Who among you remembers when the mayor was chief and put together a committee to develop the department's VVM'S? Who remembers what "VVM" stands for? Gold frames; pretty card stock with bright blue lettering and a gold badge as the background. I'm sure there are many with a smile on their face right now; some sitting here with a smirk; others nodding their heads thinking to themselves, "Yes, I remember that." Some of you pictured the gold, 8 ½ X 11 frame in your mind and the words contained under the glass. I am sure many of you have deliberately erased this image and thought from your minds.
The San Diego Police Department's "Vision, Values and Mission" were one of the many pet projects of then chief, now mayor of San Diego. One of his numerous committees (he had a committee for EVERYTHING) to come up with another set of one liners, to give the perception to the community, he was a caring, thoughtful, connected chief of police who valued them and was committed to their safety.
The VVM'S start with his "VISION" for the department; "We are committed to working together, within the Department, in a problem solving partnership with communities, government agencies, private groups and individuals to fight crime and improve the quality of life for the people of San Diego."
Next came his "VALUES" or principles as he liked to say, upon which "we" base our policing; HUMAN LIFE; The protection of human life is our highest priority. ETHICS; We will demonstrate integrity and honor in all our actions. CRIME FIGHTING; Our efforts to address neighborhood problems will be based on a Partnership with the community. VALUING PEOPLE; We will treat each other with dignity and respect, protecting the rights and well-being of all individuals. LOYALTY; We will be loyal to the community, to the Department and its members, and to the standards of our profession. OPEN COMMUNICATION; We will listen to one another's opinions and concerns. FAIRNESS; Our decisions will be based on common sense, and will be balanced, moral, legal and without personal favoritism. DIVERSITY; We appreciate one another's differences and recognize that our unique skills, knowledge, abilities and backgrounds bring strength and caring to our organization.
Finishing up his VVM'S was the MISSION; Our mission is to maintain peace and order though the provision of Police services that are of the highest quality and responsive to the needs of the community. We will contribute to the safety and security of the community by apprehending those who commit criminal acts, by developing partnerships to prevent, reduce or eliminate neighborhood problems, and by providing police services that are fair, unbiased, judicious, and respectful of the dignity of all individuals.
Bring back memories for you? How many of you were called upon to work on this committee and formulate these words? I have not a clue how much money was spent producing the VVM'S, but it had to be six figures. You could not go into any room within the department and not see the 8 ½ X 11 gold frame on a wall. There were small pocket versions that every member of the department was given and you were held accountable to them. Many a speech contained references to the VVM'S to suit the audience and or event. The politically driven; upwardly mobile; Jerry's Kids crowd; ALL had them on their desks, in their pockets and visible on or in their notebooks for the chief to see. It became a badge to show allegiance to the chief and show him you were "on board" as the train began to move.
How times have changed. The chief left the department after twenty six years; six long years as chief. The stresses of the job had taken their toll and he left two years shy of retirement age. The VVM'S were another in a long string of political projects done to promote him. Committee after committee worked on project after project; all focused on making the chief appear to care about the community. Where did employees fit into his agenda? Only those who fit the above categories were provided for and taken care of. Did you graduate from San Diego State? You had a leg up on everyone else if you did.
The mayor has moved on from the police department. He has long forgotten the VVM'S. His actions and words are clear; the VVM'S were never a part of who he was or who he has become. His self serving; loathsome manner, have clearly set him aside from Police Officers and all those who work for the citizens of San Diego.
ETHICS; have clearly been absent in the person who has become mayor of San Diego (I'm not convinced he ever had an ethical quality to his life). "Demonstrate integrity and honor in all our actions" applies to everyone but the mayor or his staff (unless he needs to protect himself or blame someone). The mayor and members of his staff have repeatedly provided false statements and information regarding the benefits of the City's employees. The mayor has been less than truthful with the public when confronted with the facts of negotiations and his actions related to the pending law suit aimed at eliminating DROP. He has lost the trust of ALL City Employees who know the truth.
VALUING PEOPLE; This is a biggie and a total failure on the mayor's part; "will treat each other with dignity and respect, protecting the rights and well-being of all individuals." The mayor has gone out of his way to strip the dignity from City Employees by his words and actions. The mayor has flippantly scoffed at the exodus of the most senior and experienced employees. The mayor smiles and gleefully boasts; "We will be exchanging experience for enthusiasm" when talking about the 125 sworn, senior, experienced officers of the San Diego Police Department who are retiring from the City to preserve benefits the mayor has eliminated effective July 1. The mayor's actions and words clearly confirm the belief held by employees; the mayor has NO RESPECT for their experience, dedication or vigilance. The mayor has lost the respect of ALL City Employees.
LOYALTY; The mayor has shown he is loyal to himself; the Republican, Downtown Power Brokers; his daughter and little else. His mantra; "It's political" seems to be his excuse for ethical lapses; stripping the dignity and respect of employees and creating a city ripe for out of control crime. The mayor who once wore the badge of a police officer and swore to protect the safety of citizens has turned his back on those who protect and serve. The mayor's actions have shown he is no longer worthy to carry the badge of a police officer. His words and actions have shown he is not one of us and not welcome among us.
FAIRNESS; "decisions will be based on common sense, and will be balanced, moral, legal and without personal favoritism." NOTHING the mayor has done could be considered "FAIR." The decisions he has coordinated and carried out against police officers of the City of San Diego bears no resemblance to "common sense." The vindictive manner the mayor has gone about singling out police officers for the reductions to wages and benefits; followed by the filing of a law suit in an attempt to eliminate an earned and vested benefit (DROP) and not the other workers in the City, shows his true lack of morals. His actions have been shown to be ILLEGAL and will soon be shown to be nothing short of a political maneuver to garner favoritism with the Republican, Downtown, Power, Broker Establishment. The employees of the city do not believe the mayor possesses the moral character to provide common sense, balanced leadership that is legal and without favoritism.
OPEN COMMUNICATION; The mayor is not open to listening to anyone's opinion, suggestions, concerns or ideas. The mayor is loathsome to those who speak out against his policies or ideas. "If you are not on the train when it leaves the station; you will be left behind" is a favorite saying of the mayor. His way of saying; you either get on board and agree with him or go to hell. The mayor is not one to be challenged and will go out of his way to shut down anyone who has the mitigated gall to oppose his ideas or actions. The mayor has failed in his willingness to listen to alternatives, suggestions and ideas for change and solutions to the many ills facing the City of San Diego. The mayor has an agenda and the train has left the station. The mayor has lost the ear of the City's employees, as we have all tired of the disrespectful manner and tone he has used since elected.
HUMAN LIFE; The mayor has single handedly destroyed a great police department. His demands and actions toward members of the police department, in all ranks, have shown his lack of concern for the safety of citizens. His caustic comment; "We are replacing experience with enthusiasm" has clearly shown the protection of human life is NOT his highest priority. The mayor has intentionally created the exodus of the most experienced officers to further his agenda and paint himself as a "reform" mayor who has taken on and defeated the "all mighty" unions. The mayor has placed the citizens and every police officer in jeopardy with his destructive and illegal actions, all in the name of balancing the city's budget. The cuts to police officers far outpace those of other employees of the City. The mayor is seeking to exact punishment for the refusal to get on the train. The mayor has made his actions against police officers personal and has shown he lacks concern for human life. Who will be the first to die as a result of the mayor's inexcusable actions?
These VVM'S are no longer in place. The mayor has created a new set of VVM'S that are to be used by ALL departments within the City. The mayor has also demanded the letter head be made the same throughout the city. The ego required he place his name on every correspondence sent from within the City. When the Chief of Police replies to a citizen, he uses the letter head of the mayor. When the Director of Parks replies to a vendor or sister agency, the mayor's letter head is used. His top down dictatorial leadership style has destroyed fairness, loyalty, open communication, and the valuing of people. His lack of ethics and complete disregard for human life, have caused employees to dismiss his value as mayor. The ability of ALL employees to function and provide excellent customer service has been hampered if not completely eliminated by the actions of the mayor.
Where there is no VISION; the ability to complete the MISSION is diminished or attenuated regardless the strength of VALUES. Lacking VALUES to overcome a lack of VISION, the MISSION does not matter; it is impossible to accomplish. The mayor has seen to this by his total disregard for the men and women who provide for the safety and service to the citizens of San Diego.