Index
Friday
Apr182014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (San Gabriel Valley): Irwindale, public corruption case, court ruling: "Superior Court judge rules in favor of Irwindale officials accused of corruption" ....

* Pasadena Star-News:  "Superior Court judge rules in favor of Irwindale officials accused of corruption" - From the SN:

LOS ANGELES >> A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Irwindale officials in their attempt to dismiss some of the public corruption charges alleged against them. The charges of embezzlement, conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds against Mayor Mark Breceda, City Councilman Manuel Garcia and former City Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez, now a city planning commissioner, stem from several trips the officials took to New York City between 2001 and 2005 in an attempt to increase the city’s bond rating.

Monday’s ruling paves the way for the conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds charges against the officials to be dismissed or allows the district attorney to file an amended complaint against the officials.

Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan granted defense attorney Anthony Falangetti’s request to review a decision made by Judge Roberto Longoria in December. Longoria ruled prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to arraign the officials on all of the charges. Defense attorneys argued the statute of limitations had expired on some of the alleged wrongdoing. Embezzlement has no statute of limitations. The trips, where the officials ate at expensive restaurants, used limousine services, attended Broadway shows and New York Yankees games, cost taxpayers about $200,000.

Ryan wrote Longoria can allow prosecutors to amend the complaint against the officials or back up his original ruling.

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Last week, a fourth defendant in the case, retired Finance Director Abraham “Abe” De Dios, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor conflict of interest charge.

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The officials will be back in court May 16.

Friday
Apr182014

SACRAMENTO: SB 391, new fee on recording real estate documents, "Bill seeks to ease California's housing affordability crisis"; editorial, Jerry Brown, state budget, "California needs a rainy-day fund that works"; Fair Political Practices Commission, "FPPC delays decision on Berryhill money-laundering case"; El Dorado County, "Supervisor's trial has El Dorado political world seething" .... 

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "California needs a rainy-day fund that works" - "The state already has one such fund, but Gov. Brown's proposal has several advantages."

* Sacramento Bee:  "Supervisor's trial has El Dorado political world seething"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Bill seeks to ease California's housing affordability crisis" - "SB 391 would fund more than 10,000 subsidized homes a year through a new fee on recording real estate documents. Critics say it unfairly saddles homeowners and businesses with added costs."

* Sacramento Bee:  "FPPC delays decision on Berryhill money-laundering case"

Friday
Apr182014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, recommendation, increase in public funding for candidates seeking city office: "Ethics panel wants more public funding available to candidates" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Ethics panel wants more public funding available to candidates" - From the LAT:

Los Angeles' Ethics Commission is calling for an increase in public funding available to candidates seeking city office.

The city currently provides $2 for each dollar a candidate raises in primary elections, and $4 for each dollar contributed in two-way runoffs in general elections. On Thursday, the panel recommended the city match be increased to $6 in both primary and general elections.

"You want to allow people to talk to constituents, not just donors, and I think that increasing the match will reduce the amount of time you have to spend fundraising," said Jessica Levinson, vice president of the commission and a professor at Loyola Law School. She said that publicly financed programs are designed to reduce corruption, and as more office-seekers agree to abide by campaign spending limits to receive the money it should decrease the degree to which "money controls the game." 

The city paid approximately $10 million in matching funds to candidates in the 2013 elections.

The commission also announced it would no longer enforce aggregate contribution limits on individuals giving to city and school board candidates as a result of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The high court found limits on total giving to multiple candidates by contributors unconstitutionally infringes on their free speech rights. 

City caps on what donors can give to individual candidates will remain in effect. . . . . . . .

The proposal to boost public funding of city campaigns, which must be approved by the City Council, would bring L.A. in line with New York City, which matches contributions at a six-to-one ratio.................... 

Friday
Apr182014

POLITICS/EDUCATION (South Bay/Los Angeles County): Centinela Valley Union High School district, more info/details, insurance premium subsidy, Superintendant Jose Fernandez: "Insurance premium subsidy boosted superintendent's pay to $772,457"; also, "Centinela Valley superintendent secured $750K life insurance policy before board approval, documents show" ....  

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (Centinela Valley Union High School District, $1 million whole-life insurance policy for Superintendent Jose Fernandez)....

* Daily Breeze:  "Centinela Valley superintendent secured $750K life insurance policy before board approval, documents show"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Insurance premium subsidy boosted superintendent's pay to $772,457" - "Centinela Valley Union district paid $98,000 for superintendent Jose Fernandez's life insurance, making his compensation $772, 457, not $674,559 as previously stated."

Thursday
Apr172014

POLITICS/BUSINESS: Herbalife, another investigation: "Herbalife gets more bad news: Illinois AG investigation"; also, "Illinois investigates Herbalife as federal, state probes grow"; "Illinois attorney general investigating Herbalife"; "Herbalife Discloses Investigation in Illinois" ....

***Various reports, sampling of coverage, Herbalife, another investigation....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Herbalife gets more bad news: Illinois AG investigation"

* Chicago Tribune:  "Illinois investigates Herbalife as federal, state probes grow"

* CNBC (Reuters):  "Illinois attorney general investigating Herbalife"

* AP (The Big Story):  "Herbalife Discloses Investigation in Illinois"