Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fighting City Hall

One of the things I learned in my years of politics; you can't fight City Hall. What you can do is learn to play the game of politics. Using logic, common sense, facts and emotion have no bearing on politics or what happens in City Hall. Providing a logical, common sense, fact based argument against imposing a contract that costs police officers 10% of their income; freezes or removes their retiree medical benefits, destroys their ability to enter DROP and forces the most experienced and dedicated of our officers out the door is fruitless.

What do we do to fight City Hall? How do we stop the mayor's war he is waging against the finest police department in the nation? How do we garner the public's support in times like these, when they are suffering as much or more than we are? How to we regain the support of those City Council persons who once understood the need to put the public's safety first? How do WE band together and work as one to meet the goal of "Fighting City Hall?"

Providing to the Council and citizenry; comparative statistics of our pay and benefits; highlighting the attrition rate of officers; detailing the inability to hire qualified replacements for those leaving; explaining the potential reality of police officers not being able to respond in a timely manner to serious crimes; showing how the quality of life issues, so important to citizens, will go unanswered; is all well and good. The problem is unless the public is "personally" affected by crime; the City Council is pressured by large numbers of citizens; a major crisis results in highly publicized criticism of the level of public safety; none of the FACTS provided mean a thing!!!

I am going to say some things that may rankle some people's feathers. I may strike some nerves and open a debate that creates discussion and disagreement. In the end, I believe until we all get on the same page and agree to follow a plan developed to educate and inform the public; NOTHING WILL CHANGE. Some of what I will share was discussed in two meetings between the POA Board, Captains and Lieutenants. I will explain later the outcome of these meetings.

The first thing we need to do is remember why we all became police officers. We all in some way wanted to fight crime, make people safe, help and protect people and provide a quality of life for our community, family and friends. We did not come into this job to get rich. Each of us stands as a professional, ethical example of what is good. To so this we need to be professional in everything we do. Why is it, when we respond to a residential or commercial burglary, we gather the information for the report and quickly leave to respond to the next call? Why do we gather the basic information for an injury accident and begin answering the next call? What happened to conducting a thorough and complete INVESTIGATION; consisting of a search for physical evidence and witnesses? What happened to completing the report when the information is fresh in your memory and articulating the actions of the suspects, observations of witnesses and protecting the chain of evidence and impounding the prints or other evidence in a timely manner? What happened to NOT responding to priority one calls when no cover unit is available? Will it take one of us getting killed or seriously injured before we go back to the safety practices we ALL know we should be adhering too? When will we start writing traffic citations for ALL of the moving violations observed? When will we write traffic violations for ALL of the equipment violations observed? We owe the citizens our diligence in addressing the poor driving practices of these law violators. When will we each be diligent in our efforts to document EVERYTHING we do on the CAD? Will there ever be a time when we will band together and STOP volunteering our off duty time to work Special Events?

Let's talk first about the last question I posed; working overtime for Special Events. I have heard all the reasons for "why" officers fight to work this overtime. I understand the need to supplement ones income when wages and benefits are cut. I would suggest to those who continue to succumb to this behavior; you are hurting yourself and your fellow officer. The City depends on you and your "need" for the additional income to volunteer your off duty time to fill these positions. What would happen if EVERYONE removed their name from the Special Events Roster? The Department could NOT fill these positions. You cannot be ordered to work overtime unless there is an emergency. A Padre or Charger game; Rock and Roll Marathon; Movie Detail; Pride Parade; SuperCross; Mardi Gras; or any of the other "planned" events are NOT "emergencies." The City would be forced into finding another solution to meeting the needs of these promoters. There is little benefit to giving in to this temptation and allowing the City to use you. Each time staffing is provided by officers volunteering to work overtime; you remove the need for the City to address the issue of adequate and fair compensation. Where there is no need; there is no desire on the part of the City Council.

Conducting a COMPLETE, "Preliminary Investigation" requires TIME. Searching for physical evidence and witnesses; writing a detailed report articulating the actions of the suspects and witness observations requires TIME. FINISHING the INVESTIGATION before clearing to handle additional radio calls requires time and additional officers. Each time you handle these calls by the book; calls will stack. Conducting an investigation and writing a detailed report EVERY TIME a crime is brought to your attention will take time. The public will wait for the services they have become accustomed to receiving. I am NOT advocating dragging your feet or taking your time. I am advocating doing your job totally and completely to the best of your ability and by the book. Be professional and provide that excellent customer service each of you is capable of.

Refusing to respond to Priority One calls when a cover officer is not available will cause the call to wait. Balancing the public's safety and Officer's safety needs is going to be a challenge. Being a police officer is dangerous and at times we are going to get injured doing our job. Our desire to protect the public, at times pulls us to violate our training when we know we should not give in to this temptation. Will it take one or more of us getting killed or seriously injured before we go back to the basics and protect ourselves and each other first? Following our own policies and training will again cause calls to stack and the public to wait for the services they have become accustomed to receiving.

Addressing traffic violations in an aggressive and professional manner will provide the driving public safer streets and take time. Conducting these stops and writing the citation, complete with appropriate notes as prescribed by policy takes time. Traffic stops take time and will at times generate overtime. These stops will take you out of service and cause radio calls to stack. The public will wait for the services they have become accustomed to receiving.

When the POA discussed these issues with Captains we were met with a refusal to support officers performing these duties in a professional manner. With the exception of one Captain; we were told these actions amounted to a "Job Slow Down" and they would NOT support officers who conducted themselves in such a manner. When we attempted to explain our belief that we as officers were shortchanging ourselves and the public by; cutting corners and juggling two and three calls at a time; volunteering to handle priority calls alone; conducting cursory investigations and writing brief reports; and not addressing the traffic violations we observed while on patrol; we were told there was going to be no support for these actions.

We then met with the Lieutenants and had a similar discussion. It was clear the Captains had briefed their Lieutenants prior to this meeting and we met the same resistance. We knew at this point there was no support for officers. Politics within the department was as strong as it was at City Hall. It was clear the Captains did not want to have to answer to the Chief or Mayor when constituents started calling in and complaining about the lack of officers and the response times to calls.

We have done this to ourselves. We have given into the belief we can do more with less and we have. We have given into the belief there is nothing we can do to change the circumstance we have found ourselves in. We have refused to hold ourselves and each other accountable. When we decide as a department to stop giving in to the hype of doing more with less, we will be able to take the first step of fighting City Hall. When we band together and do our jobs in the MOST PROFESSIONAL MANNER POSSIBLE, we will begin to affect the public in a manner they are not accustomed. Supervisors from top to bottom must support their people and encourage professionalism and adherence to policy.

The response times will increase and the quality of life calls (transient camp, 415 barking dog, pan-handler, illegally parked car, loud radio, kids playing in the street, illegal dumping) will NOT receive police attention expected by the citizens. The response times will no longer be the lowest in the region. The crime reports that in the past were washed out or not taken for a variety of reasons will no longer be blown off, resulting in the crime stats more accurately reflecting the crime rate of our communities. We will actually be working harder, NOT less. We will be doing more, NOT less.

In short order the public will begin to feel the effects of too few police officers and begin to complain of long response times. The City Council will tire of the complaints and demand answers. When the CAD entries show a detailed accounting of minute by minute activity of officers, showing the number of calls handled, reports taken and contacts made; it will also show the length of time calls had to wait due to officers doing their job and not having sufficient officers to handle the calls any faster. God forbid a citizen is seriously injured or killed because we do not have sufficient officers to respond in a timely manner to a priority one call. God forbid an officer is seriously injured or killed because there are not sufficient officers available to assist and cover each other.

We will not effect change unless we ALL adhere to the ideals of doing everything by the book. We will not be successful in this venture if a handful of officers break ranks and think of only themselves and volunteer for Special Events Overtime. Peer pressure will be required to ensure those thinking of only THEMSELVES, follow suit and do what is right. Yes, it will be difficult. It will require sacrifice. It will require officers to stand shoulder to shoulder and carry the pain together. It can be done, but ONLY if everyone carries the same weight and does not buckle under the pressure. There is no room for the officer who says he "HAS" to work overtime to pay his/her bills. I say to you; "You have no choice but NOT to work that overtime." You continue to allow the City to use you; you will allow the City to continue acts of war against the rest of your brothers and sisters of the San Diego Police Department.

You can fight City Hall with a unified front and by providing that excellent customer service the citizen's of San Diego have come to expect. This excellent customer service comes at a price. It SHOULD NOT be in the form of a serious injury or death to one of us.

Do as I say; Not as I do

The mayor says he is not apologetic in the least for taking his full pay as mayor and retirement pay. He says after all he is putting a daughter through college. The mayor says; "I'm not wealthy." "I'm just like everybody else; I've got to make ends meet." No kidding? I sure would like to "Make ends meet" with a retirement of $92,000 and a salary of $100,464. The mayor pays his ex-wife a paltry $2,000 a month in alimony. So he now makes in the neighborhood of $168,464 a year.

This is not about what the mayor earned serving the citizens over a 26 year career with the Police Department. This is not about his salary of $100,464. This is about the pattern of behavior from a person who has his and is now taking from those below him. This is about the pattern of deceit and power. To make this even worse; the mayor began planning for his deceit BEFORE he was even elected for his second term. Planned Raise On February 13, 2008, well before the mayor's re-election, the mayor's staff is making plans to take full salary.

The mayor sees nothing wrong with the manner in which he began taking his entire salary as well as his retirement. Let's keep in mind the mayor's retiree benefit as well as medical is locked in and cannot be taken away. The mayor enjoys the potential 10% annual increase to his retiree medical payment. What I find puzzling is the statement from his office that he is NOT participating in the retirement system for the purpose of raising his retirement from the city.

I would like the mayor, not one of his underlings, to explain the portion of Michael Lawson's comment in the February 13, 2008, e-mail to Sara Cavatalo, "This salary projection assumes that the Mayor would still receive his reduced salary of $1 .395 .19/pay period for a full 11 pay periods (ending November 30, 2008). The full salary would be assumed for the remaining 15 pay periods (53,864/pay period), along with the full legislative retirement benefits." The indication is the mayor is taking advantage of the Legislative vesting and participation in SDCERS. Another secret within the wall of City Hall???

Darren Pudgel, the mayor's mouth piece (An improvement from Fred Sainz), explained to a reporter the mayor was taking his full salary and retirement when it was discovered in papers presented to the City Council during discussions about raises for the Council and the mayor. No one was aware the mayor had decided to start taking his full salary. He kept it secret and did not share this very important change. Why? Maybe because he knew he was going to demand employees pay more of their retirement contributions (reneging on past promises), salary cuts, reductions in medical benefits for employees, freezing of retiree medical benefits, reductions in DROP and the unilateral changes to vested and earned retirement benefits. The mayor then pipes up and said he did not know how to address the change and felt it inappropriate to hold a press conference or issue a press release. Ya Think? He didn't say anything because he knew what he was doing would not be perceived well by ANYONE!!! It was again a political decision based on how it would make him look.

The mayor made the pledge to take a reduced salary for political reasons during a very tight and hotly contested election to replace Mayor Murphy. He garnered a ton of political capital with the move and you can bet his salary was made up by the boards he sits on and members of the Republican Party. Bottom line; the public had a right to know he changed his mind and was now taking his full salary along with his retirement payments. This highlights another lapse of credibility and leaves the public to wonder what else is being kept from them. Someone equated it to cheating on one's spouse; when presented with evidence of the indiscretion; saying you wanted to tell them all about it, but didn't know how.

Now, could someone explain to me how the mayor can go from $120,000 total compensation in December 2008, to $192,464 in December 2008 by simply getting re-elected and then turn around and do what he has done to the employees of the City of San Diego?

Is it just me?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sergeant Reggie Frank Retires

One of the good guys called it quits tonight. Sergeant Reggie Frank celebrated his retirement from the San Diego Police Department after 30+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. My first memories of Sergeant Frank date back to 1986 when I was assigned to the Narcotics Street Team as a Detective. Reggie was my Sergeant on a team of five young, hard charging, and at times rebellious Investigators. We were assigned to narcotics at a time when Rock Cocaine was being sold by Los Angeles Gangs and the police department was trying to play catch up. Wild and crazy times; working 12 to 18 hours a day, search warrants every day and the occasional B & R. There was also a trip to the Los Angeles Police Academy Bar to meet up with an officer who had left San Diego for the "BIGS." The "Statute of Limitations" applies; but let's just leave it at that. On this trip we ended up on Sunset Blvd and the Tommy Burger and somehow Reggie got left behind and had to use his charm, influence and police badge to hop a Greyhound Bus home. I think if my memory serves me; our Lieutenant at the time had to drive down to the bus terminal to pick Reggie up and loan him the money to pay his fare. (I remember sitting at my desk when the Lieutenant came out of his office and asked if anyoen knew where Reggie was. 10 minutes later he got the call to go get Reggie)

After a couple of years of the wild times in Narcotics it was time to leave. Reggie headed off to Internal Affairs and I went to Northern Investigations. Two years later we were re-united in the Robbery Investigations Unit. Wild times again. Series after series kept up working long hours and never having much time for fun. We had both matured and grown in our abilities. Several memorable series and cases. The "A's Bandit" who was robbing banks at a pace never before seen in San Diego. The "Shooter" who was robbing gas stations, hotels and small liquor stores and shooting at the clerks (hitting three). The late night series; where one night while staking out several locations they hit in Rancho Bernardo; a Robbery Detective watching (cover miles away) begins to follow the suspects as they leave; the suspects make the detective and to elude capture the suspects get on the 15 freeway and after a short distance make a u-turn. The suspects were caught later. (That is all I will say on this case) There was the kidnapping of the daughter of a prominent family in San Diego. Two days of calls from the kidnapper and a lucky break we capture the suspect and get the daughter back safely. A total team effort and Reggie right there leading the way.

Reggie was a former SWAT member and his knowledge of tactics kept us all safe. Reggie was a hard charger and demanded his people be as well. He never asked his people to something he was not willing to do himself. He had a quick wit and a playful humorous side. He was also a serious, professional task master. He gave a lot and got a lot out of his people and he always took care of us. Reggie was and is "One of the GOOD Guys."

Sergeant Reggie Frank takes 30+ years of experience, dedication and knowledge with him as he heads into retirement. Reggie will be missed. His retirement party tonight was attended by well over 250 people at the "Old Rock House" San Diego Police Pistol Range. Young and old came to pay respect and honor a man. Many speeches, toasts and laughs were shared.

To Sergeant Reggie Frank; I raise my glass high and toast you; "Thank you and God Bless you." Enjoy your retirement Reggie, you earned it!!!!

People Connecting the Dots!!!!

I was reading letters from the Voice of San Diego and came across these comments to a letter written by Robert Davis. Mr. Davis is questioning the mayor's secret committee meetings Pension Committee's Meetings . It appears people are starting to connect the dots around the mayor. It should prove very interesting to see what the final picture looks like when colored by the people who see clearly what is going on at City Hall. Below are several of the replies to Mr. Davis' letter.

Rani Gupta ran an article titled "Disengenuous at Best" link Which contains this quote from the mayor's spokeswoman, Rachel Laing saying; "the committee has "no decision-making power and is not giving a recommendation to anyone with decision-making power on the issue." This just begs the question, why in the @##$% are we spending time and money on this committee? And to follow, what is the purpose of an ethics committee?

Posted by Gene

Same Approach Needs Disinformation, Excesses Require Secrecy. S-A-N-D-E-R-S.

Posted by N. Dynamite

Use to be that when the powerful few were revealed to have brokered deals and manipulated the rules to benefit themselves--er, got caught, they were appropriately shame-faced and apologetic. Not now. They seem to do as they damn well please, blithely, without even a hint of remorse or embarrassment. It is a new style of governance. In addition to the "corridor" study for the pension fund, I would like to nominate the hijacking of Prop S bond funds by the SDUSD trustees, Jackson, Barrera and Evans as theft, plain and ugly. They and the unions are dealing our tax dollars away as you read this. Without any oversight or input from anyone. Which person at the District has ever negotiated a PLA? Government is rolling over us; we've reached a tipping point and are descending into free fall.

Such behavior by the Mayor can only lead to no good. As the noted English jurist, Sir John Cadwick, observed 20 years ago; "Secrecy (in public affairs) is the badge of fraud." The contrast between the Mayor's secret machinations and the Pension Board's transparency could not be more apparent.

Posted by William

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. It's the Pete Wilson gang still; the faces just change to protect the guilty.

Posted by GHJohn

There are so many more examples of the mayor only sharing information on a "need to know" basis. Information is power and the best was to have more power than the people is to keep information from them. It is a pattern folks. It is a core value of a person. This mayor will never let go of the power.

It’s the little lies mayor!!!

Is anyone paying attention in San Diego? Is there anyone connecting the dots, using the statements that come out of the mayor's office; mistruths, lies, denials, "mis-statements", and the people effect of the mayor's statements and actions? When is the City Council going to stand up to the mayor and call him on the contradictions??? How much longer do City workers have to suffer the treatment of the mayor? Will the mayor be held responsible for the eventual death of a Police Officer due to staffing and experience?? You do understand I am talking about the LACK of staffing and experience right???

One of the mayor's mouthpieces showed up at City Council to tout three replacements to the SDCERS Board. The mayor was moving to replace two highly competent, educated, experienced, hard working, VOLUNTEERS in Bill Sheffler and Tom Hebrank (BOTH of whom were ready and willing to continue service to the taxpayers). These two knowledgeable men were intimately involved in the reform efforts SDCERS had taken to regain the footing and recoup the losses caused at the hands of past mayors and city councils. Bill Sheffler is an actuary by trade. He served on the Pension Reform Committee and knows more about the issues related to the UAAL, ARC, actuarial assumed rate of return and all that comes with the fiduciary responsibilities of a board member than the current mayor will ever know. More importantly, Bill Sheffler is an HONEST man. Tom Hebrank has spent years on the SDCERS Board putting the reforms in place to secure a system that will serve employees, taxpayers and retirees in the most efficient and cost effect manner. These two men are the poster perfect people the taxpayers deserve representing them.

Scott Lewis of the Voice of San Diego wrote; "Expertise and knowledge about what happened, apparently, is actually undesirable, though, to the mayor. I'm not the only one baffled by this. Sheffler and Hebrank have spent years trying to reform the way the pension board worked and they succeeded in part. They have just the right amount of experience on the board to really get us somewhere now."

During the City Council hearing related to the mayor's request to replace Sheffler and Hebrank, Carl DeMaio said; "We have years of experience in Mr. Sheffler and Mr. Hebrank. I just cannot see why it would be a good decision not to reappoint at least one of them if not both of them to the board and I think it's a big mistake we are making as a city, as a plan sponsor, to jettison that experience -- that institutional memory."

Lani Lutar, CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association agreed, saying; "It's baffling to me that Mr. Sheffler is not being considered for reappointment to the retirement board when you consider his background and expertise as an actuary as well as his historical knowledge of the city's pension troubles."

Now comes the part that highlights the lapses in integrity and the ethical failures of the mayor and his office. His mouth piece shows up before council to lobby for the mayor's requested stacking of the SDCERS Board (AGAIN, another grab for control & power). To understand the mayor's thought processes you need to understand he is continuing his path to destruction of the pay and benefits of city employees. The mayor and his "team", I prefer the word "committee" because team would indicate a concerted effort to achieve a common goal. I know from personal conversations, with persons privy to information out of the mayor's committee meetings; MANY do not agree with the path of destruction set by the mayor. The sad reality is these same people are unwilling to speak up and to be fair to them cannot afford to lose their job. The mouthpiece was asked by Donna Frye; "Were there no other candidates who applied?" The reply was a quick; "To my knowledge, that is correct." Notice the words used? "To my knowledge" gives an out if anyone were to do due diligence and discover ANOTHER LIE coming from the mayor's office. The bottom line; the appointment of these sought out team player's of the mayor are all part of a bigger plan.

Here we have another CLEAR example of the mayor's vindictive, retaliation for a prior deed by Sheffler and Hebrank for refusing the mayor's demand they resign shortly after the mayor was elected. Sheffler and Hebrank also refused to appoint then City Attorney Aguirre as legal counsel for SDCERS. Thankfully these two men and their colleagues stood firm and did not cave in to the mayor. The mayor's mouthpiece hinted at this as the mayor's reason for replacing these two honest, hard working, VOLUNTEERS during his presentation, but stopped short of admitting anything. Go against the mayor and be ready for payback is the clear message here (I guess I should heed my own writings).

The mayor is angling to push through another attempt at a repeat of MP-1 and MP-2 and the underfunding of SDCERS. The mayor and his committee are working overtime on a plan to again short the payments to SDCERS (Read attached article).

The mayor is home popping his little blue pills to stay in the proper condition to continue the assault of the hard working men and women of this city. When will it end?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hey mayor; Guess Who's Leaving????

Does anyone really think he cares?????

The list of senior, experienced, dedicated members of the San Diego Police Department who have signed papers to retire before June 30, 2009, is growing by the day. The number increased to 86 today with 145+ asking for papers from SDCERS. The anticipated departure of the most experienced of officers is going to have a devastating effect on public safety in the City of San Diego.

San Diego is the 8th largest city in America and one of the most complex and most challenged police departments, operating in the most expensive region in this nation. San Diego Police Officers are paid a wage that puts us dead last in the 10 largest cities in this state and now have the worst retirement benefits of any city in the region. We certainly do not deserve to be compensated at such a level.

We have fewer officers to police a community this size than any major metropolitan city in America. Five days out of every week, our population grows by the thousands from those commuting from Riverside, Orange and Imperial counties, not to mention Mexico, to work in and for this city. Each summer millions of tourists fly, drive and cruise into town from around the world and we welcome them. Fifty-two weeks in every year, thousands of sports fans, concert goers, demonstrators, conventioneers, marathon runners, cuisine lovers, art fair lovers and just ordinary lovers flock to our city to do their thing. We accommodate and protect them.

Our officers handled flawlessly the 1994 Republican National Convention, the Bio-Tec conference (the same conference that devastated Seattle), 2 Super Bowls, 2 world series as well as tragedies at the McDonald’s in San Ysidro and the most recent wild fires. Our officers are the example used world wide by chiefs and communities for how to manage critical incidents. We do it all with less and that is going to get worse.

Our officers police one of the most diverse and complex cities in America and they do so under extraordinary scrutiny and oversight. Yet, despite all else, San Diego Police Officers are a dedicated and professional group of the most tolerant, innovative, sophisticated, and savvy men and women in law enforcement. You can’t put a price on that type of service, but you can, and should, value it dearly. Let’s face it, measuring up to one’s renown as a world-class city is an expensive proposition.

The above is a portion of the presentation I made before the City Council during the Impasse hearing for our 2005 negotiations. I have dusted this off because we will soon have a crisis trying to police this city after June 30, 2009. The mayor needs to understand the dire situation he has created for public safety.

The list of those being forced to leave by June 30, 2009, to preserve vested and promised benefits the mayor has reduced or eliminated, is filled with 20+ officers who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. The list also includes 20+ detectives who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. The list grows when you add 20+ patrol Sergeants who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. Now let's add 20+ Detective/Sergeants who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. Now add one Chief, one Captain and three Lieutenants, who each have 30+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. 2150+ years of experience is departing the San Diego Police Department. (Let us not forget the 125 members who have departed the San Diego Police Department since July 1, 2008)

On July 1, 2009, the San Diego Police Department will have to replace a Lieutenant and Detective/Sergeant in the Intelligence Unit; two Lieutenants from area commands; one Detective Sergeant in; Auto Theft Investigations, Child Abuse Investigations, Hit and Run/Traffic Investigations, Robbery Investigations, Homicide Investigations, Internal Affairs, Gang Investigations, Elder Abuse Investigations, Regional Fraud Task Force Investigations, and District Attorney Liaison.

Two Canine Sergeants, the Range Sergeant, two Traffic Sergeants, five Administrative Sergeants, ten Patrol Sergeants; twenty Detectives from all areas of the department; Homicide, Child Abuse, Background Investigations, Auto Theft, Financial Crimes, Robbery Investigations, Juvenile Investigations, Area Commands and more.

Some of the biggest losses will be in the Traffic Division. Traffic Officers, Motor Officers and two Traffic Sergeants will be leaving service. This is an area of the Department that generates revenue and protects the City's interest from law suits.

The knowledge, experience, and dedication cannot be replaced with a person off the street. The hiring process for a new officer takes six months to a year when the candidate lives locally and has the skills and aptitude necessary to meet the basic qualifications to enter the academy. Academy and Field training takes another year. The officer will enter the field with BASIC skills necessary to protect himself and do the job of a Police Officer I. It will take two to three years for this officer to understand and react to the nuances of proactive police work. Preventing crimes rather than just responding to and reporting incidents that have already occurred.

Hey mayor; get a clue. You alone have created this crisis. You have refused to acknowledge the danger you have placed the public in by your latest act of terrorism against the officers of the San Diego Police Department.

It has been said if you wage war against your police officers; you had better make friends with the criminals. The mayor has clearly declared war against the Police Officers in San Diego.

I have a question mayor; has one of your many committees finished the public service flier instructing citizens on what they need to do to protect themselves and how to make friends with the criminals in their neighborhoods?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last one out turn the lights off!!!!

Who's leaving? Who's staying? That is the million dollar question today. Every day a new name hits the list of those heading for the exit. The mayor has accomplished his goal. The San Diego Police Department is being gutted of experience, institutional knowledge, wisdom, confidence and leadership. The public has been mis-lead and lied to by the mayor. The contract being inserted into every police officer in this city was not necessary nor fair. The mayor is continuing his payback to officers who stood up to him and refused to be bullied. When will it end?

In Fiscal Year 2006 218 officers departed the department (18 per month). In Fiscal Year 2007 174 officers departed (15 per month). In Fiscal Year 2008 126 officers departed (11 per month). In Fiscal Year 2009 (to date) 125 officers have departed (12 per month). NOW for the REAL numbers. As of today there are over 120 SENIOR members (sworn & non-sworn) of the San Diego Police Department who will be departing service to the citizens of San Diego in the next 60 days. That number is expected to grow. Some estimates place the number at 175 or an increase of 55 SENIOR members.

People need to know the effects this will have on public safety. The departure of a Chief, Captain (or two), three or four Lieutenants (maybe more), twenty plus Sergeants (patrol and investigations), fifty plus investigators and a whole slew of senior, experienced patrol officers will leave a void never before seen in San Diego Law Enforcement. I fear for my families safety. I fear for the public's safety. I fear for what is going to happen to San Diego.

Currently there are too few Background Investigators assigned to the Unit responsible for conducting the investigations of those seeking to replace those leaving. The process takes 6-12 months when things go well to add a persons name to the list of qualified candidates to enter the academy. The department is scrambling to add investigators to this task. The goal is to increase the academy class size from 25 to 50. IT'S NOT ENOUGH!!!!

This crisis was not created by the department and did not have to happen. The mayor has thrown the baby out with the bath water with his tactics. The caper for most senior people was the mayor's inserting a cap of retiree medical insurance. This move alone was enough to force people out the door. Here are the numbers I am talking about:

I did the calculations related to the cap of retiree medical. When the benefit is capped at $8,800; the loss of money is as follows;

10 year loss: $66,268
20 year loss: $282,884
25 year loss: $567,235

In the first ten years, the loss of the 10% increase to the $8,800 flex dollars provided is $66,268. The loss begins to increase exponentially over the next 10 years and then even worse over the next five years to a total loss of $567,235 over a 25 year period.

These numbers are based on the 10% increase in flex dollars, NOT the increase of premium which has historically been 13-27%. So if you take these numbers, the loss of dollars to a person retiring AFTER June 30 is substantial.

I get the economical issues facing the the City, County, State and Nation. Every person in America has been affected by this economic downturn, loss of jobs, cuts in pay and benefits; lost value of real estate and loss of investments. These issues have caused people to roll back spending which in turn has resulted in a loss of revenue from taxes. All of this out of the control of employees of the Police Department.

The mayor is scapegoating employees and their benefits for his personal gain. There is no honor in being a bully. That is what the mayor is. He is being held up as the crusader who took on and defeated the all mighty unions. He is ruining a city work force for personal gain. His legacy will be eliminating "excessive pay and benefits" from city workers. Lost will be the increase in serious crimes; reduced cancellation rates of these same crimes and a quality of life never before seen in San Diego and not for the good. The mayor can stand tall and tout to the public how he reigned in the unions; did not have to raise taxes and kept service levels at "acceptable" levels. It's all smoke and mirrors.

The mayor loaded his shotgun and fired at the Police Officers because we do not have the protections the other employee groups have. We are the only labor group who does not have the protections from the type of criminal activities the mayor has perpetrated upon his officers. PERB or the Public Employees Relations Board would issue an unfair labor practice for the types of actions his negotiations people pulled during the past negotiations. Just calling it "negotiations" is a joke.

The mayor had an agenda and no matter what was presented by the SDPOA, the mayor was not going to accept it nor consider it. The mayors goal was to beat down the association. In the middle of negotiations the city negotiators present a law suit to the SDPOA board indicating the mayor was going to sue the SDPOA to eliminate DROP. The crux of the law suit was the mayors ill advised belief DROP is not a vested benefit. The negotiators were demanding the SDPOA negotiate with the City about the elimination of DROP. The SDPOA board, knowing they could not negotiate a vested benefit away refused. The mayor knew by dropping the law suit in the middle of negotiations it would shut down ANY chance of an agreement and enable him to insert the Last Best and Final (LB&F) in the asses of every police officer in San Diego. The mayor also knew the inserted contract would result in the exit of many senior employees, further reducing the payroll.

Lastly on this issue tonight; the mayor met with the City Council in closed session during the impasse hearing. The mayor threatened the council. He told them if they failed to help him insert the cuts on the officers that were in his LB&F, the result would be the other tentative agreements with Fire, MEA and City Attorney's could be voided. The implied threat was insert/impose the LB&F on the SDPOA or he would go to the public and blame them for destroying the reform efforts he was undertaking and he would tell the taxpayers the cost to them would be astronomical. The council obviously did not have the testicular fortitude to do the right thing and voted 8-0 WITHOUT DISCUSSION.

The numbers of senior, experienced and dedicated officers of the San Diego Police Department who are leaving is growing exponentially.

Come June 30, 2009, would the last person out please get the lights? There won't be a need on July 1 for the lights to be on... NO ONE WILL BE AROUND!!!!