OC Political

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

Yorba Linda Police Contract: The Latest

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 29, 2012

There is a facebook page promoting a recall effort of the 3 council members who voted last week to terminate the 42 year relationship between the Brea Police Department and the Orange County Sherrif.  I have at other posts on OC Political, expressed what I know and my thoughts about how this vote to terminate the contract with Brea PD came about, so I will try not belaver those things further.  However, the debate rages on, with not uncommon alignments.  There is still the Pro-Brea PD facebook page I mentioned earlier, which now invites its readers to visit the Recall page.  While the Recall page gained pretty a pretty rapidly expanding fan base in the first few hours it was up, it’s growth and popularity seems to have sputtered.

Two of the three who made this decision, (again from prior posts on OC Political, note that these three are the majority controlling vote on every issue, systematically vote together and annihilate any opposition)  are up for election in November. 

Schwing and Rikel have made it public that they will seek re-election, in November 2012.  That is only 7 months from now, and in a Presidential election year, voter turnout should be high.   Even before their vote on the Police contract last week, they both were touting their accomplishments as “fiscal conservatives” in seeking a competitive bid process for the police services. The writing has been on that wall for years now.  Mr. Anderson and his cohorts have made their agenda to replace Brea PD with OC Sheriff no secret.  Also not surprising in the “competitive” bid process, Anaheim PD, cheaper than Brea, closer than the Sheriff, already staffed and housed in close proximinty to Yorba Linda, received no votes.  Competitive bid process indeed.

John Anderson, the third vote on awarding the contract to the Sheriff, was just elected to his second term in November 2010.  He was the top vote getter in that race, just 18 months ago.

I am hearing rumors of a referendum in the works, but have seen no actual information, website, literature or anyone claiming responsibility.

I can not imagine where a Recall effort will go. The voters in Yorba Linda, as in many local political climates, have a fairly short attention span. While this is a shocking development to many, there are those who are as enthusiastically bidding Brea PD farewell.  The usual political actives in town have been very vocal and involved, attending and speaking at every meeting, but those usual disgruntled few, do not a Recall make.  There is also no bank roll for any of this Recall/Referendum effort as we have seen in other successful local recalls.

My disclaimer is this, I lost in that November 2010 election to John Anderson.  I have a tremendous dislike for his politics, what has seemed like a clearly personal agenda on every issue, and the thug politics tactics employed by his supporters.  During that campaign I was daily contacted by residents who vowed their vote but for a variety of reasons would not in any way publicly disclose support of someone other than Anderson.  The reasons ranged from being an employee in the same County department as Anderson, needing a variance or permit, or road work in their neighborhood, to having a client or customer who was a member of the YLRRR, being afraid of losing a contract or funding from the city, the list goes on.  The agressive retribution of this group has been well known. 

John Anderson was however, elected by a clear margin and in this situation with the police contract vote, I see no evidence of wrongoding, nothing illegal or unethical in the maner in which this vote came about.  I think it was inappropriate, somewhat underhanded, and am sad that Brea Police were not treated as a team member and efforts made to improve the relationship, service and shared economics.  It is also amazing to me that 3 elected officials in the course of one 5 hour meeting can award a five year, $10 million contract, but there is no evidence that any legal bar exists to prevent it. This self serving behavior and tactics have been par for the course with John Anderson’s cohorts and any candidates of the YLRRR, but Recall? 

At the time of the 2010 election in spite of the ample evidence that this was the manner in which these council members would continue to, and had done business in this city, Anderson was re-elected.  Since he and his companions have dominated the council, the city has been through 4 city managers, rewritten a long standing contract and replaced the city attorneys,  (Again, no secret that Anderson intended to and did replace the prior law firm with one of his choosing) and in general they have micromanaged and criticized every city department and/or contract that was in place when they came to power.  A wholesale effort to replace anyone and everyone who was not “one-of-us” was undertaken.  We as a city, elected and re-elected them. 

To me, a recall effort only furthers the dissention and distrust that currently exists in and with our city government.   The inflammatory histrionics that necessarily come with a recall effort are going to be much like scratching an open wound.  I won’t support any recall.  I don’t like this council, but we have the government we elected.  Sore losers are neither effective or persuasive and responding to thug politics with more thug politics is disrespectful to the process, and something we should be working to avoid and not encourage.

The contract with Brea PD does not end until May 2013.  There will have to be determinations about transistions and logistics.  I am eager to see how these things pan out and watch as the Sheriff attempts to implement their very enthusiastic and overly ambitious proposals, including setting up a whole new station while saving the city over a million dollars each year over the next 5 years. 

If the costs are amortized over the life of the contract, then who bears the  actual start up costs?   The simple answer would be the County.  As a resident of Yorba Linda, I am also a resident of the county right? So, I pick up the tab either way.  It just seems that now, when there’s an overrun, my neighbors in the farther corners of the county are going to help me pick up the tab.  I sure appreciate that.

I also wish that all the Sheriff fans would stop talking about all the impressive special forces and technology the Sheriff will bring to Yorba Linda.  Please carefully read the proposal, most of those impressive services we already had access to.  Nothing new, not a bonus, we already were getting them as county residents. 

I understand there is another city staff report in the works, presumably related to implementation and transition.  I have not been able to get the links on the city website to work, but the information,  the staff report when it’s done and an agenda for the upcoming meeting are always found there on the city website.  The next Council meeting is Tuesday evening May 1, in the City Council Chambers.  Public Comment on non-agenda items is generally first.  If you have something to say to your elected officials, you should get there early and plan on staying for the duration.  It is not uncommon for these meetings to go well past midnight.  This issue of the police contract has garnered a good deal of public input.  Pretty much all of it ignored, but if you want to exercise your right to say something, it is there for you to exercise.

Be clear on the fact that in November, there are 3 seats open on the Yorba Linda  city council.  Anderson is safe.  Shwing and Rikel are incumbents running again, but could be replaced.  Winder is termed out, so his seat is open.  If we follow the trend of blindly re-electing incumbents, we will have the same exact council we have now, the 3 who control and 2 who should just stay home because their vote and their presence does not matter.  Imagine this, we could also elect 3 independent thinkers, unalligned with any political action committee and citizens might then have an atual voice with the goings on in our city.   If you were one of the majority of the supporters of Brea PD who attended the meeting last Thursday, you know what it is like to be ignored.  Vote and support independent candidates who are not owned by YLRRR, this seems the only viable option at this point, but whether residents will actually stand up and speak up remains to be seen.

11 Responses to “Yorba Linda Police Contract: The Latest”

  1. Ed Rakochy said

    Brenda,

    I wanted to clear up some errors in your post.

    1. The Sheriff’s contract will actually save the City $1 million a year for 5 years. You stated over a million dollars over 5 years. It would be more like $5 million over 5 years.

    Here’s where that $1 million figure comes from. At Tuesday night’s special meeting, the Sheriff offered a new cost savings proposal, which included a plan to house the six County island deputies at the new Yorba Linda substation. This proposal would save the City an additional $665,000 year. It wasn’t mentioned in the proposal and maybe that’s why you missed it. Secondly, the consultant put the cost savings of the Sheriff’s original proposal over the remaining four years of the contract at $340,000 per year. That coupled with the $665,000 works out out to a little more than $1 million a year in savings over the term of the contract.

    2. The amortized startup up costs are being paid ONLY by Yorba Linda taxpayers, because the Yorba Linda infrastructure purchased (cruisers, uniforms, etc.) would exclusively serve Yorba Linda and not the County. The Sheriff’s proposal was $9.6 million a year and that included the $1.4 million startup costs, which were amortized over the 5-year period of the contract. The Sheriff’s proposal was $9.8 million with the police station and the startup costs.

    As for your “picking up the tab either way argument,” if you amortize costs and spread them over 3 million County residents versus 65,000 Yorba Linda residents, the savings would be major, which leads me to my next point. The economy of scale keeps costs lower for everyone, because it spreads them out over a larger number of taxpayers. I agree one pays whether they are a Yorba Linda or County taxpayer, but the cost is significantly less as a County taxpayer. That’s why Brea’s $35 million pension tab was the elephant in the room Tuesday night. Yorba Linda was on the hook for those unfunded pensions in the Brea proposal, but they weren’t in the Sheriff’s.

    Quite frankly, the key in all of this is the contract. Proposals aren’t legally binding. Contracts are and that’s where we all should be paying close attention and participating in the process.

    • I believe, and my recollection, is that you are correct Ed, the OCSD Sheriff proposal alleged that it would save $1m per year, I have corrected that. Interesting, I have not been able to access any of the links to the proposals today, maybe the traffic to the city site has become overwhelming. The Matrix of comparison though, pegged the actual savings at about $60k per year, a far cry from the $1m alleged in the proposal.

      My point about the start up costs is that they are by definition…..needed to “start-up” . These have to be advanced by someone. I don’t have a large business, but moving or “starting” costs, I have learned, require actual money. Amortizing is an accounting mechanism, it doesn’t mean that the set up, start up, opening up, didn’t cost actual money at the time of the start up. The building, the cars, the phones the staff, all have to be in place, up and running on Day 1. It doesn’t matter where you put the numbers or what you call it. All of it has to happen, not just one-fifth of it, on or before the first day of operation.

      Your figures on the cost per county resident are not relevant to the point. My comment about sharing the cost with neighbors to the south is rhetorical. The point being, by using accounting procedures and some slick marketing, the Sheriff proposal conveniently does not discuss some of the most pivotal issues. It’s illusory in many ways.

      The allegations of unfunded liabilty, frankly are just as illusory. This is certainly a topic for a whole other discussion, but the sky-is-falling approach to scaring voters is clearly working. None of these discussions on alleged unfunded liabilty take into consideration the forecasting nature of these predictions. The assertion that the final deal with the Sheriff allows us to skirt any responsibility whatsoever for their unfunded liability is just as non-sensical as police station-for-free. It makes no sense. Call it what you want, give it a different label and put it in another line item, and pick whatever forecasted figures you like, it is not logical that the Sheriff is not passing any of their pension consequences to the city. All of my spidey senses are telling me the proposal is a bait and switch, or at least a lost leader, and we will pick up the tab somewhere else where we least expect it.

      I appreciate you rasing the issue of the contract, I have been wondering about this and suppose we will know on Tuesday. My impression is that there will, from here forward, be only ongoing negotiations with the Sheriff and no other agency? I also agree that a proposal is NOT a contract, which is why I find the slick marketing approach of the Sheriff proposal so concerning. I would hope it would be as real and candid as possible. If these these promises that seem to not add up, truly do not add up, after further vetting, then where are we???

  2. Steve Badger said

    I have heard that John Anderson has one goal in mind, that being to obtain a sponsor for his bid to be a Judge in OC. Guess OCSD sounds much better BPD. Only wish our politicians would have their constituants in mind versus their own personal agenda..

    • Steve, I have heard this theory that John Anderson has sights on some other office, but I do not have any information to substantiate these rumors. My own opinion is that if he had in mind a Judicial seat, there must be an easier way for a Deputy DA to go about it, if that were his goal. Anderson was always clear about his intent to replace Brea PD with the OCSD, and his early intent to oust City Manager Tamara Letourneau, but I have never heard him express an intent to seek a Judgship or other office. However, he also said in the course of his first term that he would be a one term council member……??

  3. Steve Badger said

    Please tell me how BPD officers wage rates are between $9 – $10 LOWER than OCSD and OCSD still get’s a competitive bid? Something that the “Consultants” seemed to have missed in their analysis.

  4. Ted Denny said

    Brenda,

    You make an interesting argument with your support for the city of Brea. But your statement “The allegations of unfunded liability, frankly are just as illusory” is just baffling! If the pension liability issue is based on something imagined or is an illusion, then why did the city of Brea not have a response that addressed this “illusory” issue? Brea had no way to address this issue with Anderson because the issue is REAL. Plain and simple. Anderson was very effective in pointing this out. I also cannot understand why you take offence to the notion that the OCSD could possibly operate under a system where every contract city under its jurisdiction pays their actual costs for services they receive? Even the Sheriff noted that the government code only allows COUNTIES to charge for actual costs. Why is that important? Well, because no such requirement exists for cities (Read: Brea). And if what you say is true, then why aren’t the many cities under the OCSD jurisdiction raising a Hubbub of biblical proportions?

    I also take issue with your comment regarding the impressive “special forces” (your description) offered by the OCSD. You characterize them as “Nothing new, not a bonus, we already were getting them as county residents.” I am in agreement with you in concept. All county residents are entitled to these services. Unfortunately, in reality as residents of Yorba Linda although we were entitled to them, the city of Brea did not allow them in. Please take a look at all the services offered by the OCSD to all cities and ask yourself, or better yet ask your friends at the Brea PD, when these services were ever utilized routinely in Yorba Linda? Homicide, sex crimes, bomb squad, helicopter patrols, horseback patrols, hostage negotiators, SWAT, bloodhounds, the list goes on… Why is that? Because Brea decided they would go it alone and not use these services and instead pay for them on their own. Correction: have the taxpayers of Yorba Linda and Brea pay for them. Put yourself in the Brea PD’s Chief’s shoes, how would it look if every time something beyond normal patrol functions occurred in either Brea or Yorba Linda, they called in the OCSD? It would not make Brea PD look good, and what has happened with this contract would likely have happened many years ago. This point is further illustrated by the fact that in Brea’s proposal and Chief Conklin’s presentation they could not even bring themselves to note (or utter the words) the services are provided by the OC Sheriff. Instead they would only refer to the “County.”

    After I heard what the consultant presented at the council meeting I knew that Brea had an uphill battle. I figured they would knock it out of the park with their presentation. We all witnessed the complete meltdown. It was not pretty. But it was necessary. I’m sure it was not an easy task for Anderson but I was impressed that he had the intestinal fortitude to ask the difficult questions. I didn’t know a lot about him at all before this process started but after I saw him in action that night, WOW. Impressed was I.

    I do appreciate the fact that you think a recall is bad for YL. I would agree with you. I do not believe a recall effort will gain any traction whatsoever in this city, especially in light of the cost savings this arrangement will bring to the taxpayers. I also don’t believe the Brea PD officers who will be hired on as a result of the conditions put forth by the council will be left out to dry. After the dust settles I’m sure many officers at the PD will probably decide to voluntarily make the move. I think there may be a stampede out the door to the OCSD, but that remains to be seen.

    Theo

    • Theo, There is a political witch hunt afoot, and its name is “unfunded liability”. It is bantered about as if it is as certain as the sun rising tomorrow. The acctuarial analysis upon which these constant allegations of unfunded liability are based, are forecasts by nature, based upon expectancies and events, probabilities and mortality tables, but they are treated and asserted as if they are absolute truth. Assuming that ‘unfunded liability’ is the evil certainty that it is alleged to be, then to make the stretch that we,as a contracting city and county residents, somehow completely skirt any and all responsibility for the retirement shortfall by OCSD is unrealistic and illogical. This is an initial contract, and only for 5 years. Costs can be recovered in many ways.

      Maybe you have not read all of the posts related to the police contract, but my earlier comment was that Brea PD, sadly, seemed beat when they started their public presentation. This could be a result of having been beaten down by this council for the past few years. They just seemed thoroughly worn out. Anaheim and OCSD were polished and impressive. Unfortunately, Anaheim was wholly disregarded.

      I have searched this and my prior posts for something indicating my “support” of Brea PD. I do not find any of my posts on OC Political vowing my support for Brea PD, although many residents have contacted me assuming the same. I regret that this ugliness has and will result in the end of a long term relationship. Brea PD has served the city of Yorba Linda well, and I do have a number of personal and professional relationships with Brea officers. Although I have periodically been on the wrong side of an interaction with them, I would not have supported a wholesale replacement of the agency that has policed this city for four decades.

      The nasty rhetoric and personal agendas that have plagued Yorba Linda for the past 6 years are not good for the city. An effort to preserve relationships, maintain institutional knowledge and history, instead of the tear it all down and rebuild it with our people, would have been more cost effective, and less wasteful in the time, money, energy,emotional upheaval, than what has occurred. Brea PD has been a target of this council for years. The majority council have finally succeeded in running them out of town. I don’t consider that a victory for the city, but the majority council considers it a victory for them.

      Impressive is not in any way how I would have described Mr. Anderson’s conduct toward the Brea PD representatives. I would have described it as smarmy, condescending and demeaning. Again, this is my main issue. The disrespect was completely unecessary. I appreciate Mr. Anderson’s commitment to the city, and his service to the county, but his behavior was intended to play to the crowd, to his supporters, and was indicative, and promotive of, the pervasive disrespectful demeanor that has sadly come to characterize this council.

  5. Lita Harshbarger Eastman said

    It was an eye opening City Council meeting lasting 9 hours. As those watching via the web or cable witnessed, and those of us live endured, we observed adult bullying at its finest display, and the power that a “gang” has over it’s constituents. Politics at its finest – NOT! Anderson may be a prosecutor, but he will never make it as a Judge (his aspiration I presume), he would be laughed out of the courtroom by both sides. As for his “followers,” I would bet in five years they deny knowing him.

    In regards to the contract, many things look good on paper, but very few proposals are the final contract price and sacrifices and trade offs are many. Dispatch is in Santa Ana, jail is in Santa Ana, records- some Santa Ana, other’s anyone’s guess, maintenance of vehicles and equipment (?), all the other details of this non-fully functioning police department within the confines of Yorba Linda – anyone’s guess. Did read a good article that was posted by a Bail Bonds company saying expect long delays if you or a loved one are arrested. You will now be with all the other’s picked up and taken to Santa Ana. Expect booking delays, and release delays. What was a 30 minute delay could now be hours or more.

    They may save a few bucks or not, but the inconveniences will be felt for years to come. Good Luck.

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, LIta. The supporters of John Anderson consistently have the loudest voice. I believe that the alleged ‘savings’ will evaporate as soon as they are up and running for 24 months or more. There are bound to be a plethora of ‘unexpected’ cost overruns and really good excuses to substantially increase the costs of the next contract. There are a lot of loose ends in that bid. I, as a litigator, found Mr. Anderson’s demeanor totally inappropriate. I was surprised the commentor above found it to be “impressive”, so I appreciate your sharing your observations.

    • Lita, I also wanted to comment on your concerns about dispatch as I also had serious concerns. The dispatch for the Sheriff is in a central location, near Saddleback Mountain as I recall. I think it was called Loma Ridge. The biggest concern I had was that there are more than 40 dispatcher, who handle about 2500 calls per day. I know NOW, when I call Brea PD, it I lived somewhere like Avenida de las Estrellas, that the dispatchers and officers there KNOW the locations and our complicated street names. We should have no reason to beleive that any staff of dispatchers fielding over two thousand calls per day, has any idea or familiarity with our neighborhood. I don’t recall the exact numebr of calls that the Brea dispatcher were handling but it was in double digits, less than 100 with about 4 dispatchers on staff.

      We definitely aren’t in Mayberry anymore Aunt Bea!

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