23 Aug 2014
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View: 'Big Lie' About Kosel-Hausken Stand on Police

In this guest column, Leonard Schwartzburd accuses the "Kensington clique" represented by candidates Chuck Toombs and Patricia Gillette of spreading a "false myth" about opponents Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken on keeping local police.

View: 'Big Lie' About Kosel-Hausken Stand on Police

It’s a big lie that Cathie Kosel and Jim Hausken want to farm out our police services to El Cerrito. This is a false myth spread by the Kensington clique, too long in control to maintain their grasp on power and to shut off the transparency Cathie and Jim stand for. Just read the independent Editorial Endorsement of Cathie and Jim in the Contra Costa Times.  

On Sept. 24th  I called a property owner and asked if the Toombs-Gillette signs were put up with the owner’s permission and whether we could put our signs up.  The owner said that permission was given because they were told Cathie and Jim want to end Kensington’s independent control of our police department. I told the owner they were lied to. I sent them some of our literature and the July 11, 2011 article in the “Patch” about Chief of Police/General Manager Harman’s improper credit card use, another covered up affair, and his 17% raise, (conservatively calculated).

Since when is a demand for fiscal responsibility somehow the same as opposing the independence of our Police Department. On the contrary it reflects a desire to be able to continue to afford our independence. Though some appear not to believe it, those of us supporting Cathie and Jim also support, appreciate and want to keep our line officers. We know them and regardless of a couple of rough edges we want to keep them, and speaking for myself, to keep all of them. With proper leadership they can be a great part of a great community. All the pieces are here, we just need changes at the top. 

The pattern of misrepresentation is consistent with what we have been seeing in this election and for years by both the Chief and Board Majority. We are now told that crime is way up in Kensington. This comes ONLY after Cathie Kosel discovered the last crime statistics covering 08, 09 and 10 were grossly wrong. The 3 years of false statics were used as a  justification for measure G. Where are the up to date statistics? Toombs says the budget is balanced. In reality, GM/COP Harman is projecting a $109,849 shortfall for the current fiscal year. Where does the demand for more money stop and where does all the money go? A significant part of it goes into Mr. Harman's pocket. Five officers in full uniform and armed, drawing overtime pay regularly appear at Board meetings. Are they there on Harman's orders to enforce Toombs banging his gavel shutting down citizen comment critical of Harman, I think so.  

I have a clear memory from a formal meeting for the campaign to pass measure G. We were told we needed a 10th officer to provide safety. 2 years later we still have only 9 officers. The property tax payers by law are liable for the retirement commitments the Toombs Board 3 to 2 majority are making for us. Even more troubling is what happens if CalPERS defaults as they very well might. Then we tax payers will own all of the retirement liability for years to come. (Presently, according to a Dec. 2011 Stanford Study, PERS HAS 100’S OF BILLIONS IN UNFUNDED OBLIGATIONS.)

The potential liability is frightening. When property taxes go sharply up property values go down. Ask yourself: "Why are Toombs-Gillette and their active supporters spending at least $10,000 and using such tactics on a small community election like ours." Like the CC Times Editorial says in the beginning, "It's mind boggling..." 

Leonard Schwartzburd is a resident of Kensington.

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El Cerrito Patch welcomes letters to the editor (up to 450 words) and guest columns (more than 450 words) from members of the community. Those interested in contributing can write to elcerrito@patch.com. To see past letters to the editor, please click here. Past guest columns can be found here.

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