Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying possible victims of sex crimes committed by an individual at a local retail store in the District.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:
April 2, 2013 Lt. Paul Garaven
(714) 889-8681 – Cell
(714) 573-3282 – Office
On Friday, March 22, 2013, Officers responded to the TJ Maxx store, 2817 Park Ave, Tustin, CA, reference a suspect photographing and video recording up the skirts of female customers in the store. One victim indicated the suspect approached her while shopping, maneuvered himself to a position where the victim’s movement was blocked between a store pillar and the suspect. The victim felt confined and the suspect used his phone to record up her skirt. The victim was able to get away and called Tustin PD.
Tustin Police arrested Brian Joseph Eastman. Eastman is a 25 year old resident of Irvine and currently works in Santa Ana. During the initial investigation, officers located several secretly recorded videos and digital photographs of several unidentified women at various locations. The locations appear to be retail stores and residential locations.
The video evidence we have contains footage of the unidentified victim’s faces as well as the indecent footage. We are not releasing this footage at this time.
The Tustin Police Department is seeking media and community assistance in locating anyone who feels they may be one of Eastman’s unidentified victims or anyone who may have seen Eastman at any businesses throughout Orange County.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Natalie Nguyen at (714) 573-3253.
There’s not much to get excited about on the Tustin City Council agenda this week. It is nice to see an agenda without the usual City of Tustin v. TUSD closed session item. In fact, there are no current lawsuits listed for discussion and only the usual two each, initiation and exposure to, litigation. There are also two liability claims (precursors to lawsuits) under consideration.
One item on the Closed Session Agenda does deserve scrutiny, the performance evaluation of the City Attorney, David Kendig. Since taking over from predecessor Doug Holland, Kendig has displayed less than stellar performance, in our view. Both lawyers hail from the Law Office of Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart which has handled the city’s legal affairs since 1995. At one time, we lauded the city for continuing to use the firm for legal guidance, particularly with Holland as the chief representative. We had high hopes for Kendig but he has proven that he is more of a panderer than an attorney. He quickly aligned himself with the right side of the dais and has since become entrenched. He has given questionable advice and, in some cases, has blatantly attempted to mask wrongdoing on the dais with opinion that doesn’t come close to proper legal advice.
That said, we have a few new/old faces on the council who, hopefully, will take a focused look at this attorney’s off-track decisions. Continued use of Kendig should go against the grain of each councilmember who ran on an open-government-transparency ticket in the last election. In fact, it is perhaps time to take a look at the contract law office as a whole.
There is at least one item on the Consent Calendar that should be discussed openly before the city council. City staff are recommending that Notices of Completion for capital improvement projects be allowed to be filed “administratively”. This means the city council would not necessarily be aware that projects have been completed. While staff call this “streamlining”, we would call it an improper delegation of authority by the city council who should be kept apprised of the status of all projects involving city funds. We recommend the city council pull this item for discussion and vote.
Other than these items, it should be a pretty easy meeting for the city council. That will give the three amigos more time at their favorite watering hole after the meeting.
Conference with Legal Council – Two each, exposure to and initiation of litigation.
Public Employment- Performance Evaluations of the City Manager and the City Attorney.
Liability Claims- Consideration of claims of Carlos Cortez and Gresel Montes.
Conference with Real Property Negotiators- 3 items, all on the MCAS property.
Specific Pan Amendment – 2012-02 MCAS Tustin Specific Plan – The 9th or so amendment to make what appears to be minor changes in language and items of the plan for clarification.
Adopt Resolution Ordering Preparation of Engineer’s Report- Tustin Landscape and Lighting District levy of annual assessments for FY2013-2014 – Tustin Ranch.
Adopt Resolution Authorizing Director of Public Works or City Engineer- to accept capital improvement projects and complete and file Notices of Completion.
Terminate Contract for Annual Catch Basin Insert Cleaning- The contracted company has given a notice they have gone out of business. This is an interim measure until a new RFP can be advertised.
Office Lease Extension- Successor Agency offices located at 245 Centennial Way. Perhaps we should look at eliminating an unnecessary expense and bringing these staff back to city hall.
Urban Area Security Initiative Grant- A portion of $3.6 million dollars is available for response to acts of terrorism. This is the annual re-authorization of the Chief of Police as the official representative for the UASI Grant.
As with every previous mayor in Tustin, Al Murray was no exception in presenting a set of goals that he has committed to during his tenure. Like his predecessors, he seems to forget, or not understand, the almost strictly ceremonial aspect of his office. Perhaps someone should remind him that it is the entire city council that set policy. In that respect, it might be better to collaborate with and present the city council’s goals rather than the mayor’s goals. In any case, Murray’s stated goals demonstrates how completely unambitious and unimaginative the good mayor may be. Unless he steps it up a bit, don’t look for anything interesting to happen under his tenure.
Murray’s first goal? To establish a Community Emergency Response Team. This would be a great idea if Murray hadn’t taken a page from Tustin Police Chief Scott Jordan’s playbook. In the TPD’s 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, one of Chief Jordan goals is to establish a team of citizen responders for disasters and emergencies. Murray, who seems to spend an inordinate amount of time slurping coffee with officers at the local Keane’s, is riding piggyback on the chief’s plan to have a team established by September. I wonder how the chief feels about a former Irvine PD captain stealing his ideas?
Murray’s next goal is to continue moving forward with the Tustin Legacy Project and Tustin Ranch Road. Of course, these projects are well underway and it is doubtful the good mayor or city council could have much effect on its progress. The fire station project, likewise, is well under way. We will give Murray credit for being on the city council over the past two years when crucial decisions were made. Still, not much more can be done at this point to move these projects any faster.
Transparency and the Entrance to City Hall. Raise your hand if you think this city council will be any more transparent than the last one. Everyone likes to talk about transparency but they all have their own ideas of exactly what transparency is. In fact, Murray appeared to mix transparency with new telephone systems and “access to the internet”, as if that makes city hall more transparent. Murray, who has declined to return any email I have ever sent to him, has a long way to go personally before attempting to tackle transparency at city hall, where the only way to obtain information is through a public records request… unless you happen to catch Jeff Parker or Elizabeth Binsack in a good mood that day.
The Shadow Knows. Murray’s next big project is an obvious attempt to make it appear that his administration will be more friendly toward the Tustin Unified School District. His idea is to have the school district select one student each quarter to shadow a government official for a day. Murray’s idea is to introduce students to government and its function. I would suggest that, unless they are looking to see how corruption runs and how government executives manage their fiefdoms, the students continue to learn about government as they do now – from textbooks and teachers. At least that way, they see government as it should work, not necessarily how it actually works at the local level. Perhaps, then, we can get the system back on track by making sure they learn from an unbiased, untainted source.
Collaboration with other government agencies and private businesses. Expect to see Murray and the Fab Five continue down the same path as the previous council. That is, to make Tustin more business oriented at the expense of resident’s quality of life. It remains to be seen just how much damage Murray can do with his limited business connections. He still has Nielsen to help him get the most from business contribution-wise. After the OC Watchdog outed Nielsen and Team Tustin for their gross contributions to campaign funds, it was also noted that Nielsen voted to extend the trash contract another year. I am sure John can introduce Al to a few of his business connections before the next election cycle.
So, what do we think should be the goals of this administration?
Certainly, we agree the city should do whatever it takes to end the lawsuits between TUSD and the city. That would take more than paying lip service to the school board and making empty threats to implement term limits. It would mean taking a serious look at the situation and settling the issues, including an offer to pay some attorney fees for the district. A stipulation that the city would no longer unduly interfere with school construction and affairs would go a long way toward mending fences. Yes, I’m saying go to the school board, hat in hand, and beg forgiveness.
A long term goal that could be started under this administration is to resurrect the idea of a park around the hangar Tustin is responsible for. With the Orange County Board of Supervisors ready to commit money and effort toward a regional park for their hangar, it could work to the benefit of the citizens in the Legacy area if Tustin joined forces with the county to preserve as much of that area for park an non-commercial use as possible. With the waning prospect of a “great park” in Irvine, a regional park that preserves the best example of Tustin’s military history would bring visitors from around the county and the country to enjoy these monuments to freedom. And, do we really want to say, “there used to be two hangars but…”.
Settle all aspects of the Tustin Legacy. Stop putting roadblocks up to development. Last year, the city retook control of the development of the MCAS property when they designated city officials as the master developer. Almost immediately, the city went to work locating property developers and making necessary changes to get building started. They made some difficult and, sometimes, unpopular decisions. The important thing is, development has started once again. The completion of Tustin Ranch Road will throw things into high gear but will require a rethinking of regional transportation projects. (I know, this is a goal of Al’s… It’s the only one worth keeping, in our opinion).
The first city council meeting of the year was mercifully short at an hour and fifteen minutes. Hopefully, that trend will continue. In the coming year, we don’t see a whole lot coming from this bunch. Gomez continues to play the nice guy and the other four are too dull to really bring any fireworks to the dais. Murray, a retired police officer from Irvine, shows that he has way too much time on his hands. Nielsen is too busy with personal issues and the podiatrist councilman reminds me of Ted Kennedy during the camelot era. Wake me up if I fall asleep.
The norm is, I don’t usually make it to the Tustin City Council meetings on a regular basis. Fortunately, the city is kind enough to videotape and publish the meetings on the city website. I can watch them when it is convenient and I don’t even have to dress up for the occasion. The best part is, the city links the agenda to the video so one only has to watch what they want. In recent weeks, there hasn’t been much to watch other than the changing of the guard and some minor issues we have reported on. I wasn’t even going to watch the latest meeting except something told me it would be entertaining. It was, if you think watching a podiatrist read his notes verbatim is entertaining.
Nonetheless, when Mayor Al Murray congratulated Chief of Police, Scott Jordan, for his election to the Orange County Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs Association, I thought I would email the chief with a congratulatory message. As you know, Our Town Tustin likes the chief and think he does an outstanding job leading a professional department that we can all be proud of. So, I was surprised to find out Jordan was actually elected on May 1, 2012, and is in midterm.
From his email:
I became President of the Orange County Chiefs’ of Police and Sheriff’s Association on May 1, 2012, and my term runs through April 30, 2013. So far, it has been a challenging year. As you know, we are experiencing the perfect storm – fewer personnel, due to both the recession and the elimination of redevelopment agencies, and increasing crime and calls for service. This perfect storm is certainly complicated by AB 109, prisoner realignment. Now, with the recent passage of Prop 36, we can anticipate the release of even more career criminals. I am sure the release of prisoners / repeat offenders into our society has at least some impact on the increasing crime, even though I can’t specifically say how much.
Under the Chief’s leadership, the Association has amended their protocol for handling the mentally ill and continue to support police officer training on handling the mentally ill. “In fact, Tustin is sponsoring training for police officers on handling the mentally ill in the first part of 2013″, said Jordan. He went on to say his department supports the Orange County Fire Authority active shooter protocol that defines first responder roles and responsibilities. That’s good news in the wake of Sandy Hook and other recent tragedies.
None of this is surprising, of course. Several months ago, I was meeting with the IT guru from Tustin Unified School District over Measure S. We met at Peet’s Coffee on Newport, as I like to support our local businesses. During the meeting, I noticed a homeless man sitting nearby. He was in a bit of distress and, although he was exhibiting signs of mental illness, he was not really bothering anyone.
Apparently, someone from the store called the cops to complain. When the officer arrived, I observed him approach and speak quietly to the man. The officer, whom I later found out was Officer Manny Arzate, later came up to my table and told me they received a call saying the man had exposed himself to patrons. I told him I had been there for awhile and had seen nothing of the sort. He thanked me and, with another officer who arrived on the scene, spoke again with the man in a quiet, respectful manner that we would all expect when members of the police department are speaking to us. They encouraged him to leave and then left the area. It was obvious they were trained in dealing with the mentally ill from how they handled the situation.
None of this should surprise you. It’s good to know, however, that our department is highly trained and that they care about our community.
It is also good to know that our own chief of police is leading the way in Orange County Law Enforcement as they deal with new and challenging issues this coming year. AB109, the law that realigned prison programs to allow the release of dangerous criminals, will now, according to Jordan, be compounded by Prop 36, which has changed the aspect of the Three Strikes Law significantly. We do not necessarily share Jordan’s dire prediction on Prop 36 but we appreciate his concern and the fact he takes his job seriously.