Yorba Linda Has a New Police Service
Posted by Brenda McCune on July 18, 2012
Yorba Linda City Council held a meeting to review and vote upon the contract with Orange County Sheriff this evening, Tuesday July 17, 2012. The meeting was fairly predictable both in the vote, the alignments and the participants.
Clearly the city anticipated a large turn out and had overflow seating in City Hall, in the event the Council Chambers could not house everyone. It was however, not a substantial overflow crowd.
The public was provided with a time for comments and the commentary as well as the crowd, were unusually well behaved. The only commentor I felt I could firmly get behind, was my friend Jeff Winter. He praised each and every one of the Council members for their participation and dedication to this community, and thanked them for it. Ed Rakochy praised the majority 3 who have voted to end the policing contract with Brea and begin a new relationship with OCSD, and called them “courageous”. Tony D’Amico stated that having the OCSD policing Yorba Linda was the “next best thing” to having our own police department. Julia Lawson put the majority 3 “on notice” that a variety of legal remedies were being sought against them including complaint to the office of the District Attorney and convening a Grand Jury if necessary, stemming from alleged Brown Act violations. Greg Gillaspy asserted that Council should have spent more time doing research and consulting with sources like OC Watchdog. Jan Horton fired off a plethora of facts, figures and details, as well as restating her offense that Nancy Rikel provided email addresses to ‘Protect Yorba Linda’, an organization supportive of the OCSD contract being implemented in Yorba Linda.
At the close of public comment, Jim Winder reminded the audience and Sheriff Hutchens of his many years of service with Brea PD, in which he managed the contract with Yorba Linda for more than 11 years. He asked some fairly simple questions and had some difficulty getting responsive answers. He expressed concern about “transparency” which really amounted to the repeated complaint of some of the commentors, that there was a serious lack of specificity in the contract. There was discussion of the hiring process and timing of that, which seems obviously unanswerable without resolution of whether the contract was actually being granted or not. The more troubling discussion came when Winder questioned the Sheriff about unfunded pension liability. The bottom line of that discussion was this, Anderson, Protect Yorba Linda and other proponents of the contact with OCSD continue to state that the OSCD and the contract with Yorba Linda has “no unfunded pension liability”. The Sheriff in an uncharacteristically unpolished fashion, repeated her non-responsive answer several times, essentially that there is no ADDITIONAL cost added for unfunded pension liability. In essence, Mr. Winder was looking for what is the PERCENTAGE of the payments under this contract are attributed to the unfunded pension liability, the answer finally came from one of the support staff at the meeting with the Sheriff, which was that it’s about 20%. Mr. Winder also commented that he had been involved in the implementation of the Brea PD substation at Arroyo Park, indicating that it is sorely inadequate for the purposes that the Sheriff’s proposal indicates it will utilize that facility for.
Mr. Winder’s displeasure with the process and inevitable outcome was apparent.
Mr. Anderson only posed a few questions in his portion of the discussion. These were contrived and were really questions to the Sheriff representatives about the Brea PD proposal. Mr. Anderson is a litigator but apparently is not aware of the “lacks foundation” objection. In the kangaroo court manner in which this has proceeded, Brea was excluded from participation in this meeting.
Four more weeks is all that Tom Lindsey advocated in a pre-written statement that he read. I generally am not a fan of speech reading, but this was very nicely stated. In an equivocal and dignified manner, which is atypical of any presentation at a Yorba Linda City Council meeting. He set forth the facts and the timeline which effectively and politely pointed out the magnitude of the problems with how this has all transpired. Mr. Anderson’s later proclamation of transparency rang hollow after Mr. Lindsey’s calm and polite articulation of the facts.
Nancy Rikel’s irrelevant, rhetorical comments, were typical of Councilwoman Rikel, not typical of citizen Nancy Rikel when she was a regular at the podium. Polished and articulate, she said essentially nothing, except that she will vote predictably with the majority
Mr. Anderson, in characteristic fashion, begins condescending and snide, drawing a predictable reaction from someone in the crowd. Mark Schwing, in their usual good-cop/bad-cop routine, stated that it had been such a nice evening of civility that someone should not ruin it now. He did berate Brea PD in a variety of ways, while he said he meant no disrespect to Brea PD. He mentioned the recall effort against him and noted there were “numerous” (?) Political blogs and facebook pages directed at him.
Mr. Schwing (who technically is the current mayor, but only because he and his two buddies decided it would be neat to step over Jim Winder when it was his turn to be mayor) rambled off some more statistics and his spin on them, selling his view that it’s “time” to get this contract signed.
The rhetoric that has erupted on both sides of this issue have been outrageous, often inaccurate and unnecessarily angry and combative in its tone. From the looks of the crowd in attendance tonight, the propaganda has been pushed forward by the usual participants, along the usual us and them lines. An Officer Dominguez was present and spoke, he did not mention whether he was a resident of Yorba Linda, but it was confirmed that he was with the Sheriff union and represented to the council, when questioned, that none of the efforts by Protect Yorba Linda were funded or orchestrated by the union. It was effectively raised as a real concern by Mr. Lindsey that the implementation of the OCSD service would introduce a large union influence in Yorba Linda that we have previously been fortunate to avoid.
Just as the rest of the evening, the end was entirely predictable and no surprises, no acquiescing, no thoughtful consideration of the other side of the argument and no indication that time and/or restraint and research may reveal evidence to change anyone’s mind. In a vote taken at 12:21 am, Wednesday morning, the majority 3, Anderson, Schwing and Rikel voting for the immediate signing of the police contract with the OCSD. Winder and Lindsey voting against. Lindsey’s motion to table the vote for 4 weeks was run over and ignored.
The implementation of the contract is uncertain and not set forth in the contract. The contract with Brea officially ends in May 2013.