Thursday, December 11, 2008

Various views on Pomona's ex-police chief Joe Romero

The Inland Empire blogosphere is chirping away with comments on Joe Romero.

M-M-M-My Pomona wrote on Tuesday December 9 about an emergency Pomona City Council meeting that morning.

Since it takes 4 votes for such an action, and since newly elected councilperson Danielle Soto has not been sworn in yet, it appears that the votes to fire came from Mayor Rothman (who I'm sure is still smarting after being charged, and cleared, of DUI) and the three council persons who have objected to police checkpoints and other issues. As of this point I don't know if councilperson Paula Lantz was even part of that meeting as I earlier noted that she wasn't sworn in until this afternoon.

This prompted an anonymous comment that evening:

Your story is partially correct. Unfortunately the Chief was fired, but the City Manager did the deed, not an emergency meeting of the City Council. No doubt direction was given to the City Mgr. from the City Council. Thinking back..there was a closed session meeting of the City Council last week dealing with the termination of one employee.

By Wednesday, Monica Rodriguez was writing about it...sort of:

Romero said he received the news Tuesday morning when he met with City Manager Linda Lowry during one of their regularly scheduled one-on- one meetings.

Romero, who was an at-will employee, said he was not given a reason for his termination, although "the city manager did mention she wants to see the department go in a different direction."

The city administration declined to comment on Romero's employment status.

"At this time, it's an ongoing personnel matter, and we don't comment on personnel matters," said Mark Gluba, assistant to the city manager.

Mayor Elliott Rothman could not be reached for comment.

Council members Cristina Carrizosa and Steve Atchley said they would not comment on the matter because it was a personnel issue.

David Allen blogged about his intent to write a special column Thursday:

And here I thought Ontario was becoming more vicious and political than Pomona. Well, like I always say, never count Pomona out.

And Allen ended up writing that column. In the absence of anyone talking, he tried to connect the dots.

What reason could the four council members present - Rothman, Steve Atchley, Cristina Carrizosa and Freddie Rodriguez - have for dumping Romero?

Two come to mind: Rothman's DUI arrest and police checkpoints.

Rothman was pulled over Oct. 7 after leaving a bar. Unfortunately for police, while he failed a field sobriety test, he wasn't legally drunk.

Adding to the drama, the arrest came five days after Romero had objected publicly to his unauthorized appearance in a Rothman campaign mailer.

"The truth is that I endorse no one - particularly that I don't endorse Elliott Rothman," Romero memorably declared. At least I'm sure Rothman didn't forget it.

Was the DUI arrest payback for the slight against the chief? Probably, although Romero denied it.

In any event, the cops didn't get their man. And it's no stretch to assume that Romero is losing his job because of it....

[T]he DUI checkpoints...have been a bone of contention for Carrizosa. Some of her constituents driving without a license have had their cars seized.

Those checkpoints take place in pretty much every Inland Valley city without much complaint, and I don't think Carrizosa's crusade plays well outside her district. But grasping the bigger picture has never been Pomona politicians' strong suit.


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