Move to restore funds to keep mentally ill out of jails

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The leader of the state Senate calls the L.A. jail system the biggest psychiatric facility in the country, and he wants to restart a grant program that’s intended to help mentally ill people escape a cycle of crime and incarceration. Senate President Darrell Steinberg is proposing to spend $50 million on grants next year. Those grants were part of the state budget for a decade before being eliminated five years ago amid shrinking revenues. But now the state’s finances are more stable. And Steinberg says the California would be wise to reinvest in a program that’s helped cut crime rates and keep mentally ill people out of jails…More potential headaches for L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar. The L.A. Times reports that a massage therapist in Pasadena accused him of groping her several years ago while Huizar was a member of the L.A. school board. But prosecutors declined to file charges after the woman decided that she did not want to move ahead with the complaint. The Times obtained a summary of the 2005 investigation through a public records request. In a separate case, Huizar is being sued by a former council aide for sexual harassment…comforgirlThree members of Japanese House of Representatives are in the Southland to investigate – and share their displeasure with – a statue that was erected in the city of Glendale this summer. The statue honors tens of thousands of “Comfort Women,” – Korean women and girls who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese Army during World War II. The Japanese politicians say the statue “dishonors” their country. They claim the women acted willingly…Political rivals are taking aim at L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca in the wake reports that friends and relatives of department brass were given preference in hiring decisions. The department says it has ended the program known as “Friends of the Sheriff,” and Baca says he didn’t know anything about it. But former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka – who is challenging Baca in next June’s election – says Baca is not being truthful. That view was echoed by former Sheriff’s Commander Bob Olmsted, who is also running against Baca. Olmsted says Baca bears ultimate responsibility for what happens on his watch. Baca will be seeking his fifth term as L.A. Sheriff next June…FARRAHAnd finally, an L.A. jury says actor Ryan O’Neal is the rightful owner of a disputed Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett. The University of Texas claimed that Fawcett bequeathed it two Warhol portraits of the TV star and model shortly before she died of cancer in 2009. But O’Neal – who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Fawcett – said that one of the portraits was his, and that he takes comfort talking to it. During the trial, appraisers said the work could be worth up to $12 million.