Has the FPD Been Withholding Evidence?

Take a look at one of our downtown police spy cams – just like the one that captured the Kelly Thomas killing at the Fullerton Transportation Center.

The MamCam.

This one is located on the south side of Amerige Avenue almost exactly where Veth Mam was assaulted and arrested for no reason by Kenton Hampton about two years ago. Did this camera provide the whole story and show explicitly why Veth Mam could not have done the things the cops and the DA claimed he did? Did it provide the whole story of it would have been impossible for Hampton to know even if Mam had?

Hard to say. I presume the camera works; and I presume a diligent watch commander such as Tom “Tango” Basham could and would have used it that night to see what was going on. If so, was this footage handed over to the DA, perhaps saving Mam the ordeal of trumped up charges and prosecution? Does the DA even know the incident took place at the base of a cop security camera pole?

Lots of good questions for Acting Chief Danny to address, now and in his deposition with Garo Mardirossian.

FFFF Welcomes Cynthia Ward’s “THINK for Yourself” Blog To Our Blogroll

When I first met Cynthia Ward, we were engaged in a harsh disagreement over a particular county clerk who was posturing himself as a candidate for OC Supervisor. Things got ugly, as they do. But after the dust settled, both Cynthia and I realized that we actually had more in common than not.

So we quickly became friends and ever since then I have been enjoying Cynthia’s cutting honesty and fearless resolve. Today’s I’d like to introduce Cynthia’s new blog, “Think for Yourself, OC.” Please take a look.

I am a truth-teller. It gets me in trouble. But if you ask me if a dress makes you look fat, I will tell so, and help select another, before you go on television and realize it for yourself. My real friends are expected to be truthful with me as well. A secret shared will be taken to my grave, but lie to me, and it will end up here…on these pages… especially if you are tasked with the stewardship of public resources. I am a registered Republican who disdains the local GOP power structure, a born-again Christian who supports everyone’s right to spend their lives with the partner of their choosing. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister. I am a loyal friend to those who merit that friendship and when crossed I am a bitch with a capital C. I do not fit into a box, nor do I see others through the stereotypes that politics and public affairs so often tries to shoehorn us into. I think for myself, and so do you. Welcome to our shared space in this world.

-Cynthia Ward

Going Into Labor, Part 2a – The Solution; There Ought To Be A Law

Identifying a problem is the first step on the path to fixing it. Sort of like a drunk needs to admit his addiction to booze.

In my last post I described the inherent dysfunction of allowing government workers to unionize, and in effect, place their own collective interests ahead of delivering the services they were hired to perform for their bosses – you and I.

What’s needed? First it’s imperative that all new agreements with public unions reflect parity with employment realities in the private sector. This includes paying fair shares in health care and pension contributions. Retirement age must be raised to eliminate early retirement and double dipping bureaucrats. What’s wrong with mandating the age the rest of us can collect Social Security?

Second, let’s remove bureaucrats from negotiating labor contracts and give the responsibility to experienced labor negotiators. Why not? The unions are doing it. This will remove squishy “administrators” bargaining with their “family” members, giving away the store, and often benefiting from the same benefits they confer upon their employees. The taxpayers are in dire need of independent, hard-nosed advocates at the bargaining table.

Third, remove automatic raises based on seniority or simply taking up space.

Fourth, end the ever escalating salary arms race for public employees.

Fifth, eliminate “management” unions. The very type of “professional” folk whose job it is to implement the will of the elected representatives are simply extensions of that authority. Management in the private sector is never unionized. Why should the overseers be represented? The fact is that lots of government managers are not unionized; none of them should be. The gift of huge benefits on managers including retirement at 50 or 55 has created an exodus of middle-aged middle and upper managers who often go to work for other agencies where they can start up a whole new pension!

Finally,  look at total compensation as a means of assessing taxpayer support for public employees. This includes health insurance premiums, pension subsidies, and salaries.

Unity Versus Justice

I spent a long time listening to the comments at our City Council meeting on August 7 on getting an RFP from OCSD.  There were some good remarks pro and con.  But I also heard a lot of the following:

“Support your Community!”  “Strength in Unity!” “Unite, don’t Divide!” “We need to Come Together!”

Listening to this I was struck that the people offering these platitudes didn’t seem to understand one of the most fundamental characteristics of  a real democracy.  While I hate to quote from former Defense Secretary and accomplished pathological liar Donald Rumsfeld, he did once blurt out the truth at a press conference when he said “democracy is messy.”

The irony of course was that Rumsfeld said this in defense of the chaos he had just created in starting a very undemocratic invasion of another country.  But, democracy is messy, and this messiness is necessary.  Disagreement and debate are also necessary.  Seeking information, such as an RFP, is necessary.  And yes, prospective city council people and Fullerton middle-of-the-roaders,  anger is necessary.  It can be misdirected and incoherent, but in the presence of great injustice anger is a sign of compassion, not of hate. Anger is also one of the few options the powerless have to express their need for justice.  So questioning the Fullerton Police Department’s entire existence may create division between the public and the police (though randomly beating and killing members of the public arguably creates a lot more division).  But so what?  In a democracy, healing divisions between law enforcement (or one law enforcement organization to be precise) and the public is not even close to the highest goal of government.

The penultimate goal of the justice system and those who administer it should always and invariably be justice.   It would be easy to have a community which thought of themselves as unified, but tolerated injustice. Think of a country which experiences unity as it unjustly attacks and wages war against another country; or enslaves a race; or discriminates against certain classes of individuals.  Think of unity as the rallying cry for totalitarian regimes past and present.  Unity and community without justice is nothing more than the acceptance of injustice and oppression.

This is why the appropriate sentiment for Fullerton, or Anaheim, or Downey, or any community where law enforcement has been manifestly unjust is not “let’s all unite together” but “no justice no peace.”  This simple slogan reminds those in power that  justice is the primary goal, and there can be no peace until justice is achieved. If peace comes before justice, the likely result is that there will be no motivation to right past wrongs and to ensure future justice. “Peace” is desirable only once the conditions for peace have been established, and the primary condition is justice.

Another phrase thrown around a lot is “compromise.”  Compromise is essential in any form of human relationships, including politics. But there are a few things which cannot be compromised, and the main one of these is justice.  Remember, we were not too long ago faced with a situation in which police drove around Fullerton, randomly pulled people over, beat them savagely and sadistically, and then falsely arrested them. What sort of compromise could there be in cases like this?  That police officers are given a mild talking-to instead of being terminated and prosecuted?  What kind of compromise can we forge with those who would bludgeon an unarmed and innocent man like Kelly Thomas to death, or those who would shield the men who did?

It is apparent that the coded language of injustice in Fullerton is now built around the following words or phrases: “Unity.” “Coming Together.” “Compromise.” “Support.” “Community.”When you hear these words used in the context of our city be forewarned – someone or some group is conspiring to make sure that justice is not served, so that your rights will continue to be violated with impunity while those in positions of power and privilege are able to keep them.  I don’t want to hear these words used by our elected officials or candidates for public office.  I don’t want the “healing to begin.” I want to hear the following words:

Accountability. Responsibility. And most importantly – JUSTICE.

Or else?  No peace.

Did the FPD Hand Out a Phony “Life Saving” Medal?

The image is a little fuzzy.

FFFF just received a comment from a Friend unhappy at the notion that the FPD falsely awarded  the heroism of one of its own, when the true heroes were a couple of civilians.

Here’s the comment:

#4 by Anonymous on July 27, 2012

Who gave the (2) policemen Medals of Honor ????

Read the following from a Fullerton resident.

“As a lifelong resident of Fullerton, I continue to be astounded at the Fullerton Police Department’s utter lack of ability to tell the truth about anything.

Recently, Corporal Mike Bova received the department’s Lifesaving Medal for supposedly rescuing a woman passenger from a burning car (see Fullerton Observer story below). That would be great if he had actually saved anyone from a burning car. The fact is, (2) citizens Dominic and Ruben Carnesi saved that woman from the burning car. Officer Bova did not show up to the scene until well after both the elderly driver and passenger of the car had been rescued.

The mother of the (2) heroes was outraged and contacted the Fullerton Observer to let them know the actual story. The Observer subsequently printed the actual version of the story (also attached below). While the Fullerton Police Department will now be honoring the (2) heroes, I notice in the updated Fullerton Observer story that there is no mention of taking back the medal that Officer Bova disingenuously accepted. I am left to shake my head and wonder how in the world a man with any honor stands and accepts a medal that he knows he did not earn. Does Officer Bova have no integrity? Is there anyone in the Fullerton Police Department worthy of the trust and respect traditionally bestowed upon police officers? Sadly, it appears that the answer is no.”

Fullerton resident

From the Mid-June 2012 Fullerton Observer – Page 8 (http://www.fullertonobserver.com/artman/uploads/fomidjune.pdf)
Four Exceptional Police Officers Honored
On the evening of February 5, 2012,
Corporal Mike Bova was dispatched to a
call of a traffic collision in the area of State
College and Bastanchury Road. While
enroute to the call, he was advised that a
passenger in one of the involved vehicles
was possibly trapped in the windshield of
the car. Upon his arrival, he discovered
that due to her extensive injuries which
included a broken hip, leg and arm a
female passenger was still trapped inside
one of the cars and the engine compartment
was engulfed in flames. Without
regard to his own safety, Mike, along with
his brother Patrick, who was on a ridealong,
and two other unknown civilians,
managed to remove the victim from the
wreckage of the vehicle and move her to a
safe location. According to Fire personnel
on scene that night, Corporal Bova’s quick
actions resulted in the passenger’s life
being saved. For his actions, Corporal
Mike Bova is being awarded the
Department’s Lifesaving Medal.

From the Mid-June 2012 Fullerton Observer – Page 3 (http://www.fullertonobserver.com/artman/uploads/fojuly_001.pdf)
HEROES: Carnesi Brothers
Save Couple from Burning Car
The Mid-June Observer (page 8) carried
a story about Officer Mike Bova
and his brother Patrick who were honored
for saving the life of a woman
caught in the wreckage of a vehicle
involved in an accident. Two
“unknown civilians” were also credited
for helping to remove the woman from
the vehicle, which was engulfed in
flames, and moving her to a safe
place. The proud mother of those two
individuals contacted the paper and
offered the photos above of her sons,
the other set of brothers who were the
unidentified heroes in the story.
“It was Super Bowl Night and my
husband and two sons, Ruben and
Dominic, witnessed an accident at St.
College Blvd. and Bastanchury. They
were the first ones at the scene. They
got the woman, who was trapped in
the car, free and safe of the burning car.
When they got home they had red eyes
and soot all over them.”
Dominic described the scene. “The
accident happened right in front of us.
The engine compartment of the car
was on fire and smoke was filling the
car. My brother and I could see immediate
action was necessary. We first
helped the elderly man driving the car
to a safe place. He was in shock but he
could walk.
The woman, however, was trapped
by the dashboard and the passenger
side door would not open. My brother
Ruben tore out the dashboard freeing
the woman, who was already disabled
with a broken leg, so that we could pull
her out of the driver’s side of the vehicle.
My brother told her, “this is going to
hurt.” She said, “I don’t care please get
me out.” The car was filling with
smoke. We got her out and were
helped by other bystanders to carry her
to a safe location away from the burning
vehicle. Meanwhile, other
bystanders were trying to put the
engine fire out. It was a group effort,”
said Dominic.
Then the police arrived with fire
dept. paramedics following. The officers
asked us what happened. We told
them and pointed out that the driver
and two passengers of the vehicle that
had hit the couple’s car had taken off
running. Police later caught two men
and a woman at the Summit and
arrested them after we identified them.”

Okay. It sure looks like somebody is not telling the truth. The FPD storys claims that Corporal Mike Bova pulled the woman out. The brothers’ tales makes no mention of cops showing up until after the rescue was effected by them. 

The council should demand an inquiry into this, pronto, so as to clear the good name of Mike Bova and the FPD!

A New Era of Responsibility and Accountability

What was that noise?

As it streamed into my one-room cabin out on Screech Owl Road, last night’s Fullerton City Council meeting was a joy to watch. After three or four decades of watching nattering imbeciles following the direction of staff like stringed mannequins, we finally got to see a rare treat: a Fullerton council that is decisive, in charge and most importantly – accountable.

Let’s take the meeting itself – a special meeting called by Travis Kiger to address critical issues including the nagging problem of city spokesholes peddling self-serving disinformation; the thirty million dollar housing bond that was being used by the Three Dim Bulbs to hand out millions in patronage to their pals; and the issue of releasing the much-discussed phone call that claimed Kelly Thomas was trying to break into cars, and that led, ultimately to his murder. Doug Chaffee agendized his request that the Council take direct responsibility for the hiring and subsequent activities of the new chief of police – a clear indictment of how your City Manager Joe Felz has mismanaged oversight of the police department during its final descent into the Quagmire of Corruption. The very fact that a council member called this meeting, and not city staff, is revelatory. Former councils simply received their instructions and voted aye every couple of weeks – like clockwork. Not any more.

The Council approved an ordinance to take responsibility for the police department. They did it decisively and courageously. Only Sharon Quirk shied away from taking that authority from the ineffectual Felz.

On the subject of releasing the call from the downtown bar, the council voted unanimously to make redacted versions of the audio and transcript public, demonstrating that to this council, unlike its predecessor, pointless and stupid obfuscation is no longer going to be tolerated by the public’s elected representatives.

For years I’ve been shouting at my computer screen as the puppet-like figureheads of the entrenched, sclerotic regime wasted, stole, diverted, covered up, and insulted. Last night I was audibly cheering in support as the council ushered in a new era of accountability, competence, and intelligent government. No one heard me out on Screech Owl Road except a passing coyote and a sleepy iguana. But I was satisfied.

Well done Fullerton!




Judge Says No to “Top Secret” Tony Rackauckas (with update)

No, you may not hear it!

UPDATE: Stop the presses. It seems as if I were a tad premature in my post. According to the OC Register, the judge gave the DA the right to come after a specific request is made by the Fullerton City Council:

The judge said the D.A.’s motion is a tad premature because with the City Council meeting tonight, there’s no way to know what the panel is going to ask for. Prosecutors asked for, and the judge granted, permission to renew their request, based on what develops.

This one’s not over yet. Top Secret Tony will be back.

Apparently the OC District Attorney was rebuffed this morning in his attempt to keep secret the audio record of the call made to Fullerton cops the night of July 5th 2012, that led to the detainment and subsequent murder of the mentally ill homeless man, Kelly Thomas.

The judge hearing the request said no. This seems to indicate that the releasing the audio would not impair any cases the DA is pursuing. Why Rackauckas ever wanted to keep it under wraps remains a mystery. Maybe somebody in Fullerton asked him to.

More information with details as we get it. Meantime, this item has been agendized for discussion at tonight’s special council meeting, so there should be some interesting councilmanic conversation.


Release The Phone Call!

At last Tuesday’s council meeting, freshly minted councilman Travis Kiger let it be known that he had received a request from the public to hear the phone call made from the Slidebar that summoned the cops that eventually beat Kelly Thomas to death.

The nature of the call has been the topic of much speculation about what was said by the caller, whether the caller knowingly made a false report to the police, and even more sinister, whether the call was orchestrated by Slidebar personnel and members of the FPD to get rid of Kelly Thomas – allegedly an nuisance to Slidebar’s upscale clientele.

At this point there appears to be no reason not to let the public hear the audio of the call, if it exists. Since the DA obviously has no interest in pursuing the matter from a criminal perspective there can be no reason for officaldom not to let the public hear it. Not even the hollow pretext that “it is evidence” exists.