Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Police Officers, Union Endorsements and Uniforms

There was some question yesterday in our comments section as to whether or not Santa Barbara police officers were wearing uniforms at Council Member Iya Falcone's press conference announcing police union support. It would certainly be unethical if any of them did.

I wasn't there, reviewed the tape from Channel 3 news and can't tell. What often happens in these situations is that the union member will not wear the City of Santa Barbara patch on their shoulder and even their badge on their chest might be specially designed as a "SBPOA" badge rather than an official City of Santa Barbara version. I have a feeling this was at least happening in the front of the group that were camera facing. Indeed, it would be hard to tell the difference from afar or on camera.

If anyone was there, has a picture to prove otherwise, etc -- please bring it forward. Otherwise, I would assume that SBPOA President Mike McGrew is smart enough after all these years to have his members either not wear a uniform or wear something a bit less than an official one.

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Anonymous Even gave it its own Posting??? said...

wow, "Sara", you of all people should know this did not happen. I saw the video and photos and clearly these VERY experienced POA leaders were doing what they've done for years---NOT wearing their City or County seal.

By playing into the anti-Iya crowd by giving this any play at all, you are just part and parcel of the tar-and-feather crowd just waiting to pounce on---or manufacture as in this case---anything to try to undermine her support.

3/10/2009 7:12 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

You clearly did not read my post...I am also not interested in tar and feathering anyone. It is a great accomplishment for Council Member Falcone to get such early support from law enforcement.

What is so is that there were a few comments yesterday about this and I thought it important to point out that it likely did not happen.

3/10/2009 7:31 AM  
Blogger Not a Fan said...

So if a few posts insinuate that she beats up her dogs will you post a thread about there being a question of whether or not she abuses animals? So you can later say you think that is also unlikely?

Lets stop with the insinuations. Edhat has posted a link that makes it appear that blogabarbara has some kind of a scoop on the POA wearing there uniforms. This is how rumor turns to "news" in the internet world Sara - you should know better...

3/10/2009 8:13 AM  
Anonymous same as it ever was...... said...


Appreciate the sentiments but long time readers of your blog remember the vitriol of its inception, especially in regards to Falcone. Do you think Helene or Cushman would have had big objections to the image of cops and firefighters around them? I think not. Some of us remember Marty's push to drive Iya out last time, I don't care how much she denies it. The blogger world has a lot of new players, it won't go unanswered this time.

3/10/2009 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Union support is not law and order support said...

Getting support from law enforcement unions merely to gain an advantage in bargaining their next public employee salaries and benefits is not impressive. It is a total sell out and dare I say, a cop-out.

Stop making it sound like more than it is - a total purchase of a mayor by greedy self-interest employee groups. Law and order support is totally different from this power grabbing city employee endorsement.

Voters are no longer dumb enough to not see past this. There could be nothing worse for the Falcone campaign than this wholesale, self-interest sell out. It is not going to work. We know better this time.

You don't sell out and pander to the very same people who come to you later demanding more money, more benefits, more days off and more job security all paid for by more tax dollars. Get it?

Did you hear these people offer anything in return or more just business as usual when they come to the bargaining table? Nope, just more demands on their part and no accountability for services on ours through out elected representatives.

It is time to elect representatives that make law and order a priority first, and demand job performance to show they are doing something about this before they get paid more for less work.

3/10/2009 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Your local news source - The SB News Press said...

Take a look at the front page of the Tuesday NewsPress and see the lineup behind Iya Falcone. One gentleman is wearing a fashion-forward, crisply pressed, all navy shirt, pants, tie and what suspiciously looks like a "badge" and name tag on his chest.

Golly, gosh, gee you mean to tell us this is not a real public employee uniform but just a Ken Doll play one? I never would have known this without your investigative journalistic zeal to expose this wannabe cop fraud.

Sure, the other duffers behind her are wearing their fashion-foward versions of union steward lackie duds, but shucks, that one guy in the crisp pleated twill sure looks for all the world like some guy on duty.

Maybe with enough box tops he got to send away for his Rusty Ranger badge and decoder ring and had a splendid opportunity to show it off this fine day at the Iya Falcone press conference.

Or maybe he was just on duty doing crowd control, or one of Iya's hired security people. Let's hope we can get to the bottom of this.

3/10/2009 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Bad Journalism said...

"There was some question yesterday in our comments section as to whether or not Sara De La Gurra was caught shoplifting at Macy's. It would certainly be unethical if she did."

3/10/2009 11:50 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

The mayoral campaign has certainly I don't think shoplifting examples, etc. are the same as many people are not likely to know how uniforms are not worn at events like this even though they may appear to be real. My post was before the NP came out and frankly -- I don't bother to look for it any longer.

Again, I don't begrudge Falcone for getting law enforcement support -- but if there was question as to whether SBPOA members were wearing uniforms or not, the questions should be put to rest.

So, I wasn't insinuating anything -- and EdHat is not responsible for what was written, I would be. I'm not clear why the defensiveness is so heavy here -- it's like I uncovered a secret that everyone knew about but did not want to admit.

Again -- kudos to Falcone and, as I mentioned in my post, the SBPOA is unlikely to do such a thing. The perception was there, however, and I felt it needed to be addressed.

3/10/2009 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Thin blue line said...

Umm, so who was that guy in the fake cop outfit with the name tag, shiney badge and all navy blue "outfit"?

Helene is tagged with the Blue Line and Iya is now tagged with the fake blue line officer. Cushman, what can you do to keep us from feeling more blue?

3/10/2009 5:51 PM  
Blogger Not a Fan said...

Hey Sara if you want to maintain the appearance of fairness, why not post something about Helene's campaign statement on unions, as reported in today's Daily Sound by Josh Molina?

3/10/2009 8:56 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Please reference your comments. The article in question is at

The quote seems to be a true statement and means as much to the SBPOA as any other union:

“Especially in this economy, it is imperative for candidates to have a broad base of large and small donors committed to their election,” Lindaman said. “Those that do not have this type of communitywide support become beholden to narrow interest groups such as unions, which are unaffected by the economic downturn because they simply collect union dues regardless of economic conditions.”

3/11/2009 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Union support is not "impressive" said...

I would sure rather see a candidate have to go out and earn votes rather than see them bought by special interest money.

Helene is right on this one and more power to her. Iya will see a huge backlash for this "impressive" public employee union support.

3/11/2009 10:24 AM  
Anonymous The thin blue line is drawn said...

A law and order candidate puts the safety of the residents first. A union candidate puts getting elected first.

It is time for a clean sweep in our police department. Not more of the same. And that starts at the top of the food chain - the city council.

3/11/2009 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Dem Dilemma Done said...

As a registered Democrat, it was going to be hard picking between Helene and Iya. No more. Helene has my vote.

3/11/2009 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Shoreline Shark said...

The desperate anger of the Falcone crowd in this thread is funny.

If someone dressed up in a fake cop uniform to create a misleading photo op for the voters, we have a right to know. If it bothers you that we're talking about it, maybe you shouldn't have done it in the first place.

3/11/2009 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Blah, blah, blah said...

Helene competed hard for the public safety endorsement. Got the POA in 2007. Fire sat out. Got both of them in 2004. Didn't get either this year. But now they are evil union bosses? Or even Republicans!!!! Boogah, boogah, boogah!!! You know I think there might be a photo or two with Helene and those horrible fake uniforms still around. Must have been okay back in the day. What a bunch of baloney. No cigar Jeremy.

3/11/2009 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Helene you know better... said...

Maybe it's time for Helene to put an end to the smear campaign accusing SB cops of violating legal or ethical rules----come on Helene, you know the truth---I mean, we posed with YOU when we endorsed you, stop the nasty whisper campaign.

3/11/2009 9:24 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I don't see this as some kind of whisper campaign -- I heard Republicans talking about it yesterday! It's not an ethical violation and I certainly did not say that -- it can be considered misleading and people should know how it happens.

3/12/2009 7:38 AM  
Anonymous sweet and sour grapes said...

This endorsement tactic has been used for years in elections and is not illegal; it's only decried as unethical by the candidate (and supporters) not receiving the endorsemnt. One candidate's wine is another's sour grapes...

3/13/2009 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Lift that badge said...

The issue here was not whether a candidate lets him or herself get bought by public employee "association" endorsements - this is a risk each candidate chooses to expose themselves to, because this will backfire more than help in upcoming this election as taxpayers start to push back on public employee greed.

But the issue on point is having a public employee endorser show up in his official uniform and doing this endorsement. That is the real issue. See above. That is greed and abuse of office all together.

There is nothing about this criticism that is a campaign "tactic". It goes much wider than that and the person in question in the uniform needs to be identified investigated for possible abuse of office.

3/13/2009 9:25 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Lift That Badge -- I don't know how much clearer I can get. It was a fake uniform and that is the issue - -to say anything else if you have been reading these posts is hyberbole designed to promote another candidate. Please stay away from that!

The issue is whether it is misleading to wear a fake uniform and not be up front about it.

3/13/2009 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Don't vote the union label said...

It is very misleading to intentionally wear a fake uniform and stand directly behind a candidate at a press conference. Insulting.

It is enlightening to have public employee "associations" wearing team garb standing directly behind a candidate at a press conference.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

3/14/2009 11:37 AM  

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