Index
Wednesday
Nov282012

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, report, rise in misconduct complaints, LAUSD "jails" filling with teachers while investigations proceed.... 

* Daily News:  "LAUSD 'jails' fill with teachers as misconduct complaints rise" - From the DN:

They call it "teacher jail" - the administrative offices where nearly 300 Los Angeles Unified educators accused of misconduct spend months on end reading, blogging or texting. The cost is enormous: $1.4 million a month in salaries while district and law-enforcement investigations proceed, and $865,000 to hire substitutes to fulfill their classroom duties.

Los Angeles Unified officials insist the cost is worth it - the price the district has to pay for years of downplaying or ignoring suspected abuse. That practice exploded into a major scandal in February with revelations of longtime patterns of misconduct by teachers at Telfair Elementary in Pacoima and Miramonte Elementary in South L.A. 

Now, under a new zero-tolerance policy, scores of educators accused of misconduct have been pulled from classrooms and are facing dismissal. The number of housed teachers has more than doubled in the last 18 months. Even grabbing a student's arm or looking down a girl's blouse triggers a full-scale investigation, with the district moving aggressively to fire those found to have endangered the well-being of students.

   ****

That total of 300 includes 50 teachers who have been placed on unpaid status as the district moves to fire them....................

Wednesday
Nov282012

MORNING MEMOS: Port of Los Angeles, clerical workers walk off jobs; Orange County, proposed bridge between Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach removed from O.C. master plan; El Segundo, city treasurer resigns in wake of allegations regarding affair; city of L.A., Riordan pension initiative, editorial, union victory, loss for city.... 

***Various items this morning from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Daily Breeze:  "El Segundo treasurer Chris Powell resigns in wake of affair allegation"

* Daily Breeze:  "Port clerical workers walk off jobs; arbitrator orders them back to work"

* Los Angeles Times:  "O.C. officials kill longtime plan for bridge between two cities" - "Transportation officials vote to remove the proposed 19th Street Bridge, which would link Costa Mesa to Huntington Beach, from the county's master plan."

* Daily News (editorial):  "Unions win on this pension battle, city of Los Angeles loses"

Wednesday
Nov282012

SACRAMENTO: San Bernardino bankruptcy, CalPERS threatening to sue bankrupt city for failing to make scheduled payments, pension fund seeking to lift bankruptcy petitioner's automatic stay from lawsuits during Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings....

* Sacramento Bee:  "CalPERS threatens to sue San Bernardino for failing to make pension payments" - From the Bee:

CalPERS is threatening to sue the bankrupt city of San Bernardino for failing to make its scheduled payments to the big pension fund. In a court filing late Tuesday, the California Public Employees' Retirement System asked for permission to file a lawsuit against San Bernardino. CalPERS asked a judge to lift the automatic "stay" that shields San Bernardino from lawsuits while it's in Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings.

CalPERS wants to lift the stay so it can "prosecute an action against the city to collect the 'deferred' payments," the pension fund said in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside.

San Bernardino has failed to make nearly $7 million in payments to CalPERS since filing for bankruptcy in early August. The city has said it doesn't plan to make any payments for the balance of the fiscal year ending next June. CalPERS has already filed court papers challenging San Bernardino's right to file for bankruptcy. Now it's upping the pressure on the city.

San Bernardino's bankruptcy could be an important test case of the sanctity of public pensions.......

***ALSO, related:

* Riverside Press-Enterprise:  "San Bernardino County: Suit against city approved"

Wednesday
Nov282012

POLITICS: Kinde Durkee, court filing, her explanation of what led to campaign fraud, agreement to eight-year prison sentence....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Bad business practices led to campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee's downfall, lawyer says" - From the Bee:

A new court filing suggests that bad business practices and an inability to confront underperforming employees and nonpaying clients sparked the most extensive campaign treasurer fraud in the history of California.

The document, filed ahead of Kinde Durkee's sentencing hearing today, provides the most detailed account so far of what led the Burbank-based campaign treasurer to take millions of dollars from political accounts she controlled on behalf of big-name Democrats and where the money went. . . . . . . . .

In a response to the probation office's sentencing recommendation, Durkee attorney Daniel V. Nixon wrote that "most of the (misappropriated) funds appear to have been used to keep the business running," not to fund a lavish lifestyle.

   ****

According to the filing, the trouble started in 1999 when Durkee assumed control of the campaign bookkeeping company where she worked after the firm's owner died. When financial problems at what became Durkee & Associates – including Durkee's reluctance to lay off staff and the firm's responsibility for paying fines that resulted from sloppy or incomplete filings – led to "serious cash flow issues," Durkee began "borrowing" funds from one account to cover bills and make sure other clients' accounts could meet payment obligations and remain open.

Durkee also faced personal financial pressure because her husband was unemployed and she was caring for elderly parents, her attorney wrote.

Federal prosecutors are expected to ask a judge to sentence Durkee to eight years behind bars.........

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee agrees to eight-year sentence" - "Kinde Durkee stole $7 million from up to 50 political clients and pleaded guilty in March to eight counts of mail fraud."

Wednesday
Nov282012

POLITICS (State, National): Congressional delegation, California Reps. Maxine Waters and Ed Royce set for leadership posts, Rep. Barbara Lee withdraws bid for spot on House Democratic leadership ladder.... 

***A couple items out of Washington, D.C. relating to California's representation in the House of Representatives....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Reps. Maxine Waters, Ed Royce in line for House leadership posts" - "Maxine Waters is set to become the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and Republican Ed Royce is set to be the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee."

* San Francisco Chronicle (PoliticsBlog):  "Barbara Lee withdraws leadership bid"