Index
Friday
Mar272015

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Police Department, "homicide report," shift in gang culture: "A shift in gang tactics means drive-bys are giving way to walk-ups, observers say" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "A shift in gang tactics means drive-bys are giving way to walk-ups, observers say" - From the LAT:

Ricardo Nunez was trimming a tree outside his Echo Park home on a Sunday morning last month when a white truck pulled up and a person inside opened fire, killing the 35-year-old father. Ray Martinez, the LAPD detective investigating the case, is seeing fewer such fatal drive-by shootings. When Martinez goes behind the yellow tape, he's more commonly working on cases where a gunman has walked straight up to the victim — a walk-up shooting.

As gang culture has become less overt, the killings have become more targeted — and at the same time more chilling. "They get to see the whole reaction," Martinez said. "It seems more daring." Jorja Leap, a UCLA anthropologist who studies gang culture, agreed. "In a walk-up, you see who you're killing," Leap said. "You're going to listen to what they say as you shoot them."

Fatal drive-by shooting statistics were not publicly available from the LAPD, and there are no recent national statistics. But Leap sees a shift in how gangs operate .......................

Friday
Mar272015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco Sheriff's Department, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi: "S.F. jail inmates forced to fight, public defender says"; also, "S.F. deputies trained inmates for fights, bet on them, official says" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "S.F. jail inmates forced to fight, public defender says" - From the Chronicle:

San Francisco sheriff’s deputies arranged and gambled on battles between County Jail inmates, forcing one to train for the fights and telling them to lie if they needed medical attention, the city’s public defender said Thursday.

Since the beginning of March, at least four deputies at County Jail No. 4 at 850 Bryant St. threatened inmates with violence or withheld food if they did not fight each other, gladiator-style, for the entertainment of the deputies, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said. Adachi said the ringleader in these fights was Deputy Scott Neu, who was accused in 2006 of forcing inmates to perform sexual acts on him. That case was settled out of court.

“I don’t know why he does it, but I just feel like he gets a kick out of it because I just see the look on his face,” said Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, one of the inmates who said he was forced to fight. “It looks like it brings him joy by doing this, while we’re suffering by what he’s doing.”

An attorney for the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the union representing the deputies, called the allegations “exaggerated,” and said the fighting was “little more than horseplay.” But in a recorded conversation with Adachi, Garcia described a predatory atmosphere of fear and retribution in which deputies would knock over his tray and force him to gamble for his food.

Garcia, who is in custody on drug and gun possession charges, said that earlier this month he was twice forced to fight another inmate, Stanley Harris, to the point where his ribs may have been fractured and he could not sleep on his side because of the pain.

Adachi said the four deputies involved were Neu, Eugene Jones, Clifford Chiba and Evan Staehely. All four have been placed on paid administrative leave.

   ****

The fight allegations came to light after Garcia’s father asked his son’s attorney to help. Deputy Public Defender Scott Grant spoke to his client and learned Garcia had been forced to fight another inmate, who also was represented by the public defender’s office, Adachi said ..................

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "S.F. deputies trained inmates for fights, bet on them, official says"

Friday
Mar272015

SACRAMENTO: California Legislature, Assembly Republican Caucus: "Assembly Republicans lay off veteran staff amid new PR push"; also, "Assembly Republicans revamp caucus operations in bid to woo voters" ....

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Assembly Republicans revamp caucus operations in bid to woo voters" - From the LAT:

Republicans in the California Assembly, apparently resigned to the party's diminished influence in Capitol policy debates, will announce Thursday that they will focus less on trying to sway Democratic legislators and more on winning over voters. The lawmakers said they would enlarge their communications operation, adding specialists in social media and in outreach to Latinos and Asian Americans.

As part of the reorganization, they will consolidate some functions and eliminate eight consulting and clerical positions.

The revamp is the most recent sign of the embattled Republican Party's efforts to claw back to relevance in a state, and state Legislature, dominated by Democrats ....................

***ALSO:

* Sacramento Bee:  "Assembly Republicans lay off veteran staff amid new PR push"

Friday
Mar272015

POLITICS/MEDIA (National, International): Cable TV, a la carte pricing, commentary (David Lazarus): "Canada sets an example for a la carte pay-TV pricing" ....

* Los Angeles Times (David Lazarus):  "Canada sets an example for a la carte pay-TV pricing" - From the LAT:

Here in the Land of the Free, the telecom industry has fought aggressively for years to make sure people keep getting hundreds of pay-TV channels they don't want, rather than just the ones they watch. Up in the Great White North, which would be Canada, telecom companies were told by government regulators the other day that they'll have to unbundle pay-TV packages by next year and switch to a la carte channels.

And guess what? The Canadian telecom industry is basically cool about it. Brad Shaw, chief executive of Shaw Communications, western Canada's largest cable company, said the new a la carte rules "will give Canadians increased choice, while providing producers, broadcasters and distributors more freedom and flexibility to innovate."

Contrast that with the hand-wringing of U.S. telecom companies, which argue that unbundling pay-TV channels would mark the end of civilization as we know it. "A la carte would destroy a model that produces the best TV available anywhere in the world," says the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., an industry trade group.

We've recently taken some meaningful steps toward a la carte programming in this country, but we're nowhere close to the finish line.

   ****

But heavyweight cable and telecom companies refuse to part with their antiquated pay-TV business model of forcing customers to pay for channels they may not ever watch. If we went full a la carte, the industry says, channel prices would soar and consumers would have far fewer viewing choices.

So how does Canada justify such an apocalyptic move? .....................

Friday
Mar272015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (San Diego): Stench on La Jolla rocks, cleanup responsibility?: "City of San Diego not liable for stink on La Jolla rocks, judge rules" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "City of San Diego not liable for stink on La Jolla rocks, judge rules" - From the LAT:

The city of San Diego is not liable for the stink left by birds and sea lions on the coastal rocks in La Jolla, a judge has tentatively ruled.

"The court does not minimize the unpleasantness of the odors," wrote Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor, "and it empathizes with the business challenges they cause for area merchants and restaurateurs." But the droppings left by the sea creatures are a fact of nature, not comparable to a broken sewer pipe or overflowing trash dump that the city would have an obligation to fix, Taylor indicated in a seven-page tentative decision issued Thursday. The legal doctrine of nuisance does not provide a solution," he wrote.

A group of business owners sued to force the city to clean the "buildup of sea lion excrement and cormorant droppings" that has created a powerful stink that wafts into the restaurants, hotels and shops "near the fashionable La Jolla Cove business district," according to the tentative ruling. Taylor agreed with a request by the city attorney to toss out the lawsuit on grounds that "the odors are part of the risk/benefit of being situated near a marine environment."

Taylor wrote that the city neither caused the smell nor had a responsibility to eliminate it. His final ruling is expected as early as Friday.

The stench problem has vexed city officials for more than three years. One complicating factor is that federal law protects sea lions from being harassed ...................