Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lackie, Dammeier & McGill Fired by Costa Mesa Cops for "Hardball Tactics"

As a longtime Tattler reader and a person cognizant of the ins and outs of our local government, you are aware that our local Police union, the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association, is pretty much run by the law firm of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill. All of whom are former police officers themselves, and whose negotiating tactics are considered by many to be aggressive in the extreme.

So extreme, as a matter of fact, that one of its minion unions, the Costa Mesa Police Association, has now fired the law firm for an instance detailed in the Orange County Register articles I'm citing below. Apparently an associate of Lackie Dammeier had attempted to set a Costa Mesa Councilmember they don't like up for a DUI arrest. Something that didn't quite work out as planned when it turned out that the Councilmember reported as "stumbling drunk out of a bar" had actually had nothing more than two diet Cokes. The attempted arrest having taken place in front of the Councilmember's wife and two young daughters.

Costa Mesa councilman says unions behind DUI check (Aug 24, 2012): Councilman Jim Righeimer said Friday at a news conference that political enemies set him up for an accusation of driving drunk.

Righeimer was given a sobriety test outside his home Wednesday evening after a caller told Costa Mesa police that the councilman had been driving recklessly.

"I have no doubt in my mind the labor unions fighting in this city are behind this," said Righeimer, who has been under fire by the city's unions and some residents for backing outsourcing of city services and for leading the charge for a November charter city ballot proposal. He gave no evidence as to how the incident was connected to a union.

But The Orange County Register obtained a 911 tape that identified the caller as "Chris Lanzillo." A Google search listed a "Chris Lanzillo" as a fired Riverside police officer and linked him to the Upland law firm of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill. The firm had represented the Costa Mesa Police Association until late this week. The city and the police union are negotiating a contract.

On Friday, the union announced it had fired the law firm, saying it feared the firm's aggressive tactics would backfire.

More details about this incident can be found by clicking here.

Another article appeared in the OC Register two days later and highlights some of the serious blowback going down for Lackie Dammeier.

Police denounce hardball negotiating tactics (Aug. 26, 2012): Three major California police unions have denounced the hardball negotiating tactics depicted in a primer posted on the website of Upland law firm Lackie, Dammeier & McGill since they were revealed by the Watchdog last week.

None of these unions are represented by the firm, which is made up of former police officers. Lackie Dammeier boasts that it represents more than 120 police associations, including 19 in Orange County. Some of the primer's suggestions for negotiating with cities and counties: cast decision-makers as anti-public safety until they fall into line; convince residents their safety is at risk; and basically hound the city or county officials until they give in. The firm also talked about work slowdowns, advising law enforcers to canvass the whole neighborhood for a burglary call.

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs sent us a statement from its president criticizing the firm, saying that the tactics depicted in the primer are not "good faith" bargaining.

"The AOCDS board resolved to denounce Lacke Dammeier, and if asked, AOCDS informs other law enforcement associations of its serious misgivings about the firm and the unethical tactics which its associates employ," union president Tom Dominguez said in a statement.

More blowback against Lackie Dammeier is described here.

Lackie Dammeier & McGill represents the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association in its serial lawsuits against the City. Something that is setting us back a fortune in legal costs. Many here regard these frivolous lawsuits as an SMPOA negotiating tactic designed to bully the City into accepting their demands in the endless on-going negotiations for a new contract.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

41 comments:

  1. Just another example of racketeering thuggery only with a license to steal.How long are we going to be demeaned and humbled into paying protection money for police service!Let's propose a citizens committee to explore alternatives.Of course,we should begin by firing this bunch...

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  2. Another reason to vote NO on any future UUT ballot questions.

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  3. SMPD should, in a gesture of good faith , fire these clowns. It is hard to muster much enthisiasm for keeping a police force that employs this firm to represent it. Also, why retain it when the tactics they use are so ham handed and fully outed that they can't possibly work?

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  4. Sending people out to follow City Councilmen in hopes of catching them doing something wrong is a tactic right out of Nazi era Germany. Lackie Dammieier must go!

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    1. The police in this town use the same tactics on a daily basis, following people around in their cars to see if they'll make a traffic infraction of some kind or to determine if there is some fixit ticket they can give for vehicular deficiencies...

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  5. Now we know why so many people are afrade of the police. Our city has done a poor job of protecting us agains the police here. Or, maybe this is what our city manager wants done, " write all the tickets you can" since city hall lost on taxing us more, remember the UUT.

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    1. Point of clarification: Unless I'm mistaken the city receives no revenue from moving violations. Only revenue the city receives is from parking violations. Perhaps John can confirm that.

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    2. One of the great mysteries in town. My understanding is all parties get a cut.

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  6. Hm-m-m work slow down? Maybe that is why we always see three patrol cars attending to a routine traffic stop. My prior theory was that our police officers are so bored out of their minds, that they all have to go and see what is happening.

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    1. Nah, I think its a slow down.

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  7. Green Commission No,,,, Police Commission YES. Us home owners need protection from this kind of treatment, get rid of the police and the city manager.

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    1. We should put the police commission question on the ballot. We need civilian control, not city hall control.

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  8. 7:35 you are so right, what can we do? We are loosing business in town because of the Police Departments aggressive ways. We do need a new city manager.

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  9. GO COUNTY....get rid of these amateurs.We deserve to have professions!!!

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  10. You actually printed something about this law firm a few years ago and their attempts to strongarm Upland, I think it was, and were doing the same thing in Sierra Madre. I heard the Council member on the John and Ken show on Monday and Wednesday. Very chilling. Don't forget whom the POA endorsed in our election - Gene Goss and John Harabedian.

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    1. L D & M have always used intimadation in negotiations with the city. If you remember the "Lockergate" and the 10 law suits against us. All part of the "negotiation" process.

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    2. POA endorsed Braudrick, as well.

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    3. They lost 2 out of 3. The one they won needed $20,000.

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    4. Did anyone ever get a look at the final financial statements the candidates turned in? I wonder how much and by whom was contributed to the elected and wannabees this go around.

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  11. Just read some of the last few police blotters on Patch. Talk of a "black man" robbing in the Lima st area, and break ins all over town... Creating fear in the populace... "oh no...we need our wonderful PD to protect us!" I'm sure this is part of L,D &M's tactics. Pathetic!!!

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  12. I remember when Diaz's house was robbed, when she was speaking at a Council meeting. what an amazing coincidence. She was trying to clean up the department at the time.
    I want to join the growing chorus of citizen's demanding we contract out police services.
    This crap is simply unacceptable.

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    1. What I would like to know:

      Who robbed John Crawford's home and robbed MaryAnn MacGillivray's home?

      This surely was not a coincidence. It was not.

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  13. If Harabedian were to vote against contracting out, their won't be enough soap made to cleanup his reputation.

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  14. LD&M must be desperate. They must know the era of small city PDs is coming to an end. There is just no other way to explain a tactic like this.

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  15. Name withheld due to fear of Officer BerryAugust 29, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    This thread shows the fruit born by SMPD's retention of a thug law firm. When citizens openly wonder if SMPD's law firm has retained someone to commit robberies and the police blotter notes the race of robbers you have to ask if it is worth it to keep our own police department.

    In any event, the speculation here is not crazy. If the law firm will hire a fired ex-cop who calls in phony DUI complaints and who (allegedly) tailed a San Gabriel councilman for several days, it is not unreasonable to assume it would use such a person to engage in other forms of intimidation.

    There is no need for us to negotaite with thugs. Especially if moving police services to the county will, according to the city itself, save at least $1 million per year county.

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  16. From a story link below excerpts on Mr. Lanzillo

    Chris Lanzillo, a former president of the Riverside Police Officers Association, filed a claim March 4 seeking an undetermined amount of damages.

    In the document, amid broad charges of retaliation and discrimination because of his union activities, Lanzillo alleges that on Feb. 8, then-Assistant Chief John De La Rosa was "complicit in ensuring that potential criminal conduct was ignored" when Leach was pulled over.

    De La Rosa referred a call Friday to the city attorney's office, which declined to comment, citing two ongoing investigations into the chief's crash.

    City Attorney Greg Priamos said the claim was rejected Tuesday.

    Lanzillo's attorney could not be reached for comment Friday.

    Leach, 62, has said he doesn't believe any officers acted inappropriately.

    The chief announced he was seeking medical retirement days after the 3 a.m. wreck of his Chrysler 300. Though he had been drinking at an area topless bar, he said he wasn't drunk when he crashed, just disoriented on prescription medication.

    Patrol officers stopped Leach after he struck a light pole and a hydrant and then drove more than three miles on his car's rims. The officers noted his drinking, but did not call for a field sobriety test and recommended no further action.

    http://www.pe.com/local-news/reports/crash-probe/crash-probe-headlines/20100313-officer-claims-cover-up-in-ex-chief-s-crash.ece

    From Jim Righeimers political website 2010 excerpt:

    Jim Righeimer was elected to the Costa Mesa City Council on November 2, 2010, where he currently serves as Mayor Pro-Tem. Running on a platform dedicated to streamlining city government, reducing pension liabilities and providing improved services, Jim was the highest vote getter among the five council candidates.

    On its face, this looks like a set up but when I read the story on Lanzillo above, face it, it takes courage to go after your own police cheif. That is a plus to me. From the Righeimer excerpt, going after pensions, makes him a prime union target. But from dealing with problems observed in another city I understand that only the top officers are represented by the POA, the lesser officers are treated as a group and not afforded special treatment as the upper officers. But the tactics employed and in writing by Dammier are highly unionized, not purely the defense of single officers and single events. Police departments and their relationships with their city employers are tumultuous, practically bi polar in operation, if they are not fighting with them they are defending them, if not suing them, they are protecting ranks to cover and isolate from termination and lawsuits from within and without. I wish I could make a sweeping statement but I know one officer that walks between worlds. He is a hero and one of my best friends. As hard as it is we have to look at one event, the individuals involved, and judge that one event without throwing all the babies out with the bathwater. I have to reserve judgement until more of the facts come out, like the establishment of immediate phone calls between Dammier and Lanzillo.

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    1. Reserve your judgement all you want. The fact remains the Costa Mesa officers themselves fired their law firm. Should say a lot, even for reluctant judgers.

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    2. Yes, I'll check my brain at the doorAugust 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      I too believe we should reserve judgement regarding the activities of the courageous crime fighter lanzillo.

      after all, it could be a coincidence that lanzillo who lives in the inland empire, was (i) in costa mesa on another assignment, (ii) outside a bar and grill owned by an anti-union councilman, (iii) while another anti-union councilman was inside.

      it was no doubt the pursuit of civic duty that led fearless lanzillo to (i) call 911, and (ii) report that the anti-union councilman was staggering home.

      It was a freak occurrence that the councilman who only moments earlier could barely walk passed the sobriety test and produced a reciept for two diet cokes.

      It was merely a hair triggered rush to misjudgement that caused the law firm that the brave lanzillo worked for to erase him from its website in the aftermath of his heroic deed.

      it was equally misguided misjudgement that caused the costa mesa officer's union to drop lanzillo and his law firm like a hot rock.

      after all, who couldn't believe such an evasive non-denial denial such as this beauty issued by the speaker of truth to power, lanzillo:

      http://www.ocregister.com/news/righeimer-369752-lanzillo-firm.html

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    3. Truly. How can anyone rush to judgment when a process hasn't been put into place yet? What are we supposed to do, believe our eyes and our minds? The next thing you know people will start saying we can think for ourselves, and without a vast array of consultants, lawyers and bureaucrats to help us. What will become of us then?

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    4. I think we are having a misunderstanding. I am glad the law firm was fired. I would be happy if the law firm was wiped out of existance, I will be very happy if all the wrongful suits against all cities that Mr. Union boss Dammier get dismissed. I am against the unions, all unions, and most police officers would be happy to see them go also. I had read the comments above before mine and saw a lot of general police bashing, that is what I am against. Most officers hate the Police Officers Association also.
      But to tell the truth, I don't think Righeimer and Monahan are squeaky clean either. There is something bigger than simple entrapment going on here. Immediate justice has been done on the face, but there is another larger facet that is going to surface that will start the dominoes to really fall.

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  17. Most police believe that they are above the law, as do the principals of this law firm, but then they, too, were once actively engaged police officers. I have known only a few good cops in Sierra Madre - Enriquez, Bailey, Shetler, two of whom retired and one who is nearing retirement - the rest have been bottom of the barrel, need-to-prove-something, weenies.

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  18. Interesting that at 10:42am this morning, Patch posted the following story about sex offenders. The picture used, is an LASD patrol car, and the article is based on an LASD advisory. Maybe the Patch is taking a look at what it posts in the "Police Blotter", and how the content is being manipulated.
    http://sierramadre.patch.com/articles/find-registered-sex-offenders-in-your-area-c85034bd

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    1. SMPD doesn't like to involve itself too deeply with investigating sex offenders or robberies. They specialize in traffic tickets. That is what we get for 53% of our General Fund budget. Ticket specialists.

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    2. the SMPD is over it's head when dealing with crime

      our PD's claim to fame is busting petty vandalism with a vengenance

      anything of substance with regards to crime we have to bring in an outside agency

      why not go ahead and do that replace the whole PD?

      I'm for that - I don't feel safe at all with our PD

      plus we have an officer on the force who shot a unarmed man in the back because he admitted he panicked

      that's all we need in panic stricken officers with guns

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    3. Where does the traffic ticket money go?

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  19. it would be such a breeze to rob banks in Sierra Madre
    all you gotta do is stage two minor traffic accidents on Grandview and in the Canyon and we'd have 8 officers responding standing around with their finger up their rear end and meanwhile bank robbers could hit every bank in town and be out before our cops could put down their sandwiches and respond

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    1. I don't think you have to stage accidents. Just put 3 black guys in a car and every SMPD cruiser in town would be there to sit them on the curb and stare at them.

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  20. 12:31 our blotter has been manipulated since Diaz responded to blog posts that her officers were patrolling outside our city limits in the night hours - actually wrote tickets deep into Arcadia and Diaz dumbly went before the Council and said it wasn't happening and that her officers were only following dui suspects (for several miles) or happened upon a traffic citation while returning from the Pasadena jail, however the blotter never once mentioned a corresponding incident that caused our cops to be way into Arcadia or patrolling Orange Grove in Pasadena

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  21. Does SMPD have jurisdiction into Arcadia and Pasadena. If you look at their blotter there is a lot of traffic stops down on Foothill. What's our officers doing down on Foothill. Looking for a donut shop?

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    1. Trolling for ticket cash.

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  22. What's the name of the fat one with the obligatory bad moustache? Dude is lame.

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