One of our own has fallen and needs our help.
His name is Dennis Louball, a longtime Half Moon Bay police officer that moved to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office when Half Moon Bay disbanded its Police Department in favor of the Sheriff’s Office in 2011.
Dennis started his law enforcement carrer with the Half Moon Bay Police Department in 1997. I have no doubt that everyone has, at one time or another, run into Dennis or have been helped by him in one way or another. He was a dedicated member of the Half Moon Bay Police Department and worked tirelessly for us in many ways. I know he was there for me more than once or twice.
Dennis, a Moss Beach resident, is married with two young children (boy and girl), one in elementary school and the other too young yet.
Dennis was first diagnosed with lymphoma in his leg immediately after the transition from Half Moon Bay Police Department to the Sheriff's Office. He fought it with chemo, and it was covered through his Sheriff's Office benefits. Being the person he is, he continued working, being a father and husband through his fight with cancer.
However, when the cancer came back from remission, stronger than it had been in the first place, the County informed him that they could no longer cover him because it appeared to be pre-existing from his Half Moon Bay Police Department days and therefore fell under Half Moon Bay’s Workman Comp. Half Moon Bay disputes that, just as they disputed another Half Moon Bay Police Department officer’s illness claim in the mid-2000’s; Officer Bogner’s claim.
Since coverage has been denied, Dennis has been forced to use up all his earned benefits — sick leave, vacation time and comp time just to pay his bills; normal bills that we all have plus his medical bills. Since he has exhausted all his accumulated resources of relief, he has resorted to what is called Catastrophic Leave. That allows other County employees to donate their earned and saved sick leave to Dennis so he can hopefully feed his family in these very difficult times.
Police and Fire fall under the CA Labor Code, which call cancer an injury, which then qualifies that individual the right to claim the illness under Workman’s Comp. That can be found under Section 3212 of the CA Labor Code; specifically, Section 3212.1, so the City of Half Moon Bay has a very prominent role in this matter per their contract with the Half Moon Bay Police Department Officer’s Association supported by California Labor Code. It is very clear.
This, for me, is deja-vu all over again. I remember the shaft Bogner got. I remember Bogner and his wife out in front of Safeway with a card table and large jar, collecting donations from locals to eat. It was ugly, yet after all was said and done, after he and his family suffered to Hell and back, the City finally accepted their responsibility and settled.
Half Moon Bay is refusing coverage for one of our own — Dennis Louball — a very nice person, a very dedicated person, a very hard and honest worker and longtime Half Moon Bay Police Officer forcing him and his family into poverty because of cancer, which is clearly covered under contract and California Code. The only thing left that Dennis may have is his dignity, and the City is taking that, too.
I have but one simple, but glaring question for Half Moon Bay: Why???