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The Farsider

October 4
, 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.



 

LOU EMERY



Badge 71
Born May 29, 1927
Appointed Sept. 27, 1948
Retired Aug. 20, 1964
Died Sept. 26, 2012


Lou suffered a fall at home last Wednesday and was rushed to Good Sam Hospital where he was diagnosed with a blood clot which took his life at 9:40 p.m. Chaplain Bridgen is assisting his wife, Lorraine, who utilized the services of the Neptune Society. If and when an obituary appears in the paper we'll make sure to include it in the Farsider.

A memorial service and reception is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21st, at the POA Hall. All retirees are encouraged to attend and say farewell to what was SJPD's oldest retired police officer.



 

PENSION NEWS


This excerpt from last Sunday's Internal Affairs column in the Mercury News was about the attempt by some POA members to oust cop-turned-council member Pete Constant from the organization.



Union Card Goes Up for Debate

Mercury News — Oct. 20, 2012


Former San Jose cop-turned-City Councilman Pete Constant has remained a dues-paying member of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. But perhaps not for long.

Though the SJPOA endorsed him as a candidate, at least some in the union representing San Jose’s now depleted and demoralized officer ranks want him out, calling him a traitor for supporting cutbacks to generous pensions and other perks he says are bankrupting the city.

On Monday, the SJPOA will hold a hearing to decide whether to expel Constant as a member. The stated reason is a lawsuit Constant filed calling SJPOA arguments opposing Measure B’s pension reforms false and misleading. (A judge upheld one of Constant’s complaints.) Constant is fighting his expulsion but lost a bid to demand an open public hearing.

“The POA is a private organization and it has never been the intention to allow members of the public to view internal union business, particularly when one member is making allegations against another member,” a union attorney wrote Constant. “Thus, your request for an open hearing is granted but it will be open to POA members only.”

Since the public won’t be allowed, Constant has since been granted a request to also keep his hearing closed to general SJPOA members.

Some may wonder why he’d want to remain in a club where many despise him. He says he considers the SJPOA charges against him baloney. Moreover, he said, “quite a few people” in the police department support Measure B because they’re worried about their own retirements and that without Measure B, the pension system might not be around for them in 20 years. Finally, he said he doesn’t like being bullied.

He believes his chances of winning Monday “are very good — if it’s a fair hearing.”


 

• • • • •

 

And here is the result of the hearing, as reported on the front page of the local section of today's paper...

Official Quits Police Union

—Constant calls board hypocritical for criticizing his support of Measure B—

By Tracy Seipel
<tseipel@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Oct. 4, 2012


SAN JOSE — Former San Jose cop turned City Councilman Pete Constant late Wednesday abruptly resigned from the powerful San Jose Police Officers’ Association, which was challenging his continued membership, saying the union’s board of directors is hypocritical in its political endorsements of candidates.

Constant on Monday attended a private union board hearing called to determine whether he could remain a dues-paying union member after other members labeled him a traitor for supporting Measure B, which advocates cutbacks to generous pensions, and plans to cut other perks Constant says are bankrupting the city.

The councilman takes issue not only with the union endorsing candidates who share his support of the city’s Measure B, but according to Constant, the union knowingly endorsing people who were not being honest with voters about their true position on the divisive pension reform measure.

In resigning from the union, Constant cited comments from that hearing where a union board member acknowledged that during endorsement interviews, candidates told the union board in private that they opposed the city’s pension reform Measure B, but then told the public the opposite in order to get elected. Measure B was overwhelmingly passed by voters in June, after a bitter battle between City Hall and its employee unions, particularly the police and firefighter unions.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Police Sgt. Damian Bortolotti, a board member and POA board spokesman, says in an audiotape of the meeting.

“Pretty much every, um, candidate that we interviewed, um, stated that ... even though personally they may be against Measure B, they had to publicly say they were for Measure B, otherwise they thought they could not get elected,” Bortolotti said. “What they said publicly and what they told us privately were sometimes two different things.”

The tape never names specific candidates who misrepresented their views to the public.

The police union has endorsed sportscaster Robert Braunstein for the District 10 City Council seat being vacated at year’s end by Councilwoman Nancy Pyle because of terms limits.

This newspaper obtained a tape of the private meeting in which Constant questions how the union board could try to expel him for supporting Measure B when it endorses candidates who support the same measure.

“While I know the men and women of the San Jose Police Department have a very high level of integrity, it’s unfortunate that the current board of the POA does not,” Constant said Wednesday night before he submitted his resignation.

POA spokesman Jim Unland said he had “no idea where” Bortolotti’s comments came from.

“All I can think is that he misspoke. ... I honestly don’t know what he was thinking when he said that. I really don’t.”

Unland also said he tried to convince Braunstein to drop his support of Measure B but was never successful.

In the audiotape, Constant asks whether the union endorsed planning commissioner Edesa Bitbadal for the District 10 race in the June primary, which included six candidates and is now moving to a November runoff between Braunstein and financial planner Johnny Khamis.

Bortolotti said the union endorsed Bitbadal, but he did not remember where she stood on Measure B. She supported the measure.

Constant asked whether the police union is now endorsing Braunstein, and whether he supports Measure B. Bortolotti said yes.

Constant asked Bortolotti if he recognized the irony of the union’s position, that even as some union members are seeking to oust him for similar views, they embrace candidates who feel the same way Constant does.

“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Bortolotti tells Constant. “They’re not POA members; you’re a POA member.”

During the primary campaign, Braunstein, who has supported Measure B all along, publicly questioned Bitbadal’s credibility regarding her support for Measure B, because she had been endorsed by the San Jose police and firefighters’ unions and the union representing retired police and firefighters.

Now, Braunstein has received the endorsement of the police officers’ union and is pushing to restore their 10 percent pay cut as a way of preventing officers from leaving the city because of their distaste for Measure B. Braunstein’s opponent Khamis is questioning Braunstein’s police union endorsement just as Braunstein questioned Bitbadal’s.

But Braunstein said his stand on Measure B has led him to receive only one San Jose employee union endorsement, and no others. Meanwhile, he said, he has been upfront with both voters and the police union that he strongly supports Measure B, and if elected, he would work to implement it, once the case is resolved in the courts. (The police union is among those who have sued to stop it from going into effect, saying the measure is illegal.) “The reason I have the POA endorsement and the reason I wanted it is because we have a serious crime problem in this city, and I want to bring together all these groups to help and try to solve these problems,” said Braunstein.

Constant, who is the council’s only registered Republican, has endorsed Khamis, a fellow Republican, in the council race for District 10, which includes Almaden Valley, Blossom Valley and the Vista Park area.

The councilman said he is “not saying Robert Braunstein is lying — I have no way of knowing that,” said Constant. “What I’m saying is that the public should carefully consider the weight of a San Jose Police Officers’ Association endorsement given their official spokesman’s comment.”

Bitbadal could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


 

• • • • •

 


Speaking of Pete Constant, you may recall the Mercury News' article in last week's Farsider took Bill Lansdowne, Lou Cobarruviaz and others to task for "double-dipping." The story got my juices flowing and prompted me to pen the following letter to the Mercury News. (I wasn't surprised to see that the paper chose not to publish it.)

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News

Conspicuously missing from your story on double-dipping by public employees is San Jose city council member Pete Constant (Pension Plus Pay Equals Scrutiny, Sept. 23). As a retired San Jose police officer who receives a tax-free disability pension from the city, why was he and the salary he receives as a member of the city council excluded from the story?

Bill Mattos
Fremont, CA

• • • • •

 

The Mercury News isn't at all happy about the POA's attempt to keep Rose Herrera off the city council. This also is from today's (Thurs.) paper...

Attacks Aimed at Herrera Are Unsettling

Mercury News Editorial — Oct. 4, 2012


It’s tempting to dismiss the cutthroat campaign against San Jose Councilwoman Rose Herrera in District 8 as business-as-usual politics. But when misleading information is presented in a sensational fashion by police officers, it’s different.

The police union has a right to get involved in politics. But actions that might be all right for other unions are troubling for officers who need the public’s trust to do the job. If Herrera loses this election, Evergreen and San Jose will lose. Regardless, the police union is losing something in this campaign.

The police union hates Herrera. There’s no other way to put it. We hope voters see through the scare tactics that imply she is single-handedly to blame for the uptick in crime, particularly burglaries, in San Jose. The fact that burglaries are up everywhere along the Highway 101 corridor — even in Palo Alto — has not yet been laid at Herrera’s door, but give it time.

Herrera is flustered by the attacks, which say she “rolled out the red carpet for criminals,” and she isn’t always as clear as she should be when discussing statistics. But she and a majority of council members are doing the right thing, even when it may not be politically expedient. She is a key vote for responsible budgets and public safety policies.

For example, if the city had not negotiated a 10 percent pay cut for police — money the officers now want back — the force would have been cut to 950 back in 2011. Today there are still 1,054 officers on the job, and the city is hiring to get back to the budgeted level of 1,100. That’s not enough, but prudent budgeting supported by Herrera has kept it from being worse.

A favorite theme of the police is Herrera’s voting against increased staffing in the police burglary unit. But police Chief Chris Moore and his assistant strongly opposed this, arguing that it would take officers off patrol and was not the best use of manpower.

Evergreen and San Jose need a council member smart enough to know when to listen to the experts and strong enough to vote in the public interest even when she’s aware it will be used against her.

Perhaps most disingenuous, the officers are holding meetings in Evergreen ostensibly to help people guard against crime, when the sessions are part of their campaign strategy. One was scheduled the same night as a City Council study session on police staffing. They are also blocking Moore, who is retiring in January, from having civilian investigators do background checks on new recruits, which would free up 17 officers for patrol.

Herrera has been critical to the single most important step to balance the city budget and rebuild the police force: She has supported pension reform — and so has District 8, where more than 70 percent of voters approved Measure B in June. The police budget is ballooning largely because of retirement costs, which shot up from $150 million to $245 million in just the past few years.

Voters who feel themselves swayed by those scary mailers need to look a little deeper.




 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD


Unlike me, this former San Jose cop who left the Dept. 10 years ago did get his letter published. It appeared in Tuesday's paper...

Turmoil At the Top Hurts San Jose police

Mercury News — Letter to the Editor — Oct. 2, 2012


I am responding to Ratibhai Patel (Letters, Sept. 22). I agree with him when he writes, “shame on the San Jose police leadership.” Since 1991, San Jose has had four police chiefs. The length of stay has been seven, five, and four years, and now 18 months. Without leadership, an organization is like a lifeboat adrift in turbulent seas with no oars, no compass, no maps and no hope. An old Chinese proverb says unless you change direction, you are likely to arrive at where you are headed. As a former chief of police I see the need for organizational transformation, and it needs to begin.

Martin Monica
Former San Jose police Officer San Jose


Ed. — I checked and found that Martin (#2380) was appointed to the SJPD on 11/14/83 and resigned on 3/23/02. His letter to the editor was in reference to this one from two Saturday's ago...

Police Should Know That Their Perks Not So Bad

Mercury News — Letter to the Editor — Sept. 22, 2012


Those of us working in the private sector have experienced it all — 10 percent of our co-workers laid off; salaries cut by 10 percent; use it or lose it vacation accrual, capped at five weeks. Our pensions are mostly self-paid with no guarantees; they fluctuate with the stock market. If lucky, our 401k plans will pay about 20 percent of our last year’s salary. Worthless stock options. Stack ranking and dismissal of the bottom 5 percent. Outsourcing. But when the police perks have to be reduced to something still much better than private sector perks, they are victims, their morale is down, and their chief quits. They need leadership that resets their expectations to what the bulk of San Jose citizens go through. Shame on their leadership for failing to explain that police perks are still much better than the private sector workers and making them feel like victims.

Ratibhai Patel
San Jose

• • • • •

 

Video news clip from the POA...
 



"San Jose Community Upset After Attack on 95-Year-Old Woman"



If you choose to view the video, be patient as this NBC Bay Area news clip may take a few moments to load...

<http://tinyurl.com/8utwnud>



 

WEEKLY POLL
 

   


Results from last week's poll...




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




 

MAIL CALL
 

Sept. 27th

Hi Bill,

Just visited the Peace Officers Museum in Virginia City, NV, and they had a section dedicated to the SJPD. The museum is a great visit for all. Their web site is:
<http://www.peaceofficersmuseum.org/>.

Rod
(Dewey) <rtdewey@hotmail.com>
 

• • • • •

 

Sept. 29th

Bill,

I know you said you were not going to include any political videos in the Farsider unless they come from a reader. Well I'm a reader and I would like to test your statement by sending you the attached video of MSNBC doctoring it to make Romney look bad. Notice that the talk show host at the end screams into the camera that "Republicans lie."

While I'm venting, I would like for you to run the second video that shows what a jerk Rachel Maddow is. If you could supply a photo of her for those who don't watch MSNBC I would appreciate it.

I don't need any grief from left-wingers, so please withhold my last name and address.

Bob

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



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43z2NGHS2tI>


To be fair, it needs to be said that there are "jerks" on all three of the major cable news networks: MSNBC, Fox News and CNN. It all depends on which side of the political spectrum the viewer is.

As for Romney's statement about airplane windows not rolling down, Snopes covered the issue in this week's update. Here's the link...

<http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/windows.asp>


Anyone who cares to dispute either or both video clips is welcome to write in, and if requested, we'll also withhold your name and address.
 

• • • • •

 

Sept. 28th

Bill,

I sent the Federal budget deficit video around and here's one of the comments I got back.
 
Dave
(Scannell) <silent.eagle46@yahoo.com>

Dave,
 
You’re right. It’s scary!  I confirmed the video by going to the White House website and following every step in the video’s analysis. Thank you for the head’s up.


The reference is to this item from last week's Farsider...

"This is a non-partisan video produced by an accountant, Hal Mason, who retired after 27 years with IBM. He looks at the budget, its revenues and expenses, and very simply illustrates the problem. Amazingly, we get all the media talking heads blathering and shouting for hours, but they never provide clarity. This guy does it in a couple minutes."



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW5IdwltaAc>

 

• • • • •

 

Oct. 4th

Bill,

I'm sure most everyone watched the debate and has made their choice for a winner. I would like to recommend a book I just finished reading that I feel everyone should read before they make a choice. It is not a political book but shows what direction our country is going from a biblical standpoint. It is easy reading. I started it about 2 p.m. and finished about 2 a.m.. I thought it was so good I couldn't stop.

The title is "The Harbinger" written by Jonathan Cahn, a Christian Rabbi. I wish all would just put aside any pre-judgment and read it. I think they will be amazed at what it says.

Thanks,

Bert
(Kelsey) <bnjkelsey@sbcglobal.net>



 

GALLUP POLL SAYS U.S. VOTERS PREFER IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD OVER OBAMA


For those of you unaware, "The Onion" is arguably the nation's most popular satirical news website. It takes stories that are in the news and radically modifies them so that the story becomes a satirical parody. Received from a few readers was a link to this AP article about an Onion article that was picked up by Iranian news service and reported as fact. Have a look...

Onion's Obama-Ahmadinejad 'Poll" Cited as Fact in Iran

By Jason Keyser
Associated Press — Sept. 29, 2012


CHICAGO — A joke by the satirical website The Onion appears to have gotten lost in translation.

An Iranian news agency picked up — as fact — a story from the paper about a supposed Gallup survey showing an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. But it was made up, like everything in the just-for-laughs newspaper, which is headquartered in Chicago.

The English-language service of Iran's semi-official Fars news agency republished the story Friday, several days after it appeared in The Onion.

The Iranian version copied the original word-for-word, even including a made-up quote from a fictional West Virginia resident who says he'd rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because "he takes national defense seriously, and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does."

Homosexual acts are punishable by death in Iran, and Ahmadinejad famously said during a 2007 appearance at Columbia University that "in Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."
 

The Iranian version of the article leaves out only The Onion's description of Ahmadinejad as "a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed."

The article was featured prominently on the Fars website alongside its usual fare of stories about advances in Iranian military technology, condemnation of Israel and Iran's nuclear program. The story appeared to have been taken down by about mid-day Friday, Chicago time.

Calls to Fars representatives were not answered Friday.

The Onion reveled in the fact that it had been taken seriously.

Onion editor Will Tracy put out a tongue-in-cheek statement that referred to Fars as "a subsidiary of The Onion" that has acted as the paper's Middle Eastern bureau since it was founded in the mid-1980s by Onion publisher T. Herman Zweibel.

"The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran's Finest News Source on their superb reportage," Tracy said in jest.

It's not the first time a foreign news outlet has been duped by The Onion. In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the Chinese capital's biggest newspapers, picked up a story from The Onion that claimed members of Congress were threatening to leave Washington unless the building underwent a makeover that included more bathrooms and a retractable dome.



 

THE OCT.  EDITION OF THE VANGUARD IS READY FOR VIEWING



Clicking on the link below will download a .pdf file to your desktop, and clicking on the icon should display the latest edition of the POA's newsletter...

<http://tinyurl.com/8skgcrm>




 

DITTO WITH THE RETIREES' ASSN. NEWSLETTER



The latest electronic version of the Billy & Spanner is now available on-line. Thank you to all who have agreed to receive the on-line version of the newsletter.      
 
Clicking on the link below should download to your desktop a .pdf file, from which a double-click of your mouse should open the newsletter.

<http://tinyurl.com/98kasrv>




 

FOLLOWING THE WHITE HAT



Bill and his crew are scheduled to work the Atlanta at Washington game this coming Sunday at 10:00 a.m. local (PST).

Don't feel bad for the replacement refs. They'll find work.
 





 

SAN FRANCISCO FLEET WEEK IN OAKLAND
From Don Hale



U.S. Navy Band Concert

Salute to East Bay Veterans

Jack London Square

Friday, Oct. 5th

Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Free to the Public

<
www.fleetweek.us>




 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF SEPT. 22, 2012

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

New Articles

• Has Halloween 2012 been designated 'National Kill a Pitbull Day'?
<http://www.snopes.com/critters/cruelty/pitbull.asp>

• Are your Facebook private inbox messages now visible for all to see?
<http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/privatemessages.asp>

• Did the 2012 Democratic National Convention decline to allow churches to donate gift baskets to delegates?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/giftbaskets.asp>

• Did the word swag originate in the 1960s as an acronym for "Secretly we are gay"?
<http://www.snopes.com/language/acronyms/swag.asp>

• In one of his films, did actor Tony Curtis deliver the line, 'Yondah lies da castle of my foddah'?
<http://www.snopes.com/quotes/signature/tonycurtis.asp>

• Did Mitt Romney say he doesn't know why airplane windows don't open?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/windows.asp>

• Is actor-director Clint Eastwood the son of comic Stan Laurel?
<http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/eastwood.asp>

• Is a promotional event partnering Gmail and Apple awarding free iPads?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/nothing/apple.asp>

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


Worth a Second Look

• Did a bank issue a credit card to a tree?
<http://www.snopes.com/business/bank/treecard.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 AND OTHER ODDS AND ENDS


Would you like to live to the ripe old (and we mean OLD) age of 126? Of all the videos we have included in the Farsider over the past 6+ years, this one received from Don Hale is among the top ten most fascinating. Some die-hard conservatives might say it would make a good political ad for Obama and Biden. Watch it and you will see why. (15 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya-zxSRuUqs>


• • • • •



Are you familiar with road rage karma? No? Have a look at this short clip and you will be. (1 Min.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pexIwT39m5Q>


• • • • •



John "JET" Trussler says he was going to get a smart phone so he could have some fun with his pet frog, but thought better of the idea after he saw how this short video ends. (23 Secs.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbGPKhb8ZBI>


• • • • •



If you are a Seinfeld fan, this clip from the season finale of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" comes highly recommended by Dirk Parsons. In addition to Jerry, the video features Michael Richards and a 1962 Volkswagen split-window bus/pickup once used by a VW-Porsche repair shop in the city of Campbell. (17 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wriy3ICfF9U>


• • • • •



Phil Norton says it is highly unlikely you will get to speak to a live person if you try to call the Marines. If you do, odds are you will only get through to their answering machine. With an apology to the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, have a listen. (2 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOg8i0R3T1E>


• • • • •



Joe Suske would like to introduce you to the football players of the Annual East/West Collegiate Bowl. Not only are they flamboyant, so are their names. Have a look. (3 Mins.)



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


• • • • •


What do you supposed would have happened if, as the theory goes, a huge asteroid had not ended the life of dinosaurs millions of years ago? This segment from a BBC documentary on the evolution of dinosaurs received from Tom Macris addresses that question. (5 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiEmem2rFOY>


• • • • •


Also for those of you with a scientific curiosity, here's another one of those excellent TED presentations. This one, received from Joe Wicker, is about slow-motion photography. The image of a bullet going through an apple below was shot at a million frames a second. This presentation shows how technology has evolved to the point where it is now possible to film at a trillion frames a second, fast enough to capture the movement of light itself. (11 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_9vd4HWlVA>


• • • • •



In closing, I'll admit to being a traditionalist when it comes to the singing or playing of the National Anthem, but with nearly two million views — including the dozen Farsider readers who sent it in — this hard rock version seems to be receiving rave reviews. I would argue, however, that it wouldn't be as popular without the graphics that accompany the video. P.S. The lead singer is reportedly a Navy vet. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8C7i9kdEf8>


• • • • •




C'ya



 

Pic of the Week:

Good-bye and good riddance to that annoying little GEICO lizard...
 

 
   

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