Now there is something in this article that hits particularly hard. It seems obvious that the lawsuits being brought against this City by our Police Department are not exactly helping their cause. Many of them are petty to the point of absurdity, and honestly I've never had much sympathy for people who whine about their bosses. And when that whining leads to the spending of my tax money, well, the perception certainly doesn't get any better. I don't think I am alone in this, either. People are just getting sick of it.
Here are the paragraphs describing the legal predicament Sierra Madre finds itself in thanks to the POA and its pliable charges:
A storm of lawsuits swirling around the city's 20-member Police Department reveal sharp disagreements between top brass, rank-and-file officers and residents of this quiet town of 11,000 ... At the City Council's last meeting, members went into closed session to discuss a total of 10 legal cases involving the department: four lawsuits and two claims filed by the police officer's union against the city, and another three suits and one claim filed by residents alleging misbehavior by officers ... Another three lawsuits could soon be filed by the union, after the city denied three grievances earlier this month, union attorneys said.
Our Police Department has filed so many lawsuits and related actions that you have to wonder how they find the time to do their jobs. Obviously kittens stuck in trees have even more to worry about these days.
Now the lawsuit situation is just one aspect in the growing consensus here that perhaps we should replace these litigious losers with uniformed guardians of the peace who won't bite the hand that feeds them quite so much. After all, didn't we vote ourselves a 100% tax hike just to give these ingrates a raise? That these guys now devour a full 52% of our General Fund (before litigation) isn't working for very many people here, either.
Now Mr. Lee, hoping to provide some insight into how this City's elected officials are going to deal with these many pressures, quoted City Councilman Joe Mosca this way:
"The cost of litigation is a factor in considering whether or not to contract out services."
Now let me see if I have this correctly. Sierra Madre is now subject to an incredible amount of lawsuits initiated by both our Police Department and the POA. Yet according to Joe we should concern ourselves about the possibility of lawsuits should we decide to sever relations with the people who are already suing us multiple times?
Of course, Joe's statement here is a bit Delphic, and can also be interpreted as saying that the litigation initiated by the POA is a consideration in whether or not to sever relations with the officers whose interests they are clearly not helping. At least in the eyes of many taxpayers. But given Joe's previous statements expressing his love for the cozy communality of a more mythic SMPD, I'm going with the former interpretation.
Now many here can remember when Mayor Stockley and three like-minded members of the City Council claimed that it was the prospect of lawsuits that drove them to settle the One Carter fiasco with Dorn Platz. Who, once given the keys to the hillside, went on to sue us over and over again. And certainly we can remember Enid Joffe's "historic" settlement with the POA, an abject surrender that was at least supposed stop them from suing us so much. After which the POA has sued us something like 10 times. And counting
Now we are in the process of negotiating a tactical surrender to the folks currently in possession of One Carter and Stonehouse in the hopes that it will end some remaining law suits and won't lead to any more in the future. Something that smacks of wishful thinking.
It certainly seems obvious to me cities that don't go on the legal offensive as a way of protecting the interests of its citizens out of a fear of lawsuits end up getting sued anyway. Certainly has been the pattern in Sierra Madre. So why don't we do something radical and just sue the bastards back? Who knows, something crazy might happen.
Like we'd actually win something for a change.