RL NEWS of the Week: June 5, 2014

  • 06/05/2014
  • Reporters Desk

Pink Released
SAN PEDRO — The Pelican, known as Pink, was released June 3, in San Pedro.
The International Bird Rescue center repaired the bird’s slashed pouch in a series of surgeries.
He was rescued April 16 after he was found in Long Beach with his pouch sliced open from one end to another. The repairs were delicate due to the double layers of tissue that must be strong enough to withstand a pelican’s head-first dives into the ocean.
The California brown pelican underwent two surgeries and required more than 600 stitches to repair his pouch that someone sliced open.
The case is still under investigation by the California Fish and Wildlife Service. Contributing to the reward fund were the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Port of Long Beach. A $20,000 reward remains outstanding in the case.

LBPD Arrest 17-Year-Old for Bringing Dagger, Drugs to School
LONG BEACH — On June 4, Long Beach Police Department arrested a 17-year-old boy for bringing a dagger and a controlled substance to Millikan High School on May 28.
Detectives from the department’s Juvenile Investigations Section were dispatched to the 2300 block of West Arlington Street at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to locate the suspect, according to Sgt. Megan Zabel, a police spokeswoman.
The boy, however, fled from detectives on foot, Zabel said. A perimeter was set up and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter responded to assist.
The suspect was found and taken into custody without harm, she said.
The suspect is a student at Millikan. He is believed to have an affiliation with a local gang. He was detained by school personnel after the incident on May 28, but fled the school prior to police arrival.
He did not threaten anyone at the school with the weapon and there is no indication at this time he had plans to harm anyone at the school, officials said.
The suspect is being booked on charges of bringing a weapon on school grounds and possession of a controlled substance.

LONG BEACH — Long Beach Vice Mayor Robert Garcia is now Mayor-elect Robert Garcia.
The 36-year-old politician won the election with 52.1 percent of the vote against real estate investor Damon Dunn, who garnered 47.9 percent of the vote, according to the city’s unofficial result counts. Dunn lost despite having invested about $700,000 into his campaign. Garcia raised $450,000. When he is sworn in, Garcia will become the youngest and the first gay-Latino mayor in the city’s history.
Out of 256,735 registered voters about 17.6 percent, or 45,250 people, cast their ballot on June 3.
City Attorney Charles Parkin maintained his seat with a with a whopping 61.8 percent of the vote against challenger District 7 Councilman James Johnson, who garnered 38.2 percent of the vote.
Parkin, 56, was appointed in August 2013 to the position after his predecessor Robert Shannon retired.
Parkin oversees a staff of 20 attorneys, who represent and protect the city’s legal interests by representing the city in lawsuits and providing legal advice to the city’s commissions, the Port of Long Beach, Long Beach Airport, the Long Beach Police Department and the Long Beach Fire Department, among other city entities.
District 1 field deputy Lena Gonzalez, 33, will be among the new faces in the council. She took 60.4 percent of the vote against Misi Tagaloa, who garnered 39.6 percent of the vote for the Council District 1 race in Long Beach.
Another new face in the Long Beach City Council is Stacy Mungo, who garnered 54.6 percent of the vote against lobbyist Carl Kemp who took in 45.4 percent of the vote to represent District 5.
Mungo works as a Los Angeles County budget officer for Community and Senior Services. Previously, she was president of the El Dorado Park Estates Neighborhood Association.

McDonnell to face Tanaka in Runoff
LOS ANGELES — Long Beach Police Department Chief Jim McDonnell will square off against former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka to become the next head of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
McDonnell took the lead with 49.15 percent of the vote, with 264,104 votes, in the June 3 Primary Elections, according to the preliminary results.
Gardena Mayor Paul Tenaka garnered 14 percent of the vote, retired sheriff’s Cmdr. Bob Olmsted got 9.89 percent of the vote, Assistant Sheriff James Hellmold received 7.91 percent of the vote, retired sheriff’s Lt. Patrick Gomez garnered 6.74 percent of the vote, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers got 6.14 percent of the vote and Los Angeles Police Department Senior Detective Supervisor Lou Vince finished last with 5.43 percent of the vote.
McDonnell was the only outsider among the seven candidates running Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. McDonnell is a 29-year LAPD veteran. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Los Angeles County supervisors Michael Antonovich, Gloria Molina, Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Knabe, endorsed him.
The new sheriff will head a department with a $2.9-billion annual budget and more than 9,000 deputies, as well as oversee the policing of 42 cities and unincorporated areas. McDonnell cited his service on the citizens’ commission, which issued an influential set of recommendations for improving the county jails, as experience.
Tanaka is a 30-year veteran of the LASD. Tenaka has raised more than $900,000 for his campaign, according to recent filing reports.
The department has been under scrutiny for the treatment of its jail inmates, which has led to federal indictments and an investigation. Four-term Sheriff Lee Baca retired in January amid criticism of how he handled for deputy-on-inmate violence in county jails and charges of corruption within the department. Eighteen sheriff’s deputies were indicted.
Interim Sheriff John Scott will head the department until December.
Feuer Rolls Out Neighborhood Prosecutor Program
LOS ANGELES – On June 2, City Attorney Mike Feuer has announced that he will be hiring an additional five neighborhood prosecutors in the next few months, bringing the number to 21.
The Neighborhood Prosecutor Program works with law enforcement and members of the community to tackle quality of life issues impacting neighborhoods, such as vandalism, graffiti, illegal dumping, blight and different types of disturbances. The scope of work also includes gang activity, gun violence, domestic violence, trespassing, prostitution, zoning code violations, health code violations and other issues affecting quality of life.
The Neighborhood Prosecutors are embedded in the community, working closely with schools, neighborhood councils, home owner and residents associations, chambers of commerce and other civic organizations.
Feuer also announced that he and each of the 16 neighborhood prosecutors will host “Meet Your Neighborhood Prosecutor Forums” during the next few months across Los Angeles.
Upcoming meetings include:
6:30 p.m. June 24
Port of Los Angeles Administration Building
425 S. Palos Verdes St.
The Neighborhood Prosecutors as assigned to Los Angeles Police Department divisions includes Lauren Halligan for the Harbor Division.

Mayor Garcetti Announces First 15 “Great Streets”
LOS ANGELES — On June 3, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets of the Great Streets Initiative to improve neighborhood gathering places and generate economic activity by revitalizing key community corridors.
Garcetti has created the Great Streets Studio, which comprises dedicated staff with an office in City Hall tasked with community outreach and project development of the 15 streets.
Los Angeles has more streets than anywhere else in America.  At 6,500 centerline miles, our streets make up about 13 percent of all the land in Los Angeles. Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative envisions transforming this underutilized asset to support thriving neighborhoods. Great Streets activate the public realm, provide economic revitalization, increase public safety, enhance local culture, and build great communities.
In the near-term, change will begin with temporary treatments, including plazas and parklets. In the long-term, permanent changes to curbs, street lighting, street trees, and street furniture will be made.
The city budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 contains $800,000 for the Great Streets Initiative. This money is primarily seed funding to begin planning and outreach for each of the 15 corridors. Some of the streets already have existing funding, either through grants or through current city work plans. Once a Great Street is designated, the Great Streets Studio, in collaboration with the respective council office and community stakeholders, can leverage these existing investments for additional grant funding and begin mapping out an implementation timeline.
In Council District 15 Gaffey Street between 15th Street and the Interstate 110 freeway has been slated for improvements.

FAC, LA County Jail releases inmate visitor log
By Peter Scheer • December 5, 2013 • 1st Amendment NewsCoalition News
SCHEER– As part of a legal settlement with the First Amendment Coalition, the Los Angeles County Jail has agreed to pull back its veil of secrecy on the identities of persons who visit incarcerated public officials.
The jail’s prior policy had been to withhold—on grounds of privacy-protection–the names of visitors to all jail inmates. Going forward, the state’s biggest jail will apply a “presumption” of access when the requests (made under the Public Records Act) relate to public officials.
FAC was represented in the litigation by Jean-Paul Jassy of Jassy Vick LLP in LA.
The settlement grows out of a suit by FAC for access to the visitor logs for one of the LA jail’s high-profile inmates, John Noguez, the embattled LA County Assessor who faces multiple felony counts for bribery, embezzlement and related public corruption charges. Noguez was arrested in October 2012 following a political corruption probe into allegations that the Assessor’s Office lowered property tax bills in exchange for campaign contributions.
FAC filed a public record request after being approached by journalists who had been denied access to the visitor logs. Lawyers for the jail said the records must be withheld to protect the privacy of Noguez’s visitors. FAC argued that Noguez’s visitors had no expectation of privacy in view of the gauntlet of security personnel and screenings that they had to pass through to reach Noguez.
“It’s hard to imagine a less private interaction than a prison visit,” said FAC executive director Peter Scheer. “You have to pass through a metal detector; you’re subject to pat-down searches; you’re scrutinized by police and other security personnel at every step; and your movements are recorded on video.”
“Privacy is the last word that comes to mind,” Scheer continued. “This is the legal equivalent of standing before a live, network TV camera in the middle of Times Square at rush hour.” Scheer said.
So who came to visit Noguez? During the period October 2012 through February 2013 (the period covered by FAC’s record request), he received two visits from an aide to state Sen. Ronald Calderon. (See visitor log, embedded below). The San Gabriel Valley senator has been embroiled in allegations of political corruption following an FBI search of his office and the leak of an FBI affidavit discussing Calderon in connection with an ongoing criminal probe.
Noguez remains in jail while trying to raise funds for his bail, which was set at $1 million. Noguez also continues to hold the position of County Assessor, a job to which he was elected (and from which he cannot be removed unless convicted of a crime). Moreover, he continues to draw his Assessor’s $200,000 salary.
As part of the settlement with FAC, the LA County Jail agreed to adhere to the following policy:
“The identity of visitors to inmates at the Los Angeles County Jails is information that falls under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). With regard to inmates who are also high-ranking public officials, as defined in Government Code section 82048 and also to include judicial officers and high-ranking officials of the federal government, given their unique status and the public’s interest, there is a rebuttable presumption that the identity of their visitors while incarcerated shall be made available to the public under the CPRA.” (See actual document, embedded below).
FAC was represented in the litigation by Jean-Paul Jassy of Jassy Vick LLP in LA. In addition to disclosing the visitor logs and agreeing to change the jail’s policy, the county agreed to pay FAC $5,000 in legal fees.

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