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The Farsider

April 10, 2014

 

Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>

 

The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.


 

THANK YOU AGAIN…

From our Webmaster

April 9th

I have mentioned how impressed I am with the generosity of my Grandson’s neighbors and the sense of “Family” in the response for the “A Day For Trey” celebration scheduled for May 31st <www.adayfortrey.net>. The response has been overwhelming. Neighbors and local businesses have been contributing a variety of items for the raffle on that day, everything from a deluxe trap gun to a ton of gravel or sand, two cords of wood delivered or some favorite prints from a local artist!

I have expressed my amazement to the local organizer, Ron Cooper. He showed up at the trap range the other day with a bundle of mail and said, “Looks like you have quite a 'Family' yourself.” The bundle was from our SJPD family and I couldn’t have been more proud. First by the caring and sharing of our 'Family,' but also by Ron who was very impressed. He did ask about the 4-digit number most included in their mailing and was curious to know if all of us retired guys plan to use our badge numbers forever. I didn’t tell him that he could probably break into a bunch of storage lockers or email accounts with that little bit of knowledge!

My thanks again for the kindness and caring of those of you who chose to contribute to Trey's cancer fund that will help relieve his family from some of the extraordinary cost of his treatment. Trey and I plan on replying personally to each and every contributor after the May 31st BBQ and raffle.

Leroy
(Pyle)
<leroypyle@alamarwebs.com>


Those of you who reside within driving distance of Arnold on Hwy 4 above Angels Camp might want to consider attending "A Day for Trey" at The Hub in Arnold's Cedar Center on Saturday, May 31st. Details can be found on the website below…



Trey and his father Mike.

<http://adayfortrey.net/startnow.htm>



 

PBA MEETING REMINDER

Same drill as last month and the last several years that the PBA has been holding its monthly membership meetings at the POA Hall on the third Wednesday of each month with the exception of December. (Next Wednesday is the third Wednesday of April). The bar opens at 5:00 p.m. As usual dinner will follow whenever the food shows up in the buffet line.


 

PENSION NEWS

Although he has written off the Nov. ballot, Chuck "Die Hard" Reed pledges to continue his quest and get his pension reform initiative on the ballot in 2016. This item from last Friday's paper explains...

Reed Holds Firm on Pension Measure

—Mayor to push on with initiative despite setbacks—

By Jessica Calefati
<jcalefati@bayareanewsgroup.com>
Mercury News — April 4, 2014

SACRAMENTO — San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on Thursday affirmed his commitment to put a highly controversial pension reform initiative before voters in 2016, despite recent legal setbacks that have threatened the plan’s viability.

“We have not stopped working on this. We will not give up,” Reed told a gathering during a speech to the Sacramento Press Club.

Reed and a few other California city leaders want to make it legal for local governments to reduce the pension benefits going forward for public sector employees such as police officers, firefighters and teachers.

They believe the costs of those benefits have become crushing in recent years and that there’s no other way to stop the bleeding. For example, between 2001 and 2011, the money San Jose spent on public employees’ retirement rose from $75 million to $245 million annually, Reed said.

He had hoped to see his pension reform proposal on the November ballot, but his signature gathering efforts stalled when he took issue with Attorney General Kamala Harris’ official description of the proposal. In a lawsuit, Reed called the wording “false and mislead­ing.”

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled against Reed, but he has filed an appeal.

Reed and other mayors who support the initiative have been heavily criticized by labor, law enforcement and teachers unions for trying to strip public sector workers of the lucrative benefits they were promised when they agreed to take public jobs.

Reed conceded that the changes he backs are not necessarily fair, but he called his plan the fairest among a set of poor options.

“Is it fair to taxpayers to cut services year after year to balance the budget? Is it fair to cut retirees’ benefits after they’ve retired?” Reed said. “This is a reasonably fair solution. There is no perfect solution.”


 

• • • • •


Has anyone noticed besides us that many of the pro-Measure B supporters on the Council are now standing in line to support San Jose cops? It's almost as if they are downwind from the smell of an upcoming election. This is from Monday's paper…

San Jose Set to Revisit Disability Pension Reform

—Council expected to vote on step to ease police officers’ concerns—

By Mike Rosenberg
<mrosenberg@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — April 7, 2014

SAN JOSE — Still unable to stop cops from quitting for other cities, San Jose is ready to ease disability retirement limits for public safety workers from its signature pension reform, but the changes aren’t expected to end the battle between police officers and City Hall.

Disability retirement for San Jose employees has been simmering as a hot-button issue at City Hall and mayoral debates for months, and it comes to a head at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The city’s police union argues injured cops could be left without a job or a pension under the Measure B retirement limits voters approved over officer objections in 2012 — a prime reason, they say, that the police force continues to dwindle while crime levels rise and arrests plummet.

In a proposal from Mayor Chuck Reed and other council members who championed pension reform, the council will vote on an ordinance to guarantee that injured cops and firefighters who don’t qualify for disability retirement under the new rules would get desk jobs and keep their old pay. For instance, a beat officer who hurts his leg could continue to make his old $46.73 hourly wage while getting a job as a dispatcher, which normally tops out at $35.19 an hour. Other city employees wouldn’t be affected.

Reed says it’s a small but necessary step to ease officers’ concerns, even as he acknowledged, “I don’t think it will necessarily make the police union happy.” And it can be done quickly, without going back to voters. He accuses the police union of fomenting a crisis atmosphere at City Hall that the cops can leverage to help sweep in a slate of new union-friendly candidates, starting with the June primary.

“The purpose of the Measure B disability provisions was to eliminate the abuses that had crept into the system,” Reed said. “We weren’t trying to make it impossible for somebody to get a disability retirement when they’re injured. But we’ve had these questions.”

The San Jose Police Officers’ Association says the latest changes won’t improve cops’ morale or resolve their concern that officers fighting t o protect the city won’t have a safety net if they get hurt in the line of duty. A broader initiative to overturn much of Measure B is what’s needed, said union President Jim Unland. He accused the city of playing politics — saying council members running for office in the June primary are too concerned about admitting error.

“San Jose is bleeding police officers faster than we can replace them, and it’s time for a tourniquet, not a Band-Aid, to stop the bleeding,” Unland said.

While most California cities give cops a disability retirement if they’re hurt on the job and can’t work as an officer anymore, the voter-approved rules from 2012 mean injured San Jose cops who can still do a desk job can’t qualify for disability, similar to private-sector rules.

The Measure B changes came after a 2011 audit found 40 percent of cops and two-thirds of firefighters were receiving a disability retirement, way above the rates in comparable cities. The audit said disability retirements for city workers cost San Jose taxpayers as much as $51 million annually. Some public safety workers had been working full-time until the day before their disability was granted.

The audit followed a 2006 report in this newspaper that found San Jose had the highest rate of public safety disability retirements among major California cities even as it boasted the lowest crime rate.

But the disability changes in Measure B differed from the audit’s recommendations and rules that apply to government workers covered by the state’s retirement system, which includes most California cities.

The Measure B disability limits in San Jose so far apply only to new hires. Since they kicked in last summer, no one has requested a disability retirement and tested the new rules. Changes won’t go into effect for veteran officers and other longtime city workers until at least July as part of an ongoing court battle over Measure B.

But with mail ballots for the June 3 primary going out in four weeks, San Jose’s political season is in full force, and Measure B is yet again at the center — with the races to replace Reed and three more council members driving the discussion over disability retirement.

“It’s become a political fight versus a practical issue,” said Councilman Pete Constant, a former cop who ultimately secured a disability retirement after a lengthy battle with the city. But he helped put forward Tuesday’s proposal because “it’s important to make clear that if someone is injured in the line of duty in San Jose, they will be taken care of.”

Other plans to tweak disability retirement would go further but don’t yet have majority council support and would likely require a November ballot measure.

Councilwoman Rose Herrera, a Reed ally, wants to allow cops who’ve recently quit to return to the city under their old pension deal instead of the disability rules offered to new hires under Measure B.

Councilman Don Rocha’s proposal would also allow voters to undo more than just Measure B’s disability retirement limits.

“The idea that if we did that all of our problems are over,” he said, “is more than naive.”

 

• • • • •

 

Anyone remember this April 21, 2012 headline?

Mercury News editorial: For pension reform
in San Jose, vote yes on Measure B


Click on this link for the full editorial:
<http://tinyurl.com/lnbs4ne>

Seems that the paper has changed its opinion on at least one aspect of Measure B; to wit: "…the disability provision of Measure B was sloppily written, a costly mistake in retrospect." This is the paper's entire editorial as it appeared in Tuesday's paper...

San Jose’s Staffing Issue Isn’t Just Cops

Mercury News Editorial — April 8, 2014

The San Jose City Council is expected to take a positive step Tuesday toward reassuring police recruits that they’ll be taken care of if they’re injured on the job.

But an ordinance clarifying the disability reforms in Measure B won’t solve the problem of recruiting and retaining good candidates — for public safety or for other departments.

From city planning to the water treatment plant to the city attorney’s office, professionals have been bailing and are difficult to replace at a level of similar expertise. The latest loss is Assistant Planning Director Laurel Prevetti, who will take to Los Gatos not only her depth of knowledge but also decades of irreplaceable institutional memory.

As to major department head openings, it’s now impossible to attract top tier applicants from outside the city.

Councilman Don Rocha is calling the question of San Jose’s ability to attract and retain talent. His specific policy proposals would unravel too much of the Measure B reforms, but he’s right about the need to address the broader picture — including the possibility that another ballot measure may be needed to tweak some provisions of B.

We hope Tuesday’s discussion goes beyond the disability ordinance, if only to make it clear that this council understands the broader nature of the challenge.

Of course compensation is largely a matter of union negotiation. Discussing it in public is challenging.

Then there’s the inconvenient fact that the city’s budget still runs a small deficit, invoking the no-easy-solutions rule.

Having five council members running for mayor complicates matters. They have plans and proposals for various aspects of the problem, but the cumulative impression often left from political events — including statements by some candidates for city council — is that the current council doesn’t understand the magnitude of the problem.

So we would like to see a fuller discussion with all council members’ elected representative hats in place — and with the ability to establish facts with objective observers in the room.

For example, the disability provision of Measure B was sloppily written, a costly mistake in retrospect. But changes were necessary: A 2011 audit showed San Jose’s rates of police and fire disability retirement hugely higher than comparable cities’, costing city taxpayers as much as $51 million a year.

Another example: Council candidates often say it was a mistake to ask the police to take a 10 percent pay cut in 2011. But the union accepted the same cut as other city unions to avoid more layoffs of officers at the time.

Still, any question of this council’s understanding of today’s staffing problem is not helping anyone. Nor does the short memory of critics as to why Measure B was conceived in the first place. We hope Tuesday’s debate is illuminating.


 

POA UPDATES



April 3th

Please click the links below to watch and read relevant news clips:

Mercury News (article)

"Cop Academy Misses Target"

(Article is the first item in the Trials & Tribulations column below)

~ ~ ~
 
The Daily Fetch (article)

"Reed Rules Committee says No to Measure B Fix"

<http://tinyurl.com/lqxdyvw>

~ ~ ~

NBC Bay Area (video and article)

"Academy class empty - Rocha Measure B fix shot down"



<http://tinyurl.com/mbta2nr>

~ ~ ~

San Jose Inside (article)

"Don Rocha Proposes Fixes to Measure B"

<http://tinyurl.com/mrefcyy>

~ ~ ~

KPIX-5 (video and article)

"Academy Enrollment Tumbles - Reed Blames Recruiters"



<http://tinyurl.com/msxy3gm>

Ed. — Retirees may want to scroll down and skip this item as it mostly impacts current and future officers only. It will, however, provide insight on how the City wants to deal with the disability portion of the retirement plan. 

April 7th

As if the last four years of this City's lack of leadership hasn't been enough, they're not done yet. You are all well aware of the disastrous disability pension policy enacted by Measure B. The policy is so restrictive that our Tier 2 officers have had to buy their own Long-Term Disability Insurance to provide themselves minimal protection in case they are injured in the line of duty and can no longer be police officers and support their families. You are also aware that Judge Lucas refused to declare this new policy illegal. So, once the City enacts an ordinance, the new disability policy will negatively impact all Tier 1 and Tier 2 officers.

Our legal stipulation with the City to prevent implementation expires on June 30, 2014 -so come July 1, 2014, the City will be free to eliminate meaningful disability protections for you and your family.

For some time, the Council has seemed reluctant to implement the new disability pension policy for Tier 1 officers. They seem to realize that potentially hundreds of officers will eventually leave the Department without disability protections in place. Nobody should be asked to do our job without the safety net provided to every other officer (except us) across the State.

But now the City IS MOVING FORWARD WITH IMPLEMENTATION. And, you're not going to like it one bit.


If adopted by the City Council at their April 8 meeting, the process going forward, for all San Jose officers, will be:

• First, if you're hurt in the line of duty and, because of your injuries, can no longer do the work of a police officer, you will still take your case to the retirement board and request a disability pension. But because Measure B is so restrictive in granting disability pensions, in all likelihood, the retirement board will deny your request. (Jim wrote about this, using retired officer Devlin Creighton's experience, in the December 2013 Vanguard. Click here to see that article titled "A Tale of Two Creightons".)

• Second, after your request is denied , you will be offered a vacant position in the City for which you meet the minimum qualifications and you can perform the essential functions of that job with or without reasonable accommodation.

    If no vacant position exists, a position that currently exists in the City's classification plan will be added to a City Department. So let's say your injuries have you in a wheelchair: a department head will be told, "Hey, you didn't ask for someone to do this job, but here's a former cop, who's in a wheelchair, and she'll be doing [fill in the position] in your department."

    Now according to our friends at the City, you will continue to be paid your current salary rate you received as a police officer -but that's it. And you better get used to that amount because it will not change until the maximum salary rate for your new classification is raised to an amount higher than the rate you last received as an officer.  

The City proposed solution is politically motivated and will cause more confusion instead of clarity. Let's revisit what happened to Officer Devlin Creighton to see how his experience would play out under the City's new policy.

Devlin was a motors' officer with our Department. At age 32, he was the victim of an on-duty hit and run accident which left him with a broken neck and back. His police career was over and he was granted a disability retirement. If this same incident occurred after the City implements their insane policy, Devlin would not receive a disability retirement. Instead, he would be offered "...a vacant position in the City for which he meets the minimum qualifications and he can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation."

If he declines the position being offered, he is simply out of work with no source of income until he finds a new job with another employer. He will not be eligible for unemployment insurance because he was not fired. By not accepting the civilian position from the City, he has effectively quit employment. This could jeopardize any Long-Term Disability Insurance he or she may have purchased.

So, Devlin takes the job being offered by the City. For the purposes of this example, let's make Devlin a Public Safety Radio Dispatcher. The current top-step pay for that position is approximately $73,000 per year. Again, for the purposes of this example, we'll make Devlin a top-step officer at the time he switches careers. He is making approximately $101,000 per year, not counting his 7.5% POST pay, a little over $7,500 per year. Per the City's new policy, Devlin would continue to be paid the salary rate he received in the former class. So he will immediately lose $7,500 per year because his POST pay is not a part of his salary rate.

As a Public Safety Radio Dispatcher, Devlin will be working alongside other Dispatchers making $28,000 less per year but doing the same work. Devlin may even be making more than his new supervisor too. Anyone can understand if his new co-workers are a bit resentful. Not to worry though, eventually his co-workers' salaries will catch up to Devlin's. If we assume a 3% compounding raise each year for the top-step Dispatcher, then they will be making what Devlin is making in the year 2025. Keep in mind that during that 11-year period, Devlin will not be getting any raises. His salary remains stagnant until his co-workers catch up to him.

Imagine, 11 years without a raise. This is their fix??? In truth, this Council's "fix" isn't about you. It's about Liccardo's and Nguyen's Mayoral campaign and Reed's legacy. It's become clear to even the most casual observer that Measure B did not turn out well. They need political cover to keep their Mayoral hopes alive. To the average citizen/voter, this approach might just sound reasonable. We know otherwise.

Here's the bottom line. The Mayor, the Council, the City Auditor and any City staffers who have supported the disability pension changes called for in Measure B have difficulty articulating what Measure B was even trying to accomplish. You will hear them speak about "fixing the abuses", but they will never give a concrete example of the abuses they are referring to. If they have evidence of fraud, then say so, and let's investigate any individuals so accused. The real goal all along has been to eliminate this benefit.

The architects of this policy just don't understand why you get this benefit to begin with. They simply don't understand that the citizens we protect appreciate the job we do. They have asked us to run into trouble when they are running from it. We all understand and accept the dangers that come with our job. Ours is not an optional profession; in that society, in order to function, requires men and women to do this work, and in some cases die or get seriously injured doing it.

Our disability pension safety net is society's way of acknowledging the fact that we take the risks that they won't, and that if injured, they have our back. The City of San Jose does NOT have yours.

Jim Unland
<president@sjpoa.com>
John Robb <vicepresident@sjpoa>

April 8th

We received the following email update from Wendell Martin:  

I have created a campaign to generate donations to help buy the Lisius Family a used mobility van on "Healthdonor.com" (
http://www.healthdonor.com/). The founder and CEO is none other that one of our own, Andrew Watson #4099. The great thing about this site is that 100% of the donations (minus credit card charges and any banking fees) go directly to the recipient. Similar websites take a percentage of the donations, this one does not. The account was activated today, and I encourage everyone to visit it.

I also have opened a bank account called the "Lisius Family Mobility Van Fund" at Wells Fargo Bank for those who choose not to use the web. The account number is 6837185351.  

Another option is to route any donation to me in the Background Unit, or James Cooper in BFO.  

As of today, April 7th, donations have reached over $5,000! Any donations remaining after a van is purchased will go to the family to help pay for Jim's 24-hour, 7 days-a-week care!

I cannot thank everyone enough for their support. We just started, but we still have a ways to go. I encourage everyone to reach out to businesses and other law enforcement agencies. Some of you have done just that and I thank you!

Thanks for your support!

Wendell Martin #3232

 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE S.J.P.D.


Surprise, surprise, surprise. Why San Jose is having a difficult time filling the Police Academy is indeed a mystery. Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that the pay and pension bennies are better elsewhere?

Cop Academy Misses Target

—Smaller-than-hoped-for class ensures continuing shortage of police on street—

By Robert Salonga and Mike Rosenberg — Staff writers
Mercury News — April 3, 2014

SAN JOSE — Adding to the drumbeat of dwindling officer numbers at the San Jose Police Department was the news Wednesday that the next police academy will be among the smallest in decades, underlining concerns about the agency’s ability to attract new cops amid a heated political battle over pay and pension reform.

According to department figures, of 58 candidates forwarded by police recruiters and backgrounders to its hiring board, 29 new applicants passed muster and will enter the academy beginning in May, joined by two cadets who had to pull out of the last academy due to injury. Historically, SJPD has aimed to field 60 cadets per academy, knowing that it will lose members before graduation or the end of field training.

Historical trends suggest fewer will get through, but even a perfect completion rate still leaves the department well short of its own modest estimates. The smaller-than-expected academy class comes just weeks after a bleak staffing projection released in late March pointed out the need to bolster the Police Department’s ranks. According to the projection, if early retirement and resignation rates go unabated, by 2016, there will be 100 fewer cops. San Jose police would probably be able to field just over 800 cops for duty, marking a 33-percent reduction from six years ago.

To meet the staffing projection, the department estimated it needed at least 35 cadets to graduate from the May class. Assistant police Chief Eddie Garcia said academy sizes are cyclical but that the unusually low number raises red flags about the need for the city and police union to come up with a plan to make SJPD more competitive with the surrounding Bay Area agencies that have been hiring away officers in droves since austerity measures and overhauling pension reform were implemented starting in 2008.

Some of the givebacks have been restored, but city leaders and the union remain at odds over bolstering police pay and benefits, and more important, how to pay for them.

“I didn’t need to see those numbers to know we have retention and recruiting issues,” Garcia said. “We know we have a lot of work to do.”


Mayor Chuck Reed considers the low numbers for the May academy mostly an aberration, saying police are back up to getting a normal number of applications for the next training class in December. He is also carrying a proposal by Chief Larry Esquivel to add a third police academy in the next fiscal year, one more than is typical.

Reed has in recent months slammed the city’s police union, saying it is actively encouraging new recruits and veteran cops to go work elsewhere as it fights with City Hall over pay and benefits packages.

“They’re trying to create as big a crisis as they can,” Reed said. “It’s just something we have to deal with until the police union tries to help us rebuild the force instead of trying to tear it down.”

The San Jose Police Officers’ Association has dismissed such talk as political deflection.

“I don’t know who these people are,” said the union president, Sgt. Jim Unland, referring to potential candidates looking elsewhere. “On their own they understand the situation here.”

Unland pointed to a slow trickle of lateral hires from other agencies, saying SJPD, which historically hired cops away from agencies across the country, has “done a full 180.”

And as the battle of policy and rhetoric rages on, police brass such as Garcia are left to keep the existing troops motivated and willing to stay on board even as they watch former colleagues reap better pay and a more stable pension situation at other Bay Area police agencies, notably Redwood City, which like several agencies are headed by former SJPD supervisors.

Garcia said he believes there is a greater sense of urgency to find some agreement. It also happens to be an election year where public safety is the preeminent political issue for the city’s mayoral candidates.

“We can’t take the alarmist view,” Garcia said. “For those who want to work in this agency, we feel this is the best department around. The job itself, you can’t beat it. But there’s no question we need to work on our retention.”

 

• • • • •


Here is yet another reason why most of you should give your prayer wheel a spin and thank the Watch Commander upstairs that your I.D. card identifies you as a retired San Jose cop. The story is from last Thursday's paper…

S.J. Cop Often Under Scrutiny is Target of Suit

By Tracey Kaplan
<tkaplan@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — April 3, 2014

SAN JOSE — Amid a raging public debate in 2011 over San Jose police tactics and use of force, an Air Force veteran was thrown to the ground and zapped twice with a stun gun after mouthing off to cops during a traffic stop. Later this week, a judge will decide whether to hold police liable for their behavior in a case that is awakening memories of a difficult era the department hoped it had left behind.

The case stems from a downtown traffic stop in early 2011, just a few days after newly appointed police Chief Chris Moore vowed to rebuild community trust after a series of incidents spawned criticism that the department used excessive force against Latinos, Asians and blacks. Reports in this newspaper found the department had a history of disproportionately arresting Latinos for minor conduct that would warrant a mere citation elsewhere. And a cell phone video appeared to show officers beating and using a stun gun on a passive and unarmed Asian college exchange student in his apartment as he groped for his eyeglasses.

The current trial stems from a lawsuit filed by Air Force veteran Michael Fujikawa. The only passenger in his brother’s older black BMW, he claims he was thrown to the ground during a 1:45 a.m. downtown traffic stop, zapped at least twice with a stun gun and jailed for five days on inflated charges as payback for initially refusing to put his hands on the dashboard and mouthing off to Officer Steven Payne Jr. Eleven months later, just before Fujikawa was to stand trial on battery and resisting arrest charges, prosecutors dropped the case. Fujikawa then sued San Jose, Payne and two other officers, Brian Jeffrey and Daniel Pfiefer, seeking unspecified damages for false arrest, excessive force and violating his free speech rights.


“He was treating us as if we were America’s most wanted,” Fujikawa testified last week.

The officers have denied violating Fujikawa’s civil rights, saying they feared for their safety and handled the incident at the intersection of Fourth and San Fernando streets by the book.

It will be up to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Beth McGowen to decide whether the city is liable and must pay general and punitive damages. Both sides agreed not to summon a jury for the trial.

Normally, police have the upper hand in such credibility contests. But Payne’s explanation of what triggered the confrontation — that Fujikawa never complied with his order to put his hands on the dash — is potentially undermined by a discrepancy between his police report and the department’s own GPS records about his location, among other things. Another officer testified that when he arrived about a minute after Payne arrived, Fujikawa’s hands were on the dash.

And Payne was the officer seen in a controversial 2009 video shocking an unarmed San Jose State student with his Taser, although then-District Attorney Dolores Carr declined to charge him and other officers in that incident. In addition, in a 10-week span in 2008, he used force in four separate incidents as he took people into custody for resisting arrest, an investigation by this newspaper revealed.

Although Payne did not lay a hand on Fujikawa in this case, Fujikawa’s lawyer, Michael J. Reiser, alleges he overreacted when Fujikawa said “F--- you” and improperly instructed the other officers to take him into custody, which they did using what the lawyer says was excessive force. Fujikawa testified that he immediately apologized for the insult.

But Payne testified he was not enraged by Fujikawa’s insult, telling the judge, “People say that to me all the time, and worse.” The officer said he was just concerned that Fujikawa had been making “furtive” movements, was screaming and refused to obey. State law requires all passengers as well as the driver to comply during a traffic stop.

Payne claims in his police report that he followed Fujikawa’s brother David’s car along First, Santa Clara and Market streets, and for four blocks on San Fernando Street. He noted that the driver was traveling at unsafe speeds, changed lanes four times within one block without using his blinker and followed another vehicle too closely. In court, Payne also testified the occupants of the car yelled at passers-by in an intersection and were playing extremely loud music.

However, the routes described by the driver and Fujikawa don’t match that account. And GPS records kept by the department show Payne was blocks away for a portion of the time and therefore could not have seen all that he described.

Payne blamed the tracking system.

“It’s off a lot,” he said. “Every officer sees it. It’s common knowledge around the department.”

But a police official who oversees the system testified she has no evidence that the system wasn’t working that night. And an expert hired by the plaintiff testified that the 12-satellite receiver unit system police use offers the most accuracy available, which is plus or minus about 16 yards, roughly the length of three mid-size sedans, even when the signal has to bounce off tall buildings.

But the system indicated Payne’s car was almost 337 yards away from the location he put in his report — 20 times farther away than the worst-case error.

• • • • •


From the I.A. column in Sunday's paper was this update to the story above...




2nd Officer Named in Suit Has History of Using Force

Mercury News — April 6, 2014

It turns out that a second cop in the current civil trial over San Jose police tactics has a notable history involving the use of force. The trial arose from Air Force veteran Michael Fujikawa ’s claim that he was thrown to the the ground during a 1:45 a.m. traffic stop downtown in 2011, zapped at least twice with a stun gun and jailed for five days on inflated charges as payback for initially refusing to put his hands on the dashboard and mouthing off to Officer Steven Payne Jr.

Fujikawa sued the city, Payne and two other cops,

Brian Jeffrey and Daniel Pfiefer , who arrived at Fourth and San Fernando streets after Payne called for backup. Fujikawa’s case against Jeffrey and Pfiefer appears weak because they arrived midstream and were directed by Payne to take Fujikawa into custody.

All three officers deny violating Fujikawa’s civil rights, saying they feared for their safety and handled the incident by the book.

Superior Court Judge Beth McGowen is expected to rule at the end of this month on whether the defendants are liable.

Payne’s reputation is well known. He was seen in a 2009 video shocking an unarmed San Jose State student with his Taser, although then-District Attorney Dolores Carr declined to charge him and other officers in that incident. And, in a 10-week span in 2008, he used force in four separate incidents as he took people into custody for resisting arrest.

It turns out that Jeffrey, who now works for the Los Altos Police Department, was one of two officers who fired a barrage of bullets that killed a mentally ill man named Daniel Pham in spring 2009 after Pham slashed his brother’s throat.

Pham’s death sparked outrage in the local Asian-American community and led to the formation of a civil rights coalition, including the Asian Law Alliance, the NAACP and a local organization, Silicon Valley De-Bug. But a grand jury cleared Jeffrey and the other officer of any wrongdoing and a federal judge ruled they did not use excessive force.
 

• • • • •


Our poor recruiters must feel like they are trying to give away samples of broccoli and cauliflower while warm chocolate chip cookies are being offered to passersby in the booth on one side and hot fudge sundaes are being handed to folks by people in the booth on the other side. This article is from today's (Thursday's) paper...

A Tough Sell for S.J. Police at San Jose State Job Fair

—As word gets around about political climate, comparative wages,
police applicants tend to visit other agencies’ booths at job fairs


By Robert Salonga
<rsalonga@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — April 10, 2014

SAN JOSE — The police swag and brochures lined up on the table, they hunkered down for another slog, this time at a San Jose State University job fair.

As a stream of people gravitated to other agencies’ booths, recruiters for the San Jose Police Department talked to about two dozen students in three hours. Three filled out a job application.

Sgt. Brian Misener and Officers Lorente LaCap and Norene Marinelli may be the hardest- working officers in police business. In an acrid political climate that has driven away hundreds of veteran cops and prompted rookies to flee before they’ve even finished their field training, they must encourage and inform prospective candidates to join the ranks of the San Jose Police Department.



Sgt. Carlos Acosta talks with a student as the San Jose police recruit
prospects at a job fair at the San Jose State student union on Tuesday.

As a handicap, those applicants are keenly aware of highly publicized department discord over pay, pensions and disability coverage.

“We can only control so much and do so much in recruiting,” said Misener, a 20year SJPD veteran. “Like all San Jose cops, I still have tremendous pride in the department. If they do show interest, we’ll help them through the process. If they don’t, we’ll understand that too.”

On Tuesday, the SJPD booth was flanked by recruiters from San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which were all noticeably busier.


Recruitment fliers promoting the police
department are handed out at the job fair.

Misener and patrol Sgt. Carlos Acosta, a volunteer for the afternoon, laid out SJPD-emblazoned eco-friendly grocery bags and lip balm as their booth swag and got down to pressing flesh.

Over the course of the three-hour fair, Misener said they talked to about 25 people who stopped by and asked questions and got three applications. At a Las Vegas event this past weekend, 17 applications were submitted.

Misener, LaCap and Marinelli are the full-time recruiting team for the department, but with Marinelli on disability leave and scheduling limitations, the sergeant has come to rely on a stable of volunteers, such as Acosta.

San Jose police recruiters have grown accustomed to seeing other police recruiters drumming up more interest as they work job fairs, athletic competitions and community events far and wide, covering California, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Misener and his squad can’t outrun the news. Any prospective applicant needs about 30 seconds on an Internet search engine to read the latest about the turmoil in San Jose compared to better-paying and less-mired agencies.

“They’re paying attention,” Misener said. “One negative comment stays up for months and as soon as it fades, there’s one ready to take its place.”


Sgt. Brian Misener, from left,
Sgt. Carlos Acosta and
dispatcher Jennifer Vasquez
talk with a student.

Misener and his officers don’t duck away from the reality, which a decade ago was characterized by aspiring officers flooding the San Jose recruitment booth.

“We can only go and tell people what we like about San Jose PD and be honest about the challenges we’re facing,” he said.

Capt. David Honda, Misener’s supervisor, said the primary selling point of working at San Jose police was always about the variety of police work afforded to officers in a large city that aren’t available elsewhere.

“But it’s hard to be competitive when the next booth is saying we can pay more,” Honda said.

As the fair was happening, the City Council was meeting about a block away and deliberating on easing disability limits for public-safety workers, which has been a major sticking point for prospective officers deciding on where to pursue a historically injurious career path.

It dovetailed with the revelation last week that the police academy starting in May consists of 29 cadets, the smallest class in decades and far short of the class cap of 60.

The news added fuel to ongoing political jousting where the police union is accused of dissuading applicants to leverage the mayor and his city council allies, who they in turn blame for budget-balancing austerity and pension- reform measures that through layoffs, early retirements and resignations have led to a loss of nearly 400 officers since 2008, reducing the department’s ranks by about a third.

What also followed were murmurs questioning how effectively the department was recruiting. Both Honda and Misener said the 29-cadet figure can also be seen as a sign that even in tough times, the department is not lowering its standards.

Or its efforts.

“If they didn’t think I was doing my job, I’d have a boot in my backside,” Misener said. “I took this job on during the most difficult time in the department’s history, but we have extremely motivated and dedicated officers. I enjoy the challenges and difficulties of it.”

 

WEEKLY POLL
 

Last Week's Poll Results




For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
<http://www.rasmussenreports.com/older_content/home/top_stories/most_recent_articles>



 

MAIL CALL
 

April 7th

Bill,

The attached article is in the California Fire Service Magazine, March-April 2014. It doesn't say anything too much different than everything else that's been written about Chuck Reed's attempt to impose draconian reductions in the benefits of City of San Jose employees, but it is still an interesting read.  

Bill
(Mallett) <bmallett805@att.net>

Bill is correct, the article is interesting. Clicking on the link below should download the article in the form of a .pdf file to your desk top that you can open with a click or two of your mouse if it doesn't open automatically.

<http://sjpba.net/images/Chuck_Reeds_Folly0001.pdf>

 

• • • • •

 

April 6th

Hi Bill,

I just came across this site "History San Jose" at
<http://historysanjose.org/wp/get-involved/shop-history-san-jose/>. Included on the site is a photo gallery where you can choose from several categories, one of which is "Police and Fire" scenes in and around San Jose. John Carr Jr. may already have some or all of these for the SJPD Historical Society, but I thought others might be interested. Maybe someone can I.D. a couple of the unidentified Police Officers or Firefighters from our past.

Steve Postier
<stevepostier@att.net>


Steve included several historical SJPD and SJFD photos in his email, including the one below of a motor officer. This was my reply…

Hi Steve,

I'll include your message in this week's Mail Call column for those who want to visit the website and look at the photos, but most of the police-related pics appear in the History Section of the 1983 SJPD Commemorative Album that I had a hand in putting together 31 years ago. Members of the Dept. purchased over 1,100 copies of the album.

 

The caption next to the photo of the solo motor officer below reads as follows:

 "Ed Stough was born in March of 1883 and appointed to the Police Department during
the same month in 1914. In June 1932 he was promoted to Motorcycle Captain."

 

• • • • •

 

April 9th

Hi Bill,

I came across an article Micki Hippeli shared in the April 28, 2006 Farsider and wanted to add my thoughts about one of my pet peeves to one of the points from her article copied below:

Sent in by Micki Hippeli and published in the April 28, 2006 Farsider...


To all you kids who "survived" growing up in the 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s...

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pickup on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread with real butter and drank kool-ade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because...we were always outside playing!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all. There was no cable TV with 150 channels, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms. We had friends and we went outside and found them.

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, but there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or we just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If you are one of us who grew up in the '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s or '70s, congratulations! You are part of a group of people who grew up before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives "for our own good."

Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to share this with your own kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with a pair of scissors, doesn't it?

The following is what Steve wanted to share...

The article said we rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or we just walked in and talked to them. (I thought what a novel idea that was for the time.)

I feel texting should never have been invented. Kids today will eventually lose the knowledge of how to converse by voice and will eventually lose the ability to speak altogether. I feel the reason why fewer kids were hit crossing the street in my day is because we were taught to look both ways before crossing the street, and to continue watching cautiously until we got to the other side. Today's kids step into the street without looking in either direction because they are too busy texting, and they continue to keep their eyes glued to the screen of their smart phone while they cross. It's almost as if parents today forget that they need to make their children aware of the dangers associated with texting, whether they are walking across the street or driving driving a vehicle. Maybe that is due to the fact that many parents today are also texting and indulging in the same dangerous habits as their children.

Today, people are criticizing the couple stranded 900 miles off the shore of Mexico while attempting to sail around the world with their 2 young children. Several have commented that they felt this couple is crazy and that they were endangering their kids. These people need to ask themselves what are they doing with their lives? Many are probably texting, sitting at home playing video games or watching dull TV shows while this couple is actually living life as an adventure and teaching their children that there is more to the world than electronic boxes to manipulate with your hands.  Sometimes s__t does happen, but at least it happened to this family while they were doing something as a family, something the kids will be able to tell their friends about in person, just like it was done in the Good ole Days of our era.

Steve
(Postier)
<stevepostier@att.net>

I'll admit to being among those who are highly critical about the judgment of the couple who chose to take their 1- and 3-year old toddlers with them on their 36-foot sailboat as they tried to sail around the world. It's one thing for the husband and wife to risk their lives, quite another to put the lives of their children at risk. As to the experience being something the kids can tell their friends about someday, is it realistic to believe that a 3- and 1-year old baby will remember having to be rescued by the California National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy? Besides the rescue itself and the fact that the ill 1-year-old baby is doing well, the only other positive outcome of the incident as far as I'm concerned is that the sailboat was deemed a menace to navigation and sunk after the family and their four rescuers were transferred to the Navy frigate.


 

CHAPLAIN BRIDGEN'S RETIREMENT DINNER REMINDER
 

The SJPD Chaplaincy Board is inviting you to join them for dinner at the Hayes Mansion in honor of Dave Bridgen's retirement from the Chaplaincy on Thursday, June 5, 2014. See the flyer below for more details.

Click here
<http://tinyurl.com/lhyosna> to register and/or make a donation online. Registrations MUST be completed no later than April 25th. This is a firm deadline date with the Hayes Mansion. Please register now!

NOTE: To receive an e-mail with just the form below that you
can print, fill out and mail in with your check, send your request to


<bilmat@comcast.net>
 



 

GUESS WHO ELSE IS RETIRING…



    

THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
     

April 2nd through April 8th


The White House finally met their enrollment goal for Obamacare. President Obama held a press conference and said this means that Obamacare is “here to stay.” He added, “because if you think getting INTO the program was hard, just try getting OUT.”

There’s a kid here in New York who has been accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges. Seriously? I can’t even name all eight Ivy League colleges.

He was accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges. Even his parents were like, "Nerd."

Las Vegas just opened the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, which is 550 feet high. They say it’s the perfect place to take your kids — and then leave them while you hit the blackjack table.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan just released his budget proposal for 2015. Of course, a lot of people are criticizing it. For example, during a speech yesterday President Obama referred to the budget as a “stinkburger” and a “meanwich.” Ryan called Obama immature, while Chris Christie called to see if he had any more of those stinkburgers or meanwiches.

Our good pal, Rob Ford, is at it again. Yesterday he was the only member of Toronto's city council to vote “no” on a measure to congratulate Canada's Winter Olympians. He said, “If someone's gonna be rewarded for not falling on their face, it should be me.”

Ford also voted against naming a street after Nelson Mandela. But he claims that he simply hit the wrong button. Then people who voted for Rob Ford were like, "Been there."

Tomorrow, George W. Bush will open an art exhibit at his presidential library that will feature portraits he painted of various world leaders. He was going to include a painting of bin Laden, but he couldn't find it.

The big news is that yesterday David Letterman announced that he is retiring from “The Late Show” in 2015. I couldn’t believe it. And neither could my parents. They said, "Guess we'll have to start watching YOU now."

President Obama invited the U.S. Olympic team to the White House yesterday to congratulate them on their performance in Sochi. Of course it got awkward when Biden told the biathletes, "I won't rest until all you guys can get married."

Hillary Clinton yesterday made some very strong remarks about the media. She said that the media treat powerful women with a double standard. Or as it got reported in most places, “Hillary Clinton shows off sassy new haircut."

McDonald's announced that it has closed its three restaurants in Crimea because of the tension in the region. Then Putin said, “Is good to hear. Even I don't have weapon as destructive as McRib.”

“Game of Thrones” fans are mad at HBO after its streaming service, HBO Go, crashed during last night's season 4 premiere. Yeah, it was overloaded with millions of viewers — and that was just the cast of "Game of Thrones."

“Game of Thrones” fans haven't been this upset since the end of every episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Tonight UConn played Kentucky in the men’s NCAA championship. The UConn women’s team, the Lady Huskies, also made it to the championship. The team was really excited until they remembered they're called "Lady Huskies."

The No. 1 movie this weekend was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which has already made $303 million at the worldwide box office. So in other words, Captain America has more money than regular America.

Congrats to the UConn Huskies for beating Kentucky to win the NCAA tournament. It was a very big night for Shabazz Napier, who scored 22 points in his team’s win. Yeah, Shabazz Napier. He’s the first NCAA player to be named by John Travolta.

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton sat next to each other at the big game. Clinton congratulated UConn on its big win, while Bush gave Kentucky a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

Authorities in New York recently arrested a man at JFK Airport with seven pounds of cocaine hidden inside goat meat. Or as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford calls that, “an hors d'oeuvre.”

Mazda is having to recall 42,000 cars because spiders have been making webs near the engine vent, which could cause fires. They said, "If you have a Mazda, just hop into that spider-infested fireball and drive it on back to the dealership."

Last night was the big premiere of "Game of Thrones." So many people watched it that HBO's website crashed. And as a result the website's been renamed HBO-bamacare.

in England, a screening of the movie "Noah" had to be canceled because of flooding. I guess we know one person who didn't like the movie.

Congratulations to the Huskies, who are the NCAA champs. There were a lot of celebrities at the game last night. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sat together. Apparently they're becoming good friends. I smell a sitcom.

Married Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister is in a bit of hot water. He was caught by a security camera making out with one of his staffers. Where was this security camera? In his own office.

To his credit, the congressman did all the right things after being caught. He spent time with his family. He apologized to voters. And then he fired the woman he was making out with.

I've been loving it here in Dallas this week. Last night I tried to eat healthy so I went to a vegetarian restaurant. They serve a barbecued vegetarian.

I like the way you Texans abbreviate things. "How do you do" became "howdy." "You all" became "y'all," and "hell on earth" became "El Paso."

Texas may soon be getting a bullet train. The train will run from Taco Cabana to the closest bathroom.

Baseball season started this week. This year for $500 you can have your marriage proposal shown live on the Jumbotron at the Astros stadium. It's also the only way Astros fans will get to see anyone receive a ring.

This is my last night in Dallas. So I've got to leave Texas with new friends, great memories and dangerously clogged arteries. I have eaten my body weight every night. Literally, I weigh myself before the meal and I say bring me that much meat.

Dallas is home to the first Six Flags theme park. Or, if you really like being on a roller coaster, you can just root for the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys are known as America's team. Meanwhile, the Astros are definitely known as Houston's team.

Texas was an independent nation that bordered the U.S. from 1836 to 1846. And then the U.S. surrendered to Texas.

A man got a tattoo saying that Kentucky won the NCAA tournament this year even though they lost. The tattoo is right above his tattoo congratulating President Mitt Romney.

In a recent survey, 84 percent of Americans were unable to locate Ukraine on a map. When he heard this, Vladimir Putin said, "That's easy, it's in Russia now."

In England, a movie theater had to cancel a showing of "Noah" due to a flood in the movie theater. Either that or the 3-D in that theater is really good.

 

"Noah" is a blockbuster of a movie with a lot of surprises. Two days out and Noah realized he's allergic to lion dander.

My favorite scene in the "Noah" movie was during the big storm when Noah is on deck struggling with an umbrella.

They had two of every species on the ark. We get that here in the balcony some nights.

Tiger Woods pulled out of the Masters. He's got a pinched nerve in his neck. It's really a problem. It starts in his neck, and then radiates down through the shoulder all the way down his check-writing arm.

Everybody's excited about the beginning of baseball season. The Yankees are off to a rough start. They are 0-and-2. Alex Rodriguez, who is no longer a Yankee, sits home nights watching the games and injecting himself with dip.

Evil Russian president Vladimir Putin and his wife have divorced. They say it was amicable. It must be because she's still alive.

The "Noah" film is a huge hit. Paramount pictures presents one of the greatest stories of all time re-imagined as you have never seen it before. "Noah," starring Russell Crow, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Matt Damon as the animals.

Chris Christie, what a guy. He allegedly closes down the George Washington Bridge. Everybody goes crazy. And he says, "I'll handle this. I'm going to investigate myself." So he investigates himself. He finds out that he, in fact, is innocent. He came up with a classic defense, "If the pants don't fit, you must acquit."

Earlier today, I called the president of CBS, the guy who owns the network, Leslie Moonves, and said, "I'm retiring." There was a pause and then he said, "Who is this?"

A year from now I'll be on the beach with a metal detector.

Immediately after I made that call, CBS posted a guard by the office supplies.

If you thought I was phoning it in before — you know what I'm saying?

At the NCAA men's basketball championship, President Clinton sat with President George W. Bush. In the second half, Bush tried to catch a foul ball.

Last month, over 200,000 jobs were created in the United States. And that doesn't count this one.

Last week I mentioned to folks I was retiring and the reaction has been overwhelming, but the most impressive reaction since I made that announcement is now I'm seeing kind of a wistful tone to my hate mail.

About a year from now, I'll be doing commercials for reverse mortgages.

President Clinton is here tonight to remind us about how happy we used to be.

Our security tonight is heightened. It's tight. Did everyone in the audience get a cavity search?

In mere minutes, President Clinton will be sitting in the same spot once occupied by both Honey Boo Boo and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. That chair is going to be so confused.

Toronto's city council voted on whether to name a street after Nelson Mandela and whether to congratulate Canada's Olympic athletes. Both votes passed 40-1. Can you guess who that one vote against was? Rob Ford. He now says he got the buttons confused. Come on, Toronto, how could you not re-elect this guy? He's the best. And it's Wednesday. This is the first mistake he's made all week.

The Discovery Channel just announced plans for a new miniseries. It's hosting a race to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. So technically savvy individuals can compete to see who can get their spacecraft to the moon first. It will be televised live. The show aims to prove that people who are bright and determined and work hard can accomplish anything we already accomplished 50 years ago.

The miniseries is said to be the first step towards Discovery Channel's ultimate goal, which is the first shark week on the moon.

The NFL is using technology to get football fans all sorts of new ways to enjoy the games. They have a new app that will allow you to buy what they call experiences at the stadium. And one of the experiences fans can buy is an in-seat visit from a cheerleader, which is an idea pioneered by every strip club ever.

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan threw out the first pitch at last night's Houston Astros game. Nolan Ryan has had many memorable pitches throughout his storied career. This was not one of them.

Two Spanish historians believe that they've discovered the Holy Grail. Indiana Jones found it back in 1989, but they lost track of it.

The Kremlin announced today that Vladimir Putin and his wife have officially divorced. She'll get the house and the car and he'll get Crimea, Ukraine, Belarus . . .

Vladimir Putin's divorce became final today. So ladies, he's officially single. Run!

A new poll has found that 75 percent of Americans believe marijuana legalization is inevitable. The same 75 percent also said inevitable is a funny word because you never hear "evitable." What does evitable mean?

That's right, 75 percent of Americans think marijuana eventually will be legal, while the other 25 percent said, "What, it's illegal?"

The Kremlin announced yesterday that Vladimir Putin and his wife have officially divorced. Over their 30-year marriage, the couple shared two daughters, several homes and one laugh.

Apparently, Kathie Lee Gifford has been asked to stop advertising her new wine on the Today Show. Though I think Kathie Lee is less of an advertisement for wine and more of a public service announcement.

A South Carolina man had to be rescued by police after he got stuck in a ventilation shaft while trying to break into Arby’s. If he’s convicted, he could be sentenced to as many as 10 sandwiches from Arby’s.

Willie Nelson’s stuffed armadillo has been returned after being stolen from a Las Vegas show. And I’m sure Willie was happy to get it back, considering what it’s probably stuffed with.

A new survey ranking American airports named LaGuardia as the worst in the country, and JFK as the second worst. The third worst was somehow LaGuardia again.

 A couple in Michigan is being sued for $2 million after they burned down their apartment complex while trying to cook a squirrel with a blowtorch. I’m not an accountant, but it SOUNDS like they might not have $2 million.

Police in San Francisco are looking for a group of vandals who have been tipping Smart cars over. Well, they’re assuming it’s vandals. It could have just been a stiff breeze.

The archbishop of Atlanta is being forced to sell a $2.2 million mansion he bought using church funds. The bishop said he wanted the extra space because he was tired of only moving diagonally.

A new survey shows that New York is still the top spot for vacationers during holidays. And the most popular New York City attraction for those tourists is the middle of the sidewalk.

Al Sharpton responded to accusations that he served as an FBI informant, saying, “I was not and am not a rat. I’m a cat. I chase rats.” He added, “I was not an informant on a boat, I was not an informant on a goat, I was not an informant in the rain, I was not an informant on a train.”


 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF MARCH 29, 2014

The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

New Articles

• Why Van Halen's standard concert contract called for the removal of all brown M&Ms from bowls of candy placed backstage.
<http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/vanhalen.asp>

• Was Leave It to Beaver the first U.S. network television program ever to show a toilet?
<http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/firsttoilet.asp>

• Have scientists at a British university successfully cloned a dinosaur from preserved fossils?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/dinosaurclone.asp>

• Photographs show icebergs with multi-colored striping in Lake Michigan.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/stripedicebergs.asp>

• Bigfoot hoaxer admits his latest Bigfoot "find" is yet another hoax. We're shocked, shocked.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/supernatural/bigfoot2014.asp>

• An Atlanta Motel 6 outlet turned away a U.S. Army soldier because he was underage.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/motel6.asp>

• Will a 'Full Pink Moon' be visible on 15 April 2014?
<http://www.snopes.com/science/astronomy/pinkmoon.asp>

• Former Navy SEAL Chris Heben was shot following a parking lot altercation and drove himself to the hospital after pursuing his assailant.
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/heben.asp>

• Has Actor Norman Reedus been fired from The Walking Dead after a disagreement with producers?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/reedus.asp>

• Does a photograph show Michelle Obama waving Communist flags in China?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/photos/redflag.asp>

• Urban legend: New residents in unfamiliar housing circumstances adapt in unusual ways.
<http://www.snopes.com/travel/foreign/housing.asp>

• Was Wild Kingdom host Marlin Perkins bitten by a venomous snake on live TV?
<http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/perkins.asp>

• Photograph shows a newly-discovered bluish snake species known as the Texas Bonnet Rattlesnake.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/bluebonnetsnake.asp>

• Animals are fleeing Yellowstone Park. Is this an indicator that a supervolcano eruption is imminent?
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/gnus/yellowstone.asp>

• The seven dumbest, widely-circulated fake photographs of President Obama.
<http://www.snopes.com/info/lists/obamaphotos.asp>

• Teacher's letter home upbraids a student for correcting him in class.
<http://www.snopes.com/humor/letters/hilliker.asp>

• Did a February 2013 speech by Russian president Vladimir Putin demand that Muslim immigrants speak Russian and conform to Russian culture?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/putinduma.asp>

• Was Joanie Loves Chachi the highest-rated TV program ever in Korea?
<http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/joanie.asp>

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!
<http://www.snopes.com/daily/>


Worth a Second Look

• A rammed car leads to a pregnancy.
<http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/rammed.asp>


Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.
<http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp>


Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/topscams.asp>



 

THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS



Large or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos


The Critter Corner


Is it true that some dogs can detect cancer in humans? If you are to believe this BBC clip the answer is yes they can. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0UK6kkS0_M>


• • • • •


When we ran this clip of a so-called trained bear sent in by Sharon Lansdowne last May, we asked you to opine if it was a real bear, or Chris Christie in a bear costume. According to Don Hale, the clip is going viral again, and the question stands. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GPuQ01FpQM>


• • • • •


When I tried to adopt an Echidna Puggle at my local animal shelter, the gal behind the counter said, "I've only got one and I'm keeping him. Can I interest you in a caterpillar?" I told her no. What a bummer. I had my heart set on adopting an Echidna Puggle. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGleaTJoy1U>


• • • • •


Granted, Rhinos aren't the most attractive of God's creatures, but we would argue that a baby anything can be considered cute. Here's a short story about a baby Rhino that was saved after being shot in the head. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_H5W7E5zag>


• • • • •


So how do Prairie Dogs deal with the threat of Rattlesnakes? The answer can best be summed up in a unique and suffocating way. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icaGIeOY9gc>


• • • • •


This clip is short and sweet. It shows in 37 seconds how protective a "Hybrid Wolfdog" can be of a new born Kitten.



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFBmYb4CGAo>


• • • • •


If you are going to adopt a mischievous cat, try to choose one that cleans up its own messes like Willie. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-V-CnKcF7Q>


• • • • •


A massive herd of Elk are on the run, jumping a fence to move from one pasture to another. But the last one is in danger of being left behind because he has trouble leaping over the fence. Will the poor animal be left behind and on his own? (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIEIU9S30l8>


• • • • •


Look up the word "Cute" in Webster's and you just might find a pic of this French Bulldog puppy who had to be talked into going to bed. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKRf1WOw2t8>

 

Enough with the Critters already…


When three members of the Navy SEALs parachute team called the "Leap Frogs" arrived at the Padres home opener in San Diego by air, one of them wore a GoPro helmet cam and captured video of the event from his point of view that's pretty spectacular. Have a look. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5DuMCFfhdo>


• • • • •


Given the recent quakes in L.A. and Chili, this is not a good sign when you consider that Yellowstone sits atop a super volcano known as a "caldera" that could possibly lead to a near extinction level event if it were to erupt. For the record, a 4.3 quake was recorded in Yellowstone just a few weeks ago. Click on the link below and watch the video if you dare. (1 Min.)



<http://tinyurl.com/mlxga2l>


But worry not. Now click on the link below and watch the "Rumor Control" video which is the fourth image from the top. (2 Mins.)



<http://tinyurl.com/ldhkbll>


Then again, if you look out your front window and see this sight, you might want to start worrying again. (14 Secs.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYtqmABNNFE>


If you have not seen the movie "Super Volcano" and want an idea of what a catastrophic Yellowstone eruption would be like, make sure your screen is adjusted to Large or Full Size, click on the link below, sit back and watch what is coming down the pike some day. (90 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnvey1Hdpcg>


And finally, if you are looking for the full, unvarnished truth about the bison appearing to flee from Yellowstone, click on the link below which is part of this week's Snopes Update...

<http://www.snopes.com/critters/gnus/yellowstone.asp>

 

• • • • •


The May 5, 2008 Farsider included the printed lyrics to a poem entitled "In the Land That Made Me Me." Unlike that item from six years ago, this video version sent in by Lumpy of the same poem should take those of you who grew up in the '50s and '60s on a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. (5 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/v/J55S38xwxnQ>


Like we did back in 2008, this Billy Joel song was included along with the poem above. If you don't want to sing along, you might consider tapping your foot to the beat. (4 Mins.)



<http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html>


• • • • •


This is one of those clever videos where a 12-year-old kid videotaped half of a conversation with himself with the intent of completing the other half of the conversation with himself 20 years later. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFGAQrEUaeU>


• • • • •


Do you suppose this is how Cirque du Soleil practices during the off season? Or could it be that these acrobats are simply Cirque du Soleil wannabes? (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP6W44RgmIg>


• • • • •


The title of this clip is spot on. What this kid does on a bike does not seem physically possible. Seriously. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-bGeeChcF8>


• • • • •


If the kid in the video above is among the best on a bike, this guy might be among the best on a motor. Whether he is or not, the clip is worth a watch. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzW1iHerUvc>


• • • • •


Are you getting enough of an iron supplement with your daily breakfast? We're talking about the same iron metal that comes out of the ground. Watch this clip and you may want to perform the same experiment with your grandkid. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRK15XSqtAw>


• • • • •
 

Quote of the week:


While enjoying a beer with his buddies after a round of golf, Chuck was asked to name an actress he would like to be stuck in an elevator with.

Chuck replied: "Any actress who knows how to fix elevators. I'm old, I'm tired, and I have to pee a lot."
 

• • • • •


On the fence as to whether UFOs are real or not? Listen to what some of our astronauts say about the phenomena by visiting this website that includes an article about one of them and videos of three others.



<http://tinyurl.com/opkcwjo>


• • • • •


Keep your eye on the sky this coming Tuesday (April 15th) for the Blood Moon if you find that sort of stuff of interest. This USA Today article and the accompanying NASA video will tell you why. (2 Mins.)



<http://tinyurl.com/k9klbwb>


• • • • •
 

Any of you military aviation buffs know what the image below represents? (I haven't time to wait for an answer.) It's what the pilot sees when landing on the deck of a carrier during a sand storm. I ran the video past my nephew who flies F-18s for the Marines for confirmation and he replied, "That’s a good clip. Looks similar to coming down to land in overcast weather. In case you aren't aware, that’s an F/A-18 HUD." So could the pilot have trapped without the Heads Up Display guiding him to the deck? No pun intended, but I can't see it. (35 Secs.)

 

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvMqMIG81gw>

 

• • • • •


If you have ever taken a cruise you will recall that the ship rocks and rolls when it's in heavy seas, which may be why you haven't seen cruise ships sporting pool tables, at least until now. Royal Caribbean's "Brilliance of the Sea" and some other ships now feature self-leveling gyroscopic pool tables that make it possible to enjoy a game of 8- or 9-ball while the ship is underway. This sped-up video will show you the pool table in action. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK4JYJdR1o8>


• • • • •


If you like the surprise of flash mobs as well as bagpipes, drums and dancers you should enjoy this clip received from Chuck Blackmore. The group is comprised of the Pacific Coast Highlanders Pipe Band, Gold Coast Pipe Band and the MacKinnon Highland Dancers of Thousand Oaks. The performance took place at a SoCal mall on Dec. 22 of 2013 during the Christmas shopping rush. (7 Mins.)



<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioDdFwsjkMc>


• • • • •


This video starts with what looks like a little girl horsing around on a mat, but if you continue to watch you will see that it's something far different. And if you stay with it to the end, you will come to realize that the video is an elaborate ad by Samsung for the company's Galaxy cell phone. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK7IzfLmyco>


• • • • •


Salut Salon is a group of four very talented female musicians from Hamburg, Germany who are extremely popular on the other side of the Pond and often incorporate humor into their performances. Their stage presence, self confidence and personalities are exceeded only by their musical talent, which could account for my infatuation with the ladies. If you enjoy the first video below, click on the second one where they give a short interview in English (their second language behind German) while appearing at Shanghai Expo in 2010. All three of the clips are relatively short. Enjoy...



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKezUd_xw20&feature=youtu.be>

Salut Salon in Shanghai...



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_QA2JYDhSw&feature=youtu.be>

How versatile are they? Watch this...



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMUbrOjABWM>


YouTube is replete with other videos of these ladies under their name of "Salut Salon." They include a 43-minute film about the quartet.
 

• • • • •


Who would have thought that one of the most profound public service announcements we have seen in a long time would be sponsored by a life insurance company in Thailand? Its uplifting message is why we chose it as our closer this week. (3 Mins.)

 

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaWA2GbcnJU>

 

• • • • •





C'ya



Pic of the Week

Lumpy says he likes to have some fun with the guys who
pick up his trash, so he leaves it for them like this…




I like to have fun, too, and this is how I leave my hotel room every time I check out.



Unlike Lumpy, however, I always leave a generous tip.

   

Scrolling Box

 
This is the message box, using the scroller component.
 

 

 

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