Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Latitude 33.051047 Longitude -117.076578

So if a crime is committed in close proximity to the location identified in the title above, which law enforcement agency would bear the responsibility for the investigation?

In law enforcement circles, territorial turf wars are commonplace. Protecting one's turf is often about ego, pride, and maybe even a sense of responsibility. Folklore has officers from one jurisdiction squaring off to fight officers of another jurisdiction over whose responsibility a particular investigation may fall to. Many of these stories center around an officer or jurisdiction not wanting to take on an investigation, in an area they believe is the responsibility of the other. Seldom if ever do you hear of an officer or agency squaring off to fight to take on an investigation, when that investigation involves a crime committed in the other agencies community.

On Thursday, February 25, 2010, Chelsea King headed off in the early afternoon for a run. Chelsea, a student at Poway High school, lived with her parents in the city of Poway. When Chelsea failed to return from her run, her parents frantically began searching for her. Chelsea's car and cell phone were found near latitude 33.051047 and longitude -117.076578, also known as the Rancho Bernardo Community Park, which is located west of Interstate 15 and South of Lake Hodges. The Rancho Bernardo Community Park and the walking trails West of Interstate 15 along the southern edges of Lake Hodges, are all part of the City of San Diego and policed by officers from the Northeastern Division of the San Diego Police Department.

The tragedy and circumstances surrounding this despicable act, perpetrated by a registered sex offender, were quickly identified by members of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. It appears the initial missing persons report was received and documented by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. As law enforcement descended upon the Rancho Bernardo Community Park to begin their search for Chelsea and the investigation into the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, something out of the norm occurred. Rumors quickly began to spread as word leaked out that the San Diego County Sheriff's Department was in charge and leading the investigation. Whispers in cubicles and hallways within the San Diego Police Department questioned what was going on.

As the events unfolded Friday and into Saturday, information being provided to the press was coming from the Sheriff. The San Diego Police Department appeared to be taking a backseat, in the investigation of an extremely heinous crime, that appeared to have occurred in the city of San Diego; their jurisdiction. Those quiet whispers turned loud as frustrated, embarrassed, and bewildered veteran officers, detectives and supervisors began to question their role and responsibility for a crime that appeared to have been committed in their jurisdiction.

With the arrest on Sunday afternoon of a suspect, the desire to locate Chelsea became even stronger. Little if any information was being released that would give any indication as to the direction the investigation was headed. By Monday, the coffee chatter had nothing but praise for the quick apprehension of a suspect by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. This same chatter began to question the lack of participation and involvement of the San Diego Police Department.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, Chelsea's body was discovered in a shallow grave feet from the water's edge of Lake Hodges. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department had clearly risen to the occasion and shown their professionalism, experience, and expertise as they methodically and tirelessly investigated this heinous crime. The Sheriff spared no expense and used every available resource to give his deputies and detectives the ability to apprehend the suspect and bring Chelsea home.

A number of questions have arisen regarding the San Diego Police Department's lack of involvement in this case. These questions are not coming from members of the department alone. Was this lack of involvement the result of a dollars and cents decision? Did the Sheriff assert his authority as the lead law-enforcement officer in the county and accept responsibility for the investigation based on his knowledge of the resources available from within the San Diego Police Department? Why did the San Diego Police Department take a backseat in an investigation of a crime perpetrated within their jurisdiction? Was there, at the time, a belief that the San Diego Police Department is no longer capable of handling a case of such magnitude? These and many other questions beg for answers.

It is curious that through all of this, the mayor was not available to offer reassurances to the citizens, nor to offer explanation for the reason the sheriff of the county took control of an investigation within the city. The noticeable absence of the mayor and ranking members of the San Diego Police Department, as well as little or no mention of the involvement of the San Diego Police Department at the various press conferences and updates, have not gone unnoticed.

San Diego should be proud of the Sheriff's Department for their professionalism, dedication, determination, expertise and willingness to do whatever necessary to bring Chelsea home and apprehend the individual responsible for this despicable crime. Citizens in San Diego should at the same time demand answers to the questions being posed above. They should also question the ability of law enforcement to provide for their safety.

Keep Chelsea and her family in your thoughts and prayers as well as Amber Dubois and her family.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pigs Flying in San Diego

Just to clarify the title of today's post; the pig was wearing lipstick and I saw it fly by my window at Headquarters around 1415 hours headed south west. I know some of you are thinking that maybe it's the oxycodone talking and right now it could be, but around two o'clock today my phone went off and I started reading a string of tweets from Twitter. The first in the string came from Lani Lutar of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association who said she was "at City Hall listening to pension presentation by actuary together with April Boling and Bill Sheffler." The next message posted by Ms. Lutar said, "This is huge. RT @dillonliam: goldsmith: employees could be on the hook for investment losses http://bit.ly/d8AOuP ." I quickly followed the link that Ms. Lutar provided in her tweet and it led me to the Voice of San Diego and an article written by Dillon Liam, that had city attorney, Jan Goldsmith, wondering if city employees should share some of the investment risk with taxpayers in the employees pension system.

After quickly reading Liam's article, I responded to Ms. Lutar's tweet by saying, "I saw a pig fly by my window this afternoon and thought I was seeing things. It had lipstick on too. Get real." My tweet went to Ms. Lutar and Dillon Liam to which Liam responded, "talk to Mr. Goldsmith and watch the meeting going on now." The meeting Liam was referring to was a City Council meeting where the city attorney was again providing one of his famous or infamous legal opinions, regarding  the charter's requirement that the city and its employees contribute a "substantially equal" amount of certain pension costs. I quickly replied to Liam's tweet, "no need to Liam... the law does not support his Alice in Wonderland ideas. Do your own research for heaven's sake."

One of the major difficulties facing the City of San Diego besides incompetence, ignorance, lack of institutional knowledge, the inability or refusal to investigate and understand the history behind past actions, is the fact voters in this town seem to elect complete dolts. I wonder how many of the elected officials in this town have aluminum foil covering their windows. I find it absolutely pathetic that a person in the position Jan Goldsmith holds, would sit on the dais at a city Council meeting, in the eighth largest city in America, and make such statements. (The attorney representing SDCERS disagrees with this analisis and opinion)

If this was not such a serious issue, it would be comical from the perspective that you have two, purportedly intelligent, college-educated, legal professionals, reviewing the same language from a section in the charter and yet their "legal opinions" are so diametrically opposed it is hard to believe they are offering an opinion on the same topic. Why? Politics or ignorance? Incompetence? I did try to get a better look at that pig this afternoon, I wanted to know if it was male or female, but it turned and flew away so fast I missed it.

I'm sure there's going to be more on this issue in the very near future and I can't wait to see how many jump on the bandwagon before the wheels fall off. So far we've got Liam at the Voice of San Diego; Ms. Lutar and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association; the little rube no doubt has his dancing shoes on and party favors bouncing off the ceiling at home; and don't dismiss the mayor, who is no doubt sitting in his office with his feet on the desk, and that supercilious look he always wears, thrusting his fist in the air saying "You go Jan."

Time to apply ice to my hand and take another mind altering drug and drift off to sleep. Oh what will San Diego and our elected band of fools bring us tomorrow?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another Budget Deficit

I've had a lot of time to sit and read since I had my finger operated on last Wednesday. Let me apologize early on for any typos or grammar errors that may be left behind when I hit the publish button. A combination of oxycodone and my use of Dragon Naturally Speaking, could be a recipe for disaster, but I am going to give it a try. I spent a lot of time reading the Voice of San Diego, San Diego News Network, SignOnSanDiego, the Reason Magazine, as well as cruising the little rube's website, "Cleanup San Diego."

I'm not sure what's going on at the Voice of San Diego. Over the past several months, their writing and investigative reporting has not been up to what it used to be. Their new fact check blog section at times glosses over the real issues. It's almost as if those that are caught fabricating, twisting, or exaggerating facts are being given a free pass. This is what's wrong with the relationship media has with politicians, in my humble opinion. It's almost as if the Voice of San Diego is starting to buy into the rhetoric.

I sat shaking my head the other day as I read where the city of San Diego is now facing an additional $30 million deficit and people were somehow surprised. I've said from the beginning, the massive cuts the mayor has undertaken will do little to cure the budget problems the city is facing. Until the politicians in this city accept the fact they must create new revenue streams; they can continue to cut until there are no services being provided by government and they will still face sizable deficits year in and year out. The shortsighted cuts the mayor has undertaken by eliminating jobs and services, have in reality, created part of the additional deficit recently realized. The only way for the mayor to reduce the retirement deficit, is to increase contributions and reduce benefits . The mayor has reduced the retirement benefits. The problem is, he has also eliminated the addition of new members into the system which has reduced the income, requiring a larger payment from the city. The mayor's solutions have been shortsighted and in the long run will prove to be costly.

I can guarantee when all is said and done, the new deficit will be much greater than $30 million. In the coming weeks this number will grow to $60 million or more and the mayor will blame the state, the economy and the president. It will not be anything he did, even though he's been the mayor now for the better part of six years. This Mayor will saunter along and at the end of his glorious tenure in 2012, he will blame past administrations and everyone else for the failures of his administration. The Mayor is going to take credit for the recent outsourcing of some of the computer services in the city of San Diego. Let us not forget the company offering the lowest bid was not selected and when calling for after hours assistance, you are speaking with someone in India. But the Mayor outsourced a city service and he is going to take the credit.

The little rube is at it again with his; City Employee Compensation Analysis, dated March 3, 2010. The little rube uses this report to show the true cost analysis for city positions. As only the little rube can do, he spins, exaggerates, and flat out lies about the true cost associated with various positions within the city of San Diego. On page 8 of the little rube's compensation analysis, the little rube lists the salary cost of a Police Officer II. The rube is a master at using numbers to argue or make a point. In this instance, the rube includes a variety of costs in an attempt to poison the taxpayer. His way of making the numbers appear legitimate, the little rube pulls the numbers from various reports generated by the City, SDCERS, and others. As an example of the spin tactics employed by the little rube he indicates the city will spend 38.11% or $26,533 toward a Police Officer II's compensation. The real number is less than half this amount and the little rube knows it. In his compensation analysis the little rube adds such items as Medicare payments, disability insurance, risk management administration, unemployment insurance, workman's compensation insurance premium payments, and "other post employment benefits" as part of the employees compensation. These costs are in no way part of employees compensation. While they may very well be costs associated with an employee, they are not part of his or her compensation package. This is just another way for the little Rube to poison the well so to speak and give taxpayers a false indication of the realities of what employees receive for the services they provide. We all deserve better.

It's time to take the headphones and microphone off and put some ice on my hand and call it a night. Have a great week ahead and be safe.