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


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Riverside Hires Former Maywood Police Chief Frank Hauptmann to Manage the CPRC

UPDATE: Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominguez resigns after comments made during a 2009 sting by some officers. Before going to Palm Springs, he retired as deputy chief of the Riverside Police Department.. Comments that were allegedly made were tape recorded but was that tape later leaked and to who? Why did this incident take two years to come to public light? Did he make any comments? Obviously there's more to this than has been revealed so far.

[Riverside's City Council is receiving sailing awards here but on the dais, someone else seems to be setting course for it instead]

Riverside City Hall has announced the hiring of the new Community Police Review Commission manager and it's apparently Frank Hauptmann. As announced earlier in this blog last month, Hauptmann had been undergoing his background check which was necessary before being offered the position by City Manager Brad Hudson. The ultimate irony given that the Riverside Police Department which had looked at Maywood's police department as how not to be is now having its civilian oversight mechanism managed by one of its former administrators. Is this a good decision or a bad one by Hudson, that's what seems to be debated at this point even as the news appears to be spreading.

And very people are surprised by it, given what's taken place during 2010, it seems to be a fitting maraschino cherry on one hell of a sundae served up River City style in the past 12 months.

If the name sounds familiar, it should because Hauptmann is a former police chief, the first to be hired to manage the nearly 10 year old commission. But he's not just any former police chief, no, this guy's last job was at the helm of a little police department that no longer exists in a city called Maywood. He has been called by some a whistle blower trying to bring problems in a department buried by them to light but then the two other interim police chiefs who preceded him had both cast themselves in the same light so it's hard to know for sure who did what, about what. And frankly Hudson hardly seems to be the type who would even hire an individual who whistle blew on a police department in some other city as any part of his management team let alone as the manager of the CPRC which provides civilian oversight of the police department. If the handling of the city management over Hauptmann's predecessors Kevin Rogan (with the CPRC diminished during his stint) and Pedro Payne (who was forced to resign after a contentious meeting with the former Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis) are any indication, Hudson is mainly interested in managers of the CPRC that he can tightly micromanage having of course either the blessing or tacit permission of the majority of the city government to do just that.

A relatively independent manager of course would be the antithesis of anything ever sought by Hudson even though that's what the community has asked for and in this equations, the community comes a distant second. If Hauptmann ever really did show any thing remotely associated with an independent streak, his "at will" status under Hudson would curb it soon enough or he'd be gone. Whether through a quiet method or something much louder, as long as there's a city government which allows the status quo, that can be taken to the bank. With four of them up for reelection next year, it's not clear what affect that will have on this dynamic, as it hasn't had any so far. But it's clear that handing off the city council responsibilities to the city's administrator on a platter has done more harm than good, certainly to the city's reputation which took a beating this past year.

But then again apparently the CPRC and its roles and responsibilities weren't even important enough to play any real prominent role in finding out Hauptmann's qualifications and perspective on what he would actually do if given the job to manage the CPRC which had faced years of micromanagement by both Hudson and his former syncopate DeSantis whose seventh floor office had been stripped bare rather quickly after Hudson's announcement of his rolling resignation last summer. The "input" process as it appears for most city positions from those outside City Hall is so rigid and controlling, it's pretty much meaningless except for show, meaning oh yes, we have community members involved but they aren't allowed to actually think and ask questions like community members do. Those sought for their perspective never even being allowed to come up with their own questions to ask applicants for city positions. It's pretty much like a stage show under Hudson. And who's better at being community members than community members? They certainly do a better impression of that than current Human Resources Board Manager, Rhonda Strout who after all, is a department head.

Hauptmann actually spent over 20 years of his policing career working in the Garden Grove Police Department before being hired by Maywood's own department as a consultant not long before the scandals broke when the Los Angeles Times did its study that found that at least one-third of Maywood police officers had been fired from other agencies, been forced to resign, were arrested and/or had failed probation. And actually that percentage of officers with seriously checkered histories who were drawn to apply at what was advertised as a "second chance" agency might have been significantly higher. After the State Attorney General's investigation was conducted over nearly 18 months, a 30 page report was released with devastating findings and the policing practices consultant who oversaw that investigation, Joe Brann (a familiar name in Riverside's own police department) called it "one of the worst departments" he had ever seen according to a Los Angeles Times article.

Yes, it's true Riverside which has had issues with its own scandalous behavior including inside City Hall being revealed in the past year has hired probably the only police chief Maywood's had recently that would even pass a background check required for hiring. Hauptmann after all was originally the interim chief who was hired for Maywood's police department after the two previous ones Richard Lyons and Al Hutchings, the latter being forced out by a threatened lawsuit by the State Attorney General's office. Remember Senior Assistant Attorney General Lou Verdugo from his authorship of a threatened lawsuit against Riverside about 10 years ago? Well, Verdugo led the charge to threaten to sue the city of Maywood for violating state laws requiring background checks for the police chief. Hutchings never served as police chief because he hadn't had a background check which he would have flunked anyway due to his conviction for petty theft, his firing from Maywood for sex on duty with (and this is proof that truth is stranger than fiction) the owner of a donuts shop that was caught on surveillance video, not to mention being fired from a teaching job at a community college for an unspecified ethics violation.

In contrast, his predecessor Lyons had been convicted on a domestic violence charge which was reduced on appeal. He had insisted while chief that Maywood would adhere to professional hiring standards.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

"The Maywood Police Department is committed to professionalism and has been fully cooperative with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the California state attorney general's office," Lyons said. "The public should view the Maywood Police Department as a whole and note the positive and hard work performed by officers on a daily basis."

The Times investigation revealed that at least a third of the officers on the Maywood force had either left other police jobs under a cloud or had brushes with the law since going to work for Maywood.

Among those currently on the job: a former L.A. County sheriff's deputy terminated for abusing jail inmates, an ex-LAPD officer fired for intimidating a witness and a former Huntington Park officer charged with negligently shooting a handgun and driving drunk.

Even Lyons has a criminal past. He was convicted of beating his girlfriend and resigned from the El Monte Police Department before going to Maywood. The conviction was later overturned on appeal because the defense was not allowed to exclude a juror who had worked with domestic violence victims. Lyons ultimately was convicted of a lesser offense of making a verbal threat.

In an interview before publication of Sunday's story, Lyons was asked about Maywood's reputation in law enforcement circles as a "second chance" department.

"It's OK to give a person a second chance if you learn from your mistake," Lyons said.

Maywood City Councilman Sam Peña said that before reading the Times article, he had not known the department had so many officers with checkered pasts.

"I was surprised, to say the least," Peña said. "The thing that's going through my mind is what was the police administration thinking when they allowed these people to go through. That's what I want to know. And that's what I'm going to be asking."

Hauptmann was then appointed by the city council in Maywood to step in as interim after the threatened lawsuit by then Attorney General Jerry Brown and later as the last permanent chief before Maywood disbanded its work force, contracted it out to the then model city of Bell and contracted its law enforcement services with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department though that decision's being challenged by Maywood police officers. While chief, he had to deal with the ongoing probes into the department as well as fire an officer charged with sexually assaulting women onduty, a case that had been one of those revisited by local prosecutors in light of the larger investigations by outside agencies.

Hauptmann then became a finalist in the hiring process for a new police chief in South Pasadena's department late last year. It seems he applied for the CPRC position sometime after that.

But Maywood's police department is so renowned for all the wrong reasons, it has its very own Wiki page which is very brief, misses a lot of the highlights but mentions Hauptmann. His hiring by the city for this latest job has already sparked a reaction including from inside City Hall because of his ties to Maywood as well as leadership out in the community. Everything from people being furious about it to people being resigned that it's just another example of City Hall continuing in its pattern and practice of at the very least, questionable behavior.

It's not clear when his starting dates is but already there's serious questions being asked about the latest CPRC manager. One would expect no less from Hudson nor the city council which has given piecemeal (and often in very large pieces) cart blanche to do pretty much its job. Hudson runs the council and mayor not the other way around, many people watching City Hall pretty much know that and so it is with his hiring. That dynamic among most of them hasn't changed despite the revelations that have popped out this year about what happens when a legislative body gives that kind of power to one of its staff members and many people sense that perhaps the best (or worst of it) lies ahead. Is Hauptmann the right person to man the CPRC, or is he another mistake? The jury's still out but at least there should have been for a community oriented position public forums to ask questions and hear responses back from Hauptmann so that city residents could get a better understanding of who he is, where he stands in accountable policing and what he can add to the CPRC. After all, apparently it would be the first time he was asked the latter question throughout the entire hiring process at least outside Hudson's office. City Hall and certainly Hudson can quibble all that they want about how inappropriate that might be but in a case where the city's hired an employee associated with what was probably the largest policing scandal in Southern California several years ago, the city needed to go that extra distance and it would have if it cared a whit about the city's residents.

Whether the hiring of Hauptmann is another part of that remains to be seen but when it comes to addressing concerns and questions, Hudson acts very much the Cheshire Cat so it's not really clear what will happen next.

Someone read this blog and responded to it elsewhere.

yenta merry shelton
Hey Mary, Frank Hauptmann is a great guy. He brought professionalism & order to the former Maywood PD.

I'm looking forward to the day when somebody sues you for libel.

Actually, Mr. Anonymous, thank you for your kind note! After talking to a variety of individuals about Hauptmann, there's a variety of different opinions as there are people about him and what he did while at Maywood Police Department. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, everybody has one, as are other individuals and I'm including your opinion here.

Regardless of whether his impact on Maywood was good or bad, it's unlikely based on history of his two predecessors that he'll have much independence under Hudson. History just doesn't indicate that. One would love to be surprised that it would work out a different way but that would seriously buck recent history to take place.

And you do know it's Mary right?

The Mayor's Race Starts to Fill Up

[Current Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge who's also the president of the League of Cities and as rumor has it, may be flirting with another run at office]

It's interesting but not surprising to read that a third mayoral candidate has announced plans to enter that 2012 contest, joining current Councilman Andrew Melendrez and a former one, Ed Adkison on the list of candidates. The latest, is Ron Woodbury, 50 who's currently a business consultant and has lived in Riverside over 30 years.

[Councilman Andrew Melendrez held a press conference to announce his mayoral candidacy]

Woodbury said in the Press Enterprise article that he doesn't plan to do any fundraising or campaign spending which makes getting elected very formidable indeed. The past several election cycles posting on city council races have pretty much proven that merely being well funded isn't a guarantee of success. Incumbents like Dom Betro and Frank Schiavone outearned and outspent the candidates who defeated them and another Steve Adams was close to being defeated by a candidate who he outspent by at least 20 to 1. What's proven paramount is wearing out the shoe letter early and often getting out to the communities and neighborhoods within a voting district whether it's with individuals in their homes or larger organizations. Candidates who thought they could just pretty much sit where they were and spend money on signs and advertisements learned the hard way that this just doesn't cut it. Political endorsements whether by publications, unions or other politicians including most of a city council have taken some pretty serious hits recently.

But the rules are somewhat different for mayoral races because they are city-wide, and Riverside's fairly large in area (even though the dozen or so annexations have been put on hold) and even more so in population. Redistricting in the next several years will even out the population distributions among the wards and after some serious fighting, redraw some of the boundary lines but for the mayor's race, it's still the entire city. That's why fundraising for campaigns for mayor's still highly favor those who earn and spend more money. Grass roots candidates have thrived in the council elections (though it's mixed in terms of whether grass root incumbents remain so or adopt more establishment fundraising (i.e. developers) in reelections) but not so much in the mayor's race.

Still, it's great that there are people who toss their hats in the ring even if they face a much tougher row to hoe in a mayoral contest that still favors largely political insiders. Most mayors have had previous experience on the city council which makes sense given that through this experience, future mayoral candidates achieve the means to network and establish political and then financial connections that help pad their mayoral campaigns. Woodbury appears to be an issue-oriented candidate with the Arts as a focus and he's right in that starting early will serve to his best advantage. He has civic involvement rather than political connections and experience which frankly would be a breath of fresh air in the mayor's race. His presence on the campaign trail might also impact the dynamics of the all important mayoral debates and forums which are better served as educational tools for voters the more diverse they tend to be in terms of both candidate backgrounds and the issues that arise for discussion. So even though his chances are slim right now, his presence helps make it a better contest.

As for splitting the vote, that's hardly likely given that everyone and their mother is considering running for mayor right now. It's not a job that welds much public power like in other cities including Los Angeles and San Bernardino but behind the scenes, the mayor can be quite influential in decision making and even wind up controlling a large chunk of the agenda at City Hall. Loveridge is pretty masterful at political gamesmanship and levies more political power than his role provides him. As for the news that he's not running again, that this is most certainly his final term in office, those words are pretty familiar aren't they?

Okay, he's getting older but everyone knows that his wife who has been important if not as visible is usually the one who expresses reservations about him running for reelection and rumor is that this time, she didn't do that but still, given that it's early, nothing's set in stone so why Loveridge certainly a definite candidate, history has shown it's important to at least maintain an open mind when it comes to potential candidacy. His presence would of course greatly impact the size of the field that did file papers to run. Without him, up to half a dozen more candidates could decide to run given that the filing period is over a year away. What happens usually during this time period is that prospective candidates wait in the wings to see who declares early, who's thinking about it and who decides not to run. It's often very quiet but it's one of the most important stages of the process and often when the deciding takes place. Every city council member except Steve Adams, Nancy Hart and Paul Davis have been rumored to be thinking about it.

It's very unlikely that there would be a rush from the current dais into the mayoral race given that one of its members, Melendrez, has already declared. You might see decisions made on whether or not to endorse him and perhaps maybe a candidate like Rusty Bailey (who's the name tossed about most so far) or perhaps Chris MacArthur. Both of these councilmen are up for reelection next year and a lot could depend on whether or not they are successful at winning another term in office. Losing might not help much given that Betro once flirted with running for mayor (and he's rumored to be considering two different political contests now) and didn't win a second term as councilman due largely to his bad temper. Former Councilman Art Gage ran against Loveridge last time out after losing his council seat to Bailey.

The two current candidates, Melendrez and Adkison have utilized different strategies already. Melendrez will be going into the election as a councilman past the middle of his current term while Adkison nixed running for reelection in 2007 after completing two terms of office and perhaps sensing the anti-incumbent fervor and the imminent collapse of the GAAS/BAAS cabal style of doing business. They both have very styles including how they served as mayor pro tem when appointed. Adkison kept the police officers assigned to provide security much more busy dealing with speakers than Melendrez and in fact, the orders were being given by several of the council members during the GAAS/BAAS days to onduty officers led to some consternation being expressed by then Police Chief Russ Leach. One ejection that was controversial by a mayor pro tem (as Loveridge wouldn't ever be caught doing this as mayor) was that of a very elderly woman who exceeded the three minute speaking rule when talking about how a city water pipe broke and flooded her property. While many onlookers were moved by her plight including the officers, some council members rather than at least asking staff members to talk and help her outside or something, the mayor pro tem ordered her ejection leaving the clearly embarrassed police officer to escort her from the podium.

On another occasion, four speakers including then 90 year old Marjorie Von Poule who was one of the true forces of change in Riverside especially through her service on the Park and Recreation Board (and she and her husband once cleaned up litter at Fairmount Park pretty much by themselves) and she issued that memorable line to the two officers ordered to escort her out, by saying "You'll have to carry me." This arose after one former councilman asked the audience a question, inviting people to come up and answer it outside public comment. Several did but were ordered ejected after their response apparently didn't please the city council. Just another interesting interlude brought to the public by the cabal style of conducting city council business that dominated much of the past decade.

The resistence of this elderly woman to the city council's ejection of a second woman over 80 from the chambers led to some controversy and as it turned out, it went even deeper than that as there were reports that several council members tried to get city staff to call up every detective onduty in the police department to investigate them for charges and every single one of them said, no thanks. As did then Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco who didn't take orders from a mere city council in his jurisdiction anyway.

Some heat came down on former Deputy Chief Dave Dominguez for his own challenges to the arrests of the city council members as that of the other officers onduty that night including Sgt. Phil Neglia, Det. Cathy Nelson and Det. William Rodriguez who were much calmer than the involved elected officials during that contentious meeting day.

But anyway, all the drama that both current mayors and those aspiring to the throne have provided, there's still plenty of time for individuals who plan to join in the competition for this coveted seat to think about putting their names in and that includes you.

Riverside County Gets a New DA Again

New Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach was sworn into that office with considerably less fanfare than his predecessor, Rod Pacheco and he said that he'll have to lay off people including 12 day and some believe that the number could reach as high as 90 with the executive division created under Pacheco being the focus of most of the cuts. He also swore that he would reorganize the department which has seen its charge-by-charge conviction rate sink to about 40%, over 25% of its prosecutors including many of the most experienced depart and the local courts turn into such a quagmire to the point that cases wound up being dismissed by judges who were later targeted for what some say was retribution for doing so and civil trials were put in an indefinite holding pattern or where handled in converted classrooms inside an abandoned public school building. The only thing that kept other judicial venues such as family, probate and small claims courts from being used to handle the gridlock in the criminal courts were judicial rulings issued by the higher courts.

It was ironic that Chief Justice Ronald George swore in Pacheco to his only term of office after he won an uncontested electin given that he had to oversee the emergency task force of judges sent to Riverside to address the crisis in the courts for months. It's not clear what Zellerbach will actually do now in office in a department where many people have apparently worked in fear for quite some time and aren't sure what's going to happen next. But the fact that Pacheco failed to be the first incumbent in decades to get reelected after having been unopposed spoke volumes about his tenure there. People were shocked when Zellerbach won the election but shouldn't have been given that many of those who said they supported Pacheco actually cast votes for the other guy.

But everyone will be watching and waiting to see what the new DA does during his first 30 days in office.

City Council and Mayor to Discuss Salaries in Public Hearing

[Mayor Ron Loveridge (c.) is sandwiched by Councilmen Andrew Melendrez and Rusty Bailey who both might be running for his seat next year at a meeting]

On January 18, there will be a public hearing at an unspecified time to discuss whether or not the council members or Loveridge will be raising their salaries or benefit packages. The hearing is required under the city's charter so it's not a requested hearing but it's not expected that there will be a clamor from the dais to raise salaries given that at this point in time, it would be political suicide for anyone who even suggested that given that employees have been laid off, positions frozen and left unfilled and cutbacks to services in this city including library hours. The only discussion so far has involved whether or not the car allowance should be restored after several current and former elected officials pushed for the city to assign vehicles instead. Of course most of us found out about this change when the scandal involving the illegal cold plating of vehicles driven by elected officials and several city management employees broke earlier this year. Actions taken by former Asst. City Manager

[Will actions taken by City Manager Brad Hudson regarding the assignment of city vehicles be discussed at the salary and compensation hearing?]

But then the year that has passed going out like a lamb in comparison to what had taken place earlier didn't exactly flatter the city government which reacted in some cases through *pin dropping* silence as one embarrassing revelation after another came to light as to how the city had done business. Defining Riverside's government in ways that not even a half dozen professional consultants touted by Loveridge can repair in terms of restoring the public trust. How much that has taken place will be clear during the upcoming election cycle.

The year had been so memorable for all the wrong reasons that it was hardly earth shattering to discover that Riverside's City Hall had been utilizing the same auditing firm as the scandalized Bell and that like this other now bankrupt city it had been receiving glowing reports of no problems whatsoever in the audits. Of course the State Comptroller's office then found in its investigation that the Mayer Hoffman McKann firm hadn't followed some elemental procedures when conducting its audits of Bell. Most of the dozen cities which used this firm to do independent auditing are now considering it just as some cities reconsidered their legal relationships to the firm, Best, Best and Krieger after embarrassing revelations came to light about its work as serving as city attorney to cities like Bell and problem plagued Maywood. And that law firm is steeped in Riverside's very own City Hall as well as one of its top outside legal firms to go to not that City Attorney Greg Priamos will provide any written contracts of that relationship.

Much of the city government was pretty quiet when the incident involving former Police Chief Russ Leach broke in February and the only official statement was the investigation conducted by City Manager Brad Hudson which was overseen by former District Attorney and current Best, Best and Krieger attorney, Grover Trask. It cast the blame on a midline supervisor in the police department recommending first his termination and then his demotion though neither happened because allegedly behind the scenes, the lieutenant was able to find weaknesses in the investigatino to take back to Hudson and DeSantis and thus his demotion and suspension were overturned and a written reprimend was issued instead. One that's apparently under appeal and also allegedly issued was a promise in writing by Hudson's office that the lieutenant would never have to work with the deputy chief who didn't come from L.A. as long as he was with the department. That's interesting because essentially with that decision not only does it raise speculation about what exactly happened in Hudson's office but it also meant that Hudson was limiting Chief Sergio Diaz' options for reassigning the lieutenant during any shift change.

Before the city council and mayor get together to vote on whether or not they need or want any raises, they will be passing the revisions to the ordiance which governs the citys' ethics code and complaint process. Melendrez wanted to eliminate the statutory limitation which has already been approved for change amid some confusion.

If you can't attend the meeting and still want to provide feedback to the city council and mayor, here is some contact information:

Mayor Ron Loveridge:

Phone: 826-5551


City Council:

Phone: 826-5991

Mike Garder (Ward One):

Andrew Melendrez (Ward Two)

Rusty Bailey (Ward Three)

Paul Davis (Ward Four)

Chris MacArthur (Ward Five)

Nancy Hart (Ward Six)

Steve Adams (Ward Seven)

What lies next for Hemet?

The controversy over The King's Speech's R rating shouldn't deter people seeing what's an excellent film currently playing at the Riverside Plaza Regency Theater.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older