Many of you may have heard the mayor was noticeably absent at the May 6, 2009, San Diego County, Police Officer Memorial. This year's memorial was also a dedication of the new memorial located at the County Building on Pacific Coast Highway. When the mayor failed to attend the memorial, the SDPOA first called the mayor's office to seek an explanation for his absence. It is believed the mayor, prior police officer and chief of the San Diego Police Department, should have been in attendance to show reverence to those who have given their lives serving the citizens of San Diego. Darren Pudgil, the mayor's press secretary said the mayor was fulfilling a prior commitment and was "giving an important speech at San Diego State University." Giving the benefit of doubt for a minute, who the hell is keeping the mayor's calendar that he would be scheduled for a speech on this date? The mayor knows when the Police Memorial is held EVERY YEAR and if it is not on his calendar he a clearly not doing his job nor paying attention.
The SDPOA accepted the explanation (I prefer to call it an EXCUSE) and while angered and disappointed, the SDPOA moved on. Then several months later it came to light the mayor was actually at the Yacht Club talking to the "SAE alumni association" which is comprised of mostly SDSU alumni; NOT giving an "important speech at San Diego State University." When this information came to light the SDPOA sent a letter to the mayor seeking an explanation. On July 15, 2009, SDPOA President Brian Marvel wrote to the mayor. Brian stated the purpose of the letter was to express the membership's disappointment with the mayor's decision to skip the San Diego Law Enforcement Memorial on May 6, 2009, so he could attend a gathering at the San Diego Yacht Club.
Brian outlined the conversation with Pudgil and the made the following comment; "Although, we would have considered the Memorial a much more important event, we understood that a speaking commitment to the Student Body at SDSU was also important." Brian, being politically correct and giving the benefit of doubt on May 6th to the mayor is now calling bullshit. The next line of the letter to the mayor is very pointed and direct; "However, as we now know, that was not true." Brian goes on; "Mr. Pudgil purposely misled us because a luncheon commitment at the Yacht Club might not be viewed as important." So much for a mayor's office that is transparent, honest and forthright. Transparent in that it is clear the mayor does not give a damn about the police officers who serve this city. Transparent in that the mayor and his staff will lie, deceive and spin the facts at will to accomplish whatever it is they see fit to do.
Where this gets even more telling is the fact the mayor left the luncheon early enough to have attended the Memorial and still chose not to. Brian writes; "Moreover, we are given to understand you left the yacht club luncheon early and could have attended the Memorial." Brian is very clear as he addresses in a professional and yet stern manner what has been learned; for the membership who has grown weary of the treatment at the hands of this mayor. Brian closes with the following two paragraphs;
"As our mayor, and former police chief, we would expect a much greater reverence from you to the thirty (30) San Diego police officers who have died protecting the citizens of San Diego. Twelve (12) of those officers died during your tenure with the San Diego Police Department. The names of those thirty (30) officers are now etched on the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall that was unveiled during this ceremony."
"As an Association that represents over 1,800 San Diego Police Officers, we are saddened and disappointed by your decision not to attend and recognize those officers that made the ultimate sacrifice to this city. In addition, as a POA Board, we find the conduct of your press secretary reprehensible; considering he is supposed to be working for an administration that purports to be transparent and ethical."
The mayor willingly and intentionally disrespected EVERY POLICE OFFICER of the San Diego Police Department by his actions on May 6, 2009. He followed this disrespect up with dishonesty, deceit and a blatant disregard for those who gave the ultimate price in their service to the citizens of San Diego. The pattern of this conduct started BEFORE ONE SINGLE VOTE WAS CAST for his first election to the mayor's office. The mayor waltzes into the SDPOA Hall for a forum of candidates for mayor and starts his presentation with; "I did not come here seek your endorsement, I do not want it." He spends the rest of his time telling everyone in attendance what he plans for the future. He ends his presentation with accusations that one of the individuals present leaked to the press his personnel package containing his discipline while he was a police officer. To refresh those who may not know; the mayor was a heavy drinker and after a drinking binge, headed off in his car; leading CHP on a pursuit ending at the check-point on Interstate 5 and him receiving a few days on the beach for his actions. A member of the press, who was following the campaign, did his due diligence (someone explain this term to the mayor) and reviewed the law suits the mayor filed to get promoted (NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE) and located this information. The mayor, in his usual style accused a member of the Association for leaking the files with no basis in fact or knowledge of how or who obtained the information.
This was a clear sign of things to come. What is telling of late, is that the mayor, at virtually every event, will make a back handed comment about police officers, the police officer's association or department and his not being welcome and not feeling comfortable or welcome among police officers. He makes jokes about this and plays it as if we are the ones who are wrong, bad, hostile, arrogant, caustic, and failing to understand what he is doing is necessary and proper and needed to meet his goals. He lays blame at the feet of the association, the members and the department for the city's failure to balance its budget and the perceived excessive benefits earned by workers. He continues to perpetuate the blatant lies and misrepresentations of the benefits and wages received by police officers in this city. He continues to spin crime statistics and the level of protection available to this city.
His off handed quips at the police officers expense is born from his lack of integrity; his total lack honesty; his many ethical lapses; his complete disregard for the truth and the treatment of officers during negotiations. He knows his actions, words and deeds are wrong and he is unable to justify them to even those who once called him "friend." He cannot look a single police officer in the face and justify his actions or words. He cannot stand in the presence of those who wear the badge that symbolizes honesty, integrity, respect and honor because he lacks these characteristics and as the saying goes; "The emperor has no clothes" which could not be more accurate as it relates to the mayor of San Diego. The mayor's avoidance of events where police officers are present is of his making and it is a result of his lies, deceit and lack of honor, integrity and respect. These are his doings and his reward for being who and what he is.
The mayor responded on September 10, 2009, to Brian Marvel's letter (sent on July 15, 2009). Nothing like a timely response from the mayor. The mayor simply said he committed several weeks prior to receiving his invitation to the Memorial to speak to the SAE alumni association and "would have certainly appreciated the opportunity" to attend the Memorial but "Unfortunately, this prior obligation prevented me from attending this year." Again, it is about priorities and the mayor's complete lack of respect for the men and women who provide law enforcement protection to the citizens of San Diego. Why ANYONE would make excuses or attempt to explain the actions of the mayor is beyond me. To even attempt to justify or explain an action from this politician is pathetic and laughable. His excuses for actions are pathetic and laughable if they were not creating such a serious and potential deadly consequence.