The Daily Post today – Editor says NO on Palo Alto medical marijuana initiative

Daily Post Editor Dave Price

Why?  “Cities that have allowed medical marijuana clinics have seen an increase in crime around those businesses. Customers are robbed and the shops are held up. Pot clubs aren’t about helping people with serious diseases. They sell drugs for recreational use. This is a headache our community doesn’t need. ”

The problem we see with Mr. Price’s assessment of alleged facts on associated crimes linked to medical marijuana clinics is that he provides none.  Leaving his readers to be misled believing otherwise.  We feel this is irresponsible journalism.

However, there are key attributes to crime but the data is inconclusive. We suggest you do your homework becoming well informed before jumping to conclusions as the Daily Post has done.

1. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs: Exploring the Ecological Association Between Crime and Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

2. Public Policy Polling finds a majority of voters in Washington support a marijuana legalization measure that will appear on the state ballot on Election Day.”

Hiring Subs–An Open Letter To Dave Price

(Note: This is based on an editorial that said to not replace retiring Palo Alto City Hall workers with others of equal pay, but with those who didn’t require such big rewards as a way to deal with burgeoning budget benefits bulges.

I sent it to the guy who wrote and printed the editorial and to his competitors because I doubt he’ll print a satire of his opinion. We’ll see.)

10/22/12

Dear Dave Price,

Editor/Publisher
Palo Alto Daily Post
Palo Alto, CA

I think you hit on something (in your editorial in this morning’s Daily Post). Hiring substitutes may lower quality, but how much quality do we really need? Especially at these fabuloso salaries!

I know the recent NFL substitutes were a bit of a frustrating kerfuffle on some important football calls, but just hang on a minute.

How about if we don’t stop with City Hall employees? What about pesky “professional” librarians–always telling you to “shush”! Who do they think they are? Just cause they learned the Dewey Decimal System. I don’t think they even use that any more.

And the police? And how about those ever-more-expensive doctors?

And please don’t give me that “you-made-a-deal, keep-your-word” malarkey as a reason to abide by benefits contracts already in effect. Wake up! It’s about the bottom line/the budget/your taxes, not worshipping some dead god called Morality.

Look, we’ve already povertized (paid down) the street cleaning in Palo Alto. That works pretty swell. San Francisco pays it’s street cleaners a fat $25/hour. The Downtown Streets Team workers of Palo Alto get paid in Safeway gift cards–at a budget-friendly $5/hour.

Why can’t we do the same with water safety engineers, electrical inspectors, lab technicians? Or public health? Do we really need a Public Health department in the first place?

What about the pioneer spirit of people taking care of themselves like in the storied days of yesteryear? Can you imagine the 49ers (the real ones with picks and shovels, not the present dudes in matching outfits) inquiring about a health plan for prospectors? Mountain Men refusing to trap beaver until they get a cost of living increase? Cowboys only signing on to cattle drives if the retirement package was competitive? I think not.

I say outsource the whole City Architecture/Structural Inspection and Review Department to the Downtown Streets Team. Why not?

“Health plan,” you say? I say, “We’ve got one–it’s called Walk It Off.”

All this education and “professional standards” is a lot of make-work hooey perpetrated by unions–who are the real culprits in all this–in the first place. Let’s face it–unions are only “pro-worker” to get their grubby hands on the workers’ dues (for the Organized Criminal part of the unions) and their voting power (for the Corrupt Politician part of the unions).

WOW! This could take us all the way to removing the regulatory handcuffs from police, lawyers, bankers (oh, that’s right, they don’t have any), and neurosurgeons! Think of the savings!!!

Chuck Jagoda

Chief Unindicted Co-Conspirator, Founder
Jagoda Comedy Reform Movement

3790 El Camino Real
# 329
Palo Alto, CA 94306

516.398.5100
chuckjagoda1@gmail.com

American Icon and Longtime Indian Activist Russell Means Dies at 72

Russell Means spent a lifetime as a modern American Indian warrior. He railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land and even took up arms against the federal government.

A onetime leader of the American Indian Movement, he called national attention to the plight of impoverished tribes and often lamented the waning of Indian culture. After leaving the movement in the 1980s, the handsome, braided activist was still a cultural presence, appearing in several movies.

Means, who died Monday from throat cancer at age 72, helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee — a bloody confrontation that raised America’s awareness about the struggles of Indians and gave rise to a wider protest movement that lasted for the rest of the decade.

Before AIM, there were few national advocates for American Indians. Means was one of the first to emerge. He sought to restore Indians’ pride in their culture and to challenge a government that had paid little attention to tribes in generations. He was also one of the first to urge sports teams to do away with Indian names and mascots.

“No one except Hollywood stars and very rich Texans wore Indian jewelry,” Means said, recalling the early days of the movement. And there were dozens, if not hundreds, of athletic teams “that in essence were insulting us, from grade schools to college. That’s all changed.”

AIM was founded in the late 1960s to demand that the government honor its treaties with American Indian tribes. The movement eventually faded away, Means said, as Native Americans became more self-aware and self-determined.

There were plenty of American Indian activists before AIM, but it became the “radical media gorilla,” said Paul DeMain, editor of News from Indian Country, a national newspaper focused on tribal affairs.

“If someone needed help, you called on the American Indian Movement, and they showed up and caused all kind of ruckus and looked beautiful on a 20-second clip on TV that night,” DeMain said.

Means and AIM co-founder Dennis Banks were charged in 1974 for their role in the Wounded Knee uprising in which hundreds of protesters occupied the town on the site of the 1890 Indian massacre. Protesters and federal authorities were locked in a standoff for 71 days and frequently exchanged gunfire. Before it was over, two tribal members were killed and a federal agent seriously wounded.

After a trial that lasted several months, a judge threw out the charges on grounds of government misconduct.

Other protests led by Means included an American Indian prayer vigil on top of Mount Rushmore and the seizure of a replica of the Mayflower on Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Mass.

“The friendship between Russell and I goes back almost 50 years,” Banks said late Monday night. “I lost a great friend. But native people lost one of the greatest warriors of modern-day times. Truly, he was a great visionary. He was controversial, yes. But he brought issues to the front page.”

But Means’ constant quest for the spotlight raised doubts about his motives. Critics who included many fellow tribe members said his main interest was building his own notoriety.

Means said his most important accomplishment was the proposal for the Republic of Lakotah, a plan to carve out a sovereign Indian nation inside the United States. He took the idea all the way to the United Nations, even though it was ignored by tribal governments closer to home, including his own Oglala Sioux leaders, with whom he often clashed.

For decades, Means was dogged by questions about whether the group promoted violence, especially the 1975 slaying of a woman in the tribe and the gun battles with federal agents at Wounded Knee.

Authorities believe three AIM members shot and killed Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge reservation on the orders of someone in AIM’s leadership because they suspected she was an FBI informant.

Two activists — Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham — were both eventually convicted of murder. The third has never been charged.

Also in 1975, murder charges were filed against Means and Dick Marshall, an AIM member, in the shooting death of a Sioux man at a saloon in the town of Scenic, S.D. Marshall served 24 years in prison. Means was acquitted.

His activism extended to tribes beyond the United States. In the mid-1980s, Means traveled to Nicaragua to support indigenous Miskito Indians who were fighting the Sandinista government.

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Means grew up in the San Francisco area and battled drugs and alcohol as a young man before becoming an early leader of AIM.

With his rugged good looks and long, dark braids, he also was known for a handful of Hollywood roles, most notably in the 1992 movie “The Last of the Mohicans,” in which he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis’ Hawkeye.

He also appeared in the 1994 film “Natural Born Killers,” voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas” and guest starred in 2004 on the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Means also ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian nomination for president in 1988 and briefly served as a vice presidential candidate in 1984 on the ticket of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Means always considered himself a Libertarian and couldn’t believe that anyone would want to call themselves a Republican or a Democrat.

“It’s just unconscionable that America has become so stupid,” he said.

Means often refused interviews and verbally blasted journalists who showed up to cover his public appearances. Instead, he chose to speak to his fan base through YouTube videos and blog posts on his website.

Means recounted his life in the book “Where White Men Fear to Tread.” He said he pulled no punches in the autobiography, admitting to his frailties but also acknowledging his successes.

“I tell the truth, and I expose myself as a weak, misguided, misdirected, dysfunctional human being I used to be,” he said.

Means died at his ranch in Porcupine, S.D. He announced in August 2011 that he had inoperable throat cancer and told The Associated Press that he would forego mainstream medicine in favor of traditional American Indian remedies.

Means’ death came a day after former Sen. George McGovern died in Sioux Falls at the age of 90. McGovern had traveled to Wounded Knee with then-Sen. James Abourezk during the takeover to try to negotiate an end to hostilities.

“I’ve lost two good friends in a matter of two to three days,” Abourezk said Monday. “I don’t pretend to understand it.”

Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Salomon said wake services for Means’ will be Wednesday on Pine Ridge, and his ashes will be scattered in the Black Hills on Thursday.

By DIRK LAMMERS and KRISTI EATON Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. October 22, 2012 (AP)

Palo Alto Police – “Out of Service”

This ipad moment was taken this morning at the new Starbucks location on Alma St. There were five different officers 10 minutes prior to this photo session.

That’s a total of ten police officers “Out of service” including one off-duty officer.  I don’t know about you but in light of bludgeoning city payroll and pension costs all of us should be concerned about how our tax dollars should be spent.  Lastly, this is one piece of evidence the PAPD would find difficult to refute or deny.

Vote No On Pat Burt

My name is Tony Ciampi.  Some of you are probably aware of my case against the Palo Alto Police Department that went sour, but there may be many of you who are not.

In March 2008 Palo Alto Police Officer Kelly Burger falsely arrested me and shot me in the face with his taser gun while I was not resisting or fleeing.  Burger then tortured me with electricity from his taser gun.

Burger and his fellow officers including Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns destroyed numerous pieces of evidence and edited and falsified four audio/video recordings to cover up their illegal acts.

Chief Burns has been caught committing at least 6 separate violations of his own department’s policy in addition to making numerous false statements to the City Council, the public and the courts in order to cover up his crimes.

Councilman Pat Burt was informed by former Palo Alto Police Officer Lt. Sandra Brown that something was wrong with the case in early June  2008 and was informed on June 2, 2008 that Ofc. Temores’ MAV  video had been professionally edited and falsified.

Below are a few excerpts from the November 10, 2008 Palo Alto City Council Meeting of Pat Burt being informed of the falsified taser videos and Pat Burt commenting on how the Constitutional Violations committed by the Palo Alto Police will not be tolerated.  At the time Dennis Burns was the Asst. Police Chief and had already been caught lying and violating City policy three times.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ACCESS VIDEO:

Pat Burt was informed numerous times with specific evidence of the violations of department policy and the destruction of evidence committed by Chief Burns prior to City Manager James Keene appointing Chief Burns to be the new police chief in September 2009.

CLICK HERE: City Emails

Councilman Pat Burt talked a good talk to pull the wool over the eyes of the African American community for he knowingly and intentionally appointed Dennis Burns to police chief knowing that Dennis Burns was and is the ring leader of fabricating and destroying evidence in the Palo Alto Police Department.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL OF THE EVIDENCE PROVIDED TO PAT BURT AND LIZ KNISS:

Pat Burt condones and supports the use of fabricated and falsified evidence to incriminate citizens of crimes.  Pat Burt and City Manager James Keene know that Police Chief Dennis Burns has violated numerous department policies yet they refuse to hold Chief Burns accountable.

Pat Burt and James Keene write the rules that their employees are supposed to follow, yet when their employees break the rules, cheat, they do nothing.

To use an analogy, suppose there is a student who gets caught by the principal cheating on a test, should that student be disciplined, suspended?

Now that same student cheats four separate times on four more tests and gets caught each time by the principal.  Instead of disciplining the student the principal actually covers up the student’s cheating giving the student “As” when the student would have otherwise failed.

Should that principal remain as principle or should that principle be removed from his position?

Not including the editing and falsification of the videos and taser gun activation data, Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns has violated his own policy, the City’s policy, Pat Burt’s policy over a a half a dozen times.

Chief Burns has violated City:

  1. Policy 308.98 withholding the taser gun activation data;
  2. Policy 610.2 (a) by taking into personal possession the taser evidence;
  3. Policy 610 and 308.99 by destroying Temores’ taser probes/cartridge/wires/AFIDS without ever documenting them with photographs or securing them into property;
  4. Policy 610 when he placed the computer hard drive containing the original taser downloads into use in traffic instead of securing it into evidence/property;
  5. Policy 446.1 and 610 when he refused to secure the two tamper proof hard drives into evidence/property;
  6. Policy 610 when he destroyed the original MAV videos on those two tamper proof hard drives;
  7. Policy 610 when he destroyed Wagner’s bicycle helmet;
  8. Policy 610 when he unnecessarily removed the “watermark’ and the unique ID numbers from the MAV recordings;
  9. Policy 610 by sending Temores’ and Burger’s taser cameras to Taser International to be destroyed.

Dennis Burns repeatedly cheated to win at all cost, Dennis Burns is the student and Pat Burt is the principal.

That’s not the worst of it.  It’s one thing to cheat for one’s own benefit but it is a significantly more severe degree of egregiousness to cheat to get someone else in trouble.  The student and principal actually fabricated evidence in order to get another student expelled from school for cheating even though the other student earned his grades honestly.

Is this the type of principal you want to be an example to your kids?

I have also informed Supervisor Liz Kniss over the last couple of years of all of the unlawful and unethical acts committed by Chief Burns and his subordinate officers yet through her silence she chooses to support Chief Burns violating department policy, destroying evidence and using fabricated evidence to incriminate members of the community of crimes.  Thus I would encourage you to NOT vote for Liz Kniss either.

The other candidates for City Council have gone on record stating that they would hold city employees accountable for violating city policy if elected.

Police Chief Dennis Burns and City Councilman Pat Burt are cheaters.  If you like cheaters then vote for Pat Burt, but if you don’t like cheaters, (Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong), do not vote for Pat Burt, vote someone else.

Pat Burt proclaimed zero tolerance of Constitutional violations committed by city employees yet at the very same time supported the Constitutional violation of a member of his community by city employees, that epitomizes a fraud who will say and do anything to secure the support of the community to get elected.

Such a person is not to be trusted, he will tell you what you want to hear to obtain your support, but he truly does not mean what he says and may actually be more of a  harm to you instead of a benefit once elected.

CHIEF BURNS HAS A HISTORY OF LYING:

 

 

 

Plutocrats Control the Republic, Thus there is No Republic and Democracy is Just a Mirage to Deceive the Electorate:

Lost Middle-Class Jobs Being Replaced by Burger-Flipping and Retail Gigs: NELP Study

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the “hollowing out” of the American middle class. A new study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) confirms the troubling trend.

NELP broke down jobs into low/ middle/and high-wage groups based on median incomes. Looking at the period from early 2008 through the first quarter of 2012, the study found:

“High-wage” occupations accounted for 19% of the jobs lost during the Great Recession and 20% of the jobs gained during the recovery.

“Mid-wage” occupations suffered 60% of job losses during the recession but only 22% of the growth during the recovery.

“Low-wage” occupations accounted for 21% of the losses and a whopping 58% of the growth.

In other words, NELP found what many Americans already know: The market for middle class jobs has shrunk and most of the jobs that have been created during the recession are in low-income areas like retail and food services.

“In short, America’s good jobs deficit continues,” NELP said in a summary of the study. “Policymakers have understandably been focused on the urgent goal of getting U.S. employment back to where it was before the recession…but our findings underscore that job quality is rapidly emerging as a second front in the struggling economy.”

Beyond the recession itself, several factors are contributing to these trends:
Globalization, which has sent manufacturing jobs overseas;
The bursting of the housing market, which crushed the construction industry;
Deep cuts in state and local governments, which accounts for 485,000 mainly mid-wage jobs lost since February 2011.

Last week at Jackson Hole, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the employment situation is a “grave concern” but denied there has been a “substantial structural change” in the economy to account for it. Edward Lazear, former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush, made a similar argument in the WSJ today.

But if you look at the long-term trend of rising income inequality and the shorter-term trend described in the NELP study it’s pretty clear something “structural” is going on — and not just with the American economy but the larger American experience.
By Aaron Task | Daily Ticker – Tue, Sep 4, 2012 12:45 PM EDT http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/lost-middle-class-jobs-being-replaced-burger-flipping-164535060.html

The Rise of the Super-Rich Is a Global Phenomenon: Chrystia Freeland

The growing gap between the top 1% and the rest of the U.S. population has emerged as a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign, but it’s not likely to narrow much no matter who wins, says Chrystia Freeland, author of the new book “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.”

As the title suggests, “the increase in income inequality” in the U.S. is not just a domestic development but “is happening in all Western industrialized countries,” Freeland tells The Daily Ticker in the accompanying interview. “And crucially you’re seeing the same phenomenon in the big emerging market economies.”

Related: The Betrayal of the American Dream
Freeland says globalization is at the root of income inequality around the world. Both capital and labor are global therefore businesses leaders must maintain a global perspective, says Freeland.

“Inevitably that means the super-elite see themselves as citizens of planet earth” rather than as a citizen of their home country, which means they are less concerned with the health of the middle class in the U.S. or any other country they call home.
In the U.S. the gap between the very rich and everyone else “is wider than at any time since the gilded age,” says Freeland.

Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the previous three decades, according to the Congressional Budget Office report last year.

More recently, the Census Bureau reported that annual income between 2010 and 2011 increased 4.9% for the top 5% but fell for the middle class and held steady for the poorest.

The average household income in 2011 after inflation was $50,054 — 1.5% lower than the 2010 average and 8.9% lower than a 1999 peak.

President Obama has said he wants more economic fairness and favors higher tax rates for only the wealthiest Americans. He’s proposed extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all but those earning more than $250,000. He also favors the “Buffett rule,” named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, which would set a minimum 30% tax rate on income of $1 million or more.

Mitt Romney, in contrast, has proposed extending the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone plus a 20% income tax cut across the board along with the closing of tax loopholes and spending cuts. He believes in the tenants of supply side economics — lower taxes will lead to stronger growth and benefit all Americans.

Freeland says if the president is serious about helping the American middle class, he needs “to connect the dots between his domestic and foreign policy in a new way” and possibly work with other Western industrialized economies which are experiencing the same “hollowing out of the middle class.”

As for the plutocrats, Freeland says if they confuse their own self-interest with the common good, they threaten the very system that created them. By Bernice Napach | Daily Ticker – Tue, Oct 16, 2012 8:30 AM EDT http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/rise-super-rich-global-phenomenon-chrystia-freeland-123053176.html

The Middle Class Is Broke: Pew Study Reveals Real Problem With Economy

One of the most important stories in the U.S. economy these days is the rise of extreme inequality.

Over the past 30 years, a larger and larger portion of America’s income growth has gone to those in the top 10% of incomes, and especially those in the top 1%. This is a major change from the prior 60 years, in which the top 10% and the bottom 90% shared in the income gains.

A stark and startling example of this trend is the fact that, adjusted for inflation, “average hourly earnings” in this country have not increased in 50 years.

A recent Pew study confirms that America’s middle class has recently experienced a “lost decade.”

Since 2000, the Pew says, “the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future.” Pew cites statistics showing that middle class earnings and net worth have plummeted since the mid-2000s and that about 85% of the middle class say it is harder to maintain their standard of living than it was 10 years ago.

The reason the decline of the middle class is important is not just about fairness. It’s about the health of the economy as a whole.
Collectively, the middle class represents enormous buying and spending power, and in the past 60 years this spending power has helped the U.S. economy become the envy of the world.

But now, however, the middle class is increasingly strapped. And the resulting impact on spending is constraining the growth of companies that sell products and services to American consumers.

The causes of this middle-class decline are many, from globalization (jobs being shipped overseas), to the decline of private-sector unions, to the wholesale embrace of a “shareholder value” religion that values profit over everything else that companies produce. But the result of the trend can be seen vividly in two charts.

First, wages are now at an all-time low as a percent of the economy.
Second, corporate profits are now at an all-time high.

To truly “fix” the U.S. economy, corporations are going to have to be persuaded to invest more of their excess profits in their employees, both by hiring new employees and paying existing employees more.

“Wages” to employees become spending money for those employees, and the spending produces revenue for other companies. If corporations can collectively be persuaded to reinvest more of their profits in their people, in other words, they will help restore their own revenue growth.

Henry Ford famously decided to pay his workers more than he had to to keep them. One result of this was that the workers made enough money to be able to buy Ford’s cars, and this made Ford more successful. Another result, which is considered irrelevant in some business circles, is that Ford employees were able to live middle-class lives. This helped not only Ford, but the country.

Our current economic problem is not likely to be solved by the government, which possesses neither the power nor the competence to make it happen. The problem will have to be solved by the private sector. And one important part of that solution is for corporations to share more of their wealth with one very important (and often overlooked) corporate constituency: Their employees.
By Henry Blodget | Daily Ticker – Thu, Aug 23, 2012 11:50 AM EDT
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/middle-class-broke-pew-study-reveals-real-problem-155018682.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-fix-the-economy-in-one-simple-chart-2012-8

Govt to let Cubans travel freely

By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ and PETER ORSI | Associated Press – 3 hrs ago

HAVANA (AP) — The Cuban government announced Tuesday that it will eliminate a half-century-old restriction that requires citizens to get an exit visa to leave the country.

The decree that takes effect Jan. 14 will eliminate a much-loathed bureaucratic procedure that has kept many Cubans from traveling or moving abroad.

“These measures are truly substantial and profound,” said Col. Lamberto Fraga, Cuba’s deputy chief of immigration, at a morning news conference. “What we are doing is not just cosmetic.”

Under the new measure announced in the Communist Party daily Granma, islanders will only have to show their passport and a visa from the country they are traveling to.

It is the most significant advance this year in President Raul Castro’s five-year plan of reforms that has already seen the legalization of home and car sales and a big increase in the number of Cubans owning private businesses.

Migration is a highly politicized issue in Cuba and beyond its borders.

Under the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, the United States allows nearly all Cubans who reach its territory to remain. Granma published an editorial blaming the travel restrictions imposed in 1961 on U.S. attempts to topple the island’s government, plant spies and recruit its best-educated citizens.

“It is because of this that any analysis of Cuba’s problematic migration inevitably passes through the policy of hostility that the U.S. government has developed against the country for more than 50 years,” the editorial said.

It assured Cubans that the government recognizes their right to travel abroad and said the new measure is part of “an irreversible process of normalization of relations between emigrants and their homeland.”

The decree still imposes limits on travel by many Cubans. People cannot obtain a passport or travel abroad without permission if they face criminal charges, if the trip affects national security or if their departure would affect efforts to keep qualified labor in the country.

Doctors, scientists, members of the military and others considered valuable parts of society currently face restrictions on travel to combat brain drain.

“The update to the migratory policy takes into account the right of the revolutionary State to defend itself from the interventionist and subversive plans of the U.S. government and its allies,” the newspaper said. “Therefore, measures will remain to preserve the human capital created by the Revolution in the face of the theft of talent applied by the powerful.”

On the streets of Havana, the news was met with a mixture of delight and astonishment. Officials over the years often spoke of their desire to lift the exit visa, but talk failed to turn into concrete change.

“No! Wow, how great!” said Mercedes Delgado, a 73-year-old retiree when told of the news that was announced overnight. “Citizens’ rights are being restored.”

“Look, I ask myself how far are we going to go with these changes. They have me a little confused because now all that was done during 50 years, it turns out we’re changing it,” said Maria Romero, a cleaning worker who was headed to her job Tuesday morning. “Everything they told us then, it wasn’t true. I tell you, I don’t understand anything.”

Cuba-born U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen referred to the measure as “so-called reforms” that are “nothing more than Raul Castro’s desperate attempts to fool the world into thinking that Cuba is changing.

“But anyone who knows anything about the communist 53- year-old Castro dictatorship knows that Cuba will only be free when the Castro family and its lackeys are no longer on the scene,” the South Florida Republican said.

The Cuban government’s decision to eliminate exit visas won’t mean that Cubans can just get on a plane to the United States.

Kathleen Campbell Walker, an immigration lawyer in El Paso, Texas, said Cubans who fly to the United States are still required to get a State Department-issued visa. Homeland Security officials who review passenger lists for U.S.-bound flights are likely to order an airline to deny boarding to anyone who doesn’t have that permission.

Cubans who do make it to the U.S., regardless of whether or not they have a visa, are generally admitted to the country.

“Our own visa requirements remain unchanged,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday.

“We obviously welcome any reforms that’ll allow Cubans to depart from and return to their country freely,” said Nuland. “We remain committed to the migration accords under which our two countries support and promote safe, legal and orderly migration.”

Under those 1994 accords between the two countries, Washington has encouraged Havana to take steps to prevent any future mass exodus.

Tomas Bilbao, executive director of the Washington-based Cuba Study Group, said he is cautiously optimistic that the move will reduce the isolation of the Cuban people and increase interaction between the U.S. and Cuban civil society.

“The important story is the Cuban government has taken a step that has long been demanded by the Cuban people,” he said.

Omar Lopez, human rights director of the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation, welcomed the elimination of the exit visas, but said it remained unclear whether the change will allow more Cubans to get passports.

“Now, Cubans don’t have to pay and get a permit from Cuba to go as a tourist or a visitor, but they say that in order to get a passport you have to comply with some requirements of the law,” Lopez said.

Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez expressed concern that officials might now control travel merely by denying passports.

Cuba has on occasion denied exit visas to government detractors when they sought to travel abroad, and Sanchez she has been turned down 20 times over the last five years.

“I have the suitcase ready to travel. … Let’s see if I get a flight for Jan. 14, 2013, to try out the new law.

The move eliminates a restriction in place since 1961, the height of the Cold War, requiring Cubans to get approval from their government for permission to leave their own country.

Cubans now will also not have to present the long-required letter of invitation from a foreign institution or person in the country they plan to visit.

The measure also extends to 24 months the amount of time Cubans can remain abroad, and they can request an extension when that runs out. Currently, Cubans lose residency and other rights including social security and free health care and education after 11 months.

Granma’s editorial said the measure will help address the needs of the Cuban diaspora.

More than 1 million people of Cuban origin live in the United States, and thousands more are in Europe.

Associated Press writers Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana, Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington and Jennifer Kay in Miami contributed to this report.

Prop 13 Under Attack by Liz Kniss Letter from Tim Gray “we need to choose a new direction”

Dear Editor:

At the most recent Candidate forums, Liz Kniss has discussed how she would like to lead a local effort to reform prop 13 and have residents pay more property tax. “Residents should be willing to pay more,” she said.

Many residents stretched to purchase a home here, but would be faced with a real economic challenge if the endless thirst of the bureaucracy were not held in check.   While there may be room for reform in the way commercial buildings are taxed under Prop 13, the residential protections are essential.

Already, our economic diversity is under pressure by housing and rental prices, and any additional burden will only tip the balance.  Imagine property taxes greater than your mortgage. The perception that only wealthy people live in Palo Alto is simply not true. Many have sacrificed and have made great schools a priority.

Taxing without controlling spending reflects the view of entitled bureaucrats that have lost touch with the economic realities.  Residents understand about doing with less, however they have not seen the City’s corresponding sacrifice.

To further disregard the taxpayers, when asked about infrastructure like the needed street repairs, Kniss said that we would just issue bonds.  You don’t have to be a CPA like me to know that debt requires payments out of future budgets, which will continue a downward spiral that clearly aims our city for a future of painful struggles. All due respect Liz for your many years of service, but we need to choose a new direction.

Respectfully,

Timothy Gray (Palo Alto City Council Candidate)  www.vote4Gray.com

 

Palo Alto police officers like St. Petersburg police officers boost their salaries with overtime pay

 

Officer Stanley Maybell earned $49,415 in overtime and extra pay, adding to a base salary of $59,425 for a total of $108,841.

Officer Stanley Maybell earned $49,415 in overtime and extra pay, adding to a base salary of $59,425 for a total of $108,841.

Palo Alto Police

I just got my OT check
Last First Regular
Name Name Job Title Department Salary    Overtime
Moore Adrienne Police Agent/Adv Police $115,142.50 $78,042.02
Honiker Michael Police Sgt/Adv Police $149,597.67 $6,361.91
Jackson Curtiss Police Sgt/Adv Police $132,573.13 $19,294.93
Kratt Ken Police Sgt/Adv Police $131,616.34 $27,832.71
Perron Zachary Police Lieut-Adv Police $144,703.48 $15,564.60
Tannock Duane Police Sgt/Adv Police $134,320.53 $7,791.70
Benitez Wayne Police Sgt/Adv Police $129,208.12 $2,662.00
Flohr David Police Sgt/Adv Police $128,960.91 $22,375.04
Bonilla Robert Police Lieut-Adv Police $142,364.49 $1,008.43
Bullerjahn Richard Police Sgt/Adv Police $125,842.79 $16,606.74
Savage Scott Police Sgt/Adv Police $132,044.74 $11,357.35
Kan Michael Police Officer-Inter Police $105,913.60 $202.74
Wagner April Police Lieut-Adv Police $132,062.08 $15,703.64
Lum Patricia Police Sgt/Adv Police $129,381.48 $11,945.05
Lee Craig Police Agent/Adv Police $116,016.49 $29,945.83
Jenkins Jason Police Agent/Adv Police $115,105.39 $15,909.03
Afanasiev Alexander Police Sgt/Adv Police $127,462.42 $10,267.37
Alaniz John Police Officer-Inter Police $107,389.24 $17,443.34
Lee Chong In Police Officer-Inter Police $111,912.15 $24,802.37
Maloney Cornelius Police Sgt/Adv Police $128,627.20 $10,827.48
Nielepko Maximilian Police Agent/Adv Police $121,832.81 $17,459.58
Philip Brian Police Sgt/Adv Police $132,882.56 $2,547.44
Paneda Jesus Police Agent/Adv Police $116,533.12 $16,747.68
Becchetti Benjamin Police Sgt/Adv Police $122,126.46 $8,074.98
Madrigal Salvador Police Agent/Adv Police $122,992.63 $5,858.40
Fino Daniel Police Officer-Inter Police $106,248.95 $10,965.45
Estrada Marco Police Officer-Inter Police $114,245.38 $15,221.09
Moore Christopher Police Officer-Inter Police $106,563.80 $5,678.87
Bready Jean Police Agent/Adv Police $121,102.61 $3,797.36
Monroe Jared Police Officer-Inter Police $106,733.27 $22,510.16
Souza Heather Police Agent/Adv Police $117,915.88 $5,225.22
Priess Sascha Police Agent/Adv Police $114,644.74 $9,735.29
Reifschneider James Police Agent/Adv Police $114,867.50 $8,413.11
Becker Anthony Police Agent/Adv Police $123,147.17 $3,225.76
Apple Kara Police Sgt/Adv Police $119,261.82 $3,128.42
Burger Kelly Police Agent/Inter Police $112,211.13 $14,158.31
Ghilarducci Cole Police Officer-Inter Police $102,479.96 $20,952.36
Temores, Jr. Manuel Police Officer-Inter Police $111,911.96 $18,462.88
Villaescusa Marianna Police Agent/Adv Police $118,199.86 $5,577.92
Park Edward Police Officer-Inter Police $103,625.60 $18,662.11
Kono Cynthia Police Officer-Inter Police $109,801.20 $16,617.79
Holler Anjanette Police Officer-Inter Police $105,077.60 $17,233.39
Sunseri Aaron Police Agent/Adv Police $114,952.75 $4,644.89
Guy David Police Officer-Inter Police $106,359.62 $1,896.83
Parham Luis Police Agent/Adv Police $118,530.50 $3,674.83
Lewis David Police Officer-Inter Police $111,485.06 $2,726.39
Collet Kimberly Police Agent/Adv Police $119,105.25 $298.38
Chase Mark Public Safety Dispatcher Police $89,551.20 $39,987.58
Kilpatrick Brad Police Officer-Inter Police $106,895.34 $10,439.28
Bybee Daniel Police Agent/Adv Police $99,916.80 $17,317.20
Pojanamat Dan Police Officer-Inter Police $104,853.17 $21,050.14
Young Bradley Police Officer-Inter Police $107,442.92 $14,355.84
Bulatao Eric Police Officer-Inter Police $100,314.19 $19,278.95
Martinez Nicolas Police Officer-Inter Police $105,913.60 $11,561.01
Hughes Tyson Police Officer-Inter Police $106,532.61 $5,349.20
Green DuJuan Police Agent/Adv Police $111,174.89 $3,955.33
Clum John Public Safety Dispatcher Police $89,547.48 $30,841.79
De Santiago Carlos Police Officer-Inter Police $115,087.84 $3,744.06
Souza Derek Police Officer-Inter Police $106,815.08 $7,339.55
Lee Benjamin Police Officer-Inter Police $106,734.71 $4,873.07
DeStefano Thomas Police Officer-Inter Police $108,297.35 $7,469.45
Schmidt Jeremy Police Officer-Inter Police $97,576.43 $14,602.71
Hornung Joel Police Officer-Inter Police $99,937.92 $2,351.01
Orchard Holly Police Officer-Inter Police $110,021.33 $553.14
Smith Sean Public Safety Dispatcher Police $89,692.72 $28,043.92
Correia Christopher Police Officer-Inter Police $105,062.33 $6,638.64
Walker Sheavounda Public Safety Dispatcher Police $88,581.60 $24,256.11
Christmas Melda Police Officer-Inter Police $105,913.60 $4,607.64
Vanbibber Douglas Police Officer-Inter Police $106,909.91 $5,182.61
Whitman Patricia Public Safety Dispatcher Police $78,356.64 $37,344.39
Pecoraro David Police Officer-Inter Police $106,616.09 $526.86
Seghetti Daniel Police Officer-Inter Police $104,574.29 $6,253.81
Jolin Christine Police Officer-Inter Police $105,913.60 $2,395.81
Longoria Marissa Public Safety Dispatcher Police $79,845.67 $27,085.32
Carrasco Anthony Police Officer-Inter Police $92,172.55 $9,457.74
O’Brien Laurence Business Analyst – S Police $103,121.60 $3,215.52
Spencer Erika Public Safety Dispatcher Police $80,366.63 $23,041.67
Sandoval Lisa Public Safety Dispatcher Police $77,975.52 $23,402.69
Burgio Paul Police Officer-Inter Police $96,032.61 $732.96
Strickland Teresa Public Safety Dispatcher Police $79,402.56 $20,341.59
Elmore Brina Public Safety Dispatcher Police $74,889.04 $22,688.84
Harris II Ronald Police Officer-Inter Police $81,149.24 $11,934.77
Phillips Rebecca Police Sgt/Adv Police $84,279.84 $484.65
Hammett Christopher Police Agent/Adv Police $74,498.96 $2,288.80
Hoang Terri Comm Tech Police $85,009.60 $8,960.67
Salkeld Joshua Police Officer-Inter Police $80,906.24 $10,967.75
Furtado Brian Public Safety Dispatcher Police $88,103.76 $1,877.94
Andersen Terrence Public Safety Dispatcher Police $80,018.88 $10,157.58
Moore Lindsay Public Safety Dispatcher Police $68,656.30 $19,153.47
Kirkland Melissa Public Safety Dispatcher Police $78,170.62 $11,584.44
Tavares Dacia Crime Analyst Police $74,853.28 $9,173.68
Chamberlin Paul Court Liaison Officer Police $69,653.92 $8,884.97
Warrior William Animal Control Off Police $55,972.80 $17,497.88
Downey Sean Police Officer-Inter Police $62,895.29 $7,430.89
Washington Jeannette Animal Control Off Police $55,972.82 $10,885.93
Johnson Heather Code Enforcement Off Police $67,526.33 $1,492.54
Miskelly Dale Animal Services Spec II Police $62,396.85 $3,163.27
Jaca Jr Loreto Veterinarian Tech Police $57,365.25 $2,766.88
Morquecho Dolores Administrative Associate Police $61,915.60 $267.42
Lamberson Dana Administrative Associate Police $61,796.80 $512.56
Cushman Casey Animal Control Off Police $55,972.86 $3,698.46
Macartney Cody Animal Control Off Police $28,885.87 $32,259.64
Silva Paula Police Records Specialist Police $56,851.85 $618.34
Mora Gabriel Community Serv Offcr Police $57,033.60 $493.57
Mosqueda Eric Community Serv Offcr Police $57,033.63 $658.09
Waldorph Joshua Police Officer-Inter Police $52,463.20 $154.12
Knightstep Heidi Public Safety Dispatcher Police $44,717.86 $11,611.51
Maratas Linda Police Records Specialist Police $56,523.15 $497.50
Law Frances Animal Control Off Police $55,972.85 $1,584.52
Tran Peter Community Serv Offcr Police $57,135.36 $267.35
Caraballo Heidi Police Records Specialist Police $55,182.40 $39.80
Graham Leslie Veterinarian Tech Police $47,204.80 $328.70
Wagner Jared Management Spec Police $35,175.04 $4,491.94
Lam Pui Community Serv Offcr Police $43,258.40 $264.53
La Hieu Police Officer-Inter Police $39,317.01 $400.42
Baca Steve Management Spec Police $40,446.26 $2,507.61
Newbom Nanelle Police Officer-Inter Police $30,552.00 $1,374.84
Nasser Michael Police Officer-Inter Police $38,428.06 $521.82
Stenmark Betty Anne Volunteer Coord Police $34,496.81 $696.58
Solomon Maria Police Officer-Inter Police $29,324.55 $316.27
Smith Nicole Public Safety Dispatcher Police $23,425.60 $596.55
Lueck Vivian Public Safety Dispatcher Police $17,015.04 $2,350.96
Santos Paulo Zoological Assistant – H Police $18,358.61 $917.69
Cardinale Jenna Public Safety Dispatcher Police $12,256.48 $358.63
Haynes Stephanie Public Safety Dispatcher Police $12,129.76 $352.87
Vargas Darci Public Safety Dispatcher Police $10,688.10 $389.88
Ryan Daniel Police Reserve I Police $8,101.32 $758.75
Jones Elizabeth Public Safety Dispatcher Police $774.40 $101.28
Total $11,346,991.01 $1,277,822.91

Data source: City of Palo Alto 2011 compensation

Related story: St. Petersburg police officers boost their salaries with overtime pay

ST. PETERSBURG — John Douglas Jr. is a patrol officer with 22 years on the force. He canvasses shopping centers, downtown and adjacent neighborhoods in between answering calls for help.

Last year, he also was the city’s sixth highest paid employee.

Douglas, 49, made $142,996 — more than three assistant chiefs, 10 majors, 11 lieutenants and 45 sergeants, all of whom outrank him.

How did he do it?

Records show he worked a flurry of off-duty assignments for the Tampa Bay Rays and other downtown businesses that doubled his regular pay of $68,203. He worked at such a rate that payroll records show he averaged 64 hours a week, boosting his salary by $74,793. Douglas declined to comment for this story.

“Oh my god,” said City Council chairwoman Leslie Curran. “That’s just an inordinate amount of money for overtime. It makes me wonder how working those hours affects his ability to perform his regular duties.”

Well-regarded by supervisors for his reliability, Douglas is not an isolated case.

Half of the city’s officers increased their regular pay last year by more than 20 percent — a boost of more than $12,000 — with overtime in 2011.

But the department’s top nine recipients of overtime and extra pay — all men — earned far more than other officers. After Douglas, the next two were:

• Stanley Maybell, a 35-year-old community policing officer, earned $49,416 in overtime and extra pay, adding to a base salary of $59,425 for a total of $108,841 — an increase of 83 percent above his regular pay. He worked an average of 60 hours a week.

• Michael Pawlishen, 32, works in the street crimes unit and earned $40,281 in extra pay and overtime, adding to a base salary of $51,792 for a total of $92,073 — an increase of 78 percent above his regular pay.

“I heard rumors about these pay bonuses,” said council member Wengay Newton. “But I didn’t know it was that bad.”

• • •

Police officers often get extra pay for things they can’t control, such as staying late on a breaking case, getting called back into work or for off-duty court attendance.

But there’s another type of overtime for which officers volunteer. Many of these off-duty assignments are city events. Some are paid for by private entities. Last year, businesses and nonprofits paid the city $1.1 million to have officers at their events.

Overall, the Police Department paid $5 million for officer overtime. By comparison, the city’s 1,200 blue collar employees received $3.2 million and the 285 firefighters got $1 million for overtime.

Overtime can actually save the city money, said Chris Guella, the city’s labor relations and compensation manager. Paying overtime saves the city from the expense of hiring new officers, he said, which would cost more in benefits, a patrol car and other equipment.

“The actual savings are significant,” Guella said. “And it’s a good incentive for those who want it. If they’re willing to work that much, God bless them.”

Unlike Tampa’s Police Department, which has a policy prohibiting officers from working more than 16 hours during a 24-hour period, there are no restrictions on how long St. Petersburg officers can work.

“I can’t think of it ever being an issue,” St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon said. “Working off duty isn’t as stressful as working with regular duty. Working traffic and the baseball game isn’t the same intensity as responding to calls for service, so the type of work is different and it’s not exhausting.”

While federal regulations limit the hours truck drivers and pilots can work, it’s left to local agencies to watch over the hours that officers work. Fatigue levels among police run higher than other professions so the hours they work should be monitored closely, said Dennis Kenney, a professor of criminal justice at John Jay College in New York City.

“Working 60 to 70 hours a week, if it happens once, might be okay,” said Kenney. “But if it happens on a regular basis, that’s terrible.”

One concern is that working that much precludes officers from having a life outside of the job, Kenney said. A balanced life helps relieve stress, he said.

But the chief reason for worry is how fatigue affects the human body.

“It’s roughly the same effect as being intoxicated,” said Kenney, who wrote a study on police fatigue 10 years ago for the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Officers are making judgment calls all day,” Kenney said. “That’s much harder to do when they’re tired. If you’re grumpy because you’re tired, you’re far more likely to get more complaints from the public. Tired officers also get into more accidents.”

• • •

Douglas, who joined the department in 1990 and has had strong evaluations throughout his career, increased his salary by 109 percent with extra pay in 2011, much of it coming from off-duty assignments.

He was paid $39,815 for off-duty overtime — the most in the department — which made up more than half of the extra pay he collected. That means half his extra pay came from private businesses. Douglas was one of nine officers who regularly worked inside Tropicana Field for Rays games. He split the season with another officer, Joseph Truong, and they both worked about 40 games inside the dome.

The Trop assignment helped make Truong, 50, the fifth highest overtime earner. Last year, Truong made $68,203 in regular pay, but added $52,536 in overtime. He worked an average of 57 hours a week.

Few officers apply for this Trop assignment, said Sgt. Joseph Pratt, who along with Sgt. Gary Dukeman oversees assigning off-duty overtime.

“It’s a big commitment to do it,” Pratt said. “Not a lot of people have the time.”

Other officers get assigned games depending on anticipated attendance. For instance, more officers work games if the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox are in town than the Kansas City Royals or Seattle Mariners.

Douglas is one of nine officers who always is assigned, regardless of attendance, to guard everything from the players to money inside the stadium, said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

“If they’re close to the players, the team wants consistency,” Proffitt said. “If they’re working the VIP gate, they know who belongs and who doesn’t.”

Of his overtime, Douglas earned $17,786 to direct traffic and parking outside the stadium for games in 2011, records show. The city pays officers to direct traffic outside the stadium, the Rays reimburse the city for officers who work inside the Trop.

Douglas is clearly the department’s overtime champ. He made $25,000 more in extra time than Maybell, the officer with the next highest extra pay. Douglas was a top earner in prior years, too. Records show that since 2007, Douglas has been paid more than $300,000 in overtime, far more than the officer with the next highest amount.

Getting overtime at such high amounts over long periods of time is problematic, said council member Karl Nurse. Officers get accustomed to making much more than their salaries. If the department ever tries to rein that in, morale would plunge, Nurse said.

“What they’ve done is they’ve made this their standard of living,” Nurse said. “What would happen if we were to tell him we don’t want him to average that much in overtime? It would be a traumatic adjustment for him to make.”

Like Curran, Nurse said he was concerned for the safety of officers who work so much.

But Douglas has never had any issues with fatigue, Harmon said.

“He’s been doing that for a few years,” Harmon said. “I’m not sure why he’s been doing that, but I’ve had no issues with him. It’s never impacted his performance.”

Overall, Harmon said, he watches for signs of fatigue throughout the department by studying job performance.

“Things I would look for: someone’s productivity would wane,” Harmon said. “Are they getting curt with people? Are they not responding appropriately?”

But Harmon said he has no system to track officers who habitually work overtime.

“I can’t keep up with all my officers,” Harmon said. “But exhaustion is something you gauge by performance.”

Kenney said it is better if officers are doing less stressful things in their overtime jobs.

“But the bottom line is if they’re not sleeping, their bodies aren’t recovering,” Kenney said.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story.

Working overtime, all the time

Nine St. Petersburg officers increased their base salaries by at least 70 percent with extra pay and overtime, according to payroll records.

 

Base
salary
Extra/
OT pay
Total % increase Avg. hours
per week
John J. Douglas $68,203 $74,793 $142,997 109.7 64
Stanley Maybell $59,425 $49,416 $108,841 83.2 60
Michael Pawlishen $51,792 $40,281 $92,073 77.8 58
Joseph Truong $68,203 $52,536 $120,739 77.0 57
Robert Arrison $65,894 $50,235 $116,130 76.2 55
Raymond Merritt $68,203 $50,738 $118,941 74.4 56
Lerric Boyd $68,203 $50,219 $118,422 73.6 61
Courtney Parker $50,024 $36,476 $86,500 72.9 55
Billy Henderson $46,716 $33,069 $79,786 70.8 54

Overtime: How does it work?

All officers must work some overtime, such as staying late to file a report on a breaking case or going to court on a day off. Officers volunteer for overtime to staff special events or businesses, like Tampa Bay Rays games or downtown bars. Only regular officers are eligible. Higher ranks are not eligible.

The department has an office called “Special Events” that assigns off-duty overtime. To be eligible, an officer in good-standing applies to be in a regular rotation and works assignments when they are available. Assignments are given to the officer that comes next up on the list. After getting assigned a job, the officer goes to the bottom of the list, which typically has about 100 to 125 officers on it.

If an officer misses an assignment, they’re bumped from the list for 60 days. A second time kicks them off for six months. If an officer has a conflict with an assignment, it’s their responsibility to find a replacement. The assigning of these jobs — a secondary market for overtime — is not regulated by the department. Officers must only sign a form showing they traded.

Where are the women?

The vast majority of officers who had the biggest percentage increases in extra pay and overtime were men. The first woman on the list, Tiffany Crosby ranked No. 47 on the list. In 2011, she earned $24,641 in extra pay, adding to a base salary of $51,792, for a total of $76,433 — an increase of 48 percent

Department officials say there is no gender bias in the awarding of overtime.

“They choose not to work as much off-duty as men,” said Sgt. Joseph Pratt.

The average allotment for overtime and extra pay for 481 officers in 2011 was $12,965, an average increase over salary of 21 percent.

The department’s 395 men earned an average of $14,000 in extra pay, a boost of about 23 percent. The department’s 86 women earned about half of that in extra pay, or about $7,000, a boost of 12 percent on their salary.

Sources: City of St. Petersburg, Times research