Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Relationships and the mayor

OK let me first give this disclaimer; I don't subscribe to the Union Tribune. I do not have a bird or cat for which I would need this rag to line the respective bottoms of the cage or litter box. So I missed the conversation the mayor had with the editorial board as published in Sunday's edition. I was alerted to the comments of the mayor yesterday and read on-line with interest, his perception of the relationship he has with the SDPOA. I touched on my perception of his relationship with police officers in a prior post, but now I want to take a few minutes and touch on HIS perception. Remembering, a man's perception is his reality.

I found his comments to be completely self-serving and very delusional. What planet is this guy living on? The mayor was asked, "What is your relationship with the police union right now, after the 6 percent cuts that were imposed on them last year?" I laughed as I read his reply. "Well I don't think my picture is up in their office anymore." Someone needs to clue this pompous, arrogant, ego inflated person his picture NEVER WAS on the wall in any office at the SDPOA. He was a pathetic chief and has been an even worse mayor. The only purpose to have a photograph of him on the wall at the SDPOA would be for sport. But what is telling about his first comment is he attempts to make light of this relationship.

The mayor continues, "You know, I've always have a good relationship with the POA." I laughed again as I continued reading his attempt at answering this question. Please tell me WHEN this mayor had a "good relationship with the POA." I am all ears mayor. You are kidding right? I understand your attempt at being political but for Christ's sake, could you just this one time be honest? YOU HAVE A COMPLETELY PATHETIC, CAUSTIC, DEEPLY DIVIDED, ARROGANT relationship that LACKS TRUST, HONESTY, ETHICS AND COMMUNICATION. You have failed in every manner in every context from the day you announced your run for mayor.

He continues, "I still respect them tremendously." OK, somebody help me out here. He still respects us tremendously. In spite of; help me here; anybody? We refused to drink his cool-aid but he still respects us? We refused to bargain away vested benefits, for lesser, more expensive ones, but he still respects us? We refused to accept three out of four contracts when the bargaining did not even come close to being conducted in good faith and then forced upon us, but he still respects us? But, he still respects us tremendously? Clearly he does not think before he responds to questions.

Now it gets interesting and I will attempt to choose my words carefully but will call it as I see it. To my firemen friends; I respect the job you do and the challenges you have faced and the decisions you have made. Having said that; we can agree to disagree with each other as it relates to accepting or not, the screwing at the hands of the mayor over the past several years. While our needs are different and our views of what is important is somewhat different; I believe the differences in our contracts provided firefighters the ability to lessen the pain and allowed for them to agree to accept the cuts demanded by the mayor over the years. I do see this coming to an end in the coming months and they will understand our plight from a personal standpoint when that occurs.

The mayor finishes his answer with the following; "But I think the association has to be more realistic. If the entire city is suffering, you can't say, 'But we're the police, we deserve everything.' We didn't see the firefighters doing that. They joined us. We were happy they were a partner in this; they didn't want the pay cut anymore than the police officers did. But they saw the way the city was going and they understood." So we need to be more realistic? In what way mayor? We need to understand it is customary for a past chief of police to screw his old department and be realistic that is just the way it is suppose to be? We are supposed to be more realistic about our expectations of honest and ethical behavior from our mayor? What in the hell are you trying to say here mayor?

Where in the hell did you come up with this one; "But we're the police, we deserve everything?" If memory serves me, when I was on the SDPOA Board, we offered more than was asked for and were turned down because in the words of the city's labor negotiator/lawyer; "The city council does not have the ability to understand what you are trying to do. This has become political and they do not want to accept your offer." To follow up on this thought, if my information is correct, the current SDPOA Board offered MORE than the mayor was seeking and were turned down because it was not what the mayor wanted and in the manner he wanted it. Here again the mayor attempts to make the members of the SDPOA out to be greedy, demanding thugs who only care about themselves. He again fails to be truthful and again uses the press to keep the public's opinion negative toward police officers and the association.

Then the mayor goes into his false praise and platitudes toward firefighters. "They joined us." "We were happy they were a partner in this; they didn't want the pay cut anymore than the officers did." Let's be clear of the truth here. Firefighter's crafted a deal that best suited their members. They did so because their contract allows for virtually unlimited overtime and the ability to make the money back that was taken. Firefighters by and large all have second jobs that in many cases pay them more than their firefighting job. The joke in many circles is firefighting is their part time job that allows them to have higher paying real jobs. Police officers on the other hand have a very difficult time taking on a second job, especially if working patrol. The rotating shifts, extended shifts and court do not allow for part time jobs in most instances. The availability of overtime is limited to special events (Padre, Charger, SDSU Football and the assortment of other civic events held every so often in the city) and if an officer is lucky he or she may get 3 or 4 events a year. This does not even scratch the surface of the cuts forced upon police officers in the last contract.

The bottom line is the mayor is delusional if he thinks for a second he has ANY type of relationship with police officers or our association. He lacks credibility and he has proven to be unethical as well as vindictive; a terrible combination for a politician who holds the cards. As a strong mayor he is a complete and utter failure. He is a bully and a liar. He will spin, fabricate, diminish, and exaggerate information to suit his needs. His people will intentionally put out miss information and exaggerations to bolster a point by the mayor and when called on the inaccurate information will simply say the exaggeration was to help with "context."

The mayor jokes about his not being welcome among the ranks of police officers. He then, as above, lays blame for this poor relationship at our feet. The truth is the mayor knows we know. We know who he is; we know what he is; we know all his dirty little secrets; and the fact he is unethical and vindictive and has lied so much he is no longer capable of identifying the truth. Because of this, the mayor knows we know and he is uncomfortable placing himself in our presence. He is uncomfortable among us because he cannot stand before us knowing we know. He cannot justify his actions toward us. He cannot justify nor back up his lies to and about us. He cannot walk among us, as he is no longer one of us. He has betrayed the honor of the badge and is no longer worthy of having one. He knows this and he knows we know.

The mayor also addressed the low numbers of police officers who are employed by the city. The question, "The police union is talking publicly about the low ratio of officers to the city's population. How does San Diego have one of the lowest big-city crime rates with one of the lowest ratios?" I wanted to puke reading the garbage he spews on this one. "This goes back quite a ways, before I was chief." Yes it does and when you were chief you demand on may occasion moving to a 2 per 1,000 ratio as being optimum and necessary to combat crime in a safe manner. "We have always had the lowest ratio for a major city. But we have an understanding that it's not the number of cops you put on the street, it's what those cops do when they're on the street." We have an understanding that it's not the number of cops you put on the street, it's what those cops do when they're on the street. Who is this "We" you are talking about? In a short period of time, while trying to increase the numbers of officers after the exodus of officers in the late 70's, San Diego lost more officers killed in the line of duty than any other city in the nation. We are headed there again and this is acceptable? "When they are tied to community groups and the neighborhoods, and they work with them, you're always going to get a better result." This has nothing to do with having adequate numbers of officers to safely police a city the size of San Diego. Who will be the next officer killed in the line of duty because there was no one to cover or assist when the call is made? Who will be the officer killed in the line of duty because he or she was so tired from a lack of ability to take a day off due to staffing? Who will be the officer killed in the line of duty because the mayor repeatedly cut wages, benefits and the number of officers and the lack of experience resulted in a critical mistake at an incident? "You can look across the country and you will find the police departments that have huge ratios of police officers. You go to Detroit, they probably have five or six officers per thousand people, and we have 1.6." He we go again with the spinning of reality and the truth. We may have 1.6 per thousand if fully staffed as 2,178 officers. At the current number of sworn police officers working for the San Diego Police Department we do not make it to ONE (1) per thousand. "Right now, in times that are tough, we just put a hard freeze on all employees being hired, including police officers. We've seen the Police Officers Association put out a statement saying people's safety is going to be jeopardized, and all of that. I don't believe that." Easy for you to say mayor. You are not out working the street, trying to manage the calls for service and crime that is occurring in the streets of San Diego. You are not working grave-yards in Mid-City Division with eight (8) officers or Northeastern Division with four (4) officers. You are not the one responding to a Domestic Violence call where multiple callers are reporting a fight, ALONE at three in the morning and the nearest cover unit is twenty minutes away from another division. This police department is grossly understaffed and the lack of staffing is unsafe for officers as well as citizens.

The irony of all this is the mayor so proudly signed a letter of intent to train police officers from Mexico at our police academy. The comment was made there would be no officers pulled from the field to do this training, as we already have trainers at the academy who will conduct the training. This is true; plus, since we are in a hiring freeze and we are not training police officers for the citizens of San Diego, we might as well train officers from Mexico. What I find pathetic about this endeavor is there is nothing concrete as to what the program will cost, who is paying for it, how many dedicated officers there would be conducting this training or what the training would even entail. Simply amazing; only in San Diego can this happen.

The mayor is setting the stage for next year's negotiations with his revised 5 year forecast. His stated intention is further cuts and reductions. He has stated publicly there will be deep cuts to staffing and services. He has not mentioned cuts to wages because he is saving that for negotiations. His plan of attack will be to again make police officers out to be the bad guys, greedy and demanding and unwilling to sacrifice. He will recommend upwards of 150 layoffs of police officers. You know, all those "Enthusiastic" new officers. He will then offer that if officers accept a 4% pay cut, the jobs will be saved. It is going on all around the country right now. This mayor will simply copy and paste the page from that play book and again stick it in our bum. His only way of dealing with the deficit is to cut. He knows no other way.

The mayor will then take his shot at firefighters. The part of their contract that guarantees them overtime is the clause in the contract requiring four (4) people to actively man a truck. If that is removed and the department moves to three (3) per truck, the overtime is gone and firefighters are not only now losing a precious income but they gave up ALL of their holidays as a cost savings during their last contract and will be much further behind us at that point. This will devastate the fire department and will set them back 25 years. That group the mayor so proudly points to as "team players, who get it," will now be the ones standing ready to set a back fire in hope the wind will change and burn his house down.

The rest of the interview has the mayor pimping the expansion of the Convention Center and the Chargers. He just does not get it. Three more years of hell at the hands of this politician. The damage will continue and the hole deeper before he walks away. Who will be left and whose name will be etched on the Memorial in front of Headquarters?


Free Radical said...

Right on the money Sparky! The Mayor's comments in the Q&A were unbelievable. Please forgive him though...he was upset. The newspaper said the SDPOA was starting to get the message out about the staffing shortages in this City. How dare those unruley children challenge him! They should just do as he says! Remember, during negotiations the SDPOA was told they would not be rewarded for bad behavior!

Just call me Earl said...

Right on point Steve. These types of posts need to be read by the public. Gerry Sanders is the biggest joke this side of the Mississippi. I agree 1,000% with your assessment of the upcoming negotiations. Sanders is going to layoff 100+ of those "enthusiastic" new officers and then seek to extort a pay cut instead.

Firefighters look like they may be in serious jeopardy. Maybe now they will feel our pain and can't screw us by taking a deal.

Gene said...

Why would Sanders lay off the newbies at $23 bucks an hour with no benefits when he can lay off the experienced ones that are at $40 bucks an hour and have expensive benefits? I am speaking of the offices with 5 to 10 years on that get paid a higher hourly wage, have DROP and the ability to retire at age 50. Sanders doesnt want these people anyway. He wants low waged, retirement eligble at 55no DROP possibility. If you are a POII officer and you are not a FTO, K9, SWAT, POIII, DET you would be the most expendable to this mayor. You are costly and not company minded, therefore you would be expendable in his mind. This is only a prediction and I am not trying to spread a rumor. If there are lay offs, is there any formula in place to govern who would get the pink slips?

Anonymous said...

Seniority is the usual guideline. So last in is first out. For those who have received their Basic POST Certificate the lateral opportunities elsewhere will go fast, so plan accordingly.

Just Wondering said...

Did Sanders say we would be training TJPD personnel at the Miramar College Academy site? Does this mean they be getting some of the same college courses our recruits receive? If so, will TJPD pay out-of-state non-resident unit fees to the SD Community College District? Or is he saying San Diego taxpayers must subsidize this cost too?

Anonymous said...

Sparky, your thoughts and feelings are echoed by the vast majority of the people who follow your blog. You are exactly right about the interview. One of the few people you can't lie to in this world is a cop. We are in the business of determining liars and we are good at it. After reading this pile of crap I thought of a million follow up questions that the interviewer missed. Like how can a cop afford to live around here and raise a family with ever shrinking salaries and benefits? TJ cops come to mind. Real journalism is dead. All they want to do is puff pieces which the citizens eat up, not asking real questions and accepting anything written in the paper because it's written in the paper. Keep up the good work. Hopefully your blog will catch on with more of the citizens who are completely unaware of whats going on in their city. This problem affects all facets of the city and the employees working here, not just the police and fire departments. Maybe you can shame those so called journalists to get back to doing the job they are supposed to do. It's good to have someone speaking our thoughts out loud. I am a fan!

Anonymous said...

I can't agree with you more! Its is the most frustrating thing to have to listen to the lies this major shoves down the throats of the citizens of San Diego. I am proud of our POA the last negotiations! They were trying to work with this city but we did not roll over and let them just give us whatever! Yes we were imposed upon but rather that than lay quite and let them kick us in the ass! I am concerned about what the final outcome this July will be....only time will tell. Thanks for all your comments and keep them coming!

Brian said...

Don't hold back Steve! It is great to see you back and in proper form. You are the only person who is calling bullshit on the mayor and his people. Where is the so called media? You need to send you posts to them so at least they can read them.

Lansdowne is as big an ass as the Mayor. He has had ample opportunity to set the record straight and tell the truth and has failed to do so. He is nothing but a puppet of the mayor and I have lost complete respect for the man. He has done NOTHING for us and things have gotten worse every year he has been here. He screws us on our TO time. He wants to eliminate specialty pays. He says one thing and does another. He needs to go!!!

Keep up the great posts Steve. My entire unit read your stuff and it is always the topic of discussion. Thank you for putting yourself out there and doing what you do.

Eric said...

I wish I was in DROP so I could call it like Steve does.. I have too long to go. I'm really worried the city will institute a combo on another pay cut and the retiree medical trust at the same time..