Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Police Chief's Exit Means More than Meets the Eye

By Steven Tavares

While retiring San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis, 50, is spending quality time with his family his family--according to the average lifespan of an American male--at least, for next quarter century(!), his exit is an intersection of issues vexing the city and, in the near term, this November's mayoral election.

Who knew when the city manager was repeatedly talking about offering so-called "golden handshakes" to city employees to retire early, the police chief was champing at the bit to get one himself? With pension reform a political hot potato spotlighted in the city by Stephen Cassidy, the stark reality is Willis' early retirement is one last stab at benefiting from a program set up during a web-fueled economy flush with cash, but alarmingly decadent today in the middle of the Great Recession. By retiring at 50, Willis may be entitled to a pension worth more than $140,000-a-year. Deserving or not, it is a tailor-made and easily digestible fact for Cassidy to dole out to prospective voters, instead of the hodge-podge of big numbers and confusing calculations.

The city is thanking Willis for staying on until a successor is named--conveniently just after the election and around the time a possible new mayor takes office. With the San Leandro Police Officers Association endorsing Councilwoman Joyce Rutledge Starosciak (kind of like the politician many around town compare her to, Hillary Rodham Clinton?) and the police chief high-tailing out of town inures himself from any potentially harmful political shrapnel from Mayor Tony Santos. Ironically, Santos lost the police union's backing because of his support to raise the retirement age from 50-years-old to 55 at the same 3 percent of their salary.

Exactly who City Manager Stephen Hollister tabs to be the next police chief could be based on whether the city is able to move forward from the last of seven sexual harassment suits filed before Willis became chief in 2008. Questions of Hollister hiring an in-house candidate while the department apparently had enormous problems with its male-dominated culture against the opposite gender still persists. The press release Monday announcing Willis' retirement went to great lengths to laud the department's change of culture, but in reality, no programs of consequence have been enacted since Attarian's disgraced retirement two years ago. One thing is for sure, in terms of the election, Santos should hope any potentially costly settlement with the three remaining former female police officers comes after November 2 and not before.
As the walls of the Hayward School Board continue to buckle and topple, they will not have the help of former Councilwoman Anna May to tidy the place up in the future. As the extended deadline to grab a spot on the November ballot nears today, May says she will not seek the office many believed she would have likely won.

Former assemblywoman Audie Bock is one of four candidates for two seats on the board. Bock is apparently doing a "Filipovich" and is listed as a candidate for for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. Incumbent Sheila Sims, Lisa Brunner and William McGee are also on the ballot. Two candidates withdrew their nomination this week and another failed the complete the filing process, while the current board president chose to not seek re-election.

Current Trustee Jesus Armas will attempt to win re-election to the board's two-year seat against Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Annette Walker. There were rumors May and former Hayward city manager Greg Jones would form a three-person ticket to revamp the board, but that possibility is now gone.

May reiterated her previous concerns about the effectiveness of steering the downtrodden school district back to respectability with state control looming on the horizon. "Whatever the board does now has significant impact on the incoming board and I'm not interested in just keeping a seat warm for 4 years if the state takes over," said May.

"The bottom line is this," she said. "Whoever's leading the district on the board, we as a community need to support them in their decisions, even if we do not agree with them. These people for the most part are putting their hearts and souls into serving the community and we have to respect them for that."


Reg of Voters site has one more canadidate for HUSD 4 year seat- Sue Lafferty. I heard she is a former Hayward High teacher

Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Patmos, you are not standing true to your Hellenic heritage. Shame on you. Castor and Pollux will not play nice with you, nor will the rest of the monks.

Mr. Dowling, nice to see you have resumed public life after being humiliated in the Supervisors race. Do us all a favor and NEVER, EVER run for office in this town again. You, Bertie and Armas laid the foundation for the disaster Hayward has lived the past several years.

As far as the HUSD election goes, as Hayward taxpayers, we would all be much better off with a state takeover of the school district.

Damn! I read Tavares' statement about those Hayward people not running for school board. Damn straight -- what boredom we'll endure now.

Anonymous, you should be ashamed of yourself for lacking the courage to stand up and speak your real name.

Kevin Dowling, thank you for speaking up.


Kevin Dowling, now that you have swished out of public office, do you now realize the residual negative impact that you, Bertie, Armas, Bill Ward, Matt Jimenez and Olden Henson have had on the City of Hayward?

The only "speaking up" I want to hear from you is you saying you're moving to the Castro or Palm Springs or wherever small time, washed up gay power brokers go when they no longer have any power and cant get elected dog catcher in their hometown.


You certainly do sound like a coward and a bully. Shame on you for being a real life wussy.



What is your connection to Kevin Dowling?


Actually none whatsoever. He and I have never met. I did not support his candidacy and rarely if ever agreed with his positions on the Hayward City Council. That being said, the fact that you remain afraid to sign on with out your name bespeaks your inherent cowardice and lack of civility. You are a disgrace as a human and as an American.

Greg Jones is choosing to run down the aisle instead of running for office. Both choices were doomed to fail.


Is Michael Moore your real name?

I call B.S. on the name being used above (hint initials M.M.)and did you know I can see Russia from my home? Luv, S

Folks, I absolutely do NOT agree with many if any of Mr. Dowling's viewpoints, personality traits, decisions, etc. But I also do not agree with the person attacking him. Mr. Dowling has put himself out there in ways others have not -- please respect him for this, if nothing else.

Dear Sarah,

My real name is Michael Moore. No bull. You need to learn to spell your name. Sarah Palin is how the reak one spells it.

Anonymous, you and Sarah need to stand up and use your real names or at least a moniker with some style. Anonymous is like a white sheet.


I do NOT know you...
Sarah might have a point RE:calling BS on your name
I take it your comment is giving Kevin Dowling credit for being a "out" gay person in politics. I might be able to give some credit for that, but I have observed Dowling for quite some time, and can tell you he plays up his status as a gay man when said status politically benifits him, and downplays or ignores it when it is expedient to do so. Dowling's fairy godmother, Bertie Cooper mentored him along these lines and he carried on from there. Kevin Dowling still has designs on the Hayward Mayor's office, although only poor health or scandal could keep Sweeney from running for another term in 2014, as Hayward has NO TERM LIMITS, which is a scam in itself. Failing that, Dowling is a cinch to run for Council in the next election. After all, Mr. Hissy Fit could'nt get elected to ANY office outside Hayward. Dowling has instructed his South Hayward Demo friends to play hardball on his behalf on many occasions, but his skin is too thin to cope with frank statements about his failed tenure in Hayward public life. Kevin Dowling, instead of instructing your minions to defend you in this forum, hitch up your panties, be a big girl and defend yourself, if you don't care for what's being said about you.

I agree that those who trash others should identify themselves-otherwise, I'm with Anonymous 100%.

Kevin Dowling is a product of the liberal Democratic mafia that has run Hayward for more than a generation.

Dowling is in his mid 40's, but as a productive public servant, he's far past his prime.


I repeat my name is Michael Moore. I live in Hayward. The rest of you that hide behind anonymous should keep your posts to yourself and not hide behind no name at all.


Anonymous here again. Note: I don't even like Kevin Dowling. I find him to be a phony person who is absolutely disengenuous. But still, all I'm saying is stop knocking public servants. You'll stop a lot of great people from running for public office because they don't want the BS, especially from mean-spirited bloggers.

Also, if Dowling has the balls to run for Mayor, I'll work on getting ten other people to also run. Sweeney's time is up. We need someone who's not part of the same old political establishment.

Geesh, I just re-read my comments above and realize that I'm falling into the same trap of being negative as other bloggers. Not intentional.

Anyone who gets into public life expecting to be shielded from negative public commentary picked the wrong profession.

Kevin Dowling has spent his entire adult life in the pursuit of power, not the persuit of good government, but power.

The only opponents that Dowling has not trashed are the ones he did not fear.

Dowling is a failed politician. His greatest gift to the citizens of Hayward would be to never again run for public office.

The Police Chief retiring highlights the assine pension system that the government workers have given themselves. If it weren't for the high taxes to pay these lazy twits the State of California wouldn't be in such a fiscal mess.

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