Saturday, January 5, 2013

Your Public Safety Master Plan Moment of Zen

Zen humor
Councilmember John Harabedian became a creature of the Sierra Madre Police Association when he accepted this public employee union's endorsement during last April's election. Perhaps you can recall the now infamous campaign postcard where two police officers appeared with the then-candidate dressed in their Police uniforms, sans the usual patches (click here). This was a clear violation of state law, and in the face of a public outcry the City of Sierra Madre did launch an investigation into the matter. It was apparently buried as no results of this investigation were ever released to the public. Which, of course, is how such things are done in this town. Can you recall investigations in this town that ever resulted in any conclusions, opinions or actions? I didn't think so.

Sierra Madre's Police Department has come under some considerable criticism over the past few years for such things as its serial nuisance lawsuits against this City, unceasing agitation for more money and benefits, an inability to cope effectively with crime as evidenced by its clear failures in the EVG and Matheson affairs, along with the widely held perception in town that their only true field of expertise is traffic code enforcement. Enforcing the law being much safer when it is confined to upbraiding residents on the way to work or school in their cars. Obviously residents are far easier to catch than any thieves involved in the epidemic of unsolved home invasion burglaries that have plagued this city over the last few years.

Couple that with the fact that the SMPD consumes over 53% of this city's General Fund and it becomes obvious that some Public Relations work is sorely needed to effectively curtail any public demands that the City look elsewhere for its public safety needs.

So in a move typifying the spirit of long established lousy government traditions in this town, the call from our thoughtful Councilmember for a so-called "Public Safety Master Plan" predictably came forth. Which, to put it into terms more closely connected with popular reality, means Mr. Harabedian wants to hire an absurdly expensive consultant to help him settle a political obligation to the Sierra Madre Police Association, while with the same sweep of his magic wand marketing the SMPD to an increasingly skeptical public. This at a time when he is also calling for a Utility User Tax increase to 12% because of shortages in folding money at City Hall.

As you know, we here at The Tattler love bureaucratic language. To us it is a form of poetry largely misunderstood by the public. Getting money out of taxpayers in order to support things that are clearly contrary to their personal interests is an art, and how it is crafted must be studied. So what we have done today is take a paragraph out of the Agenda Report for the Public Safety Master Plan question up for consideration at next Tuesday's City Council meeting, and reproduced it here.

Consider this to be your Public Safety Master Plan moment of Zen.

The City of Sierra Madre is seeking an experienced consultant to conduct an organizational review, a workload and performance audit and community survey for the Police Department. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the Police Department organization, operations, service delivery and identify areas to implement best practices from other well-run modern police departments to optimize performance by incorporating best practices and changes that will increase efficiency and effectiveness, in addition to assessing Community sentiment with a statistically valid survey. The consultant will need to have the capability to evaluate policies, practices and performance in delivering police service in partnership with the community. The consultant will also need to have the ability to conduct a community survey that is statistically valid. Accomplishing these overall objectives will require engaging staff members, reviewing and analyzing documents, conducting benchmarking analysis, identifying applicable best practices, and surveying the community.

Truly, a contemplation of nothingness. I highlighted the term "best practices" as it appears three times in this paragraph, and twice within a single sentence. If you go through this entire report you will find that "best practices" appears at least 10 times, which to me indicates that when it comes to jargon this one is approaching "process" in the pantheon of Staff and Council uni-speak.

It is also interesting to note that in order to assess "Community sentiment with a statistically valid survey," it is necessary to conduct "a community survey that is statistically valid."

It is highly likely that come Tuesday evening three Councilmembers will issue a call for an RFP so that we can get the best possible price on a consultant we don't need and cannot afford. After all, a Police Department that currently devours 53% of our General Fund should already know how to do its job, right? For it to be otherwise would mean we have a systemic collapse of government in town, and should be looking to replace the persons responsible as quickly as humanly possible.

But, of course, that is not what is really going on here. This is politics, pure and simple. An ambitious Councilmember is honoring his obligations to a public employee union in a county where such actions are required behavior for future political advancement. Johnny is paying his dues.

Dues that we will be called upon to pay.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

57 comments:

  1. When John Harabedian had the SMPD union campaigning for him, putting out his flyers door to door, he made it very clear to me what his agenda was.
    I saw this, read it, and did not vote for John.
    However, I was in the minority.

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  2. My prediction? The consultant will discover a vastly overworked underpaid police department and recommend the hiring of 13 new FT officers and a 25% raise to bring their salaries into line with those of New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. Look at the money I've saved you in consulting fees?

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    1. It will also report that the populace of Sierra Madre adores the SMPD, and is willing to give them whatever they want.

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    2. Not only that. when the SMPD contract comes up for negotiation the next time they will use the results to advertise that Sierra Madre is an unsafe city in which to live - unless they can hire more police for higher wages, etc. and that the council is intentionally placing the citizens in harms way. sounds like great marketing for the PD. Yep, good old' Johnny is making good on a promise to the PD and he's padding his resume for future offices. But I know that he too, "loves Sierra Madre".

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    3. Yeah, but we have seen through this crap. We know what they are doing. People are talking about it.

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    4. I knew Harabedian was a fraud when he started showing up at a variety of public meetings a couple of months before the election.
      He would key in on a few people, use their names repeatedly, and offer opinions on matters that he clearly was not familiar with.

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    5. It is a sad reflection on this town that he was elected.

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  3. Harbedian is an ignorant fool

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    1. A highly educated donkey.

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    2. nononono, honoputz is a donkey, this li'l chippy is a parroting monkey with a swell tie.

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    3. We need Mule to gather them together and lead them off on a 12 month walk to Utah.

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  4. How many times have the L.A. County sheriff's sued La Canada? My guess is "0"

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  5. Yes, let's scream poverty and initiate a tax hike one meeting, and then ask to spend $50,000 on a "public safety" consultant the next. City Council straitjackets, anyone?

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    1. It is all play money to the UUT 3. They're quite childlike.

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    2. Yes and they suspect we'll fall for it.
      After all we voted in this guy when we could have voted in the better representitive MaryAnn MacGillivray. We didn't do it,so why would they think we won't fall for this bs?

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    3. Smells like Buxton!

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  6. Harabedian executed a well-designed, well-financed plan to get on the council. No doubt there is already another well-designed, well-financed plan to jump up to the next rung.

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  7. How about a moratorium on consultants?
    There are volunteers who are over qualified to carry out this "study."

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    1. A consultant can be counted upon to come to a prearranged conclusion pleasing to the official parties involved. Residents would instead attempt to tell the truth. Something that is not in the interest of any of the city's players.

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    2. A study that sets out to prove what the study intends to prove.

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    3. Any consultant that is getting paid $50,000 to cook up a crock of baloney such as this is going to tell the paymaster exactly what they want to hear. It is called "meeting the client's expectations."

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    4. How much money has this city wasted on consultants?
      I'll bet the figure is SHOCKING!

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    5. Is thus why the UUT is going to 12%? So they can hire a consultant?

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    6. This is really bad. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

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  8. So this $50,000 goes on the books as more expense we have to pay for the police department, yeah?

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    1. Yep. More financial homage to our city's white elephant.

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    2. Don't need a study to tell us we can't afford the cops and their pensions.
      don't need a study to tell us you don't need 3 cars to write a moving violation.

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    3. Don't need a Weatherman to tell which way the wind blows!

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  9. 8:12, for the last 20 years or so there has been a virus that circulates in city hall, and it causes people to do exactly what you've pointed out: the sickness hits their brains and makes them think, "We are running out of money, so we are going to have to spend some more."
    There's simply no other explanation for it.

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    1. I can't believe they're going to raise the UUT, though. After 60% of the people voted no.

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    2. They won't be able to raise it, if we step up and fight them again.
      These people are so damn sure they run the show, and we are just no nothing sheep who follow.....we have proven them wrong in the past (Yes on Measure V) and No to the increase UUT.
      We can do it again, if you people are willing to fight.
      I can tell you my friends are ready again.
      You'll see us out on the street corners in town with signs. Count on it.

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  10. When we discuss councilman Harabedian we are not really discussing an individual. We are discussing an assembled team.

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    1. Yes, you are right. The team is out to fleece us all.
      We must rid ourselves of these medlesome puppets of Sacramento!
      Nothing personal, just we don't want you representing outside interests.
      Wake up, Sierra Madre. "punky brewster" may be a nice guy, but he is not looking out for your best interested, not ever.
      This is becoming a well known fact!

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    2. Josh Moran thinks our UUT vote last April didn't count, and he can just ignore it and do whatever he likes. Over 60% vote NO and he is raising our taxes anyway. He should be recalled.

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    3. It's not that the vote doesn't count; it's that the residents of Sierra Madre didn't understand.
      Hence the full force public relations campaign to hoodwink, uh, I mean, inform the commissions and committees.

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    4. Being lied to is offensive. Being lied to by people who want to raise taxes after we voted against it is worse.

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    5. Yes 10:32!
      That was always, always John Buchanan's position - you, the people, do not understand what we, the elected pooh bahs, the monkeys in tall hats, know. Trust us because we are taking care of you, and here's what you need to think.

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    6. Our elected representatives have managed the city into bankruptcy.

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    7. After the SMPD consultant alerts us to the crime that surrounds us and how our only defense is a larger police force, after the water department demonstrates the decrepit state of the city's water pipes, and the imminent threat of death by sewer back up overflow, more than 60% of the "sky is falling" believers will vote more bonds into play to pay for all the "full service" amenities the DIRTS could dream of. Don't be taken in: the population has not siginificantly increased in years, the pipes are regularly maintained, but the police department has doubled in the last decade, What do we have to show for it? A pedophile on the loose and huge indebtedness.

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    8. And don't forget! One less market, one less school, one less church, and the addition of a dozen pricey mediocre dining establishments.

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    9. Is it true there is a new hire at city hall? I keep hearing a rumor that someone new has been hired.

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    10. They hire regularly - in spite of the hiring freeze!

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    11. We keep hearing about cutbacks, but what exactly gets cutback? Doesn't it make sense that if there were cutbacks, they wouldn't have to raise the UUT? It is already the highest in the state already!

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    12. There were no cutbacks. Just a shuffle and job titles.

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  11. I know one thing, John Crawford will fight.
    All of you who enjoy reading this blog everyday, you need to take a stand against the crookedness that continues to go on in this town.
    John Crawford spends hours of his time and energy, as do his team of "citizen reporters". They don't get paid for this. They do it because it's the right thing to do.
    We owe it to these people to get in there and help them!

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  12. I hope, Crawford you are going to discuss the "clean water" issue that will come before the Council on Tuesday. In reading the report, it looks like it will behove the City to send in their protest like the Citizens have done. It will only cost the City big bucks to conform if this thing passes and the $156,000 they estimate it would bring in will not begin to cover the costs.

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  13. Reading the paragraph from the staff report about the safety survey is just about what one would expect when one has nothing of substance to say yet must still say something.
    And that is exactly how the $50,000 consultant's report will read too. It's quite an art to get paid so much to do and say so little.

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    Replies
    1. City administrators pay large amounts of money to consultants as a way of supporting their already existing agendas, not creating anything new. This is one of the worst kinds of fraud.

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  14. Mr. Best Practices saysJanuary 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Can you guess that the consultant will tell us we are actually paying for 2 police forces? That we will be paying for the existing officers, and those that will retire? It will mean the cost of policing will take over the entire city budget over the next ten years?
    You can send me the 50K, thank you.
    When do we call the County Sheriff's?

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    1. How can you tell which are the retired ones?

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  15. The police are not so overworked as to not have enough to do fighting crime and making us hate them all the more with their stop sign violation tickets. I friend's husband says he will never come to Sierra Madre again from his neighboring Arcadia after the BS ticket he got one day last year (successfully fought in Pasadena traffic court!).

    Also, we are so environmentally conscious, ahem, in this city but have a trash hauling contract with a company who have not retrofitted their trucks with propane fueled clean engines and continue to spew hydrocarbons in the air with their stop and start grind throughout town. That dosen't even take into account the number of hydrolic fuel spills with one truck in the past in the canyon for which they were supposed to (by law) call in the hazmat crew and instead dumped their kitty litter on the street.

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  16. I especially like the prediction of "0" as the possible number of times the LA Co Sheriffs have sued the cities they serve.

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  17. We need to raise taxes so we have the best practices.

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  18. I think if we had the sheriff instead of the police, we would have a surfeit of sheriffs. After all,if you were a sheriff deputy, where would you rather work- L.A. county or Sierra Madre?

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    1. Thank you 4:45!
      Absolutely true about many jobs with this city.
      I get it that the pay is "not competitive" but neither are the drawbacks, damnit.
      This is an easy place to work.

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  19. More and more cities are dumping their local police for the sheriff.It's more Economic!Having our own constabulary in this tiny community is grandiose nonsense!It is particularly appalling to be coerced into supporting overpaid incompetent buffoons posing as police officers! The residents in this community better take heed and dump these clowns ....."It's the Economy Stupid".

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  20. You mean it would take $50,000 to come up with reasons for keeping the SMPD?

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