Sunday, October 14, 2012

Does the Sierra Madre Patch Prefer the Sheriffs Over the Sierra Madre Police Department?

Smile
I'm not quite certain what to make of it. Our local outpost of the financially troubled 900 site AOL/Patch empire seems to be making some kind of statement on a very sensitive Sierra Madre issue. Which is something that is very unlike them. Usually "The Patch" is quite cautious about what they cover, and rarely offers anything to its readers that might be construed as being at all controversial. But apparently not in this case. Here they seem to have thrown all caution to the wind and are taking quite a bold stance on what is a very sensitive local issue.

Here is an example of where I am going with this. Yesterday the SM Patch posted an article about women in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. It is an obvious feel good puff piece designed to help create some positive feelings about the county mounties, with most of the content likely sourced from the LASD itself. Public relations being important to a law enforcement organization as large and pervasive as this one. Here is some of what was said:

Meet the First Female Patrol Deputies of LASD: The Sheriff's Department will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of women in the Department.

When Carole Freeman joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1970, women could not work in the field, so she took a post at the jail. But that changed two years later when the Police Foundation selected the LASD to take part in a national pilot program training female deputies for patrol duty.

There is little doubt that what this article is describing was a significant step forward for women in Los Angeles County, and we can all take pride in that. However, since Sierra Madre has its own police force and has not, at least as of today, contracted with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, what does it really have to do with us?

And this is hardly the first instance of where the L.A. Sheriff's Department has been the subject of some very sunny coverage on the storied webpages of the Sierra Madre Patch. On July 17 they posted an article titled, "LASD Offers Advice on Preventing Identity Theft." Quite an important issue in a town that had fallen victim to the still unsolved EVG pump skimming case, the largest instance of identity theft ever in our little town's history.

There have been others as well. On May 11 an article entitled, "Had a Bike Stolen? The Sheriff May Have It," dealt with another sensitive issue as bike theft is hardly unknown here. And on August 8 Patch ran something called, "7 Steps to Earthquake Safety: LASD offers tips to prepare for a major earthquake." Other articles in a similarly helpful vein can be found on the Sierra Madre Patch as well.

Now, and as well-informed Sierra Madre Tattler readers already know, there is a bit of a situation going down between the Sierra Madre Police Department and the L.A. County's Sheriffs. The lawsuit happy SMPD, which currently devours 53% of our city's General Fund budget, is exerting some strong pressure on City Hall for even more money, along with enhanced benefits. The SMPOA (or is that SMPA?) even recently sent out a mailer strongly hinting at the possibility that unless they get more dough and some increased benefits, many of its more highly trained officers will leave and take jobs elsewhere.

Something that I am not certain very many people living here either believe or even care about.

The situation is this. The Sierra Madre Police Department is quickly becoming a very expensive and troublesome proposition for a town as small as this. During good economic times the sacrifice was considered an acceptable one, if only to assuage the vanity of a certain segment of Sierra Madre's resident population, along with the political needs of some our more disingenuous politicians.

However, the economy has been heading south for some time now, and coupled with the loss of CRA funding due to a recent much publicized Sacramento property tax clawback, Sierra Madre finds itself in increasingly troublesome financial straits. Water infrastructure needs alone threaten to break the piggy bank. There is also a strong possibility that utility taxes will sunset here as voters seem unlikely to sanction a renewal of UUT rates that are the highest in California.

And when you throw in all of those misguided SMPOA lawsuits, which in my opinion are designed more to enrich the greedy law firm controlling our cop union than anything else, the financial hit of maintaining the SMPD as it now exists begins to seem even harder to justify.

When Sierra Madre's City Council went out for an RFP on law enforcement services a few years back, it was discovered that this City could save as much as $1.5 million dollars per year should it jettison the SMPD and contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. It was also determined that we would then have more and better trained officers (or is that Deputies?), along with access to such things as helicopters, SWAT units, jails, and increased paramedic support.

It is entirely conceivable that the current financial pressures upon Sierra Madre could force the City Council to once again take a good hard look at the costs of law enforcement services here. Without the wherewithal to maintain things as they always have been there would no longer be a choice. The politics of law enforcement would at last become irrelevant.

Which could be why the LASD has been getting their publicity releases placed in the Sierra Madre Patch. They are introducing themselves to some potential new consumers of their services.

The war for the hearts and minds of Sierra Madre residents may have already begun.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

62 comments:

  1. replace smpd. save $1 .5 million a year.October 14, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Bye bye charm offensive and mother moo coupons. Hello retaliatory tickets. Thanks. A. Lot.

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    Replies
    1. Why doesn't the SMPD figure out that they cannot kill the host, and then expect to keep feasting on us?

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    2. I think the law firm they listen to is taking them for a ride. They make a ton off of these lawsuits. The SMPD are being played for suckers.

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    3. 11:06, not just the law firm they hire. The law firm we use too. Can't recall if it's our "in house" counselors, or farmed out, but they take our money either way.
      Also recall the famous "staff time" that's wasted on these negotiations. "Staff time" is quite precious you know.

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    4. Staff time is a product that City Hall sells to the people who pay taxes to sustain it. We end up paying for their nonsense twice.

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    5. To the dummy that says the LASD will send their most seasoned and best people - you are an idiot...it will be "reward" city like others in the county. Cronies and friends of admin will be sent there to "coast" until retirement. They will drive around in circles, and you will actually see less of them because they have plenty of places to hide up in SM. That or you may not get your own station - to fight costs, they may split up another established station like Temple City or Duarte. You get a base number of deputies - say 10, then if the needs exist, they can come over from the other station to help out and vice versa.

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  2. Quite a stretch, Mod. My guess is that the Patch is running out of people who are willing to write for free, thus they will take anything that comes their way for their puff pieces. Although I would love to see our budget decrease by $1.5 mil a year, I'm not convinced that the sheriff dept. is all that enthused about coming to Sierra Madre.

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    Replies
    1. When the RFP for police services was put into motion by the City Council the LASD was quite interested in working with Sierra Madre. The turned in all of the needed paperwork an made an offer people are still talking about.

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    2. Sierra Madre has a lot to offer the LASD - low crime, a nice facility that gives them a good base in the SG Valley foothills, and a small area of responsibility.
      Sure they want us. We'll pay, and we're a cheap date.

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    3. Sierra Madre will probably be the place the Sheriffs will send their people they want to reward. We'll end up with their most seasoned and accomplished people.

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    4. Do you imagine that AOL has a code of ethics for what it will publish?

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    5. I get the impression that AOL doesn't believe the people who read their Patch sites have much on the ball.

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  3. I doubt very much if the sitting city "establishment" would allow an outside agency in as it would be much more difficult to corrupt.

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    Replies
    1. Would the Sheriffs have registered Matheson as a sex offender? You know that they would have.

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    2. I you think that there is no corruption in the LASD, you're dreaming. Just ask Sheriff Baca....

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    3. Can you name an LA County agency that isn't?

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    4. I'm not totally sure, but I think the metermaids are clean.

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    5. The Sierra Madre Police just don't look closely enough. Child pornography, drug dealing, money laundering - they just don't see it. Maybe the Sheriffs would be more realistic. And with the huge savings, it's worth a try.

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  4. It is quite a choice the city is facing right now. Keep the police deprtment or fix our crumbling infrastructure. If the UUT fails again they will have to choose.

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    Replies
    1. Look how long it took to shake the Colantuono and Levin money grubbers, even when everybody knew they took the residents' money in order to work against the majority of the residents.
      I think it's odd that Patch has picked up on it, but good, because it will start to get people to see the better solution.

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    2. I'll bet Peter Dammeier and Michael Colantuono exchange expensive gifts at Christmas.

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  5. Saving $ is what CITY HALL should be doing. Governments main responsibility is to protect and serve it's tax paying citizens. Costs of running your own police force is not an inexpensive operation. The pros and cons of what you want in a police force needs to be looked at and evaluated on a priority list specific to that community. Law enforcement functions require different skills, think about it, you want a wise and experienced officer on scene to direct the physical aspects of protecting the community. There are many things to be considered and now the process in is or should be in full swing. Think about it people, then get involved, it is your town after all.

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    Replies
    1. It's very frustrating to watch the city waste money.
      Of course we need to get a cheaper law firm, of course we need to get the sheriffs and get rid of our police department, of course we need to downsize staff even more (sorry - you'll find another job), and of course we need to stop making commissions that cost administrative staff time and city attorney money.
      It's the most basic kinds of steps you take when you're on a budget.

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  6. I reside in San Dimas which offers police services via the L.A. Sheriffs. Our towns are similar in that they are suburban style, family oriented and offer little in commercial development. Now San Dimas is larger and is probably prone to the potential for more violent crime.

    Over the last 25 years I have come into contact with the Sheriff's on numerous occasions and have found them to be professional, cooperative and effective. Sierra Madre should absolutely consider making the change, I think most would be happy with the results.

    By the way, I am not associated in anyway with the Sheriff's Dept.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks San Dimas. Good to know. Everything I've heard about the LASD has been positive, except for the fear mongering about "The response time will now be 20 minutes."

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    2. Since the LASD would be stationed where the SMPD is now, I don't see how the response time would change.

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    3. 11:26....and you know that to be a imperial fact..how?

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    4. Actually the response time of the LASD will be quicker, 6:42. They don't weigh as much.

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  7. This is remarkable! AOL Patch leaning to a controversial political position!
    Next development? Their page views are going to increase, and they will figure out that people actually care.

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    Replies
    1. Who knows, maybe they get paid to run those things. Pay to play is hardly beneath Aol.

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    2. Patches all over the country are running scared.
      They read the tech news too, and know their days are numbered.
      I doubt that there is one Patch editor anywhere who doesn't have his or her resume ready.

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    3. Patrick Lee got out. And he was Patch's biggest defender.

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    4. If you read John Stephens' bio on the Huffington Post he doesn't even acknowledge that he ever worked for Patch. And both Patch and Huffpo are owned by Aol! Gives you an idea of how Patch is regarded in their own company.

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    5. Could it be that young Stephens is not proud of the way he was suckered by the Dirts, and the way he played a part in slandering council member MacGillivrey?

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    6. Country was as phony as they came.

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  8. So when does Sierra Madre run out of money? Before or after we run out of water?

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    Replies
    1. After.
      We'll have to spend whatever money we have left after these avaricious lawyers and police departments finish with us on buying water.

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    2. Let's not forget the pending" Water Hog Boondoggle "hanging over our heads! This community's continuing ineptitude in governance,staggers the imagination!

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  9. 4 word summary of the Josh Moran era: Broke, dry and high.

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    Replies
    1. Good one 12:49. But you can't say
      We're up here with no warning.

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    2. I hear we're going to build our way out of the water crisis.

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    3. If you people here on the Tattler think you can do such a good job running the city maybe you should give it a try. Idiots

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    4. Can we hire a consultant?

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    5. If everyone chipped in it would only cost them the price of a latte.'

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    6. That's OK Josh. I never met Bob Matheson, either.

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    7. Can't we all just get along?

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    8. What fun would that be?

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    9. If I'm not mistaken, didn't someone closely related to the Tattler actually try to make a difference and actually ran for a city council position so they could right all the wrongs and show the bewildered herd the way to the promised land, whatever happened to that person?, are they still around?

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    10. What does getting along with Josh have to do with making things better? I'd say do the opposite of whatever Josh wants and you'll be right 90% of the time.

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  10. 3:47 your not JM, as mayor he would no way say something like that calling the community idiots. JM may be stupid but he's not dumb enough to print something like that and put his name on it. Now Matheson, that's a whole other sick story.

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  11. If we do get the Sheriffs where will we stable their horses? Maybe Steamers?

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  12. Nope -- Patch isn't advocating the sheriff move in. The LASD has been grinding out press releases by the dozen lately, and all they're doing is rewriting them or passing 'em along verbatim. I've gotten a release for every one of those stories you quote -- there's no enterprise on Patch's part. All you do is cut & paste a sheriff's press release, and BOOM! 1/7 of your Patchmonkey daily quota has been made.

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    Replies
    1. The LASD is recognizing the moment for what it is. Good for them. Patch is showing itself to be what we've thought all along - a public relations gimmick for hire.

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    2. It is always possible that the Sierra Madre Patch is so clueless about this town that they are running Sheriff Department propaganda here. Don't underestimate them.

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    3. Is that underestimating or overestimating?

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    4. Underestimating. Don't let them surprise you.

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  13. Anything AOL is just for money i.e. all the customers they ripped off for years. May still be ripping off.
    Don't believe Patch is truly into any community, or that the Kensington is being built as a service to the elderly.

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  14. This post is from "(not) A Sandi Levin fan in Los Alamitos"

    Seems like someone in Los Alamitos is on the warpath because of misdeeds by Sandy Levin.

    Let's count the mistakes shes made:

    cost the taxpayers $215,000 after losing the Trash Lawsuit (and her firm earned almost $200,000 in her failure to defend her awarding of the trash contract to the highest bidder in violation of city code). C&L: $200,000 / Los Alamitos Taxpayers: -$215,000)

    in the same trash contract that was awarded 2X to the highest bidder, C&L included a secret tax of $75,000 per year for 10 years. This secret tax is a guarantee by the trash hauler to generate $75,000 per year in point-of-sales sales tax or pay the difference yearly. This so-called tax may be in violation of Proposition 218 since it wasn't put to a vote of the people. C&L: $200,000 / Los Alamitos Taxpayers: -$965,000 (-$215,000 + -$750,000 = -$965,000)

    So in summary: Sandi Levin gets paid almost $200,000 on a fouled-up contract that violated the muni code AND as a bonus her actions cost Los Alamitos taxpayers $965,000.

    We in Los Alamitos should feel so lucky - we weren't hosed for a million bucks (yet).

    It would be very nice if you Sierra Madreans would post on "LetsFixLosAl.com" on the Prop 218 scam(s) that C&L inflicted on your city. We need to know how to defend ourselves from further pillaging and plundering by Sandy Levin.


    http://letsfixlosal.com/blog/less-sunlight-city-attorney-evaluation-on-monday-council-agenda/comment-page-1/#comment-15223

    http://letsfixlosal.com/blog/less-sunlight-city-attorney-evaluation-on-monday-council-agenda/comment-page-1/#comment-15227

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    1. C&L is on the verge of losing Sierra Madre.

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  15. Why would the newly elected city council want the citizens of Sierra Madre to pay for more services like the green commission? and why does the commission want to tell us about the greening of trash collection and it's combined composting that will help the company but not give back cash incentives to city hall?

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