Saturday, April 3, 2010

Council to Study Cuts to Public Safety

This post is in response to Anonymous' comment in the previous post.

First off, the headline I chose might be a little misleading. The study is to find ways to cut COSTS for public safety. Agenda item 13 (lucky number?) on Monday's council agenda calls for a study of the costs of the Fire Department AND the potential for getting rid of our local police department and contracting with County Sheriff.

Is this really about looking at Fire? Given that the LA County Firefighters have never seen a decrease AND they are the largest contributors to council candidates, I doubt it. This is about getting rid of the Pomona PD. This is something that has been brewing for a long time. In speaking of the dismantling of Pomona PD and hiring of LA County Sherrif, one Councilperson even told community groups that this was a "Done Deal."

The last time there was a Charter Review and subsequent changes, the citizens determined that such a change has to be confirmed by a vote of the people, not a city council decision.
According to our city charter:
Sec. 706.  City Police Department/Chief of Police.

(b)   Within the departments established, police services as required by law shall be performed by Pomona City Police Department employees. The City may not contract for primary police services with the County of Los Angeles or other police agencies without a vote of the City's electorate. The City may contract for ancillary police-related services without a vote of the electorate. (emphasis added)
Is this the reason that the city council has decided not to appoint a Charter Review Commission and to be COMPLETELY OUT OF COMPLIANCE with the city charter? Are they afraid that a citizen commission would disagree with them? Under the City Charter:

"Article XVII.  Charter Commission

"Sec. 1701.  Charter Commission.
Beginning in January of the year 2010, and in January of every tenth year thereafter, the Council shall appoint a Commission to consider and propose amendments to the existing Charter. No later than twelve (12) months from each inception, the Commission shall submit its proposals to the City Clerk for placement on the ballot at the next scheduled election."
Note that there is NO wiggle room in this section. The Council shall in January 2010 appoint a Commission. However they have not done so and it is NOT on the agenda for April 5. So we're now 4 month late--WHY? According to the definitions in the charter itself"
"Sec. 1501.  Definitions. 
(a)   "Shall" is mandatory and "may" is permissive."
 So the council is not following the law (the charter is the supreme law governing the city).

There is no legitimate reason for this delay.  The council and staff have known for over 10 years that this was coming up. They've had adequate time to comply with the requirements of the LAW.

According to the original opinion of the city attorney. The council could have named itself as the commission. However, since the council already has (and has always had) the right to amend the charter (submitting it to the voters), why would the framers of section 1701 have even have put this as a requirement? I believe that it is clear that the intention of the framers was that this should be a CITIZEN's commission, NOT the city council.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for this meeting, but will be following it closely. Let's see what the council is trying to do. Will they follow our laws or will they try and pull something over on us?
Disclosure: I have applied to be on the Charter Review Commission so have been following its progress closely.


Chris said...

This is a bunch of Bull****, They need all the help they can get. Gerrymandering has slowly screwed Pomona up, and now its at an impasse. Perhaps I am a bit partial since my family has been native to Pomona since its inception; we dont live here anymore, but make trips from time to time. My guess as to the ONLY reason to, as I read in this article, get rid of the police is all the complaining by folks who should know better. Police HELP the community, not hurt it.

John Clifford said...

There would still be police if the Sheriff's took over, just not local police. The police would be out of downtown LA instead of downtown Pomona.

Anduhrew said...

are there any lawyers in the audience? we could take legal action against the city. and this looks like a very clear and cut case (as far as clear and cut cases go) I mean come on? does it really take that long to set up this commission?? seriously? Who's in charge here!? get on with it!

Anonymous said...

If you would like to send the message to the city council that you support our police and don't want the city to stick their head in the sand as in past, then show up for the meeting Monday evening. Your presence alone will send a strong message. The system is broken and needs to be fixed, not handed off to another agency like the Sheriff's Dept. Let's take care of our own first,then dig in and fix the problem while everyone is happy to keep their job.

Anduhrew said...

I unfortunately have all my evenings booked except wednesdays and fridays.... until June...

Anduhrew said...

Once I'm done with Cal Poly's Student govt. I'll move on to Pomona city Govt.

Metro Pomona said...

I'll be there.

calwatch said...

On the other hand, let's not panic here. It's a STUDY. If they change the charter, the voters have to ratify it. Sure, it's $25,000, when you could probably hire the MPA program at Cal Poly to do it for half the cost, but it's a STUDY, not a done deal, and I'm willing to see where the chips fall.

Remember that LASD provides a whole host of resources - SWAT, homicide team, gang team, etc. The Pomona PD's chopper could be split amongst the other cities that they patrol, saving a few bucks. LASD has experience in operating with Pomona size-cities - Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster, Norwalk. Pomona PD provides local control, while LASD provides the resources of a larger agency. Pomona PD's police association is fairly weak, while ALADS is a much stronger union.

Anonymous said...

True, LASD has alot of resources... but even truer is that those resources are spread amongst a huge area.... ever try and call for a LASD Canine? hmmm wait time, IF you can get it, minimum 1 hour! Pomona K9.. seconds if not a few minutes. ever try calling for an LASD Helicopter??? HA!!! good luck! thats why PPD calls in Ontario's or San Bernardino County's instead. LASD on paper looks awesome, no doubt more resources then PPD, but they are spread extremely thin around the county. and LASD does NOT have what I would call experience with a City like Pomona... not successfully at least. Ask Santa Fe Springs why they got rid of LASD and contracted with Whittier PD instead... Or ask Compton why they are trying to get rid of LASD... the REALITY is that with LASD you will get bare bones service by cops who don't have a sense of partnership and community with the city. PERIOD.

Skrip said...

I shall be there to support our Police. As an L.A. native who currently lives in Pomona, I am truly impressed with the way Pomona PD works in this community. I used to live in Glendale before Pomona, and I also supported Glendale police and can see the difference between city owned and contractor.

I'd like to point out the difference Pomona PD has made in the downtown area to support the ArtWalks and many other events. They are truly something!

Gilman said...

I think Calwatch's observations are on the money. This is not a decision to contract with LASD, it is a cost study.
No doubt, Lowry is hoping to use the study in future negotiations with the Police Union.
Also looks like an additional Utility tax is being proposed on the agenda....amazing it was approved for the ballot with only several hundred signatures collected, but turnout in Pomona has been low.

calwatch said...

The utility tax measure is another John Mendoza initiative. Nice guy, heart is in the right place, but no one will step up and run with the ball. 2008 at least showed the base level of support for a tax increase, given no support or opposition. You only need a majority vote to pass since it is a general tax increase. On the other hand, 11% would be tied for the highest UUT in the state - only Culver City and Seal Beach are at 11%. Sales tax increases are the only other option, but Pomona has no sales tax base AND they are adjacent to San Bernardino County where tax rates are 1% lower because we pay 1.5% to the MTA in this county.

calwatch said...

punted anyway: