Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Most Important Reason For Going With The L.A. Sheriff's Department Still Stands

P.D. Wuv
It was great fun watching Mayor Capoccia sink the specious arguments of Sheriff Contract Committee Poobah Glen Lambdin last night. Especially his nonsensical and frankly dishonest claim that hiring the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department could only bring the City of Sierra Madre significant savings seven or so years down the road. Rather, and as Capoccia clearly demonstrated, the savings would be both immediate and significant.

Another special moment last night from a daffy committee member was listening to the kinda offbeat Rosemary Burnett claim that Sheriff Dept. response times would be far longer than those of the SMPD because they would be coming "all the way from Temple City." Capoccia gently explained to the poor dear that since the LASD would be on patrol here 24/7, response times would be pretty much the same.

There were other moments as well, including the great fingerprinting canard. Something Gene Goss cited last night as if it actually amounted to something.

Apparently the claim of "immediate fingerprinting" one resident made at public comment Monday has not been the experience of everyone in Sierra Madre. Here is how a commenter on this blog described his harrowing misadventure with a rather slack and indifferent Sierra Madre PD:

My house was robbed. $7,000 worth of specialized computer equipment. No fingerprinting was ever done, or anything else. We called a Detective named Gray about 5 times and the jerk never called us back. We needed to have a report filled out so we could get some money from the insurance company. The lazy SMPD staff refused to do it, so we did it ourselves. But we still needed to get it signed, and we had to go down to that PD station 3 times before one of those people would finally agree to sign it. This process took a full month. So when this woman stood up there ranting about fingerprints I could only laugh.

Lambdin also claimed that those speaking at public comment last night would clearly demonstrate strong community support for the SMPD, yet it was pretty much the exact same group of individuals that spoke the night before. Slightly better behaved, of course.

Plus there were several thoughtful speakers who defended bringing the LASD here. Or at least saw some virtue in it. Proving that not everyone in this town fears retaliation from the SMPOA.

It is also rather telling that while on the one hand the likes of Committeemember Bill Coburn claimed it is the longstanding familiarity and comfort with Sierra Madre Police Officers that makes them such an integral part of this community's culture, he later claimed that the lack of those outrageous quarter of a million dollar compensation packages other cities pay their beat cops is causing our PD members to quit and leave in significant numbers.

So which is it? Are they coming or going, Bill? Selling in or selling out? Exactly who is firing whom here?

Oh, and exactly how many times has the SMPOA sued the taxpayers of Sierra Madre again? Over 20 times in the last decade perhaps? Maybe even more?

That is not the definition of "Us" I was taught as a child. Nor is this (link):


Years later this case is still winding its way through the Courts. God only knows how much in legal expenses it is costing us to continue to defend former SMPD Chief Diaz against one of those cops who supposedly made Sierra Madre feel like a community.

It is one thing that the solons of the "SHERIFF CONTRACT PROPOSAL COMMITTEE" were clearly in the tank and cheerleading for the SMPOA. That was obvious all along, and most accepted it. Not all that much was expected from them, anyway.

But that they couldn't even make up believable and consistent stories is quite another. These obviously are not especially thoughtful people.

Sierra Madre resident Rick De La Mora sent the following off to the Mayor and City Council yesterday. It clearly spells out what the real issues involved here are. It is the kind of nonemotional and rational look into the acute financial problems this city is facing that clearly is beyond the understanding of most of the SMPD fansters that spoke this week from the public comment podium at City Hall.

Dear Mayor Capoccia and Members of the Council:

I am writing regarding the Sheriff’s police services proposal which was rejected by the Committee to which you delegated your review responsibility.  Before turning to that, I would like to address some community needs that require attention.

First, the facilities at Heasley and Dapper fields are in need of updating and repair.  These fields are perhaps the most important community gathering points in our city.  Each year literally thousands of children, parents, and grandparents visit these facilities to share Little League and Softball games.  Yet each has fallen into disrepair, with substandard restrooms, grandstands and fields. 

Second, our growing senior population could use improved facilities and programs designed to meet their needs.  These senior citizens have contributed mightily over the years.  The City needs to step up to meet their needs.

Third, our library needs further funding to provide improved services for young and old alike.

Finally, as this morning’s Star News indicated, our water infrastructure is in need of repair.  The problem has become so bad that the City is now exploring further borrowing and funding from our general fund.

None of these needs can be met under current budget restraints, even if one assumes that the UUT is increased to 10% as advocated by the Council or 12% as advocated by the Sheriff’s proposal committee.  The reason for this is simple: The City Council has chosen not to reduce the $4 million that it has chosen to spend on police services. 

That $4 million police expenditure represents 47% of our general fund – a significantly greater percentage than any other city in the San Gabriel Valley.  The City Council’s decision to allocate this disproportionate percentage of the general fund to police services has made it impossible to address the community needs outlined above.  That is unfortunate.  It is also unnecessary.

The Sheriff’s Department has presented a proposal that will

(i)                 Increase patrol hours by 22% (Proposal, p. 58), and

(ii)               Save the City $800,000 per year 

That $800,000 annual savings will enable the City to begin immediate funding of improvements to the Little League and Softball facilities, senior facilities, and library as outlined above.  It will also leave money available to apply toward improving our water infrastructure over the next several years.   

The Committee correctly noted that we have an outstanding police force, with call response times of 3 minutes.  In fact, the Sheriff is prepared to employ all qualified SMPD officers.  The Sheriff will also keep our station house open from 6 am to 10 pm every day. Under an identical arrangement La Canada has experienced Sheriff’s Department response times of 3.7 minutes, despite being over twice as large as Sierra Madre (LA Times, 7/2/14).  In other words, the Sheriff is more than capable of policing our town in a professional, timely, and efficient manner. 

While the Committee is to be thanked for its efforts, it was not tasked with considering our police service costs in the context of our civic needs and the budget as a whole.  That is the Council’s job.  In performing it you will have to make choices.  I urge you to choose the civic improvements identified above over the continued devotion of an excessive proportion of our public funds to the purchase of police services.

Thank you each for your service to our City, Rick De La Mora        

Richard G. De La Mora

We will have more on this story as it develops.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

58 comments:

  1. It is not about smpd. It is about all the things we are giving up by having a police force we cannot afford.

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    1. Glenn is loco crazy.

      How he can claim that the SMPD and residents are one unit is patently absurd.

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  2. I'd have more compassion for the situation but the SMPD has sued the City so very many times. How many times have I heard over the years that over 50% of the City's monthly budget is due to the P.D. Time to bring in the Sheriff's Dept. and reign in the budget!

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    1. There is no respect from the SMPD for the residents. There's just one loud whine: Give us more money, you ungrateful Sierra Madre.

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    2. reminds me of when the SMPD was posting banners at the Wisteria Festival "Sierra Madre SUCKS"

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    3. And the now defunct web site: sierramadresucks.com

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  3. The UUT vote in April could end up being a referendum on the police department.

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    1. Can I vote NO twice?

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    2. The UUT has always been and remains an issue of whether we want a local police for or a contract with the Sheriffs. The first vote should have been clear that without the money, we cannot afford a local police force (or we have to get rid of almost all library services AND the paramedics).

      However, we will not be freeing up money to use elsewhere. We are in the red. Outsourcing the police means we need a UUT of 6-8% to pay for what remains. And of course the fire department is only going to get more expensive because we are getting less and less volunteers.

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    3. I thought the UUT had to to with water infrastructure - not the PD, library or paramedics

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    4. In 2007 we said we'd pay the police more, but only if the voters agreed to a higher UUT voted on in 2008. The higher UUT voted on in 2008 also went with the agreement that it would fund the new paramedics program. Both of these things were extra price tags, and the promise was that the paramedic program costs were loaded up front and would then reduce, giving room to pay more for the police.

      The paramedic program costs much more than was said, likely because the fire department was underpaid and relied on people working for free to operate at the budget it was operating at. As those volunteers have left and had to be replaced by paid people, it appears to me the costs have been written in as a paramedic program cost.

      There was recent research indicating that the advanced program we are paying for is not as good as a cheaper basic program. The findings show that you are more likely to live if you are rushed to the hospital, rather than receiving advanced care on site.

      However, the amount of tax the voters are indicating they are willing to pay (8%) can now only be solved by either cutting the library to bare bones, and getting rid of the paramedic programs, AND making other cuts OR just by outsourcing the police department.

      In addition, it appears that outsourcing the police department will shield the city from lawsuits both by the police and by people arrested by the police.

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  4. Poking holes in this committee's arguments is like shooting fish in a barrel.

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  5. If SMPD is willing to do the job at the same price as the LASF, keep them. Otherwise show them the door. It's not personal it business.

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    1. This is the answer!!!

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    2. The SMPD believes it is entitled to $160,000 dollars a year in compensation. With a raise on top of that. I don't care what cops make elsewhere, that is a lot of money for a very small town to have to pay.

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    3. The SMPD compares itself to other cities like Pasadena, Arcadia.

      How many cities have to farm out investigations etc to another police agencies?

      What we have is glorified Post Alarm protection.

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    4. The SM Police Dept. Bulletin says it turns over its incident findings to the detectives. Who are these detectives? Are they part timer positions?

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    5. Not having a Chief of Police on the city payroll saves $200K a year. Go with the sheriff.

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    6. Our police chief would stay on as the "Public Safety Department Director".

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    7. 11:32 - one of the "Detectives" is Amos who was the officer who freaked out and shot an unarmed man in the back - no telling how much is incompetence cost the city

      Is Berry still around? I saw him writing parking tickets and then heard he was a "Detective"

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    8. Only takes 3 votes to get rid of Johnny Harabedian's Public Safety boondoggle.

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  6. Wonderful letter Mr. Do La Mora. I hope the council members understand the significance of the point you so well made.

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  7. I love our police department, the fact that I know who they are are, and they know me and my family. Their response time whenever I've called has been about a minute. That said, I'm truly beginning to wonder if it is time to contract with the Sheriff's Department. My main gripe is about the numerous and often frivolous lawsuits brought about by the SMPD, including the one mentioned above.

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    Replies
    1. how often you call them?

      maybe that's why they know you?

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    2. The only contact I have with the SMPD is when I drive by and see three cars at the scene and a
      driver.

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    3. Whether you've had to call on police in your life or not makes a big difference in your attitude about them. There are some things that only they can handle, unfortunately. I support law enforcement, and am 100% in favor of getting rid of the SMPD and relying on the finer quality of policing that the sheriff will bring.

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  8. Work with Mr De La Mora now to create a very simple, and I mean very simple, one page handout that points out
    1) the law suits, their cost and selfish reasons;
    2) three or four points of comparison that are complete lies as to why SMPD service is NOT better than LASD;
    and
    3) cost savings and superior services rendered.
    This will have to be signed by a group of supporters. You cannot deliever this information anonymously or it will be rejected.
    Start NOW.
    One page, no frills, well stated, easy to understand, NOW
    "Sierra Madreans for Truth in Police Costs and Sheriff Savings and Real Safety"
    (obviously needs a better title!)

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    1. Save Heasely, the Seniors, and the LibraryOctober 28, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      The "20/20 Propoal"

      20% more patrol hours for 20% less money. (actually 22% more hours).

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    2. Put an "s" in it 9:40, and you got it. Great slogan: 20/20 Proposal

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    3. Amen 1:42. 20/20 is a great slogan!

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  9. Y'all are missing something in the math.
    Last night Ms. Diaz clealry stated that SMPD needed much more money. Yes, they need an even bigger take of our tax dollars because the SMPD is so short staffed. Imagine, sometimes the Chief has to come in when he is off duty.
    So the savings of using the Sheriff at $800,000 are a gross understatement.
    I would just like Police of any flavor who actually work and don't sue us so much. Is that too much to ask?

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    1. It's too much to ask if you're going to keep the SMPD, it appears.

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    2. Sorry 8:49. But it takes more than dropping Ms. Diaz's name. Can you supply some figures? As of now I am sticking with Mayor Capoccia's numbers.

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    3. 9.08
      You weren't at the meeting last night?
      It was a Public Meeting.If you had been there ,you would have heard her yourself.
      It will all be in the Public record of the meeting.
      Capoccia is not a reliable source of info on this subject.He has 'other interests'.
      Ask Marylin directly.She is to be praised for her honesty.

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    4. So you're calling Capoccia a liar? Interesting.

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    5. Capoccia was against the UUT (2012) before he was for it (2014 & 2016).

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  10. It looks to me that most of the hot air we're hearing about how bad the Sheriff's Department is comes from the 15 or so people who hang around the "Sierra Madre" Facebook page. Once that is over the need to bring in the LASD will begin to seem inevitable. The SMPD is just too expensive and there are more important things to spend our money on. Water infrastructure being at the top of the list.

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  11. Capoccia ran on a platform utterly different from what he actually has done. Read much on Tattler?
    Email Cappocia- ask him what Marylin Diaz said.
    Get the evidence before you litter Tattler with nonsense.
    Ms. Diaz is to be praised for her honesty.

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    1. I doubt anything said by that committee is true. Sorry. Cough up the numbers or shut up.

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    2. 9:39 translated - "I didn't like what Mayor Capoccia said last night."

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    3. I think Lambdin was rather stunned when Capoccia called him out on his baloney. I think Glen believed the fix was in and all his BS would fly.

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    4. Glen doesn't take too kindly to being questioned or challenged

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    5. Pesky facts.

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    6. Glen is a special person and doesn't let the truth get in the way of his dreams.

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  12. The city council, the city Mgr, the public works dir and the SMPD All need to go! Now!!!!

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  13. Actually Capoccia was a good facilitator -last night.
    Problem is few of the strident comments here are from people who attended and participated and heard the speakers.But of course that does not stop them pontificating.
    At least these loud mouthed low-info people are reading Tattler.Hopefully they actually process the valuable information here.

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  14. The SMPD fans needs to remember that every time they tell a lie their butts get bigger.

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  15. The Tattler forgot to mention that after all was said and done, the council agreed to go to phase two meaning they want the Sheriff's Department to come back with an estimate of a contract that would be tailored to our needs. This will cost the City $35,00 to 50,000 (I heard both figures.) The Council is very aware that the main issue is budget and are aware that even though the people who spoke at both meetings said they were willing to pay for local service, those of us out here may have a different opinion. Capoccia did well in stating both issues, both during the sheriff discussion and the UUT discussion. BTW, they are putting a measure on the ballot for a 10% UUT, no sunset, no oversight committee and reducing the exemption limit to very low and extremely low income eliminating the low income exemption.

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    1. Eliminating the exemption for low income residents is sure to get more NO votes. Before these people were exempt and you and I were picking up their tab. Now they have "skin in the game".

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    2. I think there's 66 of them total. And I think the majority of those are already very low, so maybe 5 people are getting cut out.

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    3. Hooray! The city council wants to raise my taxes and yours 66%. Why do I think they are not working for me but instead are working for city staff?

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  16. I still don't understand what all this was about. If they aren't willing to give contracting serious consideration, why not just bury the issue and stay the course? Just keep the SMPD in the sacred cow conversation with the library and fire dept. Why drag LASD reps to city hall for abuse? Did the mayor start down this road in sincerity, only to see it balloon out of control? Or, do they want to give the impression, once the UUT is on the ballot again, that contracting is simply off the table because "we already tried that and did not have the support?" Kind of a bizarre week considering we already knew the LASD wasn't coming.

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    1. Who said they were not willing to give contracting serious consideration?

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  17. And it is in Phase 2 discussions that we need to be vigilant about insisting that SMPD give a cost commitment over the same time period as the LASD
    Clearly SMPD has already planned to hijack the increased UUT with a staffing increase of their own.
    So the difference between SMPD/LASD is much greater than the $800,000 we have discussed here many times. Based on the former Chief of Police comments at the Public Meeting last night ,it may be substantially greater. Just 2 extra Officers would push the difference over $1million.
    I have no idea if the SMPD lawsuits against City taxpayers would enjoy a commensurate increase.

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  18. CITY HALL has failed to account as to where the
    1) water income was spent ?
    a) City Hall has failed to use the increased water income monies for replacement of any new water mains as agreed as to a condition for all future water rate increases,
    2) as to where the UUT income monies are spent?
    a) city hall has intentionally misspent, misappropriated the UUT taxes income for other city expenses which were never approved by the residents!
    3) therefore there is No Need to continue to feed the Cow ( City Hall ) any other money.
    4) you have my vote ... I AM VOTING NO ON ALL UUT TAXES !!!

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  19. Support the 20/20 Proposal!October 28, 2015 at 7:29 PM

    It seems as though the mayor has been given the opportunity to lead on budgeting issues - including the need to cut police costs significantly - and that he may be seizing it. Let's give him a chance. We will need his leadership if we are to secure the $800k in savings that is there to be had and, more importantly, the opportunity to invest that savings in projects for the civic good such as our little league facilities, senior facilities, the library, and our infrastructure.

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  20. The mayor has been given the opportunity to lead on budget issues - including efforts to secure the $800k in savings that the sheriff's proposal will deliver. We should give him a chance. In fact, we will need his support, as well of the two excellent councilwoman who have not sold themselves to the police union, if we are to secure those savings and, by doing so, freeing city funds for investment in the little league, seniors, and the library.

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