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 website 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.
HAPPY PRE-INDEPENDENCE DAY
To celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday we have included what Bruce Fair says is ďthe greatest video (he has) seen in a long time.Ē But before you hold your breath in anticipation, keep in mind that Bruce lives in Kansas, where you can see Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma if you stand on a quarter! That's why it's known as "The Land of Flat." Click on the link below. (0:48)
Click to watch and read the following news clips.
NBC Bay Area: SJ Homicide on Par with Oakland as Officer Fatigue Continues
Click HERE to view
NBC Bay Area: íUpbeat' Fundraiser Held For Fallen SJPD Officer Katherman
Click HERE to view
Mercury News: Big Three Bay Area Cities See Similar Midyear Homicide Counts
Click HERE to read
This item from the I.A. column of last Sundayís (June 26th) Mercury News caught our attentionÖ
San Jose Measure B dump worries San Diego
San Diego leaders are worried that if San Jose successfully dumps its voter-approved pension reform measure, their city might be next.
Voters in both cities in 2012 overwhelmingly approved landmark laws to trim city retirement benefits that were eating up their budgets. But only San Jose is asking a judge to repeal the measure four years later.
Following numerous lawsuits from employee unions, Mayor Sam Liccardo, a former backer of San Joseís Measure B, led the effort to replace it with a settlement approved by unions.
But one of Liccardoís former allies, former Councilman Pete Constant, along with the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, filed legal papers to stop the city from ďundoing the votersí will.Ē And now San Diego is joining in that fight by filing an amicus brief, which allows the city to participate in the argument of the case even though itís not a litigant.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Beth McGowen in April approved the cityís request to overturn Measure B on a ďprocedural defect.Ē Constant and his group appealed, winning a temporary stay in the case last month.
San Diegoís city attorney, Jan Goldsmith, voiced support for the stay in a 10-page letter ó undoubtedly an attempt to protect his cityís Prop B pension reform measure from suffering the same fate.
ďIf the Stay Order were vacated, the invalidation of a voter approved initiative through a negotiated settlement, without a confirming vote of the people, would become an extremely troubling precedent for the City of San Diego,Ē Goldsmith wrote.
THE TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD
Oh wise sage of the Murk's Editorial Board, please tell us how you feel about transparency by Californiaís law enforcement agenciesÖ
Roadblock to Police Reform
Editorial ó Mercury News ó June 27, 2016
Attempts to bring more transparency to police conduct in California are hitting a brick wall in the Legislature, despite the growing public mistrust of police in many cities that hurts officersí ability to do their jobs and makes them ó and all of us ó less safe.
As more departments, including San Joseís, move toward body cameras to help prove or disprove impropriety, AB253 by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, aims to restrict access to recordings. It passed the Assembly 71-1. But SB1286 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which would require disclosure of investigation records in serious use-of-force incidents, died quietly in the Senate last month.
Itís hard to talk about police misconduct at this time of tragedy in San Jose. The city lost an exceptional officer, Michael Katherman, whom thousands mourned at a moving public memorial last Tuesday. But greater transparency shouldnít be harmful to police departments. It will help rebuild trust among people who now believe the police can do anything and never be called to account.
The Santiago bill would require a public agency to give an officer at least three business daysí notice before any audio or video recording of the officer, recorded by the officer or involving the officer is posted on the internet.
That would give the officer time to seek an injunction ó even if the police agency wants to comply with a public-records request or has decided on its own that posting the recording is the right thing to do.
The Senate should kill this bill. As James Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, wrote, it ďwould allow a self-interested individual to have a stranglehold over information that the public has an overwhelming interest in obtaining and that a law enforcement agency may want to disclose immediately for the good of the community.Ē
As for the Leno bill, Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach, used his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee to kill it without debate. The bill had been passed by two Senate committees, but Lara placed it on suspense May 9 and didnít bring it back for consideration by the May 27 deadline to move it to the Senate floor. Co-sponsored by CNPA, the ACLU and other organizations, the bill would have brought sunshine to cases of proven misconduct involving the violation of individualsí legal rights and cases of proven job-related dishonesty. It would have allowed the public access to records of investigations and discipline in police use-of-force cases ó but only when a police agency has concluded that its officer violated peopleís rights, not when there are just allegations.
The bill also called for people who file police misconduct complaints to be told how the department responded.
Those are records the public has access to in states such as Texas and Utah, but not in California. And our Legislature is keeping it that way ó as if to prove there really is something to hide.
I emailed an article to you written by Victor Davis Hanson that included a 2-page bio with his qualifications which are stunning. He is a professor of Western Civilization & Military History.
His article best summarizes why we now have two extreme candidates for President, Sanders and Trump, along with a third, Hillary, which will be Obama's 3rd term ó or just more of the same.
Bernie and Donaldís supporters know that something is wrong in the US, and probably in the world in general, albeit from different perspectives. Indeed, something Ďisí wrong in the US and the world and, based on Hanson's view of history, the outcome looks disastrous (specifically see the last paragraph of his article).
If we legalize all of the illegal aliens, (Hillary's position, full amnesty in 100 days, not likely, or deport all illegal aliens, Trump's, not likely), and we continue to let in more illegal and legal migrants from mostly failed countries, we move closer to the Balkanization of the US and/or civil war. I do not see any possibility of turning this downward spiral around without major civil upheaval.
Charles Hoehn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The link below will pull up Hansonís article. We would call it highly recommended reading if you want a clue as to whatís coming down the pikeÖ
In Free Fall
By Victor Davis Hanson
June 20, 2016
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Were you one of those who foolishly believed the media a few years ago when it reported that Hillary Clinton lied when she said she and her staff landed in Bosnia under heavy gunfire and had to run for cover? This rare footage is proof that it was the media that lied, not Hillary!
Red State <email@example.com>
I guess seeing is believing. A pox on the media for making Hillary look bad. Readers who, like me, believed that Hillary and her staff were not in harmís way when they landed in Bosnia should watch this clip. (0:56)
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I just learned that Tom Frederickson who worked at the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Dept. passed away last week. I'm sure there are some "Old Timers" who had the occasion to work a case or two with him. I've attached the obituary.
I didn't know him until after he retired and moved up here to Reno. I met him several years ago when he introduced himself to me at a Boy Scout meeting. I was one of the leaders and he was attending with one of his grandsons. He was a regular attendee and I got to know him through those meetings and at church. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it has truly been sad to see him deteriorate.
Thanks again for your work on the "Farsider.Ē I enjoy it weekly. Hope all is well.
Joe (Schenck) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sept. 21, 1935 ó June 17, 2016
Thomas Fredericton passed away peacefully on June 17th surrounded by his loved ones. Tom was born in Brooklyn, New York where he lived until enlisting in the United States Air Force. While in the Air Force Tom served in the Korean War. He also was stationed in various areas over North Africa, the Arctic and stateside before being honorably discharged after 10 years of service to his country.
While in the Air Force Tom met the love of his life Aldine and they were married on June 6th, 1959. They soon moved to San Jose, CA where they had three children (Mark, Karen and Erik).
Tom started his career with the Santa Clara County Sheriffís Office in 1964 and served for 28 years. During his career Tom became a highly respected Detective Sgt. and was inducted into the American Police Hall of Fame after receiving several awards for conspicuous heroism.
After retirement, Tom moved to Reno, Nevada to be closer to his grandchildren. He volunteered with the Veterans Administration and served as the Commander of the American Legion in Reno.
Tom is survived by his wife Aldine; daughter Karen; sons Mark and Erik; daughters-in-law Sonya and Wendy; and grandsons Thomas, Patrick and Gunnar.
A memorial service (was) held on Monday, June 27, at Saint Albert the Great Catholic Church in Reno.
Published in the Reno Gazette-Journal on June 25, 2016
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At Mike Johnson's funeral and the recent memorial service for Mike Katherman, retiree Margie Thompson, as the secretary and "engine" that keeps the Keith Kelly Club afloat, rose to the occasion on both occasions.
At 4:30 a.m. on the day of the Katherman memorial service, she went to Vasona Park in Los Gatos to "meet and greet" the hundreds of motor officers from throughout the state who arrived in the early hours to escort our fallen brother to the SAP Center for the public memorial. A similar scene took place at the Michael Johnson service several months ago. Between the two visits, Margie was accompanied by an officerís wife and a civilian who works in Records.
Safeway and Starbucks were among the local businesses that donated the food and coffee. Itís the ďbehind the scenesĒ work that shows the spirit and support shown to our police community that needs to be recognized.
Bob (Moir) <Robillard1045@gmail.com>
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So I get a call from the US Marshallís Office in Boise who said there was a warrant for my arrest for missing jury duty. I could not stop laughing as I thought it was one of my ex-cop buddies screwing with me. I made the fake US Marshall mad as I asked too many questions. He did know my address, phone and name however, so there was a little concern there. But that was easy to pull off the Internet. The fraud is he wanted me to come turn myself in. Eventually I guess he would ask for money, but we never got that far. I said, if he knows where I live, come and get me. And bring SWAT as I have weapons. I then found the following item below on the Internet.
Wil Smoke <email@example.com>
ďTheyíve been sheriffís deputies, utility bill collectors and IRS agents. Now they are posing as U.S. marshals.
The U.S. Marshalís Service is warning residents of a rash of recent calls in East Tennessee by scam artists posing as marshals in an attempt to con people out of money through intimidation.
The callers identify themselves as ďchief federal marshalsĒ or U.S. Marshals Service employees.
ďTypically, the fraudulent caller tells the recipient of the call that there is a warrant for their arrest because they failed to respond to a subpoena, a summons, or because they or a family member missed jury duty and are now subject to fines or arrest,Ē the Marshals Service alert states.
Itís the latest spin on a persistent scam. The Knox County Sheriffís Office and other local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Knoxville Utilities Board and the IRS all have issued similar alerts in the past.
The scammers typically try to pressure the would-be victim into purchasing a MoneyPak or Green Dot card for a specific amount, and then provide the cardís serial number, enabling the con artist to collect the money. The prepaid debit cards are usually untraceable.
The Marshals Service does not solicit payments from anyone and urges residents not to share their financial information to unknown callers.
Anyone receiving such a call from someone claiming to be with the agency is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service at 865-545-4182.
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I don't want to stir things up any more than I sometimes do, so here's a slow burner or back burner type issue to ponder while the Court is on its annual summer break ó the Supreme Court that is.
Has anybody been taking notice of the 8 member Supreme Court and how many cases end up in a 4 to 4 split? To me, that simply means that if there was a full complement of nine Justices, some of the most important issues for the country could be decided by only one vote. One person gets to decide everything for everybody; for all the lower courts, the Congress, the States, the Executive, the entire population; everything for everybody. One non-elected political appointee gets all that power. Does anybody want to question that? At least look at it? It's not hidden. It's been sitting in front of our eyes for a long time. Sometimes we never take note of the most obvious. I know it would be more difficult to get decisions passed one way or the other, but maybe it should be that much more difficult at the highest level.
Shouldn't it be at minimum a two-thirds majority; 6 to 3 or something like that? Or if it ends up in a 5 to 4 split, its opinion would not carry the weight of law, or maybe 5 to 4 decisions are only good for ten years. After all, if a case gets that far, takes that much time and effort, it shouldn't come down to one political appointee's opinion. Or should it? Maybe I'm wrong. The case has already been looked at and ruled on by many courts previously. If we have different rulings for the different federal jurisdictions around the country, so be it. Differences aren't all bad. Diversity is good. But not one person having all that power over everybody, forever? Come on! Is this democracy? Not even close. I mean no disrespect to the Court, but for me: You want an opinion to be permanent at the supreme level, make it six to three minimum.
Food for thought.
Dave (Scannell) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Your ďfood for thoughtĒ gave me a headache this week, Dave. Please give me a simple problem to solve, like how to develop a loving relationship between the Democrats and the Republicans!
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A submission in last week's Farsider ("Are you concerned about rude political candidates?") drew a comparison between statements made by Ronald Reagan and those made by Donald Trump. Saying that, "Compared to the comments made by Reagan, Trumpís comments are childís play."
A major difference that should be noted is that each of the four listed quotes from Reagan were quickly followed by either a public apology, an explanation or a reversal by him. Two of them were made as jokes.
This is certainly not the case for the numerous controversial and inflammatory statements that have been made by Trump. His record shows that he doesn't believe in apologizing, and if he does further explain any of his statements, the explanations serve to reinforce what he had originally said.
There is also a major difference in how the Republican leadership responded to Reagan's statements and how they've responded to Trump's.
Here are the four statements made by Reagan that were quoted and his follow ups.
1) As governor of California, Ronald Reagan once said of University of California at Berkeley protesters, ďIf it takes a bloodbath, letís get it over with. No more appeasement.Ē
As fact checked by Snopes, 'within hours of making the comment, Reagan insisted that he had never intended to use the word "bloodbath" in this, his off-the-cuff response to a delegate's question at a meeting of the Council of California Growers on 7 April 1970. But later, both at a news conference and during a talk at a fund-raising dinner in Bakersfield, Reagan said he had not meant to use the term. As the UPI reported the following day, Gov. Ronald Reagan says his remark that a "bloodbath" may be needed to quell militant demonstrators, "Was just a figure of speech. I wasn't even aware I had used it. I certainly don't think there should be a bloodbath on campus or anywhere else." Click HERE
2) When the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst and forced her family to distribute food to the poor, Reagan quipped, ďItís just too bad we canít have an epidemic of botulism.Ē As pointed out in a Wikipedia account of this statement, it was a joke that Governor Regan had made. He became very upset at the media for publishing it and making it sound like he really meant it. He called what they did, "irresponsible.Ē Click HERE
3) During a pre-speech microphone check he said, ďMy fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.Ē Again from Wikipedia, it's pointed out that this quote was actually a joke made to the radio technicians who asked him to do sound check before his public address was to be aired. It was a parity about the speech he was about to give. Contrary to popular misconception at the time, this microphone gaffe was not broadcast over the air, but rather leaked later to the general public. Click HERE
4) ďUnemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.Ē From the Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, Reagan later was quoted as saying pretty much the opposite, "We have, in some of the hardest hit states, extended the unemployment insurance. There's nothing that strikes my heart more than the unemployed." Click HERE
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I know this is probably too long to publish, but it sounds like San Jose P.D. might be on its way to having similar problems if they keep standing around with their hands in their pockets on orders from the Chief and the Mayor!
J.C. (Jim Carlton) <email@example.com>
Yes, it is long. But thatís the beauty of that scroll bar over there on the right. Not interested? When placed on the scroll bar, the cursor lets non-interested readers skip to the next item. I chose to include this opinion piece because I felt it was relevant to whatís happening to the nationís police departments, including San Joseís.
Chicagoís Streets Became the Wild West
óThe Ferguson effect, failed city leadership and an ill-advised deal with the ACLU have made the city more dangerousó
Someone was shot in Chicago every 150 minutes during the first five months of 2016. Someone was murdered every 14 hours, and the city saw nearly 1,400 nonfatal shootings and 240 fatalities from gunfire. Over Memorial Day weekend, 69 people were shot, nearly one an hour, topping the previous yearís tally of 53 shootings. The violence is spilling from the Chicagoís gang-infested South and West Sides into the business district downtown. Lake Shore Drive has seen drive-by shootings and robberies.
The growing mayhem is the result of Chicago police officers withdrawing from proactive enforcement, making the city a dramatic example of what I have called the Ferguson effect. Since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, the concept that American policing is lethally racist has dominated media and political discourse, from the White House on down. Cops in minority neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities have responded by backing away from pedestrian stops and public-order policing; criminals are flourishing in the vacuum.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned in October 2015 that officers were going fetal as the violence grew. But 2016 produced an even sharper reduction in proactive enforcement. Failures in city leadership after a horrific police shooting, coupled with an ill-considered pact between the American Civil Liberties Union and the police department, are driving that reduction. Residents of Chicagoís high-crime areas are paying the price.
Most victims in the current crime wave are already known to police. Four-fifths of the Memorial Day shooting victims were on the Chicago Police Departmentís list of gang members deemed most prone to violence. But innocents are being attacked as well: a 6-year-old girl playing outside her grandmotherís house earlier this month, wounded by gunfire to her back and lungs; a 49-year-old female dispatcher with the cityís 311 call center, killed in May while standing outside a Starbucks a few blocks from police headquarters; a worker driving home at night from her job at FedEx, shot four times in the head while waiting at an intersection, saved by the cellphone at her ear.
Police officers who try to intervene in this disorder often face virulent pushback. People are a hundred times more likely to resist arrest, Ěa police officer who has worked a decade and a half on the South Side told me. People want to fight you; they swear at you. ėF*** the police, we donít have to listen, they say. I havenít seen this kind of hatred towards the police in my career. Ě
Anti-police animus is nothing new in Chicago. But the post-Ferguson Black Lives Matter narrative about endemically racist cops has made the street dynamic much worse. A detective told me: From patrol to investigation, itís almost an undoable job now. If I get out of my car, the guys get hostile right away. Ě Bystanders sometimes aggressively interfere, requiring more officers to control the scene.
In March 2015, the ACLU of Illinois accused the Chicago PD of engaging in racially biased stops, locally called investigatory stops, Ě because its stop rate did not match population ratios. Blacks were 72% of all stop subjects during a four-month period in 2014, said the ACLU, compared to 9% for whites. By the ACLUís reasoning, with blacks and whites each making up roughly 32% of the cityís populace, the disparity in stops proves racial profiling.
This by now familiar and ludicrously inadequate benchmarking methodology ignores the incidence of crime. In 2014 blacks in Chicago made up 79% of all known nonfatal shooting suspects, 85% of all known robbery suspects, and 77% of all known murder suspects, according to police-department data. Whites were 1% of known nonfatal shooting suspects in 2014, 2.5% of known robbery suspects, and 5% of known murder suspects, the latter number composed disproportionately of domestic homicides. Whites are nearly absent among violent street criminals the group that proactive policing aims to deter.
Despite the groundlessness of these racial-bias charges, then-Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the cityís corporation counsel signed an agreement in August 2015 giving the ACLU oversight of stop activity. The agreement also created an independent monitor. Why McCarthy agreed to put the ACLU in charge is beyond us, a homicide detective told me.
On Jan. 1 the department rolled out a new form for documenting investigatory stops to meet ACLU demands. The new form, called a contact card, was two pages long, with 70 fields of information to be filled out. This template dwarfs even arrest reports and takes at least 30 minutes to complete. Every card goes to the ACLU for review.
The arrangement had the intended deterrent effect: Police stops dropped nearly 90% in the first quarter of 2016. Criminals have become emboldened by the police disengagement. Gangbangers now realize that no one will stop them, says a former high-ranking official with the department. People who wouldnít have carried a gun before are now armed, a South Side officer told me. Cops say the solution is straightforward: If tomorrow we still had to fill out the new forms, but they no longer went to the ACLU, stops would increase, a detective said.
A profound pall also hangs over the department because of a shockingly unjustified police homicide and the missteps of top brass and the mayor in handling it. In October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, behaving erratically and suspected of breaking into cars, was shot to death by a Chicago police officer. A police dashboard camera captured the terrible scene as he was killed despite not posing an immediate threat.
The police department never corrected the initial reports that falsely portrayed the shooting as justified until a judge ordered the videos release in November 2015. The police department had cleared the officers involved; now one is charged with murder. Mayor Emanuel fired Superintendent McCarthy and appointed a task force that subsequently accused the Chicago police of systemic racism.
Mr. McCarthy says he didnít release the video or correct the record because he didnít want to compromise a federal investigation. That is a justified protocol under ordinary circumstances. But this was no ordinary shooting, and the damage done by the prolonged false narrative, also left uncorrected by City Hall, is incalculable.
Mayor Emanuel, genuflecting to the cityís activists, has adopted many of his task forces sweeping recommendations. Yet the premise of those recommendations Ēthat the department is fatally racist and brutalĒ is false. The McDonald shooting was a tragic aberration. In 2015, even as crime was increasing under the Ferguson effect, the Chicago police shot 30 people, eight fatally, representing 1.6% of the 492 homicides that year. Chicagoís ratio of fatal police shootings to criminal homicide deaths is less than the national average; among the 10 most populous cities, the departmentís per capita rate of fatal shootings is far less than that in Phoenix, Dallas and Philadelphia, even though the Chicago PD takes more guns off the street than any other police department in the nation.
MICHAEL KATHERMAN MEMORIAL T-SHIRTS AVAILABLE ON JULY 6
óAll proceeds to benefit Michaelís wife and childrenó
These Michael Katherman Memorial T-shirts will cost $20 each with all proceeds going to the family. The Keith Kelley Club donated the cost of the shirts which will be available in the PAB Cafeteria on Wednesday, July 6, from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. Margie plans to bring some shirts to the July 20th PBA meeting providing there are any left. Cash or checks made payable to the Keith Kelley Club will be accepted.
For more information, get in touch with KKC CFO Margie Thompson or Board Member Dan Pfiefer using the contact information below.
Margie, 408-421-3785 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dan, 408-825-3731 or <email@example.com>
MICHAEL KATHERMAN MEMORIAL COINS TO BENEFIT THE FAMILY NOW AVAILABLE
Coins are 15 dollars each, with 5 dollars of the price going to the Katherman Family. Farsider readers who would like to make a purchase should send an email to <CraigJ1947@yahoo.com> to place an order. Include your name, number of coins you want to purchase and a phone contact for when the coins arrive.
Craig Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CALLING ALL CARD SHARKSÖ
NOT DISPUTING THE NUMBERS, BUT WE FIND THIS HARD TO BELIEVEÖ
óIn the Bay Area and across California, cops and state and federal agents lose firearms at astonishing rateó
By Thomas Peele <email@example.com>
Mercury News ó June 26, 2016
Nine-hundred forty-four guns.
From Glocks, Sig Sauers and Remingtons to sniper and assault rifles, some equipped with grenade launchers.
They used to belong to law enforcement officers across California, but a Bay Area News Group investigation found hundreds of police-issued weapons have been either stolen, lost or canít be accounted for since 2010, often disappearing onto the streets without a trace.
A year after a bullet from a federal agentís stolen gun killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier, this news organization surveyed more than 240 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and discovered an alarming disregard for the way many officers ó from police chiefs to cadets to FBI agents ó safeguard their weapons.
Their guns have been stolen from behind car seats and glove boxes, swiped from gym bags, dresser drawers and under beds. They have been left on tailgates, car roofs and even atop a toilet paper dispenser in a car dealershipís bathroom. One officer forgot a high-powered assault rifle in the trunk of a taxi.
The tally includes Colts, Rugers, Smith & Wessons, a Derringer, a .44-caliber Dirty Harry hand cannon and a small snub-nosed revolver called a ďDetective Special.Ē
In all, since 2010, at least 944 guns have disappeared from police in the Bay Area and state and federal agents across California ó an average of one almost every other day ó and fewer than 20 percent have been recovered.
Little attention had been paid to the issue before Steinleís highly publicized death. But at least 86 weapons were snatched from officersí vehicles between January 2010 and last Juneís smash-and-grab burglary of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management rangerís gun recovered after Steinleís shooting. Police have not determined who stole it, but an illegal immigrant is charged in her killing.
The Rev. Cameron Faller, associate pastor at the Church of
the Epiphany, conducts a prayer service at the site where
32-year-old Kate Steinle was killed last year. According to
police, Steinle was shot and killed by an undocumented
immigrant who fired a gun stolen from a BLM agent.
ďYou just canít leave a gun alone in a vehicle,Ē said retired FBI Agent Jim Wedick. ďYou just canít do it. It has to be in a compartment, or in chains an inch thick wrapped around a lead box, because, God forbid, someone gets hurt.Ē
But even after Steinleís death, law enforcement agents have continued to leave guns available in their cars: Four FBI guns have been stolen from vehicles in the Bay Area this year, including three in Benicia; Salinas police had three stolen from cars in a six-week period in April and May. And a San Jose Police cadet resigned on the eve of becoming an officer after his gun was stolen from his car in late October while he was in the Benihana restaurant at Cupertinoís Vallco Shopping Mall.
Frank Pitre, a San Mateo attorney representing the
families of shooting victims Kate Steinle and Antonio
Ramos, says that the number of weapons stolen from
law enforcement officers is ďstaggering.ĒďItís a movie
that keeps getting repeated,Ē he said.
The thefts are revealed in records obtained from government agencies in one of the most comprehensive examinations of missing police guns of its kind. While last yearís highly publicized killings of Steinle and Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos brought attention to the tragic consequences of stolen police guns, the scope of the problem has been far less clear ó until now.
The numbers ďare staggering,Ē said Frank Pitre, an attorney representing Steinleís parents, Jim Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan, in a federal lawsuit over their daughterís death. The BLM is one of three defendants.
This news organizationís investigation also uncovered that a gun stolen from a Tracy cop in 2010 was used to kill a man in Contra Costa County four years later, and a now-retired Piedmont police chiefís gun stolen in 2012 was used in a San Francisco gang shooting that year.
Many departments have struggled to keep track of weapons. Oakland police, for example, lost track of 370 weapons since 2011, including 30 this year that later turned up. Itís unclear how many other guns could be missing from local departments that havenít bothered to audit their inventory of weapons.
While police agencies documented the majority of missing guns in this news organizationís analysis as lost or unaccounted for, 192 were listed as stolen.
ďThis needs to stop,Ē said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who is sponsoring legislation that would make it illegal in California for a cop to leave a gun in an unattended car unless it is locked inside a hidden compartment or secure case.
Officers become complacent with their weapon, because they are so used to it always being there, Hill said. ďThey donít take it as seriously as they should, and what the effects of it could be if it gets lost to the wrong hands.Ē
Late last year, after Steinle and Ramos were killed, U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, urged President Barack Obama to issue an executive order requiring all federal guns left in parked vehicles to be locked down. The White House took no action, DeSaulnier said in an interview.
Regulations for gun storage in vehicles vary widely across the more than nearly 100 federal agencies that employ armed agents, DeSaulnier said. He said he will soon introduce legislation to make regulations uniform by requiring lockable compartments in any parked vehicle where a government gun is left.
He is also considering adding a requirement that any police department in the country that receives federal funding have strict policies in place about safeguarding guns in unattended vehicles.
ďIt was very staggering for me to find out that there is no set, universal policy at all for state, local and federal government,Ē DeSaulnier said. ďThatís crazy.Ē
Thefts from vehicles
The records that show from where a theft occurred highlight a distinct pattern: 60 percent were swiped from vehicles, almost always from a personal car or truck where a gun was left vulnerable, this news organization found. Rather than securing their guns, officers sought to hide them under or behind car seats, placed them in glove boxes and center consoles, or stowed them in exposed equipment bags and backpacks before dropping into coffee shops, health clubs, grocery stores, bars, a Bass Pro Shop, a Nordstrom or their homes.
ďItís a movie that keeps getting repeated,Ē said Pitre, who also represents Ramosí parents in a claim against the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department in their sonís death.
Family and friends of Antonio Ramos grieve during a
vigil at the site of the mural project in Oakland where
Ramos was shot and killed. The gun that fired the fatal
shot was stolen from an ICE agent in San Francisco.
Marquise Holloway, 22, has been charged in the slaying.
Ramos, the Oakland street artist, was painting an anti-violence mural on West Street under an Interstate 580 overpass when he was shot, purportedly by Marquise Holloway, 22, with a gun stolen from an ICE agentís parked car in San Francisco. It had been left in a bag, Pitre said.
But Steinle and Ramos werenít the only ones killed with stolen police weapons in the region since 2010, this news organization found. In March 2014, a gun stolen from the vehicle of a Tracy police officer was used in the death of Jesus Orozco, 34, a laborer and father of two, in a dispute over a woman that a prosecutor called ďa little love triangle.Ē
Three men were arrested, but not charged. Orozco had been carrying an air gun that looked like an assault weapon, and the men raised self-defense claims, said Contra Costa deputy district attorney Mary Knox .
A cousin of Orozco said his family never knew a police gun was involved. The gunman wasnít charged with possessing the officerís stolen weapon because ďwe have to prove that he knew the gun was stolen,Ē Knox said.
New Tracy police Chief Larry Esquivel, the former San Jose chief, said ďthe circumstances were truly unfortunate for everybody involved. I canít stress enough the importance of proper storage (and) care of any weapon.Ē
Running the gamut
Across the state, the officers whose guns were lost or stolen run the law enforcement gamut, from ICE and DEA agents to forest rangers, alcoholic beverage control officers, sheriffís deputies, game wardens, welfare fraud investigators and parks police. A CHP officerís gun was even stolen from his wife after she took it without his knowledge.
Losing a gun ó especially when it was left vulnerable ó is one of ďthe worst things to have happen to a police officer,Ē said CHP Captain Josh Ehlers.
Forty government-issued and personal guns were stolen from CHP officers during the period this news organization analyzed. Three more were reported missing. CHP Officer Antonio Garrett left six guns ó two shotguns, two pistols and two assault riflesó inside his personal Chevrolet Tahoe while he stopped at a Claim Jumper restaurant in Southern California in 2013. He didnít notice the cache of weapons was gone until he got home and found a lock on the SUV was broken. The guns have not been found, Ehlers said. Garrett had been returning from a CHP gun range.
Stolen police guns have ended up in the hands of members and associates of notorious gangs like the Bloods, The Aryan Brotherhood and NorteŮos. One fell into the hands of a Reno pimp after a prostitute took a Kensington police officerís Glock pistol and badge from his hotel room when he fell asleep. That gun was recovered when the pimp accidentally shot himself in the leg during an altercation.
Thatís not the only bizarre discovery of an officerís stolen gun: In 2014, a Washington woman driving through a Seattle suburb was pounding on the rattling glove compartment of a used car she just bought when it popped open and out fell a .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol that had been hidden in the air-bag compartment. Three years earlier, a thief had swiped it from a Stockton police officerís car.
Topping the list
San Francisco police and the Alameda County Sheriffís Office, which includes Dublin police, topped local agencies with 10 stolen weapons each. All of the sheriffís gun thefts were swiped from vehicles, including one where a deputyís personal car flipped over in an accident and a passer-by snatched a bag from the wreckage as the injured officer waited for help.
Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern said the thefts led him to issue an order earlier this year mimicking one by former San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr that prohibits officers from leaving weapons in vehicles overnight.
Former Piedmont police Chief John Hunt could have used the same policy.
He drove home to Danville after work on March 9, 2012, and as was his custom, left his briefcase in his car ó with his Sig Sauer pistol inside. Hunt, who now lives in Idaho, said his wife didnít want the gun in the house as a precaution because they have children.
The next morning, poof, the briefcase was gone.
Hunt said he instantly ďfelt sick. We lived in a safe community. The (driveway) gate was locked. It was so embarrassing.Ē
Four months later, two San Francisco police officers were driving along Mission Street shortly after midnight when they heard four or five gunshots, saw people scattering, then ran down a gang member who had tossed a weapon under a car.
When police ran that gunís serial number through a statewide database that traces weapons, up popped the Piedmont Police Department.
It was Huntís gun.
Piedmont police were notified of the recovery, but Hunt, who had retired weeks earlier, said he was never told the gun was found until a reporter called.
In a phone interview he said he was surprised this news organization had traced the gun to the San Francisco shooting.
ďAt least itís off the streets,Ē Hunt said. ďI am so relieved. At least no one was hurt.Ē
Discipline appears rare
Strong discipline would help curb thefts, experts say, but it isnít clear whether such discipline happens; Californiaís secretive police personnel laws often make it difficult to find out what happened to cops who left guns unsecured.
A few cases show punishment is far from severe.
When an unidentified Napa police officer left an assault weapon in the trunk of a taxi ó the driver later turned it in ó the discipline was a written reprimand, Chief Steven Potter said. When another cop had a weapon stolen from his home, he received a lecture and was told to buy a gun safe.
A cop leaving a gun unsecured in a vehicle can be ďgross negligence,Ē Stephanie Wheaton, a senior DMV investigator, wrote in a January memo after investigating an underling whose gun was stolen in Los Angeles County last year.
Wheaton found the investigator ďchanged his story,Ē first claiming he left a bag containing the gun in the car, then saying he took the gun in his house.
She wrote that, at a minimum, the investigatorís punishment should be to pay the state the cost of the weapon ó more than $700. A DMV spokesman would not say if or how the investigator was disciplined.
Alameda Sheriff Ahern said that none of the guns stolen from his deputiesí personal vehicles resulted in the kind of internal affairs investigations that can lead to serious discipline. Rather, he said, the department took administrative measures, such as ďan informal counseling sessionĒ and what he called a ďformal record of conversation.Ē
Most unaccounted for
Far more guns are listed as lost, missing or unaccounted for than stolen ó designations that can seem charitable, with police saying they sometimes use that listing when they suspect but arenít sure that the weapon might have been stolen.
Stockton police list two Colt assault rifles as lost, although Lt. Rodney Rego said they were probably stolen when a police building being closed was burglarized.
ďWe just donít really know what happened to them,Ē he said. The department also listed fifteen 12-gauge Remington shotguns and two Bushmaster assault rifles as unaccounted for in 2014. Two of the shotguns have been found. Some of the others ďmight have been cannibalized for parts,Ē lost, traded in for newer weapons, or stolen, Rego said.
San Jose lost track of 324 guns, with records showing the cityís lax controls failed to track whether officers took their weapons with them when they retired. The city recovered 14 of the missing weapons, records show. Like Oakland, San Joseís numbers are eye-popping, but experts argue that other large departments would likely show similar numbers of missing weapons if they conducted similar audits. San Francisco, the regionís other large department, keeps documented track of rifles and shotguns, a spokesman said, but not pistols.
Oakland police have historically ďdone a very poor jobĒ of keeping track of weapons, working with ďa system that is really lousy,Ē said Lt. Sekou Millington, commander of the departmentís training office.
A 2011 report showed 305 missing weapons, and followups have added to the total. Forty-seven have turned up, but most are gone, Millington said, sold, perhaps, but not documented. The department has little idea where they might be and in whose hands. Millington said he hopes the city will buy software to track when guns enter or leave the station and signal alerts when one is gone too long.
ďAs bad as this is,Ē Millington said, ďI hope it is going to get us the technology we need to fix it.Ē
Some departments are exploring technology that would help track down lost and stolen guns, similar to GPS trackers that help people locate missing cellphones, Ahern said.
That could have helped in a variety of scenarios where guns vanished in a flash. A Gilroy cop and a Marin County deputy each left weapons on the tailgates of their trucks. They fell off. The Marin gun was found in a field and returned.
Sometimes guns were temporarily misplaced. An investigator for the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency reported his weapon stolen to Fresno police after he put his state vehicle through a local carwash.
Cops interrogated carwash workers and searched their homes as part of a full-scale investigation, documents show. Days later, the investigator was cleaning at home when he found a bag.
ďSurprise surprise,Ē he began an email to his bosses. The gun had been inside the bag all along.
Then there was what Wedick, the retired FBI agent, called an unfortunate fact about gun holsters: Itís difficult to use a toilet without taking one off.
ďPeople have to go to the bathroom,Ē Wedick said.
Last year, San Mateo County Sheriffís Captain Jeff Kearnan ó a homeland security expert with a recent masterís degree from the Naval Intelligence School in Monterey ó left his duty weapon on the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom of a Dublin car dealership.
He drove away, but raced back as soon as he realized he was unarmed.
The gun was gone. It remains missing.
needs to stop.Ē ó State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo,
sponsoring legislation that would make it illegal in California
for a cop to leave a gun in an unattended car unless locked
inside a hidden compartment or secure case.
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Whatís next? You lose a gun to a thief and Ďyouí go to jail? This follow-up story appeared in Tuesdayís paperÖ
Story of a Deputyís Missing Gun
óState senator: Stolen pistol underscores need for police to safeguard weaponsó
By Thomas Peele and Nate Gartrell ó Staff writers
Mercury News ó June 28, 2016
A San Francisco sheriffís deputyís missing handgun turned up in a homicide investigation in Solano County last year, the latest discovery of what happened to one of hundreds of lost or stolen law enforcement weapons uncovered by a Bay Area News Group investigation published Sunday.
Former Deputy Armando Gonzalez apparently didnít report his duty weapon missing for nearly two years until after Fairfield police detectives called him last year to say his gun had turned up in a search connected to the killing of a local teen. Only then did he report to his superiors that his wife took the gun ďa couple of years agoĒ when the couple broke up.
On Monday officials from the San Francisco Sheriffís department said they were told the gun wasnít used in the killing, but the story of its disappearance and recovery infuriated a state lawmaker who is pushing legislation to force officers to safeguard their weapons.
This news organizationís survey of police in the Bay Area and state and federal law enforcement across California found 944 firearms have been lost, stolen or unaccounted for since 2010. The alarming figure comes a year after the high-profile killing of Kate Steinle, who was shot by an illegal immigrant with a gun stolen from the car of a Bureau of Land Management ranger.
Gonzalezís gun was one of 192 law enforcement guns reported stolen in this news organizationís survey, and Sen. Jerry Hill said it ďstarkly portrayed the problemĒ of stolen and missing cop guns. Hill, D-San Mateo, said he was ďfurious and outragedĒ by the news organizationís latest findings and even more determined to champion legislation that would make it a crime for police to leave weapons in unattended vehicles unless they are locked in hidden compartments or secure, hidden boxes. A hearing on Senate Bill 865 is scheduled for Wednesday before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
While his proposed legislation focuses on guns in cars, Hill said Monday he hopes it will bring wider attention to how officers care for and secure their weapons both in and out of vehicles. He said he expects it to clear Wednesdayís committee vote with bipartisan support.
The California Police Chiefs Association supports the bill, said Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney, the groupís president.
Corney called this newspaperís investigation shocking and implored officers to use ďgood judgment to make sure their weapon is not stolen.Ē
ďPolice always need to be aware of the potential for theftĒ of both their duty and personal weapons, he said.
Gonzalezís gun wasnít taken from a car, but it still raises questions of how well police secure and care for their guns.
Gonzalez apparently hadnít told his superiors that his weapon was missing until Fairfield police discovered it with his ex-wife while investigating the murder of 19-year-old Aaron Malave in February 2015.
Detectives found the gun while serving a search warrant at the home of Gonzalezís mother-in-law, records show. Police later arrested James Cruz, 19, in the killing, but it isnít clear why they were searching the home of Gonzalezís mother-in-law.
Court records show Armando Gonzalez was served with divorce papers at the same address a few months later, records show.
Citing state laws that keep police personnel records secret, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriffís Department said Monday she could not say how Gonzalez covered for the missing weapon or how the department dealt with the matter.
When the gun surfaced, Gonzalez was ordered to file a report and wrote that his wife had told him just the day before she had his department-issued weapon.
Three months later, Gonzalez was no longer working as a San Francisco deputy, said department spokeswoman Eileen Hirst. ďRead into that what you will,Ē she said.
She said proper storage and care of weapons by deputies is a ďvery serious issue.Ē
Gonzalez was not home Wednesday when a reporter went to his house and he did not return a message.
A Fairfield police spokesman said Monday that Gonzalezís ex-wife, Sonia Gonzalez, was not charged in connection with the missing weapon.
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All of the missing Bay Area police guns are listed in a first-of-its-kind searchable database using the link below. Gun owners can use it to run serial numbers to be sure they arenít in possession of a stolen police weapon.
Click on the link, then scroll down and click on SJPD. Doing so will display a list of the 327 weapons ranging from handguns to a sniper rifles to shotguns and tear gas/grenade launchers that are not accounted for.
STORY OF THE WEEK
95 years old. Feeble. All alone. Reported missing and then found by police in a hospital suffering from hypothermia. His St. Albans, New York home was in disarray, its furnace broken, cold and dank.
This was not his whole life, however. He served in World War II with the renowned Harlem Hellfighters, an all African American infantry unit; then became a New York City police officer in the 1940s, rising to detective and serving for 20 years; and, thereafter becoming a gifted jazz musician who played the saxophone and would "jam with any band."
So the officers of the 113th Precinct ó at first complete strangers ó "adopted" him, fixed his boiler, repaired his home, got him veteransí benefits and scheduled his doctors appointments for him while visiting every Sunday to check on him.
He died from a heart attack on May 20th at the age of 95. Because no family member claimed his body, he was destined for burial at Potters Field, but the officers of the 113th intervened and ensured he would not be forgotten. Over 100 officers in dress uniform attended his church funeral which they arranged and further made arrangements for his burial at the Long Island National Cemetery.
His name was William Brown. And in the end he was loved. Just as importantly, he was surrounded by many, many, friends who took care of him and tended to his needs as his medical condition worsened. None of them were technically his family, but they loved him all the same because he was a fellow police officer.
for a New York City CBS news account of this story.
This LINK will take you to a second news report on Det. Sgt. William Brown
Retired NYPD Det. William Brown
Died May 20, 2016 at the age of 95
HE FEARED THIS DAY WOULD ARRIVEÖ
Submitted by Tom Kalinske
And it seems the day has arrived.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: WHAT IS CELIBACY?
Submitted by Dave Wysuph
Celibacy can either be a choice in life or a condition imposed by circumstances.
While attending a Marriage Weekend, Frank and his wife Ann listened to the instructor declare, ďIt is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.Ē
He then addressed the men:
ďCan you name and describe your wife's favorite flower?Ē
Frank leaned over, touched Annís arm gently, and whispered, ďGold Medal-All-Purpose, isn't it?Ē
And thus began Frank's life of celibacy.
THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
June 22 ó 28
June 22: Things are really heating up between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Hillary gave a speech yesterday attacking Trump, and then today, Trump gave a counter-speech attacking Hillary. Which means 2016 will always be remembered as the election of "Shut up" ó "No, you shut up."
Hillary gave this speech about Trump yesterday and said, quote, "He's written a lot of books about business, but they all seem to end at Chapter 11." Then Bernie Sanders said, "Even I felt that burn!"
While he was back at the Capitol yesterday, Bernie Sanders accidentally went to the Republican lunchroom. Bernie knew he wasn't in the Democrats' lunchroom when he couldn't get a free lunch.
I read that 62% of Colorado high school students say that they had never used marijuana. Which raises the question, how stoned were the high school students who admitted to smoking marijuana?
June 23: Donald Trump is actually taking a break from the campaign to go visit his golf resort in Scotland tomorrow. Right after he leaves the U.S., Republicans will say, "Quick! Build the wall!"
Trumpís campaign isn't doing so well financially. A recent report said his campaign even spent over $100,000 for meals just last month. Trump was like, "Well, that's the price you pay for hiring Chris Christie."
Bernie Sanders still hasn't officially dropped out of the race for president, but earlier today, he gave a speech with the theme ďWhere do we go from here?Ē I think he was basically asking the crowd for directions back to Vermont.
Democrats held a big sit-in on the House floor to protest Congress' refusal to vote on gun control. Or in other words, Democrats were tired of Congress not getting anything done, so they refused to get anything done until someone got something done.
Yesterday, the Knicks made a huge trade with the Chicago Bulls to get all-star Derrick Rose. I guess the Bulls approached the Knicks, looked them in the eyes and said, "Will you accept this rose?"
June 24: The UK officially voted to leave the European Union. It caused the British pound to hit a 31-year low. You could tell Brits were struggling today. Queen Elizabeth was wearing one of those cardboard crowns from Burger King.
Following the vote, British Prime Minister David Cameron actually resigned, saying that the country needs new leadership. An American was like, ďCan you start here next January?Ē
It was such an important vote and it's good to know that people were making an informed decision. Check out the number two trending topic in the UK while people voted whether or not to leave the EU. "What is the EU?" Half the Britons thought they were voting to leave the "EW."
The stars of the "Game of Thrones" have gotten huge raises and will make $500,000 per episode next season. So when you see a character get killed off, know that the suffering on the tape is real.
President Obama is apparently interested in owning an NBA team after he leaves office. You'll know it's Obama's team when they travel too much and never pass anything.
June 22: In a speech today, Donald Trump blasted Hillary Clinton, calling her "a world class liar" and "the most corrupt person to seek the presidency." Trump then said, "Wait a second, I think Iím in love."
To protest the lack of gun control reform, Congressional Democrats are sitting on the floor of the House. The sit-in consists of more than 30 Democrats and two Republicans who thought it was a hot yoga class.
Today Donald Trump called on Bernie Sanders' supporters to support him instead. Trump said, "Ignore my policy positions, just focus on my New York accent and crazy hair."
Nearly 1 million adults in the U.S. are in a same-sex marriage. Thatís compared to the nearly 40 million adults in a no-sex marriage.
Bernie Sanders admitted today that he "doesnít appear" to be the nominee. Just to make sure, Bernie said heíll stay in the race for two more years.
June 23: Last nightís sit-in by Congressional Democrats was live-streamed and got over 3 million views. Which is why today, Congress got picked up for two seasons on Netflix.
Some scientists say one day we may be able to store data in our DNA. If thatís true, then the floor of my college dorm room is a supercomputer.
In response to Hillary Clintonís slogan "Iím with her," Donald Trump debuted his new slogan, "Iím with you." Then Bernie Sanders debuted his new slogan, "Iím still here, dammit!"
House Speaker Paul Ryan has unveiled a Republican alternative to Obamacare. Itís called "Dying at 50."
In its last few days before break, the Supreme Court has been arguing about race, immigration, and abortion. So basically, the Supreme Court has become most people's families at Thanksgiving.
Itís been reported that after leaving office, President Obama is considering owning an NBA team. They say Obama wants to be an NBA owner because itís his only chance to get someone on the court.
In Jerusalem, renovation work is beginning on Jesusís burial tomb. Itís being listed as "occupied by previous owner for only three days!"
June 27: Because of Englandís Brexit vote, thereís now talk in Scotland and Northern Ireland about leaving the UK. And when I say "talk," I mean loud, angry, incomprehensible talk.
Critics are calling those in Britain who voted to pull out of the European Union "racist" and "anti-immigrant." After hearing this, Donald Trump said, "Wow, Iím running for leader of the wrong country."
Tourists visiting New York City are being warned about "fake monks" on the street who wear orange robes and demand money. Quick tip - if they stab you . . . fake monk.
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should ask forgiveness from gays for its past treatment of them. The speech was entitled "My bad, girlfriend."
Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders' press secretary left his campaign. Bernie said, "Now itís just me and my podiatrist."
Last week, over 30 participants in a Tony Robbins seminar burned their feet walking on hot coals. The victims just signed up for a second seminar: "How To Get Rich Suing Tony Robbins."
This week, thereís a new smartphone available that costs only $4. Itís called the Nokia Weed Dealer.
For the first time ever, the Miss America Pageant is going to have a gay contestant, Miss Missouri. It will also have its first bi contestant, Miss North and South Dakota.
June 28: Donald Trump appears to be softening some of his anti-immigration views lately. So it sounds to me like someoneís shopping for a new wife.
In Britain yesterday, 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth told reporters, ďIím still alive.Ē It was in response to the question, ďWhatís the first thing you tell Prince Charles every day?Ē
Today, Democrats said the committee investigating Hillary Clintonís involvement with Benghazi was a "witch hunt." Hillary tried to respond, but just then a house fell on her.
On stage in Indianapolis, the Dalai Lama got a fit of the giggles. When asked why he said, "For decades people have been saying to me 'hello, Dalai' and I finally got it."
A new porn site is donating a penny to charity each time someone watches one of their porn videos. So finally, a reason to watch porn.
Volkswagen's settlement for its emissions cheating scandal is going to cost it nearly $15 billion. A spokesperson for Volkswagen said, "Weíve never been so embarrassed ó and we were founded by Hitler."
June 23: House Democrats staged a dramatic 26-hour sit-in on the floor of the House to force a vote on background check provisions. The Democrats decided to get the Republicans' attention by doing something they can relate to: sitting on their butts and getting nothing done.
The truth is the sit-in failed to force a vote, but it was a huge success in at least one way: It finally bumped Donald Trump out of the news for 24 hours ó which, seriously, thank you Democrats.
If youíre going to be anywhere for 26 hours you're going to need some snacks. As a show of solidarity several Democratic senators sent boxes of food to those participating in the sit-in. Sen. Chuck Schumer sent Pepsi and Mountain Dew, Dick Durbin sent Milky Ways, Ron Wyden sent pizzas. I don't know if this sit-in changed anything, but the slumber party afterwards is going to be amazing.
The sit-in looks really good fun. You sit on the floor, you sing songs, eat pizza. If I was in Congress, I would have a sit-in on every other issue. I would be like, ďAll right, we need to introduce this zoning bill. Everyone on the floor. Dave, pull up the Domino's app. Garlic knots?Ē
But despite their best efforts, after 26 hours the Democrats decided to end the sit-in. They wanted to end hours earlier, but that is how long it takes 70-year-old men to get up off the floor.
June 22: Welcome to Los Angeles, home of the Lakers, home of the Clippers, neither of whom won the NBA championship this year which is why we didn't have a parade today.
There's a big parade in Cleveland today to celebrate the first major title in, like, 800 years, and a weird thing happened. Nobody showed up. It was just J.R. Smith on top of a pickup truck.
It's quite the opposite. More than a million fans celebrated. The last time there was this much excitement in the streets of Cleveland was when LeBron James left Cleveland and more than a million fans gathered in the streets to burn his jersey.
Donald Trump has been stepping up his attacks on Hillary Clinton. He just launched a new website called LyingCrookedHillary.com. Which I tried to go on like five times today. Every time I only got a blank page. I told him not to hire the guys who set up the Obamacare website. He didn't listen.
Trump said the public doesn't know anything about Hillary in terms of her religion, whereas we do know that he is a man of deep faith. In fact, his faith is so deep you can barely see any sign of it. His faith is like one of these see-through fish at the very, very bottom of the ocean.
June 28: Not only is former Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner the first transgender to be on the cover of "Sports Illustrated," she is also the first sequined person on the cover.
Isn't that a little strange to put her on the "Where are they now?" issue? Should have saved her for the "Who are they now?" issue.
It's tricky for journalists to write about Caitlyn Jenner, because she was a 65-year-old man, now she's a 2-year-old woman. She's a toddler with a gold medal, which is impressive.
Barnes & Noble, the bookstore, has not been doing great. They have a new plan to attract customers. They're planning to open four bookstores next year that serve beer and wine. They hope that offering alcohol will encourage more people to come in. To me this is clearly a Barnes idea; Noble would never be involved in this.
June 22: Donald Trump gave a speech today on what he called the failed policies and bad judgment of Hillary Clinton. And he's right, her judgment isn't always great, but nobody will listen to him because his judgment is so much worse.
Anti-Trump Republicans have reportedly been re-energized by reports that Donald Trump's campaign is having financial problems that could lead to an alternative GOP nominee. "Awesome," said Jeb Bush, before slipping on a banana peel and falling into a manhole.
Bernie Sanders today told reporters he's not sure if he will be asked to speak at the upcoming Democratic convention. But he does know he won't be asked to speak up.
Ted Cruz today endorsed Marco Rubio's campaign for re-election in the Senate. And when those two work together, there's nothing they can do.
Bernie Sanders admitted today that he doesn't believe he can become the Democratic nominee. He also said it might be time to give up on his dream of qualifying for the X Games.
June 23: Democrats staged a 26-hour sit-in on the floor of the House to try to force a vote on new gun control legislation. You know the state of our Congress is terrible when you see a bunch of politicians sitting on their [butts] and think to yourself, ďWow, theyíre finally doing something!Ē
After ending their 26-hour sit-in, House Democrats vowed to continue fighting for gun control when Congress resumes in July. Because itís going to take that long for some of these guys to get up off the floor.
Yesterday House Speaker Paul Ryan referred to the Democratic-led sit-in for gun control as ďnothing more than a publicity stunt.Ē He then added, ďNow if youíll excuse me, my partyís nominee has a WWE match to fight.Ē
Maserati recently announced a recall for more than 13,000 cars because of a gearshift problem. Coincidentally, a ďgearshift problemĒ is what prompts most men to buy a Maserati in the first place.
June 23: The sit-in in the House of Representatives is pretty dramatic. It is so rare that Congress does anything interesting. So I want to take a moment to say something I never thought I would: "Thank you Congress for sitting on your [butt]."
After the protest began, Paul Ryan declared a recess and cut off C-SPAN's live feed. Now, personally, I don't want to live in a world where Paul Ryan decides what's on TV. I'm guessing it would just be P90X infomercials and "Top Gun" 24 hours a day.
But again, it felt exciting. Here's an example. I kid you not, when he heard about this, my teenage son said, "Let's go watch C-SPAN!" I hope he's not on drugs.
C-SPAN saw an 800 percent increase in ratings last night. That means like 800 people were watching.
Ticketmaster is settling a class action lawsuit for overcharging customers. As part of the settlement, they're giving out $5 million in free concert tickets. Obviously, minus a $3.5 million processing fee.
June 28: There's a thing called the Euro Cup soccer tournament. It's happening right now in France. And yesterday, Iceland, the tiniest nation in the tournament, beat powerhouse England 2-1. This is the worst thing to happen to England in four days.
Iceland is so deserted right now, it looks like Iceland.
After the shocking upset, the coach of the English team immediately resigned. Just like British Prime Minister David Cameron did after the Brexit vote.
Just yesterday, Rio's acting governor warned the Olympics could be a "big failure," which is actually an improvement, because until yesterday, it looked like a massive catastrophe.
Corruption and crime aren't the only things plaguing the Olympics. There's also actual plague, because fear over the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects, has led some athletes to stay home and others to take special precautions, like freezing their sperm. "What's going on in there?" "Don't open the door. I'm training for the Olympics!"
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE
Click HERE for the most current update.
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Tip of the Week: Get yourself one of THESE deluxe player pianos and you can cancel your gym membership. Hit it Joe. (1:20)
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Hereís an interesting contribution from Dewey Moore for you aviation enthusiasts. Itís a brief story about the Pacific CLIPPER that was outbound from San Francisco enroute to Auckland, New Zealand on Dec. 7, 1941.
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And here is a little something that might stimulate YOUR imagination. It answers the question, ďWhat would happen if humans disappeared.Ē (4:28)
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While itís a fact that the cars our grandfathers (in some cases our fathers) drove back in the day didnít have four-wheel-drive, one has to wonder if was it needed? The answer seems to be an emphatic 'no' according to THIS vintage film footage. (2:46)
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Before we return to the present, let's take a quick LOOK at what life was like in America in the 1920s, almost 100 years ago. (5:57)
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Alice Murphy says this is a perfect exercise routine for you ladies who enjoy sipping on a glass of vino while you work out. The only hitch is that you need to know how to DEAL with hula hoops. Lots of Ďem. (7:20)
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Itís been reported that the marijuana initiative that will legalize weed for casual use in California will appear on the Nov. ballot, and itís a good bet that it will pass here in what used to be the Golden State but is now the bluest of the Blue States. If we are right, buying stock in the company the produces this product is a no brainer. Call your broker nowÖ
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Bob Kosovilka (our resident Ukranian comrade) sent in a link with restored film footage of the USSRís Victory Parade in Moscow on June 24, 1945. To say it is IMPRESSIVE with its rousing musical background is a huge understatement. To get to the parade itself after the video starts, use your cursor and move the scrubber bar to the 3:10 mark. (18:18)
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If you hated to wait in line at a concert, movie theater or for a store to open, be grateful you were not in Moscow and looking forward to visiting the very first McDonaldís when it opened to the public in 1990 as you won't believe the length of the line of people who want to munch on a Big Mac. HERE'S a second clip from Comrade Kosovilka that should make you appreciate the good olí U.S. of A. (2:27)
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What is this, and why might you want one in your kitchen? Watch THIS short clip and find out. Amazon has them. Look for Onion Holder by Slice and Dice. (3:04)
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How could any red-blooded American male not be in love with Jamie Lee Curtis? Here she is a short time ago talking to the Orlando PD officers at OPD headquarters following the massacre at the gay night club a few weeks ago. She happened to be in town and said she wanted to thank the first responders and show her support. VOLUME up! (1:30)
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When everybody on earth was dead and waiting to enter Heaven, God appeared and said, "I want the men to make two lines: One line for the men who were true heads of their household, the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. And I want all the women to report to St. Peter."
Soon, the women had left to see St. Peter, and there were two lines of men.
The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was hundreds of miles long while there was only one man in the line who truly were heads of the household.
God said to the long line, "You men should be ashamed of yourselves. I created you to be the head of your household! You have been disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose! Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him."
God then turned to the one man, "How did you manage to be the only one in this line?"
The man replied, "My wife told me to stand here."
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For this week's finale, weíll let Andre Rieu and Mirusia say goodbye for us. THIS is from his "Live in Amsterdam" concert. Enjoy! (4:21)
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Thanks for visiting.
Pic of the Week
Acknowledging the Circle of Life...
THE FARSIDER SUBSCRIPTION ROSTER as of 6/30/16
Additions and changes since the last published update (alphabetical by last name):
Mike Nascimento ó Added
To receive the email address of anyone on the list -- or to receive the roster with all of the email addresses -- send your request to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Abram, Fred & Connie
Allen, Chaplain Bryan
Alvarez, Pat (Campbell)
Babineau, Dave & Cheryl
Bray, Mary Ellen
Brown Jr., Bill
Burroughs, (Bronson) Utta
Carr Jr., John
Carrillo, Jaci Cordes
Clark, Bill (the one who stayed)
Embry (Howsmon), Eva
Foulkes [Duchon], Louise
Gonzalez, D. (formerly D. Avila)
Guido, Jr., Jim
Guido, Sr. Jim
Hare, Caren (Carlisle)
Harnish, Mary (Craven)
Horton, Debbie (McIntyre)
Howsmon, (Jr.) Frank
Howsmon (Sr.), Frank
Hunter, Dick (via daughter Kim Mindling)
Inami, Steve & Francine
Johnson, Tom & Fran
Klein, Lou Anna
Leonard (Lintern), Lynda
Muldrow, Mark "Mo"
O'Carroll, Diane (Azzarello)
Perry (Cervantez), Martha
Rappe (Ryman), Bonnie
Reyes (Buell), Cindy
Richter, Darrell & Annette
Schenini (Alvarez), Joanne
Taves, Phil & Paula
Terry, Glenn & Maggie
Vallecilla, Ernie & Peggy
Van Dyck, Lois
Williams [Durham], Lanette
Windisch Jr., Steve