Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One For The Books (UPDATED)

Monday, June 20, 2011, will go down in the annals of Costa Mesa government as one of the most bizarre and contentious days in city history - a date not soon to be forgotten. It was on this date that Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley - a highly respected member of the law enforcement community with more than four decades of experience under his belt - stormed off into the sunset, lobbing a hand grenade back over his shoulder as he left in the form of a four-page letter to the troops outlining his reasons for the abrupt departure. That memo, published first on this blog, HERE, has gone viral and has been reproduced and addressed in most local and regional media outlets.

It was a day when - according to some reports - mild-mannered Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch interrupted a press interview Staveley was giving and immediately ordered him to leave the premises. Later in the day a press release was issued by Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell quoting Hatch, HERE, and refuting much of what Staveley had to say in his memo to the troops. There are many in our town that believe few of the words in that press release are actually Hatch's.

And, in an interesting bit of timing, following the release of that press release I received a telephone call from Lobdell, asking me to send him a copy of Staveley's letter. It seems they didn't have a copy. One can only assume that they generated their scathing press release without the benefit of seeing Staveley's words first-hand. I don't know if they used my transcription of the memo - which was verbatim and left out only the Chief's telephone number and email address - as the basis for their diatribe, or not. One might suppose so. If they were expecting to find that my transcription was different from the original, they were surprised when I sent it to them. Funny - you'd have thought they might have asked for the memo BEFORE they jumped off the end of the pier with their press release. But then, that's the way things have been happening at City Hall the past few months - doing things backwards.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 2:20 p.m. - I've heard from Bill Lobdell this afternoon about my characterization of the events that led him to ask me for a copy of Staveley's memo AFTER he issued the press release. Apparently they, he and Hatch, had a copy of it, but Hatch had departed with it and Lobdell was still being inundated by telephone calls and needed to refer to it.. so he asked me for a copy. See what happens when you ASS-U-ME things? Good thing I'm not a reporter, huh? I jumped off the pier without a life jacket... bad form and I apologize for mischaracterizing Lobdell's intent. I'll try to do better...


One of the curious parts of Hatch's press release was the fact that he already had a new Interim Chief of Police ready to start to work almost before Staveley's do
or closed behind him Monday afternoon. Dennis Kies, former chief of police in La Habra, will take over until a new, hopefully-permanent, chief is selected and starts to work. I've heard mid-August as a possible start date. That seems optimistic, but we'll see.

The event
s of Monday are the culmination of events leading up to the consideration of the 2011-2012 budget Tuesday evening. Within the past few days commentaries from retired Costa Mesa Police Lieutenant Clay Epperson appeared in the Daily Pilot. You can read that HERE. That was followed-up with a rebuttal by Planning Commission Chairman and President of the Costa Mesa Taxpayer's Association, Colin McCarthy in the same publication, HERE. McCarthy and his group are simply the vocal front organization for the Orange County GOP in its efforts to turn Costa Mesa into the tip of the lance in pension reform nationwide. He has been the main purveyor of fabricated "facts" since the inception of the group, A practice he perpetuates with his most recent drivel.


McCarthy flat-out lies in this piece of garbage when he says the
following: "Costa Mesa is not dismantling the helicopter program." There may be no bigger, blatant lie uttered by a Costa Mesa official in decades! In fact, the ABLE helicopter program is breathing fumes and WILL BE DISMANTLED as of June 30th. His buddy and puppet master, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer - who was all over local television again Monday night, waving Staveley's memo around and expressing disbelief that he wrote it - acknowledged as much when he rejected his buddy, Steve Mensinger's request to extend ABLE through the July 4th holiday weekend at a recent council meeting. I won't attempt to quantify all the fabrications in McCarthy's commentary. Suffice it to say that every time he gets that Cheshire Cat grin on his face he's about to lie through his teeth. Consider yourselves warned.

As if those presentations were not incendiary enough, Monday's correspondence by Staveley and Hatch have turned a crackling campfire of controversy into a roaring bonfire invective and reprisal. I wonder what impact all this rhetoric will have on the attempt to produce a balanced budget Tuesday evening? I expect the proceedings to play to a full house - probably an overflow crowd - and will very likely produce many 'motivated' speakers, eager to share their views with the council before they take their vote.

The council meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. in City Council chambers at City Hal
l. I'm thinking I wish I had the valet parking concession for this event.

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Anonymous Costa Bell City Council said...

The Bell Four aka Costa Mesa Four are crooks in suits.
"Unions exist for a reason – bc management abused the worker in the early 1900s & will again in many organizations without a defense system – the unions. Anyone in a leadership role who bashes unions & can’t find a way to do what they need to do and get the support of the folks you work with is" either a weak leader or lacks courage. Such persons should not be in a leadership position." Chief Staveley

6/21/2011 05:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Yahhh.... said...

Yes I'll remember this day for years to come and my grand children will tell their grandchildren stories about this day when an interim police chief left his temporary position.

Sounds pretty nutty doesn't it? He was temporary and apparently lacked the prowess to conduct himself in the position. I've already forgotten whats his face.

6/21/2011 07:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Rumors are already swirling that Jones/Mayer cut their ties with Staveley (he works for them) weeks ago and that Staveley was forced out because he sold-out to the union and will get a cush union job soon. Time will only tell.

Staveley demonstrated he has no class, burning every bridge he could. He's just one in a long line of disappointing police chiefs for our City. We all hope Tom Hatch makes a good decision on our next Chief, without political influence from anyone, including City Council.

6/21/2011 08:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Sayonara Sucker said...

Maybe Staveley's on cocaine?

6/21/2011 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Han Solo said...

It's great to see the Improver comment team out in full force!

Barry, speaking of rumors, I heard Staveley was tired of the non-elected CCM demanding certain cops be fired without cause.

6/21/2011 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Aldous Huxley once said...

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

6/21/2011 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Now the Riggy/Menssy puppets will paint Stavely as the bad guy.
It won't work.

6/21/2011 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill G. said...

With an untrustworthy individual at the helm of the police department, it's easy to see why the death of Huy Pham was never investigated. It's pretty obvious that our chief of police was working for the union, not the city or the taxpayers.

Considering Staveley's many short comings, his incompetence and his advanced age, he simply was not an acceptable chief of police. He was no better than the prior chief that had to be slid out the door. He did the taxpayers a great favor by resigning, and I thank him for doing so.

Tom Hatch, please resume at full speed. I like your style and your stamina. You are definitely a man's man. I honestly believe that you and this city council will get Costa Mesa's ship righted. You are taking not only the right course, but the ONLY course.

6/21/2011 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger valan2 said...

It's amazing how people can see only their own "truth" in things. The Council-followers believe the Council lies and then berate Chief Staveley for being "rude" enough to point them out. Sure, his memo was unusual for someone in his position, but it illustrates the level of frustration and hopelessness created by the actions of this Council.

Certainly there are budget issues, but the extent of the "crisis" has been exaggerated to support the Council's political agenda, and the "solutions" have been engineered to further their goals, not to best serve the citizens of this once-great city.

6/21/2011 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous wholetthedogsout said...

sorry I am late on this, I got the marching orders to post an hour ago, got let out of my cage, and had my puppet strings attached by the idiots and vermin I hang out with but Better late than never:
Stavely is a jerk. Yep he got his fifteen minutes of fame with a bizarre exit letter. It definitely was a grenade as you say. No aim, just explode and fire off a bunch of false accusations and hope something hits. Much more entertaining than him just sitting around looking "pretty". Knew something was up when he was not objective in his comments about the cocaine in Phams system, actually making excuses instead of issuing a statesmanlike response. Good riddance.

6/21/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Liz Collins said...

Im so confused, first rigg's trolls get mad that police can retire earlier than the common officer worker and then they get mad that the police chief is still working when he could easily be sitting on a bench at the beach sipping a blended margarita with a pineapple wedge and designer sugar on the rim while enjoying the pretty picture before him.
So you don't want your officers young and you don't want police chief old and experienced? I'm sorry but Hutchins is not ever going to approve CCWs for gun toting trolls despite the council badge of your deity. Get a life and come back with a better argument trolls.

6/21/2011 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Original Max said...

Barry, a rumor from Righeimer has as much credibility as people that say the moon landing was fake. Righeimer is number one when it comes to fudging facts and figures. He's even worse than the unions. I expect unions to be a champion for their people. However, when you can't get a straight answer from an elected politician like Righeimer, then it's time for a recall. I'll take an honest politician from any party over Righeimer.

6/21/2011 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous LongTime Maggie said...

The "governance" of Costa Mesa now seems more like a dictatorship, especially with the majority councilmen trying to control the police department and tell them how to police. This is reminiscent of a military junta and it is scary.

6/21/2011 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Who's next? said...

Just like Roeder, Staveley quit when the going got tough. A real man would have done battle. Here's hoping our excellent police force gets someone who has their back.

6/21/2011 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Sick of it All said...

In other Pilot front page news, Mensinger wants to keep the on-campus cops, but use 'reserve officers.' Does his badge from Carona qualify him to patrol the campuses? Maybe all they guys who meet for coffee at Kean can do shifts, patrolling the parking lots in their 'Vettes, busting the kids outside smoking cloves... oh, wait, that's a 1983 flashback...

6/21/2011 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Car44whereRYou? said...

Where is the letter to the editor and commentary from former Chief Dave Snowden when his city and department needs it most?

6/21/2011 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Original Max said...

McCarthy must know that our helicopter program was canceled and that we will be using another city's helicopter. He's probably hoping no one will fact check him.

I'd love to see both McCarthy and Righeimer given a lie detector test. I'd love to see them answer a question like "Were you trying to make it appear the city was bankrupt just to get out of city contracts?".

Both of those guys have credibility problems and Costa Mesa citizens deserve the truth. An honest answer shouldn't be too much to ask for from our elected or appointed politicians.

6/21/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Steve Staveley, the puppet of organized labor. Why Hatch ever selected him as our Interim Chief is beyond me. What a BLUNDER!


This explains everything. He is such a JOKE!

6/21/2011 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Costa Bell said...

Whispers from far and wide...

Costa Bell... or Bell Costa...

Corruption on the 5th floor...

6/21/2011 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous embio said...

But he's got the endorsement of the Orange County Democratic Parky!

6/21/2011 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Snowden, Sr. said...

To: Car44whereareyou and other positive forces in Costa Mesa.
I'm around and read this stuff. My family lives and votes in Costa Mesa. I commented yesterday on this blog about how disappointed I am with the actions of the current City Council and their obvious lack of concern for the opinions of others during their decision making process.
Today I see that the "Improver" (same author by many different names)is now bashing Steve Staveley for his decision to leave the job. Too bad, as Chief Staveley is and always has been a class act and a great chief. I sat as a rater when he was selected as chief in La Habra. It was evident to me way back then that he was more than a cut above and had the potential to become one of the best. He did.
Steve left the interim job for what I consider to be very good reasons. He refused to be part of what he considered to be very poor city council leadership. The council refused to consider his very wise advice on staffing and they clearly overstepped their bounds by meddling in the management of his department. No chief worth their salt would allow anyone save the City Manager to give him orders on how to manage his department. Allan Roeder NEVER "ordered" me to do anything. He never had to. We discussed many options over the years for the department. Sometimes he gave direction on matters when he disagreed with my opinion and I followed his dierction, but he always listened and he never did anything that infringed upon my duty to manage my department. Allan was a great City Manager who knew his role and that of the various department heads in city government. He set the parameters for us and allowed each department head to manage while holding them accountable for the results.
It seems that those days are gone. The new CEO is acting now more like a City Administrator than a City Manager. With time and a better City Council things could improve. I hear Tom is a good man and I hope things will change for the better as he gains confidence.
Steve Staveley is a very honest and ethical professional. His resignation has brought much needed attention to a very grave situation in Costa Mesa. All the negative comments on this blog which seem to be trying to vilify him only validate what he said in his letter about the negative forces controlling the direction of city .
Hopefully, the CEO will have enough sense to choose a seasoned and qualified professional as the next permanent chief and not just a political hack that can be controlled by the powers that be.
Coincidentally, Chief Dennis Kies is a close friend of mine too. I promoted him to sergeant when he worked for me at a previous department and I sat on his interview panel in La Habra when he was selected as Chief. Dennis is one of the first people I called and attempted to recruit to replace me when I left Costa Mesa. His reason for not applying back then is commendable and shows the type of person he is. He delcined because the City of La Habra gave him his first chance to become a chief. He said he owed it to them to stay.
He too will do a great job for Costa Mesa until a qualified replacement is selected.
I thank Chief Staveley for caring so much for those at CMPD. They are always close to my heart too. I commend him for being the consumate professional and a credit to out profession.
I know the "Improver" will tear this apart too, but that's ok. I always consider the source and draw energy from his venom.

6/21/2011 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Ptred said...

Wow! I just read Colin's article. There are so many lies i'm shocked the newspaper printed it, wait it was the Daily Pilot so I'm not surprised. I guess he really is Riggy's puppy. This guy needs to be thrown out of our city before he does any more damage.

6/21/2011 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous bin said...

It's great to hear that several CM cops have been hired elsewhere in light of the current conditions in this once fine city.

The sad news is we have lost several good officers in our own backyard.

6/21/2011 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Sick of it All said...

So when the layoffs go through and the city gets hit with the $300 million pension liability or whatever, these guys are going to say, 'See, we told you there was a deficit.' It's what they don't tell the sheep (we caused it but are blaming those evil union memebers) that worries me.

6/21/2011 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

Having grown up in a law enforcement family, you should know that I am one person in Costa Mesa who had your number from the gitgo "Mr." Snowden. You were no better than Staveley and I was truly glad to see you go.

The only person Dave Snowden was ever concerned about was himself, and his hobbies! Good riddance to you too.

6/21/2011 04:56:00 PM  
Anonymous CharacterMatters said...

Diane. You may have "grown up" in a law enforcement family but that doesn't mean you know what your talking about or have a clue about managing a law enforcement agency. Both Chiefs Snowden and Staveley have exceptional departmental management skills, police skills and methods knowledge, and yes ... impeccable character and honesty. Oh yes, they also cared about the people and community they served and their officers and families. They have long successful law enforcement careers.

6/22/2011 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Diane said...

I watch T, I know all about law enforcement.

6/22/2011 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Diane said...

Well, I tried to date a cop once and he did not even give me the time of day!!!!!!!

6/22/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous frogger said...

Snowden & Staveley…Two of the best Chiefs I have worked for. Many city councils would love to have one of these Chiefs directing their PD, yet our council (with no law enforcement experience) would like to run it themselves.

6/22/2011 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

Well members of MY family were NEVER promoted!


6/22/2011 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Bring back a chief like Hensly so we can pick on him and take the heat off of our great city council. I hear little adolph is looking for a job. He could be Mensinger's body guard.

6/22/2011 03:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Snowden, Sr. said...

The last 3 comments posted by "Diane" were not posted by me. I must assume Dave posted them, trying to be cute.

However, two can play that game.

The "Real Diane"

6/23/2011 12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous dave Snowden, Sr. said...

Diane: I did not post as you. In return, don't accuse me of doing so or post under my name.
You will note that I use my own name, not an anonymous first name. If I have something to say I'll say it and won't hide my identity. Maybe you should try it. I think your credibility may grow if you did.
Most people who post here or read this stuff are very aware that many of the various names used are one in the same person attempting to make it look as though many share their views. It is very easy to read between the lines.
I think Geoff has done a great thing to create a forum where people can share their views and even their frustrations. I think though that no posts should be allowed unless the real identity of the author is revealed. It would keep the comments on point and hopefully can all the hatred and personal attacks. We could all use a little sanity right now.
Dave Snowden

6/23/2011 07:22:00 AM  

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