FROM Robert Faturechi
Lobbyists influencing how secretaries of state write ballot initiatives Secretaries of state can have a big hand in writing ballot questions, which are meant to give voters a direct voice in state policies. A new report shows big corporate lobbying firms are now trying to target these elected officials with campaign donations, weekend outings and secret meetings to influence how those ballot questions are written.
Former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca Pleads Guilty Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca faces a possible six months in federal prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to one count of making false statements to the FBI.
LACMA RIDLEY-THOMAS In the most-watched race of yesterday’s election, charter school advocate Ref Rodriguez beat incumbent Bennett Kayser for the District 5 seat. More than $3 million from outside groups poured into the race. But it’s another politics and money story that’s grabbing headlines today. Propublica and the LA Times have been combing through the contents of the Sony email hack. Those emails are now searchable thanks to Wikileaks. And they hit upon a series of emails that show a cozy and lucrative relationship between LACMA officials, the chairman of Sony, and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Google, Stanford and Privacy Research Stanford University has a close relationship with nearby Google. In fact, Google’s founders went to Stanford, where they first came up with their billion-dollar idea. Google has long donated to Stanford, and the university has used the money to pay for lots of research including research on internet privacy. That has proven to be a little awkward, given the fact that research conducted by Stanford led to a privacy-related fine against Google for about $22 million. Now, the Stanford center that conducted that research is no longer getting money from Google to study privacy. But both Stanford and Google say there’s no link.
Sheriff Lee Baca Resigns… Why Now? Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will step down at the end of the month. He made the announcement at a news conference this morning. Baca was running for a fifth four-year term and facing some stiff opposition, not to mention a lot of negative press. Earlier today on KCRW, LA Times reporter Robert Faturechi ran down the scandals that have plagued Baca's tenure, not least of which is the recent federal indictment of 18 sheriff's deputies .
LA Sherriff Lee Baca to Leave Beleaguered Department The Los Angeles Police department gets more national attention, but the LA Sheriff's Department is arguably more powerful. Its 18 thousand officers police large areas of Los Angeles County, and the $2.5 billion agency oversees the largest jail system in the US. For 15 years Lee Baca has overseen the department, which is now being investigated by the FBI on suspicion of multiple abuses of power. This morning Sheriff Baca made the surprising announcement that he will not seek re-election and will retire at the end of this month. Robert Faturechi has been covering the Sheriff's Department for the Los Angeles Times .
Challengers to Sheriff Baca Pile Up Lee Baca has been Los Angeles County Sheriff since 1998, and he's running for re-election next year. Supervisor Gloria Molina wrote to the Los Angeles Times complaining that "not one challenger" had "stepped forward to rescue" the department from Baca's hands. That was this past Saturday. Now, just five days later, four opposing candidates have announced — and there may be more to come. Robert Faturechi reports for the Times .
Is LA Sheriff Lee Baca Playing Offense or Defense? LA County Sheriff Lee Baca says he's going to fire seven deputies calling themselves the Jump Out Boys, a secret clique of deputies who wear special tattoos that are modified to "honor" members who get into shootings. Robert Faturechi reported that story this morning in the LA Times . We hear from him, the Sheriff's Department and others.
Sheriff Baca Admits Mistakes, But What’s Next? LA Sheriff Lee Baca and his top Deputy Paul Tanaka answered tough questions last week about the abuse of inmates by deputies in the county jails. They testified before a commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors after it was revealed that a federal investigation was under way. Baca said he was not told about widespread abuse, but admitted he was to blame.
Sheriff Tanaka Explains 'Gray' Areas After reports of misbehavior by deputies at Los Angeles County jails, the Supervisors have created a Citizens Commission on Jail Violence. Last week former officers said high officials fostered a cultural of brutality . Sheriff Lee Baca's top aide, Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, was quoted as urging deputies to work "in the gray area." That suggested to some that they could break the law while doing their jobs, and Tanaka has responded with a memo distributed throughout the department.
ACLU Sues Sheriff Baca over Abuse in Jails The American Civil Liberties Union has gone to federal court asking for an injunction against Sheriff Lee Baca and his top aides. The ACLU charges that deputies have formed jailhouse gangs who earn tattoos by beating inmates, even breaking their bones. In October, Sheriff Baca appeared on this program with ACLU legal director Peter Eliasberg. Baca agreed that deputies must be accountable, but dismissed any need for intermediaries. Today, the Sheriff's spokesman said there was a meeting last week but that the ACLU didn't mention its intention to sue. Robert Faturechi has been covering the story for the Los Angeles Times .
County Jails, Abuse of Authority, and the FBI Today's Los Angeles Times reports that a sheriff's deputy took $1500 to smuggle a cell phone into the Central Los Angeles County jail. What he didn't know was it was part of a sting operation by the FBI. The Deputy has resigned, but Sheriff Lee Baca denounced the FBI for possibly breaking the law and conducting an investigation he calls "unnecessary." (Sheriff Baca declined our invitation to join in this discussion.)
Free speech and the ideological fight for college campuses Conservatives claim that American colleges and universities are bastions of liberal orthodoxy, shielding students from alternative ways of thinking. What better place for a protest than UC Berkeley? What better agent of controversy than Ann Coulter?
Future of the Palestinians as Trump welcomes Abbas President Trump says there's "no reason there can't be peace" between Israel and the Palestinians… but the first step will have to be unity between the West Bank and Gaza. Are the Palestinian Authority and Hamas any closer to speaking with one voice?
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.