Archive for the ‘California Über Alles’ Category

And an update.

Monday, June 27th, 2016

(Previously on WCD.)

Paul Tanaka was sentenced today.

Five years in federal prison.

Random notes: June 13, 2016.

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I was busy all day yesterday, and I have nothing profound or interesting to say about Orlando. Go look at the smarter people on my blogroll if you’re looking for that: I’d suggest Tam and Lawrence as good starting points.

In other news: there’s now an official lawsuit pending to remove Williamson Count District Attorney Jana Duty from office. And I’m thinking I need a WCDA tag.

I missed this until Lawrence sent me a link to a Daily Mail story: Sean Whent, the police chief in Oakland, resigned on Thursday.

Chief Anthony Batts quit in 2011 after receiving a scathing report from Robert Warshaw, the court monitor assigned to ensure that the Police Department was implementing reforms ordered by a federal judge. Batts’ successor, Howard Jordan, left suddenly in 2013 amid a spike in violent crime and a wave of anger over how police were handling Occupy protests. Interim Chief Anthony Toribio, who came in after Jordan, lasted only two days.

The general belief seems to be that Whent was working to stabilize and clean up the department, but there were a whole host of recent scandals on his watch:

Officer Cullen Faeth was charged with misdemeanor battery, public intoxication and trespassing after he allegedly tried to break into a home in Oakland’s Redwood Heights neighborhood in December and attacked a woman who lived there. In February, Officer Matthew Santos was arrested for allegedly pulling his gun on a man painting Santos’ apartment in Emeryville. Santos was fired shortly thereafter.

But the biggest issue is a messy sex scandal. Five officers have been placed on administrative leave so far.

The woman at the center of the sex scandal is claiming she had sex with two dozen current and former officers in five cities, a newspaper investigation published Sunday found.

More from the Mercury News:

…she slept with three of the 24 officers — all from Oakland’s police department — before she turned 18 last August.

She also said that two Oakland officers provided her confidential police information, including tips on scheduled anti-prostitution stings…

Obit watch and playing catch up: May 21, 2016.

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Alan Young.

Yesterday was kind of a busy day. There were multiple things that I intended to make note of, but I got stuck into something I can’t discuss right now, and…well….anyway:

Morley Safer, for the historical record.

San Francisco police chief “resigns” “at the request of Mayor Ed Lee”. I think we can call this one a “firing”.

The precipitating incident here seems to have been the SFPD shooting of a woman in a possibly stolen vehicle: she fled from the officers and crashed into the back of a truck.

The car crashed into a utility truck a short distance away. Although no weapon was found on the woman and the car was wedged under the truck, a police sergeant fired a single shot, killing her, police said.

It sounds at first like there was a bit of a rush to judgement on this: the shooting took place Thursday morning, and Suhr was canned Thursday afternoon. But as the linked SFGate article notes, this wasn’t the first problem under Suhr’s administration: there had been two previous controversial shootings, plus a scandal over “racist and homophobic text messages”.

Great and good friend of the blog and occasional guest poster RoadRich sent a series of thoughtful comments yesterday on the Suhr firing: I’m hoping he’ll let me post those as a guest post, but I didn’t get a chance to ask him yesterday because of [redacted] and he’s busy today.

In other California news, remember Maywood? How could you forget the nearly broke municipality of Maywood, “the second-smallest city in Los Angeles County”?

But that didn’t stop municipal leaders from granting themselves, the city treasurer and the city clerk $250 monthly mileage stipends.
If Maywood used the Internal Revenue Service’s suggested reimbursement rate for business travel of 54 cents a mile, city officials would need to drive 463 miles a month to reach the $250 mark.

More:

Councilman Ricardo Villarreal said he didn’t think twice about voting in favor of the monthly stipends because he thought the roughly $550 a month they get for serving as council members didn’t cover other costs like meals with other officials and mileage.

I wonder if the councilman and other officials are eating at Tacos Los Desvelados.

Turning our attention to Austin:

Albert “Matt” Arevalo was fired in September after being charged with DWI last May. Arevalo was stopped after driving 91 mph in a 55 mph zone, and his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, police said.

Mr. Arevalo was an officer with the Austin Police Department. Given that knowledge, would you care to guess what happened next? Yes: he got his job back!

The arbitrator mandated that Arevalo should only serve a 180-day suspension and receive back pay for any days over that period, said Austin police union president Ken Casaday in a letter members of the Austin Police Association.

Poor, poor, pitiful Maywood (take 2).

Friday, May 13th, 2016

You remember Maywood, don’t you? The city that was so pathetic, they turned over their day-to-day operations to Bell? Which started the chain of events that ended up bringing down the kleptocracy of Bell?

Guess what?

Today, Maywood is back on the brink of financial collapse and struggling to find any kind of rescue plan. The 1.2-square-mile municipality — one of the smallest in Los Angeles County — has amassed $16 million in debt that it cannot repay, according to a state report reviewed by The Times.

The Los Angeles County district attorney is investigating allegations that Maywood repeatedly violated state open meeting laws when hiring and firing top city officials and amending zoning changes, according to documents.

Some in Maywood look with sadness at the spectacle and what it says about the city’s leadership. Neighboring cities such as Bell, Vernon and Cudahy have had to enact reforms in the face of criminal investigations, recalls and threats of disincorporation from the state Legislature, but Maywood has not faced a similar reckoning.
“The reality is Maywood has always been forgotten,” said City Clerk Gerardo Mayagoitia. “No one ever wants to look at Maywood because we’re such a small community, and yet there’s so much corruption here that never stops. No one puts a stop to it.”

They’re Masons, Donny.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Remember the Masonic Fraternal Police Department? Wasn’t that a couple of days wonder?

Latest developments: charges against one of the defendants, Brandon Kiel, have been completely dropped.

And a second defendant, David Inkk Henry, who was apparently the “chief”, died suddenly.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#28 in a series)

Monday, April 11th, 2016

I probably should have covered this last week, but it got past me. Work’s been kind of rough. Anyway:

The NYPD reassigned three deputy chiefs and a deputy inspector:

Two of the four officers were placed on modified duty, stripped of their guns and badges and limited to administrative duties, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. The other two were transferred from their current assignments to less prestigious positions.

Meanwhile, a prominent NYC restaurateur was arrested and charged with running a Ponzi scheme:

The restaurateur, Hamlet Peralta, who owned the now-closed Hudson River Café in Harlem, misappropriated more than $12 million from investors for use in what he said was a wholesale liquor business, according to the complaint, which was unsealed on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The business was, in fact, fictitious, prosecutors said.

What do these two things have in common? Glad you asked. They both seem to be tied to a federal investigation involving two of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fund-raisers:

A federal grand jury in Manhattan has begun hearing evidence in the case, according to several people briefed on the matter. The inquiry has come to focus on the two fund-raisers: Jona Rechnitz, who raised money for Mr. de Blasio’s campaign and was also a donor to both the campaign and to a nonprofit group that supported the mayor’s agenda; and Jeremy Reichberg, who held a fund-raiser for that nonprofit.

More:

Two of the people briefed on the matter suggested that investigators were trying to determine whether Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg benefited from some type of favorable municipal action, or the promise of some action, in exchange for their donations, their fund-raising or some other gesture. But the precise allegations under scrutiny by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are unclear. The two people, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the case publicly.

In recent months, agents and prosecutors investigating Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg learned that they were both also in close contact with roughly a score of high-ranking police officials, and may have lavished gifts upon them, some of the people said. This tangential discovery led the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, to reassign four senior police officials to desk duty last week. Two were stripped of their guns and badges and two others were transferred to less prestigious posts, a rare public rebuke.

Mr. Rechnitz and Mr. Reichberg were also investors in the Peralta Ponzi scheme.

Like I said, I’ve been kind of behind the 8-ball, so here’s another one I should have blogged before now: Paul Tanaka was convicted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice last week.

Mr. Tanaka was the undersheriff of Los Angeles County: basically, he was Lee Baca‘s second-in-command.

The criminal charges centered on allegations that in 2011 Tanaka orchestrated a scheme to derail the FBI’s jail investigation by intimidating the lead agent in the case, pressuring deputies not to cooperate and concealing the whereabouts of an inmate who was working as a federal informant.

Dumber than a bag of hair.

The LAT claims that Mr. Tanaka could get “as long as 15 years in prison”: as we all know, such claims should be taken with soy sauce and wasabi.

The past is another country.

Friday, March 4th, 2016

They did things differently there.

The San Francisco Chronicle used to give out firearms as subscription premiums.

I am well pleased with the gun, as it is all that is represented to be. I did not expect to get a $100 gun for $13.50.

You could also get a Colt rifle plus a one-year subscription to the paper for $14.50. (“$15 of 1887 dollars would be worth: $362.50 in 2015.”)

Peter Hartlaub for the win:

We were like Leland Yee, but with more follow-through.

(Hattip: Jimbo.)

Uncle quickie.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

One more quick Leland “Uncle” Yee thought that I didn’t have time for in the previous entry:

Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said Wednesday that the Yee case shows the need for stronger controls of campaign financing. She has introduced a bill aimed at closing a loophole in campaign finance law that was exploited by Yee. Her measure would extend contribution limits that apply to candidates’ campaigns to also apply to ballot measure committees formed by elected officials.

“Today’s sentencing of a former elected official underscores the need to close campaign finance loopholes wherever they exist,” Bates said in a statement. “My bill will help restore the spirit of the Political Reform Act of 1974 that sought to end the culture of corruption that many believe is pervasive in politics.”

Yes, folks, you read that correctly. Campaign finance reform is the only thing standing between you and your elected state senator smuggling guns to Islamic terrorists and rebel groups in the Philippines.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#27 in a series)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Convicted former California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee was sentenced today.

As you may recall, convicted former California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee pled guilty to one count of racketeering:

Yee admitted in a plea deal that he was part of a racketeering conspiracy that involved exchanging official acts for money, conspiring to traffic in weapons and money laundering. Specifically, Lee promised an undercover FBI agent favors in return for campaign contributions.

And what did he get for all this?

Five years in prison and a $20,000 fine. He’s also apparently going to have to give up $33,000, at least some of which will come out of his political campaign accounts.

During the hourlong proceedings, Yee asked the court for leniency in light of his public humiliation, his wife’s severe illness, his admissions of wrongdoing and his past record of public service.

Speaking of “his past record of public service”, as a convicted felon, convicted former California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee, who was a prominent advocate of gun control and received an award from the Brady Campaign, will no longer be allowed to own firearms. Legally, anyway.

Edited to add: more from the SF Examiner.

Keith Jackson, a political consultant and former San Francisco school board president who pleaded guilty to the same racketeering conspiracy charge as Yee, was also sentenced Wednesday to nine years in prison.

According to the same article, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow’s sentencing is scheduled for March 23rd.

SFGate:

He then sentenced Jackson’s son Brandon to 4 1/2 years in prison, and sports agent Marlon Sullivan to 5 1/2 years, for separate racketeering charges. Both men admitted plotting with undercover agents, who posed as criminals, to deal drugs and firearms and take part in the murder-for-hire scheme.

Breyer told Yee on Wednesday that his willingness to traffic in guns, while publicly trumpeting his support for gun control, was “inexplicable … hypocritical … the most venal thing and the most dangerous thing you’ve done.”

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#26 in a series)

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

I haven’t been paying as much attention to the LA County jail scandal as I used to: things sort of got away from me.

But this is stunning and noteworthy: the former LA County sheriff, Lee Baca, has pled guilty to lying to the feds.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court Wednesday morning, Baca admitted that he lied when he told federal authorities that he was unaware that his subordinates planned to approach the FBI agent leading the jail investigation at her home.
Baca agreed not to contest other allegations leveled by federal prosecutors, including that he directed subordinates to approach the agent, stating that they should “do everything but put handcuffs” on her, the agreement said.

I believe this is the incident in question.

Baca’s plea deal apparently includes a provision that he won’t serve more than six months, and it seems possible that he could get probation. His #2 man, Paul Tanaka, is going to go on trial in March; the plea deal also apparently does not require Baca to testify against Tanaka.

Edited to add: longer article from the LAT about Baca’s plea.

“Operation Pandora’s Box”, summarized for your convenience.

One hundred and sixty two.

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Somehow “tax-fattened hyena” doesn’t seem fitting, and crustacean related jokes seem inappropriate.

So. Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow: guilty.

On 162 counts, “including murder in the service of racketeering, murder conspiracy and racketeering.”

(They said “murder” and “racketeering” twice. They must like “racketeering”. And “murder”.)

LAT. SFGate. SF Examiner. Of course the defense plans to appeal.

Your Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow update.

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

It took us a non-trivial amount of digging to find this, but:

The case against Chow went to the jury on Tuesday.

We will keep an eye out for the verdict, or lack of one.