Why Criticizing Free Speech of Women is the New Cool
Warning: The city doesn't want you to read some blogs...reports of access to certain blogs being "denied" on city networks. So far only those that are critical of its operations.
ACLU is being contacted..political blogs can't be censored by government based on whether or not the government likes or agrees with what's stated in them.
Councilman Steve Adams bailing out his sail boat at the regatta but will City Attorney Gregory Priamos have to do damage control over his latest commentary?
And Councilman Steve Adams says in city council meeting when asked if discrimination is funny....
So Adams just told the public he believes discrimination is funny when the city has quite a few active lawsuits filed by its own employees currently in litigation.
More to come...
but for starters, check out the blog that's not "blocked"
For more information on the K9 program, visit this special report.
Riverside Police Department Officer Returns to Patrol After Long Cancer Battle
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win...
***Blogger has changed its interface so bear with me and the style of my postings until I figure it out.***
Child Care Center closes due to lack of funding but hey, if the Riverside can "loan" $1.5 million to pay the bonds used by a developer to build the Hyatt Hotel that's going to open when the Riverside Convention Center closes down it's just showing that subsidizing developers is much more important than children. Or remodeling a library even cheaply.
Come to think about it, just one of those annual bond payments for the "interest" on the Hyatt Hotel could have relocated the city's emergency dispatch center.
If believing that children, dispatch centers and libraries are more important than buying and managing theaters that can't break even (ditto parking meters which just about killed downtown commerce) and subsidizing private developers who enrich the campaign chests of elected officials makes me "anti-establishment." Not wanting to see city dollars subsidize meals at expensive restaurants, visits to day spas, golf courses, strip clubs and bars makes me "anti-establishment"
Not wanting to see public facilities including fire stations put up as bond collateral especially to subsidize private developers, makes me "anti-establishment"
If asking questions based on research and raising concerns on the city's financial status makes me "anti-establishment"
If asking questions on research and raising concerns on the city's financial status while knowing it'll means being called a "tramp" or being the subject of a derogatory cartoon as an act of intimidation with the specific intent to silence the city's critics, makes me "anti-establishment"
If objecting to the eviction of 53 mentally disabled/ill individuals from the Swiss Inn as part of a property flip flop makes me "anti-establishment"
If asking how the police budget is going to cover the additional $1.8 million/year costs courtesy of the four way land swap downtown makes me "anti-establishment"
Not wanting to party and pose for photos with politicians or go to the Fox Theater (unless it's Tom Petty) or think that city politicians and city employees "dancing" constitutes news...
Then Hell Yeah, I'm Anti-Establishment and Proud of It!
I have to admit that I was more than a little creeped out by the story that local blogger Salvador Santana was telling about dropping in on one of the city's employees. I think everyone was but was too polite or shocked to say anything about it. I did ask if he wore fuzzy slippers and this is no disrespect to Finance Director/Treasurer Brent Mason because he and his assistant director, Scott Catlett been helpful at explaining things and their office has provided documentation requested. Shirley who works for Paul Sundeen (missing in action all week)has also been very helpful providing reports on agenda items at the somewhat sporadically scheduled Investment Committee meetings. I don't know why Santana would be dropping by Mason's house in the wee hours of the meeting. I did look over at Catlett sitting nearby and he looked confused. Couldn't really blame him.
I think everybody was confused. The mayor scolded people sitting in the front row telling them to be quiet but just before that he had the most peculiar expression on his face while listening to Santana relate what Mason allegedly "told" him about the city's finances. At his own house at 3am one day.
He wasn't the only one. If I were Mason, I'd be more than a little bit concerned if someone were talking about dropping by his house at 3 am in the morning. But while the story was interesting, it's what has been said about a group of speakers, almost all of which are women, who have been called "anti-police", "anti-establishment" and portrayed as being bloodied up backstabbers toting knives or as another blogger said, sensual silhouettes. When I saw that cartoon of "Bloody Mary", I realized that what is going on here is just another version of the Madonna/whore complex translated in some way to cover public speaking at city council meetings.
After all in some references, "tramp" is just another word for whore.
Sigmund Freud would have a field day with it. Seriously we are either gorgeous and quietly posing with large breasts and curvy bodies wearing not very much or we're portrayed as being "tramps" and bloodied women holding knives when we've been doing naughty things like opening our mouths...to speak anyway. I thought it interesting that the person telling me and other women how to behave had been the same person who drafted an artist to create these cartoons along with blog postings about myself and now others being "anti-police", "anti-establishment" and just basically smelly assed, poorly dressed and frumpy communists.
It's not surprising given that it's being done on behalf of a city that's had sexual harassment lawsuits filed by its own female employees. Female employees being laid off after they hit a certain age only to be replaced by younger women. A police department where women dominated the promotional lists yet were passed over and over again. So maybe it's not news that
Rumors of liaisons between management employees and female employees on the city's dime and time. Even city manager Scott Barber allegedly is dating an employee from one city department that he oversees through its department head. That's his own decision but I don't think I envy that department head if he gets caught between some inherent conflicts of interest in that relationship. After all, a police sergeant allegedly recently lost out on an assignment in the domestic violence division because his sister in law worked as a detective in that division. That allegedly led to some kind of showdown between Chief Sergio Diaz and Asst. Chief Chris Vicino and the quietest of the trio, Deputy Chief Jeffrey Greer because Diaz and Vicino wanted the assignment to go through and Greer said, no it's a conflict of interest and it's not happening.
Greer won that round as he should have and then all three of them slipped back behind the invisible curtain because no one internally sees any of them very much these days. Except for two of the divisions internally that has found their relationships with the management team to be tension filled and downright frosty. Another division is apparently so tied into the image of the department that it led to a volatile confrontation some months ago when problems arose inside of it.
But it's never the actual problems that are the issue, it's become all about appearances.
And you don't ever, ever want to be the messenger.
But yeah, we live in a city where if a woman opens her mouth to criticize its operations, it all comes down to how she looks and smells. Whereas men, critical or complementary, are judged on what they actually say. That's just not the case in Riverside. After all its lone woman on the dais, Nancy Hart isn't a member of the men's club.
As for Councilman Paul Davis, he tells the women to speak their minds and on these issues yet then you read comments made by him in Santana's blog that indicate otherwise. That the speakers tend to be the problem rather than the issues raised. So color some of us confused by that. The city council hardly seems interested in discussing financial issues. Councilman and mayoral candidate Andrew Melendrez struggled to explain why nearly $4 million of housing funds were taken out of the Eastside to pay off a SERAF. They seem more invested in worrying about those uppity females, "tramps" and so forth at meetings. And some of them may likely to continue to back that up with their decision on where to spend their campaign funding.
After all, don't you know when it comes to us women, the most important thing is that we always look and smell like roses. It's not what we have to say about anything including such impossible for us to wrap our brains around topics like politics, finances and corruption. No we really need to just stand in silhouette and look pretty and put duct tape over our mouths so any temptation we have to say anything doesn't get past our lips.
Kind of like a verbal chastity belt.
What's interesting is that long after that, our very own police chief Sergio Diaz makes comments to and about certain female speakers that mirror the "anti-police" comments made by his close friend Santana. Close enough so that Diaz will invite Santana to speak in his honor as allegedly happened on one occasion. That's all well and good but it's just interesting that Diaz is closely associated with someone who calls women "tramps" and posts derogatory cartoons of them in his blog when he oversees a police department that's 10% female on the sworn side and about 95% female on the dwindling civilian side. Litigation's been filed by men of color and by women alleging discriminatory treatment and retaliation whether it's in the promotional process or through internal affairs investigations.
But anyway, Diaz has already allegedly shown discretionary powers when it comes to which off-duty incidents involving police employees to investigate and which to dismiss as "private matters".
Anyway, here are some of the cartoons:
Public comment arrived and I spoke just to explain I don't take civility lessons from people who call me "tramps", post derogatory cartoons created by an artist that's also not fond of women and most recently posted a cartoon of women with blood on them and a knife. Fortunately, it's not hard to explain to people that no, I'm not a "tramp", I'm not freeloading off the cafe but eat there sometimes but I don't take civility lessons from someone who doesn't practice what he preaches. I love my city but loving it doesn't mean sealing my mouth with patriotic duct tape or pretending to be Pangloss from Candide. Or the adults in Hans Christan Anderson's The Emperor's New Clothes. Not after reading hundreds maybe a thousand of financial and other documents and seeing what is going on in the city's own writing. But the fact that city officials are taking Santana's advice on "civility" even thanking him afterwards and the fact that a few of them spend the money of campaign contributors including many women supporting sexism and misogyny is very telling.
It truly is a man's world at City Hall. It truly is the "good old boy" network that people warn you about. Sad, but true in the 21st Century.
Anyway, while people were still speaking in public comment, a commotion could be heard and dozens of heads spun around to look at it. It was a bit crowded in the back (as it had been a well attended meeting by the public as well as the usual city staff) and then the two officers were seen physically holding onto two different people with the camera man led by an officer outside the exit closest to the back parking lot and Santana being taken by the other officer out the doors near the bathroom.The officers separated the two men to get statements.
Santana's version of events
The young man with the camera told a police officer taking a report that Santana had tried to reach at him with one of his hands while he pulled back out of his reach. Then Santana allegedly tried to reach for his camera. Former deputy city attorney Raychelle Sterling then detailed the events which were similar to the young man's version. She said that there's a misdemeanor that stated in the penal code that when a misdemeanor (i.e. PC 242 battery) takes place in the presence of police officers, they have the power to make an arrest. Arrests in some circumstances seem to be discretionary under the laws. Though sometimes that itself raises controversy such as in the case of the DUI incident involving former chief Russ Leach. The camera man either left or was told to leave the city council meeting according to different eye witness accounts while Santana was definitely allowed to stay, seen talking to Gardner and Councilman Andrew Melendrez, both mayoral candidates, afterward. A police officer escorted him out after he said he was being "harassed" but most of the time he was actually seen either talking to the security guard inside City Hall or one of the council members. The friends of the camera man spent most of their time talking in groups or to the man with the camera, not paying attention to Santana who had an officer with him much of the rest of the time.
But even if there had been grounds to arrest Santana, the two officers (who are both regarded very well for their politeness and professionalism in the chambers) likely would be completely wasting their time and paper because after all, does it really come down to whether or not you're a good "team player" or what "team" you play for in River City when decisions are made at the top of management? Has anything really changed?
If a member of police management or city management was driving his car in Riverside and pulled over by two patrol officers tonight, what would be different? Would anything be different? Hopefully it would be much different than what happened with Leach but given that preferential treatment apparently already has becoming a part of "Our-P-D" that question may have already been asked and answered. What options are available for the patrol officer who pulls over a car and finds themselves in a similar situation? Another conversation about it being a "political train wreck" or warnings to other officers to stay away or can officers carry out their responsibilities without worrying that to do so is career suicide? And if supervisors get involved, will they be hung to dry by their own managers left to take a hit while the managers get gold handshake retirements?
There were a lot of great words put in the new Strategic Plan about ethics, honor and integrity among the police department including presumably its management. But what does that all really mean? If you find smoke, are you going to look into it to see if there's a fire burning or are you going to put a tarp over the smoke and say, nothing to see here, move on along...look at the pretty building. Has that question also been asked and answered?
Unfortunately yes to that as well.
Yet you had a police chief who apparently goes around telling people he doesn't "like" them, or they are horrible or this or that in a public venue. But then hadn't he already said to the press that a former detective had done some "very bad things" within days of a verbal altercation with that former employee in front of a police facility and relied on for advice and guidance, former management employees who didn't act properly when the police chief misbehave? And there were plenty of good examples inside the department to learn more about it and how to change the answers to those questions besides the one who failed to give that correct answer.
Hopefully, the city will never be tested in this manner and that question will never have to be answered. But then has it been answered already?
While most city management employees maintained their usual profile at city council meetings, Asst. City Manager Paul Sundeen was not seen at either the Finance Committee meeting nor the city council meeting. The disqualification of some retired city workers has allegedly impacted some employees but how it will ultimately shape the management picture in this city remains to be seen. The Community Police Review Commission manager Frank Hauptmann is another full or part-time employee hired by the city that's collecting a pension under PERS.
But in what might be good news for some if not others, the the creation of a citizen auditing committee has been struck down at least now by the Finance Committee at least until the city sees if the charter initiative designating the city auditor a chartered position that reports to the city council passes the muster of the voters.
Chair and Councilwoman Nancy Hart missed that meeting and the city council meeting allegedly on some medical issue so vice-chair Paul Davis presided and Councilman and mayoral candidate Mike Gardner attended as a general member. Greater Chamber of Commerce president for life Cindy Roth spoke against the panel as the Chamber had opposed the creation of a chartered city auditor. Of course, the Chamber allegedly gets half of its budget from city coffers and received $500,000 in funds by City Hall. Roth said that the Finance Committee itself served as a good mechanism of oversight that people like herself could sit at the table and discuss issues with. Wait a minute, Ms Roth, if you've kept tabs on the Finance Committee, remember the 12 month period when it never met? And it wasn't the Finance Committee's huge advocate the Chamber that got the meetings on track again, it was ordinary city residents. But while the Finance Committee now meets more often than not, its status is still precarious and thus it's still serving out its probation period which is why this blog has a finance committee watch. Here's the history of Finance Committee meetings in recent years:
Finance Committee Meetings (2003-2011) (according to online records at Riversideca.gov)
2005: 11 (nine before June 2005)
2009: 2 (November, December)
Several dates are noted above. June 2005 was when interim City Manager Tom Evans stepped down and newly hired city manager, Brad Hudson stepped in his place. Although the city council's composition didn't change nor did that of the Finance Committee, the number of meetings began to decrease almost immediately. In fact, the Finance Committee took a four month sabbatical almost immediately.
Time to Divvy up those Assets!
Be there and ask why the public safety dispatch was not absolutely the first "obligation" to be heard or even in the top 10 to be decided upon. While the process "evolves" as one board member called it, does that mean it might be sometime in the fall before the city learns that because no contracts were actually entered to on the dispatcher location that it's thus "unenforceable" meaning that the city will have to find other funds to finance it in the 11th hour?
I hope I'm not the only one to say, gee I hope not.
If so, then what's the difference between him and his predecessor? LAPD officers when asked, some spoke quite well of Diaz earlier in his career there especially his ability to interface well with his critics rather than label them as "anti-police" especially in public. So what happened when he came here?
Can a lot be expected from a chief who views women who criticize the city so hostile in public to address issues faced by his own female employees? The mentioning of mentoring employees was nice to see but new employees aren't the only ones who would benefit. So would employees currently working for the department including those who want to advance within the ranks as do those in patrol because it seems that quite a few promotions go to those who have worked multiple special assignments inside the department. Those people likely are or have been mentored by management team members because they are in closer proximity to them in the station than they would be if they were going to roll call or working out in the field. Before Diaz' arrival, two female police sergeants who worked in the chief's office were abruptly transferred to the field to alleviate staffing shortages in patrol while a male sergeant was transferred to replace one of them from patrol.
Fire Station #13 in Sycamore Canyon which is being used as collateral for bonds taken out on the Hyatt Hotel miles away will be the topic of Barber first blog posting
To everyone's excitement, City Manager Scott Barber announced at the city council meeting that he will be starting up a new blog for the city to respond to allegations and concerns about the management of finances in this city.
I asked Asst. City Manager Deanna Lorson (who's salary moved with her out of Redevelopment) where interested parties could submit items of interest for the Barber blog. She said nothing had been set up yet but for now to send it to his regular email address which is email@example.com. So send him your stuff and keep his email box full.
"This is to be confidential and no one is to know about it."
She also did raise the issues clouding the employment of the late Asst. City Attorney Kathy Gonzalez who died while with his office. After reading articles on the memorial garden in her name, I saw her listed as an assistant attorney which confused me because I thought by the time she died she was actually a deputy city attorney at the top of the "step" pay schedule and supposed to be making $120,000 a year. I was hoping the Press Enterprise would clear up this issue but apparently they were scared off by the city on this story and the city council has apparently decided not to look into it.
Hopefully, Barber will address these and related topics in the Barber Blog at a future date.