Index
Wednesday
Mar142012

POLITICS (Bay Area): San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi domestic violence case, his "next challenge: paying the lawyers"....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Mirkarimi's next challenge: paying the lawyers" - From the Chronicle:

   With his domestic violence case behind him, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is facing another big challenge - legal bills that are at $125,000 and rising. Mirkarimi, whose $199,000-a-year sheriff's salary is the only income for himself and his family, is paying for his own defense team - plus the cost of criminal, family law and immigration lawyers for his wife, Eliana Lopez.

   Mirkarimi said Tuesday that the spiraling legal costs, coupled with the intense media coverage and the emotional toll the case was taking on his family, were a "considerable factor" in his decision to plead guilty to a single charge of misdemeanor false imprisonment. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a charge of domestic violence battery and two other misdemeanors . . . . . . . .

   To help offset Mirkarimi's legal bills, former Mayor Art Agnos helped host a Friends of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi fundraiser. . . . . Defense attorney Lewis Romero, who describes himself as having "friends on all sides of the case," has also hosted an event to help Mirkarimi pay his legal bills.

   Mirkarimi said he has been reluctant to raise money for his legal defense because he found it "so humiliating," but that he intends to make good on his financial responsibilities. Under city law, Mirkarimi can't set up a legal defense fund for a criminal case, but he can accept cash "gifts" of as much as $420. That money can go toward anything, including a lawyer's bill.

   Mirkarimi's plea deal Monday came as a surprise to many. He told us that although part of him wanted to fight on, "I want to reunite with my family, and this was the only expeditious way I could." The sheriff is barred by court order from contacting his wife until he undergoes domestic violence counseling as part of his sentence. He is allowed to visit with his son for only a few hours a week.....

Wednesday
Mar142012

L.A. CITY HALL: LAPD, new rules for investigating officer-involved auto accidents; lawsuit vs. city, Los Angeles City Attorneys Assn., dispute over cuts to health benefits for retirees; San Pedro, downtown parking issues....

***Various items regarding matters relating to Los Angeles City Hall....

* Daily News:  "City's attorneys sue over benefit cuts"

* Daily Breeze:  "San Pedro weighs more user-friendly downtown parking measures"

* Los Angeles Times:  "LAPD adopts new rules on probing officer-involved crashes" - "Any time an officer gets into an accident in which someone is killed or hurt badly enough to be hospitalized, a police team trained in crash reconstruction will go to the scene immediately."

Wednesday
Mar142012

POLITICS (Bay Area): Nadia Lockyer, absence from meetings, non-attendance at 43 percent of regular meetings of Alameda County Bd. of Supervisors since she took office.... 

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Supervisor Nadia Lockyer absent as key votes near" - From the Chronicle:

   Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, whose election cost her and her supporters a record-shattering $1.6 million, has missed 43 percent of the board's regular meetings since she took office in January 2011, according to records. But despite her absences, officials say county business is on track. "We haven't missed a beat," said Supervisor Nate Miley. Her absences, however, could hinder the business of the five-member board because budgetary items require four votes for passage, and a fifth vote is necessary for breaking ties.

   Lockyer entered a rehabilitation center for chemical dependency in mid-February and last attended a regular supervisors meeting Nov. 1, according to the county clerk. Since then, she has missed seven meetings, including one Tuesday that included a significant issue in her district: a $2 million vote to bail out St. Rose Hospital in Hayward. Supervisor Scott Haggarty said he had to call off a business trip to attend Tuesday's meeting; otherwise the hospital bailout would not have had enough votes to pass.

   Lockyer, a political newcomer, was elected in November 2010 to represent Hayward, Union City, Newark, Sunol and a portion of Fremont. In all, Lockyer has missed 13 of the 30 regular meetings that the supervisors have held since she took office...............

Wednesday
Mar142012

L.A. CITY HALL: Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings say that LAFD should have acter sooner to disclose change in calculation of emergency response time; editorial, "Burned by the L.A. Fire Dept." 

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. fire chief says response time should have been disclosed" - "He and Villaraigosa say that both sets of data are accurate and that public safety has not been compromised by the city's loss of fire units." - From the LAT:

   Amid growing criticism from political leaders, Los Angeles' fire chief acknowledged Tuesday that his agency should have acted sooner to disclose that it had changed the way it calculated emergency response times used in public reports. "Potentially, we should have put down that we changed our method," Fire Chief Brian Cummings told reporters at a downtown news conference. "We should have done that."

   ****

   The rosier picture of department performance was cited last year as the City Council weighed budget cuts calling for reductions in  fire engines and ambulances at more than one-fifth of the city's stations. After The Times reported that the department had been putting out misleading performance data for years, several council members expressed concern that cuts were based on bad information and called for audits of the agency's response data.

   After a news conference with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a fire station, Cummings told reporters the department should have acknowledged that it was using data that it had deemed outdated. But he said the department had been "consistent" because it never used old and new data together to draw comparisons.

   ****

   Cummings and Villaraigosa said that both the old and new data were accurate and that public safety had not been compromised by the city's loss of fire units.

   ****

   Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, distributed a letter at the news conference accusing the department and Villaraigosa of knowingly using false statistics to justify budget cuts that resulted in the public's "being put in peril." When a reporter began reading from the letter and asking the mayor for comment, Villaraigosa responded angrily. "I wish you could take a picture of him. He's smiling the whole time," the mayor said, looking toward McOsker.

   "It's an outrageous letter," Villaraigosa said. "It is a reflection of the lack of leadership in that union for him to say the kinds of things that he did, because he knows it's not true." The mayor also cited union actions three years ago. . . . . "He's the same guy," the mayor said, "that put up posters telling people that they were going to die."

   McOsker later said the mayor "let his emotions get the best of him. It wasn't very professional. I think we should focus on public safety and not on the personality clash."

***ALSO, Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Burned by the L.A. Fire Dept." - "The mayor and the City Council relied on bad information about response times in making budget cuts. That shouldn't happen again."

Wednesday
Mar142012

SACRAMENTO: Jerry Brown's tax initiative, governor now seeking rewrite of the measure, smaller sales tax increase, higher tax on upper-income earners than his previous plan....

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Gov. Jerry Brown seeks rewrite of tax initiative" - From the LAT:

   Bowing to pressure from liberal activists, Gov. Jerry Brown is negotiating an eleventh-hour compromise on a November tax initiative, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks.  A deal could be announced as early as today.

   The deal would fuse elements of Brown's current proposal and parts of a "millionaire's tax" backed by a coalition of liberal groups, including the California Federation of Teachers. It would contain a smaller sales tax increase than the half-cent hike Brown originally proposed, but would require upper income earners to pay more than the 1- to 3-percentage-point income-tax increase Brown had called for.

   For weeks, Brown tried in vain to convince backers of the Federation of Teachers measure to walk away from their initiative and back his. Brown has said multiple tax proposals on the same ballot would confuse or divide voters and doom all measures to failure. . . . . . . .

   ****

   The new challenge will be getting the revised initiative on the November ballot. A newly drafted measure must be submitted to the attorney general's office for review and must gather more than 1 million petition signatures in the coming weeks.........