October 31, 2016

Ballot Measures
Local law enforcement leaders say Prop 57 is ‘deceptive,’ will roll back victims’ rights, lowers criminal penalties
As voters prepare to decide on a slate of statewide ballot measures, local and regional law enforcement leaders have come out with a strong warning against Proposition 57, which they say will endanger the safety of the communities and citizens they serve. They’re also concerned that it will undermine the authority of local elected judges and erode four decades’ worth of advances in victims’ rights in California.
No on Prop. 57: Early release of violent criminals would be allowed
Proposition 57 is a dangerous and misleading constitutional amendment that will put the citizens of California at serious risk. The proponents of Proposition 57 have said this law will only affect “nonviolent” felons. They claim that only people in prison for “nonviolent” offenses will be eligible for early release. But the truth is there are few prisoners left in state prison that are truly “nonviolent.”
Proposition 57 would let thieves nonviolently steal our stuff
Vote “no” on Proposition 57 – unless, of course, you would like to go back to wondering if your auto has been nonviolently stolen while you’re sitting at the movies, unless you would like to go back to wondering while you’re at work all day, if your house has been nonviolently ransacked and your valuables purloined. It’s actually more cost-effective to keep thieves jailed than to “wonder.” How much is your peace of mind worth to you?
Governor’s Prop. 57 could be a danger to our communities
Is Proposition 57 a get-out-of-jail-free card containing dire consequences for our cities, streets and homes, or is it a desperately needed constitutional change that will make our prisons less crowded and provide hope to prisoners seeking redemption? Jerry Brown is perhaps the most popular politician in California history, having been elected governor four times. Proposition 57 is his personal crusade.
Prop. 57 puts every Californian in danger
Every once in a while the American people decide to change their mind on a contentious, hot-button issue of the day. It usually happens gradually, as people age and newer generations with different opinions replace them. We’ve seen this happen on a large scale with policy regarding civil rights, gay marriage and how we treat the mentally ill.
Proposition 57: Do you feel lucky?
Sponsors say Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, will save taxpayers money by making nonviolent felons eligible for parole earlier and improve fairness by having judges, not prosecutors, decide whether juveniles are tried as adults. Critics call it a “get out of jail early” card. I would add that it’s the sort of dishonest measure that becomes commonplace under unaccountable one-party rule.
Governor playing key role in two California ballot battles
California Governor Jerry Brown isn’t on the November ballot, but he’s playing a key role in two state initiative campaigns. He is the author of Proposition 57, a measure aimed at reducing overcrowding in the state’s prisons, and his ballot measure committee has contributed over $4 million — more than a third of the $11.5 million raised for the initiative, a MapLight analysis has found.
What you need to know about California’s 17 ballot measures
The Nov. 8 election is upon us, and Californians are already voting in record numbers. They face 17 ballot measures – tax increases, condom requirements, ammunition controls and marijuana legalization among them. What to do? Our complete voter guide is available here. But below you can find direct links to a brief rundown of what each measure does, what it costs and who’s taken a position on it and why.
California ballot initiative goes further on bullet background checks
A ballot initiative in California looks to go a step further on a bullet background check law already passed by the state’s legislature in May. Some of the major bullet points of Proposition 63 have already been voted on by California lawmakers and signed by the governor. The law is set to take effect in January 2019. But Prop. 63 adds more red tape to one of the processes getting the most attention – the bullet background check.
Burglaries up in Benicia since Proposition 47 passed two years ago
Crime reports show burglaries are up significantly in Benicia since voters passed state Proposition 47 two years ago. The latest crime report from the Police Department in September shows a year-to-date increase over last year’s numbers, and law enforcement officials are fighting back, Benicia Police Department spokesmen said.
Kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard opposes Prop. 57
Seven years after she was freed from captivity, Jaycee Dugard has kept a relatively low profile. Despite writing a couple of best-selling first-person books about a life defined by her 1991 kidnapping and subsequent near-slavery, her precise whereabouts remain a mystery. Dugard is single, according to interviews, and spends her time focusing on her children.
Prop. 57 would release violent criminals and undermine victims’ rights
Make no mistake about it: Proposition 57 is a dangerous, dangerous ballot initiative that poses a great threat to the people of California. The ballot title and summary called the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016” could not be more misleading or further from the truth as to what it does or, worse yet, for what it would do.
Sergeant’s widow has strong words against Prop. 57
Families of local law enforcement officers killed in shootings this month spoke out Tuesday against Proposition 57, the so-called safety and rehabilitation act that Gov. Jerry Brown strongly supports. Brown supports it so much that he has put up $5 million of his own campaign money in support of the proposition.
Families of 2 slain officers call Governor’s Prop 57 campaign deceptive
Family members of two law enforcement officers slain in recent weeks have come out against Proposition 57, accusing Gov. Jerry Brown of attempting to deceive voters about the measure that would enable some inmates to be paroled sooner. “Governor Brown, I’m calling you out on this,” said Tania Owen, widow of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, who was shot to death on Oct. 5 while pursuing a burglary suspect in Lancaster.
LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell weighs in on upcoming ballot measures
Voters will be tasked with deciding on several measures during Election Day on Nov. 8, including measures that could have an impact on public safety. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and other law enforcement officials voiced their opposition to Proposition 57 and 62 and their backing of Proposition 66 on Tuesday. Proposition 57 would increase parole chances for felons convicted of non-violent crimes.
California voters are being asked to force transparency in the Legislature. Here’s a Proposition 54 explainer.
The backers of Proposition 54 don’t have to do much to explain their motivation for imposing a waiting period for final action on bills by the California Legislature. History, it turns out, does it for them just fine. There was the time in 2014 when an extension of a tax break for installing solar panels mysteriously appeared in the state budget and was on the governor’s desk in less than two days.
Gil Garcetti and Eric Siddall weigh in on Proposition 62
California is one of 30 states where the death penalty is legal, but on Election Day here in California – things could change. Proposition 62 is a ballot initiative designed to abolish the death penalty. A ‘Yes’ vote means…you want to get rid of the death penalty and replace it with life in prison, without the possibility of parole. A ‘No’ vote means…you want to keep things as they are and keep the death penalty in place.
California correctional officers launch pro-death penalty campaign
With polls showing California voters poised to abolish the death penalty in just two weeks, the state correctional officers’ union is underwriting a major drive to save capital punishment. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association on Monday released a pair of ads encouraging voters to reject Proposition 62, which would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without parole, and support a competing measure, Proposition 66, that aims to expedite the process and resume long-stalled executions.
Death penalty opponents exaggerate cost of executions in new ad
If voters approve Proposition 62 this November, California would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Rather than focusing on moral arguments, supporters of the initiative have sought to make the campaign an issue of fiscal sensibility. In a new television ad, Ron Briggs, who managed his father’s successful 1978 ballot measure to expand California’s death penalty, says it was a mistake, emphasizing that the state would save money if it abolishes capital punishment.
Fleischman: The 7 ugliest propositions on the California ballot
There are 17 propositions on the California ballot next month. They range from good, to bad, to downright ugly. Below is a quick summary of the seven ugliest of the bunch – those easily deserving your “no” vote. Prop. 55 & Prop. 56 – Because we need taxes in California to be the highest in the nation, here are two massive tax increases placed right in front of you. Both of these are in the vein of the expression, “Don’t tax me, tax the guy behind the tree.”
Meet the main man fighting against California’s Prop. 64
The leading advocates for Proposition 64, the California initiative that would legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis, are well known: Gavin Newsom, the dashing lieutenant governor; Sean Parker, the tech startup billionaire; and Jay Z, musician and general mogul. But who’s fighting it? That would be John Lovell. Lovell is a longtime law enforcement lobbyist who’s emerged as one of the leading voices against legalization in the nation’s largest state.
Legislation
Terror attack put Californians behind sweeping gun-control initiative
In the aftermath of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack which devastated the working-class Southern California community, Golden state lawmakers revitalized a longstanding gun-control debate. Backed by public polling and overwhelming support in many of California’s most populated districts, California Democrats responded quickly to the tragic mass shooting and proposed a barrage of new gun bills that were eventually inked by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Prison & Parole
Manson follower ‘Tex’ Watson denied parole in California
California parole officials recommended Thursday that Charles “Tex” Watson, the self-described right-hand man of murderous cult leader Charles Manson, should remain in prison 47 years after he helped plan and carry out the slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people. Watson’s 17th parole hearing was held at Mule Creek State Prison, near Sacramento. He can seek parole again in five years.
Will California counties rethink charging parents fees for locked up kids?
If your kid gets arrested and locked up, it turns out you (the parent) might end up footing the bill. This might seem strange – after all, the state doesn’t charge adults for the cost of incarcerating them – but there is a little-known law that allows counties to collect money from parents for the cost of upkeep while their kids are in custody. One such parent is M.C., an Antioch resident who didn’t want her full name used because she worries for her and her son’s safety.
Prosecution
Man accused of killing Modoc sheriff’s deputy could face death penalty
A man accused of killing a Modoc County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with murder and could face the death penalty, authorities said. Jack Lee Breiner, 47, faces one count of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder for the death of Deputy Jack Hopkins, one count of attempted murder for shooting at Modoc Sheriff Mike Poindexter and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Modoc County district attorney’s office.
Backpage sex ad fight thrown out of court
A federal judge Monday threw out Backpage.com’s claim that the U.S. attorney general is enforcing an unconstitutional law against advertising the sex trafficking of children. Law enforcement agencies for years have claimed that Backpage.com’s online “Escort” and “Adult Services” ads are thinly disguised ads for prostitution, sometimes forced prostitution, sometimes of children.
Australian man charged with attempted murder at Miranda Kerr’s home
A man has been charged with the attempted murder of a security guard who was stabbed at the home of supermodel Miranda Kerr. Shaun Anthony Haywood, 29, allegedly slashed the guard’s face with a knife after breaking into the Australian model’s Los Angeles property to deliver a letter on 14 October, prosecutors say. Haywood, from Australia, was then shot by the armed security guard, the Los Angeles county district attorney’s office said.
Conviction & Sentencing
California man gets 1,503 years in prison for raping teen daughter
A Fresno man was sentenced to 1,503 years in prison for raping his teenage daughter over a four-year period, a case that stands in stark contrast to a recent controversial ruling in a Montana rape and incest case. The 41-year-old California man was sentenced Friday to the longest-known prison sentence in Fresno Superior Court history, the Fresno Bee reported. The Associated Press and CBS News are avoiding naming the man because it could identify his daughter.
2 L.A. gang members convicted of killing special-needs man for wearing red shoes, prosecutors say
Two gang members were convicted Monday of killing a 19-year-old man with special needs because he was wearing red shoes, prosecutors said. The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated less than three hours before reaching guilty verdicts for Kanasho Johns, 29, and Kevin Deon Johnson, 26. They were charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Tavin Price on May 29, 2015 near a South Los Angeles car wash.
Prosecutor’s plea: Lock up for life killer of TSA agent at LAX
The man who opened fire inside a Los Angeles International Airport terminal in 2013, killing a TSA officer and wounding three other people, was bent on committing mass murder and should be sentenced to life behind bars, a federal prosecutor wrote in court papers obtained by City News Service.
‘El Chapo’ cohort gets 15 years for drug ring
A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced one of the most wanted Mexican cartel drug traffickers who also had ties to “El Chapo” Guzman to 15 years in prison. Victor Emilio Cazares Gastellum, 53, also known as “El Licenciado,” was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Hayes for his role as the leader of a large-scale drug trafficking ring which moved drugs from Colombia and Venezuela through Central America to Mexico.
Law Enforcement
Feds: 24 charged with bringing drugs from LA to Chicago on Amtrak
Twenty-four people have been charged by federal authorities with using Amtrak trains to transport drugs from Los Angeles to Chicago. The indictments allege wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin, obtained from Mexico and Southern California, were transported from Los Angeles to Union Station aboard Amtrak Express trains, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Crime down in Atwater, but public safety remains key political issue
It’s not every day a prominent Realtor and former city councilman uses a public forum to say his community is “going in a sh–hole.” Andy Krotik, director of government affairs for the Merced County Realtor Association, said during a meeting Oct. 6 that he was concerned about the public’s safety in Atwater.
Gaps in SF, state counts of police killings hinder grasp of issue
A little more than a year ago, outrage over police shootings around the country led California Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch an “unprecedented” project called Open Justice to provide user-friendly statistics – including counts of fatal police encounters – to researchers and regular citizens. But the public still isn’t getting a complete picture of these deadly incidents. Not even close.
The myth of the racist cop
FBI Director James Comey has again defied the official White House line on policing and the Black Lives Matter movement. The “narrative that policing is biased and violent and unfair” is resulting in “more dead young black men,” Mr. Comey warned in an Oct. 16 address to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego. That narrative, he added, also “threatens the future of policing.”
Report: half of US adults are in facial recognition databases used by police
A new report finds images of more than half of adults living in the US are stored in a series of police facial recognition databases, in many cases without any prior contact with police. That’s according to a new report that raising concerns and inconsistencies about privacy. A Martinez spoke with Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, who authored the report.
Dead sheriff’s sergeant had heart attack before crashing patrol car in Compton
A 47-year-old sheriff’s sergeant who died after his patrol car crashed in Compton had suffered a heart attack, the coroner’s office reported Wednesday. The crash occurred about 5:20 a.m. Monday at Myrrh Street and Willowbrook Avenue. Sgt. Al Lopez, a 26-year veteran of the department, died at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, according to the sheriff’s department.
‘The father of the modern police novel’ Joseph Wambaugh on ‘Dragnet,’ police shootings and Hollywood’s action addiction
Joseph Wambaugh earned the title “father of the modern police novel” in 1971 when he published “The New Centurions,” a raw, emotional look at the experiences of a class of new Los Angeles Police Department cadets in the years leading up to the 1965 Watts riots. No matter who had written it, “The New Centurions” would be a masterpiece, as are Wambaugh’s other police books, including “The Onion Field,” a nonfiction account of the kidnapping of two LAPD officers.
Americans’ respect for police reaches highest level since 1967, poll finds
Americans’ respect for local police jumped to its highest levels since 1967, according to a new Gallup poll Monday. The poll, conducted earlier this month, found 76% of Americans said they have “a great deal” of respect for police in their area, up 12 percentage points from last year.  The findings follow high-profile fatal attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and come amid ongoing protests over police shootings of black men across the country.
Washington sheriff fires back at NFL over Josh Brown case
King County Sheriff John Urquhart fired back at the NFL, which called his agency out for not disclosing the extent of New York Giants kicker Josh Brown’s domestic violence accusations. “I don’t like to get pushed around by a bully,” Urquhart told KIRO-FM on Thursday. “Or I can be charitable and say they don’t know the facts. They don’t understand how public disclosure works. That’s a better way to put it, if I felt like being charitable.
California city proposes mandatory gun lock law
City leaders in San Jose, the third-largest city in the California, are evaluating a plan that would require gun owners to secure their firearms when they are not in use. Councilman Ash Kalra, a Democrat currently running for an open seat in the California State Assembly, is sponsoring the legislation along with Councilman Raul Peralez, a former San Jose police officer, in what he terms an effort to increase public safety.
Angelenos fight city’s ‘anti-gang’ orders
The Los Angeles Police Department unconstitutionally expands the reach of gang injunctions to impose “probation-like conditions” on thousands of people who are not gang members, a Youth Justice Coalition claims in a federal class action. The Youth Justice Coalition and two men claim the city and its police force’s repeated violations of due process disproportionately affect men of color.
California spent all-time high $21 billion on crime last year
A new report lays out a stunning price tag for the cost of crime in California last year: nearly $21 billion. Even as the state has launched criminal justice reforms in recent years aimed at reducing its prison population, California’s expenses related to responding to crime and incarceration have continued to rise to an all-time high for the state.
L.A. County Sheriff making naughty list of deputies
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has begun to compile a list of its own employees who’s past bad behavior could be problematic if those employees were called to testify about criminal investigations in court. For the first time that list is expected to be forwarded to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office so prosecutors can check to see if a deputy or detective could be challenged in court about past dishonesty, law breaking, or incidents considered to be, “acts of moral turpitude.”
County Government
After $38-million deal collapsed, L.A. County secretly launched public corruption probe of retired CEO
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors secretly launched a public corruption investigation of its former Chief Executive William T Fujioka shortly after his retirement two years ago, examining his role in real estate dealings, a multimillion-dollar emergency communications project and other county business, according to a document obtained by The Times and officials familiar with the probe.
Hahn, Napolitano vie for powerful Los Angeles board seat
The race features someone who has worked in the trenches of Los Angeles County government against a longtime elected official who’s also among the region’s political elite. Put another way, the contest between Steve Napolitano and Congresswoman Janice Hahn is between and a man who is spending more than a million dollars on his own campaign against a woman who seeks to follow in the footsteps of her politically famous father.
Also
On anniversary of blowout, activists vow to ‘keep fighting’ to shut down Aliso Canyon facility
On the one-year anniversary of the start of the catastrophic natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, environmental activists, Porter Ranch-area residents and political candidates renewed their call Sunday to “Shut. It. All. Down.” More than 125 people gathered at Holleigh Bernson Memorial Park in neighboring Porter Ranch for a community fair and rally that was followed by a march to Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon facility and a “memorial ceremony.”
Californian’s fight against illegal college subsidies for illegal immigrants heads to court
The next front in the battle over in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants will play out in a California appeals court on Nov. 3 in a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch on behalf of California resident and taxpayer Earl De Vries. The issue there is not whether the California Legislature can authorize in-state tuition to illegal immigrants-courts have held that they can-but whether the University of California Board of Regents, an independent body from the state Legislature, can lawfully authorize in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at all University of California campuses in direct violation of federal law.
Opponents of Beverly Hilton project allege voter fraud
Opponents of the Beverly Hilton’s bid to erect the tallest building in Beverly Hills have asked Los Angeles County prosecutors and elections officials to investigate allegations of voter registration fraud. The allegations, including that more than 300 Beverly Hills voters are registered illegally to post office boxes rather than their home addresses, were made by a lawyer for Beverly Hills Residents and Businesses to Preserve Our City, a committee sponsored by a competing developer, Chinese entertainment and real estate giant Wanda Group.
Feud escalates between OC Supervisor Spitzer and DA Rackauckas
The ongoing feud between Supervisor Todd Spitzer and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas escalated Tuesday, with the supervisor using a relatively routine item on the board meeting agenda to bash Orange County’s top prosecutor for not having a “day-to-day” professional running the office. The discussion about whether Rackauckas should have a chief deputy as a second-in-command began when Patrick Dixon, a member of the committee Rackauckas formed to review the jailhouse snitch scandal, raised the issue at Tuesday’s meeting.
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