BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, September 18, 2006

Is Police Pay Responsible?

Disraeli once said "There are lies, damned lies and statistics". I'm not so sure that saying higher police pay would lessen crime is a lie but it is certainly playing with statistics. There are just too many factors involved. Maybe higher pay coupled with more officers on the streets?

This quote came from an article by Vladimir Kogan today in the News-Press about recent deaths and police pay:

"In less than a month, two murders have occurred in Santa Barbara, one should and most likely could have been avoided if the City Council would honor the police officers of this fine town (by) granting their request for a 28 percent increase," Wendy Gonzales wrote to Mayor Marty Blum and other members of the City Council in an e-mail forwarded to the News-Press Thursday.

It's really hard to believe that anyone would make a correlation between police pay and these recent deaths. With all due respect to the families involved, would there have been a police officer at the Rhino if they were paid more? Would a police officer had stopped the SUV before the tragic accident last week? Probably not...

58 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd guess that letter writer is suggesting that if police were paid more, they'd be living in SB; and, if they were living in SB, they or some of them, male ones presumeably, would be patronizing the Rhino. Likely connection?

As for the other, it's hard to see the connection, perhaps one of the police would have been able to afford to live in that W. Islay apartment building? (I suspect he's not talking about the death of the bicyclist by the SUV, but I haven't read/no longer subscribe to the paper ... not, from what I've seen of the past of Kogan's reporting, that I'd have faith in the accuracy. ...Sounds like bias to me, "news" story - if someone's letter is news, supporting the editorial opinion of the paper.)

9/18/2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

It took 20 minutes for the police to arrive at the Rhino because all the units were tied up on other calls. When the Rhino called 911, it only said the gentleman was refusing to pay for services rendered, therefore it was a low priority call.

Officers are trained to deal with emergency medical situations - bouncers are not. PERHAPS, and only PERHAPS, IF there was an avaiable police unit it could have arrived earlier, and the trained officers would have recognized the emergent nature of the medical condition of the detainee and called for an ambulance. PERHAPS, that tragedy could have been avoided (then again, maybe not).

As far as the SUV speeding - its always been my gripe that officers/chp/sheriff's, don't have cars monitoring high congestion areas where students must travel to get to school. The reason they don't - not enough manpower to handle calls for service.

Nobody can predict exactly when and where an emergency situation will occur - just like officers can't always be at the right place at the right time to prevent crimes from happening. But the more officers you have on the streets AVAILABLE to patrol, the better chance they have of PREVENTING crime.

JMHO dd

9/18/2006 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Directly, no. Indirectly, yes. The indirect correlation is the ability to hire the proper amount of police officers for the population. There are established ratios and to my knowledge we are short handed. There is not much that can be done with the cost of living in the area, but with proper compensation, and proper meaning according to the standards set by other police agencies and not comparing them to garbage collectors or common laborers, it is easier to hire, train and recruit candidates to become our police officers. But, that also goes for proper funding for decent equipment, training, buildings (infrastructure); so it's not all about pay, but that is a big component. To my mind there is no direct link, but most definitely a trickle down effect.

9/18/2006 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SdlG: not sure if my link to Chuck Schultz's story in yesterday's Lompoc Record comment got sent. It's a very important story by one of the great losses to SB newspaper coverage — if it didn't get sent, here it is again.

(http://www.lompocrecord.com/articles/2006/09/17/news/news05.txt)

Thanks for all you're doing for Santa Barbara!!!!!

9/18/2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger john san roque said...

Although I have been very critical of the News-Press for a couple years, I haven't contributed anything to this blog in the past month or so. I think that what’s playing out now with the NP management speaks for itself.

The article today about police pay and the crime rate merits comment, though. One of my complaints has been that there has never been any separation between the editorial page and the reporting. Today's article is another unfortunate example. Trying to tie police salaries to recent deaths is beyond reporting incompetence or stupidity—it’s intentional misrepresentation. Evidently one e-mail to the Mayor is sufficient to trigger a misleading headline. The reporter does not even question the unsupported use of the word “murders” in the e-mail. And the continuation of the article does not support the misleading headline, even quoting police officials who do not make the connection between crime rates and salaries.

The issue for the News-Press is not even the salaries of SBPD. This front page article skews the facts and common sense because it offers and opportunity to discredit the Mayor. The editorial page has used similar exaggeration and misleading information for years to attack Blum. There are legitimate arguments and questions that can be raised about Blum’s administration, but the News-Press is not willing to engage in fair or honest debate. Anyone and anything is eligible to be sacrificed to discredit those individuals the News Press does not like.

This is garbage. The newspaper has no credibility in its editorial stance or its reporting because it has been hijacked to further personal vendettas.

9/18/2006 8:56 AM  
Blogger budlawman said...

There is little question that management is acting in a way that is intended to intimidate the employees, and encourage them to leave. The remaining employees are determined, however, to stick around, vote in favor of the union on September 27 -- the NLRB has scheduled the vote for that afternoon -- and hold steadfast to turn this around in collective bargaining. Everyone is encouraged and invited to come to the rally at the Plaza on Sunday, September 24, 3-4, and the fundraiser at Ruby's immediately after, to support the employees and integrity at the NP.

9/18/2006 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ridiculous story highlights an interesting contradiction in the positions of the SBNP with respect to unions. The SBNP has seemed to be firmly behind the police union's request for higher wages. This story sounds like that, and certainly ediorials have taken that position (with the exception of Randy Alcorn's excellent columns on this issue).

Since the SBNP supports the police union's attempt to benefit it's member's with higher pay and better working conditions, how does this square with the SBNP management's position about unionization desires of its own employees?

And what about the police union? Do they support the unionization attempts at the SBNP? In my experience, union members stand together so let's hear it from the SB Police Union for their labor brothers and sisters at the SBNP!

9/18/2006 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From SBNP "In less than a month, two murders have occurred in Santa Barbara, ", I don't see the paper on a regular basis, I know a man was shot. What is the other murder? This article appears blantantly political and misleading. Frontpage headline "For some," ? " at least one Santa Barbara resident is blaming" Does this mean if I write my opinion to Mayor Blum, I'll be featured in a front page headline? Did Mayor Blum receive only one opinion? Who is Vladimir Kogan? Sgt Mike McGrew would be wise to learn up is down in SBNP. When he says "The one thing that I don't want to do is capitalize on these deaths, " That means I WANT TO CAPITALIZE ON THESE DEATHS. I hope people's eyes are open. This is not just inferior journalism, it's blantant manipulation aimed at an ignorant public. The fire finally made front page. Did Melissa Evans report, SBNP (lack of reporting) floods emergency workers with calls about ash.? I'm still upset with SBNP lack of regard Sunday, 9/17/06 for lung disease. I know the SBNP press is degraded, I should get use to it?

9/18/2006 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dd, That is helpful. When a "professional" like Kogan overlooks facts, are there ethic sanctions, a board to deal with this? Can something be brougt up in a public forum? The Rhino's call to SBPD is obvious priority status

9/18/2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Cops get paid too much. More than likely they were late because of a coffee break or they were bothering non-native working americans. Or maybe it was a work slow down. Not only should they not recieve a 28% pay increase they should disband the department and hire new officers. Officers trained to protect and serve and not victimize others. These guy's make Barry Fife look like the FBI.

9/18/2006 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1008, I see your point----but such reporting, and such capitalizing on tragedy is not merely the province of the SBPD recently.
What about the 2nd District Sup, and Councilwoman Schneider, speaking at the memorial bike ride for Jake Boysen. And Ralph Fertig's statement, exploiting the death, as a basis for voting for Measure D?

Human tragedy especially on a local level, causes us all to want to blame, to want to seize upon it as a reason for this or that. And like with anything, there may be kernel of truths to go around....

One aspect of the murder on Islay that may relate---- being able to have enough "boots on the ground" to capture the killer---- McGrew's grandstanding notwithstanding, I think that is something valid to consider. More than one thing can be true at the same time.

9/18/2006 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A better news story might be how police brutality is skyrocketing in Santa Barbara because of inept, frustrated officers. The SBPD is in a downward spiral: poor pay leads to bad officers, which leads to police brutality, which dries-up any goodwill in the community for raises, which leads to even worse officers. Even though times are tough, the SBPD needs to be extra-vigilent about cleaning-out its bad apples before it's too late and our entire community suffers.

9/18/2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

My name is Elliott Fullmer and I am with the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based non-profit organization which advocates greater transparency in government. We believe that one way of achieving better responsiveness is through fostering citizen journalism. Therefore, in collaboration with the Center for Media and Democracy, we recently launched Congresspedia, a wiki-encyclopedia devoted entirely to covering Congress. The site receives 50,000 hits per day, and includes a page on each member of Congress (which can be edited by any citizen who registers and provides a source for their information).

For each member of Congress, we are currently inserting links to local blogs which cover that particular member. Through web directories, we have come across your blog. We would like to include a link to your blog (free advertising) on the page of each member that you have (or potentially could) cover on your site. If you could let us know which members (if any) you cover, we will insert a link to your blog on those pages in the very near future. Thank you and please contact me with any questions (efullmer@sunlightfoundation.com).

--Elliott Fullmer--

9/18/2006 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SBNP is on AP WIRE, additional -WORLD- burden of responsibilty as paper of record. Not just the usual 2sides in their local fuss. SBNP on AP wire could be mistaken as ethical and unbiased. I've seen this in general and personally, when someone reads something and thinks it represents community, including me. I'm glad when asked. But all the times it doesn't come up. I know people I've not heard from in years. As journalists I know they use AP. I want the SBNP ethics restored for the whole community. None of us know the further damage it will do. It could cause havoc in anyones life, even yours. I just heard SBNP TV PR, they are not serving the community now.

9/18/2006 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SBNP is on AP WIRE, additional -WORLD- burden of responsibilty as paper of record. Not just the usual 2sides in their local fuss. SBNP on AP wire could be mistaken as ethical and unbiased. I've seen this in general and personally, when someone reads something and thinks it represents community, including me. I'm glad when asked. But all the times it doesn't come up. I know people I've not heard from in years. As journalists I know they use AP. I want the SBNP ethics restored for the whole community. None of us know the further damage it will do. It could cause havoc in anyones life, even yours. I just heard SBNP TV PR, they are not serving the community now.

9/18/2006 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

There would never be enough police officers to prevent random murders in a country that worships the individual right to own firearms. Had the number of officers available been able to respond to the strip club faster, maybe the hapless fellow would not have died. But such a different outcome would have been dependent upon the club operators calling the police timely; which is not a likely scenario.

With regard to prevention of traffic accidents, such a mission can be accomplished by throwing money and police officers into traffic enforcement. There is effectively no speed limit on either the freeway or the surface streets in Santa Barbara. People go as fast as they want without consequence. Without enforcement, there is no compliance. However, the solution to this problem is more connected to additional numbers of police officers, additional radar equipped units, and additional traffic enforcement shifts. If the police seriously stalk the speeders in this town with expensive tickets, everyone would slow down. The salary connection to this solution is tenuous at best.

All that said, I believe that the police should probably get decent raises. Whether or not it's 28% is something for the negotiators to negotiate.

9/18/2006 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:41 I agree there's not much new. In current slow train wreck happening I do focus on SBNP. McGrew is a sideshow here, from my pov only, I saw his statement as obvious to people I know in SB, nothing to do with what side of any issue. I think he's a smart man(?ing) I don't know he would have talked in the same manner to another newspaper, I could be wrong because I don't know that much about him. It struck me as he felt safe to talk as he did and it was directed to an out of touch audience and political types that will use anything to manipulate their pet project, more the latter because this isn't an ignorant community. None of this is new, it's more that they are so transparent. I know not to expect SBNP reporters to be old school ethical, professional, their only gift is a jewel of an article for Jr High polysci class, current events. Of course, newspapers and police crawl in bed together. They don't always make it so manifest. I'm ok with everyone doing their shtick other places and that should sometimes be discerned. A SBNP/SBPD that is this free and public to flaunt illicit union is not good and needs public examination. It smells.

9/18/2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Goleta Girl said...

Measure D is about improving transportation, including more and better bikeways so kids can ride to school quicker and safer. And, a local kid died because he was hit by a truck in a bikeway that was not so safe. So how are politicos who support Measure D NOT going to make that connection and actually talk about it, when Measure D would make bikeways safer.

The politicking with the tragic kid death and the ballot measure is a 1 out of 10 so far. The politicking by the Santa Barbara police union about local crime and non-murders is so far an 8 out of 10, in recognition that they can get far pandering and sleazier.

9/18/2006 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite what the headline said, there doesn't appear to be anyone — the "some"? — who believe this other than the woman who wrote the e-mail quoted in the article.

In fact, the rest of the story seemed to suggest that pay, or even officer numbers, wouldn't have mattered in these or any other crimes...

9/18/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think police are just as important as school teachers, and should get paid the same as school teachers.

9/18/2006 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Measure D would not have saved that kid. That area is a danger and has been for a long time. It took a death to bring attention to it. The City is partly to blame for not doing its job in the first place!

9/18/2006 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a nice website on police salary...

Salary Wizard

Median salary for Santa Barbara... $50,557.

Compare that to Oakland... $53,392.

Why Oakland? Well, they are having a terrible murder year up there, see S.F. Chronicle Article on Oakland's murder problems this year.

Perhaps we can thank our lower salaries here in SB for the lower murder rate than that in Oakland...

BTW, Ventura median salary is $50,869. Lompoc... $49,880. Santa Maria... $49,880. Los Angeles... $52,301. Long Beach.... $51,855. Monterey... $50,589. Orange County... $50,935. San Diego... $49,346. Santa Cruz... $50,970. San Jose... $55,098.

A 28% pay raise would take Santa Barbara up to $64,713, easily the highest paid among all the cities above. This is on top of the changes in the last few years that reduced the age of full retirement from 55 years to 50 years, and allowed full cost of living increases in pensions. Most of us are getting our pensions cut.

I'd give the SB Police 4% a year for 3 years... $52,579 next year, $54,682 year after that, and finally $56,870.

That's a bigger raise than I ever get.

9/18/2006 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it got down to what it's all about? That is the 9/18/06 FRONT PAGE prime real estate article: "For some, recent deaths point to issue of police pay" . For me, I thought I was going to read something that made sense, at least a report. The SBNP must know people don't always read everyword. Sometimes it's just the 1st page of an article, the 1st page can make an impression. Kogan is not a good writer, I couldn't get through 1st few paragraphs without wondering, what? "For some" is flaky for where it is placed, "some" sounds like more than one person. It turns out to be one opinion of a person saying "two murders", I only know of one murder. Sgt McGrew gets in the mix, now I think there will be news, no, he takes it even lower, still I wonder, who's the 2nd murder and why isn't McGrew getting to news? I read the entire piece because I wanted to see what was the point? It was a waste of time Basically, I know when I feel tricked. All they needed to say would fit in yesterdays fire article, city offers 19.3% over 3 yrs, union, union says it won't accept less than 26%. I've read foxnews in this style of writing. It's shameful and contributes to BIG LIES. I've read about lack of fact checks and read other inferior writing. This went over the top. People don't have to say let's fool people, as in conspiracy, to demonstrate a silent collusion. If police have legitiment claim they don't need to stoop so low. McGrew owes the community an apology for associating with scurrilous people and institutions. He won't get my vote now. Citizens need to continue to speak up on all these incidents. I thought alot more of SgtMcGrew before this sham.

9/18/2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people say the police should get a small raise. Other people think they deserve a big raise.

Dan Secord must think they are overpaid since he voted against paying them what they are making now.

Think about how morale would be if the city council had agreed with him. They already work in a building where closets substitute for office space!

9/19/2006 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Measure D help????? Please, give me a break. Measure D is a total boondoggle. Most of the money is going to Ventura County for a light rail system. Not to mention the questionable accounting methods inserted into that junk piece of legislation.

I agree with Mike Pinto(not), but only after he straps on his six-shooter and starts handling calls. Oh, that's right in the world according to Pinto, he wouldn't need that ol' six-shooter, so he can just out unarmed like the Bobbies. Oh wait a minute, they are rapidly arming themselves due to armed violent attacks, well, never mind. He can just go out unarmed anyway. Then he can try to arrest, that gangster who just killed someone while high on who-knows what and said he'd die rather than go back to prison, and means it. But, I guess in the world according to Pinto those kinds of things never happen.

Me, I'd rather call 911 and let someone else do that job. I nothing but total respect for them because I know (or at least think I do) what they put with and what they do, and believe they deserve better treatment and more respect than an internet commando like Pinto does.

9/19/2006 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE CITY OFFERED POLICE 19.3% OVER 3 YEARS. POLICE UNION WANTS 28%, OR BOTTOM LINE 26%. THIS IS FROM SBNP 9-18-06 VLADIMIR KOGAN. You might need interpreter to read this baffling article. If anyone feels tricked or deceived by this style of writing and SBPD engaging in this apparent sham. PLEASE, write to all local concerns and especially news media nationally. This BS is on AP wire, represents this community. The people who like this style do get their pov heard and they write LETTERS. As you can see from Kogan article. Get a copy, use it as example of current events, students can learn from this.

9/19/2006 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU 9:10PM.

9/19/2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

"Most of the money is going to Ventura County for a light rail system." Nice try Greg Gangrud...

That's totally incorrect. Measure D would raise approx. $1.7 BILLION and allow our county to qualify for another $500 million. Of that, only a couple hundred million will go toward a PILOT communter rail program. If the full program isn't funded by federal or state funds that money gets put back into the local coffers for other local projects.

It's interesting that Greg and others are so down on Measure D and the commuter rail idea. People need to know that this is for the next 30 years so what apprears not be needed today will certainly be needed in the future. Shouldn't we PLAN for the future rather than let it creep up on us like it so often does around here.

Regarding the SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS and BIK LANE programs that will be funded by Measure D, here's an interesting reality to the no-sayers:

A bicyclist was killed a few years ago on North Jameson Lane in Montecito and Measure D enabled the County to widen the roadway to accomodate bike lanes. Please stop saying that Measure D has not done any good in improving our local transportation, and that the new Measure D would not do any good in expanding the ability to improve our transportation system.

9/19/2006 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...
If you treat people with respect crime will go down. If you spread the wealth around there will be less crime.Crime is created by the haves taking from the have nots.It is only natural that resentment would seep in.When was the last time homeless people or non native working americans got a 28% pay increase. I don't own a firearm nor do I lock my doors at night. If someone needs to take something from me they need it more than I do.Crime hysteria is created by the police and not the people.

9/19/2006 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

So Mike Pinto, are drug dealers who shoot each other, and innocent poor people who happen to get in the line of fire, haves or have-nots? They certainly have more money than I do. Are rapists and child molesters just hapless have-nots, and if so what exactly did the haves take from them and what are they trying to regain by sexually molesting people? What about men who beat their wives? Are domestic abusers just misunderstood have-nots trying to regain some righfully owned property from there thieving wives?

Once again, your doctrinaire Marxism has clouded your vision of reality. I would agree that many if not most economic and property crimes are caused by social injustice and economic disparity. But there are some sick and evil jerks out there who pray on the weak; and those jerks need to be sought out, arrested, tried in court, and put away in a place where they can no longer harm people.

9/19/2006 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny - we let people die, then tax them to fix problems created by the City and County.

NO - I don't want to give them more money. They have done a very poor job.

The last time we voted yes on Measure D they promised to fix all of this.

What did we get? A congested 101 to the south, and crumbling roads.

The North County gets it. If anything, all future Measure D funds should go north.

9/19/2006 6:31 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Why not start a separate subject for Measure D, so Gandrud and pals can seethe there and no one has to bother reading it.

The subject here is about the Santa Barbara Police Union negotiations.

9/19/2006 8:23 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Can we all agree on that whichever comparison cities the city council uses to decide salary compensation - should be the same cities for ALL bargaining units within city employment.

If the City Administrator uses (for example only) Simi Valley, Ventura, San Jose, Thousand Oaks, for his salary - then ALL OTHER UNITS get to use the same cities.

This is what the PD wants to do, use the same cities that the administrative level in city government use. The city however, always uses lower paid cities for comparision level so they can stiff the employees.

I'm not seeing the city being very fair or above board on this issue....dd

9/19/2006 9:53 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

For Rezon(e)

Why shouldn't the county expend Measure D funds to the North County - where many of our workers commute from? A light rail system from Lompoc and Santa Maria would go a long way to relieve congestion on 101.

I have not read in the Star where Ventura County is offering to pony up $$$$ for the Santa Barbara line - and that's why many folks are opposed to the plan! dd

9/19/2006 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give all the funds to North County, where they are better spent.

9/20/2006 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"THE CITY OFFERED POLICE 19.3% OVER 3 YEARS. POLICE UNION WANTS 28%, OR BOTTOM LINE 26%. THIS IS FROM SBNP 9-18-06 VLADIMIR KOGAN. You might need interpreter to read this baffling article. If anyone feels tricked or deceived by this style of writing and SBPD engaging in this apparent sham. PLEASE, write to all local concerns and especially news media nationally. This BS is on AP wire, represents this community. The people who like this style do get their pov heard and they write LETTERS. As you can see from Kogan article. Get a copy, use it as example of current events, students can learn from this." ????

9/20/2006 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with dd, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

9/20/2006 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad that Marty is responding to her constituents regarding pelicans on the wharf. Anyone who is dealing with something more serious is already talking to another Councilmember. I think Mayor Blum and the pelican crowd are a match made in heaven.

9/20/2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:44pm Did you ever meet a pelican you didn't like? This might be Marty's way to make nice with animal activist Wendy. "THE CITY OFFERED POLICE 19.3% OVER 3 YEARS. POLICE UNION WANTS 28%, OR BOTTOM LINE 26%. THIS IS FROM SBNP 9-18-06 VLADIMIR KOGAN."

9/20/2006 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To NUMBERS PEOPLE, Who pays for the police taking their salary dispute to the people? What is the approximate amount of money for almost 7% difference (19.3%/26% say 5-10 yrs)that the police want? Most of the people I know are sick of the politics. Vladimir Kogan and Sgt McGrew didn't help the police side. Most people want police to have their just due. But not to get it through corruption. If things don't make more sense, many people will know to vote opposite of N-P. No need to waste money for vote. Will there be another post on this?

9/20/2006 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

8:44 and 10:21:
Fwiw, Marty did not reply to the letter about the pelicans on Stearn Wharf - and what to do to set up a program so that the problems of this summer do not repeat next year.

Those problems included a large number of pelicans begging for food, getting hooked, being dragged across the wharf by hooks embedded in the pouches or wings, etc. by tourists AND locals, intent on preserving their bait or junk-fish catch.

Results were many injured birds, sometimes having to be euthanized - and problems for fishermen, tourists, visitors (often horrified by the cruelty they saw), volunteers at the SBWCN having to deal with the calls and trying to save the birds ... and the birds themselves) and a few others who simply didn't give a damn, setting outrageous examples of cruelty. On the city pier and, much less so, around the waterfront generally.

But back to Marty's mail: she did not respond to the letter --- there was no need for her to respond to a cc to the Waterfront Department that, in fact, did respond. Again, no need for her to respond, but for her just to be aware of the situation, which in fact was developing again with the return for the fall of the pelicans AND to begin thinking about what can be done in the future.

I think there were no more than 3 or 4 e-mails at this time in case anyone was wondering or concerned. Folks who don't care about the wildlife needn't worry that time was being "wasted" by the Mayor on birds, although this — in fact — is a people problem as much as a wildlife problem....

9/21/2006 6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's why Stearns Wharf should be closed to people.

9/21/2006 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Betsy!

9/21/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the raise mean in terms of pension costs? does anyone have a idea for that figure? I would appreciate knowing.

9/21/2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if the police could get a raise, they'd pay more attention to animal cruelty problems such as those at Stearns Wharf?

Cruelty to people starts in childhood with the first signs being cruelty to animals. Some of the stuff this summer: there are some very sick people out there - and some very ignorant ones, too. Paper signs tacked on logs are not enough.

And harming the birds, including by feeding them, is against the law, against city laws and against state and federal laws. All seabirds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; pelicans are protected under California and federal endangered species acts.

The city police delegates attention to these matters to other agencies. They do go out on Stearns Wharf if there is a people on people problem; if they get a raise (or even if they don't) they should pay more attention to other violations of city laws that take place there on city property.

The city collects sizeable rents from the businesses on the Wharf, in effect a public street with city parking fees. The City and police have a responsibility that should not be delegated completely to the very busy, especially in the summer, Waterfront Department.

9/22/2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would go up too. Give it to them.

9/22/2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe pension costs, now that retirement at 50 is possible and there are pension COLAS, add around 50% to the base salary. So a $50,000 salary carries with it a $25,000 contribution to the pension fund, and probably another $13,000 or so for health care. A 10% salary raise would then imply $5,000 more in salary and another $2,500 more in pension contribution. Health Care costs are rising quickly due to other causes.

9/22/2006 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"9/21/2006 10:46Pm What does the raise mean in terms of pension costs? does anyone have a idea for that figure?I would appreciate knowing." GOOD QUESTION. I would appreciate knowing.
"9/20/2006 11:44 PM To NUMBERS PEOPLE, Who pays for the police taking their salary dispute to the people? What is the approximate amount of money for almost 7% difference (19.3%/26% say 5-10 yrs)that the police want? Most of the people I know are sick of the politics. Vladimir Kogan and Sgt McGrew didn't help the police side. Most people want police to have their just due. But not to get it through corruption. If things don't make more sense, many people will know to vote opposite of N-P. No need to waste money for vote. Will there be another post on this?"

9/22/2006 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think they are asking for enough. The City should also look into providing housing for the Police and Fire personnel.

9/22/2006 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:10a What do you base thougths/opinions on? You sound like the Foxnews colunmist. NO ON NEWSPRESS/FOXNEWS OPINIONS.

9/23/2006 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the city put out the exact figures of what the police are getting paid now, all the levels, what the overtime rates are - and how many collect, etc. Probably the easiest way would be to list each police officer (anonymously, certainly) and what he or she gets as take home pay - plus whatever is taken out. Put it out as a paid ad in the NP or elsewhere so we can know what's involved. There should also be a collumn for the additional stuff, value of health insurance, what the pension contribution, etc. etc. are.

I, for one, would like some specifics. Others then can compare with other similarly sized cities.

9/23/2006 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Police and newspress do look like they are in collusion to get people to vote for opinion "news". Foxnews & newspress. Where are the facts?

9/23/2006 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a salary of $100K would be well worth the money!

9/25/2006 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Housing for the police is a great idea. They could build condos in the empty lower State Street area.

9/27/2006 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of how you stand on the Police pay/retention/safety issue, this Council and this Mayor are the most singularly unqualified people to solve a complex problem like this I have ever seen. Is this the worst Council in decades? Can I get an amen? The junior high level infighting is embarassing in a city with Santa Barbara's international reputation. The constant jockeying for the next spot up the ladder and the incessant backbiting brings to mind state and national politics and that my friends is a very bad thing. How can you, as an elected official, concievably talk about the impeachment of the President ( justified or not) as an order of business when you cannot even reach agreement on the security of your own city? You got your big raise, step up the performnace. Stop acting like clowns.

Sal Si Puedes

9/27/2006 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara,

How about a thread on this Council's performance? I agree with Sal, worst of all time. Let's see what else is out there. Are there people out there who believe that this is an effective group? Are the problems of the City growing because of an ineffectual Council and Mayor? Are we missing a great performance behind the scenes or is it really as childish as it appears? It would be interesting to see what people have to say. Many thanks for your blogging efforts.

9/28/2006 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me make a few points regarding the issue of police pay. I am one of THOSE terrible police officers that have been rediculed as greedy recently so I can speak with some knowledge.

The POA has always had a position that it would not engage in issues that are the responsibility of the Chief and the City Administrator. However, this contract is different. This isn't an issue of cops wanting a fair wage, its an issue of wanting to keep the officers we have.

Over the past several years law enforcement has suffered a hiring problem. Fewer people want to be police officers. Our recruitment is much more difficult. When I was hired there were 300 applicants for 5 positions. Today there are fewer than 80 for as many as 10 positions. Background, physical and psych exams exclude most of them so we no longer have a lot to get. We might get one.

Consequently, cities have chosen to pay their officers a hirer wage to retain them. This then encourages very marketable officers from agencies such as ours to leave. They already have many reasons to leave, commuting, housing prices, etc.. When a city such as Santa Barbara gives them every reason to leave, they will.

This has caused the POA to try to make council understand that we a suffering from an exodus of experienced officers. The Chief doesn't do it, the City Administrator enjoys it because he thinks its cheaper.


When an officer with 5-15 years experience leaves for another agency we have lost a wealth of experience.

The reason a significant raise makes sense can be found in other careers. When there are few chemical engineers coming from college those that are left are marketable and will find the best opportunity for their families. There is nothing differnt in the Santa Barbara Police.

Santa Barabara enjoys a culture that is known by the entire world. It cannot have both a safe community and a healthy tourism trade without a quality and well maintained police department.

What will happen is that the City will force us to accept this contract. Under normal circumstances this contract is fine. But it will not stem the flow of officers who are fed up with a City that wants its cake and eat it too. This City will earn what it gets because its elected officials just don't see the conection.

I am not leaving, which means I get a a much more dangerous and difficult job to perform because of their ignorance.

12/03/2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted an another comment to my previos post on the issue of crime.

Many people have said that the raise would not have prevented Jake Boycel from being killed because a cop would not have been there. This in very simple terms is true, a cop would not have been there then.

However, one of the reasons for that collision was the driver was not looking for a cyclist. He appears to have been on his morning mental cruise control to work. We have no traffic cops except for one. One of the benefits of Jim Armstrong's slash and burn policies. If the driver saw a cop somewhere on his way to work every day, what do you think he would have been doing that day. Looking for a cop. At least in the back of his mind. Instead that man hasn't seen a traffic cop on his way to work for months and therefore never had a reason to look for anything. If he had been looking for a cop he might have seen that bike. It's the behavior modification that a well staffed and well trained police force brings to a city.

Likewise, a girl was driving drunk during Fiesta and killed her passenger when she crossed over the line on the 154 in Santa Barbara. That girl was a heavy drinker and probably drove drunk on many other occasions. If she was arrested a month earlier by a fully staffed DUI team or a passing beat cop would she have been driving that night?

The person in the Rhino died because of a bad heart. However, if a fully staffed police shift had officers to respond earlier would it have saved his life?

These are the intangibles that a City has to look at when it decides what kind of police force it needs.

The reason officers have no time for these opportunities to prevent a future tragedy is because they are running from call to call on a minimally staffed shift.

Unfortunately, for the family of crime victims, these are not intangible anymore.

You get what you pay for.

12/03/2006 5:51 PM  

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