The Shame of The Human Relations Commission


Three minutes elapsed. Nothing was said.

There has been a lot of boohooing lately about the future of the County’s Human Relations Commission. As usual, it seems that those doing the biggest drum beating for the continued taxpayer funding of this love fest are the folks who don’t want to chip in for the cost.

Right now the County pays $302,000 a year to the Human Relation Council (a 501(c)(3)) to provide “staff” for its Human Relations Commission. The reason why these folks think we need a Commission at all is that they believe having the County seal on their letterhead confers some sort of governmental prestige and gravitas. That’s how these folks think about government.

The Council employs a fellow by the name of Rusty Kennedy about a hundred grand to be the Commission’s Executive Director, a job he used to hold as a public employee of the County, and a job for which he now pulls down an annual pension of over $120,000 per year. Yowza! $220,000 a year!

Ironically, the very failures of Kennedy and his commission are being touted by him as success stories. The most egregious of these alleged successes are the race tagging of Santa Ana Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez after she made a boneheaded comment about Adolf Hitler; and of course even worse, the diversionary scam known as the Homeless Task Force, at the behest of the cover-up artists on the Fullerton City Council. In the first case, after he played the irrelevant race card, Rusty had a neat interracial controversy to address. Nice. In the second case, a genuine hate crime, perpetrated by his pals  in the Fullerton Police Department against Kelly Thomas, was glossed over.

By focusing on the fact that Thomas was mentally ill, and homeless, and that many others are too, the Task Force conveniently ignored the fact that neither his homelessness nor his mental illness were the proximate causes of Thomas’ death. That responsibility lay with the City and its goons, it was a murder – a fact that would necessarily be awkward for Kennedy and his Task Force to address given his cozy relationship with the Establishment and with the police chiefs of Orange County.

Fortunately, the City’s attempted sleight of hand failed; the recall and subsequent legal actions will demonstrate who did what, and when. But this failure should not cause us to forget the craven role of Mr. Kennedy in this shameful episode.

The time has come to defund this useless operation. Let the non-profit Council peddle its race relations mission. It collects charitable contributions from people who believe in its mission and its behavior. Time to get the rest of us off the hook.

 

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  1. #1 by The Fullerton Harpoon on June 22, 2012

    That sums it up pretty well.

  2. #2 by Jt on June 22, 2012

    I think this post and the prior conversations on this Commission really relate to two different issues:

    1. Is there a need for such a Commission and if so, should it be publicly funded, and at what level?

    I think the answer to this is yes, there is a need; some public funding is fine with me (better use of my tax dollars than a lot of other things are); and the level of $300,000 per year is not exactly breaking the bank.

    2. Is the current makeup, mission, and staffing of the Commission doing what it is supposed to do?
    Here I think the answer is clearly NO. Such a Commission CAN NOT be cozy with police, particularly in jurisdictions where police commonly commit hate crimes themselves. It cannot be used to inflate racial “crises” and blow them up for its own purposes. It should NOT pay its Director such an exorbitant salary. It MUST be run free of government interference for the most part by honorable, decent people whose priority is to react to REAL hate crimes and do educational outreach to address the racial, cultural, or religious intolerance which can lead to hate crimes.

    The Commission is NOT fulfilling its mission, and on those grounds, threatening its funding is entirely reasonable. But in the big picture we shouldn’t confuse the failure of a leader or even an institution with the idea that these types of institutions are always and invariably corrupt, incompetent, and a waste of tax-payers money. There are corrupt and incompetent leaders in virtually any organization on earth, but that does not mean that every organization on earth should be disbanded because of that.

    By the way, it would be of interest to know the public salaries of the various Supervisors etc. who are deciding the fate of this commission. Taxpayer outrage against exorbitant public employee salaries or pensions of should be targeted against all public employees rather than just the ones we don’t like.

    As of 2010, “County supervisors make $143,031 a year.” Not including pensions. http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2010/09/27/nelsons-pension/39781/

    • #3 by Johnny Donut on June 22, 2012

      If $300k isn’t breaking the bank, then let’s give $300k to everyone!

      • #4 by Jt on June 22, 2012

        Total budget is 5.6 billion. Do the math. This isn’t cost-savings, just politics. Plenty of bigger fish and sacred cows that the supers don’t dare touch.

    • #5 by County Clerk on June 22, 2012

      Jt, the Commission is fulfilling its mission. Its mission is to make certain people feel good about themselves. The number of “hate crimes” in the County is minuscule and the Commission can show no demonstrable effect on them one way or another.

      The whole thing is a scam.

      BTW, the Supervisors are in charge of the entire County. And they makes lots less than most of the midlevel managers. If you want to start talking exorbitant salaries and benefits of the bureaucracy, however, you are very much on the right track.

      • #6 by Jt on June 22, 2012

        You may be right about the commission, but there are reasonable people who argue that it is doing some good in terms of educational outreach, etc.

        I was more thinking that the Supervisors can target a politically weak entity like the Commission, justifiably or not, but they can’t for example target cops, the DA’s office, or prisons for cuts. That’s where I think you can cut hugely, but nobody is going to make the case for it because they’re too scared of the law-and-order voting idiots that dominate the electorate in the County.

        Low hanging fruit is what I’m saying. I’d rather see the subjects of these reports get fired http://www.ocweekly.com/search/results/?type=articles&keyword=excessive%20force&blog=Navel+Gazing and it would save a LOTmore money than $300K.

      • #7 by Jt on June 22, 2012

        Here are some numbers we could talk about. No names but these are the fifty highest paid county employees.

        Social Services Agency Executive Manager $320,871
        Probation County Probation Officer $308,563
        Social Services Agency Director, Social Services $272,336
        County Executive Office County Executive Officer $267,136
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $256,996
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $248,377
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $240,869
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $235,119
        County Counsel Executive Manager $228,133
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $225,891
        District Attorney District Attorney $222,261
        OC Public Works Administrative Manageriii(Spl) $222,191
        County Counsel Deputy Attorney IV $221,351
        County Executive Office Chief Information Officer $220,266
        Registrar Of Voters Election Aide $219,310
        District Attorney Executive Manager $218,819
        County Executive Office Deputy County Executive Officr $217,792
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $217,176
        Sheriff-Coroner Sheriff-Coroner $215,996
        County Executive Office Chief Financial Officer $215,404
        County Counsel County Counsel $214,008
        Public Defender Public Defender $211,205
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $210,291
        Social Services Agency Executive Manager $209,505
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $209,485
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $205,413
        Health Care Agency Director Of Public Health $205,386
        Sheriff-Coroner Asst Sheriff $204,415
        Health Care Agency Director, Health Care Agency $202,809
        Sheriff-Coroner Lieutenant $202,465
        Sheriff-Coroner Captain $201,231
        Airport – Operating Airport Director $201,231
        Public Defender Executive Manager $200,739
        Auditor-Controller Administrative Manager III $199,735
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $199,209
        District Attorney Attorney III $199,003
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $197,400
        County Counsel Executive Manager $193,942
        County Executive Office Assistant County Exec. Officer $193,925
        Public Defender Sr. Deputy Attorney $193,921
        Child Support Services Director, Child Support Serv. $193,909
        Public Defender Sr. Deputy Attorney $193,856
        Health Care Agency Community Mntl Hlth Psych $193,850
        Health Care Agency Administrative Manager III(Spl) $192,921
        Sheriff-Coroner Undersheriff $192,136
        Health Care Agency Administrative Manager III(Spl) $191,948
        Health Care Agency Administrative Manager III(Spl) $191,836
        Sheriff-Coroner Lieutenant $191,810
        OC Waste & Recycling Landfill Operations Superitnd $191,534
        District Attorney District Attorney Investigator $190,951

        • #8 by Fullerton Lover on June 22, 2012

          Those salaries are simply mind boggling.

          • #9 by Jt on June 22, 2012

            Wait till you see LA County! These are the fifty highest paid employees – the number is total compensation.
            Check out the LEOs and DAs mixed in with the physicians and administrators.

            Goldstein, David A Chief Physician I $564,840
            Kwan, Wing-Fai Physician Specialist, MF $547,640
            Anderson Jr, Gail Medical Director II $547,640
            Rusheen, Jeffrey M Physician Specialist, Non Megaflex $540,544
            Gruen, John P Chief Physician III $527,835
            Holschneider, Christine H Chief Physician I $518,742
            Mc Donald, John S Chief Physician I $517,589
            Yang, Elaine C Senior Physician $510,840
            Thompson, Jesse Chief Physician II $507,851
            Fletcher, Joseph W. City Attorney (EM) $498,187
            Chen, Biing-Jaw Physician Specialist, MF $494,942
            Fujioka, William T Chief Executive Officer (UC) $486,282
            Finkelstein, Daniel Commander $477,985
            Matevosian, Rima Chief Physician I $476,418
            Ekard, Walter F Chief Administrative Officer $470,925
            Hsu, Dora T Physician Specialist, MF $462,862
            Derdemezi, Jeanette Physician Specialist, MF $459,604
            Verma, Ramesh C Chief Physician I $449,717
            Fielding, Jonathan E Director of Public Health $446,460
            Guterman, Jeffrey Chief Physician II $445,973
            Nemeth, Stephen C Physician Specialist, Non Megaflex $445,812
            Judge, Michael P Public Defender $443,522
            Schunhoff, John F Chief Dep Dir, Health Services (UC) $443,036
            Cooley, Stephen L District Attorney/Unclassified $442,963
            Mehringer, Charles M Chief Physician I $437,614
            Dea, Stanley K Physician Specialist, MF $437,554
            Cheng, Rex L Physician Specialist, MF $432,326
            Baca, Leroy D Sheriff/Unclassified $432,094
            Lee, Steven L Physician Specialist, Non Megaflex $430,605
            Rubayi, Salah Chief Physician I $428,482
            Buzad Jr, Paul Physician Specialist, MF $426,948
            Wu, Yaw Physician Specialist, MF $426,916
            Olmsted, Robert J Commander $422,999
            Hockberger, Robert S Chief Physician II $422,921
            Omari, Bassam O Physician Specialist, MF $422,889
            Liao, Kuo-Tong Physician Specialist, MF $422,514
            Au, Anh H Physician Specialist, MF $414,669
            Butler, David L Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk $413,969
            Bennion, Robert Senior Physician $413,153
            Messerlian, Aram K Physician Specialist, Non Megaflex $411,192
            Waldie, Larry L Undersheriff, Unclassified $411,093
            Memarzadeh, Mehdi Physician Specialist, Non Megaflex $410,953
            Opas, Lawrence Chief Physician II $410,052
            Freeman, Paul M County Forester & Fire Warden $409,354
            Meymandi, Sheba Physician Specialist, MF $409,314
            Wachsner, Robin Y Physician Specialist, MF $406,613
            Laughlin, Lawrence L Physician Specialist, MF $406,340
            Julka, Inderjeet S Physician Specialist, MF $405,570
            Zelman, Vladimir Chief Physician I $405,278
            Shaner, Roderick E Medical Director, M.D., Mental Hlth $404,707

            • #10 by truthseeker on June 22, 2012

              Lord have mercy-what to do with the obligations when the tax base keeps going out to sea with the tide. A reset is imminent unless the US dollar maintains its world reserve status which it inevitably cannot. Sooner rather than later sanity has to prevail. At least in Fullerton we are making progress incrementally-bottom up reform.

        • #11 by William Wallace on June 22, 2012

          We are truly screwed- The system WILL collapse under this unsustainable insanity. The mantra is “We have to compete with the private sector to attract talent”.

  3. #12 by JustUs on June 22, 2012

    As long as politicians can decide to give ‘quid pro quo’ money to their friends and colleagues – the people will never be “off the hook”. These people are all tight as a drum. Out of one sides of their mouths the supervisors condemn executives who ‘double or triple dip” and game the system. Yet when they have a chance to do something about it – they ignore their previous convictions and give more of our money away to old buddies who do nothing but stir up conflict between the races and cover up for their dirty cop friends.

    • #13 by Jt on June 22, 2012

      I found this interesting:

      “The District Attorney submitted $2.1 million in proposed reductions with a maximum potential of 19 positions to be reduced. All programs within the District Attorney’s office will be impacted at some level by the proposed reduction. All $2.1 million is recommended for restoration. Restoration is targeted to support core staffing that is required to provide effective prosecution services.” http://bos.ocgov.com/finance/2013WB/intro_frm.htm

      I wonder what the the total price tag of the prosecutions of Veth Mam, Eddie Quinonez, and all the other bogus “resisting arrest” is per year?

      The DA’s office net cost to taxpayers this year will be $39 million.

      Supervisors talk about cutting $100,000 or $200,000 here or there but this is out of a total budget of $5.6 BILLION.

      • #14 by County Clerk on June 22, 2012

        That 5.6 billion includes 5 billion pass through from the State and FEDs.

        The general property tax revenue to the County is around $650 million – still a tidy sum. However, the real point is that there are still lots of ways to save money to the County General Fund, and cutting this $300,000 is one of them.

        Frugality Theater? Yes. Necessary cut? Yes!

        • #15 by Jt on June 22, 2012

          Thanks for the correction on the budget. I was thinking 5.6 billion sounded awfully high.

  4. #16 by Stanley Fiala on June 22, 2012

    Who needs a Commission if we have OC blog-sphere which effectively stops my hate, bigoted and racist speech so I must rely on satiric expression requiring sufficient intelligence quotient for its interpretation which is nonexistent among the blog-sphere morons mongoloids.

    Therefore, I believe that the County should pay $302,000 a year to bloggers like Gröfaz, Golem and Chameleonowski.

  5. #17 by Oink oink on June 22, 2012

    Yes. Socks for the homeless. Yes.

  6. #18 by Champion Master on June 22, 2012

    “Satans Henchmen” should not be funded by Loving Caring Americans, EVER!

    Satanism, By Christians and Muslims especially, the figure of Satan was treated variously as a rebellious or jealous competitor to human beings

  7. #20 by merijoe on June 22, 2012

    Wonder how many of these are useless too? http://www.ca.gov/Apps/Agencies.aspx

    Reminds me of all the phony junk commissions boards Schwarzenegger appointed his friends to for promising to vote for his tax bill in 2009.

  8. #21 by Champion Master on June 22, 2012

    Johnny Donut :
    If $300k isn’t breaking the bank, then let’s give $300k to everyone!

    That 300K a year will support the many many millions in legal settlements, and their joyful pain and suffering of the very people they should be working for. If it says “Human” in politics in means INHUMANE!

  9. #22 by fuller-orange on June 22, 2012

    I wonder what all we have missed prior to the internet and especially these blogs. Has this shit been going on forever and to this extent?

    • #23 by Champion Master on June 22, 2012

      Probably control freaks love politics and leadership.

    • #24 by JustUs on June 22, 2012

      Yeah, it’s been going on forever but not to this extent. It’s become much worse in the last 5-10 years. The fish rots from it’s head. The local officials see the state and national officials corrupting the system and their response is basically “If they can do it so can we” – and it’s all downhill from there. That is the reason we are a dying empire. Infectious corruption.

  10. #25 by truthseeker on June 22, 2012

    Where do all these creeps come from?

    • #26 by JustUs on June 22, 2012

      They crawl out of the woodwork by day and crawl back in by night.

  11. #27 by Fred Alcazar on June 22, 2012

    I’d like to know what Rusty has done to curb the Culture of Corruption in the FPD that has resulted in a department that has preyed upon its own citizenry and visitors: the women in Rincon’s patrol car, Mam, Quinonez, Martinez, Kelly Thomas, and who knows who all else.

    Rusty brags about living in Fullerton for 60 years. And he’s totally in the dark.

    Say wasn’t Patdown Pat McPension on his Human Relations Commission?

    • #28 by Jane H on June 22, 2012

      “Say wasn’t Patdown Pat McPension on his Human Relations Commission?”

      Yes, he was.

  12. #29 by Rusty K on June 22, 2012

    I love you all and I thank you for the years of support. My pension is almost maxed out. Just give me one more year. Thank you.

    • #30 by Fred Alcazar on June 22, 2012

      His pension is maxed out. He retired last year and is now double-dipping as a “contractor.”

      • #31 by truthseeker on June 22, 2012

        In my opinion he is a total creep and given over to filthy lucre kinda like the creeps we just sent packing.

  13. #32 by Champion Master on June 22, 2012

    truthseeker :
    Where do all these creeps come from?

    There is an uncontrollable desire to control and hurt others, their fear seems to be the antidote, I read thats why there is so many laws and statutes, most of the population does not need these controls.

  14. #33 by Fred Alcazar on June 22, 2012

    Admin where did Disillusioned Ex-Hippy come from?

    • #34 by admin on June 22, 2012

      D Ex-H is a long, long time Fullerton resident who has posted occasional comments on our site.

      I’ve asked this person to write posts from time to time.

      Perhaps D Ex-H will provide a bio.

  15. #35 by Fullerton Lover on June 22, 2012

    The Orange County Human Relations Commission is a political panacea designed to appease the masses, and is nothing more than a facade that allowed fascism to fester in Fullerton.

    • #36 by For the record on June 22, 2012

      Facsicm facade festering in Fullerton. Facism facade festering in Fullerton. Faciscm facade festering in Fullerton . . . yep. 3x fast. :-)

      • #37 by Fullerton Lover on June 22, 2012

        Can’t wait to hear Porky Pig give that one a try.

  16. #38 by Jt on June 22, 2012

    Hey OC Supervisors! Here’s something else you can cut. 3 times the budget of the Human Relations Commission and unconstitutional to boot.

    116 – Narcotic Forfeiture and Seizure
    Operational Summary
    Description:
    Unit proactively addresses narcotic-related crimes in Orange County and vigorously pursues asset forfeiture actions related to those crimes as mandated by Health & Safety Codes 11469-11470.
    Strategic Goals:
    ■ Proactively address narcotic-related crimes.
    ■ Ensure consistent enforcement of Health and Safety Code sections 11469 and 11470.
    FY 2011-12 Key Project Accomplishments:
    ■ Continued to pursue forfeitures under PC 186.2, the Criminal Profiteering Act, and where appropriate, distributed the seized property back to the victims of the criminal acts.
    ■ Assisted law enforcement and other deputy district attorneys in pursuing forfeitures of computers pursuant to PC 502.01
    and the forfeiture of vehicles that were involved in gang related activity pursuant to PC 246.1.
    ■ Provided asset forfeiture training at the Sheriff’s narcotic investigators’ training classes in August and October 2011 and March 2012. In addition, the forfeiture Deputy District Attorney routinely fields calls from agencies throughout the
    county with specific asset forfeiture questions. Future trainings are scheduled in June, August and October 2012.
    At a Glance:
    Total FY 2011-2012 Current Modified Budget: 925,237
    Total FY 2011-2012 Projected Expend + Encumb: 984,187
    Total Recommended FY 2012-2013 1,041,069
    Percent of County General Fund: N/A
    Total Employees: 3.00

    • #39 by Fullerton Lover on June 22, 2012

      3 employees and a million dollar budget?

      • #40 by Jt on June 22, 2012

        Hey, its a lot of working going out there everyday and stealing people’s stuff in the name of justice.

        • #41 by JustUs on June 22, 2012

          JT, the worst part about it is that when the cops seize assets the burden of proof is on the subject it was seized from. He or she must hire a lawyer and PROVE it was not purchased with ‘illicit’ funds. the cops don’t have to prove jack. In some cases fighting it through the legal system costs more than the asset(s) itself and it’s not worth the legal hassle. For instance, if they seize your car that’s worth $12,000 the legal fees might eat up the value of the car – plus, the subject must pay the impound fee for as long as the car is in limbo – which could be thousands alone.

          • #42 by Jt on June 22, 2012

            Yep. I had a buddy many years ago in another state who had his car seized and had to buy it back. Was this person a dangerous drug-dealing criminal? Nope, but he did have half a joint he had forgotten about somewhere under his seat.

            Come on supervisors, you want to cut government waste/fraud/abuse and protect the constitution in one fell swoop? Cut the Narcotic Forfeiture unit.

            • #43 by Narcs on June 22, 2012

              JT that will never happen. That brings in billions each year to the US economy from the drug cartels. Huge industry.

              • #44 by Jt on June 22, 2012

                The war on drugs is a huge boondoggle to law enforcement and prison guards, that’s for sure. As well as banks (money laundering), alcohol and tobacco companies (limits competition), big pharma (ditto), and law and order type politicians. Of course the costs of waging the war on drugs is billions more than the money seized from asset forfeiture, so taxpayers lose bigtime and might be innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire, or have a SWAT Team mistakenly knock down their doors. But the cops are happy. Hooray.

                • #45 by JustUs on June 23, 2012

                  They used the ‘war on drugs’ to militarize the civilian police forces and to arm them with all the latest gadgets while using it as an excuse to confiscate civil liberties of the masses. Now with the ‘war on terrorism’ the ‘war on drugs’ has taken somewhat of a back seat. But with the latest scandal of Obama using his executive privilege to HIDE the “Fast and Furious” documents in a case where a border patrol agent was murdered with one of the thousands of smuggled assault weapons into Mexico – it’s becoming quite obvious just how much influence and power that the drug cartels have over our own electeds.

  17. #46 by Snakes on June 22, 2012

    You know, if the HRC did such a great job, their private donors would be lining up to cover the sum paid by the county. After all, 501c3 donations are tax-deductible.

    Raising another $300,000 in donations should not be a challenge for a worthy non-profit functioning at the county level. Especially in Orange County.

  18. #47 by Rusty is willing to talk about it on June 22, 2012

  19. #48 by gary fouse on June 22, 2012

    Much as I have been a critic of Kennedy, I never knew that his 100,000 salary was on top of a 120,000 pension for his work as a county employee doing the same thing!!??!

    WoW

  20. #49 by gary fouse on June 22, 2012

    Here is my take on fousesquawk. Your article is cross-posted.

    http://garyfouse.blogspot.com/2012/06/oc-human-relations-commission-case-of.html

    This is all the info Pat Bates should need to make her decision on cutting funding to OCHRC.

  21. #50 by Jolly Roger on June 24, 2012

    Admin Tony Bushala had lots of chances to do something about the shame of the Human Relations Commission as Sup. Chris Norby’s appointee to it, but he was too lazy.

    He accepted Norby’s appointment, but didn’t even bother getting sworn in until Norby re-appointed him a year or two later. Bushala told Kennedy he would be more involved, came to a couple of meetings, and then vanished.

    Bushala had a chance to do some good and call attention to what a waste of time the Human Relations Commission is, but he just couldn’t be bothered. It’s tough to take FFFF’s sudden alarm about the HRC seriously since the blog’s Dear Leader couldn’t take his opportunity to be an in-house wrecking ball seriously.

  22. #51 by Jolly Roger on June 24, 2012

    Moderating comments, now? So much for free expression at FFFF!

  23. #52 by gary fouse on June 26, 2012

    Today, BoS by a 4-1 vote cut HRC’s funding to 252,000 with the consensus that they will consider pahsing public funding out over the coming years. Nguyen voted against cut. Even campbell compromised.

    http://garyfouse.blogspot.com/2012/06/oc-human-relations-commission-funding.html

    • #53 by Curious on June 26, 2012

      Supervisor Nelson, who had proposed a cut to $202,000, criticized the OCHRC for not being around or initially involved during the Kelly Thomas beating incident in Fullerton. He questioned the usefulness of the Interface program.

    • #54 by Fullerton Lover on June 26, 2012

      Thanks for attending the hearing and keeping us posted on the OC Board of Supervisor’s decision.

      I’m happy to hear that Supervisor Pat Bates took a long look at this self serving commission before making her decision to reduce funding.

      $200,000 per year at taxpayer’s expense for Rusted Kennedy is finally sinking in to the rest of the world as just plain wrong and a waste of money.

  24. #55 by County cuts $50,000 from O.C. Human Relations on June 26, 2012

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