OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Policing Yorba Linda

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 15, 2012

Where we’re at now

For more than 40 years the city of Yorba Linda has been policed by the Brea Police Department. The current contract with Brea PD ends in June 2012.  In November 2011,  the Yorba Linda City Council gave Brea PD a Notice of Termination.

There is currently an ongoing bidding process to renegotiate to continue with Brea, or replace their contract with a contract with the Orange County Sheriff or Anaheim Police Department. Competitive bids have been received from each of the three agencies and can be viewed on the city website.

The “Keep Police in Yorba Linda” is essentially the pro-BreaPD group. They have a facebook page and a website, look for Yorba Linda Police.com. The Pro-Sheriff group is Protect Yorba Linda. They are essentially the YLRRR, the group behind Councilmembers, Anderson, Rikel and Schwing.  They have a website and their members have been as active and vociferous as usual on the OC Register website and “Keep Police in Yorba Linda”  facebook page.

How’d we get here

In 2006, a group of Yorba Linda citizens, concerned about redevelopment and a pending plan for a new Town Center organized to elect council members supportive of their efforts, and to pass low growth measures. Since that time the YLRRR has expanded it’s agenda and influence. This group has dominated the last 4 elections, having 7 out of 8 of their candidates elected. They continue to control the current council with 3 of the Councilmembers voting consistently together on their agenda. After the 2010 election they believed they would have virtual ownership of 4 of the 5 council seats, but Tom Lindsey (who seemed not to notice the retribution this group affected upon prior dissidents Jan Horton and Hank Weeda) has shown himself to exercise his own judgment on the council even after accepting the support of YLRRR in the 2010 election.

John Anderson, one of the first candidates supported by this group, and one of it’s founders in 2006, has made no secret of his desire to oust the Brea PD. In 2009, in an effort to move forward with that agenda, a feasibility study was conducted. During this period, the council pursued a plethora of feasibility studies on a variety of issues, spending into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The police study was upwards of $50k.  The police services study essentially found that the replacement of the Brea PD was NOT FEASIBLE nor cost effective. Specifically considered in that investigation was the implementation of protection by the Orange County Sheriff.   The most cost efficient option, as opined by the expert retained by the anti-Brea PD Councilmembers, was to maintain the arrangement with Brea.  This conculsion was based upon the millions of dollars it would cost to staff up, and acquire equipment for any new organization to police Yorba Linda.  Depending upon the means of the gearing up, the opinion of the costs of starting up with a new agency ranged from $16-30 million.

In spite of that 2009 recommendation, On November 1, 2011 the council voted to issue the Notice of Termination to Brea PD. The item on the agenda for that November meeting was #11, “Potential Future Options”. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was in attendance at that meeting, prepared with a power point presentation. The public attendees of that meeting have repeatedly used the word “shocked” to describe their response to the vote to terminate the 40 year Brea PD contract and the presence of the Sheriff with her presentation.  No part of the agenda indicated that the Sheriff would be providing a presentation.  Whether the vague description of the agenda item was intended to mislead the public, the fact is that it did.

What’s gonna happen next

On April 24, 2012, at 6:00 pm at the Yorba Linda Community Center will be a public meeting. The three agencies will give presentations, then the floor will be open for public comment.

Whether or not the council will vote on the proposals that night is not known. Again with the ambiguity. The Brea police contract expires in June.

There has been some debate about whether Councilman Jim Winder should or will vote on this, as he is retired from Brea PD. The answer is, who cares. Jim could stay home from every meeting from now until his term runs out, his vote is irrelevant. The YLRRR owns this council and the 3 will vote together.

It is hard to guess, but it will not go to Anaheim. They should stay home with Jim and Tom, they are not even realistically in the running. This council has been courting the Sheriff for some time. It is possible, I think unlikely, but possible, that if there is enough of a public outcry that the council votes to keep Brea. This council has a history of this kind of exacerbated game playing, i.e. create a side show, a fire, and then save the situation so that they can cry from their soap box about how they saved the situation from the fire. Political grandsstanding and publicity whoring has become a specialty of this group.

Up until the mandated annexation of unincorporated areas of Yorba Linda in 1994, many neighborhoods in Yorba Linda were policed by the Orange County Sheriff. No one anywhere has discussed this. I lived in one of those areas for 13 years. The service was abhorrent. They were slow, non-responsive and not in any way interested in the remote area of Yorba Linda. The funny thing about the rhetoric and alleged “information” provided on the “Protect” (YLRRR) web site, is that they indicate that if we retain the service of the Sheriff, Yorba Linda will be provided with a police station and ownership of the police cars, all at a cost savings of $1 million dollars per year. Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, and Obamacare will cure the national deficit as well.

I am sure they will be serving Kool-Aid at the April 24 meeting, if you beleive that adding and staffing up a new agency will save the city money, drink up.

22 Responses to “Policing Yorba Linda”

  1. Ed Rakochy said

    @Brenda, As a founding member of YLRRR, I wanted to clear up a few things about your post on this blog. I will address each misstatement in the order it appeared.

    1. Protect Yorba Linda is NOT affiliated with YLRRR. I am a YLRRR Board member and YLRRR has only endorsed the competitive bidding process and has NOT taken a position of supporting ANY police agency proposal at this time.

    2. I am the YLRRR member you mentioned who has taken a position on the police contract. Yep, that’s right. I support the proposal from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Last time I checked the First Amendment, I have a right to voice my opinion and take a stand on any issue as an individual, regardless of my membership in ANY civic organization. Secondly, to assume the civic organizations, of which I am a member, shares my beliefs is just that; an assumption. Based on your associations and your “guilt by association” rationale in your post, I can therefore assume you support the Brea Police Department. Breaking news! Stop the presses. Oh the intrigue.

    3. Sorry to bust your urban legend bubble about YLRRR, but you are incorrect about the group’s formation and its early membership. As I mentioned previously, I helped found YLRRR in January 2005, as the Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Redevelopment. John Anderson had no connection with the group until Summer of 2006 when both he and Jan Horton were endorsed by YLRRR for Yorba Linda City Council.

    4. Please don’t confuse retribution with accountability. In a democratic-republic, it’s an individual’s or a group’s right to hold a candidate’s and an elected official’s feet to the fire. If a candidate breaks their promises or flip-flops on an issue(s), we all have the right to criticize that candidate and remove them from office with our vote if necessary. YLRRR is NOT in lockstep with the opinions of the candidates and council members we support. In fact, we have openly disagreed with the positions of our supported Council members on issues ranging from bond measures, to Lakeview Avenue widening, to Black Gold, etc.

    5. Your statement about the Ralph Anderson & Associates (RAA) Law Enforcement Study’s conclusion which said, “The police services study essentially found that the replacement of the Brea PD was NOT FEASIBLE nor cost effective.” is an outright lie.

    The RAA conclusion said this: “Service from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is an excellent option, except service would likely be from their main facility in Santa Ana. The City of Placentia does not appear to be a good option from a financial perspective. The City of Anaheim would appear to be the best option outside of the City of Brea given its size and substantial resources and the proximity of one its substations to the City. Generally, however, this report concludes that Yorba Linda probably would be best served by continuing its service with Brea.”

    So, based on this information and new information from the Sheriff Department’s proposal, which is lower in cost than Brea’s lowest bid and includes a police substation in Yorba Linda, it would appear that the Sheriff’s bid is an excellent option. However, I would suggest that Yorba Linda residents (including yourself) read the RAA report on the agency proposals which is supposed to come out this week before drawing their own conclusions.

    6. As for Councilman Winder, the point isn’t his vote won’t count. The point is for 11.5 years he’s supported Brea PD with his votes, as a retired Brea PD captain and with a daughter in the employment of the Department. For 11.5 years, his lack of oversight has allowed the Brea Police contract to balloon out of control. Winder also voted against the RAA Law Enforcement Study and he did not support the competitive bidding process. Ironically, this process has resulted in Brea returning with two lower bids than their current contract price of $11.4 million. How evil and un-American of the Council majority to create competition for price and service.

    7. I said in #2 we ALL have the right to voice our opinions. You’re doing a fine job of that. But, I found it necessary to help separate your fiction from facts and point out that your lack of facts and correct information make it appear you have an agenda just like those you’re so critical of. After all, you were a candidate for City Council in 2010 and it’s pretty clear you’re on the Brea PD bandwagon. The Kool-Aid you’re offering up has a bitter taste.

    • Ed, thanks for your comments and for visiting the blog. I am very proud to be a part of OC Political with some of the greatest minds in local politics. I am a big fan of the First Amendment and this is an open forum, all opinions are welcome.

      Thanks for confirming you founded YLRRR and are currently on the board. It is nearly impossible to determine who runs or is involved in that organization as there is precious little information available. We do agree that the Horton/Anderson ticket was the first election in which YLRRR showed it’s potential to dramtically impact politics in Yorba Linda. Since that time, the group has clearly dominated each campaign, except for the one in which Jim Winder defeated you.

      As to what plan YLRRR supports, the three Councilmembers that support the ousting of Brea PD and implementing service by the Sheriff are the same 3 candidates who have been and are always supported by YLRRR. I truly have no idea who is the puppet and who pulls the strings, but the relationship is unmistakable. Schwing and Rikel, campaigning early for their November 2012 bid, have been pretty unequivocal in their recent public statements claiming responsibility for saving Yorba Linda from the Brea PD contract.

      There seems to be a fluid definition of “fiscal conservative”, but if it means that they can decrease the current expenditure for police services, while adding a police station and city ownership of cars, then maybe the term actually means magical powers. The simple math related to building a station and purchasing cars would naturally add up to more money and not less. I’m no accountant but it seems rudimentary. I can only assume that the “fiscal conservative” County Supervisors have been apprised of the effect of these magnanimous promises of the Sheriff on their County budget. Other than directing that any contract be for a minimum of 5 years, the last County Supervisors meeting in which they discussed the potential for a Sheriff contract with Yorba Linda, there was no mention of adding a station and new cars. Shawn Nelson specifically expressed concern of the costs of staffing up and equipment additions in the potential exposure for cancellation of a short term contract. There was no mention of a building.

      Please feel free to re-read my post, you apparently mis-read a good portion of it, because we disagree on very few facts, just obviously came to different conclusions. “Yorba Linda would be best served by continuing it’s service with Brea”….seems unambiguous to me. I’m not sure what you gain by calling me a liar, your tone is unnecessary especially when I fully respect and welcome your opposing opinion. I will never resort to calling you names to make a point.

      In any event, please feel free to follow the blog. I will have more posts related specifically to Yorba Linda. Like bees to honey, I am sure I can count on you for additional commentary.

      • Ed Rakochy said

        @Brenda, Stating a Sheriff’s option is “not feasible” is not the same as a consultant’s conclusion of “excellent option.” You can call it whatever you want. But, I think most readers who take the time to understand the facts, will call it what it is; a lie. I’m not going to sugar coat it and call it a “misrepresentation of the facts.” I’ve spent over 30 years in film/TV media and TV journalism. Blogging is the farthest thing from journalism. It’s editorializing with a fun twist, because a blogger can throw objectivity out the door and say whatever they want, without ever having to verify a single source or shred of information. All a blogger has to do is throw their thought against the wall and hope it sticks.

        I apologize if I ruffled your feathers. But, I’m not the sort of person who tolerates misinformation from the media, government, corporations and local bloggers.

        • Never a ruffled feather. Your vitriole everywhere in the blogoshere is apparent. As I said before, this is an open forum and I will acknowledge always, your right to your opinion. If you’re looking for exchange of personal insults and name calling, you’ve come to the wrong place. You can certainly revert to other forums where you’ve flourished in doing just that. Also, feel free (again) to re-read my post, you seem to have added some things, or are debating with yourself.

          I don’t see that anyone asked for your resume, but I could have guessed that articulation and persuasion were not part of your professional skill set.

          Thanks again for visiting the blog, we appreciate the interest and traffic.

          • Ed Rakochy said

            Brenda, I’m just here to point out your fiction and the facts. It would appear that when you can’t support your fiction with facts, you attack the messengers who dare to point out the facts. Speaking of vitriol, when you called Council person’s comments “publicity whoring” in another post, you didn’t exactly send your love. Statements like, “All it really accomplished was to confirm that they are pandering jerks” isn’t a whole lotta love either. When you’re ready to discuss the real facts about the police proposals drop me a line.

            • Ed, love was never intended. Keep trying at sarcasm, you might get it yet. I won’t bother to list here the multiple examples or your council members utilizing their city positions for self promotion, but thanks for the idea. That is certainly enough information for another whole discussion. Your version of “fiction and facts” ignores that behavior and history are indeed well documented facts, and the logic applied to the actions is more persuasive and real than your spin on figures and dressed up “facts”. A trailer in the school district parking lot? That’s a police station? Super. What a fantastic and lasting asset that the city can be proud of.

              • Rick Clark said

                Brenda, never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

                YL has posted a matrix comparing all three bids, and I quote from page 6: 1st Year Yorba Linda Budget Allocation necessary for police services, including worker’s compensation obligation to City of Brea – Brea $10,550,392, City of Anaheim $11,473,262 and OCSD $10,489,411.

                The difference in cost between Brea and OCSD is roughly $61,000 – far from the “saving a million dollars a year” being advertised and eBlasted by the OCSD proponents.

                The difference in services provided almost requires a PhD. to interpret. Hopefully, the pending A&A narrative will help shed a little light on the services side of the equation… if it’s truly written from an unbiased perspective.

                • Oh Rick, thank you. I had not seen that. I agree that a PhD or an extensive experience in law enforecement is necessary to understand the “proposals”, and to me, the “proposals” contain quite a lot of marketing.

                  • Rick Clark said

                    The A&A summary narrative (24 pages plus Comparison Matrix and Workers’ Compensation/Indemnification Provisions) is now also posted ( http://bit.ly/HMDEYr ) and makes for some really interesting reading. As mentioned, the cost gap has closed significantly allowing council to focus more intently on services than perhaps they might have in the beginning. I have been, and remain, a believer that Brea will emerge as the hands down best choice for anyone making a well considered and totally unbiased decision.

                    • Ed Rakochy said

                      As the consultant outlined on pages 11-12 and 18-20, it’s pretty clear when one focuses on services as you suggest that OCSD is the best choice. Brea cannot compete with either Anaheim and the Sheriff in the area of overall services. Additionally, Yorba Linda taxpayers should be concerned about Brea’s provision that leaves them on the hook for Brea’s unfunded pension liability. This is discussed on pages 13-14. There is no requirement in the OCSD proposal that requires Yorba Linda to cover unfunded pensions. Plus, OCSD employes are not members of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and they are employees of the County and not the City.

                      I posted this below, but for accessibility you can read about Brea’s pension problems in this article: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/brea-312710-pension-police.html. It states, “To pay off its debt over the next three decades, Brea would have to fork over $10 million a year – that’s more than double the $4.5 million in annual sales tax revenue the city gets from the Brea Mall.” The more I understand Brea’s pension problems and other fiscal woes, the more I understand your purpose in posting on all these blogs. You’re a Brea resident, a former Brea city commissioner and public relations professional. I think you’ve got some friends at Brea City Hall. Brea wants this contract. Brea needs this contract and you’re here to make sure that happens. As I’ve stated before, I support your right to express your opinion. I just think it’s important that readers understand your motives.

                    • Rick Clark said

                      Who I am is no more relevant than who you are. My motives are clarity, honesty and promoting the people’s voice.

  2. YL Resident said


    I was the one!!!!!

  3. Peggy Huang said

    At the November 1, 2012 Yorba Linda City Council Meeting, I spoke out in opposition to the City Council’s decision to send a letter of intent to terminate contract services with the Brea Police Department. I cited Brea PD’s excellent service, rapid response time, and my loyalty to the officers who patrol my neighborhood. I acknowledged that the 49% indirect cost bore by Yorba Linda was too much, especially with a projected budget shortfall. However, over 20% of Brea PD officers live in Yorba Linda and officers who live in the city that they patrol are deeply invested in its safety.
    Nevertheless, in the past few months I realized that competitive bidding might have been a good idea. A healthy dose of free market enterprise is what we need to regulate government spending and maintain oversight of government contracts. Because of the competitive bidding process, Brea PD proposes that Yorba Linda be involved in all future labor negotiations. Brea PD also intends to pay for the cost of studying the feasibility of a North Orange County Police Department. While on the surface the OC Sheriff’s $9.8 million proposal appears to be less than Brea PD’s $10.7 million proposal, the Sheriff’s proposal does not include start up costs, purchase of new vehicles and motorcycles, and facility costs. The fact that the base salary for a Brea PD officer is $5000 a year less than a Sheriff’s base salary and Brea PD has agreed to pension reform, Yorba Linda would save millions in the long term with a Brea PD contract.
    As tumultuous as the process of competitive bidding has been to our community, I believe that the free market enterprise triumphed by forcing vendors who seek to do business with the City to evaluate whether they are providing the quality services and best value to taxpayers. In reality, fiscal conservatism requires the application of free market business principles rather than the simplistic idea of just less government spending.

    • All so true, Peggy. There is no reason to blindly follow and accept the status quo, and with the current economic environment,and the burgeoning obligations of employee pensions, reevaluation is indeed a prudent idea.

      However, relationships are difficult to quantify. With a 42 year relationship, as you stated, many officers invested in the community, many residents feel attached to the organization, not to mention the experience that exists in the Brea force…..you can not put a dollar amount on these things. That is not to say we should accept their contracts without examination, but some discussion, any talks, prior to the notice of termination, would have been a more digified and honest way to approach this. The lack of candor and transparency that lead to this is concerning.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • Ed Rakochy said

      @Peggy, Thanks for supporting competitive bidding. I would like to point out some discrepancies in your analysis of the proposals. For starters, the $1.4 million startup costs for the Sheriff’s Department are included in their price of $9.6 million. The startup costs are amortized in to the life of the 5-year contract. So, the OCSD price is $9.6 million and that includes startups. Secondly, should the Council decide to include the Sheriff’s option of a Yorba Linda police station, the cost would be $9.8 million a year. Both Sheriff’s options are still lower than Brea PD’s Option 2 of $10.3 million. But, Option 2 drops 1.5 officers from our current LOS. Brea’s Option 1 is $10.7 million and maintains our current LOS. What you also neglected to mention is that Brea’s proposal includes and annual “new equipment” cost of $103,000, which actually makes the Brea bids $10.4 and $10.7 million respectively.

      I would also point out that Brea’s proposal leaves Yorba Linda on the hook for Brea’s unfunded pension problems and Brea has some serious pension problems, as are pointed out in this OC Register article: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/brea-312710-pension-police.html. Brea has one of the highest per capita pension burdens in the County. I don’t think Yorba Linda residents want to tackle Brea’s pension problems at this time or anytime.

      Lastly, your point regarding Brea officer salaries doesn’t connect with the fact that Brea’s bids are higher than the Sheriff’s Based on your argument, Brea’s price should be lower. It’s higher than the Sheriff. Perhaps you can help readers understand your logic.

  4. Ted said

    Thank you Brenda for bringing up this very important issue. I have had a chance to review all three proposals. I also reviewed the A&A report that you and Mr. Rakochy referred to.
    My impression of this process is that I think it is always in the taxpayers’ best interest to get the best bang for our buck. If your try to take an unbiased view/assessment of the three proposals the contrasts just jump out at you. I do have to say that I was a south county resident for most of my life and have only lived in Yorba Linda since 2003 so I don’t have the emotional connection to Brea that some may have. I lived much of my life as a recipient of OCSD services in south OC but I like to think any biases I have that could favor the OCSD have been diluted substantially over the past 9 years.

    I think Brea is going to have a very difficult time holding on to this contract. The services they propose to offer and the resources, or lack thereof, at their disposal will no doubt be their demise, in my humble opinion. Lets face it, they are not a multidimensional police agency with vast resources. Additionally, the cost savings to the city is very hard to ignore, economic times being what they are. And if the OCSD services were so horrible or overpriced then why are the south OC cities not marching in the streets in protest? I think folks who subscribe to your point of view would be marching out city managers and council members by the bucket loads from down south railing against their police contracting deals. But it appears that is not the case.

    Mr. Rakochy also makes a good point when he refers to the A&A report, pointing out that the report states OCSD would be an excellent option. That was stated in the report when services were presumed to come from Santa Ana. The proposal I’ve read now indicates we in Yorba Linda will have a full service police station. I don’t see how you can make the inference (with all-caps) that the OCSD is NOT FEASIBLE per the A&A report.

    Also, I believe from what I’ve read that even though Brea has policed YL for 40+ years, we own nothing in terms of police cars and equipment? Could that be true? Seems wildly unbelievable. I believe the OCSD proposal states YL will own everything it purchases. Maybe there is a Santa Claus. Perhaps you could do all of us a favor and contact some of the OCSD cities and find out if they own their equipment.

    I have small kids that not only live in YL, but got to public school here. I look at these proposal purely from what I’m going to be receiving in terms of services. My kids and family deserve all the same things that the folks who live in South OC get. According to the proposal I read, that is something Brea cannot deliver, with all due respect.

    In closing, I hope the City Council is able to properly analyze the proposals, remove themselves from the emotion, and make the right decision for us taxpayers.

    Ted Denny

    • Ted, I was referring to the 2009 report. There were many of us who thought this issue was concluded at that time, with the recommendations contained in that costly report. In the discussion of the “excellent option” portion of that report, no one here has yet discussed the costs opined for staff up and equipment. Millions of dollars were estimated, for what the Sheriff is now proposing for essentially free. It is just hard to believe.

      I agree with you that if the additional services, equipment and a building can all be provided at a reduced cost, of course that sounds like the best and greatest option. Provided this can actually be accomplished.

      And in reading your post, I realize I should be clear, the Sheriff ceased policing any unincorporated areas of Yorba Linda in 1994. Apparently well before your experience with them in or around 2003. I have been a supporter of Sheriff Hutchens. My concern with the Sheriff as the agency in Yorba Linda is that the distance was definitely a problem. There were no cars on patrol here, and Brea would not respond to any unincorporated areas. The confusion and time delay was a significant safety concern.

      I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere in Orange County marching in the streets over any of this. Schools, police, fire, sanitation, all over this county are discussed in various places on this blog and are in varying degrees of adequate. None of these proposals, or these bidding agencies, will leave the citizens of Yorba Linda in any grave risk. The issue is what is best, in a city where things have been really good, for a really long time. I never try to fix things that aren’t broken, and I differ seriously with the council majority of 3 who concluded the relationship with Brea PD was broken. I think inroads could have been made with a different approach 6 years ago.

      Thank you for your candor, and civility. It is an important issue, and we all should look at all sides, and yes, I do hope the council makes a decision based upon all considerations, fiscal and otherwise. My fear is that it is a foregone conclusion that has been in the works for some time.

  5. Rick Clark said

    If the City Council puts politics ahead of practicality, personal bias ahead of professional intelligence, the community of Yorba Linda will pay a very heavy price for years to come.

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