Sunday, September 28, 2008

There's a better way to spend discretionary funds (Contracosta Times Sept. 26 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective:
I believe that somebody like Ed Scott should purchase those signs from the City Council and take the burden away from the city, and then Ed Scott will be the hero and look great for Re-Election the next time around! But, if you are like me, and I know that there are a lot of you that are not because you have forgotten that Ed Scott was the forceful hand in attempting to rid the city of their Beloved Police Department!!
All Because Ed Scott has Pending Litigation Against the Rialto Police Department that as been placed on Hold for the time being while he holds a Rialto City Council Seat, an Object of which I believe was a Conflict of Interest since the time that he was Sworn into Office for the City Council Seat, Representing the City of Rialto!!
If it was up to me, Ed Scott would not be allowed to be a City Council Member again! Not just a City Council Member, But never ever The Rialto City Mayor Either!! It seems that Ed Scott has his eye on the Mayor's Office and he wants to take the seat away from Grace Vargas, and Grace is one that deserves to Hold that seat!! She represented the People of Rialto and their Wishes, through that whole time, Had Ed Scott followed his Mayor's Wishes and not tried to Put the Long Standing Tradition of the Rialto Police Department on the Shelf, in favor of the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department, for Law Enforcement.
Ed Scott wanted to trade for a law Enforcement Agency that I see in my area once maybe Twice a year, and they are the agency that is the primary Patrolling Law Enforcement Agency for my area, when we were Evacuated in 2003 during the large fires that went on, it was the Rialto Police Department that Came and announced to us door to door that we were being Evacuated, and I didn't see the Sheriff's Department until the next day, when I saw one driving towards the Lytle Creek Community!
If ED SCOTT is up for RE-ELECTION, then he should NOT BE RE-ELECTED because I for one didn't forget on which side of the fence that Ed Scott was firmly on when that was started!!
BS Ranch
PS: I bet that Ed Scott will make the purchase of these signs and make the show that he is the good Samaritan

There's a better way to spend discretionary funds

By Jo Ann Berg

With all due respect to those advocating signs to honor Congressman Joe Baca, I would like to say that 30 signs honoring any one person in any one town is overkill.

If the city of Rialto wishes to honor Congressman Baca, it may be more meaningful to do so in regard to his work in helping to clean up perchlorate and selling the Rialto airport. Perhaps a plaque on the Water District building or, if the Renaissance program ever gets off the ground, naming a structure or park after him.

If our city administrator has discretionary funds, I would like to see them used for red-light cameras on at least one of our busy east-west thoroughfares. Many accidents are caused on Base Line because of speeders who run red lights.


Vacancies in leadership loom for San Bernardino (Contra Costa Times September 27, 2008) The City is in for some Big Changes!!

BS Ranch Perspective
I guess it is a dilemma that is going to be facing all the City Managers, and City Council's alike, with the new Retirement Program that is guaranteed to have a full retirement at the age of 50. Most of the Officers that I know are taking the Retirement, unless they have a huge over head like Child Support or house payments and the like that they have to stay in front of that they cannot get of the way of if they retire even with a 3% @ the age of 50 retirement!
So, with the Sudden Turn over that San Bernardino City is facing I know one thing, and that is they will survive, I just hope that the City Council doesn't fall for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Offers to Take over the Law Enforcement Duty's for their City!! That only Complicates things! Just Ask the City Council that is Currently Seated at the City of Rialto!!
BS Ranch

Vacancies in leadership loom for San Bernardino

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO - The city is in for some big changes.

Within a span of several months, San Bernardino will have a new city manager, a new police chief and a new council member representing its 4th Ward.

There could be even more changes in play for city leaders. Code Enforcement Director Glenn Baude was relieved of his duties in July, and although the council has held several closed-door meetings to discuss his fate, nothing has been announced.

And of course, there's always a chance other city figures could retire, find a new job or end up stepping into some as-yet undiscovered hornet's nest.

At the very least, San Bernardino's next city manager will go to work in a city where politics are played like old-time football - three (or more) arguments and a cloud of dust.

The last city manager, Fred Wilson, left this month to take a job as Huntington Beach's top administrator. Wilson worked for San Bernardino for more than two decades, spending a dozen years as the city's top staffer.

Lori Sassoon, formerly Wilson's assistant, is acting city manager. The City Council has held interviews for an interim leader, and a headhunting firm has been hired to find the next permanent city manager.

Mayor Pat Morris said the next city manager will need to be someone who is experienced, knowledgeable and "accustomed to a challenging policymaking atmosphere, which is what our city offers."

Such a political environment, the mayor added, will require a leader with strength and resilience.

But San Bernardino's reputation for smash-mouth politics won't make it hard to find a new city manager, Morris said.

"I don't think so, and we can't pretend to be anything other than what we are," he said.

In this regard, Morris and 7th Ward Councilwoman Wendy McCammack agreed.

"It depends on how much of a challenge any one given candidate wants to embark upon," she said when asked if San Bernardino's political environment will make it hard to find a new city manager.

McCammack and Morris don't often see eye to eye. Of late, a prominent disagreement between them has been on the question of whether the council should subpoena several city leaders to investigate the management of Operation Phoenix, an anti-crime program that Morris launched in 2006, his first year in office.

Phoenix was thrust into turmoil in early July after community center manager Mike Miller was arrested and charged with child molestation. He is awaiting trial.

Miller's arrest opened the door to revelations of management troubles within the multiagency Phoenix effort.

McCammack has favored 1st Ward Councilwoman Esther Estrada's proposal to subpoena staff members to compel them to provide information about Phoenix. Morris has called the tactic unnecessary, and thus far, a majority of the council has rejected subpoenas.

In late July, Wilson placed Baude on administrative leave before it was revealed that Wilson was leaving for Huntington Beach. The council has discussed Baude's fate behind closed doors, but so far, no announcements have been made as to his future.

Baude is under a gag order from the city, and his attorney, James Curtis, has said that Baude was placed on leave for talking to the media about Phoenix in the wake of the Miller scandal. Curtis could not be reached for comment on this report, and elected officials who were interviewed didn't want to speak about the issue.

Until July, Baude was also Operation Phoenix director. The acting city manager is now in charge of day-to-day supervision of the program and general city business.

Police Chief Michael Billdt has also spent much of the past two years as a key member of the Phoenix effort and is scheduled to retire in March.

Many rank-and-file officers, however, would like Billdt to leave sooner.

The city's police union has taken a vote of no confidence in Billdt, and union president Sgt. Rich Lawhead has called for Billdt to leave office as soon as possible.

Billdt and Morris, however, are close, and neither has given any indication that the chief will surrender his stars before his planned retirement.

Billdt has also expressed optimism that the impasse between himself and the rank and file can be overcome.

Whenever Billdt returns to private life, councilmen Neil Derry of the 4th Ward and Tobin Brinker of the 3rd Ward said the city should wait to hire its next police chief so the next city manager can hire his or her own leadership team.

If Billdt leaves before March, McCammack said former Fontana and Rialto Police Chief Frank Scialdone "would be a perfect example of a great interim chief."

Scialdone is credited by many with rescuing the Rialto Police Department from the brink of dissolution. He and Cal State San Bernardino criminologist Larry Gaines have talked with Billdt and Morris about the possibility of teaming up to provide an outsider's perspective on how to improve the San Bernardino Police Department.

Morris said the search for a new city manager could take about six months.

With Billdt on schedule to leave the Police Department within that general time frame, the mayor said city officials may decide to search for San Bernardino's next police chief before a new city manager is in office.

"That's a discussion that we'll engage in with the council," Morris said.

On the council itself, Derry is scheduled to leave for higher office in December when he takes the 3rd District seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

Derry has made a name for himself as one of the council's more conservative members. He has made law enforcement a priority and has been occasionally critical of Phoenix- related spending. However, he voted on Morris' side when the council took up the issue of subpoenas.

He said he expects an election for his successor will take place in March, which he suggests be accomplished by a mail-in ballot.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

EPA ducks perchlorate standards (Contra Costa Times September 27, 2008) White House Edits Draft!!

BS Ranch Perspective:
Alright everybody that drinks water in the City of Rialto, get ready to suffer from Cancer and the like it is great that the government is standing by everything that we do for them! The Tax Dollars at work I always say. Drink up and get that Stomach Cancer and dwindle away to nothing! I have seen this happen first hand!
That is the scary part, and to have the Government, our Government turn their backs on the tax payers of the Inland Empire is beside me!!
BS Ranch

EPA ducks perchlorate standards

White House edits draft
Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not plan to set a drinking-water standard for perchlorate, a common regional contaminant used in explosives like rocket fuel and fireworks.

The decision, first reported by The Washington Post, came in a document indicating the EPA had made a "preliminary regulatory determination" not to set a standard.

The Sun has obtained a summary of the report from staff for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

According to the summary, the EPA draft underwent heavy editing from the White House, and the EPA's original suggestion to have a 45-day comment period was reduced to 30 days.

Perchlorate has been found at 400 sites nationwide, including more than 100 in California.

Locally, it has been found in especially high concentrations around Riverside, the San Gabriel Valley, Redlands and Rialto, where the EPA is close to naming a 160-acre area a Superfund site.

Perchlorate can interfere with the thyroid gland, affecting metabolism as well as mental and physical development.

California has set a maximum standard of 6 parts per billion, and Massachusetts has set one at 2 ppb in drinking water.

In 2002, EPA scientists developed a draft protective level of 1 ppb for drinking water, assuming all perchlorate intake comes from water. In reality, perchlorate is also found in milk, breast milk, lettuce and other food sources.

The National Academy of Sciences

was then tasked with coming up with a recommendation and came up with a reference dose of about 20 ppb, assuming a body weight of 150 pounds and that all perchlorate is ingested through water.

Environmentalists and some members of Congress blasted the news as an example of the White House and Pentagon - much of the perchlorate contamination is at old Pentagon and defense contractor sites - influencing the EPA.

"The Defense Department's response to perchlorate contamination raises serious questions about the appropriateness of its role in the EPA's internal regulatory process," Rep. Hilda Solis, an El Monte Democrat, and Rep. Gene Green, a Texas Democrat wrote to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

The Sept. 23 letter asks for all communications on the issue since last year.

EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones said the agency plans to issue the preliminary determination in the next couple of weeks and the final one by the end of the year but that "no decision has been made."

"This is an open and transparent process," she said.

Solis and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., have sponsored legislation to require the EPA to set a perchlorate standard.

In March, the Government Accountability Office criticized the EPA's risk assessment process and said it is not transparent enough and allows too much influence from other federal agencies, including the White House.

Boxer mentioned the issue at a May committee hearing.

"We had a full hearing on a GAO report ... and the fact that EPA is trying to shunt the scientists to the back, put the (Department of Defense) contractors to the front - at the table - and they said it's very dangerous," she said at the May hearing.

An EPA decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water would not have a major effect on Superfund sites with perchlorate, like the one on its way to Rialto, said Kevin Mayer, the EPA's regional perchlorate manager and a Superfund project manager.

Treatment systems the EPA uses in Rialto should remove all perchlorate from the water, he said, but the agency won't have to clean water contaminated at lower levels than the state standard, 6 ppb.

"In a Superfund program, we're required to meet federal and state standards, and we're required to assess the risks for those contaminants that don't have standards," he said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Perfect Stranger

The Perfect Stranger

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, August 29, 2008; A15

Barack Obama is an immensely talented man whose talents have been largely devoted to crafting, and chronicling, his own life. Not things. Not ideas. Not institutions. But himself.

Nothing wrong or even terribly odd about that, except that he is laying claim to the job of crafting the coming history of the United States. A leap of such audacity is odd. The air of unease at the Democratic convention this week was not just a result of the Clinton psychodrama. The deeper anxiety was that the party was nominating a man of many gifts but precious few accomplishments -- bearing even fewer witnesses.

When John Kerry was introduced at his convention four years ago, an honor guard of a dozen mates from his Vietnam days surrounded him on the podium attesting to his character and readiness to lead. Such personal testimonials are the norm. The roster of fellow soldiers or fellow senators who could from personal experience vouch for John McCain is rather long. At a less partisan date in the calendar, that roster might even include Democrats Russ Feingoldand Edward Kennedy, with whom John McCain has worked to fashion important legislation.

Eerily missing at the Democratic convention this year were people of stature who were seriously involved at some point in Obama's life standing up to say: I know Barack Obama. I've been with Barack Obama. We've toiled/endured together. You can trust him. I do.

Hillary Clinton could have said something like that. She and Obama had, after all, engaged in a historic, utterly compelling contest for the nomination. During her convention speech, you kept waiting for her to offer just one line of testimony: I have come to know this man, to admire this man, to see his character, his courage, his wisdom, his judgment. Whatever. Anything.

Instead, nothing. She of course endorsed him. But the endorsement was entirely programmatic: We're all Democrats. He's a Democrat. He believes what you believe. So we must elect him -- I am currently unavailable -- to get Democratic things done. God bless America.

Clinton's withholding the "I've come to know this man" was vindictive and supremely self-serving -- but jarring, too, because you realize that if she didn't do it, no one else would. Not because of any inherent deficiency in Obama's character. But simply as a reflection of a young life with a biography remarkably thin by the standard of presidential candidates.

Who was there to speak about the real Barack Obama? His wife. She could tell you about Barack the father, the husband, the family man in a winning and perfectly sincere way. But that takes you only so far. It doesn't take you to the public man, the national leader.

Who is to testify to that? Hillary's husband on night three did aver that Obama is "ready to lead." However, he offered not a shred of evidence, let alone personal experience with Obama. And although he pulled it off charmingly, everyone knew that, having been suggesting precisely the opposite for months, he meant not a word of it.

Obama's vice presidential selection, Joe Biden, naturally advertised his patron's virtues, such as the fact that he had "reached across party lines to . . . keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists." But securing loose nukes is as bipartisan as motherhood and as uncontroversial as apple pie. The measure was so minimal that it passed by voice vote and received near zero media coverage.

Thought experiment. Assume John McCain had retired from politics. Would he have testified to Obama's political courage in reaching across the aisle to work with him on ethics reform, a collaboration Obama boasted about in the Saddleback debate? "In fact," reports the Annenberg Political Fact Check, "the two worked together for barely a week, after which McCain accused Obama of 'partisan posturing' " -- and launched a volcanic missive charging him with double-cross.

So where are the colleagues? The buddies? The political or spiritual soul mates? His most important spiritual adviser and mentor was Jeremiah Wright. But he's out. Then there's William Ayers, with whom he served on a board. He's out. Where are the others?

The oddity of this convention is that its central figure is the ultimate self-made man, a dazzling mysterious Gatsby. The palpable apprehension is that the anointed is a stranger -- a deeply engaging, elegant, brilliant stranger with whom the Democrats had a torrid affair. Having slowly woken up, they see the ring and wonder who exactly they married last night.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer at's new opinion blog, PostPartisan

Just an empty shirt!

This guy says well what others are thinking and can't put into words.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

California Attorney General Takes Orange County Deputies' side in Pention Fight!! (L.A. Times September 3, 2008)

California attorney general takes Orange County deputies' side in pension fight

Jerry Brown speaks of filing a brief opposing the county's effort to slash the benefits. The county's lawsuit seeks to repeal a retroactive increase, saying it was unconstitutional.
By Christian Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 3, 2008
California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown waded into the legal fray Tuesday between Orange County and the union that represents sheriff's deputies, taking the union's side and saying he would seek to file a brief opposing the county's effort to slash deputies' pensions.

Brown's entry came after months of discussions with Tom Umberg, a former Democratic state assemblyman now representing the deputies union as a lawyer in the case, and Wayne Quint, the president of the union.

The two flew to Oakland to meet with Brown on two occasions in recent months, according to people familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about them.

In announcing his intent to file a friend-of-the-court brief, Brown said in a statement: "The deputy sheriffs put their lives on the line for us, and they deserve fair compensation for their hard work serving and protecting the people of Orange County. County supervisors are not entitled to suddenly change their minds and decide to take away important pension benefits that the deputies bargained for in good faith."

The attorney general's decision has the potential to bring more attention to the case, a high-stakes battle over public employee retirement benefits that could have far-reaching consequences yet has received little attention outside the public employee pension realm.

"We are glad the attorney general is interceding," said Quint, president of the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. "It truly reflects the magnitude of the issue."

At issue is the structure of a labor contract between the union and the county that has been adopted by countless government agencies throughout the state for all manner of public employees, including police, teachers and general government workers. All but two of California's 58 counties have adopted the same type of deal with their public safety unions.

The 2001 agreement increased pensions by one-third and granted the benefit retroactively. This year, the county, now led by an entirely new Board of Supervisors, concluded that the retroactive portion was unconstitutional because it violated a state prohibition on pay for work already performed, and filed a lawsuit seeking to repeal that part of the contract.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach estimates that the deal allows deputies, on average, to retire with a pension of $70,000 a year, and that the retroactive portion will cost the county $187 million over the next 30 years.

Brown's announcement did not articulate the legal grounds on which he intends to challenge the county's lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the attorney general said the legal arguments were still being developed and were not ready to be unveiled.

Separately, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the $230-billion public pension fund that administers benefits for government workers, said Brown would be representing its interests in the court case. CalPERS contends that the benefits are constitutional.

Mario Mainero, the chief of staff to Moorlach, who led the county to file the suit, criticized Brown's decision to get involved as political and said his initial comments indicate that he doesn't understand the basis of the lawsuit.

"It's pretty clear here that Atty. Gen. Brown, who apparently wants to be governor again, is going to try to gain the support of people who can raise a lot of money for him," Mainero said.