Index
Friday
Apr172015

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District, continuing controversy, iPad program: "SEC launches informal inquiry into LAUSD's use of bonds for IPads" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "SEC launches informal inquiry into LAUSD's use of bonds for iPads" - From the LAT:

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission recently opened an informal inquiry into whether Los Angeles school officials complied with legal guidelines in the use of bond funds for the now-abandoned $1.3-billion iPads-for-all project. In particular, the agency was concerned with whether the L.A. Unified School District properly disclosed to investors and others how the bonds would be used, according to documents provided to The Times. District officials said they were optimistic that they had addressed the SEC concerns.

The news of the SEC inquiry came the same week that L.A. Unified officials demanded a refund from computer giant Apple over curriculum supplied on the devices by Pearson, which sells education services and materials worldwide. Pearson was a subcontractor to Apple under a contract approved by the Board of Education in June 2013.

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School board member Bennett Kayser said Thursday that legal questions regarding use of the bonds were not sufficiently examined before the project moved forward. "I wish the SEC had looked into this over a year ago," Kayser said.

(Kayser did not participate in the original discussion or vote on the contract because he owned a small amount of Apple stock. He sold his holdings and emerged as a project critic, although he later voted to purchase additional devices for schools and for testing.)

The district's demand for a refund came in the form of a letter sent Monday to Apple .....................

Friday
Apr172015

POLITICS/EDUCATION (South Bay/County of Los Angeles): Centinela Valley Union High School District: "Ousted Centinela Valley Superintendent Jose Fernandez suing district"; also, "Former South Bay schools chief fired after pay scandal sues district" .... 

* Daily Breeze:  "Ousted Centinela Valley Superintendent Jose Fernandez suing district" - From the DB:

Ousted Superintendent Jose Fernandez is suing the Centinela Valley school district, alleging his former employer destroyed his career and reputation and used him a scapegoat last year when it fired him in response to public outrage over his unusually high salary and compensation.

The lawsuit, anticipated since Fernandez filed a wrongful termination claim with the district in December, demands that he be reinstated as superintendent and seeks unspecified damages. It alleges breach of contract, defamation, retaliation and age discrimination, among other things.  It also provides new details on what happened in the months before Fernandez’s departure ..............................

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Former South Bay schools chief fired after pay scandal sues district"

Friday
Apr172015

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Ethics Commissioin: "Doughnut shop owners, developer face campaign money-laundering fines" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Doughnut shop owners, developer face campaign money-laundering fines" - From the LAT:

A Southern California developer and the owners of a Boyle Heights doughnut shop face a combined $90,000 in fines from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission after acknowledging they improperly funneled contributions to Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar's reelection campaign several years ago. Under city rules, any contributions to a political candidate must be made in the name of the person who is the actual source of the money. Investigators found no evidence that Huizar or his staff were aware of the money laundering, which took place in 2010 and 2011.

City investigators concluded Somaly Lor Sosa and Jose Jesus Sosa, the owners of a Boyle Heights doughnut shop, asked their employees, family members and others to donate to the Huizar campaign and reimbursed them. That masked the source of more than two dozen campaign contributions totaling $12,300 between September 2010 and February 2011, according to an agreement reached between the ethics agency and the Sosas.

The pair wanted to curry favor with Huizar, according to a summary of the facts included in the proposed agreement. Their son-in-law, Craig Jones, hoped to develop a Boyle Heights property owned by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Huizar sat on the Metro board at the time, according to commission records. Investigators also found that developer Donald Chae, known for the Plaza Mexico development in Lynwood, laundered donations to the same campaign ...........................

Thursday
Apr162015

POLITICS (National, State/Washington): Federal grand jury indictment, Washington state auditor: "Washington state auditor indicted on 10 federal counts" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Washington state auditor indicted on 10 federal counts" - From the LAT:

federal grand jury has indicted Washington state Auditor Troy X. Kelley on 10 counts, including charges that he filed false tax returns, obstructed a civil lawsuit and possessed stolen property, officials announced Thursday. Kelley is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Thursday afternoon.

The charges concern a mortgage title services company that Kelley, 50, of Tacoma, ran between 2003 and 2008, according to acting U.S. Atty. Annette Hayes. Kelley “spun a web of lies in an effort to avoid paying his taxes and keep more than a million dollars that he knew did not belong to him, but instead should have been returned to thousands of homeowners across this state,” Hayes said in a statement.

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Kelley said he will take a leave of absence beginning May 1.

Gov. Jay Inslee went further and called on Kelley to resign ..............

Thursday
Apr162015

L.A. CITY HALL: City Administrative Officer, report, $$$costs of homelessness: 'L.A. spends $100 million a year on homelessness, city report finds" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. spends $100 million a year on homelessness, city report finds" - From the LAT:

The city of Los Angeles spends more than $100 million a year coping with homeless people and the medical, mental health and sanitation problems they bring, including as much as $87 million on arrests and other police services, according to a new report. City librarians, recreation and parks rangers and paramedics also devote significant resources to homeless interventions, without clear guidelines or a coordinated approach to guide them, City Administrative Officer Miguel A. Santana said in the 21-page report. "There appears to be no consistent process across city departments for dealing with the homeless or with homeless encampments," he said.

The report said it was not possible now "to get a full measure of the costs" of homelessness for the city, or to monitor the effects of changes in homelessness over time in L.A.

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Santana recommended that the city increase funding for homeless outreach and case management, create a new homeless office and set up neighborhood hubs to support existing efforts to house and care for homeless people.

Santana did not put a price tag on the proposals, but cautioned that his cost analysis, developed quickly in response to a request from the City Council’s housing committee, was not comprehensive and would probably rise with more study. He also suggested exploring hiring outside consultants to conduct a more thorough study and to track and measure progress in ending the city’s decades-old homelessness crisis ...................