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The Farsider

July 1
8, 2012

 

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


We couldn't find anything local to report about the San Jose pension issue, but we were drawn to this Fox News report about the city of North Las Vegas declaring a "fiscal emergency," a term all of you retirees should be familiar with by now. Remember, in order for the City to reduce and/or suspend our COLA, it too would have to declare a fiscal emergency. (The next step beyond a fiscal emergency is bankruptcy.) If the video news report is still up, you can view it by clicking on the link below. If it has been removed, the corresponding article appears below the link...

<http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/17/las-vegas-city-leaders-declare-state-fiscal-emergency/>
 

North Las Vegas City Leaders Declare State of Fiscal Emergency

By Lee Ross
Fox News — July 17, 2012


To the list of the nation's summer disasters including floods, fires, and drought you can add a $30 million budget hole in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Using a state law that highlights natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances, North Las Vegas city leaders, prohibited from declaring bankruptcy, unanimously decided last month to declare their own state of fiscal emergency. The unprecedented move has drawn mixed reviews from town residents and a lawsuit from police brass who claim the novel twist on what makes for an emergency is nothing more than an attempt by conservative activists to bust their union.

"We've balanced our budget, we've paid all of our bills [and] all of our bonds are paid," Mayor Shari Buck recently explained before addressing a community meeting to go over North Las Vegas' finances. "Our biggest issue is salaries and compensation and benefits. And they're very unsustainable. We can't continue to do what we've done in the past."
 



North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck


Beyond cutting staff at city hall and closing the jail, the emergency declaration allowed Buck and the council to save millions of dollars by freezing all scheduled salary hikes and overtime opportunities owed city workers under collective bargaining contracts. Eighty percent of the city's budget goes to paying its workers and rather than laying off police officers and firefighters, the city declared an emergency allowing for the suspension of union agreements.

The creative path to a balanced budget hasn't gone over well with everyone. "They're claiming a financial disaster but they're using a natural disaster to try and break the contracts," said North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association President Len Cardinale. His group has filed a lawsuit against the city challenging the emergency declaration. "They don't believe in supporting unions. They support downsizing, outsourcing, privatization, combining of services. That is a typical right-wing philosophy. And what I see is, for whatever reason, the mayor and city council have adopted a right wing philosophy."

Buck and the rest of the council are elected as non-partisan officials. She says her governance is fully separate from the sharp divisiveness that's readily found in national and state politics. Simply put, she argues, the actions they've taken are what's in the best interests of the city. She highlighted the firefighter who worked enough overtime to double his salary and the parks department staffer who made $62 an hour cleaning toilets. "If the residents had their way they would have us fire all of those public servants and hire someone else at a lower pay."

While Las Vegas is a tourist mecca, not too many people venture far enough from the famous strip to explore the neighborhoods and ever-present strip malls of North Las Vegas. A few years ago, the suburb was the fastest growing city in the country.  It nearly doubled in population from 2000 to 2010 with 216,000 residents.

"We have a great community where people still feel like it's a small town," Buck, a North Las Vegas native, gushed about her community. "Neighbor knows neighbor. We support local businesses."

But the housing boom busted and the economy tanked leaving thousands of construction workers and casino employees who called North Las Vegas home without steady work and homes worth a fraction of what was owed. The unemployment rate peaked at 17 percent and is now at 14 percent -- well above the national mark. Foreclosure notices hit one out of every five homes. The effect on the city treasury was a steep and sudden drop in property and sales tax revenues and a huge hole in the annual budget.

Interstate 15 divides the city down the middle with the older and tougher neighborhoods to the east while the newer sprawl moves to the west and north. There is no downtown district as the city is essentially an outgrowth of its larger more famous neighbor and is now lumped in with other communities across the country that have made headlines because of bankruptcies and massive cuts.

UNLV urban affairs professor Robert Lang recently detailed the city's woes in a report likening North Like Vegas to a high stakes gamble. "For the region, the state, and the nation, North Las Vegas is the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine,'" Lang declared. He said years of mismanagement by city leaders (including generous benefits packages for city workers and expensive capital projects including a brand new water treatment facility and city hall) and the lack of a significant commercial sector made North Las Vegas especially vulnerable to economic disruption.

Mayor Buck wants officials in the state capital to pass a law making cities less dependent on property and sales taxes that produce significant windfalls in good times but dry up during recessions.

Last week, 250 residents jammed into a hotel conference room on the edge of town to hear Buck explain the city's budget woes and how she and a unified city council plan on moving forward. "We have to attract new businesses and bring them into the city," retiree Frank Horvath observed before getting to the heart of the problem. "We need to stop spending money."

Horvath and his wife Diana moved to North Las Vegas ten years ago. They've seen plenty of people in their neighborhood lose jobs and homes. They support the council's move to trim the budget. "Just because we are embarrassed as a city, ok, doesn't mean that I'm going to pick up and move someplace else because someplace else is better. How about, we just stay here and make our city better."

Union leaders accuse Buck and city leaders of lying to the public and withholding detailed information about the city's finances. "It's crazy what this fire department is going through right now," firefighter union president Jeff Hurley said. Daily "brownouts" within the city's eight firehouse are now commonplace with emergency calls going to the stations that remain open -- leading to longer response times -- or to outside contractors. Hurley says by not filling 32 vacant positions and eliminating overtime it's impossible to keep all stations open at the same time.

The fight in city hall has now engulfed Fire Chief Al Gillespie who attended the public meeting and was seated next to the mayor but is now on paid leave. The city says it's because of an incident during a January training session. Hurley says it's retribution for Gillespie, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, not fully cooperating with the city's efforts to scale back service. The fire union is one of two that has filed a grievance against the city -- an effort that's separate from the lawsuit filed by the police supervisors union.

Buck defends the city's broad interpretation of the emergency declaration power and says if it's ultimately overruled they'll have no choice but to lay off police officers and firefighters -- the scenario city officials were hoping to avoid from the start.

Fox News' William LaJeunesse contributed to this report.



 

UPDATE ON THE ORLANDO FAMILY TRAGEDY


Following is an update on the tragedy we covered last week involving Brandon Orlando and his family. It was on the front page of Monday's paper...

Gilroy Grieves, Seeks Answers in Boy’s Death

—Investigators mum in accident involving S.J. officer’s son, 3—

By Robert Salonga <rsalonga@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — July 16, 2012


As a community anxiously awaits answers in the accidental shooting death of a San Jose police officer’s 3-year-old son in Gilroy, authorities continue to keep critical details under lock and key. Should they break form and divulge what happened and why, there would be no comfort, but perhaps lessons could be learned from a tragedy that has devastated the tight-knit city. If history is any indication, however, prosecutors will be wary of compounding the pain by filing charges against whoever left a loaded gun where a child could reach it.

Scant information has emerged since Preston Orlando apparently shot himself July 5, somehow having picked up a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun left in an upstairs bedroom of his family’s Kentwood Court home. His father is nine-year San Jose police veteran Brandon Orlando.

Attorneys for the city on Friday denied a Mercury News public-records request for the 911 recordings from the night of the shooting. Their letter stated that releasing them “may endanger the successful completion of the investigation.”

Waiting period

Thursday was the earliest authorities could take action in the case, in line with a seven-day “waiting period” mandated by state law for such accidental shootings, to give parents time to tend to their children’s injuries or make funeral arrangements before facing possible legal consequences. The day came and went with no additional clarity.

Gilroy police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said the investigation is continuing, and more might be revealed this week. But on several occasions he has asserted the death appears to have been a tragic accident. San Jose police have rallied around the grieving father and his family as they cope with the loss. Officials haven’t revealed who owned the gun, though they have said it wasn’t Orlando’s service weapon. They also haven’t said who was in the house when Preston died or what his injuries were.
 



Gilroy police have released few details in
the shooting at this Kentwood Court home.

(
You're right! Why did the Mercury News I.D. Brandon's home, especially since it adds nothing to the story?)


The secrecy has elicited concerns that the officer is being treated differently than someone from the general public because he is in law enforcement. Not true, says the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office, which, as a matter of county protocol, takes part in child death investigations.

“The Gilroy Police Department is fully investigating the matter. Once the investigation is completed, we’ll review all of their materials in order to make a decision on the proper way to proceed,” said Steven Dick, supervising deputy district attorney for the office’s family violence unit. “This process is followed in all instances where a child has died.”

Historically, accidental shooting deaths involving children rarely go to trial, though Santa Clara County got a fast start in 1992, when the Children’s Firearm Accident Prevention Act was enacted to punish those who leave loaded guns within reach of children.

The first person to be prosecuted under the law was Nicholas Conchas of San Jose. He was sentenced to probation and became a gun-safety advocate after his 4-year-old grandson fatally shot himself while playing with a pistol that New Year’s Day, hours after the law went into effect. Since then, only two known accidental shooting cases have led to a conviction in Santa Clara County, in 1999 and 2009. The 2009 case — the only one for which records were readily available — involved parolee Michael Guajardo, then 28. He pleaded guilty to child endangerment and criminal storage of a firearm after he dropped off his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son at a hospital and blamed the shooting on a rival gang member, a claim physical evidence debunked.

Grief as punishment

While prosecutors could prove that clear negligence occurred in those cases, most instances are more blurry. Also, the law states that they must weigh “impact of the injury or death on the person” deemed responsible — that is, whether the loss of a child is punishment enough.

“It’s the only statute” that explicitly requires the consideration of emotional pain in a filing decision, said Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Attorney, a prosecutor in that county before assuming the top post. “I don’t know of it anywhere else. It’s a strong message that we have to include that on our scale of decision making.”

The fact that Orlando has extensive firearms training — and corresponding safety training — would also likely be weighed, but only prosecutors with access to the entire cadre of facts would know how much, said Wagstaffe, who is not involved in the case.

In other cases of accidental child deaths, prosecutors have found a way to account for a person’s grief while enforcing the law. Brian Gilbert was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and ordered to perform community service after he accidentally left his infant son to die in a hot car in San Jose in July 2001 while he watched Japanese anime cartoons. A year later in South San Francisco, Lonnie Sopko mistakenly left his 5-month-old granddaughter in a hot car. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was given probation.

“There is nothing that society can do to this grandfather than what he has done,” Wagstaffe said. “But we prosecuted him because the criminal law has to have accountability.”




 

WEEKLY POLL


No poll this week due to technical problems with the website from which it is created.


Results from last week's poll...





For the full scope of state and national polling by Scott Rasmussen, click on this link:
<http://www.rasmussenreports.com/>

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



 

MAIL CALL

Nada. Have you no suggestions or criticisms about the Farsider? How 'bout political opinions, war stories, retiree tips? We won't be eating any sandwiches on a Delta flight, but we'll be sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear from you.



 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF JULY 14, 2012

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

New Articles

• Did presidential candidate Mitt Romney say, "Of course I'll win, I'm the white guy?"
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/whiteguy.asp>

• One of the scenes in Back to the Future showed characters traveling via their time-machine car to July 11, 2012 from October 26, 1985?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/bttf.asp>

• Will a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Mountain Dew produce a brilliant glow?
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/food/mountaindew.asp>

• Did the lion used for the original MGM logo kill its trainer and his assistants?
<http://www.snopes.com/movies/other/mgmlion.asp>

• Opinion piece expresses Charles Krauthammer's thoughts on Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/roberts.asp>

• Is Edward Krawetz, a police officer convicted of assault for kicking a handcuffed woman, engaged in hearings to retain his job?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/krawetz.asp>

• Are persons in Oregon obtaining free animals through Craigslist ads to use for target shooting practice?
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/target.asp>

• Is Barack Obama the only president who has failed to visit the D-Day Monument on D-Day?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/dday.asp>

• Photograph purportedly shows a satellite view of a North American power blackout.
<http://www.snopes.com/photos/space/blackout.asp>


Worth a Second Look

• The Alicia Keys song "Diary" prompted a deluge of calls to her old phone number.
<http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/diary.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


Dewey Moore says there are two reasons he wouldn't order a cocktail from this bartender: 1) It would take too long to get his drink, and 2) It would be too expensive when one factors in a round-trip air ticket to the Ukraine. (4 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60GJ0dJ1xmE>


• • • • •



Have a look at this couple singing "One Man Woman" sent in by Bruce Morton and you will soon see what makes it both surprising and out of the ordinary.
(3 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss4IzbPrXnY>


• • • • •



Did you know that baby otters have to be taught to swim? Who would've thunk? Animal lovers should enjoy this clip Harry Mullins sent to John Kregel who sent it to us. (2 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpTqV6LPl8c>


• • • • •



The new Boeing 787 might be a good choice to fly on, but we'd have to be totally s---faced or injected with some heavy tranquilizers to fly with this pilot. (2 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAeuOqkO870&sns=em>


• • • • •

 

Is this story sent in by Dave Byers true? Probably not. He said he checked Snopes but couldn't find an entry. We report, you make the call...

Before Obama was elected President he went to see Bill and Hillary for some campaign advice at their spacious home.

After drinking several glasses of iced tea, Barack asked Bill if he could use his personal bathroom. When he entered the former president's private toilet, he was astonished to see that Clinton had a solid gold urinal.

Later that afternoon, Barack told Michelle about the urinal. "Just think," he said, "when I am President, I too could have a gold urinal. But I wouldn't have something so self-indulgent."
 
Later, when Michelle had lunch with Hillary, she told her how impressed Barack had been at the discovery of the gold urinal in Bill's private bathroom.
 
That evening, while Bill and Hillary were getting ready for bed, Hillary smiled and said:  "I found out who peed in your saxophone."
 

• • • • •



Would CalTrans give its eye teeth for a fleet of these machines if it wasn't broke? You bet it would. It's much more than just a lawn mower and weed whacker; it's a symbol of why the Germans financially dominate Western Europe. Have a look at this clip of an amazing machine sent in by Alice Murphy. (2 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3j6HaAieEU&feature=email>


• • • • •



Noel Lanctot got the surprise of his life this week when he tuned into the Tonight Show and saw Jay Leno interviewing his twin sister, Dorothy Lanctot Custer. (8 Mins.)



<http://tinyurl.com/84p79tc>


• • • • •



Need some inspiration to buy a motor home so you can avoid hotels and motels when you travel? Check out this Bedbug Registry website sent in by Bob Tenbrink. Ugh.
 



<http://bedbugregistry.com/>


• • • • •

 

Would it be a stretch to opine that the transformation Willie Nelson has gone through over the past 47 years is somewhat emblematic of what has happened to the country over the same period of time? Some folks may think so. Here's a clip of Willie performing at the Grand Ole Opry back in 1965, before four failed marriages, booze, drugs and tax evasion. Today, the 79-year-old country western star lives on Maui in a self-sustaining (solar powered) community where his neighbors include Kris Kristofferson and Woody Harrelson. (5 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1bXdXWEKaE>

 

• • • • •



As longtime readers are aware, we try to conclude the Farsider each week with something we feel is special When nothing comes in during the week that meets that criteria, we delve into the Archives and look for something from the past. Two years ago, in July 2010, we concluded the Farsider with this video of the Norwegian Military Tattoo. Those of you who have served in the military are no doubt familiar with the term "close order drill," These guys take it several steps beyond. And unless you are tone deaf, you should recognize one of the musical pieces as the theme from "The Magnificent Seven." (8 Mins.)
 



(Best viewed in large or full screen.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd4YD-2AZyg>

 

• • • • •

 


C'ya


Pic of the Week:

Don't you wish you had thought about doing this with your kid(s)? Sorry, too late now.
 

 
   

Scrolling Box

 
This is the message box, using the scroller component.
 

 

 

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