Police Union Intimidates California City Council

The latest shameless tactics from California's notorious law enforcement unions.


Many people were outraged this summer after a private investigator, with ties to a law firm that represents 120 police unions in California, made an apparently false report to the cops claiming that a councilman in the Orange County, California, city of Costa Mesa stumbled out of a bar drunk and was weaving all over the road as he drove home.

The clear goal was to embarrass a councilman who had been leading the charge in his city for pension reform, outsourcing, and other reforms. Evidence showed that the councilman, Jim Righeimer, had nothing to drink and did not stumble. Subsequently, other officials revealed similarly disturbing tactics from police in their cities.

Despite the revelations, police unions continue to behave as if nothing has changed, as they intimidate council members who refuse to go along with their demands for ever-higher pay and benefits, and protections from oversight and accountability.

Two councilmen in Fullerton, Bruce Whitaker and Travis Kiger, are experiencing disturbing attacks similar to the ones that Righeimer experienced. The Fullerton police union is angry at the role those men played in demanding reform in the wake of the horrific 2011 beating death by officers of a homeless man named Kelly Thomas.

The unions also dislike Whitaker's and Kiger's call for pension reform, their consideration of a plan—common in Orange County and elsewhere—to shift police services to the more cost-efficient and professional sheriff's department.

The private eye mentioned above had ties to the Upland law firm of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill. The Orange County Register had reported on the political "playbook" which the lawyers had published on their web site until the ensuing bad publicity. The playbook detailed how police unions should bully elected officials into giving in to their demands. Although the Fullerton union uses a different firm, it is following a similar blueprint.

As the firm explained, the union "should be like a quiet giant in the position of, 'do as I ask and don't piss me off.'" It detailed the "various tools available to an association to put political pressure on the decision makers." The firm advises police to "storm city council" and have union members and supporters chastise targeted council members "for their lack of concern for public safety," even though the issue is about pay rather than safety.

The playbook even calls for the police to engage in dubious behavior—calling in sick (Blue Flu) even if officers are not sick and using the color of authority to scare residents (i.e., calling for unnecessary back-up units) into thinking there is a crime problem in their neighborhood. The scared residents will then, presumably, give the police more money.

In Fullerton, union members have repeatedly stormed the city council. The union has handed out free T-shirts and free hamburgers for those residents who went into the council chambers to support them.

Supporters have yelled at council members and leveled unsubstantiated charges designed to scare Fullerton residents into electing pro-union wastrels.

They have sent out one hit mailer after another. For instance, the union claims that the council's failed vote to get a bid from the Orange County Sheriff's Department for the provision of police services amounts to "putting our families at risk," something that would be news to the sheriff and her deputies.

Reminiscent of those "reefer madness" efforts from the 1950s, the union has transformed the council members' irrelevant support for a statewide marijuana initiative into something ominously portrayed in mailers that proclaim, "Our neighborhoods could be full of marijuana dispensaries." Even if the initiative passes, Fullerton's law bans such dispensaries. And there is no evidence dispensaries "jeopardize our families' safety," although I understand why police are addicted to the federal cash that funds the drug war.

Kiger and Whitaker are freedom-oriented conservatives who oppose Fullerton's DUI checkpoints on constitutional grounds, which has led the union to claim yet another assault of Fullerton's tranquility. I've been driving through Fullerton during those infuriating checkpoints, forced to wait in lines on public streets as cops randomly poke around everyone's cars, so I am glad some council members question this intrusion.

These are standard campaign efforts, perhaps, but these tactics don't stop there. Kiger talks about a police officer who makes a "repeated false assertion to the public that I smoke marijuana." Kiger also relayed an incident in which an officer followed him in a patrol car around town in what he viewed as a clear act of intimidation.

The officers claim the council race is all about "public safety," but the union is backing a liberal candidate with no obvious commitment to actual safety issues, but who seems willing to support the pay and pension packages the union demands, and who was mostly silent during the Thomas incident.

"If I wasn't able to contribute money, these councilmen wouldn't be able to defend themselves against these union attacks," said Tony Bushala, a local businessman and blogger who was the main supporter for a recall effort over the summer against three union-allied council members. "The unions put out a hit mailer every day, which explains the importance of Proposition 32." That is the statewide paycheck-protection initiative that would stop unions from using automatic payroll deductions to fund political campaigns.

Last week, I wrote about a new study revealing that between 2005-2010 pension costs to the state government have soared by 94 percent for "public safety" officials. People often ask me why the state is in such a fiscal mess, why council members don't implement reasonable reforms, and why so many localities are considering bankruptcy.

The answer can be found in Costa Mesa, Fullerton, and elsewhere. Most council members don't have the courage or resources to stand up to the union fusillade. Until the public rejects these despicable union efforts, neither public services nor public finances will improve.

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  1. Stay classy, Fullerton

  2. It is very hard not to godwin these pigs.

  3. Until the public rejects these despicable union efforts, neither public services nor public finances will improve

    Despite the tone of this article, the author seems to be under the impression that the point of law enforcement is to deliver “services” to the “public”. He fails to grasp that the equivalent of the mafia uses government laws to oppress and enslave people, and that having his preferred Top. Men. in charge isn’t going to change that.

    1. Exactly. Enforcers gonna enforce. The goon squad will be the goon squad regardless of who is “in charge”.

      1. Exactly. Police will always be brutes because brutes are attracted to a job that allows them to brutalize people.

        People with no desire to inflict pain and suffering are not attracted to a job that involves inflicting pain and suffering.

        The solution is to have just laws. Then those who worship violence will only be summonsed when force is necessary.

  4. What? No dog shootin’?

  5. The playbook even calls for the police to engage in dubious behavior?calling in sick (Blue Flu) even if officers are not sick and using the color of authority to scare residents (i.e., calling for unnecessary back-up units) into thinking there is a crime problem in their neighborhood. The scared residents will then, presumably, give the police more money.

    Jesus on a truck. Ok, I now officially have new philosophical position: Law enforcement units– units with the power to arrest and kill, cannot be unionized. Period.

    1. The police are a disease.

    2. LE particularly, but the same thing can happen, albeit more slowly and subtly, when any group of government employees is allowed to unionize.

    3. The playbook even calls for the police to engage in dubious behavior?calling in sick (Blue Flu) even if officers are not sick

      Fraud. Theft of services. Conspiracy.

      Open and shut. Oddly, though, no cases are being brought.

      1. But they’re giving away free hamburgers!

        Doesn’t that balance out the murder, fraud and theft?

        1. depends…

          grass fed beef?

    4. No agents of the government, local, state or federal, should be allowed to form a cartel/union.

      Thanks JFK. You should have stuck with pimping out the interns.

  6. Praetorian guard all over again.

    1. At least the Praetorian Guard could occasionally be convinced to kill the emperor if he was a Caligula.

  7. Why aren’t these police unions being given the RICO treatment?

    1. Ha, ha. That’s a real knee-slapper, Shoe.

    2. About 10-11 years ago, a federal judge said that that people could bring claims against the LAPD under RICO in relation to RAMPART.

      It’s out there. Just got to find a good enough lawyer.

  8. And Dunphy is all over the latest cops-shoot-dog thread, but I doubt he will show his face on this one.

    1. its a JUSTIFIED series of actions


      contract due process, bigorati

      IT MIGht LoOk bad but it is a good act – officer training

      Argle bargle gargle.

      1. yawn. and it’s weighlifting, not powerlifting. it’s really not that complicated.



        i respect powerlifting, but i don’t powerlift. granted, right now i don’t do anything except suck the govt. teat on sick leave and down 30lb bodyweight, but i digress

        when i get the clearance clarence, to train, god knows i will engage THE IRON…..ry-rollins

        1. yawn?

          You are the one responding to a parody.

    2. sure i will. as i have said a metric assload of times, i think police unions cause great harm in some respects and in other respects work for great good.

      any union fights for its constituency NOT for the greater good.

      cop unions fight to get more shit for cops. in SOME circs, they work for greater accountability (recall for instance they failed to recommend dep. schene for arbitration in his excessive force case), but that’ not their job

      their job is to get more shit for cops

      that is clearly problematic. as i have said so many many times

      1. Wow, I guess I’ve been pwned. /Daria

  9. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.

    FDR. F’in FDR realized this.

  10. Interesting, that particular law firm is representing Jay Cicinelli in the Kelly Thomas beating case.

    1. It’s like the police equivalent of a mob-lawfirm.

      1. So, a mob law firm?

  11. From the law firm’s website, check out the smoke and mirrors games being played with pension reform.

    Arcadia POA was up for negotiations this year, following a very good multi-year MOU. Fortunately, the President, John Jurman, utilized the experience of the two members (Mike Hale and Troy Hernandez) that led the prior MOU negotiations, who still maintained good relationships with the City Council. An agreement was made to provide the sought after “pension reform” by having new hires come in at the 3 @ 55 plan and all employees paying the 9% toward PERS. To offset the loss, the City provided a 9% increase in salary. It is important to note, the officers will be paying the 9% toward PERS using the “cost sharing” method approved by PERS that allows the employee to pay part of the employer contribution while the employer still pays the employee contribution. Since Arcadia has the EPMC Benefit (9% as “compensation” for pension purposes) this allows those retiring to not lose the EPMC benefit. Given the 9% salary increase also increases other pays and the overtime rate, the POA members received a benefit while the City achieved its goal of “pension reform.”

    1. So the union “negotiates” with the city council for pay and benefits, for the TAXPAYER’s money.

      This is like Bonnie negotiating with Clyde about how many banks to rob today.

      The only real negotiating that Bonnie and Clyde or the unions and council ever did was probably what kind of oral sex to exchange.

  12. their job is to get more shit for cops

    Like preserving their right to speak truth to power, I suppose.

    1. snark aside, yes.

      they have fought for speech rights for cops on numerous occasions.

      i recall one case from calibre press, where a cop was disciplined for wearing a t-shirt that advocated the death penalty. it advocated a man being hung and the cop was told the shirt was racist and was disciplined for wearing it.

      cop prevailed, and yes- the union attorney helped.

      you can snark all you want, brooks, but the proof is in the threads.

  13. Just wanted to let you know that Dunphy won’t be available to comment on this today.

    Megan Fox and I are blowing him while he bench presses a small bus. So, he’s really busy.

    Hugs and kisses!!!!


      ok, i’ll give in

      bench pressing is POWERLIFTING.

      i do not POWERLIFT

      for the umpteenth time.

      ( i have in the past but that was long ago)

      1. Sorry, honey. I was just distracted by your flaccid, 3″ dick.

        So you really only get hard by beating homeless people and shooting dogs?

  14. To offset the loss, the City provided a 9% increase in salary.

    So, if I read that correctly, not only did they take with one hand while giving with the other, that pay increase will be counted in the calculation of future pension benefits.

    These motherfuckers should be dragged into the street, hung from lampposts, and set ablaze.

  15. the proof is in the threads.

    Proof of what?

    “It’s not murder when a police officer does it.”?

    And be sure to post the video of your outraged resignation when local police assist in a DEA raid on a “legal” marijuana grower, won’t you?

    1. Unlicensed cannabis will still be illegal, including personal “grows” in one’s own home, except for medical cannabis as regulated under RCW 69.51A.…..iative_502

      He said he wouldn’t go after pot smokers, and I believe him.

      Though I’m sure he’d be happy to suit up and break some heads if the grower was in violation of the Washington law that he has sworn to uphold.

      1. “break some heads”?


        1. Bust some skulls. You know? Using the tools of the trade.
          That and choking people. From what I’ve heard listening to cops talk over a few beers, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as having someone slowly black out with your arm around their neck. Well, except shooting people. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never done either.

        2. Somebody’s awfully picky about terminology today.

          1. jesus h christ.

            break heads derp derp derp

          2. Maybe he’s training for his transfer to the Semantics department.

            1. I hope not. Dunphy is bad enough as regular police. I don’t think I could handle him as the gammar police.

  16. I’ll give CA 2 more years before it turns into fucking Thunderdome.

    1. Victor Davis Hanson argues it already is Mad Max.

  17. any union fights for its constituency NOT for the greater good.

    So you now freely admit the police do not give Fuck One about actually making their cities safer.

    1. no, that’s not at all what i said.

      seriously, THIS is the level of trolling ?

      1. no, that’s not at all what i said.

        What, here or elsewhere? Because if you’re talking about elsewhere, here’s what you had to say:

        moron dies of gunfire.

        the guy’s idiocy brought about his own demise

        he was not “innocent”. he unjustifiably drew a gun on the police
        and he paid the price
        fuck him

        if the guy was apprehensive enough to believe answering the door with a drawn gun was warranted, then he SHOULD NOT HAVE ANSWERED THE DOOR

        then, the cops could have identified themselves and waited, walked away, etc.
        but he made a fucking moronic decision and he paid the price.

        this guy was a fucking moron begging to get shot.

        Stay classy, copper.

        1. And of course, you never came back and called for the cops to be prosecuted since their entire story could not be true based on the physical evidence. Just look at the photo of the front door and explain to me how the cops’ story of “he threw the door open and pointed a gun at us” could be possible with the angle those bullets entered the door jamb and door itself. The guy never got the door open more than a few inches before they unloaded.

    2. Dude! They’re like educators! All noble and shit without a single drop of self interest! None at all! They all have the best intentions, and should in no way be judged on an individual basis! That and no matter what they are paid it is never enough! And no matter how many there are there are never enough! Noble! Valiant! Selfless! You must worship them! Worship them!

  18. If you really want to know what’s going on in California, I recommend this piece on the corrosive influence unions have on policy in the state ( In their campaigns, unions have won increased government spending, less accountability and efficiency in education, and protections for their own political power. In so doing, they have managed to stymie reforms that might well have improved the performance of California’s public institutions and lessened the severity of the fiscal crisis that the state now faces.

  19. Pigs did the same thing in Edmonton, AB.
    Newspaper report Kerry Diotte was poking around the pig union.
    Went to popular nightspot.
    Off-duty pig recognized Diotte and phoned on-duty pig.
    Cars were dispatched to watch Diotte exit the establishment.
    Pigs tried to pin an impaired driving charge on Diotte, who was most decidedly sober.
    Over time, Edmonton Chief of Pigs resigned in disgrace. Diotte became a city councillor.

    Also: nobody give a fk whether it’s weightlifting, powerlifting or circle-jerking except other juice monkeys.

    1. Pigs is derogatory. Can we please go back to “the Fuzz”?

  20. thread has reached critical troll-mass.

    1. Translation:
      “Waaaaaah! They just don’t understand! I’m so noble! I’m so valiant! I’m so awesome! They just don’t understand! They’re all bigots! That’s the only explanation! It couldn’t be me, because I’m so awesome! Damn bigots!”

      1. just … wow

      2. No, its “I am an unmitigated force for good”.

        1. Oh yeah. In the throws of my furious sargasm I forgot.

          1. It’s “throes” you fool.

            By the way, I need you to email me on the side. I have to ask you a professional question about tech work for a potential startup.

            1. It’s “throes” you fool.

              I realized that as soon as I clicked ‘submit’.

              By the way, I need you to email me on the side.

              Mmmm k? I’ll see if I remember when I get home. No access to personal email at “work”. (I put it in quotes because at the moment I’ll get in trouble if I do anything since the feckless government buffoons who are in charge of the contract think that it’s better to pay us to do nothing than to allow any work to be done. God I hate my job. I welcome any opportunity to do something else.)

              1. Have you got my e-mail? It’s

                Email me when you get home and we can discuss a wonderful business opportunity for you with little upfront money.

                Just kidding, but I do have something that might work out for you, so do send me an e-mail.

                1. I just forwarded it to my home account. That’s as close as I come to doing personal stuff with my work email. I’ll drop you a line later.

    2. thread has reached critical troll-mass.

      Oh yes. People stop agreeing with me, so they must be trolls.

      Seriously, I argue on here with other regulars pretty often. John and wareagle on the drone war, Several others on religion, abortion, libertarianism vs conservatism, voter registration, and myriad other topics. Yet I’ve never, ever seen anybody automatically pull out the troll card like you do whenever the tide has turned against your arguments. You really must be a thin-skinned pussy, because your immediate defense mechanism is to auto-identify as a troll or bigot anyone that disagrees with you and states their opinion with conviction.

      I hope it is just that you are conditioned to people being compliant because of your profession and to find people less than cowed by your appearance takes you by surprise. I’d like to think that, but I can’t because you’ve still responded the same way after months of interaction on here.

      Grow up, dude. You’ll be more respected if you weren’t such a thin-skinned pussy. We’ll still disagree with your idiocy, but at least you won’t be regarded as a laughingstock any more.

      1. Thing is, the dude is far from honest.

        He’s been caught deliberately misstating what people said on multiple occasions.
        So there is no point in engaging with him in debate because he does not argue in good faith.
        Sadly, when he writes police reports and testifies in court, because of his job he is assumed to be honest.

        But he doesn’t get away with it here. Must really deflate his power boner.

        1. lol. pot, kettle , black.

          simply amazing

          1. I’m not a liar. If anything I’m honest to a fault. Anyone who knows me will say so.

            You are the reason you have no credibility here. Not us. You.

          2. I notice you didn’t respond to my comment, but to sarcasmic’s response.

            And I also noticed that you didn’t support it with anything.

            1. He doesn’t respond to your comments because you have facts, and use his own words against him.

              That’s not fair.

              He’s supposed to control the narrative.
              He is the unmitigated force for good, you know.

    3. It did so the moment you entered.

  21. THIS is the level of trolling ?

    Poor thing. Have a juice box and a cookie rice cake.

    You’ll feel better after naptime.

    1. more like some dilaudid and skyrim

  22. I don’t know who this “Dunphy (the real one)” is, but I like the cut of his jib.

    1. Uh-oh. Here comes the Borg.

  23. he was not “innocent”. he unjustifiably drew a gun on the police
    and he paid the price

    I like how he consistently ignores the fact that the guy DID NOT KNOW IT WAS THE POLICE AT THE DOOR, because they did not identify themselves when they “knocked” on the door.

    Lying sack of shit, it is.

    1. Uh oh! You caught Dunphy in a lie! That makes you a troll! You’re supposed to praise him for being an unmitigated force for good! Now you’re catching him in a lie? You’re just a troll!

    2. And not only that, but read the DM story. They cops said he flung the door open and drew his gun on them. I’m no forensic investigator, but I do understand door mechanics. The guy would have had to have been at least 3 feet inside the apartment to have done so, as there was a wall just to the right of the door (looking in from outside the building. He could not have physically done so and been shot at the angle the bullets entered the doorjamb and the door itself. He had to have been peering out the door or have had himself wedged between the door’s swing radius and the wall, which would have precluded him from pointing the gun at the officers.

      Their entire story is bullshit, but apparently facts and witness testimony don’t matter.

      I’m sure if a “civilian” had shot a cop in the cop’s house in a similar situation, he wouldn’t have faced a grand jury either but would have had it investigated by his co-workers and others in his profession, right?

      Again, there is no equality under the law when it comes to cops shooting innocent people inside their own homes.

    3. Brooks, you simple fool, you just don’t seem to understand…Nobody is innocent, guilt is just a matter of where and when. Read the fucking manual!

  24. but at least you won’t be regarded as a laughingstock any more.

    Speak for yourself.

  25. Any police officer that causes a civil rights judgment against his government should be summarily fired, pension revoked and prosecuted for misuse of public trust. If you are that much of a dickhead that your actions do not even qualify for immunity, you do not deserve the protections of your office.

  26. Damn, 78 comments and no one has dropped “A man has got to know his limitations?”

  27. Though beatings aren’t so frequent where I live, we have a serious cop problem. I live in Ooltewah, TN, an area with about 10K people. There are about 50-60 cops in this town and at any given time there are probably 10-15 on duty. We have Little Debbie’s main factories nearby and they provide huge amounts of funding to our PD. These guys literally have HK submachine guns in their trunks, they almost all drive relatively new Dodge Chargers, all carry AR’s and Shotguns in their vehicles. I was pulled over for a ‘seatbelt violation’ this spring and there were three cop cars behind me while another sat across the street and watched. The officer attempted to intimidate me, asking where I worked, upon which I answered at the local hospital. Clearly not believing me, he repeated the question multiple times. The man became angry at me for READING THE DAMN TICKET (I read stuff before I sign, not after). These guys have threatened me with arrest if, upon checking my record, my license was suspended. I have no arrest record, I have only one ticket on my record other than the seatbelt one, and that was from age 16-nearly 6 years ago! These guys are absolute assholes! All this in a town that has virtually no murders, very low crime rate all around. They treat everyone like shit. Stay away from Collegedale, TN.

    1. Crazy shit. Sounds like how they need four cameramen on the set of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) or how we always see more construction workers than really needed huddled around a manhole.

    2. Downloads direct from your phone camera to Facebook. Let ’em imerse your phone in the terlet, it continues to upload even after phone is shut off. The asshole won’t be fired, of course, but there can be civil penalties for such as harrassment, breach of peace, etc. Tap into Dumphrie’s pension and fund his ass kicking by a biker gang. You’ve got to start thinking of bringing the shit storm to these nazi’s homes.

  28. A couple of really good people I know are cops but here in Quebec the force is racist – you’ll never see a non-French-Canadian police chief. Call it Deep South North here.


    Ever play sports against teams made up of cops?

    My buddy used to play hockey in a league (I never had the pleasure) against one such team and his hatred for them was hilarious.

  29. Despite the revelations, police unions continue to behave as if nothing has changed

    Well, nothing has changed, so you can’t blame them for doing what works.

  30. As bad as some Orange County city police departments are, the Sheriff’s Department is not the answer. The department is nationally known for corruption and brutality. The recent slaughter of an unarmed Marine Sgt. in San Clemente, in front of his children, is but the latest example. That cover-up is freshly in play as I write. The Dept. has a prominent tradition of criminal activity at the top; a culture that permeates the OC Sheriffs Dept. from the central jail to traffic cops.

  31. They have sent out one hit mailer after another. For instance, the union claims that the council’s failed vote to get a bid from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for the provision of police services amounts to “putting our families at risk,” something that would be news to the sheriff and her deputies.

  32. I find some of the comments here concerning police officers very disturbing. As a 15 year vertern of law enforcement, I can assure you that cops are not “brutes who become police to brutalize”. Maybe some are but the majority are not. Most officers got into to it from a true sense of duty to protect the community. Whether their intentions are misguided in relation to the drug war is another matter. (I am for for full legalization BTW. I recogninze the futility and the sustainment of the black market but I digress…)
    Going after the police as handmaidnes of the State will get libertarians NOWHERE. Most officers have conservative to moderately conservative beliefs and, I find, will at listen to libertarian arguments. One must also keep in mind that the left coast is a different world unto itself. Progressive ideals coupled with union control have thoroughly corrupted the police system. That is there. Most officers in the U.S. are NOT unionized. Some of you sound worse than liberal progressive with your broad generalizations of police officers. If you are trying to convince others to listen to libertarian ideas, bashing cops is a sure way to turn them off.The ppl we NEED to listen to us, anyway.

  33. I apologize for some spelling errors and missing words in my comments above. It’s 5am, whadaya gonna do?

  34. That’s what an arbitrary law like prohibition does to a community.
    When you hand unquestionable power to the police they become all powerful. Time to end the drug war.

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