Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Friday, September 24, 2010

River City: Why the Ethics Code is Worth Less Than a Bucket of Warm Spit

[The directions given for the DUI checkpoint at the University and Park intersection in the Eastside, the most common location for similar checkpoints among the city's 28 neighborhoods according to stats provided on the DUI checkpoints going back several years.]

[Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz (l.) observes a DUI checkpoint being conducted at University and Park in the Eastside on Sept. 25 shortly after a controversial checkpoint conducted just outside St. Catherine's Church near Brockton.]

[Riverside Police Sgt. Duane May and Lt. Guy Toussaint from the Traffic Division supervise the DUI Checkpoint where four DUI arrests were conducted and 33 vehicles impounded.]

Even though there's a certain bar that's very well known and is located in the Riverside Plaza that allegedly has been the scene of numerous drunken brawls requiring police response, the Riverside Plaza area has seen very few DUI checkpoints even though city employees are among those who patronage it. In contrast, St. Catherine's Church was the focus of a recent DUI checkpoint where everyone attending the church had to leave through the DUI checkpoint. Maybe concerns that they hit the communal wine a bit too hard? It's great that drunken drivers have been arrested and taken out of circulation albeit not nearly enough of them but is a Catholic church the best place to roust them out?

How about spreading the checkpoints to other areas of the city including Wood Street where a woman cycling was the victim of a fatal hit and run several years ago in the early morning hours. Her killing still remains unsolved. And also run the checkpoints a bit later and end them later, when there are quite a few inebriated drinkers driving home from bars and strip clubs. Because when these businesses close, the inebriated patrons have to find some way to get home and many of them get behind the wheels of their cars that brought them there.

Just a thought from someone who was in a car accident involving a DUI driver. Not to mention going after businesses which knowingly sell alcohol to minors and also to inebriated individuals which unfortunately is still common in Riverside. Treat businesses with high police calls from drunken brawls more harshly in every area of the city including businesses in the Riverside Plaza, near Tyler Mall and remember that brawl where a man was nearly killed within 50 feet of a police station? The city's actually getting sued in state court over the latter incident which took place at Events near Magnolia and La Sierra.

The DUI checkpoints are funded through federal and state grants.

Ethics Complaints: Rejected

Hudson Takes Blame for Adams

"Someone ought to give Hudson a medal for jumping on that grenade for Adams."

---commenter at

I'm not buying Hudson's latest attempt to deceive. There's a simple way to prove it, however. A look at Hudson's cell phone records would show if he ever got a call from Adams, or his Public Works employees, that night. Even if the City wouldn't turn over the phone records to the newspaper, at least some Councilmen should ask him to show them so they will know the truth at least.

----commenter at

Naw, he owns Adams.
He will probably have him out washing his car this weekend.


Sorry the deadline was missed. But damage was still done. What a way to get out of things. How can anyone truly trust Adams. The voters should not.


If a complaint is filed with the Governmental Affairs Committee, then it needs to be considered by them and not the City Manager. It is always the same Councilmembers who find themselves at odds with the citizens and it always the same people who come to their rescue. Why did the City Manager make the decision to have the city staffers leave this meeting? Did the reporter who wrote this story ask this simple question? Did the Councilmember influence his decision? Perhaps, all of those who are involved in this matter should release their phone records. But then again, maybe this is why the Governmental Affairs Committe should have looked into this matter. This is how our City government works and until we the electorate vote these people out of office, we have no one to blame except ourselves. Maybe this will energize those voters to make this happen!!


the east side think tank didn't think this through too well. what stupidity and sloppiness on their part!!


the riverside coalition for police accountability is similarly incompetent. good job on accounting. you can't even count days.


who are the blowhard gasbags that can't stand to not hear themselves opine, but ignore something as basic as how to file a complaint?


useless malcontents. that's why they are not in positions of power or authority. that's why they are relegated to rabble-rousing, serving at the charity of the city government.


Loveridge says he is on his way out by his own choice. Good Riddance- take your phoney baloney Emerald City plan with you.

Andy Meledrez has said he will be running for Mayor next. He shouldn't be mayor. His concerns lay with the under privileged in our city, i.e. anchor babies and their illegal families.As if that's not enough, he has a smile that can kill a goat. A small time cover up is the least of strikes against the Sanctuary City Councilman.


[because of course being Latino means you're for Sanctuary Cities which incidentally Melendrez has never advocated for in his council tenure. ]

....ooops! Your Coupon has Expired. It was only good for 30 days. Some limitations may apply. Read fine print for details. Only one registered complaint per household. Some restrictions apply. Consult your City Council for details. Must be over 18. Limitations are subject to change without prior notice. Void where prohibited.


A time frame does not negate Adams offense.

THIS MAKES ME SICK to my stomach.
Mayor Ron Loveridge and Councilman Andy Melendrez need to get their heads out, and stop patronizing foul play. Shame on you two!

The city government official need to be held accountable for BREAKING the LAW.

City government isn't a Target or Walmart, no returns after 30 days BS.

Ed Adkison will my vote when he runs for mayor, and NOT Melendrez!


i would like to know who adams claims complained abput the LANA group. ive been to all the meetings and they have NEVER once misrepresnted themselves. this seems more like ADAMS this seems to me more like the fact Steve doesnt like that Brandriff is running against him. i saw his tirade in the parking lot after he came out. i was not impressed with his behavior. i was a supporter of steve adams, but the more i learn less i like!


This seems yet another example of Mr. Hudson's bully tactics. I don't personally know Mr. Hudson but he seems to dismiss any critisism of the way the city is run. This story alone shows him dismissing pertenant groups opinions simply because he claims they aren't properly recognized by the city for not going through proper procedures. The citizens of this city should wake up and demand accountability. If the city manager can dismiss complaints and expeect people just to back down on his command, this city is in really bad shape.


Another example of the fox guarding the hen house and then having its way with them. What's quite fascinating is Brad Hudson now Steve Adam's boss now. He made the decision to tell Councilman Steve Adams to go to this meeting, with the City Attorney Greg Priamos. DOES ANYBODY SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? This is going beyond Bell.

So everyone acknowledged the facts in the deposition, it was just a time issue? Where were those depositions released, on the City website, come on Andy. The settlement with Hurt and Bacon was supposed the prevent the release of this info. Add this to the cold plates and all his other questionable behavior including him not even living in the Ward for several years and we have ourselves a real “winner”. Let me get this straight this guy is involved with criminal and unethical activity and our Firefighters and Police are endorsing him. Really?

Mr. Adams was not at the meeting as a resident. He never even used to go to any meetings until he recently moved back into the Ward. Now with the coming election he feels the need to go to these meetings and try to take over. He was at an RRR (residents for responsible representation) meeting the other evening and again tried to take over. Fortunately the moderator would not play along so Mr. Adams resorted to belittling a resident who had done a presentation on graffiti. This young man has been, on his own time, been trying to keep the graffiti problem at bay and has even collected a $1000 reward from the City for his efforts. Mr. Adams was obviously enraged that he could not take over so I suspect that when it happened again at the LANA (la sierra arlanza neighborhood alliance) meeting he used his power to pull the City workers away from the meeting. There was also another posting on the other ethics article that stated Mr. Adams is being endorsed by the firefighters and police. I hope this is not true because I have respect for the police and fireman and would hate to think they would give him any money.

Former Vice-President John Nance Garner once said that the vice-presidency wasn't worth a bucket of warm piss. Well, the same thing could be said about Riverside's Ethics Code and Complaint process which in its brief history has provided quite a few examples of exactly why the process shouldn't be left up to the city council and mayor

But the ethics code and complaint process in Riverside's not worth a bucket of warm spit. It's become a tool that's actually used by individuals in City Hall to avoid accountability. And it's not clear that some individuals on the dais have learned from the travails of the Year of Scandal which isn't quite over yet. They will learn this lesson next year at the election polls.

This really isn't news but allegedly, City Hall has once again decided not to conduct hearings of multiple ethics complaints filed against Riverside City Councilman Steve Adams for violation of the section of the charter which prohibits elected officials from engaging in administrative interference. At least two other complaints filed previously against Adams several years ago were disqualified on technicalities including one where complaints wouldn't be filed by third-parties or witnesses to the behavior. The rejection of all the complaints against Adams had been reported here in the prior blog posting.

Adams as has been stated in previous blog posting had two ethics complaints filed against him by the Community Coalition for allegedly violating the city's charter by involving himself in the promotional processes of two police captains in 2005 and 2008. He also faced a complaint for allegedly impersonating an undercover police officer (according to sworn testimony in a deposition) during an incident involving his cold-plated, city-issued vehicle in Newport Beach. That complaint was rejected by City Hall.

In addition, the La Sierra/Arlanza Neighborhood Alliance filed another complaint against him for administrative interference in relation to a disturbing incident which took place at one of its meetings in early September. The fate of the LANA complaint was decided when City Manager Brad Hudson belatedly said he had decided not to let two staff members give a presentation at the LANA meeting not Adams. Very interesting development indeed, weeks after the controversial incident take place at the LANA meeting. It would be interesting to know what really motivated Hudson's sudden announcement in River City. What would be interesting would be to know whether or not the city staff members ever explained to the LANA group members why they abruptly left a meeting where they were scheduled to give a presentation and why was it around the time that Adams did after he was seen speaking with them? Why did Adams and City Attorney Gregory Priamos attend the meeting and not Hudson? It sounds an awful lot like one of the city council's direct employees covering for the behavior of one of his bosses. It wouldn't be the first time.

Officially, the first two complaints were denied in writing by a staff member of Mayor Ron Loveridge's office but allegedly there was some involvement by City Attorney Gregory Priamos as well. The listed reason was that the alleged behavior took place more than 30 days before the complaint was filed which is the statutory period according to the municipal ordinance. But what this very narrow window does is ensure that if elected officials engage in ethical violations or other misconduct, if they cover their tracks well and aren't transparent to city residents, then they're in the clear.

Rather than promote accountability and transparency among elected officials, this requirement only promotes corruption by rewarding individuals for doing a good job at keeping misconduct under wraps and from coming out in any public arena. The behavior in the complaint did happen earlier but didn't come to light until much later because efforts were made at City Hall including paying out tax dollars on civil litigation filed by two former police lieutenants to keep it from ever coming to light. When elected officials, city management and a police chief knew that there were strong indications that Adams had engaged in charter violations pertaining to the promotions of Capt. John Carpenter and Capt. Meredyth Meredith, were any efforts made to provide accountability and transparency in either case by anyone at City Hall?

Sworn testimony under penalty of perjury make it clear that three individuals provided a fairly similar account of events while another, Adams came up with somewhat different testimony pertaining to the first two ethics complaints filed against him. But then there's other problems in the deposition with conflicting testimony including that of former Police Chief Russ Leach and former Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis regarding the cold plate scandals. Perhaps DeSantis is pondering this from his special assignment which he's allegedly doing from his home.

So far from actually discouraging corrupt and unethical behavior by denizens at City Hall, the Ethics Code and Complaint process actually through rewarding those who cover their tracks well from the public eye encourages those forms of behavior. All under the guise of the city claiming that it's doing something about it.

[Multiple ethics complaints filed against Councilman Steve Adams alleging charter violations are once again bypassing hearing dates with the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee]

[Mayor Ron Loveridge has denied at least two ethics complaints filed against Adams and has not responded to a third complaint filed against the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee for engaging in conflict of interest for hearing the complaints on Adams, a Committee member who's been allegedly been endorsed for reelection by other Committee members and elected officials.]

[Councilman and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Andrew Melendrez allegedly played a role in denying the first two ethics complaints. ]

[Riverside City Manager Brad Hudson jumps on the bayonet for Adams, belatedly saying, "I did it", when it came to ordering city employees to depart from the LANA meeting. Yeah right, and there's some lovely beach property in Idaho. ]

When the Press Enterprise first wrote about the badges, guns and cold plates scandals, one of the councilmen who had his car plated, Adams, dismissed the revelations as "old news" and he's right because to City Hall, it was all old news. It was much older news to them than most of the city's residents because the scandals didn't come to light until several years after most of them had taken place including an illegal gun sale that had to be redone through a private dealer and the illegal uses of both cold plates and flat badges for city management employees and elected officials.

If the complaints should have been filed when the scandals took place beginning in 2005, they probably would have been filed during those time periods if City Hall had been forthcoming with the behavior taking place within its walls and not kept it hidden from the city's residents. But City Hall chose to put a shroud on unethical and illegal conduct to keep the public from every finding out. The city council even decided to settle the two lawsuits in an attempt to keep the guns, plates and badges scandal as well as the alleged charter violations buried but as history has shown, the opposite took place. The scandals which admittedly were several years old finally came to light.

The ethics code complaint filed against Adams on the alleged charter violations involving two police captain promotions did finally break the veil erected by City Hall on that conduct allegedly by the councilman. Steps hopefully have been taken so that candidates for promotion in the police department including at the upper management levels don't have to undergo such treatment from City Hall as faced by the two whose promotions by Leach allegedly faced interference from Adams.

But despite the use of the code to reward city officials and employees who successfully cover up unethical and illegal behavior and misconduct for a period of longer than 30 days, the Ethics Code and Complaint process is rife with other problems including the use of the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee to hear the complaints and the misuse of the city attorney to disqualify complaints rather than serving in his role as an "adviser" on the code.

Guarding the Hen House

[Once again, an ethics complaint bypasses its proper hearing venue, the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee which serves as the body which receives and hears ethics complaints. This committee has been the subject of two complaints alleging conflict of interest for being allowed to hear complaints involving elected officials. ]

Very few ethics complaints that have been filed have actually been heard. Nearly a dozen were submitted and only three ever reached the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee. Most others were disqualified by Priamos' office for some reason or another and in one case, one was disqualified because even though the councilman was acting in that capacity getting ready to make a speech at the Fox Theater across the street from where he allegedly threatened a city resident, Priamos said the complaint didn't apply and then a month later, the involved council member, Dom Betro and former councilman, Frank Schiavone through Governmental Affairs Committee voted to pass the so-called "anti-24/7" language which was approved by the full city council some months later.

It was revoked at the Sept. 21 city council meeting where the creation of a committee of board and commission chairs (and Group member, Jennifer Vaughn-Blakely) was created to review the code and complaint process. But the rejection of the complaints filed against Adams show that the code and complaint process as it stands has very little real value. The time limit of 30 days from the alleged incident accomplishes nothing but to reward those who are most successful at covering up or keeping their corrupt behavior under wraps. It encourages the circling of wagons of elected officials to prevent the public from finding about corruption and other misconduct from within their midst.

The rejection of the LANA complaint against Adams simply shows that the dynamic which encourages corruption by having direct employees take the blame for their employer's behavior still exists and becomes more clear when any alleged misconduct or ethical violations come to light. It shows that the dynamic which has put the city of Riverside on the map as a den of problematic behavior inside its City Hall is alive and well in River City. The breakdown and dilution of one of several mechanisms that the city residents have to keep their city officials accountable is but the canary in the mine clearly showing that larger problems in City Hall remain to be uncovered. Many people wonder as this latest year prepares to wind down, what's next behind the curtain. But whether Hudson and company at City Hall intended it or not, the shutdown of the LANA complaint actually casts Adams in a worse light than if the complaint would have been sent to be decided by the Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee as heavily defective as that process has proven to be. The single most important action that the Ethics Code and Complaint process has shown since voters put it in the city's charter in late 2007 is that there's ethical problems at City Hall to greater degrees than most people ever knew. If there weren't, then the ordinance wouldn't have been violated at least twice by City Hall and there would have been creation of an independent panel to hear them.

But still firmly in place among city residents is the power to vote and it's anticipated that the first round of city council elections in June 2010 could even as a mail in election see huge voter participation and it's even more so forecast that the voters in the city of Riverside will be sending a loud message to City Hall. How many pink slips will be handed out in the third round of elections that have served as house cleaning at City Hall and already sent three former council members into early retirement? Remember, those pink slips were issued before all this disgusting and embarrassing conduct came to light earlier this year.

So while the code continues to die on the vine, when it comes to Election 2011, Bring it On!

To be Continued....

Hudson's Manager Salary Second Only to Bell's

First there's Bell, then terms of how much money the city managers are paid.

Hudson pockets a total salary and benefit package of $419,000 annually.

Riverside loses the second round of that foolish lawsuit it has against several Southern California port cities. Round three of this lawsuit will cost the tax payers more money especially if the city's required to pay the legal fees which it only has to do when lawsuits are deemed to be frivolous.

Parallels to Bell, so writes Cassie MacDuff of the Press Enterprise.

Columnist Dan Bernstein writes about the passing of a judge.

Has Menifee's elected officials been spending too much money?

Should corrupt-plagued San Bernardino County get a new sunshine law?

No Riverside City Council Meeting This Week: Fifth Tuesday

Next meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 5

Airline pilots, no one thinks about them until situations like this happen but many beginning pilots rely on food stamps due to low salaries from which their uniforms and training costs are deducted.

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