The tale of another drunken PAPD officer and the ensuing Internal Affairs Investigation

Synopsis: At about 5:00 a.m., City of San Francisco police received a 911 call from a young woman requesting help. Her boyfriend had just left their hotel room and she believed he was headed to the hotel roof and might be planning to commit suicide.

Officers arrived and contacted the woman who told them her boyfriend was an off-duty Palo Alto Police Officer who was extremely intoxicated and emotionally down on himself.

His gun had been left in the hotel safe. She showed them a note on hotel stationary that appeared to be a makeshift will written by the off-duty officer. The female friend reached the off-duty officer by cell phone but he would not tell her his location.

He also refused to provide his location to an SFPD sergeant who got on the phone. SFPD officers searched throughout the area and quickly located the off-duty officer walking on a nearby sidewalk.

The off-duty officer said that he had no intention of committing suicide; the SFPD officers nevertheless decided to detain the off-duty officer for a psychiatric evaluation and took him to a hospital.

Hospital personnel examined the offduty officer and, after a few hours, released him to Palo Alto PD supervisors, who had been notified in the meantime. They took him back to the Palo Alto Police station, placed him on administrative leave, retained his firearm and opened an Internal Affairs investigation of the incident.

The original 911 caller, the officer’s female friend, did not cooperate with any of the investigator’s several follow up attempts to contact and interview her. Ultimately, the investigation concluded that the officer did violate the Department’s policy against “conduct on or off duty unbecoming of a member of the Department…and which tends to reflect unfavorably on the Department or its members.”

The Chief of Police imposed discipline upon the officer in the form of a written reprimand. The officer was also required to write a letter of apology to the San Francisco Police Department. The officer has also been referred to the Employee Assistance Program, an evaluation and counseling service that provides services and referrals for employees who voluntarily seek assistance with substance abuse or psychological issues.

Recommendation: The IPA reviewed the police reports. The IPA agrees that the Department’s sustained finding of a violation of its “conduct unbecoming” policy was an appropriate finding.

The officer’s conduct unnecessarily consumed the resources of another police agency and he was less than cooperative with them. Our main concern, however, is whether the Department has made the appropriate decisions regarding the future status of the officer within the PAPD. The Department is to be commended for performing an exhaustive investigation of this incident to determine as much relevant information as possible.

Independent Police Auditor Interim 2012 Report

Palo Alto cop identified in 2009 DUI arrest

Twinkie-Maker To Seek Approval For $1.8 Million In Bonuses During Liquidation

AP | By Jillian Berman

NEW YORK — Hostess Brands Inc. plans to ask for a judge’s approval Thursday to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million as part of its wind-down plans.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos says the incentive pay is needed to retain the 19 managers during the liquidation process, which could take about a year. Two of those executives would be eligible for additional rewards depending on how efficiently they carry out the liquidation.

Hostess is also seeking final approval for its wind-down, which was approved on an interim basis last week.
The process includes the quick sale of its brands, which also include Wonder Bread. Hostess says it has received a flood of interest in the brands. The company’s bankruptcy means loss of about 18,000 jobs.

The Huffington Post contributed to this posting

Want to find help? Don’t go to a church!

Will the churches help the car dwellers? I think there is a divesity of thinking in the Christian community, just as there is diversity in every other social organization.

But when it comes down to actually helping people improve their standard of life and helping them over the wall of social stigma, I don’t believe that I could find a church that would be willing to go that far to reach out and help a person achieve a better life.

We live in a society of greed and selfishness, this “I got mine” society that thrives upon competition and cheating is allowed here. There are many restrictions being put upon churches and those wanting to help others by insurance companies, local government regulations and even those on a board of elders.

What is sad about this is that those who claim to follow the Bible are not even following the great commission. Many excuses are given why the church can not help the less fortunate.

My own church sends funds all over the world to help missionaries, most who are living better than I am, yet they would not consider helping me get someplace to live instead of the local park bench.

I believe that true charity begins at home. I think the church needs to examine itself and make corrections to what they are doing wrong.

City of Palo Alto Habitation Vehicles will remain for now

“Eat Pussy Not Cow”

Palo Alto vehicle dwellers received a reprieve at last night’s Policy and Services Committee meeting not to ban vehicle dwellers in a 3 to 1 vote.

Instead choosing a 6 month pilot program modeled after the Homeless Car Camping Program in Eugene, Ore.

Seriously absent throughout all discussions were the Palo Alto Human Relations Commission tasked with dealing with human issues impacting our community including this one contrary to their mission statement:

“To address human relations issues, including promotion of awareness, understanding and resolution of actual or potential conflicts, discrimination, or injustice while encouraging community building and civic engagement.”

All commissioners were essentially deaf dumb and blind a major embarrassment and sat comfortably in the back seat of their vehicles and chose to ride out the disenfranchised storm. We continue to question their advocacy and existence in light of their absence on this important community issue.

On a personal level we would much rather see the naysayers of this now defunct city ordinance to ban vehicle dwellers eat crow rather then what the feature picture suggests.

How can we save the Tiger?

A lot of small businesses are finding themselves in trouble these days, says Bill Czappa, owner of ARC TV. Even after 28 years experience with his shop, Bill says running a small business is no easy task.

In the current economic environment many small businesses have been using up their savings, the owners forgoing vacations and days off, and cutting their personal expenses to the bone hoping to ride out the storm.

Bill even emailed his city council members to see if there were any government programs out there that could help. The disheartening response from one council member who runs a small business is that he is in the same boat. He told Bill that after doing the usual, such as increasing advertising, cutting back on expenses, and holding back on hiring, there was not much left to do.

Giant warehouse stores and cheap goods from China are not about to go away any time soon, so it seems that out of necessity the old adage “Evolve or die” comes into play. Bill points out that many small business owners have multiple skill sets born out of the challenges of starting and maintaining their own businesses.

They just need to figure out how to leverage those other skills in a way that generates additional income. Bill had written a book several years ago about the repair business but could not afford to publish it. After decades of repairing everything from televisions to phonographs to microwave ovens, Bill had cataloged over 30 technical repair rules that apply to repairing everything from a broken toy to a multi-million dollar aircraft.

These rules are so true and basic that any time a repair of anything has gone bad, it can be traced back to the repair person violating one of these rules.

This book would be valuable to the technician, the hobbyist, and to consumers finding themselves at the mercy of the mechanic or repairman.  But how to get it out, and get a fair exchange in the process?  For Bill, the solution was to try something new after hearing about a new website, Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a new platform that could offer a solution to the funding and publishing of the book, he thought.

Kickstarter is a website where people can post their writing, art work, video games or almost any creative project and people from around the world help get the project started. You post your idea on this site with a video explaining what your project is about and then offer rewards for people who contribute. The prizes can be as creative as the project, and a lot of people appear to enjoy helping to get these projects off the ground.

So there Bill was, running his store and writing a script for his Kickstarter video. It was filmed in his shop after-hours and posted on Kickstarter. Then came the hard part of driving in views to the website.  All the marketing skills Bill learned operating a small business have come into play, with the object of a second source of income – the publishing and sales of his book “Tech Techniques – The Rules of Repairing Things”.

The project runs till December 1st and if it does not reach is goal of $3800.00 then Bill will get nothing. That is part of the Kickstarter rules – all or nothing. Will it work?  Bill is hopeful, but if this one falls flat he has some other projects in mind for Kickstarter.  We will have to wait and see what happens.

For more information about his book or project, or to donate, click here.

Or go to Kickstarter.com and use the search term “Czappa”.

Creative Sentencing

CLEVELAND: A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children stood in the cold at an intersection holding a sign warning people about idiots.

A Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve the highly public sentence for one hour Tuesday and Wednesday. She arrived bundled up against the 34-degree cold, puffing a cigarette, wearing head phones and avoiding comment as passing vehicles honked.

Satellite TV trucks were on hand to stream the event live near downtown Cleveland.

The sign read: “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

Hardin’s license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.

Hardin’s case was just the latest example of creative, and sometimes controversial, sentences handed out by judges to publicly shame offenders. Some other examples from around the country:

UTAH: PONYTAIL CUT OFF

The mother of a 13-year-old Utah girl chopped off her daughter’s ponytail in court in order to reduce her community service sentence.

The teen had landed in court in May because she and another girl used dollar-store scissors to cut off the hair of a 3-year-old they had befriended at a McDonald’s.

A judge agreed to reduce the teen’s community service time if her mother chopped off her daughter’s ponytail in court. The mother has since filed a formal complaint, saying the judge in Price intimidated her into the eye-for-an-eye penalty.

___

HOUSTON: ‘I AM A THIEF’

Daniel and Eloise Mireles were convicted of stealing more than $265,000 from the crime victims fund in Harris County, Texas.

In addition to restitution and jail time, the Houston couple were sentenced in July 2010 to stand in front of the local mall for five hours every weekend for six years with a sign reading, “I am a thief.”

A sign was also posted outside their house stating they were convicted thieves.

___

PENNSYLVANIA: ‘I STOLE FROM A 9-YEAR-OLD’

Western Pennsylvania residents Evelyn Border and her daughter, Tina Griekspoor, 35, were caught stealing a gift card from a child inside a Wal-Mart.

In November 2009, the Bedford County district attorney said he would recommend probation instead of jail time because the women stood in front of the courthouse for 4 1/2 hours holding signs reading, “I stole from a 9-year-old on her birthday! Don’t steal or this could happen to you!”

___

WISCONSIN: ‘I WAS STUPID’

A man who crashed his car into the gates at a Wisconsin waste water treatment plant spent eight hours holding a sign saying, “I was stupid.”

Shane McQuillan decided he would rather do that than spend 20 days in jail on a charge of criminal damage to property.

McQuillan had a blood alcohol level of 0.238 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for driving, at the time of the 2008 accident in Eau Claire.

___

OHIO: ‘SORRY FOR THE JACKASS OFFENSE’

An Ohio judge ordered a man and woman who vandalized a baby Jesus statue in a church’s outdoor nativity to march through town with a donkey to apologize.

Jessica Lange and Brian Patrick admitted to defacing the statue at St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church on Christmas Eve 2003. They led a donkey provided by a petting zoo through the streets of Fairport Harbor carrying a sign that said, “Sorry for the jackass offense.”

After the 30-minute march, the pair were taken to serve 45-day sentences that included drug and alcohol treatment. They also were ordered to replace the statue.

Legalized Fraud

John gives Steve $1.00 for a banana.  Steve promises to give John the banana tomorrow.  Tomorrow comes and John asks for his banana but Steve does not have it to give because he never actually had a banana to sell.  Steve refuses to give John his dollar back.  The above scenario epitomizes how Wall Street makes its money.  If you or I committed the fraud of what Steve committed we would be criminally prosecuted.

Wall Street owns K-Street.  K-Street owns Washington. Washington owns the SEC and DOJ.  The owners aren’t going to send themselves to prison.

Check out the latest information available at:

“THE WALL STREET CONSPIRACY”

The collapse of  the US banking system in 2008 had been forecasted years before it happened by the people in this film. But no one wanted to listen. Instead our country fell apart in the Fall of 2008, the worst financial collapse in the history of Wall Street.

What is naked short selling:
It is selling stock in a public company that you do not own and you never deliver to the buyer. Honest people call this stealing. This is done daily by many big banks for themselves and/or their customers.

How can this happen in today’s environment? 
30 years ago stock physically changed hands in person between a buyer and a seller on Wall Street. Today, it is done electronically. In many cases, the stock is sold electronically but never delivered. In essence, our system has trillions of dollars of stock IOU’s that will never be collected.

What is the scope of the problem? 
It is the belief of many experts and others that trillions of dollars have been stolen from hard working Americans by selling them counterfeit stock that does not exist. This unscrupulous conduct still exists today.

What are the consequences to average Americans of naked short selling? 
Naked short selling: a) steals money from hard working Americans by selling them counterfeit stock; b) destroys good public companies that have products that can make all American lives better; c) has destroyed millions of jobs by destroying these same companies whose stock is being manipulated.

Naked short selling has led to turmoil and unnecessary volatility in our markets worldwide by creating counterfeit shares which have destroyed companies and left wrecked lives in its wake. Big banks and their clients have been incentivized to kill companies rather than build them up as a surer way to profit but these actions also have led to massive disorder in exchanges around the world, threatening our entire financial system.

Whose Responsible?

Washington.

 

RED LIGHT CAMERA SHAKEDOWN

Oakland’s red light camera policy equals less safety for motorists and more money for private companies and the city.  

Senator Simitian, law enforcement and other groups claim that Red Light Cameras are about safety and not about revenue for city coffers and the private companies that install and maintain the camera systems.

According to a story by Mathew Artz of the Oakland Tribune, Oakland Traffic Engineers added ONE SECOND to yellow light times from four seconds to five seconds which resulted in a 50% drop in red light violations, approximately 40 fewer red light violations per day.

This act resulted in safer streets yet less money for the City of Oakland and Redflex the company that operates the Red Light Cameras.  The Oakland Police Department pressured engineers to return the yellow lights to the shorter four second duration which resulted in a dramatic increase in motorists running red lights causing more hazardous driving conditions, yet more revenue for the City of Oakland.

It is clear that Oakland is using its red-light camera program to specifically raise revenue, a million dollars a year or more in profit,  by decreasing the duration of yellow lights which reduces safety. 

Simitian’s Senate Bill 1303 protects drivers’ rights by:

• Requiring that camera locations be based solely on safety considerations;
• Specifically prohibiting the use of red-light cameras to raise revenue;

“We can keep the public safe, and still give California drivers a fair shake, Simitian said.

According to Emily Rusch, state director of CALPIRG, which supported the bill, “Private companies operating red light traffic enforcement cameras don’t just slap drivers with high fines.  The contracts they sign with cities are often so focused on high profits that they can literally be dangerous – by prohibiting smart safety measures like lengthening yellow lights,” 

Take a normal driver who gets ticketed for running a red light by a police officer in person.  That driver ticketed today has been informed at the scene of the incident that he cannot do what he did and will have to pay a hefty fine for committing the act.

The ticket and expecting fine are strong deterrents to committing the offense again at least in the near future curbing the hazardous driving.

Many drivers who get caught running red lights by “Red Light Cameras” don’t know they have been ticketed until several days and even weeks after the incident and get caught a second and third time for committing the same offense because they were not informed immediately of the first offense.

Failure to inform drivers of the first offense at the time of the offense results in the hazardous driving behavior continuing which does nothing to improve the safety of our roadways.  Additionally, the multiple offenses increases the amount of revenue that cities and private companies receive which they otherwise would not have had the drivers been informed of the first offense at the time of the offense.  The delay in informing drivers of their offense provides more money for cities and private companies while simultaneously increasing dangerous driving on our roadways.

Senator Simitian claims that his Bill gives California’s a fair shake, yet how is it a fair shake when someone who cautiously and safely makes a California Stop at a Red Light to turn right, (it is legal to turn right on a red after coming to a stop), is given the same fine and punishment as someone who blows through an intersection at 35mph on a Red Light through cross traffic 5 seconds after the light has turned red?

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

In United States v. Bajakajian the court found that Bajakajian did violate the law however it concluded, “Comparing the gravity of respondent’s crime with the $357,144, (monetary), forfeiture the Government seeks, we conclude that such a forfeiture would be grossly disproportional to the gravity of his offense. It is larger than the $5,000 fine imposed by the District Court by many orders of magnitude, and it bears no articulable correlation to any injury suffered by the Government… For the foregoing reasons, the full forfeiture of respondent’s currency would violate the Excessive Fines Clause.”  Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on behalf of the majority

Based upon the legal logic employed by the Supreme Court it would be certain that the Court would conclude that running a red light by traveling through an intersection into cross traffic at the maximum speed limit is many orders of magnitude more egregious of an assault on the public safety then someone who slows down to 1 to 2 mph to turn right on red into the flow of traffic.

To treat the two offenses as equal is contrary to the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and violates the excessive fine clause of the Eighth Amendment of any person who gets caught turning right on red at 1 mph who is punished with the same fine that is imposed on the person who runs a red light at a high rate of speed passing all the way through the intersection several seconds after the light has turned red.

It should also be noted that Mr. Simitian’s Bill is unconstitutional by allowing, “hear say” evidence in violation of the 6th Amendment.

According to a story by Gary Richards of the Mercury News,  “98 percent of the 672 red-light violations recorded over one two-month period at El Camino Real and Westborough Boulevard in South San Francisco were for right turns on red lights.  Other cities say four of five tickets go to people turning right on red.”

If Mr. Simitian were sincere about traffic safety and fairness to California drivers he wouldn’t be taking away $500.00 from every driver who fails to come to a complete stop while making a right turn on a red light which is legal.

Mr. Simitian’s refusal to include in his Bill the provision requiring that the yellow lights at Red-Light Camera enforced intersections would have a minimum duration of five seconds reveals the Mr. Simitian is not as concerned about the safety of California drivers as he is about the profits that cities like Oakland and private companies like Redlex earn.

Given that Mr. Simitian’s Bill was written with the help of Redflex it was highly unlikely that Mr. Simitian would have included anything that was truly beneficial to the citizens of California in the way of traffic safety and fairness.

Mr. Simitian’s Bill isn’t a fair shake, its using the law to shakedown the citizens.

“Injustice fights with two weapons, force and fraud..  A common form of injustice is chicanery, that is, an over-subtle, in fact a fraudulent construction of the law.”    Cicero – On Moral Duties

RELATED STORIES:

http://paloaltofreepress.com/red-light-camera-law-bait-and-switch-by-senator-joe-simitian/

http://paloaltofreepress.com/california-senate-passes-unconstitutional-law/

 

Measure B is worthy of a Yes vote

Dear Editor:

The attention given to Santa Clara County Measure B is a drop in the bucket compared to other ballot measures, but the water management and flood control initiative holds a major key to protecting entire neighborhoods in Palo Alto .

Palo Alto has gained the cooperation of multiple agencies in reducing the flood risk in San Francisquito Creek as it flows to the Bay.

However, one major “Choke Point” that continues to threaten areas of the Duvenek and St. Francis Neighborhoods Association, is the Chaucer Street Bridge .   This essentially keeps residents in this area hostage to the threat of another flood season.

Progress has been made in creating plans for this solution, but funds from Measure B Water Initiative would complete the final step.

The continuation of a modest parcel tax for the Water District is an easy solution, and it address levies and tidewater flood control, as well as taking steps to protect water quality.

Yes the Water District has received some deserved criticism for mismanagement of past funding, but that seems like a poor reason to deny funding for real needs that serve the greater good.  If you follow insurance rates, action that removes homes from floodplain maps is an excellent investment where everyone wins.

With the Measure B funding, and a little help from a Palo Alto City Council, the City can deliver on its primary responsibility of safety of its residents.  Measure B is worthy of a Yes vote.

Timothy Gray (City Council Candidate)

Revenge is Wonderful

A city councilman in Utah, Mark Easton, had a beautiful view of the east mountains, until a new neighbor purchased the lot below his house and began building a new home. As it turned out, the new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would permit, so Mark Easton, angry that his mountain view was impaired, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance.

The new neighbor had to drop the roof line 18 inches, at great expense. Recently, Mark Easton called the city once more, to complain that his new neighbor had now installed some vents on the side of his home. Mark didn’t like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate. When they went to Mark’s home to see the vent view, this is what they found…