Los Angeles City Hall politics revealed from an insider's point of view.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trutanich Outs LAPD QuotaGate Scandal

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is being hailed as a hero for taking an aggressive stance and refusing to cover up the long suspected practice of forcing traffic cops to fulfill a daily quota of traffic violation tickets.

Is this a routine traffic stop, or is the cop fulfilling his daily quota?
Thanks to City Attorney Trutanich, the truth has come out.
On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that "two veteran motorcycle officers" were awarded $2M in a lawsuit because of their complaints about being forced to "write a certain number of tickets each day."

According to the LA Times, LAPD Officers Howard Chan and David Benioff, from West Traffic Division, "sued the department in 2009, alleging that they had been punished with bogus performance reviews, threats of reassignment and other forms of harassment after objecting to demands from commanding officers that they write a certain number of tickets each day."

Ticket quotas are illegal under state law and Officers Chan and Benioff alleged in their lawsuit that they were "expected to write at least 18 tickets each day."All but one of the 12 jurors in the case sided with the officers, concluding that the officers' reputations and specific employment actions against the officers by the department affected their careers after they reported the misconduct and refused to meet the quotas.

Thanks to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who rejected a $500,000 offer to settle the case and thereby cover-up the ticket quota scandal, the people of Los Angeles got to hear the truth. But for Trutanich's bold action the officers would never have been able to tell their story about how "they were ordered to scrap regular patrol assignments and sent instead to specific streets where they were more likely to catch motorists committing moving violations." The Times said.

The officers also gave us some new terminology in traffic ticket quotas; "orchards" or "cherry patches" are apparently cop-speak for good places to catch motorists.

If there is no appeal of the verdict, the City will have to pay $2M in damages plus attorney fees. Trutanich could decide to appeal the case, however, now that the cat is well and truly out of the bag, the appeal could be seen as pointless.

The Times also reported a statement by City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former LAPD motorcycle sergeant; "You can't violate the law to enforce the law," Zine said. "You can't mandate the number of tickets."

Now that Trutanich has outed the quota,  perhaps motorists will get more sympathetic treatment in traffic court if they ask the officer to tell the judge whether they got their ticket as part of a quota, or whether the ticket was issued at an "orchard" or "cherry patch." If successful, they can thank our City Attorney for doing the right thing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mayoral Candidate Kevin James Omited In Biased LA Times Op-Ed

The LA Times chose to ignore Mayoral candidate Kevin James in a blatantly biased Op-Ed pieced dated April 4, 2011.

LA Times writer Jim Newton chose to omit Kevin James
from his review of candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles

 If LA Times writer Jim Newton's op-ed piece gives the appearance to readers that it is simply a fair analysis of potential candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, then Newton will have succeeded in deliberately misleading its less well-informed readers. Newton knows that on March 16, 2011, on the steps of the South Lawn of City Hall, KRLA AM 870 talk show host Kevin James announced his candidacy for Mayor, but Newton did not even mention James.

But Newton's op-ed made no mention of the only non-insider candidate, Kevin James, instead focusing on 6 political insiders and developer Rick Caruso, who actually has no serious intention of running for Mayor, but likes to see his name mention whenever potential Mayors are being discussed.

That Newton's op-ed featured a picture of LA City Controller Wendy Greuel is not surprising, she was the first to announce her candidacy.  But Kevin James was the second candidate to announce, and that fact was reported by the LA Times on March 15, 2011.

The LA Times had no problem reporting that Kevin James would be announcing
his candidacy for Mayor, and mention him together with the 7 candidates
selected by Jim Newton for discussion in his op-ed piece.

So what's Newton's game? Does he really have such little regard for LA Times readers that he thinks they will have forgotten what the Times said on March 15?

Does he really think that by deliberately omitting Kevin James from his op-ed, and instead discussing six candidates all of whom have their fingerprints on the monumental failure of this city, LA Times readers will be fooled into thinking there are no other choices?

Shame on you Jim Newton, and shame on the LA Times for thinking its readers are as asleep at the wheel as the six failures you chose to opine as being in any way shape or form capable of having the vision desire and ability to drag the city out of the mess the 'business as usual' brigade have gotten us into.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April Fools Day!

In case you needed any reminder, today was April Fools Day and the blogs had a field day:

Micheal Higby of the Mayor Sam Blog announced his run for Mayor of Los Angeles complete with a hilarious campaign website.

Political Pantloads launched a Homeland Security styled Political Bullshit Threat Alert System, that is "designed to monitor the threat level of bullshit from his [Carmen Trutanich's] campaigns."

TRU is False published an email sent by Perry Mason to Los Angeles City Council warning them of the dangers of Trutanich's ACE Program.

Michael Cohen shared the Off The Press Radio Show on LA Talk Radio piece which took a swipe at pretty much everyone in Los Angeles politics.

And the winner is.... Higby!