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The Farsider

May 23, 2013

 

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.



 

PENSION NEWS

Regarding Measure B, the Fat Lady Has Yet To Sing

This article from the Calpensions website we received from Craig Shuey may buoy your spirits if you are worried that the courts will agree with Mayor Reed and his allies and find no problems with Measure B...



This is the link to the article below...
<http://calpensions.com/2013/05/20/pension-measure-wave-crests-court-slog-remains/>

May 13, 2013

Pension Measure Wave Crests, Court Slog Remains

One of the first local ballot measures aimed at cutting public pension costs, a cap on Pacific Grove payments to CalPERS approved by voters three years ago, was ruled unconstitutional by a Monterey County superior court judge last week.

Judge Thomas Wills ruled Friday that Measure R violated the contract clause of the state constitution, reaffirming the view that pensions promised on the date of hire are a “vested right” that can’t be cut without providing a new benefit of equal value.

In a tough week for the measure‘s backers, the Pacific Grove city council voted 5-to-0 Wednesday to seek a court ruling on the legality of a follow-up measure to roll back police pensions, rather than put the plan on the ballot as the council did with Measure R.

“It’s a constant battle down here,” said Daniel Davis, who worked on both measures. He is a former two-term councilman of Pacific Grove, a city with 15,000 residents located between Monterey and Pebble Beach.

The only pension measure listed so far this year by Ballotpedia was approved by Los Angeles voters in March. Sworn police officers transferring from general services to the police department will be allowed to purchase pension-boosting service credits.

Pensions moved into the spotlight after a deep recession and stock market crash. As other programs were hit by painful budget cuts, pensions stood out — not only untouchable, but often with costs projected to grow at an alarming rate.

All eight local pension measures on the November 2010 ballot were approved, except one in San Francisco. A union-backed alternative to a second pension initiative by Public Defender Jeff Adachi helped Ed Lee win election as San Francisco mayor in 2011.

In Los Angeles voters approved a modest union-backed measure in March 2011. After briefly gathering signatures last fall, former Mayor Richard Riordan dropped an initiative to switch new Los Angeles hires to a 401(k)-style plan.

The wave may have peaked last June when voters in San Diego and San Jose approved widely watched measures. In different ways, both aim to do what some say is needed to get big savings quickly: cut pensions earned by current workers in the future.

The state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) upheld labor complaints that the measures in San Diego, San Jose and Pacific Grove violated state labor law requiring bargaining.

The board filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to prevent a vote on the San Diego measure. An administrative law judge ruled in February that former Mayor Jerry Sanders should have bargained before putting an initiative on the ballot, triggering a court battle.

“PERB forgets that citizen initiatives are constitutional rights in California,” said the city attorney, Jan Goldsmith. The initiative was placed on the ballot by the signatures of 120,000 registered voters and received 66 percent of the vote.

Now all new hires, except police, are receiving 401(k)-style individual invest plans instead of pensions. The initiative requires the city to begin labor bargaining with the initial position of freezing pay used to calculate pensions through June 30, 2018.

The provision can be overridden by a vote of six of the eight city council members. If a union agrees to freeze pensionable pay, an individual might sue. If the city imposes a freeze after lengthy bargaining, a union might sue.

San Jose was hit in March by a PERB complaint of bargaining violations and providing inaccurate information to unions. A hearing on the issues before an administrative law judge is pending.

“What PERB thinks about what happened is irrelevant,” Mayor Chuck Reed told the San Jose Mercury News. “The voters have already spoken.”

Pending approval by the IRS is a cost-cutting provision in the initiative that would give current workers an option: earn a lower pension in the future or increase their contributions by up to 16 percent of pay or until half the unfunded liability is covered.

If this provision is overturned, the measure calls for equivalent city savings through a pay cut.

A half dozen labor lawsuits against the measure have been consolidated in superior court for a trial July 22 expected to last five days. A hearing is scheduled June 7 on a city motion that the lawsuits have no merit and should be dismissed.
Pacific Grove City Hall

Some of the pension issue in Pacific Grove and San Diego is based on the argument that they are among the 121 California cities operating under their own charters, not general state law used by the other 361 cities.

Davis criticized Pacific Grove officials for failing to defend Measure R on the grounds that “statutory vested pension rights were expressly prohibited by the city in its original charter up to and including” the approval of the first CalPERS contract in 1957.

The city attorney, David Laredo, argued in a 2009 memo that the distinction of being a charter city is unlikely to affect pension vested-rights case law based on contract clauses in the state and federal constitutions.

Much of the oral argument made last week by the attorney representing the city, Steve Berliner, was that several unions have agreed to the Measure R cap on city pension contributions to CalPERS of no more than 10 percent of pay.

He said the police union that filed the suit might agree to benefits, such as a pay bonus, that would offset employees paying the part of the employer contribution above the 10 percent cap.

Judge Wills said police have had no contract since 2010, and the city did not show the court a benefit offsetting the contribution cap. Unless given something of comparable value, he said, employees have a vested right to the pensions promised when hired.

In addition, the judge ruled, the measure is invalid because a decision about employee compensation is delegated to voters, violating a provision in the city charter giving the city council the power to set compensation.

The San Diego city council unanimously voted to sue the city pension system in 2010 to force compliance with a 1954 amendment to the city charter requiring the city and employees to contribute “substantially equal” amounts to the pension fund.

The San Diego City Employees Retirement System contends that the “substantially equal” provision applies to the “normal cost” of pensions earned during a year, not the $2.3 billion “unfunded liability” resulting from investment gains and losses.

Mayor Bob Filner last month urged the city attorney, Goldsmith, to drop the lawsuit. The mayor called the suit a “loser” that has cost the city pension system $3.2 million in legal fees, the U-T San Diego newspaper reported.

Goldsmith said the city position is supported by an outside legal expert and a 1983 state Supreme Court decision. After a judge granted a union request to move the trial to Los Angeles, the city got a reversal from an appeals court. A trial is scheduled July 9.

In Pacific Grove, the new initiative would roll back a police pension increase in 2002. The initiative says the city council was not told of a recently discovered CalPERS report showing the higher pensions would sharply increase city pension costs.

Like many other cities, Pacific Grove adopted a major trend-setting pension increase given the Highway Patrol in legislation sponsored by the California Public Employees Retirement System, SB 400 in 1999.

A 17-page CalPERS brochure told legislators SB 400 would not increase state costs. The lawmakers were not shown a CalPERS actuarial forecast that accurately predicted how much costs would soar if investment earnings faltered.

Actuaries estimated that if investment earnings during the next decade hit the target assumed by CalPERS at the time, 8.25 percent, state pension costs would be $679 million in 2010.

That’s well below the $1.2 billion state pension cost in 1997 before a booming stock market prompted CalPERS to give employers a contribution “holiday,” dropping the state payment in 2000 to $160 million.

What lawmakers weren’t shown, as SB 400 sailed through the Legislature with little opposition, was a CalPERS actuarial forecast that state costs would be $3.9 billion in 2010 if earnings averaged 4.4 percent during the decade.

Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at
<http://calpensions.com/>

A second item relating to pensions (Measure B) appears in the Mail Call column from Dan Katz.


 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD



"SJ Crime Spree Hard on Rank and File Cops"

That was the headline of this NBC Bay Area news clip the POA sent to members last Friday whose e-mail addresses are on file with the association. Click on the link below to watch the report...



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBr_wpQBA4Y&feature=youtu.be>

The Mercury News provided details about the homicides in the following story from last Friday's paper...

"San Jose: City Reels from Four Homicides in 12-Hour Span"
<http://tinyurl.com/bgf6rf5>


• • • • •


This story from Monday's paper makes it sound that the City is doing everything possible to restore salaries, empty positions due to retirements and resignations, and the City's infrastructure, which includes brushing away the cob webs and finally opening the the SJPD substation...

Police Substation Funding Proposed

—City manager lists six priorities for 2013-14 fiscal year—

By Carol Rosen — Correspondent
Mercury News — May 20, 2013

SAN JOSE — City Manager Debra Figone has proposed six priorities for the city’s $2.6 billion 2013-14 fiscal year. Following the guidelines of the mayor’s March budget message, which council members approved, her proposed budget includes six major recommendations. Among them is a proposal to open the unused San Jose Police South Substation to improve service levels and deliver better operational efficiencies. About 270 sworn officers would move into the substation to be closer to the areas they patrol. The substation was approved by voters in 2002 but has remained closed because of the city’s budget crisis.



South San Jose Substation

In a telephone interview, District 10 Councilman Johnny Khamis, whose district includes Almaden Valley and much of South San Jose, said, “I’ve done a lot of homework on this, and I’m convinced it would pay for itself in increased efficiencies.”

He pointed to the minimum 20-minute travel time each direction when police respond to calls in South San Jose and Almaden Valley. “When you multiply the 200-plus police officers who would be stationed there by the time saved in travel, you’re talking about some real dollars,” Khamis said.

A second proposal addresses San Jose’s deferred infrastructure needs with $8.6 million to upgrade or replace systems at the police administration and communications buildings.

The proposal adds $11.1 million employee compensation to begin restoring pay cuts and help make the city a more attractive and competitive employer. However, while some salaries may increase, it doesn’t restore the 10 percent pay cut all employees took two years ago.

Figone recommends increasing thin staff levels by 129 positions to a full-time equivalent of 5,651 positions. While that increase is significant, it’s still nearly 24 percent less than peak staffing of nearly 7,500 positions in 2001-02.

Increasing safety needs is one of the mayor’s priorities. Figone suggests adding 21 community service police officers to interview witnesses, photograph crime scenes, collect evidence, take phone reports, fingerprint and conduct follow-up investigations. These employees would allow sworn officers to respond to high-priority calls.

“Unfortunately, we still don’t have the financial capacity to restore key service levels and continue to sustain them for the long term, and we’re addressing only a small part of our significant backlog of infrastructure and maintenance needs,” Figone said.

The new budget recommends $3.3 million to tackle concerns with homeless encampments over a two-year period.

It also proposes reserve funding for legal obligations associated with the elimination of the city’s redevelopment agency and creation of the successor agency along with potential expenses linked to the ongoing implementation of the fiscal reform plan.

Figone set aside $13.7 million as a “future deficit reserve” based on a two-year approach to balancing this year’s budget and a projected shortfall in 2014-15.The city manager prepared a $13.5 million contingency plan in the event that pending litigation with Santa Clara County is not decided in the city’s favor. The litigation is linked to the county’s withholding certain property tax revenues and levies and the complex dissolution of the city’s redevelopment agency.Community budget meetings began this month, while council members began budget study sessions May 8. The next public budget hearing is scheduled for June 10. The final council vote to adopt the 2013-14 budget is scheduled for June 18.


 

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


May 21st

Bill,

I'm guessing you saw this opinion piece by Councilmember Ash Kalra in today's Merc. (The article appears below.)

Mr. Kalra has been steadfast in his opposition to Measure B despite ridicule from the Mayor and the council majority and warned them that the "legal analysis" by the Meyers-Nave law firm (upon which they relied) was not based on any existing case law. They also scoffed at Mr. Kalra's prediction of a mass employee exodus, especially in the police department.

Last Thursday (5/16/13) the City Council held a study session on "Public Safety Data Application" which included a Power Point presentation by the police and fire departments:
<http://sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/17215>

Some of the slides of interest are:

#9 showing that responses to Priority 2 calls are now approaching double the target of 11 minutes.

#23 charting PD attrition from 2007 to 2013 (610 total sworn - 430 since 2009)

The following slides are alarming, but not surprising:

#29 depicting that in 2012, Self-Initiated/On-View Events (Priority 5&6) decreased by 54% from 2008 (-104,000)
 
#30 depicting that in 2012, arrests were down 48.6% from 2008 (-19,000).
 
I'm sure City Hall will want an in-depth analysis to explain why crime is going through the roof.  They can get their answer by looking in the mirror.
 
Dan Katz
<andjay2@aol.com>

This is the Mercury News opinion piece Dan referred to at the top of his message...

Ash Kalra on Pensions: Time for San Jose to End the War on Its Employees

By Concilmember Ash Kalra — Special to the Mercury News
Mercury News — May 21, 2013

In December, San Jose City Council was on the verge of doling out another $1 million to a law firm for litigation over Measure B, the pension modification measure voters passed last June. There was a rare moment of perspective as the city attorney noted that the legally risky measure had led to an "all-out war" with city employees.

As we enter the last weeks of the annual budget process, and as we struggle to find funds to stem the tide of crime, blight and reduced services, the council will be asked Tuesday, for the second time in five months, to fork over nearly another million dollars to continue battling our own employees.

Measure B has eroded employee morale and created the most toxic labor-management relationship in the city's history. The aggression with which the city approached the fiscal situation was a well-crafted political strategy to all but guarantee a pension measure that would hail the mayor as politically victorious without yielding real savings other cities have achieved through collaborative reform.



Ash Kalra speaks against Measure B, the
city's pension reform measure, at a San
Jose Rotary Club event in April 2012.

That this strategy was chosen over a pragmatic, solution-oriented approach was not the fault of residents or employees, yet they have suffered the most. We are seeing services to residents at dangerously low levels. Good employees, most noticeably police, are leaving in droves.

This is particularly frustrating when we're being asked to pay another million dollars to the law firm that advised us to proceed with the pension measure and which is now benefiting from its own advice. These funds could be used to restore services if we had reached a collaborative solution.

There are three things we can do right now to be fiscally prudent while restoring services:

1. Stop the litigation over pension reform. We cannot wage war against our employees, expect them to provide high-quality service for lower pay and then be surprised that they seek employment elsewhere. Given the decades of case law against the city's attempt to break our employees' contract terms, we continue to face an uphill battle without significant savings. We should follow the direction of other California cities and negotiate pension reform to create real, immediate savings.

2. Make services to residents a priority. In recent years, the council has rejected proposals from me and others, including one to reinstate the police burglary unit and another to expand library hours, because we were not certain we'd have the funds beyond the next fiscal year. But if recent years have taught us anything, it's that there is never a guarantee that ongoing funds will materialize. I'd rather commit to enhancing services and then work to identify funding.

San Jose's austerity plan has elevated crime and reduced services to unacceptable levels. During this budget cycle, I'd like to expand library hours, restore the burglary unit and fund neighborhood traffic safety projects.

3. Ensure that employees will be made whole as we exit the recession. San Jose is seeing record job growth, and tax revenue is beating expectations every quarter. City employees gave up 10 percent of their pay, plus more in pension and health benefits. I know we cannot restore all of that in the next year or even two. But the city should state clearly that the goal is to do so. That would show that it understands the sacrifice employees made.

I know how unlikely it is that city leadership will forgo the self-destructive path of litigation. But in this particular war, where the opponents are the very men and women we rely upon to keep this city running, there can be no winner. We all lose.

Ash Kalra represents District 2 on the San Jose City Council. He wrote this for this newspaper.
 

Kalra's opinion piece generated a couple of letters to the editor that made it into today's paper...
 

Councilman Needs to Support Pension Reform

Mercury News — May 23, 2013

Hasn’t Ash Kalra learned? I ran against Kalra (and nearly beat him) in his bid for re-election to the San Jose City Council last year based primarily on the issue of pension reform. Seventy percent of San Jose voters agreed Measure B was needed. Now Kalra decries spending $1 million on lawyers to defend the city against a lawsuit brought on by his union friends and supporters. He says nothing about the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be spent on pensions Measure B was meant to curtail.

If he truly wants to stop this “war” against the employees and work to increase services to the residents of San Jose, he would stop the demagoguing and support the mayor and the majority of the council to rein in skyrocketing pensions and work to find real solutions to the problems facing the city.

Tim Murphy
San Jose

~ ~ ~

 

To Help City, Improve Public Accountability

Mercury News — May 23, 2013

Kudos to Ash Kalra for his thought-provoking op-ed (Opinion, May 21) asking the city leadership to build better labor-management relations for the sake of amity and goodwill. It is really shocking that taxpayers’ money is being plundered in to unnecessary litigation. In my view, public accountability must be fixed in such cases and money recovered from the guilty officials for the sake of transparency and good governance.

Baltej S. Mann
Visiting professor Silicon Valley Center for
Global Studies San Jose State University


 

KEITH KELLEY SUMMER BARBECUE INFO

 The Board of Directors of the Keith Kelley Club is gearing up for this year's Summer Barbecue. It will be held on Wednesday, June 5th, at the Elk's Lodge at 444 W. Alma and starts at 1500 hours.

All retired Keith Kelley Club members attend free of charge. This is a stag affair; guests are not allowed. There will be sausage with garlic bread served at the start of the festivities. Dinner will feature Filet Mignon, Chicken and Ribs, Salad, Beans, Bread and plenty to drink. A Taco Bar will open at 8:00 p.m. serving Carne Asada, Chili Verde, Tortillas and Salsa.

This will be a great time to enjoy good company and food while you unwind and have fun! We will have Keith Kelley Club T-shirts for sale for $15 each.
 
If you have a question about the barbecue or your membership, please contact me.
 
Margie Thompson
<sssq@aol.com> or 408-891-3760
Office Manager, Keith Kelley Club



 

MAKE YOUR SUMMER FUN PLANS WITH THE CALIFORNIA BEACH BOYS





The 2013 Summer Schedule

For more information, e-mail Mike Amaral at <mflashback@aol.com>



 

THE HISTORY OF THE SJPD SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN



This Week I Name Names

The event begins in the rear parking lot of King's Drive-In on South 1st St. near Alma. King's was the "home" of the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club, but we liked to think it was owned, controlled and the property of the SJPD, specifically the cars assigned to B-5 and H-5, two of the 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. units. We had close personal relationships with Anita, the drive-in manager, and Alberto the cook, who later operated his own restaurant on Park Ave. near Lincoln, across from San Jose Uniform, which was operated by Mike Thompson's father-in-law and supervised by Mike's wife, Karen, both of whom now live up in Grey Eagle, north of Tahoe. But there I go digressing again.

One night a Gypsy Joker was observed by a police unit entering the rear refer of a delivery truck that had traveled up from the L.A. area to make deliveries to a number of restaurants, including King's. When the Joker realized he was being observed, he and several other club members fled. While they didn't score any loot, they ruined their "hangout" for the next several days. No I.D., no arrest. Ten-eight.

The truck driver was so grateful for the on-scene crime prevention exercise that he left a thank-you gift for the boys in blue the following night that consisted of two 1-gallon cans of frozen barbecued beef. Attached was a message that read: "Get it home to your freezer while still frozen."

As it happened, it was the proverbial wet and stormy night, and when the windshield wipers on then-Sgt. Norv Pulliam's patrol car failed, he headed to the Police Garage for mechanic Frank Sypert to sort out the problem. But this created a problem as the SJPD was short on both cars and gasoline as there was an ongoing fuel crisis in the mid '60s. The simple solution was for Norv and then-Sgt. Bob Moir to team up and patrol their two districts in a single car. In addition to supervising their districts and making themselves available to fill with patrol units as needed, they also handled calls for service. Their prevailing philosophy was "Have car. Will travel," not unlike Palidin's business card from his hit TV show during the late '50s to early '60s...
 


Well, the note said the frozen beef had to be taken home quickly, and it was. First to Norv's house on Keltner, off Williams. Then to Bob's home in Santa Clara. The rain had subsided somewhat by the time the duo was leaving Bob's house, although the streets were still wet and slick. As they departed Bob's street a speeding Buick sedan crossed in front of them. Deep within the city limits of Santa Clara, the two sergeants who were the downtown and east side San Jose supervisors mused "Where's a cop when you need one?" The Green and Blue radio channels for the east side and downtown/west side areas were of no value in Santa Clara.

As they dropped in behind the speeding Buick, Norv and Bob were surprised by the presence of a Code 3 Santa Clara police unit behind their car. The Buick and two police vehicles were now speeding down the street and around the corner when — OOPS — the police car from the Mission City locked up and slid through the intersection. By what was seen as a necessity, the two sergeants activated their reds and took off after the fleeing Buick through residential areas of Santa Clara.

In a short period of time other Santa Clara PD units had joined the chase, but the two sergeants remained the primary pursuit vehicle. To make matters more complex than they already were, the Buick that was the cause of the pursuit and was moving faster than conditions permitted, retraced its route and wound up back on Bob's block. The driver then lost control and the Buick went for a wild ride on the lawns and through the shrubs and junipers of Bob's neighbors before continuing on it way, reeking havoc, carnage and destruction to the entire neighborhood. The two sergeants kept up with the Buick, but they managed to keep their SJPD unit on the pavement. When the Buick made a right turn from Los Olivos onto Homestead Rd., Norv and Bob made the decision to terminate the pursuit for the good and welfare of the public. But this was after several shots had been fired at the Buick's tires, and one or more may have struck home as the big sedan jumped a curb, entered a vacant lot and came to an abrupt stop. The driver whose clothes and breath smelled of glue was taken into custody. As he was being transported by ambulance to VMC, there was much black-slapping by the two SJPD sergeants and the throng of Santa Clara officers who had gathered at the scene. (This was decades prior to the "high-fives" that have become commonplace in today's world, but the meaning was much the same.)

Prior to Bob and Norv first seeing the speeding Buick, a Santa Clara unit had spotted it behind a medical center and tried to stop the car, but the Buick fled and a chase was on. When Norv and Bob first saw the Buick speeding past them, the Santa Clara PD had already initiated the chase. It was a matter of coincidental split-second timing that the two SJPD sergeants wound up between the Buick and the pursuing Santa Clara unit.

Following the arrest, the Santa Clara PD had a ton of paperwork to contend with as a result of the torn up lawns, shrubs and general damage the driver of the Buick had caused. Norv and Bob's request of them? "We weren't here. We're an SJPD unit. Gotta go. Bye."

Then it was off to Bob's digs to change out of his muddy uniform. He also had to clean his weapon that was caked with mud as he had fallen while he had his weapon extended after the Buick came to a halt.

The duo eventually made their way back to the SJPD at 801 N. 1st St. (1st and Mission) and thought they were home free until Mercury News swingshift police beat reporter Ed Herring went through the pink copies of the crime reports that had been turned in for the shift. "Hey, guys," Herring said to some passing sergeants. "Did you hear anything about a phantom police car in a chase in Santa Clara?"

"Yikes! A phantom police car in Santa Clara?"

It now appeared to Norv and Bob that there was trouble in paradise, or at least in San Jose and the Mission City of Santa Clara.

In an attempt to save their bacon, the dynamic duo decided it would be best to get ahead of the story and have a sit-down with Capt. E. Dale McKay. But first, they placed a call to the Santa Clara PD sergeant who happened to be the Watch Commander at the time of the incident and talked him into declaring the area where the shots were fired as a temporary firing range.

Norv and Bob then sat down with their boss: "Hey, Dale, guess what happened to us tonight?" After all was disclosed, the captain responded: "I can justify you guys being together. I can justify you being in Santa Clara. I can even justify you guys being the lead car in the pursuit. But I CAN'T justify you shooting at the tires of the car." (Back in those days, any shot that missed was deemed to be a "warning shot.") The sergeants then explained that they had spoken with the Santa Clara Watch Commander and that he had declared the area where the shots were fired a temporary firing range.

Into E. Dale's typewriter went a blank Memo (onion skin with carbon paper in between). Clickety-clack, clickety-clack went the manual typewriter. The two sergeants who would later become lieutenants watched as the captain researched the appropriate Duty Manual sections for those that dealt with the discharge of a weapon. What he found were those dealing with (1) "In defense of your own life or someone else's," (2) "When it is necessary to dispatch a seriously wounded animal," and (3) "At an approved range."

A short time later, Norv and Bob were back in the captain's office where E. Dale, after mulling over the events of the night, informed them that the shots fired in Santa Clara conformed with the Duty Manual since they were discharged at an approved range. E. Dale then snorted, ripped the Memo out of his typewriter, wadded it into a ball and tossed it in the trash can.

The matter was never mentioned again, nor did the Mercury News reporter ever uncover anything about a phantom police car in Santa Clara.


 

MY (POLITICAL) TWO CENTS...

From the Editor

Those of you who tune in to Fox News -- even occasionally -- will likely recognize the lady pictured below as Kirsten Powers. She is an admitted liberal (progressive) who, like fellow liberal Juan Williams, can frequently be seen sparring with the likes of Charles Krauthammer and other conservative pundits on various Fox News programs. When Powers is not adding to the bevy of attractive women who regularly appear on the Fox News network, she writes a column for The Daily Beast website, which is generally viewed as a left-leaning news organization.

As those of you who follow the news may be aware, some of President Obama's staunch supporters are being publicly critical of the White House's handling of two of the key issues that have been giving the President heartburn. I'm referring to the IRS scandal and the DOJ's spying of news reporters. The cover-up of the Benghazi attack ranks third on the liberals' list of issues to criticize, if it's on the list at all.

Progressive journalists like Kirsten Powers who are becoming publicly critical of the White House can't bode well for the President and his staff. The opinion piece below that was penned by Powers appeared on The Daily Beast website earlier this week. It isn't necessarily proof that the love affair between the Obama Administration and the liberal arm of the mainstream media is waning, but it should give the White House cause for concern.
 

~ ~ ~
 

How Hope and Change Gave Way to Spying on the Press



by Kirsten Powers — May 21, 2013

First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak out — because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak out — because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, and —okay, we know how this story ends. But how did we get here?



James Rosen of Fox News

Turns out it’s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to “delegitimize” a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time to relentlessly persecute government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.

Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.

It’s instructive to go back to the dawn of Hope and Change. It was 2009, and the new administration decided it was appropriate to use the prestige of the White House to viciously attack a news organization—Fox News—and the journalists who work there. Remember, President Obama had barely been in office and had enjoyed the most laudatory press of any new president in modern history. Yet even one outlet that allowed dissent or criticism of the president was one too many. This should have been a red flag to everyone, regardless of what they thought of Fox News. The math was simple: if the administration would abuse its power to try and intimidate one media outlet, what made anyone think they weren’t next?



President Obama went after Fox News in this 2009 interview with CNBC.
(To view the clip, click on this link below, then scroll down to the image above)
<http://tinyurl.com/qj7hemn>

"What I think is fair to say about Fox … is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party," said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. “[L]et's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is." On ABC’s “This Week” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Fox is "not really a news station." It wasn’t just that Fox News was “not a news organization,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel told CNN’s John King, but, “more [important], is [to] not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization …”

These series of “warnings” to the Fourth Estate were what you might expect to hear from some third-rate dictator, not from the senior staff of Hope and Change, Inc.

Yet only one mainstream media reporter—Jake Tapper, then of ABC News—ever raised a serious objection to the White House’s egregious and chilling behavior. Tapper asked future MSNBC commentator and then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs: “[W]hy is [it] appropriate for the White House to say” that “thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a ‘news organization’?” The spokesman for the president of the United States was unrepentant, saying: “That's our opinion.”

Trashing reporters comes easy in Obama-land. Behind the scenes, Obama-centric Democratic operatives brand any reporter who questions the administration as a closet conservative, because what other explanation could there be for a reporter critically reporting on the government?

Now, the Democratic advocacy group Media Matters — which is always mysteriously in sync with the administration despite ostensibly operating independently — has launched a smear campaign against ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl for his reporting on Benghazi. It’s the kind of character assassination that would make Joseph McCarthy blush. The main page of the Media Matters website has six stories attacking Karl for a single mistake in an otherwise correct report about the State Department's myriad changes to talking points they previously claimed to have barely touched. See, the problem isn’t the repeated obfuscating from the administration about the Benghazi attack; the problem is Jonathan Karl. Hence, the now-familiar campaign of de-legitimization. This gross media intimidation is courtesy of tax-deductible donations from the Democratic Party’s liberal donor base, which provides a whopping $20 million a year for Media Matters to harass reporters who won’t fall in line.

In what is surely just a huge coincidence, the liberal media monitoring organization Fairness and Accuracy in the Media (FAIR) is also on a quest to delegitimize Karl. It dug through his past and discovered that in college he allegedly — horrors! — associated with conservatives. Because of this, FAIR declared Karl “a right wing mole at ABC News.” Setting aside the veracity of FAIR’s crazy claim, isn’t the fact that it was made in the first place vindication for those who assert a liberal media bias in the mainstream media? If the existence of a person who allegedly associates with conservatives is a “mole,” then what does that tell us about the rest of the media?

What all of us in the media need to remember — whatever our politics — is that we need to hold government actions to the same standard, whether they are aimed at friends or foes. If not, there is no one but ourselves to blame when the administration takes aim at us.



 

OMG, A FOURTH SCANDAL FOR THE WHITE HOUSE...

Obama Breaches USMC Umbrella Protocol

The Commander in Chief of the American armed forces last week forced a violation of Marine Corps regulations so he wouldn’t get wet.

According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform. There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella. Nevertheless, during a recent press conference in the Rose Garden with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Obama directed Marines to shield himself and his Turkish guest from the light drizzle.

The relevant portion of the regulation reads, “3035. UMBRELLAS (Female Marines). Female Marines may carry an all-black, plain standard or collapsible umbrella at their option during inclement weather with the service and dress uniforms. It will be carried in the left hand so that the hand salute can be properly rendered. Umbrellas may not be used/carried in formation nor will they be carried with the utility uniform. Items not expressly delineated as authorized components of the Marine Corps uniform are prohibited. Male Marines are informed never to carry an umbrella from the earliest phases of training."

Not even the President of the United States can request a Marine to carry an umbrella without the expressed consent of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, according the Marine Corps Manual. The guidebook that defines protocol for officers and enlisted Marines specifically states in section 2806, paragraph 2: “The Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, published by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, shall be binding on all Marines. No officer or official shall issue instructions which conflict with, alter, or amend any provision without the approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.”

Will this new scandal be as embarrassing and long-lasting to the Obama administration as the Benghazi cover-up, the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the DOJ flap about spying on the AP? White House insiders have reported that press spokesman Jay Carney is already hard at work trying to figure out how to spin this new scandal.

Only a First Lady should use an umbrella in the rain...

 

~ ~ ~


Mea culpa. We take it all back. Press Secretary Jay Carney sent us this photo as proof that the item above was wrong, and that Marines do in fact carry umbrellas on occasion. We bad.



 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF MAY 18, 2013

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

New Articles

• Did a Swedish man die after having sex with a hornet's nest?
<http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/hornetsnest.asp>

• Purported letter from Royal Mail's customer services department asks a local resident to stop pranking postal employees.
<http://www.snopes.com/humor/letters/royalmail.asp>

• Photograph shows a lion, tiger, and bear that live together in the same enclosure at an animal sanctuary.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/liontigerbear.asp>

• Facebook posts are reporting that rapper Eminem is "nearly DEAD" after being stabbed in New York.
<http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/eminemstabbed.asp>

• Did Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announce she would leave Minnesota if the state legalized gay marriage?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/bachmann.asp>

• Video purportedly shows a woman at a baseball game dumping a drink over her boyfriend's head because he declined to kiss her on camera.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/people/kisscam.asp>

• Woman who demands her photo back from her boyfriend receives a box of pictures with instructions to pick hers out and return the rest.
<http://www.snopes.com/love/revenge/photo.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

• Do tourists who have taken rocks from Hawaiian beaches return them in hopes of ending streaks of bad luck?
<http://www.snopes.com/luck/pele.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



Full or Large Screen option best for Yahoo videos...


• • • • •


Out of the tragedy in Oklahoma came a few heart-warming stories. If you haven't already seen this one about an elderly lady who thought she lost her dog to the tornado, have a look. This happened on live TV. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUc1ZgXiQGs>


• • • • •


Tom Macris, who is about as apolitical as one can be, missed this old video clip we ran in the Nov. 4, 2010 Farsider of Johnny Carson-the-politician speaking at a press conference while he was wired up to a polygraph. Given what's happening today from San Jose to Sacramento to Washington, we decided it was worth resurrecting. (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbWI9xIGba4>


• • • • •
 

Our in-house NFL referee who's about to get in shape for another season monitoring the "monsters of the midway" says if every wannabe carjacker could be forced to watch this silent surveillance video, the stats of the crime might take a severe nosedive. Then again, Bill acknowledges that such people are generally stupid individuals. (1 Min.)



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


• • • • •


Nearly a dozen readers sent us this clip over the past two weeks of Judge Jeanine Pirro discussing the Benghazi attack on her show "Justice" that airs on Fox News. We decided to pass it along if, for no other reason, to slow down the flurry of similar e-mails that continue to arrive in our inbox. (12 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ds1nnJ3t14>


• • • • •
 

This is raw video footage showing how the British-owned ITV news network covered yesterday's murder of the British soldier in southeast London by two terrorists. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c67Ucmz_zjE&feature=youtu.be>

True or not, a side effect of the incident is that it has led some media outlets to speculate why it took London cops so long to respond to the scene of the homicide. Click on the link below...



<http://tinyurl.com/qy9nhos>
 

• • • • •


Have you ever wondered if you would be a happier person if you could find a way to lower your I.Q.? Well perhaps you can with a new pill that has become available. The gentleman in this short video points out some advantages to taking a pill that will make you dumber, even stupid if that is your choice. That the clip may help you understand those on one side of the political spectrum or the other will depend on your own political ideology. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9pD_UK6vGU>


• • • • •
 

Caution: Adult Content: A handful of readers sent in this clip entitled "How to lose your job as a TV interviewer." It's about a television interview with a guy on a Dutch TV station who purportedly lost his testicles in a botched surgical procedure. While many may find it humorous, it raises the question as to whether or not it's real? (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-Q7_P3X9dg>

The answer to that question is no, it's not real. The original (real) video was about the guy's wife who wound up in a wheelchair after her spine was damaged during an operation, and her husband lost his tonsils, not his testicles. Here is the original video that, while tragic for the couple, is just as humorous if not more so because the interviewer could not contain his laughter over the man's voice and what he had to say. As a result, both the interviewer and his staff lost their jobs according to a footnote at the end of the clip (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSFWgKl-O-A>


• • • • •


We don't normally think of our neighbors to the north as being embroiled in their own national controversy over gun control, but it seems they are. Furthermore, this Canadian news anchor has a warning for America that gun registration can in fact lead to confiscation. If the subject interests you, take a moment and watch this clip we received from Bob Tenbrink. (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIrBUrFV2Ac>


• • • • •


When Tchaikovsky wrote the music to "Swan Lake" in 1875-76, you can bet your sweet violin he never in his wildest dreams could imagine it would be accompanied by a performance like this one by the Great Chinese State Circus. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4sMc-p19FIk>
 

• • • • •


We're not one to jump on any conspiracy theory bandwagons — at least that was the case until recently when certain events came to light in Washington — but we did find this video we received from a handful of readers regarding Muslims in Boston of interest, especially since the clip was posted on YouTube three years ago. The e-mail with the link to the video suggested the clip may have something to do with the Miranda Warning given prematurely by a Federal magistrate to the surviving Boston bomber, thereby depriving the FBI of a full interview with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Watch this video and decide for yourself. And remember, it was posted on YouTube three years ago, back on May 28, 2010.  (7 Mins.)



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

To add to the controversy, the e-mail also claimed that prior to becoming the Attorney General, Eric Holder's law firm specialized in defending suspected terrorists, and that the Federal magistrate who stopped the FBI interview of the Boston bomber and issued the Miranda Warning did so at the DOJ's direction. We'll leave it at that, but direct your attention to this article. (A Google search will turn up several others espousing the same theme.)

<http://tinyurl.com/d8zxyhm>
 

• • • • •


We would like to think that the guy in this video we received from Jordan Freitas reflects many of the values and feelings of the large number of you we have had the privilege of getting to know over the many years we have been responsible for both the Farsider and the original SJPD house organ we dubbed the Insider back in 1977. With the turmoil going on in Washington, we thought it was more than suitable for this week's closing item. Have a look and listen. (3 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvHy4aIoQXU>


• • • • •




C'ya


Pic of the Week


 

   

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