Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ugly City Government

This is from the Ostrich Feeder (

He Who Must Not Be Named: Joe Payne

"I’d like to thank those of you who got in touch with me. And I heard roughly the same story enough that it’s worth posting. The South Pasadena Review already wrote that Joe Payne, a reserve officer for the South Pasadena Police Department, said he was approached by David Sifuentes months ago about the police chief position. I haven’t heard a bad thing about Payne. He’s well-liked among the ranks, and he worked for the SPPD for 35 years before he retired two years ago. The South Pasadena Police Officers Assn. maybe thinks he’d push for pay hikes. That helps to make sense of Mike Ten’s presentation, which implied South Pasadena is the deadliest place on Earth for a cop. That’s an assertion that seems to contradict the recently released Uniform Crime Report showing (yet another) significant drop in crime under Chief Dan Watson’s leadership.

Payne isn’t entirely without baggage. According to the L.A. Times, he’s one of six who sued the city after being demoted in the wake of scandals that plagued the department in the late 1990s. There’s nothing to suggest he was a bad cop, it’s just that when former Chief Michael Berkow came in to clean house, he thought there were too many cooks in the kitchen.

Anyhoo, here’s what I’m hearing is raising the hackles of residents:

  • The perceived arrogance of council members who plan the ouster of — and the successor to — the city’s police chief behind closed doors.
  • Elected officials who are giving the appearance of ignoring their constituency in favor of deep-pocketed campaign donors."
That’s pretty much the story we’ve been hearing for months. My question is: If South Pas is so much in the grips of dangerous criminals, why would we get rid of an experienced police chief and put in a man who has never run a department? Rumor has it that Joe Payne was planning to run for City Council, but changed his mind. Do you think that David Sifuentes or his man, Jeff Monocle, convinced Payne not to run for Council in exchange for the Police Chief job? That would explain why the Council needed to move Dan Watson out, in spite of his good record. That’s the rumor that’s going around, and it’s known that Sifuentes and Monocle have tried to convince other candidates not to run in the past. So far, every single rumor in this ugly mess has proved true, so I think it’s a safe bet that there was a deal in place all along. I would have thought that the exposure of Joe Payne’s name would cause the Council to back off of him, but it’s now clear that the Council is so arrogant and unconcerned about what the citizens want or what’s good for South Pasadena, they simply are beyond caring how bad anything looks. And this looks bad. The Council members will do what they want to do, no matter what the public outcry is. The question is whether the citizens of South Pasadena will accept a town run by unions and a City Council whose purpose is to do the unions' bidding. - Earl