Weak-Kneed Spendthrift Cop Worshipers, bipartisan edition: Doug Chaffee and Trevor O’Neil.




A decrepit Doug, and a perky Trevor – with a lot in common!

There are politicians in the OC, and sometimes it seems like most of ’em – Republicans, Democrats, “conservatives,” “moderates,” “liberals” – who talk a good talk on the dais or campaign trail about fiscal responsibility, priorities, accountability etc.  But then when The Man (cops or sheriffs) comes a-knocking on their door, saying “Give us more money, NOW!” they go all weak at the knees and respond “Yes sir, whatever you want.  The sky is the limit!  Oh, and once my knees get better, how high should I jump?” 

That’s true and not even funny.  What IS a little funny in a dark way is how these politicians – whether fake conservative or fake liberal – justify their mad generosity toward law enforcement, to the rest of us who are paying for it.  I give you “Democrat” OC Supervisor Doug Chaffee (who we should fairly note failed to get the DPOC endorsement for his Supervisor run) and Anaheim Hills Councilman Trevor O’Neil (who plays a conservative badly on TV, and also failed to get HIS party’s endorsement when HE ran either.) 

“It gets us four years of labor peace,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee [What, was there gonna be a Sheriff strike??]“We might have to dip slightly into our reserves. We hope not,” he added. “Generally the revenue projections are on the conservative side, and you hope” the county brings in more than projected.

“Much of the raise [sic, cost of the raise] is passed on to the cities” that contract with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement, Chaffee added.  [yeah, fuck us cities, huh?]

  • And, in a remarkably similar vein, Anaheim Councilman O’Neil as he joined four of his colleagues (Sidhu, Faessel, Kring and Brandman – everyone but Barnes and Moreno) in granting the APD an incredibly generous and unsustainable six-year contract last month – and this is him quoted by the pro-O’Neil outlet AnaheimBlog:

O’Neil acknowledged the recent budget forecast presented by staff indicated the city may dip into reserves in the next couple of years. At the same time, he noted the forecast did not take into account new revenues that will be generated by “known economic development projects that are going to be coming online.”

“It didn’t have any economic projections from the 39 Commons project that we just talked about – no economic projections from what is going on with the development at Angel Stadium or at the ARTIC,” said conservative Republican O’Neil.

“So we know that the size of our economy is going to continue to grow [*coughCORONAcough*] and we are creating new jobs and new revenues, and at the end of the day, we’ll get over that hump. And then we’ll have the LPMR bonds paying off to where at that point, we’ll be in the clear, and by that time we’ll have hopefully paid down our unfunded pension liability.”

“Hopefuly, hopefully,” we’ll somehow magically get enough revenues in the future to cover this outlandish expense we just greenlit.  If you were the wife or kids of these men, would you want them even running your household finances?

And yes, both of these raises were not only exorbitant and unaffordable, but also both unjustified and evident paybacks for political support. 

The crime rate has been declining for years in both the county and Anaheim – and props to both the social factors that have led to this phenomenon, and whatever successful law enforcement work may have aided it.  Yet here’s how the County has allocated its resources AS OF LAST YEAR, BEFORE the $151 million raise, and before this year’s proposed diversion of $167 million of mental health money into EXPANDING MUSICK JAIL:

Click image to get this chart in interactive form, and the accompanying article.

The colors are not as distinguishable in my copy as in the original, but of course that’s the Sheriff’s Department whose line is rising to the sky, and would now no longer fit in this rectangle.  You’ve heard “robbing Peter to pay Paul?”  Well, “Paul” is ascending into the mighty luxuriant heavens, while “Peter,” aka health care and social services, is crawling on the ground begging for alms.

Police lobbyist Peter Mitchell

Getting to Anaheim, whose police chief was just boasting, correctly, yesterday at Los Amigos, about the continued drop in (non-political) crime in this City of Kindness, our new $60 million, 14% raise-including, six-year contract with the APD (negotiated by Brandman’s insatiable lobbying crony Peter Mitchell) will make us dig into our reserves, by the time it’s over, to the tune of $90 million.  Anaheim was already severely in debt, by about $6200 per taxpayer, mostly due to unfunded pension liability, and under the prodigal Sidhu Majority, it will only keep getting worse.

Lucky Union boss Hampton!

Especially rankling is the deal cut with Police Union president Edgar Hampton – we Anaheim taxpayers will now be paying the entirety of this guy’s salary and benefits – with a 17% raise getting him up to over $400,000 a year by the sixth year of the contract.  And Edgar’s job is literally to wring out as much public money and as little accountability for his members as possible – how is it right for us taxpayers to have to pay him through the nose for that?  In nearly every other city – including every other OC city – the police union president is paid by union members’ dues, but not in Sidhu’s and Trevor’s Anaheim.

It’s not anti-police to say: Good job, you are helping keep crime down while killing less people than in previous years – but you are already well compensated, and we can only afford what we can afford.  It is only the Latino Council minority of Denise Barnes and Jose Moreno that is saying that (and getting slandered for it.)

And the transactional circle jerk is always complete – all five members of Harry Sidhu’s majority were recipients of police and fire unions’ maximum support – a minimal investment for what these unions reap – every two years the unions max out for the politicians they know they can count on for extravagant rewards.  Even last month when Mayor Sidhu discovered he was being threatened with recall, he felt comfortable including in his response:  “The Anaheim Police Association and Anaheim Fire Association urge you:  DO NOT SIGN ANY RECALL PETITION!”  For who would want to recall their Sugar Daddy?

I’d say that these politicians – in the county and most OC cities – are not only bought and paid for, but living in the 1980’s or 90’s when it was an existential matter for a politician to show how “tough on crime” they are, even when that “crime” is dwindling away.  Do these politicians know their voters well, or have OC voters changed since the days when the top worry on all their minds was being kept “safe” from poor and dark people?  I’d like to think that voters have changed and grown in this post-draconian millenium, but this County is certainly cursed with the least imaginative and humane politicians in the Golden State.  From both Parties.

(I should quickly mention here that, as I type, US District Judge Cormac J. Carney has denied Anaheim a re-trial in the Vincent Valenzuela case over the $13.2 million the city owes Vincent’s family for APD officers’ choking the innocent homeless man to death in 2016.  So THERE’S THAT TOO.) 

Who knew that when Mayor Sidhu threw wide his arms at the beginning of his inaugural address and proclaimed “Anaheim is open for business!” that what he meant, in his broken English, was “WE ARE OPEN FOR BRIBERY?”  Well, some of us did.  Meanwhile we are adding this exorbitant, budget-busting, TRANSACTIONAL police raise to the list of reasons to recall the corrupt Mayor.

Click and join us!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.