Faulconer names SD's first female police chief

Assistant chief Shelley Zimmerman gets the nod

SDPD chief Shelley Zimmerman
  • SDPD chief Shelley Zimmerman

Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer made an intelligent move this afternoon (February 26) by naming assistant police chief Shelley Zimmerman as San Diego's first female chief, replacing William Lansdowne, who stepped down yesterday.

Zimmerman is an ideal choice for a police department in trouble for its members' sexual misdeeds. City council must approve the selection, but she is a shoo-in. Councilmember Lorie Zapf said Zimmerman is "an exceptional officer and public servant" as well as a timely choice.

Zimmerman said she will not tolerate any police officers dishonoring their badge — a problem that has haunted Lansdowne.

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viewer: Redheads are better? Not sure there is any difference among redheads, brunettes, blondes. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Yes, i have a sheltered life. Glad to hear that you don't. Best, Don Bauder

There is difference in choice of hair dye.

Psycholizard: As a lizard, do you color your hair green? Best, Don Bauder

I have huge hair, a beard and curls, and everyone tells me not to cut it because it helps the rock act, I comply because they're right. Please don't tell them your green hair idea, that might help also, but I have to look myself in the mirror.

Psycholizard: Well, green hair is better than almost no hair -- my situation. Best, Don Bauder

It's possible that through marriage you've eliminated the baldness gene from your family tree that's been the bane of the Bauder clan since before the reign of Julius Augustus Caesar.

More commonly known as the mane bane.

Duhbya: Or the main mane bane, to be pristine about it. Best, Don Bauder

Burwell: Most stories about male pattern baldness say it comes through the female side, although that doesn't appear to be unanimous. My father was bald, as was his father. My mother's father was bald. Me? I kept hoping I would be balled all the time, but I wasn't much of a lover....neither fighter nor lover, as Uncle Julius Caesar was. Best, Don Bauder

You know, It looks like Mayor-elect Faulconer is going to be alright. The current fiasco,(culture?) within the SDPD is out in the public's eye and demanded a drastic yet sensible response which I believe Mr. Faulconer has done. On the day when a fellow republican in Arizona has responded sensibly and courageously,(contrary to what the far right wants) I'm just as impressed with our Republican Mayor's decision. I didn't vote for him but, he has my full support and respect. Good job and congratulations Chief Zimmerman.

FatCatSegat: The governor of Arizona did the right thing, but she did not respond sensibly and courageously. She bowed to economic pressure. Give the credit for this intelligent veto to Apple, Intel, etc. Best, Don Bauder

Calling what went down in Arizona this last week "sensible and courageous" is a stretch. Republican Governor Jan Brewer can get away with endorsing racist Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but the economic fallout from going along with the anti-gay so-called religious freedom bill would have been huge. Her decision was an easy one.

monaghan: When Apple, Intel, Marriott and many other businesses express their disapproval of this disgusting redneck bill, and then the NFL does so (although not threatening to cancel a Super Bowl), Brewer had no other option but to veto. Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder, A threat to move Super Bowl XLIX from Phoenix, probably to Tampa, was not explicit, but it sure as hell was implicit. The NFL, imho, made it perfectly clear with their statement that if Brewer did not veto the SB1062, the game was gone. Considering that the NFL had already taken away one Super Bowl from Phoenix, at least Brewer was not moron enough to let it happen again.

It appears to be the most intelligent choice. I found it amusing that KPBS reported that the "I"-mayor, who had been calling for a nationwide search, was caught off guard by the decision.

McLovin: Yes, the interim mayor was definitely caught off guard, looking foolish. Best, Don Bauder

The problem is that Zimmerman was actually running the department on a daily basis, not Lansdowne. So Lansdowne gets fired for trusting Zimmerman to run the department while Zimmerman, who caused the department's problems, is made Chief. Faulconer should have fired both of them and recruited someone from the outside. You can't make this crap up.

Burwell: Very interesting interpretation. I have not heard that Zimmerman was actually running the department day-to-day. If that is the case, then some of us will have to eat crow. Best, Don Bauder

SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman doesn't strike me as the sharpest tool in the shed and if what Burwell says is accurate, we would have benefitted from a national search. Lansdowne, too political by half, should have been fired, but instead gets to enjoy "retirement."

Zimmerman is an appealing appointment because many will be glad there is a first female top-cop, but if recent outrageous police behavior is common in the ranks, Zimmerman will have to have been looking the other way all along.

Amusingly, Voice of San Diego ran the numbers based on Zimmerman's claim that most police are model citizens, and found that her calculations would result in a total of two miscreants on the force.

monaghan: Sorry. I didn't see that study iin the Voice, or Zimmerman's claim. Best, Don Bauder

What you boys and girls don't understand (except Burwell) is the Chief is a political figurehead who takes the heat and or gets the credit. The actual day-to-day operations of the Department are, in fact, distributed amongst the assistant chiefs (Zimmerman et. al.) who in turn report to the Executive Assistant Chief. So, for all intents and purposes, the Department is run by this Cabal, known as C.E.C. or Chief's Executive Council with the Chief at the helm. It, the cabal, produces the policy and procedures that are used as the guidelines that govern the organization.

With all of that said, there, of course, is one additional control. Well let's not call it a control, because there's little of that element in it. It's POLITICS. Chief Lansdowne for the most part knew how to play and it certainly appears our new Chief does too.

As to comment regarding Zimmerman ..."looking the other way all along" ...well let's just say she was too busy looking out for herself to be worried about two miscreants.

JustWondering: That may be true of Zimmerman. I don't know. But I know it is true of most executives who climb to the top rung. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Not sure I understand that comment. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Again, you are not getting through to me. Maybe I am dense and you are a genius. Best, Don Bauder

I wonder if she would have been Jose Susumo Azano Matsura's choice if his scheme had worked?

Murphyjunk: How do you know Azano's scheme didn't work? He wanted a new mayor and all he wanted was that mayor to name a new police chief. There was a new mayor who named a new police chief. Coincidence? Or.....hmmm. Best, Don Bauder

Murphyjunk: Emphasize it: hmmmmmmmmmm. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: I will keep that a secret. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Now that is profundity: News is factual -- if you can trust the source. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: We always consider the source. Best, Don Bauder

Here's a question... Is Zimmerman participationg in the City's DROP program? If so, how much time does she have left is the "irrevocable" DROP contract?

JustWondering: You have asked a critical question that the Reader is already trying to find the answer to. We have lots of calls out and will post something by day's end, even if we get no definitive answer. Best, Don Bauder

ZIMMERMAN IS DEFINITELY OUT AFTER FOUR YEARS. Please see Matt Potter's excellent post on this question. Zimmerman signed up for the DROP program effective March 2, 2013. Therefore, she is no longer an employee in four years. So she has only four years at the helm.

The only way she could change this is if she claims that her original DROP contract was defective in some way. If she or the City tries this ploy, people should raise holy hell. The DROP program is a blatant double-dipping arrangement. No one should be allowed out of it once they sign up. If the City gets smart and drops DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan), it should not be able to ex post facto eliminate those who have already signed up and are in the program. Best, Don Bauder

* This just in to the breaking news desk * Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has been appointed to head the San Diego Police Department's internal affairs sex crime unit. Film at eleven...on the new U-T digital platform SexFlix or was that NetGrope?

Frisky Bob is back to work!!!!

Darren: How can he do that job while he is under house arrest? Best, Don Bauder

Doesn’t this comment belong in the “Almost Factual News” section of the Reader?

Ponzi: Some of those comments wander over here. Best, Don Bauder

That's what I love about you Sir Bauder---you have never backed down from a good news story! :o)

Darren: But it has to be news, not fiction. Best, Don Bauder

This stinks. The town is so stupid sometimes. Obviously the choice of an insider should have been delayed until an audit was completed. Obviously the choice was made before Lansdowne's decision was made known, and he was forced out to make way for her. The timing suggests this is a planned result of the election. Who decided this, when did they decide this, where did they consult, why are they avoiding outside scrutiny. As of now, we only know that we have been told nothing.

Psycholizard: Was it Lansdowne's decision to step down? To name Zimmerman as his replacement? Did Azano play a role? Best, Don Bauder

I tend to agree with your assessment. She's been there a long time. Did she ever speak up? It's hard to believe NO ONE knew these guys were doing what they did...I'll give her a "wait and see," but I am not expecting much.

Wabbitsd: You pose a poignant question. Did she ever speak up? And since we now know she will only be around four years, was she just an interim appointment? Best, Don Bauder

If you were not aware, Chief Zimmerman and Mayor-elect Faulconer are VERY close friends. People can make and will make their own conclusions on how this influenced the decision.

I'm not sure how close Shelley Zimmerman and Kevin Faulconer are but I don't think Katherine Stuart, Kevin's wife, has much to worry about - Shelley is gay.

viewer: I trust it was not a bicycle built for two. Best, Don Bauder

Pat: Wow. If true, that makes three of San Diego's top law enforcement officers gay. There is nothing wrong with this; it's just interesting. Best, Don Bauder

JustWondering: This is important information. I hope you saw my post above that since she signed up for DROP a year ago, she is only a four-year appointee. Best, Don Bauder

I see from the newest story in the News Ticker from you and Matt Pottter that Zimmerman is already in DROP with four years left after Lansdowne official last day with the City. Does this make her a lame duck Chief? Was this "decisive" move by our Mayor-elect really a smart one?

JustWondering: Yes, she is a lame duck. Credit Matt Potter with terrific reporting. I only helped by making a bunch of calls and sending emails. She will limp through four years as chief. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: No, O'Connor was never a lame duck. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Gambling got Maureen in trouble long after she left office. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: Obviously, Maureen regrets her gambling addiction. Best, Don Bauder

I think he meant was O'Connor gay. Shelley would know, she was her driver and bodyguard for several years and knew everything that went on. Mayor "Mo" mixed with the top society so Shelley would have learned who is naughty and who is nice about town. Good stuff for an ambitious gal to know. Now no doubt Kevin will put it all to good use. Knowledge is power.

patflannery: Yes, Pat, I tried to ignore viewer's implication by shifting the discussion to lame duck. I do not believe Maureen O'Connor is gay. That rumor goes around about any woman who is powerful -- and in her case, one who was a gym teacher. She was devoted to her late husband, Bob Peterson, although they did have some problems. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: I have known and deeply liked Maureen O'Connor for a long time. Her falling into gambling addiction was tragic. Best, Don Bauder

Pat Flannery: Maureen would be the one to teach another lady how to succeed in a man's world. That's important information. Best, Don Bauder

John Jusko: Lansdowne was more of a politician than a police chief. In the end, his spending time on politics and neglecting his duty to keep the force in line finished him off. Best, Don Bauder

viewer: I don't know anything about a deletion. Best, Don Bauder

They should have conducted a nationwide search and poached an up-and-comer with an outstanding reputation. I don’t know anything about Zimmerman, but I do believe the bottle-neck is always at the top of the bottle. She was just below the cap. The problems the department has exhibited will not easily change with an entrenched insider. A fresh outsider would have sent a message that status quo was going to be disrupted and there’s a new sheriff in town. If these hastily made, lazy decisions are an indication of the Faulconer leadership, the voters will be getting a lot less than they deserve for a mayor.

Ponzi: The quickness with which a top aide was named to the top job does raise questions. Best, Don Bauder

I'm reading that they are calling the latest busted officer's conduct, "solicitation of a sexual bribe.". It was not, it was rape by threat of continued imprisonment. This town is complicit in the crimes, as the ones holding the victims for the rapists. Whoever is writing these press releases should be released from their employment. The whole top police management should be fired, they can't even pretend to respect the victims.

viewer: Possible those two last sentences will become columns. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: Public relations practitioners only know how to write euphemisms. Best, Don Bauder

The trouble is, we hear of violent rape of prostitutes treated as an unenforceable civil matter, non payment for illegal services. These statements seem to confirm this sick reasoning. I heard many complaints in the cab days that the police were the worst perverts on the stroll. I believe them now.

Psycholizard: To find out if the cops were the worst perverts of all, we need an investigation. Best, Don Bauder

We know now the prostitutes had legitimate complaints, at the time I gave them no credence. Those who rape with guns and handcuffs are the worst, no question there. An investigation will clear many police, it can't be too soon or too thorough.

This is just what we know about. I hope these new lawsuits result in subpoenas for the entire police brass. Jan Goldsmith, as usual, competes for the title of most nauseating. He investigates victims for smear purposes, and denounces victims as prostitutes. For every prostitute that would report any rape, let alone police rape, many times that are raped. Where is the solicitous attitude that treated every date request by the former Mayor as a crime. This is loathsome, and Faulconer's quick appointment of an insider suggests continuing cover up that includes the new Mayor himself.

Psycholizard: You are right about Goldsmith. Solicitation for a date became a crime. Reason: Goldsmith's backers, the corporate welfare crowd, were afraid that Filner would strip them of their monopoly powers (despite their minority status with the voters). Best, Don bauder

Margo Schwab: That is a ringing endorsement that should be taken seriously. Best, Don Bauder

I wonder if the cities plan to delete all email one year old or more has anything to do with covering up some half baked plots?

Murphyjunk: The plan to delete emails after one year is an attempt to thwart the press in tracing corruption. Period. Best, Don Bauder

The Facebook posts are all laudatory for some reason. I'd just like to remind some people of the rejoicing in 1993 when Janet Reno was appointed Attorney General. Just because she was female didn't mean she was good or decent or fair or competent.

Burwell, Psycholizard and some others are pointing out some salient facts that are anything but laudatory. While I knew nothiing about the woman before this announcement, I would have been skeptical of it because she came up through the same dysfunctional department that now needs to be fixed. That she rose to the highest ranks in the SDPD without ever giving any indication of being a reformer from within means that she isn't part of the solution. She was part of the problem, just like all the other assistant chiefs.

A far better choice would have been a respected and experienced chief from one of the smaller cities in this county. Sadly, while there may be one or a few such folks, I cannot think of one.

That department needs new blood, and an outsider chief who is charged with reforming it would immediately run into entrenched resistance. We will soon know if she is capable of anything more than the "same old same old" ways of doing things, because if she attempts any real reform, the rank and file will screech like banshees. A reformer who would really attempt reform would not be held back by lame-duck status, and it might actually be an advantage.

Visduh: Many people agree with your view that the SDPD is so mismanaged and corrupt that a new leader should have been brought in from the outside. But how much reforming could that new leader do? Would he or she begin by recognizing that police pensions are far too generous? Best, Don Bauder

Patty Elkus: Your view is opposite that of Visduh. That's what makes markets. Best, Don Bauder

Two stories recently appeared on the same local news broadcast. One was the Shelly Zimmerman story. The other was of a border patrol agent named Michael Flanders. Agent Flanders had gone public with civil rights violations being committed by his fellow agents at the I-8 checkpoint against his fellow American citizens. By doing so this brave young man was removed from duty at that post (while those he accused of misconduct remain). He also no doubt ruined his career in homeland security. Visduh and Ponzi were right on with their assessment. Zimmerman should have remained interim chief until a larger search was conducted. I'd of started with a guy like Michael Flanders.

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