|Wacky Jacque's law enforcement no-no?|
The following excerpts, along with the Jacque Robinson post cards shots, are from today's Sunday edition of the Pasadena Star News (link):
The mailers were sent this week — leading up to Tuesday’s runoff election between Robinson and her opponent, Terry Tornek, who are both members of the City Council. The election will determine Pasadena’s first new mayor in 16 years following the retirement of Mayor Bill Bogaard, who was Pasadena’s first citywide elected mayor. Tornek topped the ticket in the six-candidate March 10 primary with 36.3 percent of the votes. Robinson finished in second place with 30.7 percent of the votes. Twenty percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots.
Beck sent a memo to all city employees in November and again this week reminding them of several state laws and city regulations that govern campaigning by city employees.
“No officer or employee shall participate in any political activity during his or her working hours,” is a city regulation that Beck cited.
“No officer or employee shall participate in any political activity while in a city uniform,” a state law, was another regulation cited by Beck.
City employees can participate in political activities if they are not in uniform, off-duty and off city property. Robinson did not return requests for comment for this article.
In a photograph in one mailer, which was part of a tri-fold brochure, Robinson is pictured walking with a uniformed officer, who is wearing a badge and appears to have a firearm attached to his holster.
In another mailer delivered Friday, Robinson is photographed with firefighters in uniform who appear to be standing in front of a firetruck, although it is unclear if it is a city firetruck. In another photograph in the same mailer, officers are depicted in uniform without their badges.
That flier promotes Robinson’s endorsements from Pasadena firefighters, police officers and teachers unions.
If there is a difference between the two cop mailers it is the amount of police gear being displayed. Sierra Madre's cops had their patches airbrushed out and left their weapons in the car, whereas the clueless police officer shown on the Jacque Robinson card had all his cop gear on him, including his sidearm.
Sierra Madre's Fire Department had the wisdom in 2012 to stay off of political postcards. In 2014 they did show up on a UUT tax hike card, but that may have been the fault of desperate and less than intelligent individuals who used their images without permission.
I have posted Harabedian's card here as a way of emphasizing our concern over this issue. It also must be noted that while this matter was investigated by Sierra Madre City Hall, the results were buried and never saw the light of day. Which makes sense. John Harabedian was on the City Council by that time.
If you click here you will be taken to an article titled "Police Officer Employee Rights in California." There is a section that deals with "political activity." Here is what they have to say about the topic:
A police officer has the right to pursue public office and participate in politics. However, a police officer must be off duty when engaging in political activities in the state of California. In addition, a police officer must be out of uniform before participating in political meetings or functions. A police officer may not wear her uniform while campaigning for public office or while supporting a political candidate.
California Government Code Sections 3300-3313 can be accessed by clicking here. The relevant portion of this Government Code is Section 3302 (a).
3302. (a) Except as otherwise provided by law, or whenever on duty or in uniform, no public safety officer shall be prohibited from engaging, or be coerced or required to engage, in political activity.
Both Jacque Robinson and John Harabedian's "Law Enforcement" postcards may possibly be in violation of Federal law as well. Specifically a 1939 law called "The Hatch Act." Here is how Wikipedia (click here) describes that law:
The Hatch Act of 1939 is a United States federal law whose main provision is to prohibit employees (civil servants) in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President and Vice President, from engaging in partisan political activity. Named after Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico, the law was officially known as "An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities."
You might be wondering what a law designed to keep policymaking federal employees from pimping themselves out as political campaign props might have to do with uniformed Police Officers appearing on local campaign postcards. Here Wikipedia provides us with an answer:
The original Act forbids intimidation or bribery of voters and restricted political campaign activities by federal employees. It prohibits using any public funds designated for relief or public works for electoral purposes. It also forbids officials paid with federal funds from using promises of jobs, promotion, financial assistance, contracts, or any other benefit to coerce campaign contributions or political support.
An amendment to the Hatch Act on July 19, 1940 extended coverage to state and local employees whose salaries include any federal funds. Both the Sierra Madre and Pasadena Police Departments are the recipients of some forms of federal funding, which could therefore make these cards a violation of federal law as well.
I'm sure that like here in Sierra Madre, Pasadena City Hall's investigation into this matter will come to no conclusions until after the election is over. And should Jacque Robinson win this election the matter could end up being buried.
But the fact remains that both Robinson and Harabedian came into conflict with some rather serious political campaign laws. And just because local government establishments often fail to do their job in these situations and properly investigate the offending parties doesn't make these pols any less guilty.
However, and as someone said just the other day, "this certainly does help show that nobody knows how to break the law like law enforcement." Especially when that law enforcement and its unions so badly want to elect someone who will give them a big fat raise, and will do anything to make that happen. No matter how crooked.
One more thing. This from Transparent California (link):
Pasadena's $1,551.25 "total city employee compensation cost per resident figure" (well over $6,000 for a family of four) is the 10th highest in California. It takes a special kind of incestuous politician/municipal employee union axis to get to so vibrant a level of crude taxpayer exploitation.