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Tuesday
Mar212017

POLITICS/LEGAL: Former Senate Joseph Dunn, California State Bar, dispute, termination of employment: "Joe Dunn loses arbitration over his firing by State Bar" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (former Senate Joe Dunn, California State Bar, dispute, termination of employment)....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Joe Dunn loses arbitration over his firing by State Bar" - From the Bee:

Capping a years-long conflict, an arbitrator Monday rejected former state Sen. Joseph Dunn’s allegation that he was fired as executive director of the State Bar for blowing the whistle on the licensing organization’s lapses.

Arbitrator Edward Infante had conducted a trial-like hearing into Dunn’s allegations last month in Los Angeles, and Monday’s 30-page ruling exonerated the State Bar, which had said it fired Dunn in 2014 for misleading the agency’s board about critical policy matters.

Dunn had initially filed a lawsuit against the State Bar, but his allegation was diverted into an arbitration proceeding under terms of his contract. Infante found that Dunn had, indeed, misled the board. Dunn, a Democrat who represented Orange County in the Senate, had sought more than $4 million for his whistleblower claim and another $190,000 in severance pay.

Dunn’s stormy tenure as State Bar executive director and his subsequent whistleblower claim have roiled an agency already under fire for running up a backlog of disciplinary actions against the attorney it licenses. Last year, the Legislature ...............

Tuesday
Mar212017

POLITICS (National, International): President Donald Trump, Obama wiretap allegation, British spy involvement?: Editorial, "London Ridicules the Ridiculous"; also, "Fox News pulls Judge Napolitano over his Trump wiretap claims" .... 

* New York Times (editorial):  "London Ridicules the Ridiculous" - From the NYT:

Will President Trump ever learn — or care — that his fact-free tweets have painful consequences, not just at home but abroad? Surely he must sense this by now, as the administration faces the outrage of British allies who have been dragged into his increasingly bogus allegation that he was spied on by the Obama administration.

In a feverish defense of Mr. Trump’s charge, the White House press spokesman, Sean Spicer, on Thursday cited an unsubstantiated Fox News report that the British intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters, had been secretly called on by the Obama administration to spy on Mr. Trump.

British officials were terse in their fury, dismissing the allegation as “nonsense.” “Utterly ridiculous and should be ignored,” the British agency said.

White House aides tried to calm the waters with incensed British officials, who said they had received assurances that the allegations would not be repeated. But no one speaks for Mr. Trump. On Friday, he stuck by his wiretapping charge — without disputing a Fox News commentator’s claim of British spy involvement — despite Republican leaders in Congress debunking his accusation, saying that intelligence investigators have found no evidence to back it. “Very soon,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on Wednesday night, the administration “will be submitting things” to Congress to prove his outrageous accusation.

What things? From what Alt-Right Tooth Fairy? ....................

***ALSO, Related:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Fox News pulls Judge Napolitano over his Trump wiretap claims"

Tuesday
Mar212017

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Owens Valley/ Los Angeles Aqueduct, flooding?: "Garcetti calls for state of emergency amid concerns that flooding could damage DWP facilities" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Garcetti calls for state of emergency amid concerns that flooding could damage DWP facilities" - From the LAT:

Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed a state of emergency Monday, citing concerns that melting snowpack in the eastern Sierra Nevada could flood homes and highways in the Owens Valley and damage the Los Angeles Aqueduct. The proclamation, which takes effect immediately and lasts seven days, is designed to help the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power protect its pumps, pipes and reservoirs in the Owens Valley and surrounding areas.

Although the head of the DWP downplayed the immediate threat level, Garcetti called the potential for infrastructure damage “very, very high,” adding that he doesn’t “want lives to be upended, families hurt, jobs lost because we waited too long and didn’t take action.”

Recent storms have dumped record levels of snow in the Sierra Nevada, helping ease the drought and swelling reservoirs. But melting snowpack and heavy rains have also sparked alarm about flooding.

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With the proclamation, which the council must renew every 14 days, the DWP can fast-track its contracting process to allow the utility to dig trenches to divert water runoff, for example. The proclamation also allows the city to seek federal and state funds ..................

Tuesday
Mar212017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (County of Los Angeles): L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services: "4 L.A. County social workers to face trial in horrific death of 8-year-old boy" .... y  

* Los Angeles Times:  "4 L.A. County social workers to face trial in horrific death of 8-year-old boy"  - From the LAT:

A Los Angeles County judge ruled Monday that four social workers should stand trial on child abuse and other charges in the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy they were assigned to protect, allowing prosecutors to push ahead with a case that has sent a chill through the ranks of child protection workers nationwide.

Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar said that “red flags were everywhere” during the months before Gabriel Fernandez died and that the social workers mishandled evidence of escalating abuse and failed to file timely reports on what was happening in the boy’s home before he was allegedly killed by his mother and her boyfriend in 2013. The judge said the workers’ conduct amounted to criminal negligence. “[Gabriel’s mom] was in the system — that was a red flag, he missed school...had injuries, and his teacher called,” Villar said. “All of this shows that the mother was uncooperative and the parties should have known at that time something was wrong.”

   ****

The case marked the first time in Los Angeles that county social workers faced criminal charges in performing their duties, prosecutors said, and is one of only a handful of such cases filed nationwide in recent decades. The decision by Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to prosecute the employees surprised many child protection experts, who have expressed fear that the decision could hamper efforts to recruit social workers for public sector jobs ...................

Tuesday
Mar212017

L.A. CITY HALL: Council District 1, May 16 runoff election: Commentary (Opinion L.A. - Mariel Garza), "Bray-Ali vs. Cedillo runoff is a victory for a new vision of a sustainable L.A." .... 

* Los Angeles Times (Opinion L.A. - Mariel Garza):  "Bray-Ali vs. Cedillo runoff is a victory for a new vision of a sustainable L.A." - From the LAT:

When the Times editorial board endorsed Joe Bray-Ali for Los Angeles City Council District 1, we described the election as a choice between competing visions of L.A.’s future. On one side is Bray-Ali, a bike activist with dreams of a denser, smarter city with more affordable housing and fewer smog-producing cars; on the other is Councilman Gil Cedillo, a career politician who is hyper-focused on building more market-rate housing and operates under the old-school rubric of the councilman as the boss of the district, rather than its servant.

In that context, the new vision scored a victory on Friday. That was when the latest ballot count from the March 7 election made it clear that an exceedingly rare thing had happened: A challenger pushed an incumbent council member into a runoff. The final results won’t be certified until Tuesday, but there are only about 9,000 outstanding ballots out of about 900,000. That makes it all-but-certain that Bray-Ali will go head-to-head on May 16 with Cedillo for the job the next 5½ years of representing the district that stretches from Highland Park to Pico-Union.

Council incumbents have a huge advantage over challengers and in the last couple of decades they almost always have prevailed . . . . . . . .

Councilman Nick Pacheco was one exception . . . . . . . .

Though Cedillo will have an advantage over Bray-Ali in the May 16 election, he would be wise to not brush-off the “trendy, hippy, hipster” (his words) constituents in the northeast part of the city who are not happy about what many believe is an unresponsive council representative. Indeed, Bray-Ali may never have launched his campaign if Cedillo hadn’t stymied efforts to build bike lanes in Highland Park. That Bray-Ali got 38% of the vote in the primary race signals deep discontent in the district.

Cedillo was a champion for immigrants during his time in the state Legislature, particularly those who are undocumented, and that good will surely counted for a lot in this heavily immigrant district. But ...........