Friday, March 2, 2012

Irony and Semantics - The Fullerton Police Department

Its truly ironic that only one day after I posted comments from FPD regarding burglaries and the need for residents to lock up their valuables, that we find out one of their own has been arrested for burglarizing the FPD property room.

Click here for the OC Register's story.

Wondering how many more bad apples will fall from the FPD tree, I asked Acting Chief Dan Hughes if it was safe to say that FPD was trying to clean house.
"I would rather phrase it as I promised if I learned of any suspected conduct by an employee at the police department that violated public trust, I would immediately investigate and take decisive action.  Hopefully, the community will recognize I intend to keep my promises."
Ok, Chief, that's one way to look at it.  


I like Chief Hughes; I think he is sincere about his job and the public's trust.  I'm also acutely aware that he has some level of culpability in the culture of corruption within FPD.

That said, how can two people seeing the same thing not agree on what to call it? Is not the sky blue??

As it turns out, what I see as a culture of corruption I think Hughes and the FPD command staff sees as a deficiency in training or perhaps ignorance. Gennaco's report thus far seems to support the "deficiency in training" mindset while the rest of us listening to the OC District Attorney's rehash of the same event -"see my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up"- and it supports a clear case of corruption preceded by and followed with actions not supported by any departmental policy.

Lecturing to a classroom filled with police recruits on following policies to keep your job, a police chief once noted, "Why create a police policy? If you have a written policy, you have to follow it." Implied was the notion that employment is more important than doing what is right.  It uses ignorance as an excuse while we all know that ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse for violating the law.

I don't know what all of the issues are within the Fullerton Police Department but it is clear that some employees are corrupt.  Not dealing with the problem for 17 or 18 years has made it much worse.  Not having specific written policies all these years has also contributed to the culture.

But I do know that a few more of those bad apples will fall before the public's trust is restored.  And shaking the tree hard is Dan Hughes.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fullerton PD Offers Some Friendly Advice

After hearing about the recent burglaries in North Fullerton, I asked FPD Sergeant Goodrich to comment on the difficulties of solving thefts and what people can do to deter thefts.  Below is Sergeant Goodrich's response which closely mirrors the recommendations on the FPD website:
Unfortunately, property crimes across this country, not just in Fullerton, are difficult to solve.  There is often little to no evidence, and personal items are often challenging to trace.  Even those items like serialized property are rarely identified by owners because they neglect to record the serial numbers themselves.  They assume the number(s) are on a receipt, or the store would have them.  It is also difficult to look for “46 inch Sharp TV” on Craig’s List when there are no serial numbers to check it with.  When we do have evidence, like fingerprints or possible DNA, it is processed and sometimes comes up as a match.  This will typically lead to an arrest warrant, or at least questioning.  When we detect trends in time and place, we can deploy units to conduct surveillance of an area.  Our detectives also meet with detectives from other agencies to talk about potential trends.  We use our detectives, patrol officers, as well as our crime analyst to identify trends. As far as safeguards and precautions, the first is easy: lock your doors and windows.  You would be surprised how often a burglar gains entry into a house through an unlocked rear sliding glass door or window.  Keeping your garage door closed is also helpful.  Many thefts occur when the resident is home, but with the garage door open.  Also, record the serial numbers of serialized electronics so that if the items are stolen, the police can input that information into the computer. Alarms can be helpful in getting the police to a home, but probably not in time to catch the thieves.  There is usually a significant delay, and the thief will know he/she tripped an alarm by the sounds and other cues.  I don’t have information on the effectiveness of dogs as a deterrent.   I do know that many burglaries happen when the thief gains access from the rear yard, so anything that would make a burglar think twice about going in a back yard would probably be beneficial. I also do not have information on whether the residents in the burglaries mentioned below had dogs or alarms or not.

FPD Acting Chief Dan Hughes says this video offers a good look at how burglars operate.
 http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/investigative/rolling-30s-the-knock-knock-burglars-20100215

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

North Fullerton Hit With Residential Burglaries

A friend alerted me to a rash of burglaries in North Fullerton and wanted to know what was going on.

As it turns out, there were several residential burglaries:
400 block of Cienega – February 1, 2012 between 5:30pm and 8:30pm
2000 block of Seaview – February 2, 2012 between 8am and 11:15am
400 block of E. Las Palmas – February 3, 2012 between 11:45am and 12pm
600 block of Santa Barbara – February 3, 2012 between 4pm and 7pm
2800 block of Sunny Wood – February 7, 2012 between 9:30am and 10:15am
900 block of Oakwood – February 8, 2012 between 8am and 11:15am
400 block of Pebble Beach – February 20, 2012 between 7:15am-5:15pm
"The only possible suspect information we have at the moment came from the burglary on Sunny Wood," said Fullerton Police's Sergeant Andrew Goodrich.  "There was a black older model mid-size pick-up truck, possibly a Nissan or Toyota , seen near the house at the time of the burglary. A neighbor reports a partial license plate ending in 065."

FPD Crime Map
 The Police Department's website offers the following tips:

Outside Your Home Protect your home by starting where the burglars usually start - outside.

Landscaping
Look around. Are large trees near the house? Prune lower limbs that could help a thief climb in second floor windows. Trim trees and bushes so a burglar cannot use them for cover. High wooden fences also allow a burglar to work unnoticed. Remember to lock up ladders and tools. Ask your neighbors to do the same. Trellises look great, but place them where they cannot be used as ladders to the second floor.

Lighting
Criminals avoid the spotlight. Porches, yards, and all entrances to your home and garage should be well lit. Ask your police or sheriff's department for suggestions about lighting.

Your House Number
Make sure law enforcement or fire agencies can locate your house in an emergency. Your house number should be clearly visible from the street day and night. Use numbers that are 6 inches high and made of reflective materials or black numerals against a white background. Avoid script numbers - they can be confusing. If your house is some distance from the road, post the number at the driveway entrance. If you live on a corner, make sure the number faces the street named in your address.

Windows
You can buy special key locks for windows at a hardware store. Ask for locks best suited to your type of windows and get the installation instructions. Keep the keys away from the windows, but make sure everyone in the house knows where to find them in case of an emergency. Be sure to check with your local law enforcement agency or housing officials to see if they restrict installation of these locks. An easy, inexpensive way to secure double-hung windows is to use a nail. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert a nail or an eyebolt. The window cannot be opened until you remove the nail. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders. For sliding windows, try the preventative tips suggested for sliding doors.

Doors
Hinged Doors
Entry doors should be solid core wood (at least 1 3/4 inches thick) or metal. Most hollow core doors can be easily broken through. They offer little protection, no matter what locks you use. Your door should fit its frame tightly - with no more than 1/8-inch clearance between the door and frame. If the gap is too large, replace the door. If that is too expensive, bolt a sturdy metal strip to the door edge. You boost your protection and save energy. Any hardware dealer can show you the kind of strip to use. Doors with decorative glass panels or windows are an easy mark. It takes only seconds to break the glass and unlock the door. If you do not want to replace the door, install a break-resistant plastic panel or decorative grill over the glass. Attach the grills with non-removable screws. Most door hinges are on the inside, safe from a burglar's tools. If hinges are on the outside, the hinge pins can be easily removed and the door taken out of the frame. To protect such doors, replace hinges with new ones with non-removable pins.

Sliding glass doors
Burglars look for sliding glass doors because they are easy to open. Several types of locks are made especially for these glass doors. The existing lock can be bolstered by placing a solid strip of wood in the track of the closed door. That helps block the door even if the lock is broken. Determined thieves may lift the door off its tracks. Use these preventative tips:
  • Adjust rollers so the door cannot be pushed up enough to lift it off the track.
  • Insert screws along the upper track of the door. Leave enough room for the door to slide, but not enough space to lift the door out.
  • Drill a hole and insert a nail through the inside frame and part way through the metal door frame. You can remove the nail, but a burglar cannot.
Locks
Deadbolt Locks
A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure:
  • The bolt extends at least 1 inch from the edge of the door (has a 1-inch throw).
  • The connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door.
  • The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least 3 inches.
  • The cylinder has a steel guard - a ring around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotated around the key to prevent wrenching if twisted.
Double-Cylinder Deadbolt Locks
To improve security on a door with glass panels, use a double-cylinder deadbolt lock. These locks can only be opened with a key from either side. Keep keys near the door, but not within reach of the glass panel. That way intruders cannot get in, but you and your family can get out quickly in case of fire or other emergency. Check with your local law enforcement agency or housing officials before you install this lock. Some communities restrict its use.

Padlocks
Padlocks are typically used for garages, sheds, and workshops. Look for a sturdy padlock that does not release the key until the padlock is locked. Be sure the padlock is case-hardened with a 3/8-inch shackle so it can resist bolt cutters. A double-locking design can prevent the shackle being pried away from its case. Remember that a padlock is only as good as the hasp on which it is mounted. The hasp should be secured with bolts that are concealed when the padlock is locked. All the hardware in the world will not protect you if you open your door without checking who is on the other side. Buy an inexpensive viewer. Tell your children and their babysitters not to open the door to strangers

Remember, always use your locks. Even a five-minute trip to the store is long enough for a burglar to enter you home.
Keys
Victims report that as many as half of all burglaries take place without forced entry. In many cases, the burglar used a key. Be sure your keys do not fall into the wrong hands.
  • Never carry identification tags on your key ring or holder.
  • When you move into a new home have the locks re-keyed or changed. A locksmith can do this or, if you are handy with tools, you can change the lock yourself.
  • Know who has every key to your home. Do not give keys to maintenance or delivery people.
  • Do not hide your key outside. Burglars know all the hiding places.
Security Alarms
If you desire additional security, you might consider a burglar alarm system. Be sure you deal with a reputable firm that provides approved systems. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Burglar alarms in Fullerton require a permit and annual renewal. For further information, contact the Police Community Services Bureau and speak to the Alarm Coordinator at 738-3103.  (Greg's comment: The Better Business Bureau is not a good source for alarm company credentials.  Alarm companies and their employees are regulated by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (http://www.bsis.ca.gov/) (800) 952-5210.  There are also several professional associations which may be helpful.) 

Monday, February 27, 2012

$6,000 Bonuses Part of Fullerton Water Rate Hike

As the Fullerton City Council prepares to hike water rates as "pass-through increases" I thought it would be good to share the sweet deal MWD employees get on April 1, 2012 (no, its not a joke) and see just what is being passed through to us.

Come April 1st the employees of MWD get a $6,000 bonus as part of their contract.
9.3 Effective the first day of the pay period that includes April 1, 2012, each employee in the bargaining unit shall receive a one-time only payment of $6,000 which shall not be considered part of the employee‘s regular pay.
If that wasn't bad enough, July 1, 2013 MWD employees will get a 0.25% raise.  And if you think 0.25% isn't much of a raise, consider what else gets slipped in.  How about creating "higher steps" for employees who have hit the salary ceiling and giving them raises as well?
9.4 Effective the first day of the pay period that includes July 1, 2013, there shall be an across-the-board salary increase of 0.25%. In addition, all bargaining unit classifications shall be moved two (2) salary grades higher (approximately 2.75% for each grade), and placed at the equivalent salary step in the new grade (e.g. an employee at step 11 on June 30, 2013 would be placed at step 9 of his new salary grade).
All bargaining unit employees will be place on the same evaluation date, and will receive a performance evaluation for the period ending July 1, 2013. Employees will be eligible for a merit increase pursuant to ARTICLE 65—MERIT INCREASES.
These generous employee benefits are being passed along to Fullerton water customers in the form of "pass-through" rate increases.  When the City Council pushes for a rate hike this year, be sure to speak up in opposition.  The City Council will be happy to pass the buck so long as we sit quietly and let them.

You can read the MWD employee agreement here.

Self-Policing Water Board Directors? Are you kidding?

A recent blog post by the Surf City Voice showcases a proposal from Municipal Water District of OC  (MWDOC) Board member Brett Barbre to self-police directors and employees of the agency as a means of preventing (or limiting legal exposure?) another Foley folly.

Barbre's may be good, to keep everyone on the straight and narrow, but not likely to protect ratepayers from corrupt public employees and elected leaders.
Barbre’s proposal would have the MWDOC (Municipal Water District of Orange County) board certify that to the best of its knowledge no conflicts of interest exist for its elected directors or for representatives that it appoints to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). The certification would also apply to all MWDOC employees who are required to report under state disclosure regulations.
Self-policing does not work, especially when it comes to political corruption or legal ignorance.

The best way ratepayers can protect themselves is to get involved and become watchdogs over their local government. 

Stay tuned for more on MWD...

Greenhut - Bankruptcy may be only way out for cities, states

San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, who is also running for Mayor, has put forth a comprehensive pension reform (CPR) plan that may save San Diego from bankruptcy.  Below is Steven Greenhut's editorial on public employee pensions and the unprecedented resistance by Sacramento to deal with the problem.  Enjoy!
_______________________________

(Steven Greenhut - Special Editorial for the Orange County Register)
SACRAMENTO – I recently documented how the state's pro-union attorney general, Kamala Harris, crafted an unfair and dishonest title and summary for a pair of pension reform ballot initiatives submitted to her office, effectively killing the measures.


Then, last week, the government employee unions tried – and almost succeeded – with an even nastier stunt designed to undermine democracy.

In San Diego, unions are fearful of a new pension reform measure supporters call Comprehensive Pension Reform, or CPR, which has qualified for the June ballot. Instead of simply gearing up to fight this political battle, the unions petitioned one of those ridiculous commissions that most Californians have never even heard of, the Public Employment Relations Board, which is unfriendly turf for taxpayers. The union contended that placing the initiative on the ballot amounted to an unfair labor practice, and PERB called for a court injunction to stop the election until it could complete its sham proceedings.


In essence, the unions and this unelected board insist that the people of San Diego have no right to vote on pension reform. This is just the latest reminder of the totalitarian tactics of a public-sector union movement that doesn't care about anything other than protecting its benefits.

COUNTINUE READING HERE...

Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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