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home : opinions : opinions June 29, 2015

8/9/2013 6:00:00 AM
TIMES EDITORIAL: A lack of dignity at Blythe City Hall
Steve Smith
Steve Smith

If you didn't believe Blythe Police Chief Steve Smith had issues before his second announced retirement and second rescission of retirement in the past six months, his inability to make up his mind only reinforces what we've been saying for many years now: Smith and Blythe City Manager Dave Lane need to go.

The game that Smith and Lane hatched for Smith to cheat the taxpayers by retiring and then continuing to work as an hourly employee, collecting a state retirement check and city paycheck, is a clear example of their lack of ethics, as well as an inability to emphasize with the public they profess to serve yet hold in obvious contempt.

And now that Smith didn't get his way, he's pulled papers to run for city council - or maybe he won't - he can't seem to make up his mind. But as they say, it's Smith's prerogative to change his mind.

What's worse is that two of our elected officials, Joey DeConinck and Wayne Cusick, both of whom seek to cut the pay and benefits of the regular City Hall workers, are all for the plan to make Smith a "millionaire" off of the taxpayer's hard work.

DeConinck dines almost daily with Smith and Lane and their social relationship has taken precedence over DeConinck's obligation to the public that elected him.

Joining the three since taking his council seat, Cusick has been a vocal proponent of cutting wages and eliminating the benefits of non-management employees at City Hall similar to how he boasts he runs his 7th Street Union 76 gas station on 7th and Hobsonway, where employees receive no sick days or holidays. At the 76 station, if you call in sick, you don't get paid. It's that simple.

The four of them, totally out of touch with the public they allege to serve, have proven, again and again that they could care less about the working men and women paying taxes in our community and seem willing do anything with our tax dollars to enrich themselves and the few that support them.

Another problem with Smith is that he always seems to have a story that fits his agenda. The one he told about wanting to remain as chief so that he could complete specific projects turned out to be just another fairy tale like so many others before and the "facts" he so often pulls out of thin air to try to fool the public.

He currently has cheerleader Cusick passing out a 10-page list of his accomplishments at the Union 76 station. Unfortunately, many of the accomplishments Smith takes credit for are not his but the work of others in agencies that don't report to Smith, something we hope to elaborate on in a future story.

And, according to Smith, he hasn't accomplished anything in 2012/13 because he spends much of his time defending himself from attacks from Vice-mayor Sam Patel and Councilman Mike Evans. He also says that he can't get any ordinances enacted because the council majority, Mayor Oscar Galvan, Patel and Evans, "won't cooperate."

Smith refuses to understand that the people of this community elected Galvan, Patel and Evans to represent their views. These are not just people passing through Blythe on their way to retirement in Mexico, like Smith, but people who have lived and worked in Blythe for generations. And as elected officials, they are Smith's boss and his role is to "cooperate" with them, not the other way around.

It's the three council members who are working to push the city forward that are hitting roadblocks dealing with Smith and Lane.

Smith and Lane definitely have worn out their welcome with the majority of people in this community.

In five years, the city has accomplished next to nothing and the Four Horsemen of Blythe's Apocalypse are offering no leadership or direction other than, to quote DeConinck, to keep the lights on.

While that may be good enough for Lane, Smith, DeConinck and Cusick, thankfully it's not good enough for the majority council and it definitely is unacceptable to the Blythe taxpayers who want to see improvements to their community instead of improvements to the wallets of Smith and Lane.

Related Stories:
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Why is the hospital losing money and what is the board doing?
• TIMES EDITORIAL: The Times encourages your input; does anyone else?
• TIMES EDITORIAL: It's past time to change management at Blythe City Hall

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: I Dunno

"Keeping the lights on" is hardly forward thinking. I certainly didn't vote for DeConninck, and I am proud that I saw through him before he came to "power". He's along with other "leaders" like Cusick, who aim to please their buddies who could not care less about really moving this town forward. He is so phony and obvious about it as he presents himself at meeting. I would like to see us elect some REAL fans of Blythe elected for a change. Unfortunately, with the likes of Lane, Smith, and the self-seeking power-mad Hospital board, really decent people won't run because of all the crap they have to step around.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@Bob Pratt. A Sniper see's the whole picture, and he takes a shot at the problem. But we have a dilemma here the problem is wearing a teflon suit of armor, that everything that is thrown at him does not stick. It's so slick that it reeks like a shady suit of used car salesman, or the cheap smell of booze from an out of luck lawyer.

It appears that he was given the lucky charm of the good old boy club. that's why he has that smiles that say's "yes I eat the tweety bird." And there is nothing you can do.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Pratt

Don't see anyone taking out or filing papers to seek election who seems to have such strong opinions on how things ought to be. Snipers work alone and accomplish very little since they only take one shot at a time. They work on what appears in their scope and don't see the whole picture. Maybe they should become a functioning part of the machine instead of the squeaky wheel.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: ummm...... who


Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Who's in charge?

Oh, let me count the ways - in which the situation with the council parallels the power struggle in the hospital? First of all, I still obviously have this "wrong", but where is it that a city council has to "cooperate" with its employees? Weird. I for one would welcome a change in the council where the council runs the city, not the manager and/or the silly police chief. And in many towns, the electorate elect the mayor! I have no problem with Galvan, but "just sayin ". I have been to many city council meetings, and I have not heard any report by the chief about any "projects" he's working on, or any "successes" he has done. I don't trust this man on anything, and he is doing much harm by his maneuvering. I, too, am aware of the clandestine meetings of Deconinck, Smith, and Lane, and I just "wonder" how legal and/or ethical this collusion is. One things is true, that it makes all them look like crooks skulking around and planning ways to appease their buddies in powerful places like the golf course crowd (some of them), and the college den. (I'm out of words, but that's it for now.) Open your eyes, folks. And also, thanks, pvvt, for attempting to help people SEE what is happening. Maybe there will be time to check out the school board, and see how their actions fit the honorable scale.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Putrified Wound

Could the kind of games being played be the result of Smith having knowledge of some nefarious doings by DeConinck & Cusick? Many people seem to think that DeConinck began to "change" when he basically stopped growing food & instead fallowed land & sold off his water rights for more $$$ than he could ever make farming! Even Pablo Escobar couldn't make 100% profit off of 0.0% effort. As for the 'chief', the theory behind hiring a non-local as Chief is that he is not beholding to any local interests. To have someone so blatantly immoral as Smith for a chief is a farce. Then again he may be doing what he does as part of a plan to draw attention from the RWNJ mental ward known as the Republican Party in prep for a run at some political office! Or perhaps like John Hinckly, who was trying to impress his intellectual superior Jodi Foster, so too is Smith looking towards wooing His intellectual superior. Like maybe Honey Boo Boo!

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

It sounds like Cusik studied at the Marie Antoinette school of leadership. He wants to make sure the elite is pampered and well-cared for at the expense of those who make the money for him.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

It is about time the cards where laid on the table!

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: to step

My comment or questions, rather, don't really have to do with this article but... Is Palo Verde Transit owed by, ran by and/or subsidized by the city of Blythe? Did they have a fuel contract with 7th St. 76 prior to councilman Cusick being elected to office? Conflict? Just curious.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Why should he retire when he has found a little gold nugget in the desert. He is following in the footsteps of the Good Doctor, and others that have struck it rich.

So what has he done for our community? Nothing. What has he done to our community? Nothing Good. How can they protect the people when most of the officers act like hoodlums themselves.

You know that you have it bad here in Blythe when you do not see any officers on their days off. If an officer is honest and fair even the bad guys will respect them. If not the officers will be afraid to walk the streets of Blythe with their families.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Palermo

In the early days of comedy, you had the likes of George Burns and Gracie Allen. Now Gracie was know for her "air headed" delivery to George's "straight man" persona. Smith seems to be vacillating at least on his personal decisions, kind of like Gracie. So, would Lane be George? Blythe's own comedy team, Lane and Smith.

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