Monday Morning Memo for November 28, 2016

Law Enforcement
Cops battle cops in court: Wrongdoing by LAPD top staff?
Six members of the Los Angeles Police Internal Affairs Group are suing the city over “whistleblower retaliation,” alleging they were wrongfully reprimanded in a dispute about unlawful activities and nepotism within the department’s upper levels. The lawsuit says the six believe they were targeted because a deputy chief thought they would speak in support of another internal affairs cop who was vocal about the supposed wrongdoing.
Police encourage more hate crime reports
Law enforcement leaders in Los Angeles called on the public Wednesday to report any sort of hate-motivated incidents. “Should they become a victim of a hate crime, they should call the police and report it,” said L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey at an event that also included LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Free after 16 years, innocent man sues LAPD
One year ago, a state judge exonerated Luis Lorenzo Vargas of three sexual assaults for which he’d spent 16 years in prison. On Monday, Vargas sued the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff’s departments and the District Attorney’s Office, for putting him there. Vargas claims police and prosecutors never disclosed that strikingly similar assaults continued even after he was in custody, all apparently committed by a man known as the Teardrop Rapist.
DA mulls case against Saugus High ‘hoaxer’ – School also takes stock of lockdown procedures
The case of the Saugus High School 11th-grader who allegedly perpetrated a hoax at the school last Friday – spreading the rumor of an armed student, and leading to a brief lockdown – is now in the hands of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Meanwhile, school principal Bill Bolde told The Signal that while the lockdown went smoothly, he was busy Monday debriefing school staff, with an eye toward taking stock and improving areas that could have gone better still.
‘America’s Invisible Crime’: Cargo theft expected to surge during holidays
Truckers are being warned about the risk of cargo theft during the holiday weekend, especially in Southern California. Since the beginning of the year, nearly $30 million in cargo has been stolen off of highways and from distribution centers throughout California. That is a 40% increase over last year, according to CargoNet, a cargo theft prevention and recovery network.
eBay and Amazon risky for holiday shoppers
When e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon try to maximize profits, the collateral damage to manufacturers and consumers can be enormous, and devastating. Both eBay and Amazon have channeled their business model into online “Marketplace” retail outlets which allow un-vetted global sellers to peddle hugely profitable counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers.
Local law enforcement agencies stay hands-off on immigration
Local law enforcement officials said this week they will not actively enforce federal immigration laws, in keeping with their longstanding effort to maintain the public’s trust. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants with criminal records, but agencies in Ventura County said they will generally continue their hands-off policy on the issue.
Grand Jury latest to launch probe of jailhouse snitch scandal
Orange County’s jailhouse snitch scandal has taken a new turn, with revelations that the county grand jury has launched an investigation into alleged illegal conduct by prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies and is being assisted in the probe by a former United States attorney. At some point this summer, the grand jury asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to hire attorneys to “investigate and present evidence” for its informants investigation, according to AG records released by the county Tuesday.
LA County Sheriff: Our relationship with ICE won’t change for Trump
Immigration has been a hot topic of discussion in Southern California following the election of Donald Trump as president, and many immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally are wondering what the future holds for them and their families. Here in Los Angeles County, Sheriff Jim McDonnell says his department’s relationship with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will remain status quo.
LA prepares to battle Trump over deportation
The battle lines have been drawn, and the City of Los Angeles is preparing for war with President-elect Donald Trump over potential deportation efforts to decrease the number of undocumented citizens in the United States. Trump campaigned with a vow to remove the estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally, although since winning the election, he has lowered that number to roughly 2 or 3 million who have criminal records.
‘Sanctuary Cities’ vs. national security and public safety
The lunacy of the immigration executive orders and other actions of the Obama administration to block the enforcement of our immigration laws and immigration anarchy will be brought to a screeching halt on the day that Donald Trump replaces Mr. Obama in the Oval Office. However the “Immigration All-Clear” will not be sounded across the United States in cities and states that have been declared “Sanctuaries” by the mayors and governors who have created a false and very dangerous narrative that equates immigration law enforcement with racism and bigotry.
How a dispute over dog droppings put a celebrated homicide detective and a judge under scrutiny
Throughout his more than three-decade career, Det. Mark Lillienfeld built a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The murder case of racing legend Mickey Thompson languished for years until Lillienfeld took over the investigation and saw it through to a conviction. In 2009, he helped send music producer Phil Spector to prison for the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson.
Prosecution
Worst mass killer in OC gets DA ousted
Orange County’s worst mass killer apparently won’t see the local district attorney in court any longer after an appeals panel agreed with a judge that prosecutors would not ensure a fair penalty phase trial due to loyalty to law enforcement. A state appellate panel upheld a Superior Court judge’s recusal of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the penalty trial of Scott Evans Dekraai, the worst mass killer in the county’s history.
Judge withholds ruling during ex-LA Sheriff Lee Baca’s hearing
A federal judge withheld his ruling Tuesday on whether testimony would be allowed from a defense expert who is expected to say former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease while being investigated in a jail corruption scandal. After hearing both sides, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson said he would take the motion under consideration and submit a written response.
Conviction & Sentencing
Appellate panel upholds West Hollywood man’s 12-year prison sentence for live-in boyfriend’s killing
A state appeals court panel last week upheld a man’s 12- year prison sentence for fatally stabbing and mutilating his live-in boyfriend at the West Hollywood apartment they briefly shared. The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham should have sentenced Andre Davids to six years in prison for the March 29, 2014, death of Kurtland Ma.
Marijuana
California marijuana industry is a ‘$25 billion opportunity’
MedMen likens itself, as many cannabis companies do, to an early tech startup. Its West Hollywood dispensary looks a bit like an Apple store, with samples of product in polished glass cases and information about each on iPads. In a grow facility in Sun Valley, north of Los Angeles, marijuana plants grow in coconut fiber, sustained by drip irrigation and marked by thin plastic labels stuck in soil.
Pensions
Jerry Brown’s pension reforms have done little to rein in costs
A 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.
Paying for public retirees has never cost L.A. taxpayers more. And that’s after pension reform
Los Angeles officials often boast about how they stemmed the rising cost of employee pensions, an expense that has hobbled cash-strapped cities throughout California. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said changes he oversaw in 2011 and 2012, which included lower pensions for new employees and higher retirement contributions from city workers, were “the most far-reaching effort in the nation.”
Ballot Measures
California Democratic Party leaders may be asked to fess up when paid to back ballot measures
The California Democratic Party is considering a new policy that would require party leaders to fully disclose any compensation they receive to advocate for a statewide ballot initiative or candidate for state office. The push for transparency comes after Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and a candidate for state party chairman, faced criticism after his political consulting firm was paid by opponents of Proposition 61, which voters rejected on Nov. 8.
Law enforcement’s hands tied by Prop. 57: Laren Leichliter
This election season has shocked many and made history in ways nobody had anticipated. And as the reality of the results are starting to slowly sink in, we are reminded to trust in our democratic process, even when the outcome is not in our favor. It is certainly easier said than done.
California secessionists unveil independence measure
It still doesn’t have much of a ring – or chance of ever happening – but Calexit isn’t going away just yet. As President-elect Donald Trump continued interviewing prospective appointees on Monday, the left-leaning leaders of a movement to make California a sovereign nation filed paperwork to take their case to voters in two years.
Clearing the smoke for employers on California Proposition 64
On November 8, Californians passed Proposition 64, legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years or older in California. Proposition 64 took effect November 9, 2016. California previously legalized the use of medical marijuana with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Politics
Jerry Brown’s election successes preserve streak, set him up for 2018
Four days before the election, Gov. Jerry Brown briefly ducked into a union hall in San Francisco to denounce an initiative that threatened to imperil his high-speed rail and Delta water tunnel projects. “I just want to cut to the chase here,” Brown said of Proposition 53, paid for by wealthy Stockton-area food processor Dean Cortopassi.
Democrats still rule the roost in Sacramento
While Democrats question their diminishing national footprint, the party remains strong in California, with Democrats earning a second supermajority in four years in the Assembly. Democrats took two seats from Republicans in this month’s election to regain a supermajority in the lower house. The Senate is awaiting the results of a race separated by less than two percentage points to find out whether it too will have a two-thirds voting bloc of Democrats.
Democrats close to supermajority in Legislature, Newman takes lead
Democrat Josh Newman now has a lead of nearly 1,400 votes in the Southern California state Senate seat upon which rests Democrats’ chance of a supermajority in the Legislature. Newman, a political neophyte, had been running behind Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang since Election Day. But Chang’s lead began slipping away in recent days.
Demographics in the California Legislature
Highlights: November 2016 California Legislative Election Results
Criminal-justice experts hunt for clues on Trump
One plank of the platform that won the election for President-elect Donald Trump was a tough-on-crime promise to “Make America Safe Again.” “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country,” Trump proclaimed during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland four months ago.
In California, a bastion of red waits for Trump to nudge this blue state

Sandra Eudy has considered leaving for Texas. Tina Larson finds it hard to envision retiring here, with the state’s high taxes eating into her savings. And Greg Surgener would leave, if not for family obligations. Republicans are something of an endangered species in California, where Democrats control both houses of the Legislature and all statewide elected offices.
Trump’s pick for Justice Department could influence immigration
As a senator, Jeff Sessions became Congress’ leading advocate not only for a cracking down on illegal immigration, but also for slowing all immigration, increasing mass deportations and scrutinizing more strictly those entering the U.S. As attorney general, he’d be well positioned to turn those ideas into reality. Immigration laws are enforced by other agencies, but the Justice Department plays a crucial role in setting the policies and legal underpinnings that shape the system.
Local Government
LA City Council to discuss plan to legalize sidewalk vending next month
A long-stalled plan to legalize sidewalk vending in Los Angeles will be taken up at a public hearing next month, amid concerns that misdemeanor penalties now on the books could put vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, at risk for deportation under Donald Trump’s presidency.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, President-elect Trump talk immigration, Olympics
Amid growing concerns among Los Angeles leaders about what the future may hold when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke with Trump on Wednesday by telephone in what was described as a “productive conversation.” The two discussed “ways to expand infrastructure investments and opportunities in communities across America,” the mayor’s spokeswoman Connie Llanos said in a statement.
Supervisors relax regulations on winemakers
The L.A. County health department no longer has the local wine industry over a barrel. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday freed L.A. County winemakers from rules under which they had been regulated like any other food-processing plant – creating what the winemakers said were unnecessary and burdensome costs that strangled the industry in the county while it booms elsewhere in the state.
County selects developer for mixed-use project at site of San Pedro’s old courthouse
Los Angeles County officials Tuesday unanimously approved granting exclusive negotiation rights to Holland Partner Group of Vancouver to bring a residential-retail complex to the 1.8-acre property where San Pedro’s shuttered courthouse sits. “The supervisor was extremely humbled and thrilled to be part of this downtown San Pedro renaissance,” said Andrew Veis, assistant press deputy to outgoing county Supervisor Don Knabe.
Forget living in your car in LA: Homeless ban OK’d
The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance barring people from living in cars near homes, parks, schools and daycare facilities. Under the ordinance, which must be signed by the mayor before taking effect, parking for habitation purposes will be prohibited from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. along residential streets with both single- and multi-family homes.
Legislation
Here are 5 of California’s dumbest laws for motorists
In California, a $25 fix-it ticket can snowball into $1,000 worth of fees and fines and a loss of driving privileges if the alleged violator doesn’t show up in court. State Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys has been fighting this injustice, which disproportionately affects the poor, with legislation that allows people to see a judge “before paying fines, restores driver’s licenses to those with a payment plan and reduces exorbitant fee debts by taking a person’s income into account,” according to Hertzberg’s office.
People
Marcia Clark leaves her trials behind: The onetime O.J. Simpson prosecutor, now-bestselling novelist has become a role model for career women
Two decades before presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton became the target of nonstop, unsolicited advice on how to win the White House – smile more, change that hairstyle, lose the pantsuit – the media were focused on Marcia Clark and all her missteps toward winning the trial of the century.