I have been scanning the headlines to see about the spike in crime in South Pasadena, the harassing of the citizens during traffic stops, the uncovering of rampant corruption at City Hall and the overcompensation of department heads. Unfortunately I could not find any headlines covering the above.
The only headline I could find was that Chief of Police Joe Payne had tendered his resignation to the city manager. Why is it so difficult for the city manager to say "Hey, I fired his butt"? Probably because there was no justification for doing so.
According to our mayor, Payne was doing an excellent job. If he was doing an excellent job, and I think the crime stats in South Pas will support such an assumption, why are we kicking another excellent chief out the door? It was just 2 1/2 years ago we did the same thing to Dan Watson, another excellent chief who is now the excellent chief for Mammoth Lakes.
We are losing a fine chief who has devoted 40-plus years to the policing of South Pasadena. I think the citizens deserve an answer as to why he is no longer qualified to lead this city’s police department. What really caught my attention was the statement by City Manager Sergio Gonzalez that the permanent replacement will not come from the ranks of the South Pasadena Police Department. Why has he ruled that out?
Why has Mayor Mike Cacciotti praised Joe Payne and stated that what he is looking for in a future police chief are just those attributes that the city now has in its present chief?
Something stinks in South Pas, and I do not think that stench is emanating from within the Police Department.
It takes three council members to retain control of the reins of power in this small community. Is it time for the citizens of this small town to go back to the politics of the ’70s and ’80s and entertain the idea of a recall? Much as I hate to admit it, I think it is.
Lest anyone think that this missive was penned because I love the South Pasadena Police Department and its chief, one just has to ask any member of the department just how much of a thorn in the side I have been to every chief from 1975 until the present day.