Monday Morning Memo for November 7, 2016

Ballot Initiatives
California’s 17 Propositions explained
Along with national and local races, Californians will be asked to vote on 17 state propositions November 8th. Marianne Kast with the Fresno League of Women Voters stopped by Eyewitness News This Morning, to explain some of them. Kast says the League is frequently asked about the propositions that receive the most advertisement. Those include: Proposition 53, a statewide approval for use of revenue bonds above $2 billion. 
California voters poised to pass new gun and ammo restrictions
California voters will decide Tuesday whether to approve an ammunition and gun-control initiative, that would prohibit the possession of large-capacity magazines and require background checks for the purchase of ammunition. According to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday, the measure has strong voter support with 58 percent in favor of it versus 35 percent opposed.
Gun control measure divides California’s politicians, law enforcement
A gun control measure on California’s ballot Nov. 8 is pitting sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors against most of the state’s political establishment. A state that already has some of the strictest limits on gun ownership in the nation is asking voters to impose regulations on ammunition sales and make it a crime not to report a stolen gun.
Propositions 62 and 66: Two death penalty initiatives to appear on upcoming ballot
California voters will decide on two opposing ballot initiatives — Propositions 62 and 66 — that have to do with the death penalty — including one that seeks to repeal it — when they head to the polls on Nov. 8. Chris Wolfe reports for the KTLA 5 News.
Props 62 and 66: Death penalty debate behind enemy lines
I just saw the first ad from the supporters of Prop 62. Mike Ferrell, the head of that movement, claimed that a “yes” vote on Prop 62 saves innocent lives on Death Row, by giving them all Life-Without-the-Possibility-of-Parole death sentences. What a myth and twist in thinking. Would Mr. Ferrell be willing to debate any LWOP prisoners he has demonized? Or is he afraid of the truth?
If Prop 64 passes, what happens to prisoners convicted of marijuana charges?
Though his fate will hang in the balance on Election Day, Corvain Cooper won’t get to cast a ballot. The 37-year-old will be in a cell in central California’s Atwater federal prison, where he’s serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for convictions involving marijuana. “I was placed in a federal prison at its highest level, with felons who all committed acts of violence,” the Los Angeles native said in a series of monitored emails sent from prison.
Got bank? Election could create flood of marijuana cash with no place to go
Although the sale of marijuana is a federal crime, the number of U.S. banks working with pot businesses, now sanctioned in many states, is growing, up 45 percent in the last year alone. Still, marijuana merchants say there are not nearly enough banks willing to take their cash. So many dispensaries resort to stashing cash in storage units, back offices and armored vans.
Public safety united in opposition to Prop 57
Top law enforcement officials, peace officer and district attorneys’ associations, victims’ rights organizations and civic leaders from across the state have joined forces to speak out against Proposition 57,  which will be voted on in California’s general election on November 8. More than 50 county district attorneys, 30 county sheriffs, 20 police chiefs, 30 congressional members and thousands of peace officers, crime victims and criminal justice advocates represented by over 45 associations unequivocally urge voters to vote No on Prop 57.
Prop 57: Not just a ‘juvenile’ initiative
When touting the merits of The Public Safety & Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (also known as Proposition 57,) the 2016 California voters guide addresses the question surrounding juvenile arrests for violent or serious criminal offenses to be charged as adults. Those convicted could spend years incarcerated in California State prisons.
Inmates supporting Prop 57 Public safety ballot initiative
NBC4 was given exclusive access into law enforcement’s four-year-long investigation, which led to the burglary ring raid. It led them to uncover another enterprise, in which they discovered inmates urging friends and associates to approve Proposition 57. Proposition 57 would make approximately 7,000 prisoners eligible for parole after they complete their primary sentence.
Yolo County’s top prosecutor opposes Prop. 57
In what has been a statewide effort by prosecutors and county supervisors, Yolo County officials are opposing Prop. 57 on next Tuesday’s ballot. In a letter to local newspapers, District Attorney Jeff Reisig, and supervisor Jim Provenza and Matt Rexroad are asking people to think about Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, who was murdered while responding to a burglary call at an apartment building four weeks ago.
Ballot measure could shorten prison time for inmates
Few politicians debate the notion that prison incarceration is an issue demanding attention. The question for California voters is if Prop. 57 addresses the problem adequately. Prop. 57 is called the “California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative” and will be on the Nov. 8 ballot as a constitutional amendment and state statute.
District Attorney
DA’s office will review campaign contributions from donors with ties to Sea Breeze developer
The Los Angeles district attorney’s office said Monday that it would review a series of campaign contributions made by donors with ties to a developer who secured approval for a controversial $72-million apartment complex. On Sunday, a Times investigation showed that more than 100 donors who were directly or indirectly connected to developer Samuel Leung had made donations totaling more than $600,000 to L.A.-area politicians while his 352-unit Sea Breeze project was being reviewed.
Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers charged in fitness center body shaming case
A Playboy playmate was charged Friday after allegedly secretly photographing a nude woman in a fitness club locker room and posting the image to social media. Dani Mathers was charged with one count of invasion of privacy, the city attorney’s office announced Friday. If convicted, the 29-year-old faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Justice Department sues AT&T-DirecTV, alleges collusion in blocking Dodgers channel
For three seasons, thousands of frustrated Los Angeles Dodgers fans have missed Clayton Kershaw’s brilliant pitches. They also never got to watch Vin Scully’s emotional final season and a dominant march to the playoffs. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice says that baseball fans were shut out because of unfair play by DirecTV, which allegedly colluded with rival pay-TV companies in an effort to make sure that Dodgers games were not widely available in Los Angeles.
Attorney embezzles $150,000 to pay own debt
A disbarred attorney pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of taking nearly $150,000 from three people and using their money to pay personal debts. Fred Raymond Hunter Jr., 50, of Riverside, who was disbarred Oct. 16, 2014, was charged Friday with three felony counts of embezzlement by a fiduciary of trust, with sentencing enhancement allegations for theft exceeding $100,000 and aggravated white collar crime exceeding $100,000.
Why ex-Sheriff Lee Baca’s jail corruption trial will stay in LA County
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will be tried in Los Angeles County in December in connection with a jail corruption case after a federal judge denied his request Monday to hold the trial outside the area. U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson denied the motion to change the venue by Baca’s attorneys, who argued that thousands of news stories about the high-profile case this year have saturated the public to the point Baca could not get a fair trial in Los Angeles County.
Conviction & Sentencing
Gun battle with LAPD gets high-speed chase driver 32 years behind bars
A young man who led Los Angeles police on a high-speed chase during which his passenger fired shots at officers was sentenced Wednesday to 32 years in state prison. Avel Jowan Turks, now 20, was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon immediately after pleading no contest to two counts of assault on a peace officer.
Eleven years for man who killed fellow transient outside fast-food restaurant
One of two homeless men convicted in the beating and stomping death of a fellow transient outside a fast-food restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison. Derek Miller, 31, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the Feb. 7, 2015, death of Derrick Hamilton. Co-defendant Charles Allender, 42, was charged along with Miller and convicted of second-degree murder following a trial.
Woman gets 21 years in prison for Hollywood fight
A woman shot by police after pointing a gun during a fight in a Hollywood parking structure was sentenced Monday to 21 years in prison. Diamond Shirley Vargas, 49, of Los Angeles was convicted of one felony count of assault with a firearm. Jurors deadlocked on five identical counts. Vargas was shot in the leg following a confrontation on Dec. 26, 2014, in the parking structure of the Hollywood & Highland center.
Rapist pulls victim into car, drives to vacant home, 150 years to life prison!
A rapist convicted of sexually assaulting three women in Los Angeles and two women in Lancaster was sentenced Wednesday to 150 years to life in state prison. James Smith was convicted of nine felony charges stemming from attacks on a 21-year-old woman in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2009; a 43-year-old woman in Los Angeles on Sept. 24, 2011; a 33-year-old woman in Los Angeles on March 22, 2012; a 28-year-old woman in Lancaster on Dec. 6, 2013; and a 19-year-old college student in Lancaster on June 16, 2014.
Law Enforcement
Many secret service agents’ overtime pay maxing out in raucous year (Video)
Many of the U.S. Secret Service agents on the campaign trail are not getting paid for all the overtime they’re putting in.
L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell discusses Hatzolah, Israel and Black Lives Matter
While appearing as a guest of attorney Andrew Friedman at the Nov. 1 American Friends of Magen David Adom Red Star Ball, which was held at the Beverly Hilton, drew more than 1,000 attendees and raised more than $14 million to support Israel’s ambulance, blood-services, and disaster relief organization, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell discussed what local emergency medical response services could learn from similar organizations in Israel, the state of police and African-American relations in Los Angeles in the age of Black Lives Matter and more with the Journal.
Former Long Beach officer arrested after alleged domestic assault and death threat
A former Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officer was arrested today by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) and charged with felony counts by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division, including burglary, assault with a firearm and false imprisonment charges, the LBPD announced.
New law aims for police accountability in use of force cases
A new law aimed at holding police accountable for use of force incidents has raised concerns among both police departments and civil rights groups. California Assembly Bill 71 requires police departments to submit annual data of their use of force, from shootings to altercations resulting in great bodily harm, and makes the records accessible to the public.
Parents of Ezell Ford, who was fatally shot by LAPD officers, settle lawsuit with city
The parents of Ezell Ford, a mentally ill man who was fatally shot by Los Angeles police officers in 2014, have settled their wrongful death and state civil rights lawsuit with the city of L.A., according to court papers. Attorneys for Ford’s parents and the city reached the tentative settlement Oct. 21, according to an order filed by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rita Miller.
Trans women want cops to stop prostitution crackdowns
A coalition of activist groups is asking the Los Angeles Police Department to back off of its operations against transgender women suspected of prostitution. Those crackdowns usually happen in Hollywood, along Santa Monica Boulevard.
FBI in internal feud over Hillary Clinton probe
The surprise disclosure that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are taking a new look at Hillary Clinton’s email use lays bare, just days before the election, tensions inside the bureau and the Justice Department over how to investigate the Democratic presidential nominee.
Body cameras end guesswork in controversial cop stops? 1,000 deputies get them
The Los Angeles Police Department isn’t the only massive Southern California law enforcement agency grappling with the use of body-worn cameras in the wake of controversial shootings and confrontations around the nation. The Riverside county Board of Supervisors next week is expected to authorize Sheriff Stan Sniff to move ahead with plans to outfit all patrol deputies with body-worn cameras to “improve employee and citizen accountability.”
Fairbanks officer who predicted his own shooting has died
Fairbanks Police Sgt. Allen Brandt has died. The officer, who was shot earlier this month, suffered complications during surgery on his eye on Thursday. His condition deteriorated, and he was not able to recover, according to Acting Police Chief Brad Johnson. “Fairbanks lost a hero today,” Johnson said. “Our community, our department, our families and our friends are hurting.”
As threat evolves, Riverside County Sheriff’s gear up
Sheriff Stan Sniff, concerned that law enforcement officers in Riverside County and nationwide are increasingly encountering shooters firing high-powered weapons and refusing to surrender, has authorized his patrol deputies to wear special ceramic vests that are more likely to stop a bullet from a rifle than the vests they currently wear under their uniform shirts.
Prison & Parole
These puppies have a ‘magical’ effect on a state prison. Can they help inmates change?
When a pair of puppies stepped into a state prison’s highest security yard on a scorching summer day, dozens of felons fretted that the Labradors would singe their feet on hot pavement. “Pick them up! You’ve got to carry them. Watch out for their paws!” inmate Andre Ramnanan remembers his worried peers shouting at him.
Woman fights against early release of her brother’s killer
A Bakersfield woman is carrying on a lone fight against the early release of her brother’s killer, who was killed in a fiery car crash in August 2007 in Carson. William, better known as Bill, Cunha was 62 years old. According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s reports, Cunha died when his vehicle was broadsided by another driver in a Chevy Avalanche.
Help stop parole of cop killer Voltaire Williams
We need your help to prevent a cop killer from walking free. Twice in two years, Voltaire Williams CDC# E17796, the convicted murderer of LAPD Detective Thomas Williams, has been up for parole. Both times, after organized efforts by the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) to send letters to Governor Brown and the Board of Parole Hearings, Williams was denied parole.
County Government
LA supervisors to vote on civilian oversight of sheriff
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected Tuesday to take the long awaited step of creating a civilian commission to act as a watchdog for the sheriff’s department. The idea of a citizen’s panel arose three years ago amid a federal investigation into inmate abuse inside LA County jails. That investigation led to the indictment of more than 20 deputies and the abrupt resignation of former Sheriff Lee Baca.
When CA voters cleaned house at the State Supreme Court 
Thirty years ago, on November 4, 1986, California voters ousted Rose Bird, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, by a margin of 67 to 33 percent. This landslide vote confirmed that, contrary to current rhetoric, a bipartisan ruling class out of touch with the people is not a new development. Bird had been the first female public defender in Santa Clara County before serving as campaign chauffeur for Jerry Brown during his run for governor in 1974.
Court: The crime is what you did, not what you could have done
California’s Proposition 47 reduces felony convictions to misdemeanors for property crimes of less than $950. But when Jullian Rendon tried to reclassify her forgery conviction as a misdemeanor because she was caught with $260 in counterfeit bills, prosecutors objected because Rendon also possessed materials – blank pre-cut paper money, Benjamin Franklin faces and other items – that she could have used to fabricate tens of thousands of dollars in additional fake bills.
SF city attorney Dennis Herrera condemns state’s bail system
A decades-old California law that keeps people in jail if they can’t afford bail after their arrest came under renewed attack Tuesday from San Francisco’s city attorney, who said the city wouldn’t defend the law in court, and a Bay Area legislator, who promised a bill to repeal it.
The law “creates a two-tiered system: one for those with money and another for those without.
Judge excoriates Orange County sheriff for alleged concealment of jailhouse informant evidence
Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals blasted county Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in court Friday over a seeming refusal to turn over all evidence related to a tainted jailhouse informant program that has allegedly violated the rights of numerous defendants and threatens to upend multiple murder cases in the county.
Changing face of Los Angeles reflected in judicial candidates
The extraordinary diversity within the population of Los Angeles is reflected in a judicial race that pits a British born prosecutor against a Vietnamese American civil litigator in a race that has brought background, experience and temperament to the fore. One candidate was educated in London and steeped in the culture that produced the “Rumpole of the Bailey” television series.
Jerry Brown touted his pension reforms as a game-changer. But they’ve done little to rein in costs
year after his 2010 election, Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare appearance at a legislative committee hearing to confront lawmakers about the steep cost of public employee pensions – and to demand that they pass his 12-point pension overhaul. Brown challenged fellow Democrats to drink political “castor oil” so public retirement costs would not overburden future generations.
As California turns left, conservatives’ culture war victories are being erased
Culture wars dominated California politics during the 1980s and 1990s, and for the most part those on the conservative side of the ideological scale prevailed. But then is then and now is now, and the tide appears to have turned.
Villaraigosa looks to former Newsom confidant to guide campaign
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plans to turn to a San Francisco-based consultant and former confidant of rival Gavin Newsom to help guide his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, as he seeks to make inroads outside of Southern California. Villaraigosa’s plan to use Eric Jaye as a strategist, confirmed by multiple sources Monday, comes as Villaraigosa prepares to announce his candidacy shortly after the presidential election on Nov. 8.
L.A. City Council President wants to legalize pot shops, because they’re actually not legal
Pot shops in the city of Los Angeles technically are illegal. In 2013 voters approved a look-the-other-way law, Proposition D, which grants “limited legal immunity” to 135 or fewer dispensaries in L.A. that have kept up with certain regulations since 2007. Those collectives, however, could be outlawed on Jan. 1, 2018, when a package of state cannabis bills takes effect.
Anne Gust Brown for attorney general? She’s got a job, Jerry says
Perhaps no political parlor game has stirred as much curiosity among California politicos as Gov. Jerry Brown’s possible selection for state attorney general. Brown will have the opportunity to elevate the state’s next top law enforcement official if frontrunner Kamala Harris wins the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in the Nov. 8 election.
Politicians and activists demand answers on mystery donations tied to ‘Sea Breeze’ developer
Two Los Angeles-area elected officials and several neighborhood activists called Sunday for an investigation into campaign donations made by people with ties to a developer who secured City Hall approval for a controversial 352-unit apartment complex last year. The Times reported that dozens of donors with direct or indirect connections to real estate developer Samuel Leung gave more than $600,000 to L.A.-area politicians as his $72-million project was being reviewed.

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