LB, Army Corps Sign East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study
LONG BEACH — On Jan. 20, Mayor Robert Garcia and Maj. Gen. Donald Jackson signed an agreement to officially begin a feasibility study on the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration project.
The East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study will focus primarily on restoring the aquatic ecosystem. Officials will conduct engineering analysis that will include coastal engineering, as well as geotechnical engineering design of any alternative affecting the Long Beach breakwater, including wave modeling to assess surface wave effects on infrastructure, navigation and recreation, and circulation modeling that will show movement of water within the East San Pedro Bay. These expert evaluations will shed light on opportunities for kelp, eelgrass, and wetlands restoration within the East San Pedro Bay. Long Beach and Army Corps of Engineers have committed to mitigating any impacts to the capacity for maritime operations within the project area, and will not tolerate negative impacts to coastal homes and infrastructure.
For more details visit www.longbeach.gov/linklb
Woman Convicted of LB Identity Theft
LONG BEACH — On Jan. 20, a Riverside woman has been convicted on federal identity theft charges for possessing the identities of more than 50 patients of a residential medical facility in Long Beach formerly known as the Hillcrest Care Center.
Bridgette Jackson, 45, was convicted by a jury yesterday afternoon in United States District Court of conspiring to possess more than 15 identities, possessing more than 15 identities, and aggravated identity theft.
Jackson’s aunt, who testified against her at the trial, was an employee at the Hillcrest Care Center and had access to all of the patient files. According to the testimony at trial, Jackson approached her aunt and asked for personal identifying information of patients. Jackson’s aunt copied or wrote down personal identifying information and provided it to Jackson on three separate occasions. Jackson then used that information to help others file false tax returns in the names of the patients and keep the refunds for themselves. When law enforcement executed a search warrant on Jackson’s residence, officers seized approximately 56 Hillcrest medical records, along with almost 70 other identity profiles, which included names, social security numbers, and dates of birth of individuals other than Jackson. Law enforcement also seized over 50 prepaid debit cards in names of people other than Jackson.
“This identity theft scheme targeted vulnerable victims,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The victims included elderly patients at a convalescent home and a 28-year-old woman with a traumatic brain injury who has lived in a 24-hour nursing facility since she was 16.”
After Jackson’s conviction, a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 7. At that time, Jackson will face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 17 years.
In an unrelated case, Jackson pled guilty last year to conspiring to commit credit card fraud in the U.S. District Court in Riverside and faces up to five years when she is sentenced in that case on March 28.
LASD Seeks Help in Solving Murder
CARSON — The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s assistance in solving the murder of 30-year-old William Treas.
On Jan. 12, Treas was riding his bicycle near the 21900 block of South Grace Avenue in Carson, when he was approached by two men, between the ages of 17 and 20 years old. The suspects shot Treas before fleeing the scene. Treas was pronounced dead at the scene.
Garcetti Appoints General Manager for Office of Finance
LOS ANGELES — On Jan. 19, Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Claire Bartels as general manager of the Office of Finance.
The Office of Finance is charged with tax and permit collection, cash management, and short-term investments. Finance, the Controller’s Office, and the city administrative officer handle the majority of fiscal services for the city.
Bartels brings seven years of executive-level experience in the city’s fiscal operations, most recently as executive officer and chief deputy controller for both Galperin and Wendy Greuel. She oversaw the successful implementation of the new enterprise financial management system and helped launch ControlPanelLA, opening the way to greater transparency and accountability through open financial data.
Bartels has been serving Los Angeles for almost 30 years, beginning in the General Services Department. Later, she served as a special projects deputy for Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski and as chief of staff to Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. She was also appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan to head his Targeted Neighborhood Initiative in 2000. There, Bartels was responsible for managing and administering the $36 million program — which provided 25 neighborhoods with resources to increase economic development and reduce blight in the community.
Bartels replaces the former general manager, Antoinette Christovale, who retired earlier this month with more than 16 years of service.
The Mayor has appointed Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo to serve as the interim general manager for the Office of Finance as Bartels transitions from her role as deputy chief controller to general manager.
Bartels’ appointment will now move to the Los Angeles City Council for confirmation.
LAPD Announces Crime Fighting Strategies
LOS ANGELES — On Jan. 20 directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League hosted a press conference regarding the department’s efforts to fight crime in the city.
While reported violent and property crime increased in 2015, the league noted that this past year’s crime increase was largely driven by the following factors:
- The potential unintended effects of Proposition 47 and AB 109 which reduced penalties for certain offenses and promised additional services which have not yet materialized;
- Stricter reporting of aggravated assaults under the federal Uniform Crime Report system;
- Increased outreach to victims of domestic violence, traditionally an underreported crime; and
- The increase in the homeless population which increased the number of potential victims vulnerable to a variety of property and violent crimes.
Despite these factors, and the statewide trend of increasing crime, the LAPD has implemented several strategies:
- Significantly expanding the number of specially-trained officers assigned to LAPD’s Metropolitan Division who are flexibly deployed to rapidly respond to crime spikes and proactively prevent crimes throughout the city;
- Doubling the number of domestic abuse response teams enabling every LAPD patrol division to field specialized teams to prevent and respond to domestic violence incidents;
- Expanding the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program to include twice as many GRYD zones that provide prevention and intervention services to at-risk youth;
- Combining city and county efforts to reduce homelessness comprehensively by increasing available housing and providing additional support services;
- Doubling the number of specially-trained teams of police officers and mental health professionals to respond to incidents involving a mental health crisis; and
- Expanding smart policing initiatives to use sophisticated data analysis to deploy police resources in areas that will have the largest impact in preventing and reducing crime.
Hall Announces Legislative Package to Reduce Gun Violence
SACRAMENTO — On Jan. 20, Sen. Isadore Hall, III announced a legislative package designed to reduce gun violence in California.
Senate Bill 880, joint authored by Senators Isadore Hall and Steve Glazer (D – Contra Costa) closes the “bullet button loophole” by redefining assault weapons to include military-style semi-automatic firearms with the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, requiring such weapons to be registered with the Department of Justice and prohibiting the future sale, purchase or possession of such weapons in California.
For years, gun owners have been able to circumvent California’s assault weapon laws by using a small tool to quickly eject and reload ammunition magazines. These types of modifications have no legitimate use for sport hunters or competitive shooters. They are designed only to facilitate the maximum destruction of human life. Such weapons have been used in a number of recent gun attacks including the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino that left 14 Californians dead and 21 injured.
Hall has also introduced SB 872, which would allow local law enforcement agencies to enter into contracts with private schools, colleges or universities to provide on-campus security services.
Completing Hall’s legislative package to reduce gun violence, Hall has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 20, which urges the U.S. Congress to end the current federal prohibition on publicly funded scientific research on the causes of gun violence and its effects on public health. The resolution also calls upon Congress to appropriate funds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other relevant federal agencies to address the public health crisis caused by gun violence.