By Lois Henry
You have to feel a little sorry for Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson. Wish as he might, he just cannot escape the foibles of his boss, City Manager Alan Tandy.
Four years ago, Williamson ducked having to arrest Tandy for suspicion of driving drunk in a city-owned vehicle when a sergeant gave Tandy the now-infamous cupped-hand "Breathalyzer" and sent him on his way.
But there wasn't any video then. Nor a victim. Looks like we've got both now.
Tandy is being investigated by the Kern County District Attorney's Office for his alleged involvement in some kind of altercation Sunday at the San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center on Q Street, apparently on the hockey rink, that resulted in one man suffering a concussion. The victim of the alleged assault is Jonathan Hudson, general manager of the Shafter airport, according to sources who didn't want to be named. Hudson declined to return our phone calls.
Reportedly, Hudson was playing for an adult hockey league team opposing Tandy's Blues on Sunday when an altercation broke out. Hudson finished the game and went on to referee a second game. But he had to leave in the second period as he felt ill, other hockey league players confirmed.
I suppose it's understandable that no one wants his name associated with this. Tandy is a powerful man and he's certainly not timid about throwing his weight around. Tales of screaming fits in meetings, even projectiles launched across rooms, are legendary.
And, of course, there was the hockey-related incident 17 years ago. In 1997, at a Bakersfield Fog game (forerunners of the Condors), a security guard asked Tandy not to lean on the glass. He reportedly yelled at the guard and cussed her out. Later, he had the security firm fired. (Incidentally, he told The Californian at the time that he was the victim and was even considering "legal action.")
What is it with hockey?
Anyhow, back to the video.
There is video of the altercation from the Ice Center, according to the city.
While The Californian was assured the video does show "the incident," we don't know much more as we were unable to obtain a copy by press time Tuesday.
My guess is that if it showed everyone behaving cordially, you would not be reading this story and Chief Williamson would not have asked the DA's Office to investigate, which is something the DA doesn't typically do.
But right quick Monday morning, the DA had assigned two investigators to the matter at Williamson's request.
I can imagine Williamson's urgent desire to get this mess off his hands. As I mentioned, Tandy is his direct boss. Williamson, so far, has declined to comment.
There is, of course, the chance that the investigation was requested by Tandy himself in an attempt to transparently show that he did nothing wrong. That's unlikely, if you ask me, and here's why.
I had hoped Williamson would have called in a neutral agency to investigate Tandy's alleged drunken driving in 2010. Instead, he deemed the cupped-hand deal to be on the up and up and that was that.
Here's what happened back in 2010.
An officer with the city's DUI enforcement detail saw a car on Truxtun Avenue driving very slowly and weaving, signs an officer might reasonably take as an indication of an impaired driver.
He pulled the car over, saw it was Tandy in a city-owned vehicle and called his supervisor, Sgt. Melvin Johnson.
Johnson arrived and had Tandy blow into his cupped hand to smell for booze. He then waved the city boss on.
No portable alcohol-screening test, no touch-the-nose, nothing.
For his part, Tandy said the incident was a union harassment tactic, as the city was in a nasty contract dispute with the BPD union at the time.
If so, I asked, why didn't he insist on having the portable alcohol-screening test? That way there would be no dispute as to his sobriety. He didn't think about it, was Tandy's answer.
Yeah, not exactly a history of holding himself to the highest account, if you ask me.
Video has a way of changing that.
Contact Californian columnist Lois Henry at 395-7373 or email@example.com. Her work appears on Sundays and Wednesdays; the views expressed are her own.