OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘yorba linda police’

Politics and Policing in Yorba Linda; Election 2012

Posted by Brenda Higgins on October 19, 2012

I saved the seven pieces of mail I have received so far related to the Yorba Linda City Council race. Here are the two that I found most disturbing.

These pieces are sent by the “Association of Orange County Sheriff’s Independent Expenditure”.

These pieces make the same claim that the contract with OC Sheriff will save the city $10 million dollars. This is over the course of the five year contracted term and based upon the proposal which was approved several months ago. The claims go on to state that the new contract, at the lower rate will give Yorba Linda a “full service police station” for the first time, give Yorba Linda a Chief of Police, provide greater protection and hire displaced Brea Police officers. The veracity of all of these claims have been widely debated in my earlier blogs here and in several other (mostly sponsored) forums. The soundness of the bid, the assertions of nearly magical outcomes and historic savings are not the issue in this election.

Citizens of Yorba Linda, if you were not certain before, now that you have received your ballots and sample ballots, this issue is not, has not, will not, be put to you the voters for a vote. Your council, Schwing, Rikel and Anderson, voting en masse as they do (Your other two representatives are also not part of this discussion as they are irrelevant) have already decided this issue for you, and the train has left the station. The transition is set to occur by May 2013.

As this situation developed and unfolded, in the Spring of 2012, it was covered on a regular basis, here on OC Political.

With that resounding victory behind them, our council could turn their attention to more pressing matters, their re-election.

You may recall, that in 2010, a MEASURE Y appeared on your ballot. It involved ethics of City officials and essentially prohibited any candidate from accepting any donation from ANY contractor with the city. This was targeted at that time at specific organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, that had in the past, ventured so far as to endorse business friendly candidates. It was a witch hunt environment that surrounded the 2010 City Council election and the Measure (which was identical to a City Ordinance that had already passed and been made law) and certainly chilled the free speech of many in our city and discouraged involvement in the process.

The supporters, again Schwing, Rikel, Anderson, of Measure Y, promoted it as a measure that was consistent with the overall approach of the Republican party, locally and statewide to reel in candidates whose campaigns may be funded by Government Employee Unions.

Of the Majority Three, only Anderson was up for re-election in 2010.

In 2012, both Schwing and Rikel are facing re-election.

Following their granting of the $10 million dollar policing contract to the Orange County Sheriff Department, it was nice of the Union to repay them with the two very large (8×10 glossy, 2 sided) mail pieces that went to voters in Yorba Linda.

“The fiscal conservative team we can trust”…..Yep. So long as your definition of ‘fiscal conservative’ means union hack. “Leaving no stone unturned to root out government waste”, when you define government waste as 40 years of institutional knowledge. Well they’ve certainly rooted out something, and I can only wonder if and when Yorba Linda voters are going to stand up to the charade.

These incumbents, in their other mailers, boast prolifically about their “endorsements”. I can not speak to the process by with Assemblyman Hagman and Congressman Royce made their decision to endorse these incumbents, but I was present for the Orange County Republican Party Endorsement approval.

On such races, there is no discussion in and among the Central Committee of the Orange County Republican Party. These candidates were the only ones who turned in their requests for endorsements on time, and this is not unusual in small city races. Inexperienced candidates, often with no political professionals to advise them, do not realize the early filing date, and the rapid fire manner in which the endorsements are granted. There were only the two applications for this race. They are Republican. They are incumbents. There was not discussion, no vetting.

However, because the Orange County Republican party is very concerned about fiscal issues, making sure we help true fiscal conservatives to get elected, and not usher in more special interest lackeys, there is an application. Four pages of fairly extensive, Republican ideal quizzing. On Page One, the applying candidate must sign the following “Union-Free” pledge:


I’m not sure how Mr. Schwing and Ms. Rikel want to explain this, because their application would not have ben processed by the Central Committee without it all complete. Perhaps they will say the mailers were a “spontaneous protest” and not a “pre-planned strategic strike”. Are the pledge and the policies to mean anything? Not to mention the outright violation of their own law. I fully anticipate their argument about semantics will be that these mailers were not ‘contributions’ processed by their campaigns. We will soon know what the voters have to say about it all.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, 55th Assembly District, Brea, Republican Central Committee, Uncategorized, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Yorba Linda Police and Politics: A commentary

Posted by Brenda Higgins on July 22, 2012

Disclaimer, I was a candidate for Yorba Linda City Council in 2010. I ran against John Anderson, Tom Lindsey and Jan Horton. I was endorsed by Councilman Jim Winder. I have many personal friends who are employed by the Brea Police Department, by virtue of my residency in Yorba Linda for more than 36 years. I have many professional relationships with employees of the Orange County Sheriff Department by virtue of my job as an attorney who spends a great deal of time in Orange County Superior Court. I supported Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in her bid for reelection. I am a recently elected member of the OC Republican Central Committee, representing the 55th district. I am not a candidate for any public office at this time. I feel compelled to make this exhaustive disclosure because of the ubiquitous misinformation and spin that has characterized the recent police contract controversy.

My recent blog post on OCPolitical, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, July 18, 2012, was following the vote of the Majority 3 of the Yorba Linda City Council to award the contract to the OSCD for the next five years, to begin in May 2013. I have written about a dozen blogs on this subject, posted here on OC Political. I attended five candidate forums during the 2010 election in which this subject was discussed. I have reviewed the recent Ralph Anderson Reports, the “matrix”that compared the bids, the bids themselves and watched or attended the meetings in November, April and July in which the police contract issue was “on the agenda”. This is in quotes because the issue of actual notice of the ramifications of the discussion in November remains an open issue.

If you came to this blog to find ratification of your position, whatever that is, you look in vain. I have said before I am an equal opportunity offender. I am appalled by the behavior of almost everyone who has been outspoken on this issue. The advocates on every side have been disrespectful to each other, to the agencies, to the process of government and to the agencies involved and the men and women in uniform who serve us. Shame on all of us for allowing decorum and civility in our town to suffer this final and undignified death in our midst.

Sheriff Hutchens and The OCSD

There has been propaganda and commentary insinuating unethical behavior on the part of the Sheriff and/or the Sheriffs union. I have no empirical information to substantiate any of the allegations and have seen none provided by the opponents of the contract with the Sheriff. The scare tactics are prolific and these boogy-man type allegations and sound bytes presume the ignorance of our citizenry. There is no reason to resort to fabrication and embellishment, and this seems to be standard procedure in this fight. There is no evidence to support the allegations of any wrong doing on the part of the Sheriff. I am in possession of no information, nor have I met any actual witnesses to the alleged canvassing and campaigning allegedly done by the Sheriff and their union.

There was, at the meeting on Tuesday, an Officer Dominguez, who apparently is a representative of the Sheriff Union. He spoke and gave John Anderson the “thumbs up” and said that anyone who “puts bad guys behind bars is all aces in my book”, presumably referring to Mr. Anderson’s job as a Deputy Prosecutor. If Officer Dominguez was there to address any issues of the alleged conflict of interest, he accomplished nothing except to shoot himself in the proverbial foot. His adoration for Mr. Anderson being right out front, his lack of residency in Yorba Linda also fairly apparent in that he did not state his name and length of residency as speakers traditionally do. Whether or not there has been active canvassing and campaigning, my question is what is his “dog in this fight”. If the process is to be fair and objective, there should be no outside participation. All of this is also very curious in the face of John Anderson’s MEASURE Y, the ethics ordinance that was passed in 2010. The guts of that measure, as promoted by John Anderson were to stop special, and outside interests, or an AGENCY THAT HAD A CONTRACT with the city, from financially supporting a candidate. Well maybe not direct cash contributions from the union itself, but the presence of its members, leaders, and any number of personal and $99 checks to Mr. Anderson’s campaign or those of his two flunkies, would be appropriate under the provisions of Measure Y.

So, maybe being an effective lawyer and prosecutor is not only about putting bad guys behind bars, but crafting laws that appear to accomplish transparency and due process, while preserving access to your friends. If so, Mr. Anderson certainly is “all aces”.

I am in possession of no evidence that there is a personal relationship or professional advantage existing between the Majority 3 and Sheriff Hutchens. The rhetoric hurled at her seems to be just that. My knowledge of her is this. She was comfortably retired from a long term career in law enforcement in Los Angeles County. Her husband was also retired from law enforcement, they resided in LA County. After the melt down and criminal investigation that tarnished the OCSD, Sandra Hutchens, through a long and arduous process, was granted the job. Why she chose to take on this mammoth undertaking, and interrupt an otherwise peaceful and earned retirement, does not make much sense to ordinary people. Leaders who have the call of leadership, Public servants who have the call to public service, answer it. Perhaps there is no other explanation. She has undertaken a job that not many people would have wanted. My impression is that she has cleaned house, implemented new programs and procedures to make sure that the utmost in ethics and accountability occur in her department, and restored public faith in an agency that had lost it.

I get that people in Yorba Linda do not like outsiders. It is interesting that this is the platform and ideal that got the Majority 3 elected, but to disparage the personal and public reputation of the Sheriff agency or it’s leader without substantiation is uncalled for. The union is a different story, but still without substantiation, smoke and not fire, the rhetoric and scare tactics ought to be toned down significantly.

Brea Police and Actual Notice

Tom Lindsey articulately, and with pained honesty, set forth his concerns on Tuesday night about the manner in which this has proceeded. There has been very little due process in the process. I do know that the city staff has been tormented with this struggle and the veritable race to complete these reports, in the face of enormous emotion from the electeds and the citizens.

There was no actual notice to Brea PD or the citizens of Yorba Linda that there would be a vote in November 2011 to terminate the policing contract. There was no actual notice to the bidding agencies or to the citizens that there would be a vote to accept the Sheriff’s bid at the April 2012 meeting. That is the vote that was taken close to 3 am. “Actual” notice, as opposed to the proverbial writing on the wall. Feel free to peruse my previous blogs on this issue prior to the April vote, to some of us, it was NO surprise.

John Anderson was elected in 2006, six years ago. Since that time, he has consistently maintained that he was in favor of replacing Brea PD with OCSD. This was no hidden agenda, it has always appeared to me, to be a primary and fundamental goal of his candidacy. He has never at anytime that I have observed him in public, hidden his disdain for Brea PD and their contract with the city of Yorba Linda. Many residents and officers of Brea PD expressed to me during the 2010 campaign, their awareness of this.

My question then is, what have the city managers, electeds, and higher ups in the Police Department in Brea done to prepare for this? I was disappointed to say the least to see the presentation at the April meeting. It was lack luster in the kindest analysis. The proposed contract price was millions more than the others. There was an eleventh hour attempt to decrease the price, that was disregarded by the Majority 3 as too little too late. There was a flyer distributed in the city of Brea to residents when the offer to further reduce the price was sent, to express displeasure that Brea should subsidize Yorba Linda law enforcement. That was precisely the argument for replacing Brea PD in Yorba Linda that we were subsidizing them. It’s like fighting over space in the life boats while leaving the Titanic. Everybody can row together or we can all sink. The lack of coordination, the lack of cohesiveness, the lack of team effort, after a 42 year contract is astonishing. Everyone should have seen this coming like a train, and EARLY efforts to strengthen the relationship and spirit of working together should have been undertaken. The impression that came from Brea’s presentation in April was that they had already lost.

There is no way to quantify institutional knowledge. Starting over with new staff is a concept that is repeatedly and utterly lost on this Majority 3 council. They have consistently replaced each and every city official and contracted provider that they desired to do away with, and have replaced them with individuals or entities that appear to be beholden to them or at least Mr. Anderson, from lower level officials to the stated hit list positions from Anderson’s campaigns, included but not limited to the City Manager, (replaced 3 times during his tenure), the City Attorney and firm, and now the policing agency.

This probably won’t be the end of the world as the Brea PD supporters make it out to be. It will most certainly not be the extensive cost savings that the Majority 3 and the Sheriff advocates make it out to be. It was not in anyway properly noticed. It was not communicated to the citizens in a manner calculated to provide notice of the issue and right to participate, but it was, to those who know or should have known what’s going on at City Hall……100% predictable.

Recall of John Anderson

Really?!? Really. Of all the dumb things that the hyper-energetic politicos in Yorba Linda have come up with, this is the dumbest.

John Anderson, the “all aces” prosecutor who spends all day putting bad guys behind bars, then takes off his cape and trapses over to City Council Chambers to make the “hard call” on things like immigration and fiscal responsibility. To the uninformed voter, he’s the guy they pick off the list to vote for first. No one is against prosecuting bad guys and putting them behind bars. Even when the uninformed voter looks a little farther, they find he’s married for 30-something years to the same lovely wife, successful kids, church attender and Republican. Recall this guy? It will require a LOT of education on subtle issues that are not only hard to explain but hard to sell. He voted to reduce the city’s police contract expenditure by several million dollars. How do you sell “recall” on those factors. He was the top vote getter in 2010, this was his second term.

He is rude, condescending, manipulative and underhanded. There is no evidence he acted illegally, unethically, immorally in moving toward awarding the police contract to OCSD. A lot of people don’t like it, but a lot of people do. He disregarded appropriate public discourse and due process that should be part of an open and transparent government, but it does not appear he broke any rule or law or acted unethically. He was not nice, and probably over agressive in pursuing his agenda.

This is the type of rhetoric that backfires on his critics. They grab at thin allegations, and it works to discredit them and not him. For example, there have been allegation that he is biased against women. That may be true, but his personal behavior toward me has always been professional. We oppose each other and disagree on almost every issue facing the city, but he greets me with a hello and shakes my hand every time. My impression is that he may not like women being present in his forum, but if so that’s a personal feeling, not substantiated by his behavior. He directed biting comments my way during the candidate forum, as he did toward Jan Horton. Is that because we are women or because we were opposing candidates? We were the only ones directly opposing him and his positions. To extrapolate that into prejudice or bias against women is simply silly and insulting to the process of vetting viable candidates. It is not a supportable allegation and makes those propounding it lack credibility. Those who oppose Anderson repeatedly fall into this trap. They read into his behavior, he baits them, they fall for it, crying foul, and upon further examination, there are no facts only subtle inferences. They wind up looking like histrionic sore losers. These feelings and intuitions, the between the lines interpretations, lack real substance and do not a successful recall make.

There is a simple, cost effective way to eliminate the influential stranglehold that Anderson has over the council. STOP the re-election of his cohorts, Schwing and Rikel, and prevent any additional crony of his to obtain Jim Winders’(termed-out) seat. Without his yes-men of the Majority 3 behind him, he would be reduced to the one vote he is accorded as an elected councilmember, and would be forced to be persuasive and compromise like the rest of them.

The effort, resources and funds currently behind the recall, if redirected and put behind viable candidates, would accomplish the same goal of disarming him. The effect of the recall is to take resources, money and manpower away from creating an effective campaign against Rikel and Schwing. It again, appears to me, that the opposition has been “played” by Anderson. He’s got them angered and running in multiple directions, the recall against him is destined to fail, and without strong opposition, Rikel and Schwing sail quietly back into their seats. The classic bait and switch. Watch closely, Anderson and Schwing do it at EVERY meeting. Wake up, you’ve been played again.

I am an idealist. I think the process works, and good people do the right thing….once they find the courage and motivation to do it. In the current city council, all activities are driven by the Majority 3, and their opponents. In my opinion, even the opponents of the Majority 3 are firmly in their pocket as they are skillfully played and their misguided anger continues to get the best of them. This ridiculous status quo exists because we, the citizens allow it. The lack of citizen involvement because of the high conflict and animosity, is precisely the reason it rages on. If you are not willing to put a candidates sign in your yard, or write a check or voice your thoughts, or attend a meeting or become informed and form an opinion, because you fear retribution of one side or the other, then you can point fingers at the small percentage of involved parties mentioned here, but the bottom line is, you are the problem. Citizens sit home quietly while these personal agendas are carried out. So long as that continues, so will the status quo. It is currently John Anderson’s city, we just live here.

Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

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.

Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

If only I were the wagering type…

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 25, 2012

Not good news for fans of the Brea Police Department. 

In a not surprising alignment, Winder-Lindsey voted in favor of renewing with Brea PD, Anderson-Schwing-Rikel voted to begin a new contract with OCSD.  If anyone reading this is surprised by this result, I have some ocean front property in Arizona I’d love to speak to you about. 

Many things were not considered in the evaluation of the bids.  The overall sensibility seems the most overlooked.  A new station is needed, new squad cars, new equipment, guns radios, phones, desks, copy machines for any agency that replaces Brea PD …..and the OSCD per their proposal is going to staff up and set up all of this at a reduced cost, saving the city of Yorba Linda $1 Million dollars each year, $5 Million over the life of their contract.  That is more than $80,000.00 per month, less than the department who has been providing this service for 42 years, and they are fully equipped and staffed up.  That’s fantastic, and the county officials who developed this bid and business model should really be consulting in private industry because in this economy, we could all use some advice on how to do that kind of magic. .

Anaheim was never realistically in the running, which is sad, because they had a great presentation, and a sensible, believable bid.   They impressed with their availability of services, special teams and technology, as well as their knowledge and shared geography with Yorba Linda.  I can not imagine why it was never proposed that Anaheim be awarded a partial contract for East Yorba Linda.  The response time for Brea PD to East Yorba Linda has been an ongoing complaint.  There are many occasions that Brea and Anaheim jurisdiction and enforcement overlap, why not apportion service geographically?  The Anaheim station on Wier Canyon road is not realistically a good match  for the West side of Yorba Linda given the long, so why not split it? This was not considered.  A wholesale replacement of the entire contract was the only consideration.  No kind of holistic approach, reworking or restructuring the relationship with Brea was undertaken.  I assume, as many residents do, that it is because the contract was destined to go to OCSD.  The public opinion on keeping the contract with Brea seems, as with many issues, to have been largely ignored by the 3 majority council.  

I am saddened and at the same time inspired that 50 residents had the wherewithal to stay till the 3am vote,  God bless them for their stamina, but I’m surprised they thought that their opinion mattered. 

I wish I had different news to report.  I wish I had written this blog a week, a month, a year ago, because I could have. (or even 6 years ago, Brea, who was passing out the Koolaid then?)  No  surprise of any kind here.  Democracy  and due process have died a slow painful death in Yorba Linda.  Every resident has the option to be active, get involved, and vote in the next election. Each time I see this Kangaroo court convene I hope that this is the time that the mainstream residents in Yorba Linda become aware of the situation at City Hall and the utter dominance of one special interest group by virtue of their ownership of three seats.  Nothing will change, the status quo will easily be maintained if the voting public continues to show apathy and fear of the YLRRR, which was so pervasive  in the 2010 election.

Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Final Thoughts on Police Contract Hearing

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 24, 2012

The public hearing is tonight, Tuesday April 24, 2012.  I have tried to stay up to speed on the varying positions and share information that has been available to me.  I have encouraged residents to be present if they have an opinion, and it is entirely possible that this issue will likely be voted upon by the Council and finalized tonight.

In the recent discussions of this issue many residents expressed dislike of Brea Police and support for anyone else.  This was usually due to an incident or interaction with an on duty officer. Residents on the East side complain of excessive response time.  Residents have complained about rise in crime in Yorba Linda in recent years, as well as over zealous traffic enforcement.

I have read that 20% of the Brea Police force resides in Yorba Linda.  I am acquainted with a few of them, and the uncertainty of this situation has definitely had an impact on those families, as will a termination of the contract. 

Since 2006, and since the last renewal of the Brea contract, there has been ample evidence that the current council members have had a desire to explore other options.  Although there has been complaint of the lack of actual notice to the public of the Notice of Termination vote on November 1, certainly Brea Police have had time and opportunity to impress the community that they desire to continue policing. I have no idea if there were concerted Public Relations effort in the past years,  the point I am making is that even if the notice of the issue voted on in November was not technically appropriate, the fact that we had a council seated who desired to terminate this relationship has not in any way been a secret. 

I am aware that there are law enforcement personnel, who are residents, who support the bid of Anaheim Police.  It has been argued that Anaheim is only interested in increasing the efficiency of service to Anaheim.  I not in possession of any evidence to support that contention that Anaheim does not have the best interests of Yorba Linda residents in mind in submitting their bid.  I have heard arguments that Anaheim is not capable of expanding to handle the extra work load and that they are over burdened now.  I have not seen any evidence to support that.

The Sheriff bid has vociferous supporters.  I have expressed my concern related to the bid and my perception of it’s incompleteness and a few instances of Pollyanish approach to the costs and constraints of setting up a station in Yorba Linda.  It has been alleged by some residents that the OCSD is “Corrupt”, there is no evidence to support that claim.   In fact, the evidence is to the contrary.  When Sheriff Sandra Hutchens assumed her current role in that agency, it was in the wake of tremendous controversy and scandal.  In hearing the Sheriff herself discuss this during her recent campaign, she indicated that there were enormous changes to the department after she took the helm, a large scale restructuring, not to mention to large job of restoring public faith in the troubled agency. There is no evidence to suggest ongoing ethical challenges in the department and to saddle the current Sheriff with the sins of her predecessors seems inherently unfair.

In short, these are all public agencies, flawed, but doing their job in the context in which they are currently employed.  I continue to be concerned at the rhetoric and spin applied to advocate the different agencies, and while I understand the enthusiasm of the public, there should be no fear or concern if your team doesn’t win this ball game. 

Further, given what I have seen on some of the web pages promoting one agency or another, the tendency to misrepresent the content of the bids is unfortunately high.  I encourage the concerned residents to go to the city website, where you can view all the pertinent documents as well as the side by side comparison.

Residents are entitled to voice their opinions and concerns this evening.  I would encourage all residents in attendance, regardless of what side you are on and who you like/don’t like or agree/don’t agree with, remember that our City Council Members are elected officials.  They are seated because the majority of voters in our city supported and elected them.  They each serve for nominal financial compensation and usually at a significant personal cost and investment of time.  For that reason, they are entitled to courtesy.  The hearing process is part of our constitutional guarantees of due process of law, and as such the process itself is worthy of our courtesy and respect.

Finally, all three of the agencies in the bidding process are fine and competent law enforcement agencies.  Regardless of anyone’s opinion of how they stack up, the bottom line is that the representatives there tonight, represent the men and women who put on a uniform and put their lives on the line each day so that you and I don’t have to.  Please express opinions in a manner that is respectful of this office.

I for one, would love to see the rhetoric toned down significantly and a dramatic turn in the politics as usual in Yorba Linda.  We are a close community of residents all significantly invested in preserving our way of life.  We can certainly accomplish this best by being respectful of each other, respectful of the process and those involved in it.

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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.

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The Plaintive wail of Civility

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 11, 2012

Disclaimer: I was a candidate for Yorba Linda City Council in 2010. THIS is an opinion piece, intended for entertainment and reality checks. I am an equal opportunity offender, read at your own risk.

I have a great deal of respect for only one of the members of the current city council in Yorba Linda and that is Jim Winder. He has served, and resided in this city for decades. His service has come to us at great personal cost to him. He has been disrespected, unfairly accused and periodically ridiculed without cause. Yet he shows up consistently, is polite, prepared and concerned for the well being of our city. These things can not be said about any of the other council members.

John Anderson’s mean spirit and agenda of personal vendettas has never been well hidden. Nancy Rikel and Mark Schwing answer to and for him. Their public discussions consistently appear unnatural or rehearsed. The clear impression is that they are Anderson’s mouth pieces. They all portray themselves as “fiscal conservatives”, they have given that term a foul sound and connotation. If fiscal conservative means that they only agree to spend money on their pet projects or the pet projects of their friends and supporters, then okay, they are fiscal conservatives. However their pattern of spending would embarrass many a democrat. They vote together, they were elected together, they have each others back in a twisted and dysfunctional way.

The mayor in Yorba Linda is voted in on a traditional rotating basis by the council, generally in order of when they were elected. Not so since Anderson has controlled the council. On each occasion that it would have been the turn of a Council member who was “not-one-of-us”, that council member was stepped over in favor of “one-of-us”. In 2008 that was Jan Horton. As the councilmember next in line, she was passed over in favor of John Anderson. By 2008 Jan had already become the “not-one-of-us” and was on the hit list. She was deprived of the opportunity to be mayor and that also enabled Mr. Anderson to be able to run against her for re-election as Mayor Anderson. In 2012, it was Jim Winder, whose turn it was to be mayor, but Anderson’s majority passed him over in favor of Schwing. Mark Schwing will now be running for re-election as Mayor Schwing. In his last year, after many decades of service to this community, the Anderson lackeys could serve up one final dose of indignity to Jim Winder and deprive him of his last tenure as Mayor. Winder is termed out, and will not run again. All it really accomplished was to confirm that they are pandering jerks.

Tom Lindsey portrays himself as the “true” conservative. That would be highly relevant if any issues of social import or civil rights issue come before the council, but that’s not likely. The majority of Andersons’ council has abandoned Lindsey and he is left to align with the lame duck portion of the council alongside Jim Winder. Lindsey’s view on fiscal or any issue is rendered largely irrelevant,. A difficult lesson to learn for Lindsey, as he aligned with Anderson in the eleventh hour before the 2010 campaign began. They ran as a “slate”. During the 2010 campaign, when questioned about the ugly hit pieces and robo-calls directed towards Jan Horton, both Lindsey and Anderson diverted their eyes from the crowd when they answered. Mr. Anderson’s “I did not write that piece”, may essentially, technically, be true, but it clearly made him uncomfortable to say those carefully chosen words. Lindsey, for whom the 2010 campaign was his second try for a council seat, was intent on being elected. I have not asked him how he’s feeling now in 2012, with 20/20 hindsight, about his 2010 choice to align with Anderson. I have observed him to suffer the same punishment that Jan Horton and then Hank Weeda did. If you run with “them” and then acquire any different view or opinion, you are ostracized. So much for the fantasy that once we’re elected we can have collegial respect for differing view points.

Jan Horton is not a member of the council at this time, but her effect is no less pertinent than those seated. She is a regular attender, proclaiming accountability, tranparency and spewing her point of view of the incompetence and lack of ethics of the current council. The existing situation, with the Anderson wing, disrespectful of Winder, and indignant for Lindsey and his turn coat antics, is smoldering fire anyway. Then Jan shows up and brings the gasoline in the form of her vitriole, her repetitive and shrill allegations, her husband with a camera, and her allies. She shows little in the way of tact and self control and she manages to stoke the flames of contention, discord and animosity on every issue, and at each council appearance or online discussion.

The counterpart to Jan is Ed Rakochy. Unelected, regular attender, but “One-of-us” along with the regular appearance of other YLRRR (Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Representation) members. The vigilante group that originally got Jan Horton and John Anderson elected, (yes as with any true rivalry, they began and friends and cohorts), has its regular and scripted attenders, commenting favorably on the moves of the Anderson majority, standing on their soap boxes and waving their flags, pretending this is even handed democracy, and proclaiming how ‘fiscally conservative’ the current majority council are.

I have rarely been able to stomach a whole meeting of this circus atmosphere, it’s a charade and not open democratic discourse. The pontification goes on for hours.

I am acquainted in some fashion with each of these individuals who are driving the toxicity in our city government, and this I know. Each and every one of them believes firmly that he/she is doing the “right thing” for the city. My opinion and observation is that they are each blinded by their own adrenaline rush from this ongoing combat. The salient point that they keep missing, is that the majority of the residents of the city are not “one-of-us”, and are also not the constantly contentious “one-of-them”. I don’t see any of these regular players stepping away from their entrenched positions long enough to have a healthy discussion on points upon which they might actually agree.

This is not good for anyone. This is not good for our city. I can only hope that voters refuse to get caught up in the rhetoric, that good and independent, unaligned candidates step forward in the next election. Politics is like square dancing, if you get too attached to your partner or your moves, you’ll eventually step on your own toes and get kicked out of the dance. We can only hope.





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