A Press Enterprise story broke April 25, 2014 which reported that the City of Riverside is investigating newly christened Councilman Mike Soubirous, retired California Highway Patrol Lieutenant and Acting Commander, on the issue of violating the City Charter Amendment Section 407. Details of the violations or exactly what were the allegation were not given, but it all seems to stem from Soubirous contacts with police officials, such as Chief of Police Sergio Diaz and City Manager Scott Barber during recent discussions regarding panhandlers, vagrants, park security and a series of council emails. This already is beginning to have a vial smell. Did Diaz feel as if his abilities and experience levels were being questioned, challenged or even threatened? With a murder at La Sierra Park, and recently a fatal stabbing at the new Bonaminio Park, four cold case murders on the East side, with crime rates increasing, did Diaz find that Soubirous’s questioning of panhandlers, vagrants and park security issues difficult to answer? Was Soubirous rocking the boat of comfortness, just a little?
City of Riverside Councilman Mike Sobirous
According to the PE, the whole thing seemed to begin with a series of emails sent out by Councilman Soubirous regarding his constituents concerns regarding vagrants and panhandlers. The response from RPD was that “our hands are tied” or ‘there’s nothing we can do.” Evidently, Soubirous states he didn’t send an email to Diaz, but the email was forwarded to Diaz by another councilman. We are thinking here at TMC, could it have been Adams? If so, would that have been a Brown Act violation? Incidently, another unamed councilman has been accused of violating the Brown Act, and submitted to the DA, we all know where that will go. Regardless, that never seemed to stop Adams before. In response, Diaz wrote back to Councilman Soubirous that no good can come from labeling dedicated public servants as “lazy.” The next statement by Diaz seems to be on the political threatening side, Diaz states that, “it would be politically unwise to declare war on you cops.” Already we get the feeling that trouble is a brewing. Anonymous sources are stating Diaz had made a similar threat regarding another current candidate running for office regarding the end of their political career if they continued on the road they are on. TMC has found that it is John Brandiff, and has evidently filed a complaint against Diaz. What kind of history does Diaz have in Los Angeles? Information still coming through the pipeline. So why is a Chief of Police out threatening elects and candidates? Why is he acting as some sort of rouge underworld boss shaking down and hard balling constituents asking questions and threatening those who have aspirations of running for office? Difficult as it seems, Riverside has serious problems in RPD, and no one is minding the store when minding the store are the residents of Riverside.
Chief Sergio Diaz
Why does the Chief act as he does? We are not sure but many in the community have witness his outburst. It appears that Chief has a history of not being kind to taking suggestions and criticism well. In one instance, he called certain commenters in the community who were questioning police tactics regarding the Officer Bonaminio murder, that they were “sitting at home eating cheetos in their underwear.” In otherwords, the community should stay out of areas they know nothing about. If this is the case I can see conflict occurring if Council people are asking questions regarding Police affairs.
Section 407 refers specifically to the interference of individuals, such as the Mayor and Council, in city administrative services. The section is as follows:
Neither the Mayor nor the City Council nor any of it’s members shall interfere with the execution by the City Manager of his/her powers and duties, or order, directly or indirectly, the appointment by the City Manager or by any of the department heads in the administrative service of the City, of any person to an office or employment or their removal theirfrom. Except for purpose of inquiry, the Mayor, the City Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service under the City Manager solely through the City Manager and neither the Mayor nor the City Council nor any member there of shall give orders to any subordinates of the City Manager, either publicly or privately. (Effective 12/27/1995)
According to the PE, Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey and Councilman Steve Adams (also Mayor Pro Tem), told Soubirous that four complaints were filed for violation of section 407. Both Bailey and Adams refrained to disclose who complainants were. The last time similar situation occurred was when Fire Inspector Roni Forst filed a complaint against Councilman Paul Davis for harassment and discrimination. Though not reported in the PE, I would deduce that before the complaints were filed, a proper intake interview was done without interference from outside sources, by the Human Resources Department. From that point I would suspect that the interviewers would determine if there was enough evidence of a violation of section 407 of the City Charter for a proper complaint to be issued and filed. When a complaint was filed against Davis, Steve Espinoza and Human Resource Director Rhonda Strout, A.K.A. Luxury Girl, did the intake interview.
The City Council then hired a Los Angeles based firm, Gumport Maslan, specifically Attorney Leonard Gumport would be handling the investigation. Gumport had been previously hired by the County of San Bernardino to investigate allegations of conflict of interest, bribery and corruption. It doesn’t state if Soubirous was present when the Council decided to go forward with this investigation. Regardless, Councilman Steve Adams, who was also Mayor Pro Tem, signed this contract with the law firm which interestingly has a cap of exactly $49,000.00. Why $49,000.00? Would it be that the City Manager’s maximum discretionary spending is capped at $50,000.00, at anything over $50,000.00 must be properly brought publicly to City Council? Incidently, it was not uncommon to see Councilman Steve Adams having drinks and food together at local dining and waterholes with people from City Management.
Another time an issue came up with the interference with employee relations, was when Councilman Steve Adams was accused of interfering with the promotions process of RPD back in 2007, which by all appearances is a direct violation of Charter Section 407. As a consequence, instead of a complaint filed, Lt. Darryl Hurt and Lt. Tim Bacon went straight for the jugular, filing a law suit against the City of Riverside which settled out of court to the taxpayer tune of $750,000.00, probably to prevent all the salacious details of a trial case. When you look at the claims made by Hurt and Bacon against Adams, Adams gives the appearance of a “Godfather” like figure. According to statements made by Hurt and Bacon, both whom were candidates for promotion to captain at the time, that they met individually at restaurant outside the city limits as to avoid the appearance of impropriety. The issue at hand that allegedly Adams was concerned about was if the candidates actually campaigned against him. When that issue was resolved, Adams then met with then City Manager Brad Hudson and spoke of the meeting. Soon thereafter an official announcement ensued regarding the candidates. Direct violation of Charter Section 407?
Another incidence, involved former Lt. Meredyth Meredith, whereby former Chief of Police Russel Leach was preparing to promote Meredith to captain, when he received a call from former Assistant City Manager Tom De Santis to put a stop to this. According to a deposition, Leach stated, “And I found out that Steve Adams marched into a meeting…Hudson and De Santis and told them emphatically she shouldn’t be promoted”. Leach stated in a PE story, that he was unhappy in his final two years on the job because “I didn’t like political involvement . I hadn’t had it before.” Leach also said that Hudson and DeSantis allowed council members – specifically City Councilman Steve Adams – to influence police promotions.
We didn’t even touch on the fact that Councilman Steve Adams had a series of citizen ethics complaints which followed him, all of them which were unfounded, of course, but one in particular which he admits witnessing corruption within the realms of the city. I would imagine the current DA would respond by stating, “Is it illegal or just bad business.”
In another telling tale, there was story of John Carpenter, whereby Leach, Esquivel and De La Rosa had chosen him to be promoted to captain. The went to City Hall to have a face-to-face with Hudson and DeSantis to present what the testing process revealed and who we selected. And he said, “Let me think about it.” So I let him think about it, he hadn’t heard from him for a while, so Leach called Hudson. Hudson told Leach that Carpenter and Adams had bad history together. Adams was adamant that he didn’t want Carpenter to promote into Captain. Section 407 violation?
CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW COMPLETE CHIEF RUSSELL LEACH DEPOSITION
In a Press Enterprise article back in August of 2012, former Chief of Police, Russell Leach stated in a court deposition that a complaint Riverside Councilman William “Rusty” Bailey made in 2008 may have unwittingly help block Lt. Val Graham’s promotion. In a phone call Leach received from former Assistant City Manager Tom DeSantis, he recalled how “Val had embarrassed Bailey at this community meeting, said a couple of inappropriate things and that Bailey was furious,” and expressed his anger at city management. The following time Leach was preparing to make promotions, DeSantis asked him who was being considered? Before Leach had a chance to answer, DeSantis stated, “Don’t tell me it’s Val Graham?” Leach stated that because of the resistance he sensed in this conversation he didn’t put Graham’s name forward. Was Graham held back because the then Councilman Bailey felt slighted? Could this be perceived as a violation of the City Charter Section 407?
The players involved seem to be Councilman Steve Adams, Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey, Chief of Police Sergio Diaz and City Manager Scott Barber. Incidently, Diaz and Barber were remnents of former City Manager Brad Hudson. Hudson’s background was that he had a record for credit card fraud when he was seventeen. Not that this is important, due to the fact that he was a teen. But the question is, did Hudson carry his bad behavior to his adulthood? During his reign he initially purchased a revolver from RPD Sgt. Cliff Mason, who was also President of the Riverside Police Officers Union, and fraudulently used the City Hall address of 3900 Main Street as his home address to apply for a concealed weapons permit. You would think that this officer would know the law in gun sales, well of course he does. Well, we believe he did, and did otherwise, breaking the law. Incidentally, neither the Riverside Police Department nor the City of Riverside are licensed to sell and transfer firearms, therefore the sale of firearms to private citizens or employees of the city is illegal. In the City of Riverside no one seems to be accountable. Again we see a culture of two sets of rules. Can we call it corruption? Can we call it illegal or just bad business, in the words of District Attorney Paul Zellerbach? Whatever it is, it happened.
Opinions of residents in the City contend that Soubirous was not whom City insiders wanted to be part of the council “get along club.” Valerie Hill would have been a better match, but residents have stated that they are tired of what the City has done with taxpayer monies and wanted someone to ask the tough questions and defend them, without the probability of being targeted. Soubirous was whom the community elected. But it certainly seems to have upset the apple cart of the usual suspects within the city status quo who are not accustomed to true leadership. In this reporters opinion, the matter is petty, elementary, a waste of taxpayer monies and seemingly a non issue brought together by a bunch of frat boys. What is most interesting and quite remarkable is the two peas in the pod appear to be Councilman Steve Adams and Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey. Again you have to wonder if there was interference within the realm of the complaint, it’s hard enough to teach old dogs new tricks.
COMMENTS FROM THE PRESS ENTERPRISE:
My councilman did tell me he would look into an issue of concern involving the sale of an RPD helicopter., the city’s only fire fighting helicopter (photographed here at the Pomona Fairgrounds auction site)being sold off for $200,000 on Feb..22 of this year. Are CC members even allowed to ask those kind of questions or will be they be investigated? Given that Adams was not investigated for alleged 407 w/ RPD in 2006 and 2008 what are parameters to investigate? It’s our money folks. -Mary Shelton
Seems like Councilman Soubirous’ digging into city corruption has garnered the attention of the Municipal Mob. He will now learn firsthand how this city conducts “independent” investigations. Just like Councilman Davis had to be taught: just nod your head Mike and they’ll leave you alone. It’s time to wash the filth out of City Hall. We can start with whomever’s behind this plot. Of course, we’ll never find out because as Soubirous is realizing: their is ZERO transparency behind the process. –Fay Vic
Most of you know that Mike Soubirous is a man of the highest integrity and ethics. Thus we know that this is just another witch hunt prompted by the City Manager Scott Barber, Chief Sergio Diaz, and perhaps even Mayor Rusty Bailey. Politics as usual at Riverside City Hall. Especially when someone such as Mike chooses to be a leader rather a city hall hack like most who sit on the city council are. Valerie Hill lost the election guys, just accept it. This is much to do about nothing. Nevertheless, we must support Mike now as much as possible. PS. We need a homegrown police chief instead of a double-dipping transfer from the notorious LAPD. -Donald Herman Collins Gallegos
All I can say is that Mike is holding to his promise of transparency and honesty with his constituents. Knowing him and his family personally, I understand his right heart and integrity in wanting to serve his community, taking his job seriously in asking questions that are of importance and for the greater good of those he serves. Stay strong, Mike. -JoeDeGerolamo
Something is screwy here. The Chief’s response do not seem connected to the e-mail cited. Also, does the right to face an accuser disappear for elected officials? What are the rules for Council members who wish to contact city employees? [Why do news articles seldom cover the information I want to know?] – Richard P. Morrall
Chief Diaz needs to learn that the Council sets policy. Soubirous is well within his authority to question current policy and work with other council members to change it. This will end up being much ado about nothing, except that the City will be out $49k. – sadf qwrett
Diaz feelings hurt because he was running cover for the vagrants (many of them are homeless sex offenders) and someone calls him on it. Someone should be investigating the tactics “The Chief” approved of before Soubirous spoke up on behalf of his constituents. Shame the rest of the lemmings are sitting on the sidelines, watching the City Manager-lead witch hunt. Mike, hang in there. Keep your head high. The folks that elected you are smart enough to see what’s going on. – Dick_Gosinya
Chief sounds insecure, well they all do. Barber and Diaz are dysfunctional leftovers from the Brad Hudson legacy. A cliquish culture of narcissistic lack luster leadership. All this because it seems one councilman, Soubirious, who is truly an independent voice. Didn’t Bailey run his campaign on being an independent voice? – Bret Hudson
This is a city manager-led witch-hunt on behalf of the police chief with his panties in a wad because a ward councilman, on behalf of his constituents, pushed to tackle a thorny problem in the city. Diaz, Bailey, Barber et al are a bunch of spineless hacks who view their jobs as nothing more than gladhanding politics-as-usual. – remmy700p
As we have seen before, the nail that stands up, gets smacked down. Did the full council really discuss and vote to hire an investigator? The $49 K seems to be the maximum the city manager can spend on his own authority. – Kevin Dawson
JUST IN: CITY OF RIVERSIDE HIRES A PSYCHOLOGIST TO HELP ALL CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS TO GET ALONG. SORRY, THIS IS NO JOKE, THE CITY SPENT $16,000.00 TAXPAYER MONEY FOR THE HEAD SHRINK. IS THIS AN OXYMORON TO THE TENTH DEGREE FOLKS? Is it because some in the Council don’t want to be part of the “get along to go along” club, so they therefore must be crazy? So now we can fix that problem with an taxpayer motivator/psychologist, and somehow convince the council to get back to voting 7-0 on all issues. Anonymous sources, of which we cannot corroborate, are stating that there was a big blow out between Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey and Councilman and Congressman Candidate Steve Adams which lasted in the neigborhood of 30 minutes. The psychologist intervened and they are now friend again…
UPDATE: 05.02.2014: JUST IN, RPD MICHAEL BLAKELY LEAVES RPD, NO OTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE
Incidently, is also Karen Aquino’s superior.
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S MOST “SLANDEROUS” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO ACLU. NOW TAGGED LOCAL BLOGGERS OR LOCAL MEDIA? RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, AND PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… WE WILL HAVE TO ASK GREGORY ABOUT THAT ONE ( OUR PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIS PEOPLE)… AGAIN, THANK-YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT! COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOMED, ESPECIALLY SPELL CHECKERS! EMAIL ANONYMOUSLY WITH YOUR DIRT OR FOR CONTACT! THIRTYMILESCORRUPTION@HOTMAIL.COM