Explaining how Kelly Thomas came to meet his gruesome decease called for some creative lawyering from defense attorneys John Barnett and Michael Schwartz, who often represent California law enforcers charged with misconduct [OC Weekly, disturbing images]
Also: Why let accused cops delay answering questions after an episode of alleged excessive force? To let them shape their story? [Scott Greenfield on new Dallas policy] And on the brighter side: Radley Balko, the nation’s premier reporter on police and prosecutorial abuse and someone regularly linked in this space, is joining the Washington Post. [Poynter]
If a private employer tried to pull this kind of thing I expect there’d be an outcry:
Glendale school officials have hired a Hermosa Beach company to monitor and analyze public social media posts, saying the service will help them step in when students are in danger of harming themselves or others.
And with a private employer, you’d be there by your own choice.
“Air quality regulators, citing pollution and health risks, have proposed removing more than 800 fire pits that dot the coastline of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.” [Ian Lovett, New York Times]
Los Angeles: “As LAUSD agrees to pay out 30 million dollars to the families victimized by the Miramonte Elementary School teacher molestation scandal, FOX 11 investigates why school districts seem to have such a difficult time firing teachers who’ve committed lewd acts.” Even the teacher charged with committing mass sex crimes in the Miramonte case managed to get a $40,000 payout from his district to quit. The powerful California Teachers Association (CTA) managed to scuttle a modest bill by Sen. Alex Padilla to streamline dismissals in extreme cases. Instead, it’s backing an alternative measure that reformer and former Sen. Gloria Romero describes as a joke that “wouldn’t really do anything.” [KTTV; CTA's side]
“…so we can avoid negative coverage?” [NBC Los Angeles on LAPD enforcement of law against unauthorized animal selling]
Steven Greenhut at Reason summarizes an extraordinary story from Costa Mesa, Calif. broken by Orange County Register reporting here, here, and here. Long and the short of it: if you get on the wrong side of certain police unions politically, be on your guard against trumped-up DUI charges and a range of “gangster cop” behavior.
A local woman says wi-fi emanations from new “smart” parking meters in Santa Monica, Calif., have caused her various health injuries including tightness in her neck and an ear infection that took antibiotics to heal. She wants $1.7 billion: “I know it seems a little big,” [Denise] Barton said, “but they can’t do things that affect people’s health without their consent. I think that’s wrong.” [Santa Monica Daily Press, LAist]
A California attorney reached a $350,000 settlement just before a jury returned with its verdict on his client’s suit. Turned out the jury had been prepared to award $9 million. The plaintiffs attorney, C. Michael Alder, who is president of the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, then told a judge that his developmentally disabled and brain-damaged client (who had been severely injured after jumping out of an ambulance) had not properly authorized him to settle the case. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson granted a new trial. [The Recorder, ABA Journal, Judicial Hellholes and followup]
The Lookout News of Santa Monica, Calif. reports on obstacles to the revitalization of the Pico Boulevard commercial district:
“Businesses on Pico have been very frustrated by code compliance regulations for years,” [Pico Improvement Organization chairman Robert] Kronovet said. “You have a business that might have a sign in the wrong place or a door that isn’t right and the city fines them to the point that they don’t want to stay.
“These are small businesses. They don’t have the money to fight it.”…
Proprietor Elvira Garcia [of Caribbean restaurant Cha Cha Chicken] says business has been terrific, but that the success has been hard-won.
“We wanted to renovate our bathroom areas to make it more handicap-accessible and it took us almost three years to get all the permits,” Garcia said.
“We kept giving all the paperwork they need, but it took forever. We needed the Pico Improvement Organization to plead our case.”
California has the nation’s most active entrepreneurial corps of ADA enforcers, roaming business districts to file mass complaints against small businesses over handicap accessibility which they then settle for cash.
In southern California’s sprawling Orange County (population 3 million), 77 people have been placed on the courts’ vexatious litigant list, but it’s not an easy matter to get someone on. “A Huntington Beach woman recently filed 47 lawsuits in a matter of months against various agencies including the city, the District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department…. She sued Huntington Beach saying she wants more plants near parking lots.” [Orange County Register]
Speaking as I was in the Times farm-bill symposium of what I call isometric government, in which different subsidies or regulations tend to cancel out each others’ effect, reminds me of this L.A. Times story recently blogged by Gideon Kanner: government has required that public beaches be carved out of prime Malibu coastline, but then keeps those beaches mostly inaccessible to the public: “In fact, officials discourage visitors from trying to reach the shore from the highway above out of concern that they will be injured scrambling down the 20-foot bluff,” in the words of reporter Tony Barboza.