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, June 30, 2012

A Hot Summer Arrives in River City


A Murder Trial Begins...
That of former law enforcement sergeant, Drew Peterson on trial for murder in relation to the death of his second wife.  His fourth wife Stacy Peterson hasn't been seen in nearly five years. 

Colorado mass murderer's tied to UC Riverside

This blog is still banned by the City of Riverside and the Riverside Police Department but you can still catch it. 

Apparently the city and department only ban the blogs they deem naughty rather than those that make nice. But this blog has never been about serving as PR for either. That's a job left to people with experience in public relations and politics. 

The city hires more than enough people to work those jobs already at very generous salaries and benefits and they do their jobs very, very well at portraying the city and its satellites in the best light. Unfortunately that's not where the truth always lies and quoting politicians and their at -will employees particularly during an election year isn't the best way to find it as you will soon see unfold.  Still it's a place to start. 

Coming up: 

This building had its lease renegotiated from Riverside County in a recent closed session for perhaps somewhat longer than 2017 so the administration will have a home for a while longer

Inside is the setting for the latest chapter of the ongoing serial

My Captain My Captain: 

The lieutenant wars


A Tale of Two Chiefs: What Happens when a chief gets "checked" by the Barber

Red Light Cameras Stay;  Mayor Breaks 3-3 tie

Councilman Steve Adams votes to save the Red Camera Program, and his own brother's own job as Mayor Ron Loveridge flexes his muscle to prove he still had it after his smack down by several council members in the redistricting item. 

River City Hall, Community Clash over Redistricting Process 

Community leaders and residents from all wards showed up to protest the back room dealing that the city made to redraw the ward boundaries with the Market Place.  After 50 people spoke to the City Council and a clearly flustered Mayor Ron Loveridge, the city council ultimately voted 6-0 to take the process back to Governmental Affairs after Loveridge's led counter motion failed to get enough votes to pass. 

Councilman Andrew Melendrez called it like it was when he outlined the process that excluded inclusion of public comments from Ward Two only in reports created using the input from various community forums. 

Melendrez against Loveridge and Loveridge flinched. 

A packed house watched the city council and mayor discuss the controversial redistricting process

Members of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce gave public comments during the redistricting agenda item

City Hall locked up tight during city council meeting but not to city employees and developers. 

New Rules or budget cuts have City Hall now closed during City Council meetings when a guard ejected members of the public and locked the doors. But clearly, not everyone was told to leave.  Unfortunately all the backup material on the agenda items available to the public were behind these locked doors. 

San Bernardino Files for Bankruptcy

Sergeant is advised of "off duty 10-35" and goes to scene of what is reported as a vehicle "well into a residence". No injuries of the people involved from the vehicle or inside the residence.

"Is he deuce or just an accident?"

--sergeant, Mo Val Police Department to dispatcher

"Still don't know..."


"Okay so do I have a 1951?


"Probably not...don't discuss this over the radio anymore. "


More to come...

Police Department's internal affairs division ends probe based on results of field sobriety tests and breathalyzer which in Moreno Valley Police Department's report was within legal limits for alcohol. He will be examined by a doctor to see if he's got any medical conditions that put him at risk in his job before returning to duty. Since one individual reported witnessing him allegedly have a fainting spell while at church some years ago it might be prudent to make sure it's a thorough medical exam. 

Press Enterprise article:  stated that Flores is on restricted duty and not working in patrol  pending a medical exam. 

The department's position to investigate his medical condition is much different than its original position of not investigating it because he didn't have one even though Moreno Valley's police department stated that he did.  This new approach seems more sensible than the RPD's original stance so what changed? 

But to clear up further confusion, a CPRA request has been submitted to City Manager Scott Barber and Cced to Human Resources Director Rhonda Strout and Chief Sergio Diaz on policies and procedures involving city employees in off-duty accidents related to medical conditions. 

Off-duty Riverside police officer's not investigated by department  after crashing vehicle into house in Moreno Valley. But KTLA story presents a different version of events

Later, he expressed doubts about what his medical condition might be.  Was this his first fainting spell as one other account of an alleged fainting spell has been reported as happening some years ago and was witnessed. 

He referred all questions about his children's comments at the scene to the Moreno Valley Police Department's personnel.

Officer Joe Flores, 45 crashed his car front first into the front of the house across the street. He and young children were helped out of the car by the home owners: 

(excerpt, KTLA)

Sources told KTLA that Flores has a medical condition that caused him to black out.

Olive Lyons said she and her family were in the backyard at the time of the crash on Saturday afternoon.

Much to her surprise, the man behind the wheel was the neighbor from across the street. Lyons rushed over to help.

"What I did was I approached the vehicle and I said, 'Hello, is anybody in there? Can you hear me? Can you hear me?'"

"Then one of the minor kids opened the door and said, 'My daddy fell asleep.' And the little girl said, 'Yes, my daddy he was drunk and he fell asleep and we're frightened that he's dead.'"

"They were frightened," Flores continued, "because they were just like, 'My daddy, I told him he was drinking too much and then he fell asleep.'"

Lyons got the kids out of the car, and her elderly father helped the driver out.

Flores looked dazed, she said, but he was apologetic and thankful for the help.

"He says, 'I'm very sorry for what happened. I just want you to know I am a police officer,'" Lyons said.

"I said, 'Excuse me, what relevance does that have?'" Lyons remarked.

Questions to be asked about the disparate information given about his medical status. Sources told KTLA he had a medical condition which made him faint at the wheel yet the department in a statement said it had no knowledge of pre-existing medical conditions so he was not put off-duty. So which is it? And why isn't the department evaluating him for a medical condition that might interfere with his ability to perform his duties as an officer?  For his own safety, that of other officers and the public as well?   Particularly if he's assigned a city-owned and insured vehicle to perform his duties. 

During the deposition of Riverside Police Officer Neely Nakamura, did the city really have the entire Internal Affairs division led by Deputy Chief Mike Blakely sitting in on the deposition and if so, why? Whose decision was that?

Apparently there's been an exchange of emails involving the latest round of transfer assignments for sergeants.  Is he the one who ordered the Internal Affairs division to sit in an deposition given recently by one of his police officers for a lawsuit?

Orange Street Station is ground zero for decision making and sometimes turmoil as well

(Riverside, CA) -- The latest round of transfer assignments has rocked the inside of the Riverside Police Department. As reported, the first round of reassignments went rather smoothly as employees mentored by a particular member of Chief Sergio Diaz' team dominated the special assignments roster. Few people were surprised by those developments and many of the lieutenants who ranked on the rank-less captain's list  prepared for a possible re-opening in that rank.

News broke out that Capt. Meredith Meredyth had planned to retire again, possibly as early as early July or as late as the end of 2012. During her extensive career with the department, she had survived two challenges to her promotions. The first being in 1999 when  a group of White male sergeants challenged the promotions of Sgt. Alex Tortes and Sgt. Ron Orrantia to lieutenant. Allegedly, she was asked to join in on the lawsuit but she said no. A month later, she was promoted to lieutenant when then Lt. Audrey Wilson was promoted into a captain spot. She's named as one of the promotions to be protested against in a lawsuit filed by a group of sergeants (minus one who dropped out when it was discovered he was biracial) that alleged reverse racial and gender discrimination in the promotional process for lieutenants.

They protested the promotion of "Black" Tortes (who is actually Native American) and two captains including who's now deputy chief went to the Human Resources Department with the sergeants' complaints and allegations were raised that the director of that department at the time, Judith Griffith tried to shred the complaints.

Then after being sued, Mayor Ron Loveridge and other city council members decided it was time to get involved in the promotional process themselves because as Loveridge said, you can never have too many lieutenants. So they were set to create two lieutenant positions and four payouts after the number of plaintiffs dropped to four with another lieutenant filing a separate lawsuit.

This wasn't in the era of Chief Russ Leach, City Manager Brad Hudson (with sidekick Tom DeSantis) and only partly with then Asst. City Attorney Greg Priamos .This was earlier and when then Chief Jerry Carroll found out, he cried foul. It all played out in public and soon after Carroll took his retirement.

The promotions made by Carroll stood and most of the plaintiffs were promoted in quick fashion by Leach about six months or so after his arrival.

The police department's highest ranking female officer, Capt. Meredyth Meredith is allegedly set to retire possibly before shift change. 

 When Meredith was first told she was going to be promoted to captain in the end of 2005, she went to Leach's office to get pinned. By the time she got there, the promotion had been revoked. She was ironically bypassed by one of the originally suing sergeants, Mark Boyer who got the spot instead. This controversy became part of a lawsuit filed by two police lieutenants and its narration played out through depositions taken  from various parties in that and another controversial promotion in January 2008.  This time it was Councilman Steve Adams whose name came up as playing an instrumental role in the police department's promotional process at its highest level. The lawsuit never went to trial but the settlement was quite large on the eve of the trial date meaning that most likely there were elements of it that the city didn't want to play out in open court.

But then it's like that with nearly every city lawsuit. Their litigation record's just not that impressive and no matter what City Manager Scott Barber tells you about the city being self-insured, one plaintiff who settled a case filed against the city was told by her attorney that the settlement was coming out of the city's coffers because the insurance carrier had canceled its coverage.

But it's beyond tacky and very unprofessional to have a department management that tells a promotional candidate that they're promoted and then revokes it by the time he or she arrives to accept it. One of Meredith's closest friends who worked for both Leach and Hudson allegedly had to give her the bad news.

That might be a humorous game that Lucy Van Pelt played with Charlie Brown over and over involving a football but even the city's main in house attorney, Priamos has to agree that there's just something unseemly about taking away a promotion after you've given it out because someone else outside the department doesn't like that particular candidate or more likely, preferred another one instead. It's difficult not to believe that there hasn't been outside influence on a promotion if the chief changes his mind within a window of several hours after picking the candidate. One would assume he would be absolutely sure of his choice before informing that individual.

Anyway, this history lesson is to be remembered by those who don't wish to repeat it not to mention newer arrivals who seem consumed with anxiety about community members coercing them into promoting lieutenants. In Riverside, as history has shown it's not the community that provides the coercion, that comes from inside the city.  Who has the power?  One community leader or an elected politician who's the boss of the chief's boss?

Not a difficult question to answer really.  But as soon as news got out that Meredith had planned to leave the department after her long career, it was time to start dusting off the resumes like happens so often in corporate environments. Even as the end of June loomed without the management team actually interviewing candidates yet, the speculation started.

Candidates who loomed as favorites were Lts. Gary Leach, Lt. Vance Hardin and Bob Williams with Ed Blevins as the dark horse candidate.  All three of them were in the special assignments of NPC area commander, Personnel and Training and Internal Affairs.  In the past, area commands were seen as one conduit to the captain's spot though that had changed more recently.  Internal Affairs had its day in the sun in terms of being an assignment that people promoted out of although that was mostly sergeants.

As for watch commanders, they were pretty much out of the loop and out of luck.  Many of those on the fast track into the management and upper supervision levels have scant watch commander experience. At a command staff meeting, shift change assignments were given for the lieutenants who waited eagerly in anticipation. Who could blame them, because it could mean the different between having a chance to be the department's next captain and not having any chance at all?

Hardin moved from his assignment in Personnel and Training where he's worked both lieutenant assignments to the NPC North Command replacing Lt. Chris Manning who went to watch command. Lt Bruce Blomdahl   went to head the SWAT/Metro division replacing Lt. Larry Gonzalez who went to watch command. SWAT/Metro also lost one of its sergeants, Mark McCoy who went back to patrol leaving that spot vacant.   Lt. Melissa Bartholomew who had started out as a watch commander took the assignment vacated by Hardin as Personnel lieutenant.   Another lieutenant was promoted, this one being Sgt. Mark Rossi.

Like the previously promoted sergeant, Russell Schubert, Rossi had been assigned to Diaz' office and had tested "A" band on the most recent lieutenant's list.

The lieutenants' assignments raised some eyebrows but didn't cause much of a ripple since there were few surprises. But once lieutenants were done being reassigned, then would come sergeants and that's when the tide grew stormier.

Brian Kittinger left Internal Affairs to be replaced by Kendall Banks. Brian Dailey moved from Communications to serve as a sergeant in the NPC North. Frank Assumma went to Personnel and Training. Most of those assignments didn't elicit much of a response.

Then Diaz and his management team moved onto Vice.  Due to staffing shortages at the supervisory level, the sergeant's position for the Vice unit in Special Investigations had been left vacant. During this period, the sergeant in charge of the Gang unit had overseen Vice as well. So Vice gets its sergeant position back and four sergeants put in for it.  They were Brian Smith, Keenan Lambert, Gary Toussaint and John Capen.  The current lieutenant in charge of Special Investigations is Mike Cook and he was allegedly involved in the interview process for the sergeant position.  Both Smith and Toussaint had experience in the Gang unit and Toussaint had as sergeant overseen that unit.  Capen had worked under Cook during his stint in Internal Affairs.

Capen had worked in the Internal Affairs Division which had been the focus of civil litigation filed by other police officers in house including one filed by Officer Neely Nakamura who alleged in her lawsuit that she was accosted by Capen and Assumma in the parking lot of the Magnolia Policing Center and driven across the city to the Internal Affairs division which at the time was housed downtown at the bus terminal next to Greyhound. She stated in her lawsuit that she was subjected to hours of interrogation and was treated like a criminal.  Diaz once told Press Enterprise columnist and blogger Dan Bernstein that he felt that those interrogating her went beyond what was required in terms of sensitivity.  By then he had been briefed by members of the past and now current management team about the investigation, including those overseeing the interrogating and perhaps defendants on the lawsuit filed by Nakamura. But did he ask the officer being interrogated whether it was done in an overwhelmingly sensitive fashion or even read the lawsuit?  He should be at least pleased that there's more pencil whipping by the city attorney's office at this lawsuit than any other in recent memory.  Nakamura allegedly was set to be deposed over a couple of days by the city's own attorneys but after the first day, a time conflict came up for the next day.  How she was treated as opposed to how then Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel (see below) is still one of the most appalling examples of a double standard between management and rank and file.

Nothing sensitive about that, Diaz.

Speaking of lawsuits...

City of Riverside Pays Out $50,000 in Sports Bar Brawl Lawsuit

On March 5, 2012, the lawsuit involving a controversial incident at Events restaurant was filed. The settlement between the plaintiffs and the defendants including the City of Riverside agreed to a total payout of $1 million.  Below is the minute orders taken from the settlement conference.







CITY SETTLEMENT: $50,000.00 $




TOTALS $1,000,000.00 - 




 TOTALS $50,000.00 - 


This lawsuit was filed by the plaintiffs in response to a brawl that took place at Events Sports Grill that's located in a strip mall on Magnolia Street south of Tyler.  It's located less than 200 yards away from the Magnolia Police Center. On Nov. 10, 2006 at about 1l:45.

Two brothers were charged with attempted murder in the brawl which left three people severely injured, some lying in bushes outside the business.  The brawl involved people beating up other people and hitting each other with chairs. A Riverside Police Department sergeant and five officers were off-duty and at the bar. A department spokesman told the Press Enterprise that some of the officers might not have been "logged out" but if that was so, it was just a formality. One officer allegedly had talked to the dispatch about the fight. Others were witnesses but several left including one out the side door.

The police department did respond, to the officer's 911 call or someone else's and found unconscious people inside the bar and outside in the bushes. The department spokesman said by the time officers responded to the call, the fight had wound down and people were leaving. Presumably not the men who had suffered brain damage or lost an eye or would not be able to live independently without medical care for the rest of their lives.  Two men, both brothers from Moreno Valley were sentenced to four years in state prison for their roles in the brawl.

The officers cordoned off the area with yellow police tape when one of the officers who left allegedly returned to the bar to get his cell phone that he'd left behind on a table, going into the crime scene of the fight to retrieve it.

Okay, if the police department which is under indemnity of the city had responded as professionally as the department representative said to the press, then why was the city being sued? If two private citizens beat up other private citizens in a privately owned establishment, then how does the city wind up getting sued? Even more importantly why did the city presumably upon advice of its attorneys settle the case for $50,000 after about five years of litigation. Why was  the city still on the lawsuit as a defendant whether than being dismissed earlier?   And did the city's decision to settle the case involving private parties based on what happened with its off-duty officers who were there?   It'd be perplexing otherwise because it seemed that the response by the officers called to the scene was professional enough and why would the city pay out $50,000 based on that?  I agree with Diaz' stance on lawsuits in terms of seeing more of them against the city and department litigated to trial. This one should have gone to trial if the city was falsely sued but why didn't it see a trial by judge or jury?

As we all know, the city zipped its lip even before it signed the settlement papers and issued the checks to the plaintiff. Money (which might have included a share of the additional attorneys fees in the six figures) that could have been spent on other costs including those in public safety.  But the public will never get an explanation on why it was paid out  on this lawsuit.

The department spokes person stated that they acted appropriately and within policy of serving as "good witnesses" in situations where they were unable to act. Okay if that's the case with the off-duty sergeant and officers, again why is the city paying a $50,000 share of a settlement if the situation only involved the improper actions of private parties including businesses?

Why settle the case to avoid future litigation costs when they had already spent money litigating for five years without managing to get themselves removed from  the list of defendants?

Internal Affairs investigated the incident to see whether or not it was in policy regarding the behavior of the off-duty personnel including the sergeant.  Apparently the brass was impressed enough with the results because the sergeant on that incident was later Internal Affairs.

But back to the program on special assignments.  The sergeant who was chosen to be assigned to the Vice Unit was Capen and that allegedly led to a response by Smith who is also president of the Riverside Police Officers' Association via emails sent.  Toussaint as it turns out is the sergeant representative of that union. He had expressed interest in serving in the leadership positions but didn't run for election.

Smith allegedly emailed Diaz stating that the chief had claimed that he was for mentoring people into positions of leadership including through transfers into special assignments. Yet Diaz kept giving the same individuals special assignments over and over.  His track record and what he was doing was a joke.  Diaz allegedly responded back by saying he reviewed Smith's concerns and found that all his transfers were within policy.  The policy as states, starts off as saying that officers are supposed to serve a year in patrol in between going out for another special assignment after already serving one.  But it finishes by stating that the transfer assignments are at the discretion of the chief.   If you remember this same issue had arisen between the RPOA and Diaz involving the situation of seven police sergeants who were allegedly denied special assignments in favor of those who already had served in special assignments without a year off.

Actually Smith put into his emails questions that had been on my mind about this so-called transfer policy involving special assignments for a while now. I've made some observations beginning is that there are relatively few special assignments in comparison to other more general assignments.  Another observation is that they appear to be quite popular with some of them attracting a lot of interest and applicants. They seem to be in demand and they foster competition which means that the pool of those wanting opportunities for career development and mentorship is larger than the number of special assignments.  So I expected to see a plethora of interested officers being placed in special assignments, undergoing career development and mentorship and then returning to patrol for a year or so while other people were then guided and mentored through these special assignments. Create a sizable pool of mentored candidates, a population rather than a clique. I expected to see that because that was what was being sold at least to the public including through the newly unveiled 2010-2015 Strategic Plan.

None of that is what's happening.

What's been apparent instead is that there's a much smaller pool of sergeants and even lieutenants who are getting back to back to back special assignments. For lieutenants, they are a smaller group than sergeants  and have a higher proportion of spots for special assignments than sergeants or patrol. There's an interesting pattern found in these smaller groups which will be addressed in a future blog posting which makes it clear that Diaz really doesn't seem to know much about the history of his own department. But since he decided to ignore it pretty much, that's his choice.

Still it's odd seeing a department embrace career development and mentorship as Diaz and his management team at the RPD claim to do and yet see a relatively minute population of sergeants undergoing "career development".  Career development doesn't just involve promotion since that'll only happen to a relative few but it also involves building leadership in various areas of the department which are covered by special assignments. The text in the Plan has made it clear that special assignments are opportunities for mentorship including through the field training officer program which is used to mentor individuals to be future detectives.

The focus on career development and mentorship has left the patrol level officers pretty much in the cold but then given that it's clear that their "special" representation, which are watch commanders don't matter much. That's shown by the fact that those lieutenants being chosen for "career development" aren't doing much if any time as watch commanders. How many of the lieutenants or even in cases, sergeants get back to back to back special assignments? How many of these sergeants have little field experience in patrol and how many  of these lieutenants did more than the requisite six months as watch commanders?  Then there are those individuals who do get special assignments who then go back to watch commander duty or patrol and it seems on its face that it's these individuals who are the most well rounded, have undergone the most career development and so forth. Some of these individuals seem to be the best candidates to go into management since at the captains' level, the only official list is alphabetical and there's more politics in that process than in a typical day at City Hall.

Yet, how many of these promotions come involving lieutenants with more than just a passing experience with watch commander duties?  How many sergeants who get back to back to back special assignments fare with promotions compared to sergeants who spend most of their time in patrol assignments?

How much sense does it take to take a back to back to back special assignment sergeant, promote him and then put him in graveyard shift (A watch) watch command to get "patrol supervisory experience"?   That's a tough one for a novice and outsider to the profession to understand whether that's a right or wrong stance to take but to me, I'd want a captain who had a wealth of watch command experience as part of his or her "career development" especially if I put him in charge of Field Operations.  It's more than a bit bizarre to put someone in charge of field operations who somehow missed patrol assignments as they advanced up the promotional ladder or put in a watch commander (because that's where many lieutenants get their "feet wet" when promoted) if they don't have any or very little patrol background.   I think you leave Patrol and Field Operations out of the mentoring and promotional processes at your own peril because that's always going to be the bulk of your agency.  That just makes sense to this completely lay person. 

For one thing under the stipulated judgement with the state, one mandate was to have lieutenants to serve as watch commanders instead of sergeants as had been the practice. The reason for doing that and talking to former State AG Bill Lockyer and the assigned monitor on this issue, this is what I learned. It was done to increase the amount of field experience on the shifts particularly graveyard and swing shift as well as on weekends and holidays. That means putting in lieutenants who had extensive experience in field operations including supervision as sergeants.  But if you promote someone who's got scant experience as a patrol sergeant at all and make him or her watch commander, then how is this mandate and its intended goal accomplished?   Yet sergeants with extensive patrol experience (which may include stints as back fill watch commanders) who aren't on the list to get back to back to back special assignments aren't being mentored in that fashion and since the majority of sergeant and especially lieutenant promotions are going to those with extensive histories in special assignments, they're not getting the same opportunities. 

This latest development between Smith and Diaz isn't all that surprising but it's good that someone like Smith who's also got extensive union experience is asking the questions that frankly more people should be. As to what the answers are, that remains to be seen who's right and who's wrong but it's a discussion that needs to be done even in a department that doesn't welcome dissent or even criticism.

Former Deputy Chief Now Heads Security at Tyler Galleria

Retired Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel was hired to head security at Tyler Galleria not long after the mall changed hands. He was introduced recently by Diaz at a meeting which means that whatever Diaz said about him before must have been forgiven.

Councilmen Brawl in Regatta at Lake Evans

Councilman Chris MacArthur beats out Paul Davis for the win

No one fell overboard. No one got eaten up by the python rumored to be living in Lake Evans and no one needed to be towed back to shore when winds died.  But in the end, though Councilman and mayoral candidate Rusty Bailey went out strong, it was Chris MacArthur who won by a sizable margin. Paul Davis who's won before and had put in some practice time finished second followed by Andrew Melendrez. The event raises money for the youth sailing program at the park and charities of the councilmen's choice.

That Time of Year...

It's getting close to the time period when Riverside's own city council and outgoing mayor, Ron Loveridge will be doing a performance evaluation for the city's official manager, Scott Barber but as most people know if the city government that hired Barber from inhouse is going to evaluate Barber then they need to do a similar evaluation of his regular sidekick, City Attorney Gregory Priamos.

Just like other celebrated duos like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Felix and Oscar and Fred and Barney, you have Scott and Greg.  They provide an interesting contrast to the previously infamously known duo, Greg and Brad, meaning Brad Hudson who packed a parachute when he skipped out of Riverside to take a lower paying job in a dumpier office up in Sacramento County.

Former City Manager Brad Hudson now CEO of Sacramento County

Now it's well known that Brad and Greg weren't the best of friends. In fact, it's alleged that Greg was a bit peeved at Brad and for good reason, when Brad arrived, he seemed to want to oust Greg from his job as the city's lead attorney.  It wasn't anything personal. Brad wanted to oust a bunch of people from their jobs and replace them with his own peeps, most of which had worked with him or around him when he'd been employed by Riverside County. 

Allegedly when he first came to Riverside, he'd wanted to replace Greg with someone from the county too. He didn't have any authority to do so because like his position, that held by Greg is governed by the city's charter. Only the city council and mayor can hire and fire the city attorney and Greg didn't take it very well. 

The two always looked like two glaciers, ice cold sitting next to each other on the dais and Greg once made a pithy comment when someone mistook him for Brad.  He corrected them and then ended with, "I consider that an insult really". 

But what a difference a staffing change makes. After Brad announced during a June 2011 performance evaluation called by City Councilman Chris MacArthur that he was going adios, the city council headed by two-term mayor pro tem MacArthur had to scramble to put together a recruitment and hiring process to blow more money on Mayor Ron Loveridge's pet head hunter company, Brown Consulting Group to put together yet another questionable round of hiring, and then turning around and putting up the candidate that they wanted all along.  They did that with Hudson and they'd do it with Scott as well. 

After all, Scott had been hired in a position that was specifically created him called community development director but that's not like being a city manager.  So when Scott got hired by the city council and mayor who face it, couldn't afford to have someone new from outside come in and deal with both the way Brad did business and the outgoing exodus of employees who had been loyal to him while he'd been here. 

One half of the city manager's position, is held by former Community Development Director Scott Barber

Scott and Greg apparently have been fast friends, seen chatting on the dais during meetings rather than freezing each other out. But what Scott will have is a little less power than Brad had to be the final decider on  certain personnel decisions made by Greg (and City Clerk Colleen Nicol too but she's not a member of this boy's club). With litigation filed by various city employees, including racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuits filed by employees from both the police department and public utilities working their way through the system not to mention whistle blower lawsuits filed by one of Greg's former employees and one who worked for public works, Scott and Greg have to put their heads together and figure out what to do about these labor uprisings. More lawsuits to come whether the Press Enterprise covers them or not as

Unlike the city sponsored media outlets or those who who have financial ties to elected officials in this city, this blogger doesn't take the simple words of high ranking city employees as the final words on what the truth is about. That's something that blogs that provide public relations services to the city and its elected officials are encharged with doing.  When it comes to taking what elected officials or their high ranking employees say, nothing beats a strong paper trail and if that states otherwise, it's not that difficult to see that unfortunately, the truth may be more elusive than some might think.

After all, it's been at least six weeks since this blogger asked one simple question of Scott to be answered on the dais in his words or in writing through the soon to likely be award-winning (at tax payer expense) Barber Blog.

That was about the infamous four way land swap that started with the city wanting for whatever reason to help developer Mark Rubin (who's contributed to quite a few campaign coffers over the years) find an anchor tenant for the Citrus Towers office building he built downtown. You see, he had to use $37.5 million in state revitalization bonds and needed a lease generating entity to serve as collateral and his first choice, the Raincross Promenade couldn't do that due to the inability to even give the luxurious condos away in a flat housing market and recession.

The Riverside Public Utilities Building was to house the police department's administrative headquarters under the one city dealing that not even its public relations division will touch with a 10 foot pole

Scott and the city council were asked multiple times to answer some questions about what should be one of the most controversial actions, i.e. the "parting gift" given by Brad on his way out of town.  What's the public benefit of moving two city departments into new digs which would force both of them to pay higher "rent" for their space? The Public Utilities Department would have to pay higher rent when it picked up the lease for prime real estate at the Wells Fargo Building to finish off the lease of the city's number one outside legal firm, Best, Best and Krieger. The police department originally was supposed to see its own annual rent of $1 (until   December 2017) increase considerably to cover the debt obligation that had been paid annually by its current tenant either out of the general fund or its own departmental budget.   These increased expenses would be passed on to city residents naturally.

Scott and the city council were also asked, why the city should frankly give a damn about the private business of the private law firm of BB&K. What business is it of City Hall if BB&K is going to either obligate its lease or breach it early to move elsewhere?

Frankly, the only reason that City Hall would involve itself in the process causing two city departments to incur higher costs which are passed on to city residents, would be if the city was the one who encouraged in some fashion, BB&K to breach its own lease with the Wells Fargo Building.

As for the building on Orange Street that houses the police administration and dispatch center, it has a lease with Riverside County (which owned the building under another land swap)that expires at the end of 2017 with a two year notice of intent to vacate it required. The question asked repeatedly was did the city give notice of intent to vacate and if so on which date?

What's puzzling is that the city that promotes itself as the shining light of truth or transparency hasn't answered these questions.

The other half of the city manager position, City Attorney Gregory Priamos is Barber's BFF to the point where they both share the same watering hole. To commiserate or strategize? But remember what they said about friends...

Up for evaluation also is City Attorney Greg Priamos who was allegedly spanked by Mayor Ron Loveridge a few weeks ago for ruining an event that was organized by a list of non-profit organizations with the news that they had to be covered by workman's compensation insurance during a new policy written by the city covering volunteers including outside vendors at city-sponsored events.  

As it turned out, Priamos totally jumped the gun on this one because the above policy amendment which requires a resolution to be passed by the city council was merely in discussion phase at the Governmental Affairs Committee level and had never reached the city council let alone been passed. Yet no one reined this overzealous city attorney in time to save the event which was totally ruined. Perhaps the next time Priamos and Barber hang out together at The Salted Pig on Main Barber can pass a long some legal advice in return for all the management advice Priamos has given him. 

It's not clear whether Priamos will receive anything but accolades from the city council and Loveridge (whose probably forgiven him for his big gaffe by now) but the city's still getting sued by its own employees and settling cases out right and left. 

And then there's that issue from years ago, regarding the reclassification of a former assistant city attorney. It'll allegedly be his first evaluation with the city council knowing about that.  But the last time City Hall cleaned house, he was promoted. So far he's survived the latest clean out with flying colors.

Public Service Announcement 

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