they endured when they were uncovered years later in mass graves to be identified. Editors and publishers in these and other countries were subjected to having their offices bombed or being killed for reporting what happened in their countries. Do these reporters carry firearms or would it help them to do so? That might be an individualized decisions in their cases.

It's likely that the first woman's father lie in one of those unmarked mass graves simply for being a journalist. Another girl I went to school with lost her father, an NBC cameraman who among with others including a congressman was ambushed and murdered by members of Jim Jones cult in Guyana at an airstrip. From what witnesses said, even while badly injured, he filmed what happened around him until a cult member came and killed him with a final gunshot to the head. People were shocked including students because no one saw that side of journalism where one's life could end abruptly on an airstrip in a country thousands of mile away from home.

Back at the compound, over 900 people drank the fatal Kool-aid and fed it to their children. Ironically, the delegation sent to Guyana hadn't planned to file any complaints against Jones about the conditions of the compound.

[One of the last images taken by NBC cameraman Bob Brown before his murder in Guyana by members of Jim Jones cult who drove up in that tractor trailer. The man standing there is one of the men who fired shots as seen in this video (which depicts the shootings).]

Daniel Pearl was beheaded by terrorists who kidnapped him.

It's not always a safe world for reporters either though in the United States, reporters don't have to worry about such violent incidents within this country's borders. But if we keep in mind the politicians who do a dangerous job, then the same applies to the journalists to whom a democratic and free society wouldn't exist either. And guess what? People feel free to criticize both as they should living in a world where people express opinions and ask questions. That's just as it should be. And then what can't be forgotten are the other professions that are necessary for a democratic and free society as well that are even more risky than either politics or journalism.

Let's just toss out the straw man argument made by the blogger that reporting on what goes on in City Hall in anyway makes you responsible for anything remotely close to the 1998 shooting at City Hall which had nothing to do with the media writing about City Hall or even city residents coming down and criticizing it. I remember that morning quite well as I was on my way to attend the redevelopment agency meeting on an issue pertaining to the homeless since I co-chaired my church's social action committee and arrived when individuals were being taken out of the council chambers including on stretchers as was at one point, the gunman himself. I had seen the gunman attend city council meetings several times before and he never went up to the podium and spoke on any issue including his termination from his part-time job with the city. He mainly stood in the back of the room quietly as others said including at the trial.

I also attended part of that criminal trial (which included surveillance video footage of part of what transpired) which led to Neale's conviction on multiple attempted murder and weapons charges landing him a sentence of life in prison up in Pelican Bay State Penitentiary. Several of his victims never fully recovered from their injuries, requiring multiple surgeries and being forced in one case to retire. The only elected official left from that era was Mayor Ron Loveridge as others retired or were voted out of office. And some of the police officers who saved their lives have left the department since that day as well including then Lt. Darryl Hurt who was part of the make-shift emergency response team that the department put together so it could quickly respond to the unfolding emergency. This team was led by the Internal Affairs lieutenant and included individuals including the department's public information officer as not much time could be afforded to put it together given the speed that the incident unfolded early in the morning. They would go on to earn Medals of Valor, law enforcement's highest honor, in 2001.

Hurt would go on to face retaliation in the workplace including by some of those currently at City Hall and would later settle a lawsuit with the city detailing that harassment and retaliation for his activities as the leader of a labor organization. One wonders if the current residents of City Hall remember his actions in that dark morning in 1998.

[Former Lt. Darryl Hurt, one of a team of police officers who risked his life responding to the City Hall shootings in 1998. Later, because of his activities as president of the Riverside Police Administrators' Association, he alleged that he faced retaliation by some including those currently residing at Riverside's City Hall.]

Just to show that the fates of those who responded to the emergency that morning went in disparate directions. That a hero one day, can be seen as a "disgruntled" employee the next as Hurt was labeled by some individuals at City Hall especially after filing a lawsuit against the city.

It was one of the worst mornings and days in Riverside's history and everyone who was at City Hall that morning certainly felt that as well as Riverside. But for the heroic actions, it could have been much worse.

Neale's decision to use a gun to terrorize, harm and try to kill people had nothing to do with being a citizen criticizing city government or the media writing about it, his was an incident of an event that's happened before in this country which is workplace violence.

Workplace violence involving current or former employees (often those who are terminated) has taken place in both the public and private sector and the causes are very different from those involving city residents or media criticizing city government. But workplace violence, much of which is increasingly domestic violence, fortunately is still involved in a very small minority of workplace interactions that take place in both the private and public sectors every day in this country. The overwhelming percentage of workers in both labor areas do not engage in violent behavior.

The most devastating example in terms of loss of life took place when David Burke fired for petty theft from U.S. Airways bypassed security with his work credentials (which weren't confiscated) and got a gun on an airplane where he possibly confronted and killed the president of the company and possibly then the two pilots of the aircraft causing 43 people to be killed. Neale's violent acts fit in this category when you compare and contrast his incident with similar events.

But anyway, straw men aside, the blog posting in a sense brings up the issue of what's the role of media outlets like the Press Enterprise are supposed to do when allegations of corruption and illegal behavior by denizens of leadership and management positions are brought to them or they uncover suspicions that such has taken place. They can ignore them and try to counter what's going on by pointing to a shiny object and saying, "let's focus on this instead". It's not like that never did happen in the past several years on many serious issues impacting City Hall. Though the publication was undergoing some serious hemorrhaging like many print publications were during the recession which along with the internet hit print journalism severely. The Press Enterprise either bought out or laid off most of its experienced journalists in the past several years.

In fact, one of the few remaining veterans with the publication is David Danelski who covered the Riverside City Hall beat around the time of the 1998 City Hall shootings and was reassigned to Riverside at least to cover more stories, many of which involved City Hall. With his assignment, the timbre of coverage of local government began to change markedly which shouldn't be surprising given his background. The Feb. 8 DUI incident involving the former Riverside police chief catalyzed more focus on the aftermath of that incident because frankly, the reading public including many city residents demanded it.

I was interviewed by Danelski about what transpired at the city council meeting this week involving the Mystery of the Reappearing At Will Contracts. The same contracts being waved around by Hudson as being available were unable to be found by City Attorney Gregory Priamos as being unable to be found, after one of the police associations had to pay an attorney to try to obtain what anyone should have easily received as a public document under the California Public Records Act and under the city charter's amendment 201 that was passed by over 90% of the city's voters in November 2004. City residents, labor unions and everyone else have the legal right to this public information.

How any journalist can defend individuals or define them or their behavior as "good" for not releasing public documents is difficult to understand. But then that's the dangers of being too personally close to the individuals the public entrusts you to write the "truth" about. It's a difficult road to navigate and it's the individual decision on how to do that.

It's not wrong to be "friends" with people that are part of your beat but you still should keep that apart from what you write if you're going to write the "truth" about government. I've been accused off-handedly of hating this person or that one because I write things that are critical of their actions, which isn't true. The focus on City Hall has involved actions of those inside of it. For example, it can be fascinating to watch a Hudson in action essentially selling used cars to people clearly honed from years of experience at doing at but I'd never buy one from him. And witnessing a city council/management form of government actually pull a reversal in those roles is also very interesting even though the results of that dynamic haven't been healthy for Riverside. How does that type of switch in the balances of power in City Hall come to be?

And to ignore what's been transpiring at the 'Hall because I'm friendly with people there would be to ignore the concerns of the majority of my readership who are very concerned about these issues and about what's going on with their government. You know, the one they helped elect into office as part of one of this nation's most fundamental and vital democratic processes. I don't feel any interest and obligation in doing Riverside's public relation work for it because that city's already hired very talented people at generous salaries to do just that and that's not the role I'd choose. But maybe our respective readerships are very different (not to mention that of the Press Enterprise) in what interests them and there's nothing wrong with that. My readership tends to lean towards those who question city government's actions including those involving the management of the police department that's just been forced to rebuild itself for the second time in a decade. A healthy democracy welcomes that kind of questioning and even criticism and in Riverside, the time is certainly ripe for both from its constituency.

Many city residents including likely many voters have been upset, furious and very concerned by what's transpired in the past few months. Many of these city residents don't have places at the trough at City Hall and many of them don't attend social galas with the denizens of City Hall. Many of them don't spend a lot of time at City Hall or refer to individuals there by their first names. Many people do expect an accountable and transparent government that maintains a healthy infrastructure that provides and promotes jobs and basic services without bankrupting the city's future in a sea of debt. Things like public safety departments, the libraries, the streets, museums and utilities with a process of accountability and transparency attached. It should be seen as a very positive thing that city residents are concerned enough about the very fundamentals of a democratic government to express their opinions on the very undemocratic behavior that has been taking place within its walls. Many people called both the police department and City Hall furious with what's been taking place in the past few months and more and more that displeasure if you'll call it that is centered on those at City Hall and less at the police department which is as it should be.

It's been interesting talking to city residents who've read my blog about how they are upset about what's been unfolding at City Hall and want to become more actively involved in instituting political change in this city for a more accountable and ethical not to mention transparent City Hall. One of the biggest concerns is that the elected officials at City Hall including Loveridge have been pretty much silent on everything that's taken place including disclosed conduct involving their direct employees. Why aren't they saying or doing anything, many a person has asked for good reason. Where is the leadership at City Hall and why is it so quiet is pretty close to begin the top questions asked by readers of both this blog and probably the Press Enterprise as well. It remains to be seen how loudly that question is asked during the pivotal election cycle next year when four city council seats are up for reelection and the candidates are already lined up, with at least two female challengers set to face off against incumbent Mike Gardner in Ward One and it's still early. Not to mention between one to three candidates including John Brandriff ready to compete for the seat currently held by Councilman Steve Adams. Don't be surprised if the elections get a bit crowded next year because Riverside's voters have shown an anti-incumbent bent which has already sent three councilmen to early retirement since 2007.

It's not the Press Enterprise or any media outlet that's led to this tendency of Riverside's voters to fire elected officials including Dom Betro, Art Gage and Frank Schiavone, not to mention narrowly doing the same to Adams. Even current mayoral candidate and former councilman, Ed Adkison opted out of running for reelection in 2007, apparently astute enough to read the political climate in Riverside against the council's GASS/BASS quartet members. The city's watched candidates elected through grass roots campaigns turn into development darlings including Betro which hasn't done much for their political longetivity.

[Current Ward One Councilman Mike Gardner who won in a grass-roots election faces a tougher political climate next year with candidates already lining up to run against him.]

[Councilman Steve Adams narrowly avoided being ousted from his seat by nary a dozen votes in 2007. This time around, he's facing up to three or more political challengers in 2011. ]

But it's this section that I wanted to address specifically as someone who's been following what's been going on with the city's police department for over 10 years including its relationships with the communities of Riverside and city government. What former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer called the tripartate relationship of the stake holders in public safety in this city. I had the opportunity to talk about this in greater depth with Lockyer which was helpful.

(excerpt, The Truth Publication)

But we see above that, we see how they have transformed and made progress to a city in such short period of time. They have made of Riverside a proud town, a modern one. The way the crisis in the Police Department was handled it was a masterpiece of administrative skills. The Renaissance Program is the best thing has taken place in the City of Arts and Renovation. And we strongly support their rights to be well armed for their own protection, despite naïve shortcomings in technicalities.

Let's talk about the "crisis" involving the police department which forced it into in depth reorganization for the second time since 1999. The reorganization last time came as the outcome of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Tyisha Miller and the investigations including by Lockyer's office which resulted from that critical incident. It spent much of its five-year period of the city's stipulated judgment with Lockyer's office undergoing that process from top to bottom which was pretty exhaustive not to mention expensive. Seriously whoever would have thought before Feb.8, 2010 that the department would be facing the same situation, different critical incident again? But if you go back and reexamine what had been taking place including the revelations that came to light in part because of lawsuits filed by two former lieutenants including the aforementioned Hurt, what happened was pretty much inevitable. As it turned out, due to what has transpired within the past five years and likely even earlier than that, the department itself lived on borrowed time that finally ran out on the early morning hours of Feb. 8, 2010.

It's certainly not going to make many people happy at City Hall to hear that but it's the truth, the real truth and there's plenty of documentation including that of which City Hall tried to keep under wraps to support that position. Mel Opotowsky ( a former managing editor of the Press Enterprise) researched and wrote an op-ed piece posted here that I received a lot of feedback on which outlined a chronology of problems that former Chief Russ Leach allegedly had with alcohol. Problems that Hudson and Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis had to know about and most likely did despite Hudson's assertions that he knew nothing about Leach's problematic drinking and intoxication in public places. Incidents that were reported long before the Feb. 8 incident. Some people have asked, what were Hudson, DeSantis and City Attorney Gregory Priamos (who shortly after Leach's DUI incident reportedly denied alcohol was involved to elected officials) thinking when all this took place?

City management was strongly implicated in the lawsuits that were filed by the two lieutenants, the one that the city recently settled for a sizable amount on the eve of trial in U.S. District Court. That trial was to have taken place on April 20 and the lawsuits filed by Hurt and Lt. Tim Bacon were settled not long before that. The last thing the city wanted in the wake of the Leach incident and its aftermath was to have many of the issues that contributed to the scandal put on public display inside a public forum called a courtroom. The city after all hasn't fared all that well in labor lawsuits including those which have gone to trial in front of a jury. And praising the reorganization of the police department as a "masterpiece of administrative skills" by city management is kind of like praising someone who broke something of great value with patching it back together. Because that's what City Hall did including its masterful city management team was that they did far more damage to the police department than they ever did it any good. If they hadn't micromanaged the police department with a free pass from their employers, the city government for the past five years, then there would have been any need to demonstrative any administrative skills, masterful or mediocre, involving the rebuilding of the police department in the first place.

The city had to pay to retire six employees including at least two medical retirements and to pay up to three high ranking personnel including a chief to come in from the outside. And the city will pay out more in lawsuits related to wrongful termination including in the case of a detective fired not long after criticizing then acting chief, John DeLaRosa in a roll call bull session, by DeLaRosa. If the city had been led and managed competently including its police department, none of this would have been necessary especially so soon after the dissolution of the stipulated judgment.

There's quite a bit of work product (apparently not destroyed or "lost" at City Hall) on the trio of scandals involving badges, cold plates and illicit gun sales, it's provided a foundation to work with when figuring out what went wrong with the handling of the police department. Enough to know that naivete about the technicalities of abiding by state law including when acquiring firearms and permits to carry them is probably not the principal cause of what happened here.

Both individuals purport to have extensive experience in administration with DeSantis touting his experience in law enforcement administration through the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to stumble over laws pertaining to guns acquisition, sales, badges and cold plates. In addition, DeSantis has extensive experience as a public information officer with Riverside County and thus would be expected to well trained and versed in public information record laws. Enough to know that "drafts" and post-its, handwritten notes, even what's referred to as "chicken scratch" are all public documents when pertaining to city business or to amendments or changes made to other public records. And when it comes to average people, ignorance or naivete about technicalities has never constituted as an excuse to break laws. Something that Priamos in particular could have advised them on. The thing is too that if the actions of Hudson and DeSantis were truly involving "naivete about technicalities" at work, then the public probably would have been privy to these "mistakes" earlier than the summer of 2010. Why keep them hidden to the point where a large sum of tax money paid behind closed doors to keep these transgressions and the investigations which resulted a secret?

And one of the largest complaints since Feb. 8 has been the disparate ways that people are treated under the law than those in positions of privilege and power like police chiefs, city management and even elected officials. Too much so for some of us to be dismissive and say, well the reasons they committed the legal violations (to arm themselves) is more important than the laws themselves probably because of this status.
A philosophy not that many people in this city are buying into particularly lately.

And this list of wrongdoing can be blamed by some of Hudson and DeSantis' supporters as stemming from being naive about technicalities but the damage has clearly been done regardless. And there wouldn't be any need to praise anyone's administrative skills for essentially rebuilding the police department because it's likely that if it hadn't been for the hi-jinks in the past five years or so including at City Hall, as stated that this would have needed to be done again.

Because if the police department in particular is placed in the unenviable and outrageous position of being an illegal gun vendor by city management, then it's not pretty hard to figure out that the eventual outcome of callous, unethical and frankly self-serving behavior is that the city's residents once again are going to be left paying a hefty tab to restructure the police department that had just cost over $26 million to undergo that process in the same decade. Even before Feb. 8, there were definitive signs that the department was heading in a bad direction and facing serious problems within its walls especially up at its management level. And did the bad behavior and law breaking that apparently took place highest in the food chain impact what was going on at lower tiers as well?

Nearly a half dozen (well an even six if you count the former chief) officers arrested and prosecuted on a variety of crimes on and off duty. Seemingly random perhaps but when you examine the lawless attitudes of those that are higher up on the demand's chain of command (of which Hudson places himself at the top, higher than its chief), it seems less surprising that the department experienced an arrest and prosecution ratio of about 1 per 60 officers which is considerably higher than the national average in the profession. The vast majority of officers didn't commit criminal acts, didn't get arrested or charged but enough of those already at risk for various reasons did to cause people to really take a second look at the department especially after Feb. 8.

Enough was revealed in nearly all the cases to indicate deeper issues within the department including those addressing supervisory and especially management accountability. But is that really surprising that a shortage of management accountability could have a detrimental impact on those who are managed when up at the top, there are individuals breaking the law who are treated differently, those who cover up (even if it means destroying or "losing" documents) and apparently those who pick and choose which laws to obey and which to disregard. When caught it, they engaged in finger pointing most often at subordinate employees including the heads of the community development division and the police department. The police chief suggested the cold plates said DeSantis. Then former deputy chief, Dave Dominguez said in the Press Enterprise, no actually it was the city management who did. DeSantis then turns around and calls Dominguez "disgruntled" because he failed to be appointed as assistant chief while working in the police department.

Which is kind of funny when you think about it. Because if Dominguez were truly disgruntled and acting that way, you would think his disgruntlement would be aimed at the police chief who's after all, in charge of promotions and he would be saying, right on it's the police chief's fault! But Dominguez doesn't do that, he sides with Leach's contention that he didn't recommend the cold plating and asserted that city management (which presumably isn't in charge of police promotions, right?) was responsible for that mess. Then another former police employee, current Hemet Police Department Chief Richard Dana said that he had to remove cold plates from city administrators' vehicles there when he discovered their use in those circumstances violated state law. Dana said that city officials and city management employees had cold plated their cars while he worked in Riverside.

But it's interesting to read all this praise heaped on Hudson and DeSantis for their masterful skills with the police department when the city paid out a fair amount of money to avoid having the handling of the police department by these two men and a city council member or two being put on trial in front of a federal jury. So confident were the city council and mayor not to mention Priamos in the city management's strength in this area as a positive managing force for the police department that they apparently wanted no part of defending that contention at trial inside a public courtroom.

It's hard to ignore the city's transgressions in the past six months as part of a disturbing pattern and practice, the extent of which probably hasn't been realized at this point. It's fairly likely that there are more disturbing revelations to come and it doesn't serve the residents of Riverside to keep them hidden especially at their expense and to pretend that they are insignificant in the larger fabric of this city which is coming up on the eve of an election year.

San Jacinto's indicted elected officials who are currently facing recall should just resign already.

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