What can a police chief do?

Throughout the entire ongoing Fullerton police brutality-fest/fiasco, we’ve been led to believe that a big part of the problem is that officers are protected and shielded and there is nothing anybody can do about it.  It is said that they are shielded by their own, and by a set of laws and court cases which protect them: the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights and associated court decisions

What hasn’t been discussed much is what is actually possible to do.  Let’s say a citizen filed a complaint against the police because of the brutality of an arresting officer:  a Tong or a Thayer or a Hampton or a Ramos or a Cicinelli or… you get the idea, plenty to choose from.

What happens to that complaint?  In Fullerton it gets buried in an officer’s personnel file unless Internal Affairs made the determination that it was grounds for criminal prosecution.  Just think how often that must happen.

But what, if anything, can anybody in a supervisory position do when faced with misconduct by their officers?  Apparently you can fire them.  At least according to Anaheim Chief of Police John Welter.

See, reportedly under Welter when officers get out of line, by say not being very respectful to the citizenry, they are disciplined. “Every time they lose their cool and insult somebody or don’t act professional, we’ll hold them accountable. We discipline them. I’ve terminated probably 12 to 15 officers since I’ve been here.”

Trying to set aside my skepticism for a minute let’s take Chief Welter at his word.  If Welter can do it, why couldn’t Sellers, Hamilton, or Hughes fire every rogue cop in the Fullerton police department? Every cop guilty of abusing and harassing innocent members of the public?  Every cop who roughed up a prisoner just for fun?  Every officer who has harassed a female, been guilty of racism, beaten up someone they perceived as a “bum” or a “gang banger”, given someone a “screen test”?  Every one of the cops who beat Kelly Thomas to death? And maybe even a few cop blog commenters who  do little besides insult the public and are about as professional as a troop of stoned baboons?

I guess any of our chiefs could have.  They just didn’t want to.

Now, I don’t actually believe that Chief Welter means a word he says.  But let’s go ahead and hold him to the standard he claims to have.   Better start doing some more firing Chiefs.  And yes, that goes for Anaheim AND Fullerton.

The Subpoena: Will It Quash?

Let’s hope so. FFFF filed an emergency motion to quash a subpoena this morning in the case of Cheryl Sanders vs. John Doe, a defamation suit filed by an Anaheim city employee against an anonymous commenter in which the Friends were compelled by court order to release private records. Our little hearing is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 pm at the Central Justice Center.

View the motion to quash subpoena

Journalists have a right to protect sources who allege corruption within government offices, and we believe that right extends to bloggers, too. Lucky for FFFF, the courts in California seem to agree. Given that, we’d rather punch our own groins than divulge the identity of a potential whistleblower who partakes in the raging digital discussion that happens here.

Here’s the bottom line: Friends for Fullerton’s Future won’t surrender any of our anonymous commenters’ private data to anybody (especially a public employee) without a fight.

Subpoena from an Anaheim Employee

The OC Sheriff’s department staked out an FFFF outpost last week to deliver a subpoena demanding that fullertonsfuture.org produce information identifying one of our anonymous commenters.

Cheryl Sanders, currently a “Real Property Specialist” for the City of Anaheim, is suing (see complaint) one or more John Does who allegedly defamed her in anonymous comments on FFFF and a few other sites. The blog comments claim that the Anaheim planning department is taking bribes under the table, call for an investigation and state that Cheryl Sanders should be “brought to justice.”

Faceless Internet meanies strike again

Of course, Sanders’ suit against the commenter claims that all of these statements are false and were made with the intent to emotionally harm her.

But back to the matter at hand: Cheryl’s initial demand for FFFF to identify the commenter was denied. We don’t disclose our logs to anyone. So what should we do with the subpoena?

View the subpoena

The Friends have a soft spot for the anonymous horde of commenters that visit our humble blog and we’d hate to see any of them get pushed around by a litigious public employee. On the other hand, making false statements with the intent to harm is a legal no-no, and the alleged victim should have her day in court. But the actual comment that was left on FFFF was vague, uninspired, and hardly defamatory in my professional opinion (it was removed pending the outcome of the case, but that was pointless since you can now view it on the last page of the subpoena.) Truthfully, this blog is disinclined to acquiesce to the court’s request, but we’d like to consider the opinions of the armchair attorneys that frequent our blog before we proceed.

And it’s worth noting that in over two years and 350,000 words, none of our own bloggers have ever been sued for libel. Why not? Because you can’t sue if it’s true.

Der Pringle Gets Swift Kick In Ass On Way Out Door

You just can’t beat candor at the public podium.

Here is Anaheim community leader Amin David at Kurt Pringle’s public going away party letting Der Pringle know that not all of the Anaheim Volk are happy Volk.  Specifically he slams Pringle for his latest Platinum Triangle do-over and deficient EIR.

Did you enjoy the shot at Sidhu as Pringle’s puppet-monkey and Hernandez as a dim-wit? I did.

Hide-and Seek Sidhu: Job Killer Extraordinare

Hide and Seek Hairball Sidhu keeps telling us he’s all about the jobs, jobs, jobs. But rather than just brush it off as campaign nonsense, let’s look at the reality of Sidhu in Anaheim as he danced for the nickels that Curt Pringle’s developer buddies tossed at him.

Those weren't nickels. Those were dimes!

First, let’s take an airborne look at a representative portion of the Platinum Triangle – where once existed a bustling industrial zone south of Katella Avenue, in Anaheim.

Here’s a photo from 2005. Take a look at all those cars, belonging to a bunch of once-employed members of Anaheim’s workforce.

Jobs, jobs, jobs, all over the place, right? Enter the so-called “Freedom Friendly” repuglican land use policies of Pringle and Sidhu:

Man, don't forget to put your green goggles on...

Today? A jobless hole in the ground surrounded by empty condos and chain link fences and faded signs asking our forgiveness for their construction dust.

Thanks Harry. How about an apology to all those businesses and employees you eradicated?

Mistakes were made, but there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on unfortunate nuclear incidents of the past...

Birds of a Feather…

…well you know the rest.

Straw man says: With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’, I could be another Lincoln, if I only had a brain…

Here is Mr. Hypocrite J. Cunningham extolling the virtues of Kris Murray, a candidate for Anaheim city council, and heavily promoted by Anaheim’s Mayor-for-Hire, Curt Pringle; some woman he elevated from obscurity to occupy a six-figure sinecure at OCTA:

I, for one, am wholeheartedly supporting Kris. There are several stand-out individuals running for city council seats in Orange County this year, and Kris is one of them. She is smart, conservative, principled and experienced in both the business sector and government. She will make an outstanding member of the Anaheim City Council.

Ah! Smart, conservative, principled, experienced. Smart? Who knows? Her experience is with the big government Business Council and a giant government bureaucracy – OCTA – which is squandering hundreds of millions on Pringle’s slimy insider ARTIC and High Speed Rail deals. Principled? Well, Hell, we know what principle Cunningham and Pringle hold dear. There’s always a  dollar sign in front of it.

Now, enjoy this snippet from the comment thread in which Cunningham extols the virtues of Big Chief repuglican Curt Pringle:

Curt has been an outstanding Mayor of Anaheim, and poll after poll confirms that. He has very high positive name ID in Anaheim, and if he were on the ballot again, he would be overwhelmingly re-elected.

Kris is and ought to be proud to have Curt’s endorsement.

Uh, yeah, right, whatever you say Jerb. Poll after poll? What polls would those be?

'Pug role model

See, for a guy who posed as a social conservative, yet who behind the scenes pulled down mega-bucks shilling for the dopey, big guvment Rob Reiner Children and Families Commission, making a fortune off of government influence peddling, like Pringle has done, is some sort of badge of honor. And of course Pringle may very well hold the key to Cunningham’s economic future now that his 1st Five plug has been pulled.

Nothing wrong there, of course. If Pringle hadn’t latched on to all this gravy some evil, unprincipled Democrat would have scooped up all those simoleons.

Little Billy Jumps SS Sidhu, Swims For His Life

You can run, but you can't hide

Hide and Seek Sidhu’s campaign groundhog and sign thief, “little” Billy Turner, has abandoned the S.S. Sidhu and landed safely on the Tom Tait for Mayor bandwagon.

While I happen to like Tom Tait, I am suspicious of the real reason why he’s running for mayor of Anaheim. But I digress.

I have a few suggestions for you, little Billy: First off, a rich old wise man (and Friend) once told me that it’s better to be poor and happy than rich and sad. Second, keep your trap shut. And finally, leave other people’s campaign signs alone.

City Clerk Under Fire: Anaheim Covers for the Sidhu Campaign

Today the city of Anaheim is taking heavy criticism for its failure to providing open public records. Today’s story from the Voice of OC reinforces my own experience in the lack of transparency, accountability and compliance with state public records laws within Anaheim city hall.

A little while back the city of Anaheim was asked for copies of six months of telephone logs for Harry Sidhu’s campaign manager, Annie Mezzacappa, who also happens to be a city employee. There was reason to believe that Mezzacappa was doing campaign work for Sidhu while on the clock for the city. That’s a big no-no.

After 24 days of stalling by City Clerk Linda Andal, the city sent back a list of three phone calls made on the same day back in January.

That doesn't seem right...

Three phone calls in 6 months. We can either conclude that either Annie Mezzacappa doesn’t know how to use her telephone or the city of Anaheim is covering for her by violating the public records act. So which is it?

Nothing to see here, move along please.

When questioned about the missing records, Deputy City Attorney Bryn Morley did not seem to think there was anything unusual about an employee who only makes three phone calls in six months. The city attorney had no excuse for the missing records and declined to give any further explanation.

Delaying, denying and obstructing public records requests is a hallmark of a government with something to hide. Apparently that’s the way it goes in Anaheim.

Who Is Craig Hunter?

Sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

Last week we were alerted to a mysterious new blog called “Who is Craig Hunter,” which claims to  reveal the true power structure behind the candidacy of the Anaheim Deputy Chief for County Sheriff.

Drink it up

The blog seems focused the connections between political heavyweight Mike Schroeder and Hunter, who is called Schroeder’s protegé. Hunter was hand picked to fill in the void left by ex-sheriff Mike Carona’s felony conviction, alleges the author who goes by the pseudonym “V”.

A few ancillary players are introduced into the picture on a page called The Players, including Jack Anderson (Carona’s own pick for successor), Carona apologist and OCCCWS member Greg Block (that name sounds familiar), DA spokesperson Susan Kang Schroeder and GOP Chairman/lobbyist Scott Baugh.

Motives are questioned, empires are sketched out and historic similarities are drawn. What emerges? A sketch of a picture that isn’t very pretty.

I’ve also heard rumors that the site was created by Friends for Fullerton’s Future, citing a humorous yet biting style that is similar to many of our own posts. For what it’s worth, nobody here knows where this blog came from or where it’s going.

But we’ll be watching.

New Brutality Claim Filed Against Hunter’s Anaheim Cops

Not again...

Earlier FFFF noted the story of an Anaheim activist who says he was wrongfully arrested after speaking out against OC Sheriff candidate Craig Hunter at Anaheim city council meetings.  James Robert Reade claims that several officers questioned him about his anti-Craig Hunter speeches shortly before arresting him on false premise that he was under the influence of narcotics.

Yesterday Reade took his accusations a step further and filed an $85,000 claim against the city of Anaheim, saying he was “attacked and brutalized by two Anaheim officers under color of authority.”

In the claim Reade presents drug tests from both the OC Crime Lab and St. Jude hospital that show there weren’t any narcotics in his system on the day of his arrest. Reade further asserts that he has never used drugs in his life and should never have been detained.

The city dropped all charges against Reade after determining that the officers made a misdiagnosis of Reade’s behavior. Officers were disciplined and sent to additional training for mishandling the incident.

At best, we could consider this another example of the culture of abuse coddled by decades of poor leadership at Anaheim PD under the control of Craig Hunter. That certainly lines up with what courts and civil rights activists have said over the years.

On the other hand, the officers’ prior references to Reade’s political activities suggest something far more malicious may have happened. If the department intended to silence an outspoken activist as Hunter was about to begin his campaign for Sheriff, that would be an inexcusable abuse of authority.

Obviously Mr. Reade is very serious about pursuing this case against the department. We’ll see what happens.