Cam Sanchez

Paul Wellman

Cam Sanchez

Cam Show Gets Frisky

Police Chief Talks Corn Vendors, ‘Motherships,’ Jail Conditions, and TRUST Act

Thursday, October 11, 2012
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In what was by the far the liveliest exchange between Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez, the City Council, and members of the public since the council first asked the chief to start showing up to give regular presentations, Sanchez was called to weigh in on the allegedly sub-par culinary and sanitary conditions offered at the County Jail. “That’s the Sheriff’s bailiwick,” declared Sanchez, “and I choose to stay out of his bailiwick.” Earlier in the meeting, the council had heard from Steve Price, a homeless man, who charged, “If that jail was a dog shelter, it would be shut down.”

Price, who contends he was arrested for picking birds of paradise from the front of Councilmember Randy Rowse’s Paradise Cafe, offered his remarks after the chief provided the council vivid accounts of cockroach-infested corn vending carts. While such vending carts don’t constitute “the crime of the century,” Sanchez said, they do pose a health hazard and are the subject of frequent complaints.

Sanchez noted that most of the roving vendors aren’t from Santa Barbara but are driven up from Los Angeles in large vans, which Sanchez frequently referred to as “the mothership.” Such carts, he said, are confiscated by city police and held as potential evidence for a year and then ultimately destroyed. Under questioning from Councilmember Grant House ​— ​who suggested such vendors might offer a community convenience in some neighborhoods ​— ​City Attorney Steve Wiley opined that city law outlawed roving vendors outright and that the law offered them no way to ply their trade legally.

Councilmembers House and Cathy Murillo pressed Sanchez on his thoughts about the TRUST Act, which would have prevented county jails throughout California from turning over undocumented individuals charged with minor offenses to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation under a program dubbed Secure Communities. Although Governor Jerry Brown just vetoed the TRUST (Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools) Act, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced that he would no longer turn over people charged with minor offenses for deportation. Murillo wanted to know what Sanchez thought about this; House suggested the Secure Communities program exacerbated distrust for law enforcement in immigrant communities.

“It’s not a Latino thing,” Sanchez declared several times, insisting his priority was protecting all people from criminal predators regardless of ethnicity. As for Beck, Sanchez said the L.A. chief operated a sizable jail with serious crowding issues. By refusing to process minor offenders, Beck would ease his space crunch. Unlike Beck, Sanchez said, his department doesn’t operate its own jails, so it wasn’t an issue.

Violent crime dropped substantially from the month of August to September, Sanchez said, from 52 incidents to 30. And gang-related incidents dropped 44 percent in the same period. Despite that sharp drop, he cautioned, in one incident, three Westside gang members were stabbed while walking on the Eastside. Sanchez announced he’d appointed Officer Christina Marshall as the new school resource officer ​— ​a position left unfilled for three years. Marshall, he said, busted a gun-toting dope dealer at Santa Barbara High School the first day of class, made three felony arrests, and visited 15 families who had a student truant.

He recounted that the department’s restorative patrol team got 34 street people in recovery in recent months and reunited 16 with their families. And he announced the department would soon purchase video cameras for its patrol cars at a cost of $250,000. That money, Sanchez said, would come from asset forfeiture revenues, not the general fund. The Grand Jury had faulted the department for its lack of such cameras, noting that Santa Barbara and Guadalupe were the only departments in the county not to provide such equipment.

Prior to Sanchez’s remarks, Karl Wagner, a citizen activist, took exception with the erection of street signs banning RV parking along Cabrillo Boulevard at the department’s instigation. Wagner suggested that homeless people bring $5.7 million a year into the city by way of their various benefits. Now that RVs have been forced to vacate, Wagner suggested that beachfront hotels are using public street space to provide valet parking. And Wayne Scoles, the chief’s former nemesis, announced he was so disgusted by the Police Department’s abuse of power ​— ​and the alleged cover-ups by the city attorney, the district attorney, and the City Council ​— ​that he would be running for mayor next year.

Scoles had been arrested three years ago for threatening Sanchez when the chief was returning from a wedding, but when the case went to trial, the jury rejected the charges, finding the chief’s testimony insufficiently persuasive. Scoles then charged Sanchez with violating his civil rights, but that claim was rejected by a federal judge. When people file complaints against the department, Scoles objected, they are not allowed to see the results of any subsequent investigation, only whether the complaint had been substantiated or not. City administrators noted that the release of any more information would violate the Police Officers Bill of Rights and would subject City Hall to litigation


Independent Discussion Guidelines

This is great. At least someone is challenging Sanchez. Now if he only had some teeth, or whatever's to go rein in the POA and handle something. This is a squeaky wheel in his ear, and some visibility in front of City Council. Maybe if some of these issues come up a couple of hundred times, there will be movement. I.E. cameras in the cars.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Incredibly important issues commented on by Sanchez. Meanwhile, why is Kasi Beutel still on the force? And where is the "independent" report the citizens were promised on her alleged (and all but confirmed by the SBPD and city's silence) misbehavior.

Perhaps the most compelling question is: why is Sanchez still employed here?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Kasi isn't just "still on the force". She's been promoted. We can all see how malfeasance by sworn personnel is handled by the SBPD.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not even going to read the story and say "booooooo!!!".

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 12:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is it not patently clear that on both City and County levels "the fix" is in?
Between this doofus (who can't get out of his own way or even get a second interview on the multiple job applications he's pursuing while still under contract in SB) and Bill Brown fundamentally maintaining his own "hands off" policy re SBCO jail stewardship by leaving it in the hands of "staff" who live and die by the CYA culture (not to mention the county's apparent "shoot first and ask questions later" code of conduct), it's apparent that our little "paradise" is nothing less than a true police state.
Re Kasi Beutel & Aaron Tudor: a complete travesty and ultimately a significant financial liability to the city. The Peter Lance articles may be inflammatory, but there is ZERO REFUTATION of the allegations he presents.
Those two should be sitting in Bill Brown's squalid hell hole awaiting trial. Oh, but wait...Joyce Dudley needs the support of law enforcement to stay in office, so she's not about to rock her own boat.
Let's just keep pretending things are fine...

Beachgirl77 (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 9:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I know exactly who Steve Price is. He was disturbing people where I work and we had to call the cops on him and have him removed. I feel sorry for the man, but he's truly mentally unbalanced.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2012 at 12:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Cockroached street vendors are annoying, but so are speeding cars and the dead and maimed pedestrians and bicyclists those criminal drivers cause.

Frisky Cam apparently is satisfied that the vehicular moving violations are now fully prevented.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2012 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah I don't get how it is that the PD has all this extra time for vendor cart enforcement. Maybe they're just an easier target. After doing all the homeless social services work, training bar and restaurant owners alcoholic assessment, arresting DUI party patrons; when is their time for the PD to do substantial vehicle code enforcement. One little motorcycle cop every now and then, during daylight hours, doesn't meet the charge. The BearCat may be needed.

With a 24/7/365 day economy of transient students, transient tourists and our own local car club transients, the streets that carry a high volume of traffic could use some no nonsense tough- love militaristic type enforcement. Some communities actually have a no-tolerance polices for high-speeds, hot-rods and two wheeled and other big-ass full throttled tailpipes and even impound these extreme vehicles and their boom boxes too.

It could be of benefit to have street vendors. Could be downsides. The ordinance committee and council could consider licensing and permitting street vendors, making them acceptable. Seems as though the PD should have little time or interest in enforcement and that role should rest with the County Health Department, the department that inspect restaurants operations and for cockroaches and other vermin.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 6:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, and how about those stop-sign running, swerving in and out, wrong way driving bicyclists? or the pedestrians who step into traffic without looking, serene in their ignorance of physics thinking that a 4000 pound car can stop within 5 feet. Equal enforcement for all and long live the ratburgers.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 8:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You guys are making too much sense and politicians don't like that.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 9:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I found the mothership connection on Youtube:

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you hear any noise it just me and the corn vendors selling corn with mayonaise......

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 3:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Ratburgers" like Kenny on South Park.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 3:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

BTW, today's NewsPress reported the filing of a federal suit against Sanchez, Tudor, and their cronies for Tudor's breaking of a young woman's arm during a traffic arrest.. First of many suits, I'll bet. Anyone know where the money will come from to pay settlements? I suggest Cam's retirement plan as the source.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 6:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They will just have to increase the forfeitures.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2012 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

JohnLocke: Maybe the $500K or so city council gave him to buy his house or the $250K civil judgment against him by Mission Terrace(?) could help too.
Did Kasi Beutel get her promotion and raise get for planting heroin on the woman she arrested for DUI and then charged with bringing heroin for sale into the jail?
What's the next step in dealing with SB corruption, oversight by the AG or violent civil protest?

14noscams (anonymous profile)
December 11, 2012 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is there a raffle every year for city employees to win a house? That'd at least make it fair.
Ratburger McPhee
S. Park, CO

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 11, 2012 at 2:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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