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The Farsider

June 20, 2013


Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>


The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.



Nothing new to report this week.



This Mercury News editorial from Tuesday's paper seems to be on balance. At least it recognizes the need to restore the pay and benefits of the SJPD to make it a competitive law enforcement agency again...

San Jose’s Budget is the Best It Can Be

Editorial — Mercury News — June 18, 2013

San Jose’s mayor and City Council did the best they could with the 2013-14 budget, given the slow growth of city revenue and the forecast of a deficit returning next year.

We’re sympathetic to the call by Councilman Ash Kalra and others for the mayor and council to restore the 10 percent pay cut that police officers, like other city employees, took in 2011 to avoid catastrophic layoffs. But the budget numbers speak for themselves.

Although this will be the second year with no layoffs — indeed, this budget includes raises for police and other workers, although less than they want — a shortfall is projected to return for the 2014-15 budget year. And a promise without firm numbers to back it up would only invite more litigation down the line. Even now, the city is in binding arbitration with the police union over pay and is in litigation over Measure B, the pension reform plan passed last fall. The relationship between the police union and the mayor and city administration is poisoned because of the push for pension reform. We hoped some olive branches would be offered after Measure B passed overwhelmingly, but Mayor Chuck Reed has not been especially gracious in victory. And the police union has escalated the animosity by, among other things, encouraging San Jose officers to quit and helping them find other jobs. The force is below its authorized strength because of resignations, not budget cuts.

San Jose experienced deficits for 10 years until the 2012-13 budget year and again will have no layoffs in the upcoming year. But while revenue is up, the city also has 2,000 fewer employees than it did a decade ago.

Restoring the 10 percent pay cut would just mean another round of layoffs.

The city eventually has to get police pay back to competitive levels. And over time, as new hires are no longer eligible for 90 percent or more of their pay upon retirement, San Jose will have to pay higher salaries than cities trying to keep the unsustainable benefit. That’s a financially responsible strategy: Salary has to be paid as work is performed, while pension costs can be pushed onto future generations.

We hope a prosperous valley takes care of next year’s projected deficit and keeps San Jose on a recovery track that eventually can restore city workers’ pay. And we hope the 2014 mayor’s race, which should begin in earnest soon, will produce leadership capable of both balancing San Jose’s budget — without smoke and mirrors — and bringing city unions back onto common ground with city leadership for the good of the community.

The city eventually has to get police pay back to competitive levels.

But salary has to be paid as work is performed, while pension costs can be pushed onto future generations.

• • • • •

Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold thinks he knows what's needed for San Jose to recruit both a Police and a Fire Chief who will stick around for more than a couple of years. Good luck. Perhaps the nationwide search that is in the works for both should be expanded to world-wide. After all, what competent candidate would want to take on either job under the current conditions?

Chief’s Exit a Symptom of City’s Ills

By Scott Herhold — Columnist
Mercury News — June 20, 2013

San Jose fire Chief Willie McDonald is a respected man who forged links with the rank and file in difficult times. When he arrived in 2010, he knew he was taking a tough job. He said it was part of the lure. So a lot of folks were surprised when he announced last week that he was leaving for Las Vegas. McDonald talked about his new job as Las Vegas chief being on the cutting edge of firefighting — expanding what firefighters did medically to keep folks out of the hospital.

Then again, when he came to San Jose, he called it the “pinnacle” of his career. The numbers suggest he left a lot on the table. McDonald is paid about $200,000 in San Jose. According to the Las Vegas Sun, his new job is expected to a pay a maximum base salary of $164,000.

The fire chief is leaving two years before qualifying for a pension that would pay him a minimum of $25,000 yearly for life, or a half-million dollars over 20 years.

Yes, the cost of living is lower in Las Vegas. And McDonald’s record suggests that pensions are not uppermost in his thinking. Faced with that arithmetic, however, you have to ask what else is going on.

Our city a pinnacle? More like a base camp several thousand feet below the crest.

Another blow

The last police chief, Chris Moore, left after two years on the job. Now a fire chief is departing after three. Over the past two and a half years, 13 department heads have left or retired. Even in a nomadic class, this is like an entire tent city picking up stakes.

McDonald didn’t return my calls. But it isn’t hard to figure out problems. In 2010, city administrators, like other employees, had to take 10 percent pay cuts. Even worse, their staffs have been shredded.

The employees seethe at the council. The residents bemoan the services. Union leaders urge folks to leave for greener pastures. And everyone blames the bureaucracy.

Because new rules make pensions less rewarding, it’s harder to hire. Last year, City Manager Deb Figone was ready to hire a new library chief from Sunnyvale, only to see the deal fall apart at the last minute. Figone has since hired the well-regarded Jill Bourne from San Francisco.

But the famously unquotable city manager has expressed public concern about San Jose’s “brand.”

How to recruit

What should be done? A lot of folks talk about national searches, but I’m skeptical.

Willie McDonald was hired that way. If he could be lured away from Scottsdale, Ariz., his last stop, he could easily be lured away from San Jose.

My two cents: In police and fire, the city should think ahead. It should identify young leaders who have between 13 and 16 years of experience — men or women who could be chief in five to eight years.

Then city leaders should do everything to broaden their experience. And the council should do what it can to raise the salary for both chiefs.

The ideal chief is someone in their early 40s — someone who has financial reason to stay, someone committed to the department, someone energetic enough to see it through the turbulent times still to come. Not a charismatic nomad like Willie McDonald.



Wikipedia has a detailed entry about the subject of this week's poll...

Last Week's Poll Results

For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:





The Wall Street Journal published an op/ed piece written by a contributing editor on June 11th that dealt with racial profiling and the "stop and frisk" policy that was credited with a significant reduction in crime in the Big Apple. To save space, we'll include the first two paragraphs below. To read the rest you will need to click on the link underneath...

How to Increase the Crime Rate Nationwide

A ruling against the NYPD's successful 'stop, question and frisk' policy would be sure to inspire lawsuits in other cities.

By Heather MacDonald — Contributing Editor
Wall Street Journal

A racial-profiling lawsuit over the New York Police Department's "stop, question and frisk" policies is now in the hands of a judge whose decision is expected within weeks. Many New Yorkers watched the two-and-a-half-month trial nervously, concerned that a ruling against the NYPD by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin could spell an end to a police practice that helped the city achieve an astonishing drop in violent crime.

The Rev. Al Sharpton leads a protest
against the NYPD policies in 2012.

But non-New Yorkers would do well to worry about the case too. A decision against the NYPD would almost certainly inspire similar suits by social-justice organizations against police departments elsewhere. The national trend of declining crime could hang in the balance. And the primary victims of such a reversal would be the inner-city minorities whose safety seems not to figure into attempts to undermine successful police tactics.

Click on the link below to read the rest of the article...



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The article above prompted JoeMac to offer his two-cents on the topic, and the WSJ published his letter on Monday of this week...

'Stop, Question and Frisk' and Minority Rights, Safety

Heather Mac Donald has it right ("How to Increase the Crime Rate Nationwide," op-ed June 12). Lawful, intelligent, proactive policing of high-crime areas is a proven way to reduce crime and violence.

In 1989 New York Mayor-elect David Dinkins interviewed me as a finalist for the job of police commissioner. I told Mr. Dinkins that the city's police were so afraid of getting into trouble that they were intimidated from performing their duties to protect the public. I mentioned to him that my experience in the NYPD, as police chief of Kansas City, Mo., and as chief of police in San Jose, Calif., showed that it was possible to reduce crime by obtaining support in minority neighborhoods for proper stopping, questioning and frisking of suspicious individuals. San Jose used these methods and became the safest large city in America.

Mayor Dinkins chose a different path. When he ran for a second term, the voters, fed up with violence, chose Rudolph Giuliani as mayor. Mayor Giuliani had the good sense to hire Bill Bratton as police commissioner. Mr. Bratton relied on stop, question and frisk to obtain the largest reduction of crime in New York City history. Mr. Giuliani easily won a second term.

Ms. Mac Donald demonstrates that mayors who have the fortitude to listen to pleas for help from minority communities, while rejecting false rants of racial profiling, can win re-election and reduce crime. The courts should not interfere with local elected officials' appropriate efforts to make their cities safer.

Joseph D. McNamara
Stanford, Calif



It's Nutritious, It's Delicious...

Continuing to work through part of the food chain, this is something that would be known only by coppers on the night shift that had a bakery on their beat. One such business was the Langendorf Bakery at 7th and Phelan in the southeast industrial area of San Jose. Bakers in union plants did not work on Tuesday nights into Wednesdays, or Saturday nights into Sunday mornings. That's just the way it was. This dictated that beat patrol protocol needed to be stepped up and applied to the large plant when it was closed and unoccupied, except for a handful of maintenance personnel whose job was to repair and maintain the equipment.

It was during one of those nights that a situation of note was observed by beat partners Tom and Bob who were working a 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. beat car. After checking the perimeter of the property early on their shift, a later patrol showed that not all was the same as earlier observed. At the rear extremity of the property was a maintenance building with roll-up doors both front and rear. This was where repair and maintenance was performed on the company's "line rigs" — comprised of about 15 white Freightliner truck tractors and sets of double trailers. They were used to transport bread products to outlying distribution centers in Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco as well as satellite centers in the Bay Area. One of the biggest deliveries, of course, was made to Fort Ord in Marina near Monterey, where there were about 50,000 mouths to feed.

What was different to Tom and Bob during their recheck of Langendorf later in their shift was that a couple of the line rigs had been jacked up and the wheels and tires had been removed. Looking further, the dynamic duo spotted a subject rolling a truck tire down Phelan Ave, which led to the discovery of what turned out to be his Pontiac convertible with its top down and a truck tire sitting in the back seat. Next to the car were several other tires sitting in the weeds just off the road.

The subject was detained and questioned. He turned out to be a self-employed truck owner/driver who was doing a little shopping at the infamous "Midnight Auto Supply" store.

Contact was made with Langendorf's transportation supervisor Bill Orr, who would become a lifelong friend of SJPD beat cops. Also responding to scene all the way from his Hillsborough digs was Stan Langendorf, who owned the plant along with his family. When one considers the cost of an aluminum wheel and tire times four plus the downtime that would have been required to obtain and install replacements, it goes without saying that Bill and Stan were very happy campers. Thus began a close association with the "rear door loading dock personnel" at the Langendorf Bakery that lasted for many years.

It's nutritious. It's delicious. It's Lang...Lang...Langendorf Bread.


• • • • •

We're not finished with culinary items just yet. Another retiree has an item to contribute to the history of the SJPD...

Get 'Em by the Bag Full

Back around 1956 a new "restaurant" opened at 4th and Julian, a fine establishment called the "Burger Bar." Hamburgers were 19-cents. Yes, nineteen cents.

One of our enterprising midnight officers learned that at closing time, the leftover hamburgers and milkshakes that had already been made but were unsold would head for the dumpster. This led to the discovery that the dumpster could be avoided if a "blue star taxi" swung by and picked up the burgers and shakes.

So around 1 a.m., or whenever their closing time was, said "taxi" would drop by and make their closing chores a wee bit easier by eliminating a trip to the dumpster. The driver of the "taxi" would then meet other drivers of their "blue star taxis" behind Cook's Automotive at 7th and Santa Clara.

After ensuring that Cook's was free of any burglars or prowlers, they would get their fill of the shakes, avoiding the 19-cent burgers, then take what was left over to the Desk Sergeant located in the tunnel of the old City Hall. And what remained after he was full was enjoyed by many prisoners (mostly drunks), who scarfed up the burgers and what was left of the shakes, thereby fulfilling their need for nourishment.

While the "blue star taxi" drivers didn't consume the 19-cent burgers, the shakes weren't bad. But they were nowhere as good as those at the Crystal Creamery across 7th Street.

~ ~ ~

As former connoisseurs of inexpensive burgers, my high school buddies and I made trips to the Burger Bar at 1st and Goodyear from 1959 through 1961 two or three times a week to pick up a "bag full," which translated to six for a buck. We would then drive over to the nearby Foster Freeze (or was it a Dairy Queen?) on Almaden or Vine and pick up some shakes or malts. From there we would make a beeline to Kings on S. 1st and pick up a few orders of fries, after which we would gorge ourselves, totally oblivious to the health consequences that would later come back and bite us on our collective butts. The common joke at the time was that you could toss a couple of Burger Bar burgers in the glove box, pull them out a week later and they would taste the same.

According to Bob Moir, the Burger Bar at Delmas and Santa Clara — now a parking lot next to the venerable San Jose Water Works building and part of the Sharks parking ensemble — had the "best steak sandwiches on a French roll" that money could buy. They were so good, he says, that even the K-9 officers allowed their "pooches" to devour the succulent morsels shortly after the 1:00 a.m. closing time.

All of the Burger Bars — and there were close to a half dozen over the years — were owned by Al Berger, who also created a chain of sit-down restaurants called the Burger Pit. Once there were many of both scattered around the Bay Area and other parts of Northern California. Today there is only one of each: The Burger Bar at 1st and Goodyear, and the Burger Pit at Blossom Hill and Kooser. With the passing of his father, they are owned and operated by Al's son, Paul Berger. And the remaining Burger Pit on Blossom Hill has become a weekly Monday lunch haunt for me and a half-dozen other SJPD retirees, including Chaplain Bridgen on occasion.

A short history of the Burger Pit and Al Berger


Starting on March 13, 1953, the Burger Bar at First and Goodyear was a downtown spot to eat for college students. Between 1953 and 1956 Al Berger opened up two more restaurants. Finally in 1956, the first Burger Pit was built in Cupertino. It was followed by more openings all over the San Jose area.

When 1986 rolled in many of the locations were sold to the Burger King Corporation. When this occurred Al Berger decided to keep the two main locations at Blossom Hill and Kooser, and on Forest Ave at Valley Fair. Finally another closure due to Valley Fair Mall's expanding parking lot resulted in that location's closure, and only one Burger Pit was left.

Shortly after the Valley Fair closing, Al Berger's death left his son to continue the location at Blossom Hill and Kooser Road. Paul Berger, with the same motto as his father, operates the location there. That motto has and always will be "Good food at reasonable prices."



The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

New Articles

• The Commemorative Air Force provided a flyover for the 2013 U.S. Air Force Academy commencement ceremonies when then Thunderbirds were unavailable due to sequestration.

• Did Samsung pay off a $1.05 billion judgment awarded to Apple in a patent infringement lawsuit entirely in nickels?

• A customer closed out his million-dollar account after his bank refused to validate a 50-cent parking ticket.

• Wet footprints behind the sofa prove that a teen babysitter barely escaped from a knife-wielding intruder.

• Warning that Takis chips cause ulcers and cancer in children.

• Photograph purportedly shows a "super moon" over California's Sequoia National Park.

• Photograph purportedly shows a 700-lb. snake pulled from a lake in Proctor, North Carolina.

• Rumors claim that children's television show host Fred Rogers hid a violent and criminal past.

• Are New Jersey state police about to launch a 30-day speeding ticket blitz?

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!

Worth a Second Look

• A little girl gives her parent a gold-wrapped box filled with kisses, then dies.

Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.

Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.



Choose Large or Full Screen for enhanced YouTube viewing.

• • • • •

Let's begin with the topic of UFOs. Before you scoff and scroll on, take a few minutes and listen to what the Canadian Minister of Defense had to say in this video that was posted on YouTube a few weeks ago, particularly the last couple of minutes. So is he a kook, or is he sincere in what he believes to be the truth? You be the judge. (10 Mins.)


• • • • •

This is a follow-up to last week's article on America's Worse Charities. It's a link that identifies the 50 worse by name, how much was raised by the solicitors, how much the solicitors were paid, and what percentage was spent on direct aid to the so-called charities. This is the same list that includes some organizations linked to law enforcement. The web page also includes a short video...


• • • • •

Golfing World magazine claims these are the Top 10 Luckiest Shots in Golf. So are they? The answer is an emphatic no. I've had a dozen myself that the magazine overlooked. (5 Mins.)


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Speaking of golf, check out the backyard of Dave Pelz, author and short game golf instructor to the pros (5 Mins.)


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If proof is needed to show it's possible to survive a small airplane crash, this video should suffice. It shows the mishap from three different video cameras mounted on a Beachcraft Bonanza that sustained a loss of power during the critical take-off stage. The pilot and his passenger were fortunate to walk away with very minor injuries. The text under the video (you'll have to click on the "Show More" link) was authored by the pilot, who explains in detail what occurred. (2 Mins.)


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Despite the fact that it's dated by about four years, this is another one of those excellent CBS news stories about a slice of America. This one entitled "Meet the Harmonica Man" should be worth a few minutes of your time. (3 Mins.)


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Give this link we received from Don Hale a few moments to load and it will display several full-size, highly detailed photos related to WW II, including this one of a B-26 Marauder on a mission with the nose gunner having a smoke.


• • • • •

Ever heard of a McDonnell F4 Phantom giving a push to another one that needed some help? That's what this story received from Dean Janavice is about. (4 Mins.)


• • • • •

You have probably seen snippets of this clip of a China Air Freight baggage handler not having the best of luck at hitting the ramp with the packages he's trying to load. This is the full video that was shot by someone on board the plane. (4 Mins.)


• • • • •

This voice mail of a guy who reportedly witnessed an accident involving four women in a car first made the rounds five years ago. The text that accompanies the voice mail claims the incident was real, but we have our doubts. (3 Mins.)

"This guy is leaving a voice mail for his boss when he witnesses a minor traffic accident. Not fake, actually happened. In late February, several stations broadcast interviews with a man named Michael Childs, who said that he was the one who left the voice mail message, that the clip was genuine, and that the accident described took place about six years ago in Athens, Texas while he was working as a construction manager for Jack in the Box."


• • • • •

Saving the best for last brings us to this fascinating film documentary about an American pilot who flew missions over Germany in an unarmed British Spitfire (his plane was equipped only with recon cameras). If you are a WW II aviation and history buff, this film is a don't miss because the American pilot only recently saw film footage of a wheels-up landing he made during the war. (14 Mins.)


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