July 18, 2012
Mattos, Editor and Publisher
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
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
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
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
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
"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."
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
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
"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
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
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
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—
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.”
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.
police have released few details in
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
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
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:
For the most recent releases, click here:
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
• Did presidential candidate Mitt Romney say, "Of course I'll win, I'm the
• One of the scenes in Back to the Future showed
characters traveling via their time-machine car to July 11, 2012 from October
• Will a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Mountain Dew produce
a brilliant glow?
• Did the lion used for the original MGM logo kill its trainer and his
• Opinion piece expresses Charles Krauthammer's thoughts on Chief Justice
John Roberts and the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare?
• Is Edward Krawetz, a police officer convicted of
assault for kicking a handcuffed woman, engaged in hearings to retain his job?
• Are persons in Oregon obtaining free animals through Craigslist ads to use
for target shooting practice?
• Is Barack Obama the only president who has failed to visit the D-Day
Monument on D-Day?
• Photograph purportedly shows a satellite view of a North American power
Worth a Second Look
• The Alicia Keys song "Diary" prompted a deluge of calls to her old phone
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's
circulating in the on-line world.
• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes
commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
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.)
• • • • •
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.
• • • • •
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.
• • • • •
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
• • • • •
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.)
• • • • •
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.
• • • • •
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.
• • • • •
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.)
• • • • •
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.)
• • • • •
Pic of the Week:
Don't you wish you had
thought about doing this with your kid(s)? Sorry, too late now.