Mailbag: Politicians mischaracterize the police association's role

Over the past four years, we have heard the terms "public employee unions" and "union bosses" ad nauseam.

Our local politicians and their most fervent supporters have deftly used these terms to suggest that Costa Mesa Police Department employees are cogs in some larger labor organization. Politically, the (mis)characterization has largely worked.

Frankly, the terms have left me scratching my head. I'm the president of the Costa Mesa Police Assn., so I guess that makes me the union boss. Except that it is not a union and I am not the boss.

I answer to the association's board of directors, which is made up of line-level officers within the Police Department. In turn, the board is elected by and answerable to the men and women of the department, our peers.

The Costa Mesa Police Assn. exists to be the collective bargaining body for the men and women of the Police Department. We are not aligned with or subordinate to any larger labor organization. We stand on our own to serve the needs of the officers who serve the residents.

We know the local issues intimately. We deal with them daily. We would see no benefit in being beholden to a state, national or international labor organization. Such organizations wouldn't know the details as we do.

Why do these facts matter? Politically it's easier to dismiss the ideas put forward by the Costa Mesa Police Assn. if it is thought of as a faceless labor machine rather than the officers known around the city, many of them neighbors of the people they serve.

Association members are vested in this community and dedicate themselves professionally — and often personally — to making Costa Mesa a great city to live and work in.

Rob Dimel

Costa Mesa

The writer is president of the Costa Mesa Police Assn.


Association should waive privilege

I was disappointed to read that the Costa Mesa Police Assn. has appealed the decision of a Superior Court judge to allow the case filed by two Costa Mesa council members to move forward and depositions be taken.

When I first read in the Daily Pilot the allegations in connection with the Mayor Jim Righeimer incident, where he was falsely reported for driving under the influence, I was hoping that it was simply the actions of a rogue law firm and that our officers had no advance knowledge. But every time the police association attempts to block information from becoming public, it raises concerns.

I would very much like to support and have confidence in the officers who protect our residents. But with the facts that are now undisputed in connection with the incident combined with the recent appeal, it's becoming more and more difficult.

Every resident, whether he or she politically supports or opposes the council majority, should want the facts. And only the leaders of the Costa Mesa Police Assn. know the facts.

I encourage all Costa Mesa rank-and-file officers to direct association leadership to waive their attorney-client privilege and simply disclose what took place. The Orange County Fair Board did just that last fall in connection with an investigation.

David L. Boyd

Costa Mesa

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