Friday, July 20, 2012

They Call Them Lackie, Dammeier and McGill

Yesterday we talked a bit about the Sierra Madre Police Officers' Association, which is the sort of union the Sierra Madre Police Department calls home. However, the SMPD is not alone. There are 120 POAs in this part of the world, and they all answer to the law firm of Lackie, Dammeier and McGill. These three gentlemen, all former police officers turned cop lawyers, have made a considerable fortune using very tough tactics against cities just like ours to win more money and benefits for local police.

They have a website, of course. You can link to it by clicking here. When you get there you will notice that I have sent you to a page called "Recently Negotiated MOUs." MOU stands for "Memorandum Of Understanding," which is what passes for a labor contract in government circles around these parts. The SMPOA is currently in negotiations with the City of Sierra Madre for a new MOU, the previous one having lapsed in June. The sense I have is that things aren't going so well. New fiscal realities have made easy taxpayer funded payoffs such as the one that occurred in 2007 unlikely. Especially with the voters having (thankfully) deep-sixed the UUT extension last April.

As you can see by the cities listed on the link I provided, these "Former Cops Defending Current Ones" have used their tough bare knuckle tactics (in the legal sense, I don't think that they actually beat City Councilmen up physically) to some great effect. It is an impressive list of victories for the individual city POAs that they represent.

I thought I would pull one of these accounts out of that word stack and discuss it a little. Because there is something quite surprising there, and it could be of some significance to Sierra Madre over the next year or two.

Maywood POA: 1 Year Extension - 15% to 22%

In Maywood, the City finally brought in some high caliber leadership that recognized that if you want to truly have a high quality police department you have to pay for it. Unfortunately for Maywood, they were not lying when they said they could not afford it. Many POA's would give up at this point, but Maywood POA, led by its President, Emil Florez, saw an opportunity and seized it. The police officers were due a long awaited raise of 4% in the second to last year of their contract. The City was asking the POA to give up that raise (they too read the League of Cities playbook) given the "economic times."

City management was convinced that if it was going to make Maywood PD a high caliber agency it had to significantly increase compensation as it was one of the lowest paid in the area. It simply was not in a financial position to do it this year. A deal was hashed out whereby the POA did give up the 4% raise for this year, agreeing that would get a previously agreed raise of 5% next year and added to the contract that in July 2011, Maywood officers' pay would be brought to the average of the surrounding cities. This is expected to be between a 15% and 23% increase in July of 2011. The City saw the economy coming back and was open to giving the officers fair compensation when it could afford it in exchange for the POA helping out the City now. They should add this to the League of (California -Ed.) Cities playbook as it may help out those cities that are truly hurting for funds right now. Maywood POA turned a bad situation into a golden opportunity.

An interesting case indeed. And certainly you can sense the pride the POA's leadership has taken here in this accomplishment. The only problem being that, to use the quaint term my kids and their friends are using a lot these days, Lackie, Dammeier and McGill were completely depantsed by Maywood's elected leadership. This from the Jan 22, 2010 edition of the Los Angeles Times (click here):

Maywood to lay off all city employees, dismantle Police department: The City of Maywood will lay off all city employees and begin contracting police services with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department effective July 1, officials said.

In addition to contracting with the Sheriff's Department, the Maywood City Council voted unanimously Monday night to lay off an estimated 100 employees and contract with neighboring Bell, which will handle other city services such as finance, records management, parks and recreation, street maintenance and others. Maywood will be billed about $50,833 monthly, which officials said will save $164,375 annually.

"We will become 100% a contracted city," said Angela Spaccia, Maywood interim city manager.

At a council meeting Monday night, city leaders said they were forced to dismantle the Police Department and lay off city workers because they lost insurance coverage as a result of excessive police claims filed against the department. (Mod: highlight mine)

I get the feeling the Lackster et al do not update their website very often. Hopefully our post today will encourage them to tidy things up a little bit. Otherwise they could come off looking like perfect asses.

Is Friends For Fullerton's Future the Best Blog Ever Or What?

There is one blog on this planet that still brings out the fan in me, and that is FFFF. It's focus, wit and unbridled contempt for the corrupt officials of their city is as pure and as righteous as a true pilgrim's love for his Redeemer. I can think of no other way to describe it except in the religious sense. Excuse me while I dab the moisture from my eyes.

As a Tattler reader you are likely aware that the Friends blog led the successful campaign to recall three awful City Councilmembers there. An incredible achievement, and proof that it is possible for a small group of inspired private citizens to wrench control of their government away from the bums and give it back to the people.

And what are the consequences of their good works? Check this article out:

Council Pulls Plug On Crappy Subsidized Project: Last night our new council majority voted to end a monstrously dense "affordable" housing project on Commonwealth Avenue.

I put the word affordable in quotation marks because these 100% subsidized projects somehow end up costing two or three times the amount to build the regular kind of multi-family housing that is built without government subsidy.

This project, targeted for the 300 block of East Commonwealth, was planned for about 361 stories and was approved on the nod by the old recalled council - Bankhead, Jones, McPension plus, of course, Sharon Quirk.

But the times they are a-changing. New councilmen Kiger and Sebourn, along with Bruce Whitaker, said no to a continuance, and then, despite the attempts of Doug Chaffee and Sharon Quirk to keep the monster alive, killed it outright.

And to this I say God bless! No more nonsense from cretins like Dr. Dick and his coterie of self-interested hacks about how we are "mandated" to litter our city with this crap.

I'm telling you, these guys write pure poetry.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com --- photo credit Terry Miller. Who btw said very nice things about this blog in the latest edition of the Sierra Madre Weekly. Pick up your copy at their many conveniently located downtown newsstands. Oh, and I hope they don't get boycotted again!

60 comments:

  1. Followed your link to Maywood shutting down...they contracted with Bell for God's sake who then cancelled the contract. Where does that leave Maywood now? With the county?

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    1. Yeah, I know. But that was just for street sweeping, etc. For law enforcement they still have the Sheriffs Dept. If you want to meet with the Maywood POA, I suspect you'll have to hook up with them at the unemployment office.

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  2. How many times does the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association have to sue us before we lose our insurance? Are we getting close yet? Anybody know?

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    1. How many times does the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association have to sue us before we wise up and end this very bad relationship?

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  3. I have to disagree with FFFF being the best blog ever.. my heart remains with the Tattler ( tear, tear).

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    1. Hear hear! I second the move to nominate the Tattler the best blog ever!!! FFFF may be the second best...

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    2. It is astonishing how few good blogs dealing with bad government there are out there. You could lose a couple of fingers and still count them on one hand.

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  4. We have long ago contracted out our park clean up and gardening service. Just now we contracted with Pasadena Humaine for dog licenses.

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    1. Good. Now let's take the next logical step and contract out for law enforcement.

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    2. Taxpayer and Voting CitizenJuly 20, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      You have a very good point, 733 am. This is the time for the Council and City Manager to put out an RFP from other law enforcement organizations. The Sierra Madre POA has indicated they wish to go back to the negotiating table in an effort to extort more money from the already strapped citizens. Local government has an obligation to explore all options. City Council, if you are reading today, on Tuesday night call for an Agenda Item to direct staff to prepare an RFP to replace the 25+ members of the Sierra Madre Police Department with contract law enforcement. At the very least we can then see if our $$$$ are being spent on the best we can afford.

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    3. Yes! Everything needs to be looked at. Everything.

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    4. Let's play predict what City Council will do:

      Mayor Moran will agree to the RFP (because it's the politically correct thing to do)
      Mayor Pro Tem Nancy will declare happiness and delight with the situation and vote against an RFP
      Councilmember Harabedian should make a declaration of abstention due to the support of the POA in his campaign
      Councilmember Capoccia will vote in favor
      Councilmember Koerber will vote in favor

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    5. Pretty good, Prognosticator. I'd add that Moran will first be against the RFP with a statement like "It might be a good idea and equally it might be a bad idea." But then he'll see the adults are in favor of it.

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    6. Moran has become totally dependent on John Harabedian. Look at how he flipped and spun on the ALF and Measure V. I doubt Josh thought that one up on his own.

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  5. Sweet hustle these guys have cooked up.
    When officers' pay will "be brought to the average of the surrounding cities" and they keep jacking up the average pay in the cities....

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  6. Dammeier doesn't look like he has missed many meals. The cop lawyer hustle must be a good one.

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    1. Dammeier gets paid at every step of the negotiations. The longer they're drawn out, the richer he becomes.

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    2. He looks like a worm that just wriggled out of a rotten apple.

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  7. " . . . proof that it is possible for a small group of inspired private citizens to wrench control of their government away from the bums and give it back to the people . . . " easy for you to say, Mr. Crawford, as the catalyst in this experiment in democracy. Someday I'll be telling my grandchildren about a hardworking writer who made a difference by doing what he believed was right. Godspeed.

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  8. It's very obvious now. These civilian officers of peace "COPS" are trying to save face hear, I see it. Over the years they have tried every tactic to get SM to go to the Sheriffs Department, think about it, every COP would get a raise and more. When a city goes with the Sheriffs the city puts in the contract what they want. Keep all our equipment and station for them to work out of and change the name on it all. SM can negotiate in the contract for what we want. You have to look at what we are dealing with here in SM and what the SD has to offer. SM COPS call in the SD COPS on occasion. In large scale emergencies other agencies help with fires, floods, electronic theft, gang related incidents and many more problems brings in outside agencies. Being that they all work together anyway, SM should save the money and get a bid from the SD COPS. Time is money hear, lets get that bid in ASAP so SM can save some $ before we turn into a Riverside. It's obvious we tax payers need to know about this and do something. We all need to help in this matter.

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  9. The City of Fullerton has the same crack legal team as the SGVCOG - Jones&Mayer.

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    1. F.O.N. - Friends Of Nick

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  10. LDM are doing exactly what they did during the last police contract negotiations.
    It's time we dumped the whole lot of these "police thugs".
    Contracting them out is long over due.
    Back the council to go forward with this.
    Don't allow LDM's inimidation tactics to stand.
    Community ride along, and a citizen's review board can make sure the police contractors play nice, and we will have a voice at the table to make sure.

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  11. Shades of the old ward bosses in Chicago, except now you've got thuggish legal firms doing the job

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  12. Thank you for the photo..THUGS ON DISPLAY!!!

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  13. 9:28 is right. I hear you and I will be supporting this effort, we all need to support this effort while it's not too late.

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    1. It is only about money on their side. It should only be about money on our side as well.

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  14. 10:49 is right on the money!
    I get it that these ex-cops turned lawyers are aggressively defending their people. Good for them.
    But now we need to do the same thing.

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    1. It is the old rule of thumb. It is always about money.

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  15. Off topic, but...

    Patch has a poll up asking of you will feel safe at the movies watching Batman. So far 1 person has voted. Probably the site's editor.

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    1. The shooting is all over the media. The local pols are proclaiming what a tragedy, but it's very safe in their town.

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    2. I hate to be a cynic, or at least perceived as one, but what is the one thing everyone in America is talking about today? Batman. A dark movie that will prosper because of this very dark crime.

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    3. Have they stepped up security at the Sierra Madre Playhouse?

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  16. I am a police fan. I'm grateful they do the job, and very aware that police are the only ones you can turn to for help in some very bad circumstances. Those circumstances can arise even here in Sierra Madre. Nonetheless, I am outraged at the whiny, manipulative behavior of the POA. They have repeatedly been disrespectful and greedy, and it's time to put a stop to them. The sheriff will perform the same duties without the extortion.

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    1. Times have changed. Cities no longer have access to the kind of cash they had before, especially since the CRAs have gone away. The POA is a dinosaur now.

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  17. Nothing personal, bottom line is the money and it's good that we all understand that and don't take it personal. If the Sheriffs Department comes in the SMPD win's and everyone will be on the same page.

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  18. The Free Press is the Guarantor of Our Freedom!July 20, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I know this is off topic, but I have an important issue to address. Now.

    The Patch is taking nominations for the SM Public Service and George Maurer awards for service to the community. It is time that we nominate someone who has vastly contributed to our town's preservation and the education of its citizens: John Crawford.

    Yes, the nomination will upset some in town. But can anyone doubt that the Tattler's editor has contributed more to the town than that crazy, zaftig real estate lady who "exercises" on her electric bike? And while some may disagree with the opinions here, no one can argue that John presents ample facts in support of his arguments. Isn't that what America is all about? And just impagine how much fun it will be when the Tattlers go to the awards ceremony and bump bellies with our beer addled Mayor!

    Someone with a Patch account needs to nominate John now.

    Someone with a Patch account needs to nominate John now.

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    1. Does that mean i would have to go?

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    2. Not only would you have to go, Mod; you'd have to accept the award from the mayor.

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    3. Maybe by the time the award is given out it would be Mayor Walsh. Now that would be a photo op.

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    4. Dear Moderator, it would be so much more meaningful if you refused to go. Even so far as holding your own event at another location with Tom King and Gil Aguirre as guests. The Tattler alternative awards of meaningful citizenship and fellowship of those opposed to the politics of developerment, real estate, and dishonest self-serving petty politicians who rob the tax paying citizenry of their hard earned tax dollars.

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    5. Fun couple! Can Crawford cha cha?

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    6. Fun night! The look on the old bat's face would be worth the price of admission. By the way, do the public have to pay for their own dinners? I'd like to point out the City is practically broken.

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    7. on the popularity issue, i would note that although john did not win election to the council, he received 29 MORE VOTES that Gene Goss. John held that margin even though, to my knowledge, the ectomorphic wife of the ex-mayor did not make any annoying calls on his behalf.

      So, John is more popular than one (though perhaps only one) Sierra Madre citizen.

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Really?
      Early afternoon on a Friday, and we've got a troll hanging around?

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    2. No rest for the wicked.

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  20. I got a patch, does the Crawford man want to be nominated?

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    1. We the Tattlers want the Crawford man nominated! We'll vote in spite of our reservations about being identified by AOL. Sure we want our hero in the running.

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  21. Okay, I put him in the comments, but you have to do the follow up by doing this from the article.

    To nominate a member of the Sierra Madre Community for one of the Awards, please include the person’s name, phone number, address, and explanation of nomination along with your name and phone number, and return to City Hall or email to city@cityofsierramadre.com.

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    1. I say we nominate John Crawford for all of the awards! We can do this!

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    2. The parimeters of those awards are very narrow. Our John Crawford is much larger in heroscope than those awards define.

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    3. It is carefully worded for situations just like this. By volunteer they means people who do free work for city. Filing, weeding and gardening, things like that. They're not very interested in people who do volunteer work for the community. There is a difference.

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  22. Although "pantsed" used to do just fine, we now have "depantsed." Kind of like "boned" and 'deboned."

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  23. it is the thought that counts, face it half the folks at city hall would rather shoot themselves in the foot, than let him have an award.

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  24. I vote for Carol Canterbury for the Sierra Madre Public Award. Gosh she seems to be selected for everything. She is sooo popular in town.

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    1. She's one of the few people left dumb enough to be impressed by it.

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  25. Lackie, Snacky, and Wacky.

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  26. 4:37 you are so right. That made me laugh, can you just imagine the looks on their faces if they had to stand for that. Just the mere thought of that cracks me up, we are so lucky we have humor to get us through city halls deceit and the poa's lawsuits.

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