Archive for the ‘California Über Alles’ Category

The Taste of Schadenfreude.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

From the Austin Chronicle‘s runoff endorsements for District 8:

In October, when we endorsed Scruggs, we noted his bulldog efforts to create a Demo­cratic outpost in Circle C, his attention to thorny issues like global warming and gun control, and his affable leadership style.

Ed Scruggs was also one of the people who lobbied the Travis County Commissioners not to renew the contract for gun shows at the Expo Center.

How did that work out for you, Ed?

ed

Oooooooh. Not so well.

By way of Overlawyered, here’s an Orange County Register article on the Costa Mesa PI case, which I wrote about a few days ago.

I was not aware that the law firm had shut down; that’s a good first start, but nothing in the article indicates that any of the lawyers involved have been forced to surrender their licenses.

Even after the phony DUI report, as the union attempted to distance itself form its former law firm – Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir – and the P.I.’s records show that money continued to flow from the union to the law firm to investigators.
The affidavit shows that even after the union said it fired its law firm, after word of the DUI setup got out, the union continued to pay its elevated retainer rate of $4,500 per quarter to the firm as late as January 2013. Lanzillo and Impola were paid by the law firm through January, as well.

Another thing I’m curious about: why does the Costa Mesa Police Department continue to exist? At this point, given that the department is clearly out of control to the point where they’re threatening politicians, wouldn’t it be better to disband them, fire everyone, and let the county sheriff’s department patrol Costa Mesa until they can build a new department from the ground up?

(Of course, this being California, many of the crooked cops from Costa Mesa will probably end up with jobs in the sheriff’s department or other cities in the area.)

Bad boys and losers: December 12, 2014.

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Woohoo!

Two private investigators accused of tailing an Orange County councilman with a GPS device and setting up another by calling in a false drunk driving report were charged Thursday with false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit a crime, the district attorney’s office said.

The PIs were working for a law firm that represented “more than 120 public safety unions”, including the Costa Mesa Police Association. I’m hoping that they roll, and that this ends with jail sentences and disbarment.

Philadelphia is currently 2-19. However, that might not be bad enough:

In two games on Friday, the four bottom-feeders of the [Atlantic] division will face off. The 4-20 Knicks will face the 7-13 Celtics, and the 2-19 76ers will face the 8-12 Nets. The good news is that the four teams, which enter with a combined record of 21-64, will by default improve their combined winning percentage. The bad news is that fans will be asked to watch games in which one could argue that no one is trying to win.

Has the NYPD been fabricating gun cases?

Each gun was found in a plastic bag or a handkerchief, with no traces of the suspect’s fingerprints. Prosecutors and the police did not mention a confidential informer until months after the arrests. None of the informers have come forward, even when defense lawyers and judges have requested they appear in court.

But what would be their motivation?

… a group of officers invents criminal informers, and may be motivated to make false arrests to help satisfy department goals or quotas. They also question whether the police are collecting the $1,000 rewards offered to informers from Operation Gun Stop, especially in cases where the informers never materialize.

NYPD officers faking information to collect money from Operation Gun Stop? That’s unheard of!

Random notes: December 3, 2014.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

It is official: University of Alabama-Birmingham is shutting down the football program.

On the one hand, I feel a little sorry for the players and staff who are getting jammed up, especially since there’s a lot of speculation that the regents (including Bear Bryant’s son) have been out to screw UAB and the football program. On the other hand, I really want to see more schools shut down their football programs. If the NFL wants a minor league, let them start their own, instead of riding on the backs of universities. On the gripping hand:

UAB is also cutting its bowling and rifle programs.

They cut the rifle program?! Philistines! (“Don’t shoot my sacred cow!”)

This could turn into something interesting:

Criminal investigators with the U.S. Coast Guard are probing an elite group of Los Angeles firefighters at the city’s port to determine whether federal licensing records were falsified for crew members assigned to large fireboats, The Times has learned.

Well. Well well well. Well.

Monday, December 1st, 2014

As the threat of federal charges looms over eight former Fort Worth police officers accused in a traffic ticket scandal, a Tarrant County prosecutor revealed that state charges were dropped this year because evidence shows the city was using an illegal quota system.

….

The quota accusation was first raised in 2010 by an attorney for some of the fired officers when they appealed their terminations.
Lt. Paul Henderson, then [Police Chief Jeff] Halstead’s chief of staff, dismissed that accusation, saying, “The Fort Worth Police Department does not have ticket quotas.”
Henderson was later fired after his arrest on suspicion of DWI.

“There was never even an effort, however, to explain the supposed difference between ‘you write four tickets an hour or you don’t work STEP’ and a ‘quota,’ ” the attorneys wrote in their motion. “The illegal activity was, therefore, not only illegal and ongoing, there was a concerted, albeit sophomoric, effort on the part of the police department to disguise the illegal activity and to cover it up.”

In El Paso, 18 police officers were indicted in recent years after an investigation into similar reports that officers falsified documents to gain overtime pay through a state Transportation Department grant program.


Houston also had their own overtime scandal
, but I’m unclear if it also involved state grant money.

Hattip: Grits for Breakfast.

Here’s another one from over the weekend that also made my jaw drop:

In a shocking action, Judge Morrison C. England Jr. ordered the recusal of every federal judge in the Eastern District of California. (Emphasis added – DB)

What happened? Briefly, Sierra Pacific Industries and some other companies have been fighting the Justice Department for several years. Justice accused the defendants of causing a forest fire, and managed to get 22,500 acres of land transferred to the government, along with $55 million in payments over five years. Sierra Pacific and the other defendants argued that they didn’t start the fire, and that Justice…

“…presented false evidence to the Defendants and the Court; advanced arguments to the Court premised on that false evidence; or, for which material evidence had been withheld, and obtaining court rulings based thereon; prepared key Moonlight Fire investigators for depositions, and allowed them to repeatedly give false testimony about the most important aspects of their investigation; and failed to disclose the facts and circumstances associated with the Moonlight Fire lead investigator’s direct financial interest in the outcome of the investigation arising from an illegal bank account that has since been exposed and terminated.”

Hattip: Overlawyered.

A couple of random notes: November 14, 2014.

Friday, November 14th, 2014

When asked whether disparities in treatment were based on race, gender, rank or nepotism, officers overwhelmingly said they believed decisions about discipline revolved around an officer’s rank and whether he or she was well liked by their superiors in the department. Command-level officers routinely received slaps on the wrist or no punishment, while lower-ranking officers were suspended for similar misconduct, officers wrote.

From the LAT archives, some spectacular photos of firefighters responding to a DC-6 crash.

Former Seattle Sonic Robert Swift has been charged with a gun crime one month after police claim to have seized drugs, guns and a grenade launcher from the Kirkland home where he was living.

What I find interesting about this story is that, with the exception of the standard “junk on the bunk” photo, all the weapons photos are of guns “similar to one police say was seized from Bjorkstam’s Kirkland home”. No photos of the actual guns? Also, heroin dealing must not be that lucrative if all you can afford is a Taurus.

Ripped from the headlines!

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

In Solvang bust, a bottle of cheap vodka, counterfeit cash, and meth


Cue Major Kong.

The bills were convincing enough that at least a few clothing and jewelry businesses in the Danish-themed town near Santa Maria were fooled into accepting them, officials said. Because of the sophistication of the bills, the Sheriff’s Department has notified the Secret Service, which is conducting its own investigation.

The tweakers are turning out good quality counterfeit $100s? So we don’t have to worry about the Iranians any longer, but the meth addicts? Why does this surprise me?

Obit watch: September 30, 2014.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

We haven’t heard much recently from the notoriously corrupt California city of Vernon.

The first council member to get elected in a competitive race since the Nixon presidency in the small city of Vernon — population about 100 — has died.

His death appears to have been the result of natural causes (and not in the “he was shot in the head six times, so naturally he died” sense).

Banana republicans watch: September 23, 2014.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The six members of the LA County Sheriff’s Department who were convicted of obstructing a FBI investigation were sentenced today.

Former Lt. Gregory Thompson was sentenced to 37 months; Lt. Stephen Leavins to 41 months; Sgt. Scott Craig to 33 months; Sgt. Maricela Long to 24 months; Deputy Gerard Smith to 21 months; and Deputy Mickey Manzo to 24 months.

(Previously.)

And a seventh LACSO deputy was convicted last week.

TMQ Watch: September 9, 2014.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Might as well jump right into the first TMQ of the regular season

(more…)

Vandalism is wrong, m’kay? Don’t do it.

Friday, August 1st, 2014

A day after former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez was sentenced to a year in county jail for his role in a public corruption case that nearly left the town bankrupt, the mugshot of Robert Rizzo — the man at the heart of the scandal — was tagged on the walls of his grocery store.

Seriously. Bad tagger. No biscuit.

Flames, hyena, etc. (#17 in a series)

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Last man down.

Victor Bello, former city council member for the notoriously corrupt California city of Bell, was sentenced today for his role in the corruption scandal.

One year in jail, five years probation, 500 hours of community service, and $177,000 in restitution.

The prosecution was asking for the standard four years. Bello is sort of an exception, though:

Bello’s case was unique among the former council members because he alone had approached district attorney’s investigators about financial irregularities in the small city months before The Times exposed the size of the paychecks the town’s leaders were drawing.
Bello had written a letter on May 6, 2009, to the Los Angeles County district attorney with allegations of misconduct in Bell but was not interviewed until 10 1/2 months later.

So it’s at least kind of arguable that he was the rat in the case, and may deserve a light sentence more than the other guys…

Speaking of tax-fattened hyenas…

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Just for the record: indicted California Democratic State Senator Leland “Uncle” Yee has pled “not guilty” to “a racketeering charge and two counts of conspiracy ‘to obtain property under the color of official right.'”

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

If I understand the LAT correctly, these are additional recently filed charges against Yee. More:

The new charges include allegations Yee sought to extort campaign contributions from people in exchange for favorable votes on legislation affecting the National Football League and mixed martial arts.

The NFL and MMA? Interesting. I sense at least a possibility that some more people are going to be brought down before this is over. These new indictments are on RICO charges as well. Fun fun fun.

(And isn’t “conspiracy to obtain property under the color of official right” a great charge?)

(Also, I’m a little late on this, but I’ve decided I need a Leland Yee category. I’ll go back and tag additional posts when I have time.)