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September 2019 - Week 4

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FEATURES

Public Safety 101


LAPD & LA County Sheriff -- How are they doing?


We'll explore how listeners feel about their local law enforcement agencies. How safe do they feel? How good is the local quality of life in their home town and what can be done to make things better?

We'll continue this discussion tonight ..

Here's one for you ..

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Dept of Justice

Press Release

Seven Defendants Charged in International Narcotics Conspiracy that Trafficked Pound Quantities of Drugs in Tricked-Up ‘Trap Cars'

by Nicola T. Hanna - United States Attorney, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – Authorities this morning arrested five defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment alleging they took part in a drug trafficking ring that imported pound quantities of cocaine and heroin from Mexico, then used modified BMW “trap cars” to distribute those drugs throughout the United States.

The four-count indictment charges a total of seven defendants with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and alleges a series of acts between December 2017 and July 2018.

In today's takedown, law enforcement seized approximately 20 kilograms (44.1 pounds) of cocaine, multiple firearms, three trap cars, and equipment for making butane honey oil, which contains a much higher percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than found in traditional marijuana products.

The five defendants arrested today are expected to make their initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Joel Antonio Villegas, a.k.a. “Junior,” 31, of Downey, and William Ariel Moreno, 29, also of Downey, are accused of being the operation's ringleaders who obtained kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine from Mexico for U.S. customers. Villegas and Moreno were found in possession of cocaine and guns in their homes at the time of their arrests this morning. Villegas is an alleged drug distributer who obtains drugs from a Mexican supplier and distributes the narcotics from the Los Angeles area to customers throughout the United States, using both trap cars and commercial shipping companies.

According to the indictment, Villegas directed co-conspirators to buy two 2005 BMW X5 automobiles so they could be outfitted with secret compartments to carry narcotics. Villegas allegedly also arranged for the shipment of two crates containing 55 pounds of marijuana and honey oil to Orlando, Florida. He also advised other members of the conspiracy that commercially shipping, rather than mailing, marijuana and honey oil “better ensured that law enforcement would not intercept the packages and seize the drugs,” the indictment alleges.

The two BMWs belonging to the Villegas organization were stopped on the same day in April 2018 at the U.S.-Mexico border, where officers found hidden compartments inside their engine manifolds, containing multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin, intended for distribution throughout the United States. Last year, law enforcement seized at least $71,000 in cash, along with pound quantities of cocaine and heroin in connection with this organization.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Villegas and another co-conspirator also are charged with possessing with intent to distribute 13.3 pounds of cocaine. Two other co-defendants have been charged with possessing with intent to distribute 11 pounds of cocaine. Authorities are continuing to search for defendants Milton Ponce, 31, of Paramount, and Jonathan Ortiz, 30, of Downey, who are believed to be fugitives.

If convicted on all counts, the defendants would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison and mandatory minimum sentences of at least 10 years in federal prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the California Highway Patrol, the Pasadena Police Department, the South Gate Police Department, and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys A. Carley Palmer of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section and Jonathan S. Galatzan of the Asset Forfeiture Section.

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from: Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer
ciaran.mcevoy@usdoj.gov

www.usdoj.gov

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OPINION

On each murrayTALK episode, Bill will express his Opinion of some of the top issues of the week. There'll be no shortage of topics ..

We promise stimulating and thought-provoking presentations, and we'll see a way for the audience to contribute .. perhaps via Facebook and Twitter if we can figure out how to do it.

For now we'll use the OPEN MIKE discussion forum and the panelists who call the show.

Stay tuned for more on this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You never know what I'll be talking about !!!!

Today .. Homelessness in Bakersfield ..

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from The Los Angeles Times

This city has an answer: jail the homeless

Bakersfield's shelters are full, so it plans to start locking up transients for drug- related misdemeanors.


by Julia Wick

BAKERSFIELD — In the face of an ever-growing homelessness crisis, cities across California have been searching for solutions, from adding shelters and affordable housing to improving mental health and substance abuse services.

But in Bakersfield, officials are considering a more radical approach: They want to put homeless people in jail for misdemeanor drug offenses and potentially for trespassing.

The tactic would fly in the face of criminal justice reform over the last decade in California, as the state has leaned away from incarceration for low-level, nonviolent drug crimes. It also would counter mainstream thinking on preventing homelessness and addressing the reality of it.

The still-evolving plan, which is being spearheaded by Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Kern County Dist. Atty. Cynthia Zimmer, remains in its early stages. But it has widespread support from the corridors of power in Bakersfield and Kern County.

To become reality, the pilot program will need approval from the Bakersfield City Council for the appropriation of funds, but it won't require any official changes in city or county policy. Although the county operates the jails and courts, a substantial portion of funding for the proposal is likely to come from the city.

The lack of opposition to trying to use the criminal justice system to deal with homelessness speaks to the political climate in this part of the Central Valley.

“Obviously, it's a more conservative approach,” Youngblood said, describing Kern as “the last large conservative county, probably, in the state of California.”

Homelessness is not a new problem in Bakersfield, the seat of Kern County, but it has surged dramatically in recent years. The city's 2019 point-in-time count, which was conducted in January, recorded a 108% increase in unsheltered homeless people compared with the prior year.

Vandalism and property damage, which law enforcement and residents associate with the homeless population, have become major issues, particularly downtown.

“The pressure from the public is enormous,” Youngblood said. “When I say that the people in San Francisco and Los Angeles are fed up and they care about this issue, it's 10 times that in my county.”

Both Youngblood and Zimmer stressed that the homeless people who would receive jail sentences would be repeat offenders. The focus would be on jailing those charged with misdemeanors for heroin and methamphetamine possession and use, but Zimmer said she would also like to see trespassing charges included.

It's unclear how arresting people for trespassing would work within the confines of current law. A number of court rulings and settlements prohibit law enforcement from arresting or otherwise punishing homeless people for sleeping on public property when there aren't enough shelter beds. But Zimmer said she intends to work to develop a policy that is in line with those cases.

The sheriff said he fears that if something isn't done, more people will start trying to take matters into their own hands.

“We already have some people that go out and try and move people when they don't have the authority to do that. And that can be dangerous,” he said.

‘The sound of something better'

Bakersfield is having a moment.

The Central Valley city topped the National Assn. of Realtors' recent list of the most popular housing markets for millennials, sparking a spate of good press.

This month, the city unveiled a new logo and slogan: “The sound of something better.” It references both the iconic “Bakersfield sound” genre of country music and what draws many here — the idea of a better life, where what might have been out of reach in Los Angeles or San Francisco is attainable.

This is a place where the average rent for an apartment is $1,016 and you're likely to know your neighbors. An increasing number of downtown restaurants celebrate the agricultural bounty of the surrounding Central Valley with farm-to-table fare that's marketed as such.

But while rents may be comparatively low, the median household income in Bakersfield is also substantially lower than that of the state as a whole. In 2017, the most recent year for which census data are available, Bakersfield's median household income was $57,105, which is $14,700 lower than the statewide median of $71,805. And there is increasing competition for a limited number of affordable units: The Bakersfield Californian recently reported that the city's multifamily residential vacancy rate fell from 4% to 2% over the last two years.

“As we continue to write our city's new narrative, we must move quickly to find solutions for those experiencing homelessness, elevate the quality of life for all people, and improve public safety,” Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh said via email.

In November 2018, voters approved Measure N, a locally controlled 1-cent sales tax focused on enhancing public safety and reducing homelessness. A homelessness crisis was officially declared by the City Council a day after the measure passed.

Measure N, which is expected to provide about $58 million annually in new funding, went into effect in April.

Both of the city's existing shelters — the Mission at Kern County and the Bakersfield Homeless Center — are at capacity. Bakersfield is working to add 40 beds to each as well as construct a new low-barrier shelter. But all of that will take time, and the planned low-barrier shelter does not yet have a location. No one seems to want it nearby.

‘Put some of these people in jail'

In the meantime, there are plenty of beds — about 600 — at the Kern County jail complex, or “Lerdo,” as it's commonly known. The effort would begin with a now-empty “mega-barracks” that could house roughly 120 individuals.

Using the empty beds wouldn't require any new laws or sentencing guidelines to go into effect. Rather, Youngblood wants to use existing rules, but for it to work, judges would have to cooperate.

Proposition 47, a ballot initiative passed by California voters in November 2014, reclassified certain nonserious, nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, meaning they no longer carried state prison time. But many low-level theft and drug misdemeanors can still carry a potential sentence of up to one year behind bars. It's just that those sentencing maximums aren't typically followed, and misdemeanor drug crimes rarely result in jail time.

Youngblood underscored that in his view, Proposition 47 had taken away his department's ability to provide drug treatment to individuals while incarcerated.

“This really isn't about locking people up because they have a drug problem,” he said. “It's about keeping them incarcerated so that they can receive treatment for whatever their affliction is.”

Eve Garrow, a homelessness policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said there's no evidence that substance abuse treatment during incarceration is more effective, or as effective, as community-based treatment. The ACLU recommends community-based treatment with a heavy emphasis on diversion “because all of the research shows that this is a much more effective and humane way to help people improve their health and mental health and get back to their lives,” Garrow said.

Numerous studies also have shown that not all homeless people have a substance abuse problem.

But Youngblood admitted the proposal isn't just about drug treatment. It's also about quality of life for residents.

“I think people have been hesitant to say these kinds of things for a while, even people in law enforcement,” Zimmer said. “Because the transient population, it's just so sad and it's so pitiful and you sound like you're so mean.” But, she continued, “to be safe, we've got to put some of these people in jail.”

Zimmer was careful to distinguish between homeless people who are down on their luck and drug addicts and criminals. She believes that the homeless population in Bakersfield is overwhelmingly composed of the latter categories and that the city differs from other California cities in this respect because it still has affordable housing.

She estimated that 80% of the local homeless population is severely addicted to drugs.

“Some people have severe mental health issues, but most are drug addicts,” she said.

The latest point-in-time count data for Kern County found that 51% of those surveyed reported a substance abuse issue.

The idea that criminal justice reform efforts are responsible for the homelessness crisis might be considered fringe in other parts of California, but it's common in Bakersfield, voiced by civic leaders on down to business owners speaking at City Council meetings.

So much so that a slide in a city-prepared PowerPoint presentation titled “The Face of Homelessness in 2019” lists on the same page demographic data from the point-in-time count and bullet points of changes in California law, including Proposition 47 and Assembly Bill 109, commonly known as realignment.

Drew Soderborg, a policy analyst in the California Legislative Analyst's Office, noted that Kern County's homeless population did not rise in a straight line after the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014. Looking at yearly point-in-time data, the county's homeless population actually fell slightly from 2014 to 2015 before spiking in 2016, then staying well below that high during 2017 and 2018.

“The size of the homeless population is going to be impacted by numerous variables, so it's hard to know how much Prop. 47 affected it,” Soderborg said.

Josth Stenner, a community organizer with the grass-roots nonprofit Faith in the Valley, said Bakersfield has a “tendency of kind of picking the scapegoat of the year. Last year, immigrants were causing all of our problems. This year, it's the homeless.

“But in reality, it's so much more nuanced, and so much more of a confluence of all of the different things that are wrong with the way that we structure our economy, the way that we view our responsibility as citizens to take care of each other,” he said.

Next steps in the plan for Bakersfield

A few things would have to happen for the plan to become a reality.

Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy said the city has already agreed to pay roughly $300,000 a year for two assistant district attorneys to actively prosecute “serious” misdemeanors instead of just issuing tickets.

Judges also would need to cooperate with the decision to follow sentencing maximums. In an emailed statement, Presiding Judge Judith K. Dulcich of the Kern County Superior Court said that Zimmer had informed her of the plan but that judges could not decide on sentences before defendants appeared in court.

The largest hurdle will be staffing at the jail complex. Youngblood estimates that 12 new deputies will be necessary to operate that first 120-person mega-barracks. The Sheriff's Department will need to hire and train those new deputies, which will take time. The cost of paying the deputies and operating the reopened section of the jail would be about $1.6 million a year, according to the department.

The cost would top $3 million if a women's section is opened, the sheriff said. The amount the city will pay is under discussion. Officials plan to use Measure N funds, which will require City Council approval.

There is no timeline for reopening sections of the jail, but Youngblood said that, best-case scenario, the first facility could be up and running in four to six months.

Zimmer said the proposal is not a done deal yet.

“We're all just very prayerful,” she said, pointing to a Bible on her desk, which was open to the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. “I just hope that God helps us and gives us wisdom to make the best decisions that we can for the public.”


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ARTICLES

from The Los Angeles Times

The BACK Story

The road to impeachment investigation: A timeline

by Alexa Díaz

WASHINGTON — A whistleblower, a phone call and critical military aid are what set the House Democrats' formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump in motion this week.

The investigation is focused on a conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's possible opponent in the 2020 presidential election. Trump has acknowledged that at the same time he was withholding aid to the country.

Here's a look at some of the main events that led up to the impeachment inquiry and what has happened since the announcement.

2014: The United States becomes one of Ukraine's strongest allies

President Obama's administration begins funneling millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine after the country's president, Viktor Yanukovich, was ousted in a 2014 revolution for backing separatists who supported Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. With a new but fragile pro-Western government in power, Vice President Biden oversees the effort in which U.S. funds are aimed at boosting Ukrainian armed forces in the face of Russia's military involvement.

Months after Biden assumed the role, his son Hunter Biden had joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a private Ukrainian natural gas company — a position that has since raised some concerns about a potential conflict of interest. It was during this period that Burisma's owner was being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutors over possible financial abuses, although Hunter Biden was not accused of any wrongdoing.

White House officials pointed to Hunter Biden's status as a private citizen, and the vice president said his son made his own business decisions.

Late 2015: Obama administration and its European allies pressure Ukraine to remove top prosecutor

While Vice President Biden represents U.S. interests in Ukraine, the Obama administration and its European allies push to remove the country's top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, as part of a crackdown on corruption — a long-standing problem in the country. As part of the maneuver, Biden threatens to withhold a $1-billion loan guarantee to Ukraine if Shokin doesn't resign.

Shokin had led the investigation into the owner of Burisma, although the inquiry was dormant at the time Biden pushed for the prosecutor's ousting, the Washington Post reported.

No evidence indicated Biden or his son acted improperly.

2016: Shokin is out

In March of 2016, Ukrainian officials vote to oust Shokin. The same year, a Kyiv district court finds no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Burisma's owner, according to CNBC.

April 2019: Zelensky elected president of Ukraine

Hunter Biden's term on the Burisma board expires and he steps down from the company, according to Reuters.

The same month, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky is elected Ukraine's leader. He pledges to focus on ending the war against Russia-backed separatists in the country's east.

May 2019: Giuliani skips Ukraine trip after Democrats say he tried to recruit the country to help sway 2020 election

President Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani cancels a visit to Ukraine after Democrats denounce his effort to push the country to open investigations that he hoped would benefit Trump politically. Democrats say the plan signaled a clear attempt to recruit a foreign nation to influence a U.S. election.

“We're not meddling in an election, we're meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” said Giuliani in an interview with the New York Times.

July 25: The phone call

Trump directly asks Ukrainian President Zelensky for a “favor” while discussing U.S. military aid during a July 25 phone call, according to a White House memo that would later be released.

The phone call was one day after former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified before Congress on the nearly two-year investigation he led into Russian election interference in 2016 and potential obstruction of justice.

Aug. 12: Complaint filed

The whistleblower complaint is filed with the intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson.

Sept. 9: House Intelligence Committee notified of complaint

Atkinson notifies the House Intelligence Committee about the complaint, which he characterizes as “urgent” and “credible.”

Sept. 13: Intelligence Committee chairman issues subpoena for complaint

Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) issues a subpoena for Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, to appear before the panel after Schiff said Maguire had not transmitted the complaint to Congress within seven days, “in violation of the law.”

Sept. 18: Reports emerge that Trump made a “promise” to a foreign leader

The Washington Post reports that the whistleblower complaint is about a conversation between Trump and a foreign leader.

Sept. 19: Intelligence inspector general refuses to tell Congress about whistleblower's complaint

The government's intelligence inspector general refuses to discuss the substance of the whistleblower complaint at a closed-door House Intelligence Committee meeting. Trump rejects the report as “fake news” and “presidential harassment.”

Some of the whistleblower's allegations appear to center on Ukraine, according to reports from the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Sept. 20: Ukraine scandal emerges

Trump defends himself as House Democrats demand the release of the whistleblower complaint. The controversy refocuses attention on Trump's attempts to undercut Biden after reports that the president urged Ukrainian officials to investigate Hunter Biden's business dealings for possible corruption.

Tuesday: House Democrats launch an impeachment inquiry

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) announces that the House will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of the president.

“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi says. “No one is above the law.”

Wednesday: The memo is released

The White House releases its account of the 30-minute Trump-Zelensky call.

According to the memo, Trump asked Zelensky both to investigate Biden and to look into CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm that did work for the Democrats in the 2016 election. Trump asked Zelensky at least five separate times on the call to work with Atty. Gen. William Barr on such investigations.

Thursday: The complaint is released and Maguire testifies

The House Intelligence Committee releases a redacted version of the complaint in which a whistleblower alleges that White House officials took unusual steps to secure the transcript of Trump's July 25 call with Zelensky.

In the complaint, the whistleblower told the intelligence community's inspector general that Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

Pelosi characterizes the whistleblower's account as evidence of a White House “cover-up.” She says the allegations about Trump's contacts with Ukraine would now be the central focus of the Democrats' impeachment investigation.

At a contentious House committee hearing Thursday morning, Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, is criticized by Democrats for initially failing to disclose the whistleblower's complaint.

The Los Angeles Times reports that, meanwhile, Trump raged at the Democrats' new impeachment proceedings and slammed the intelligence officer and the White House aides who helped the whistleblower as “almost a spy,” and suggested it was treason.

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from The New York Times


Special to the Morning Briefing

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What We Learned So Far Today

Hello, and welcome to a special edition of the Morning Briefing.

Less than a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, there are several big developments:
  • A call log released by the White House shows Mr. Trump pushing the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to consider investigating former Vice President Joe Biden.

  • A Justice Department official told The Times that after a whistle-blower raised concerns, two top intelligence officials referred the complaint for a possible criminal investigation into the president's actions. The Justice Department concluded that there was no basis for a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump's behavior.

  • In the call, Mr. Trump alluded to American aid, while not explicitly linking his request to unfreezing it, the document shows: “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.”
Click here for the reconstructed transcript. The five-page document distributed by the White House includes a cautionary note indicating that it was “not a verbatim transcript” but instead was based on “notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty officers” and national security staff. Senior administration officials said voice recognition software was also used.

The scandal so far

Here's what we know.
  • Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and his younger son, Hunter — both directly and through Rudolph Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump's personal lawyers. Mr. Biden is a leading candidate to be the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nominee.

  • As vice president, Mr. Biden pushed the Ukrainian government in 2015 to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, whom the U.S. and other Western nations saw as an obstacle to reform because he failed to bring corruption cases. At the time, Mr. Biden's son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings.

  • Mr. Trump and his allies have insinuated, without evidence, that Mr. Biden was trying to protect the company from prosecution. An investigation into him, even if it were unfounded and turned up no evidence of a crime, could damage his campaign prospects by suggesting wrongdoing.

  • The White House froze more than $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine this summer; it had been intended to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian territorial aggression. Mr. Trump has given conflicting explanations for the freeze.

  • An intelligence official filed a whistle-blower complaint last month about the president's actions. The inspector general for the intelligence community deemed the complaint “credible” and “urgent” and forwarded it to the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, under a law that says such complaints must be shown to Congress within a week.

  • Mr. Maguire refused to share the complaint with Congress, saying the Justice Department disagreed with the inspector general's conclusion that its subject matter was covered under the law that requires disclosing such complaints to Congress.

  • The complaint's full details remain a mystery, as does the whistle-blower's identity.

What's next?
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement on Tuesday that the House was beginning an impeachment inquiry was momentous, but practically, it didn't change very much. In fact, the House Judiciary Committee had already opened a related inquiry in July.

  • Six House committees are pursuing investigations of political malfeasance. They will bring that evidence to the Judiciary Committee, which could then recommended articles of impeachment to the full House.

  • There's a distinct possibility that the House, now controlled by Democrats, will vote to impeach President Trump.

  • But when the case goes to the Senate, the president has an advantage. With the chamber under Republican control, and a two-thirds vote needed to remove him from office, that seems unlikely to happen, at least for the moment.
What are the Republicans saying?

Republican lawmakers and the president stuck to their position that Mr. Trump didn't offer Mr. Zelensky any inducements or threaten him. “From a quid pro quo aspect, there's nothing there,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Some Republican leaders tried to shift attention to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of “trying to weaken the president.”

What are your questions?

Our top editors and reporters are ready to answer your questions about the road ahead. Ask here.

Impeachment 101


Impeachment does not remove a president from office; it's more akin to an indictment on charges of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Here's the process:
  • House committees that are investigating the president on impeachable offenses will send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

  • If the evidence is deemed sufficient, the House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

  • If a majority of House members vote to impeach, the case moves to the Senate, which holds a trial and then votes on whether to convict the president. A two-thirds majority is required to remove the president from office.
A brief history

This is only the fourth time an American president has been the subject of an impeachment inquiry. And though two presidents have been impeached, neither was removed from office by the Senate.
  • Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached, in 1868, over his attempt to fire Edwin Stanton, his secretary of war, who favored a tougher approach toward the post-Civil War South. He was acquitted by the Senate.

  • Richard Nixon faced impeachment in 1974, on charges relating to Watergate, a scandal that connected him to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and the subsequent cover-up. He resigned as it became clear that he was about to be impeached.

  • Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, after it was discovered that he had lied while testifying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He was acquitted by the Senate.

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Analysis

from The Washington Post


The full, rough transcript of Trump's call with Ukraine's president, annotated

by Aaron Blake -- September 25

The rough transcript of President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 has been released by the White House.

The call shows Trump offering no explicit quid pro quo when it comes to Ukraine investigating the Bidens. But it does include Trump emphasizing how good the U.S. government is to Ukraine and suggesting that U.S. support is not being reciprocated. Trump then asks for two specific investigations, including one involving the Bidens.

Below is the rough transcript provided by the White House, which is based upon voice-activated software. You can see annotations in yellow highlights via Genius. Spelling errors have not been corrected.

Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine President Zelenskyy of Ukraine Notetakers: The White House Situation Room July 25, 2019, 9:03 - 9:33 a.m. EDT

The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States, and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn't given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It's a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big, and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example to our elections and yes it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation that we were able to achieve a unique success. I'm able to tell you the following; the first time you called me to congratulate me, when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.

The President: [laughter] That's a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.

President Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

The President: Well it's very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it's something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn't do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it's something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right, not only 100%, but actually 1000%, and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel, and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron, and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union , and I'm very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes .

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important, and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States, and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistant spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently, and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine, and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends, and you Mr. President have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good, and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening, and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news, and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First off, I understand and I'm knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have on the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of asking sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President, and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enoug h …

The President: Well, she's going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly, and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better, I predict. You have a lot of assets. It's a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, they're incredible people.

President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the other hand, I also wanted (to) ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence. I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support.

The President: Good. Well, thank you very much, and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House feel free to call. Give us a date, and we'll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and get to know you better. (I) am looking forward to our meeting, and I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city of Kyiv, which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful country which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better than mine.

The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you've done. The whole world was watching. I'm not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President .. bye-bye.

-- End of Conversation --

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/25/rough-transcript-trumps-call-with-ukraines-president-annotated

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Israel

from The Associated Press

Israeli premier begins attempt at unity

Netanyahu urges rival to join him in a new coalition government.


by Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday began the daunting task of trying to cobble together a coalition government amid political deadlock that emerged from this month's repeat elections, which had no clear winner.

He has up to six weeks to attempt to resolve the impasse, but his odds appear slim.

Even with the support of smaller allies, both Netanyahu and his main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz, lack the support for the required 61-seat parliamentary majority needed to establish a government. That's including the support of Netanyahu's traditional ultra-Orthodox and religious-nationalist allies.

On Thursday, the two largest parties were jockeying ahead of a planned meeting by their negotiating teams the following day, with each side blaming the other for the stalemate.

“There are no rabbits in the hat. There are no tricks. There is no option” other than unity, said Zeev Elkin, a lawmaker with Netanyahu's Likud Party.

He told Israel's Army Radio that if Gantz's Blue and White party “continues to rule out Netanyahu on a personal basis and continues to rule out certain parties from sitting in that same unity government, at the end we may head to elections for a third time.”

Blue and White wants Gantz to lead any unity government and refuses to sit in a coalition with Netanyahu so long as the prime minister faces likely indictment in a series of corruption scandals. Blue and White also objects to sitting with the right-wing and religious bloc that Netanyahu says he's committed to bringing into any government he forms.

Looming large over the political jostling are Netanyahu's legal woes. Israel's attorney general has recommended charging Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and the embattled leader is set to appear at a hearing next week on the charges.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing and on Thursday called on the attorney general to have the hearing broadcast live for the sake of transparency.

“After three years of a deluge of biased, partial leaks, it's time for the public to hear everything. My side too,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. “Not only do I have nothing to hide, I want everything to be heard.”

Netanyahu, popularly known as Bibi, again urged Gantz to join him in a unity government during a rally late Thursday.

“Will you let them break apart the Likud? Will you let them oust the leader of Likud?” he told the raucous crowd, which began singing, “Bibi, king of Israel.”

Gantz dug in his heels Thursday afternoon, repeating his objection to sitting with Netanyahu. He called on Likud to negotiate “with no preconditions” to avoid a third election.

President Reuven Rivlin selected Netanyahu on Wednesday as the candidate with the best chance of forming a government. That move came after Rivlin failed to broker a unity government between Netanyahu and Gantz in recent days. A unity government appears to be the preferred option for both sides, but they remain far apart on what such a constellation would look like.

According to the final official results from the Sept. 17 elections, Blue and White finished first with 33 seats in the 120-seat parliament, just ahead of the Likud with 32 seats.

Neither side can form a government without the eight seats held by maverick former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who supports bringing the two main parties into a unity government shorn of Netanyahu's traditional allies. Netanyahu has welcomed a unity government but has insisted on one that includes those partners.

If Netanyahu fails to form a government before time runs out, Rivlin can then ask Gantz to try. If he too doesn't succeed, Rivlin can select another legislator or he can set in motion what would be unprecedented third elections.

Netanyahu is not required by law to step down if he is indicted but will face heavy pressure to do so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ANIMALS

from The Washington Post

What makes dogs so special and successful? Love.

by Karin Brulliard -- September 25

Research on dogs has exploded in recent decades. Universities have opened canine cognition labs, and scientists have probed dogs' intelligence, behavior, biology and skills.

Clive Wynne, a psychologist and founder of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, has a new book that walks readers through the growing body of dog science. In it, he argues that what makes dogs remarkable is not their smarts, but their capacity to form affectionate relationships with other species — in short, to love.

Wynne spoke recently with The Washington Post about his book, “Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You.” This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The Washington Post: Many dog owners will think, “Of course my dog loves me.” Why study this?

Wynne:
It's at least worth thinking about that what on the surface appears to be something in our dogs that people are happy to call love might — might — not have deserved that name. It could have been that our dogs were in some sense just faking it to get better treats. Ultimately, this is, to me, about trying to understand the secret of dogs' success and what makes dogs unique.

Scientists in the first decade of the 21st century were mainly concerned with the idea that dogs have special forms of intelligence and social cognition that were unique in the animal kingdom. From the point of view of those of us that are in the science of studying dogs, the idea that it's affection and not intelligence that's the secret ingredient that makes dogs successful is quite a radical idea.

Q: What is love? Don't we need a clear definition?

A:
I avoid using the L-word in my scientific writing. We talk about exceptional gregariousness. We talk about hypersociability. When we're doing science, we have to find terms that can be operationalized, or things that can be measured. We can measure whether a dog chooses to go for a bowl of food or its owner when it's separated from both food and its owner for many hours. We can measure how hormonal levels go up in both dogs and their owners when they look into each other's eyes.

At the end of the day, an overarching, multidimensional phenomenon like love has to be broken down into small, measurable pieces. But I think if one were to just do science on the small, measurable pieces and resist the attempt to synthesize all those observations into a picture, that would be a disservice.

Q: You and I have had conversations in the past where I got the impression you would be on the more skeptical end of the dogs-love-us spectrum.

A:
I'm a reluctant convert. I was somebody who was resistant to the idea that what appeared to be affection radiating from our dogs could really be that. But ultimately, a combination of getting this dog into my life — who's lying down next to me now, Xephos — and the overwhelming evidence of the studies that my students and I did, and the studies that so many other people have done, it really all adds up to an irresistible picture. I know that sometimes Xephos just wants dinner. But I'm pretty convinced that that's not the whole picture. She really does feel a bond, a connection toward me that's as real as any other connection that any other individual in my life might feel toward me.

Q: Anthropomorphism is frowned upon in science. How can you examine dogs' ability to love without veering into anthropomorphic territory?

A:
I'm on record as one of the vehemently anti-anthropomorphic animal behavior scientists. Anthropomorphism means ascribing human qualities to animals. And certainly love is something we know first through human experience. But I think that different species can have different forms of love.

Dogs fall in love much more easily than people do, and they also seem to be able to move on much more easily than people can. A lot of people have anxiety about the idea of adopting an adult dog. Wouldn't the dog be pining for its original human family? But what evidence we have indicates that dogs can form new loving relationships much more easily and don't seem to have the same level of trauma from being taken away from preexisting loving relationships.

I'm not saying human and dog love are identical. I'm just saying there's enough similarity between how dogs form strong emotional bonds and how people form strong emotional bonds that it's fair enough to use the love word.

Q: So dogs' intelligence — cognitive skills that make them uniquely able to understand us — is not their secret?

A:
I thought it was a fair enough idea when I started studying dogs: Maybe dogs had developed special forms of cognition by living with people for 15,000 years.

The aha moment came when we got an invitation from Wolf Park in Indiana. Wolf Park has been hand-rearing wolves since 1974. When we're testing wolves, we're testing the wild ancestor of dogs, and it's a crucial way to see what makes dogs unique, because we're seeing what differences are there. We got around to having the wolves there tested in this very simple task where you point at something on the ground and see if the animal goes where you point. This was supposed to be something that was unique to dogs, and sure enough, the wolves were excellent at it. That was totally the aha moment — it couldn't be how dogs were unique.

Subsequently, we and other people have tested goats and dolphins, and even bats. Bats raised by people follow human pointing gestures, and bats raised by other bats do not. What matters is your early experience in life. That's what determines whether an animal will be sensitive to what people are doing.

Q: You write about many studies that show dogs behaving as though they love us. Can you describe one you find particularly compelling?

A: The one I like best is one of our own, which we usually call the rescue experiment. There had been a prior experiment where scientists had volunteer dog owners pretend to have heart attacks, and the dogs didn't do anything to help. I thought this was quite convincing: It seemed to suggest that dogs didn't really love people. Later, I thought, “Well, how are you supposed to know what to do under those circumstances?”

So I looked into these experiments that certainly indicate that dogs express concern when a human seems to be crying. Then I read this book about pets in the Second World War that mentioned repeated stories of dogs trying to dig their owners out from under the rubble of bombed homes. And I thought, “Maybe we can make an experiment where we in some way bomb people's homes and see if their dog will dig them out!”

Ultimately, it's a box that we ask people to crawl inside and then cry out in distress. And we see whether the dog will open the box for them. If you set it up how I described it, about one-third of dogs rescue their owners. But pretty much all dogs look very, very upset, and what appears to be happening is that all the dogs are disturbed, but only about one-third can figure out what needs to be done.

So we did a follow-up experiment where before we put the person in the box, we put food in the box and we train the dogs to open the box to get the food out. Going forward, when we put the owner in the box and ask the owner to cry out in distress, we know that the dogs know how to open the box. Under those conditions, pretty much every dog opened the box. That, to me, is a compelling demonstration that dogs really do care if they can understand. If they can figure out what to do, they will.

Q: You also write about how biological research backs up the idea that dogs can love.

A: If it's there, it's got to be in their biology. Their biology has to underwrite their behavior.

A Japanese research group analyzed dogs' and people's urine for levels of this hormone oxytocin, which gets called the love hormone because it spikes when two people are in loving contact with each other. They had people and dogs come into the lab and look at each other lovingly. Sure enough, the oxytocin levels went up on both sides of the relationship.

If you show dogs in MRI scanners objects that remind them of either food or the presence of their owners, you can see how their brains light up. And the reward centers of the brain light up more strongly to signals that say "Your owner is nearby” than to signals that say “You're going to get a piece of sausage.” That's really strong evidence inside the brain that the presence of a beloved human is rewarding to a dog in itself.

The more biological side that I've been involved in is digging right down to the genetic code. In part of the genome of the dog that shows evidence of recent changes, the equivalent part of the human genome is responsible for this syndrome called Williams-Beuren. The most peculiar symptom is what they call exaggerated gregariousness. People who have this syndrome have no notion of stranger, they treat everybody as a friend, they're extremely outgoing. When I read this, I thought: They're much like our dogs!

So some people got together and did these very simple behavioral tests for what you could call gregariousness or sociability on dogs and on wolves. And we got DNA samples from those dogs and wolves, and we identified three genes that show the mutation in those genes [is] responsible for a big difference between dogs and wolves in their gregariousness. Dogs are much more outgoing, and this correlates in three genes that independently have been shown to be responsible for the gregariousness aspect of Williams syndrome. So deep into the deepest level of biology, into the genetic code that underlies everything that dogs become, you can find it all the way through.

(Note: Wynne writes in his book of his relief that advocates for children with Williams syndrome weren't offended by this finding. “If they had tails, they would wag them,” one told a reporter.)

Q: Let's say I find myself in possession of a wolf pup. Legal and ethical considerations aside, if I cuddle it and feed it and train it, will it love me?

A:
You can form a strong emotional bond that's reciprocated with a wolf. Tameness is a conjunction of the right DNA and early life experiences. The early life experience that dogs need to become tame involve really very little exposure to humans. Meanwhile, if you want to have a tame wolf or a tame lion or a tame tiger, even a tame squirrel, all those things are perfectly possible, but they take much more hard work. Because that's another way that dogs changed during the process of domestication. They became much easier to tame.

Q: Before we humans get all smug about our lovableness, you should probably explain that dogs don't reserve their affection for people.

A: It's not the case that dogs have special genes or special capacities to form relationship with humans. Dogs just have special capacities to form relationships with anything. Whatever they meet early on in life, they will then accept members of that species as potential friends later on.

In Australia, there are these beautiful little penguins that live on offshore islands. In one particular case, the island is not really far enough offshore, and at certain times, at low tide, foxes can get out and they have repeatedly decimated the penguin colony. So a nearby farmer who had dogs guarding his free-range chickens suggested putting dogs out on the islands to guard the penguins. The dogs were put with penguins when they were puppies, so now the dogs form warm, strong emotional bonds with penguins and follow the penguins around and keep the foxes away. It's a beautiful success story about how dogs' very open program to forming strong, loving relationships can be put to use protecting endangered wildlife.

Q: The final section of your book is a sort of call to action. What do you think we owe to dogs in return for their love?

A:
Dogs gave up their free-ranging, roaming, hunting lives in order to hitch their wagon to ours, and I think that implies duties toward them. You know your dog needs feeding. Most recognize that dogs need exercise. The thing that upsets me is that people don't give enough thought to the fact that a large part of what makes it so wonderful to live with a dog is your dog's social nature. You come home and there's at least somebody who's happy to see you.

So I think the cruelest thing that we routinely do to our dogs is leaving them home for eight, 10, 12 hours a day. If your life is such that your dog is going to have to be left alone for more than four hours routinely, then you should reconsider whether you have a life that a dog can comfortably fit into.

But the thing about dogs is they make friends so easily. You can have a neighbor or a friend come, or you pay a dog-walking service. That's part of my whole point here. Your tame wolf will probably not be interested in having a stranger come and take them out. But your dog will.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/09/25/what-makes-dogs-so-special-successful-love/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

from LACP.org web site - MAIN ARTICLES

Emergency Management and Response -- Information Sharing and Analysis Center Sept
EMR-ISAC

Homeland Security
INFOGRAM

------------------

------------------
Prepare. Plan.
Stay Informed.
This INFOGRAM is distributed weekly to provide members of the Emergency Services Sector with information concerning the protection of their critical infrastructures.

Roadway safety teaching topic packages available

2020 EMI Virtual Tabletop Exercise Program schedule released

Office for Bombing Prevention webinar series for first responders

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cyber Threats


and more ..
DHS and FEMA - Preparedness Newsletter Sept

DHS and FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter
This Digest is provided by FEMA to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources, an important part of FEMA's mission to help people before, during, and after disasters. We're building a culture of preparedness tog ether..

Introducing the New Ready Kids Webpages

Webinar: Youth Can Help With Preparedness

Podcast: Teaching Children What to do in an Emergency

About FEMA

and more .
.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LAPPL Law Enforcement News - Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch:

Law Enforcement News - Fri, 9/27

CHP Officers, 2 Drivers Injured In Possible DUI Crash On 405 Freeway In Fountain Valley
Four people, including two California Highway Patrol officers, were hurt in a possible DUI crash on the 405 Freeway in Fountain Valley. The crash happened at about 2:45 a.m. just south of Warner Avenue on the southbound 405 Freeway. Authorities say the driver of a Toyota Prius was cut off by a big rig and slammed into the back of the CHP vehicle, which had two officers inside. The officers were parked in lanes closed for Caltrans work at the time of the crash. Both CHP officers, a male driver and a female driver were taken to the hospital. Their conditions were not known.
CBS 2

‘Rapid DNA:' A Breakthrough For Solving Crimes? Some Say Not So Fast
Los Angeles Police Protective League Director Robert Harris joins AirTalk to discuss. The “Rapid DNA” devices can test a sample of DNA in about 90 minutes compared to a lab, which can take up to weeks, even months. It does come with limitations though. It only works on single source DNA, according to crime lab experts. According to the New York Times, others have expressed worries about privacy, misuse and misidentification. But some LA law enforcement advocates believe it could be a solution to the city's overcrowded crime labs, saying the technology has the potential to help with backlogs. Do you think police departments should use Rapid DNA analysis to solve crimes? Los Angeles Police Protective League Director Robert Harris joins AirTalk to discuss.
AirTalk

Possible Street Racing Crash In South LA Leaves 1 Dead, Police Say
One man died after a possible street racing crash in South Los Angeles early Friday morning, police said. The crash occurred just after midnight in the northbound lanes of Western Avenue at 93rd Street. Surveillance video showed the moment the car collided with a parked vehicle as another vehicle sped by. The driver died at the hospital, Los Angeles police said. The other vehicle, described as a black four-door sedan, did not appear to stop. The homeowner who captured the surveillance video said dangerous driving is common in the area.
ABC 7

LAPD Seeking Additional Victims In Child Sex Abuse Case Involving South L.A. Cheer Coach
Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department working a case involving a volunteer cheer coach in Athens Park accused of child sex crimes are now searching for additional victims. Michael Edmond, 55, was working as a cheer coach for girls in the South Los Angeles area between June 1 and Sept. 1 when authorities say he began sexually abusing them. The Los Angeles Police Department Juvenile Division/Sexually Exploited Child Unit took over an investigation into Edmund on Sept. 19. An investigation revealed multiple juvenile victims, ranging from 9 to 12 years old, who said they had been sexually abused by Edmond, police said. Edmond was arrested on Sept. 21 on suspicion of continuous sexual abuse of a minor.
KTLA 5

Stolen Vehicle Pursuit Ends In Porter Ranch Crash; 3 Arrested
A chase of an allegedly stolen vehicle late Wednesday ended with a collision in the Porter Ranch area and three male suspects are being taken into custody, KCAL9 reports. The crash occurred on Porter Ranch Drive near the 118 Freeway, said a photographer at the scene. Paramedics were called to the scene to treat facial trauma suffered by one of the suspects. 
Los Angeles Daily News

LAPD Releases Video From Violent August Incident In The Miracle Mile
The Los Angeles Police Department has released body camera video from a violent incident in the Miracle Mile. Back on Aug. 12, a woman called police to say that she and her coworkers were being threatened by a man with a metal pipe. A training officer and two probationary officers responded to the scene where the man, 53-year-old Timothy Camon, was captured on body camera stating that he didn't want any problems. Moments later, an officer was hit in the head with a three-foot-long metal post. The video shows officers yelling for the man to drop the stick and deploying an electric shock when he failed to comply.
CBS 2

Authorities Searching For Person-of-Interest In Hit-and-Run That Killed 2 In South Los Angeles
Authorities are searching for a person-of-interest in a hit-and-run that killed two people in a crosswalk in South Los Angeles Tuesday. The California Highway Patrol released a photo of Adolfo Flores Jr. They said a 1990 Mercedes hit the two men. The incident occurred just before 8:30 p.m. near the intersection of West 95th Street and Normandie Avenue. The victims have been identified as Felipe Parra, 47, and Danny Torres, 21. Both men lived in the area. Parra's son Erick Ruiz said his father had just gotten home and was about to eat but decided to go to the store to buy something to drink when he was killed. When the news spread that two men were killed crossing the street, it wasn't a surprise for some residents. Neighbor Jose Mata claimed car accidents and people getting hit in the intersection happens often. "I've been here for more than 25 years and the speed and drivers have gotten more and more reckless," resident William Mathena said.
ABC 7

7 Charged In Connection With LA-Based Drug Trafficking Ring That Used BMW 'Trap Cars' To Distribute Drugs
Four men and a woman were arrested Thursday in connection with a Los Angeles-based drug trafficking ring that imported pound quantities of cocaine and heroin from Mexico, then used modified BMW "trap cars" to distribute the narcotics throughout the United States. A four-count indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court charges seven defendants with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and alleges a series of acts between December 2017 and July 2018. Arrested were Joel Antonio "Junior" Villegas, 31, and William Ariel "Wonka" Moreno, 29, both of Downey, and Ronny "Rodney" Rizo, Maria Esther "Mary" Ponce and Omar "O" Peralta, whose hometowns and ages were not immediately available. Authorities are continuing to search for defendants Milton Ponce, 31, of Paramount, and Jonathan "Thiago" Ortiz, 30, of Downey, who are believed to be fugitives, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
NBC 4

Arraignment For Lakeview Terrace Man Accused In 2016 Triple Shooting Delayed Again
Los Angeles County prosecutors have been trying for months to bring charges against a Lakeview Terrace man accused of killing two men in his neighborhood in a dispute over screeching tires in 2016. Richard Chico Nevarez, a 37-year-old Lakeview Terrace resident also known as “Slick Rick,” has been held without bail since his arrest in March, according to sheriff's booking records. He was due to face two charges of murder and one count each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon on Tuesday. But the district attorney's office said his arraignment was continued to Nov. 12, another delay after several months of continuations. Ricardo Santiago, a district attorney's office spokesman, could not say why the arraignment for Nevarez was pushed back again.
Los Angeles Daily News

Democratic Party Donor Ed Buck Ordered To Remain In Custody In L.A. Federal Court Case
Democratic Party fundraiser and activist Ed Buck was ordered Thursday to remain jailed pending his next federal court appearance on the charge of providing the methamphetamine that caused the overdose death of a man inside Buck's West Hollywood apartment in July 2017. At a brief detention hearing in Los Angeles federal court, Buck did not contest the government's motion asking that he remain in custody. "I don't see anything that would alleviate danger,'' U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh said, indicating that Buck presents a danger to the community, one of the primary issues discussed at federal detention hearings. Buck is due back in federal court in downtown Los Angeles for arraignment Oct. 10.
FOX 11

Public Safety News

L.A. City Attorney Feuer, AG Becerra Announce $1.5 Million Anti-Vaping Initiative
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday announced a $1.5 million anti-vaping initiative after a recent rise in vaping-related deaths across the country. The two leaders called vaping a public health crisis and noted that vaping disproportionally affects children and teens. As of Thursday, 805 people have a vaping-related illness and 12 have died nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease County and Prevention. There have been 16 reports of serious vaping-associated pulmonary injuries and one death associated with e-cigarettes in Los Angeles County, according to the department of public health. About two out of three cases reported involved individuals who are 25 and younger, officials said.
KTLA 5

Local Government News

L.A. City Councilman David Ryu calls On Trump For Access To A Sherman Oaks Lot For A Homeless Shelter
On the heels of President Donald Trump's visit to Los Angeles and expressed concern about its homelessness crisis, LA City Councilman David Ryu penned a letter to his administration Thursday requesting access to an empty, federally-owned lot in Sherman Oaks as a potential site to build a temporary shelter for the area's homeless population. Ryu first sought to study the feasibility of that site months ago, in an effort that ultimately fizzled out without cooperation from the Army Reserve, owner and manager of the empty lot near Fire Station 88, on Sepulveda Boulevard. So after Trump's visit to LA last week, when the president offered a round of criticism on city efforts to combat homelessness and a controversial plan to fix it, Ryu thought he would raise the idea again.
Los Angeles Daily News

Long Beach-L.A. Express Shuttle Will Keep Running, Even After The Blue Line Reopens
When the Metro Blue Line reopens next month as the A Line, riders won't need to give up one luxury they've grown to love during the line's nine-month closure: the express shuttle. Mayor Robert Garcia announced during his annual “Building a Better Long Beach” presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 24, that the bus, which takes riders straight from downtown Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles and vice versa, will become a permanent service. “The members that are riding this bus absolutely love it,” Garcia said. “When we reopen the Blue Line, our goal and our hope is to welcome riders back to a system that, for too long, has been under-utilized.” In addition to keeping that service, Garcia said L.A. Metro is inching closer to meeting its goal of shortening the light rail line's trip time from downtown L.A. to Long Beach by 10 minutes.
Los Angeles Daily News

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Law Enforcement News - Thurs, 9/26

Man who spent 40 years in prison for killing Utah trooper granted parole
A man who has spent more than 40 years in prison for shooting and killing a Utah Highway Patrol trooper when he was 18 has now been granted parole. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole voted to release Brian Keith Stack on Feb. 17, 2020. Stack was driving a stolen pickup truck on Nov. 7, 1978, when he was pulled over on state Route 20 by UHP trooper Ray Lynn Pierson for a minor traffic violation. Pierson was unaware that Stack was a fugitive from Illinois and had just stolen gas in Cove Fort.
Deseret News

LAPD Officers' New Badges Have Vintage Look To Mark Force's 150th Anniversary
The Los Angeles Police Department is going back to 1869 to celebrate its 150th anniversary. On Wednesday, Police Chief Michel Moore unveiled a commemorative badge that several thousand officers will wear during the final three months of the year. The sunflower-designed badge is a near-replica of the one worn by the department's first six officers and Chief William Warren in 1869. Moore revealed the badge to honor the department's history and to tell the public that more than 2,000 officers and detectives will carry the badges instead of the iconic 1940 badges now worn by 10,000 officers. “It's changing over the next three months as we celebrate this occasion of our 150th anniversary,” Moore said. “We want to alert the public that they will see a difference in an officer's uniform and appearance.” 
Los Angeles Times

LAPD Pursuit Of Suspected Stolen Vehicle Ends In Crash, 2 In Custody
Los Angles police took two people into custody after a pursuit on the 118 Freeway ended in a minor crash. The driver of a suspected stolen vehicle led officers on a high-speed chase westbound on the freeway before getting clipped by a driver in an intersection and spinning out of control crashing on a curb in Porter Ranch. The driver and a passenger exited the vehicle and were seen laying face down on the road as police searched the vehicle.
CBS 2

No Charges Filed Against LAPD Officer in Deadly Costco Shooting
The Los Angeles police officer who killed a mentally disabled man inside a Costco store in Corona will not face criminal charges. Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin says a grand jury made the decision, and he will abide by it. The lawyer for the officer says he's gratified, humbled and says justice has been done. The family of the man killed says this does not derail its plans to sue the officer and the LAPD. A grand jury of 19 returned a no bill, meaning its members couldn't agree there was enough evidence for criminal charges in the killing of Richard French inside Costco and the shooting of French's parents, who survived.
NBC 4

LAPD: Man Arrested In Hollywood After Being Found With Stolen Cell Phones
Police Wednesday sought additional possible victims of a 22-year-old man arrested in Hollywood on suspicion of grand theft after he was allegedly found with stolen cellphones. Nicolas David Jaramillo-Carbon was arrested about 6:20 p.m. Sunday near the 6000 block of Hollywood Boulevard, near Gower Street, after he was found with five cellphones, “two of which had just been stolen from patrons of a Hollywood area club,” according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement. “The Hollywood area is home to numerous bars, cocktail lounges and nightclubs,” police said. “Oftentimes, customers are distracted by their surroundings and find themselves easy prey for thieves, pick-pockets and other criminals. The Los Angeles Police Department strongly encourages club guests to maintain their (situational) awareness and to always monitor their possessions.”
MyNewsLA.com

Cheer Coach In South L.A. Area Pleads Not Guilty To Sexually Assaulting 5 Girls Between Ages 9 And 12
A volunteer cheer coach in Athens Park has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting five girls he instructed between the ages 9 and 12, the South Los Angeles announced Wednesday. Michael Edmond, 55, was coaching the girls in the South Los Angeles area between June 1 and Sept. 1 when authorities say he sexually abused them. He was charged with seven counts of forcible lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and one count of lewd act upon a child under the age of 14. He is being held on $8.8 million bail after pleading not guilty Tuesday. The criminal complaint states he committed a specified offense against more than one victim. Prosecutors said Edmond could face a maximum possible sentence of life in state prison if convicted as charged. The Los Angeles Police Department continues to investigate the case.
KTLA 5

Hate Crimes In L.A. County, Still On The Rise, Reach Highest Point In Nearly A Decade
Despite a slight dip in the overall number of hate crimes reported statewide, the number of such targeted crimes in Los Angeles County increased last year, reaching its highest point in nearly a decade, according to an annual report by the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations. Black and LGBTQ individuals were those most frequently targeted, the report shows. Of 521 recorded hate crimes in the county, more than half were racially motivated. Crimes targeting members of the LGBTQ community made up 24% of all hate crimes. In 2017, a total number of 508 hate crimes were recorded in the county. There were 482 such incidents in 2016.
Los Angeles Times

Lakeview Terrace Man Charged With Killing Two Neighbors
A Lakeview Terrace man was jailed without bail Wednesday on charges that he shot three of his neighbors, two of them fatally, during an argument with his family about tire-screeching noises. Richard Chico Nevarez — also known as “Slick Rick” — is charged with two counts of capital murder for the Aug. 28, 2016, shooting deaths of Moises Farias, 68, and Edgar Canaan, 47, along with one count each of attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, along with allegations of use of a handgun and a 2008 conviction for first-degree burglary. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against the 38-year-old defendant, who was charged April 2.
MyNewsLA.com

Families Grieve As CHP Searches For Driver Who Struck, Killed 2 Men In South LA
California Highway Patrol is continuing the search for a driver who fatally struck two pedestrians in South Los Angeles Tuesday night before driving off, as the families of those killed grieve. Paulina Ruiz's father, 47-year-old Felipe Ruiz, died at the scene Tuesday night after being struck by a speeding gray Mercedes sedan on Normandie and 95th Street. Ruiz's friend and neighbor, 21-year-old Danny Torres, was also struck. He died at the hospital from his injuries. Paulina said she was cooking cooking dinner for her dad when she asked him to get some soda from a nearby store. Paulina heard the crash and ran out to find her father on the street. When California Highway Patrol Investigators arrived on scene, they found the license plate had fallen off the car as a result of the collision and found that car at a home not far from the crime scene — but they said there was no sign of the driver.
CBS 2

Police: Suspect in custody after taking woman hostage with cleaver at Salinas Police Department
Salinas police say a woman with a cleaver held another woman hostage in the lobby of the police department. The incident happened Wednesday afternoon. Civilian employees and officers were able to subdue the suspect, 22-year-old Mariel Capulong, and get the victim free.
KION

Public Safety News

Officials Warn Of Possible Measles Exposure At LAX
A Los Angeles County resident may have exposed others to measles while traveling through Los Angeles International Airport last week. Officials with the county Department of Public Health said Wednesday that the person showed signs of measles shortly after returning to Southern California. The departure city was not immediately provided. The patient was at LAX on Friday from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and spent time at Terminal 5 and aboard a Parking-Spot Century airport shuttle. Terminal 5 houses Allegiant Air, Frontier, Hawaiian Air, JetBlue, Spirit, Sun Country and some American Airlines flights. Those who may have been in the vicinity around the same time are urged to check their immunization records and contact a healthcare provider if they have not been vaccinated. Symptoms of infection can take 21 days to appear from the time of exposure.
Los Angeles Times

Local Government News

LA Council Chooses Not To Restrict Where Homeless Sleep, Will Ask Newsom For State Of Emergency
A proposal to restrict locations where homeless people can sleep appeared to be dead on arrival Tuesday at a raucous Los Angeles City Council meeting that was disrupted by jeering audience members who shouted “Shame on you” at the council for even considering the idea. On the heels of Tuesday's raucous day in the council chambers, District 15 City Councilman Joe Buscaino will introduce a motion Wednesday, Sept. 25, for a council resolution calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a State of Emergency for the homelessness crisis in California. Buscaino said such a move would be designed to “speed up service delivery, supportive housing construction and to address the growing public health, safety, and humanitarian crisis on streets and sidewalks across the state.”
Los Angeles Daily News

LA City Councilman John Lee Moves To Block Hidden Creeks Development Near Porter Ranch
In hopes of blocking a proposed housing development, Los Angeles City Councilman John Lee called Wednesday for the city to formally back the preservation of the Hidden Creeks property near Porter Ranch as designated open space. “Preserving the Hidden Creeks property as open space has been a priority for both the county and city for years,” Lee said. Lee, who represents the northwest San Fernando Valley, introduced a motion instructing the city's Department of Recreation and Parks to join the county and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in ongoing discussions aimed at preserving the property. Hidden Creeks Estates and Preserve is a proposed housing development just outside of the city of Los Angeles between Porter Ranch and Chatsworth that abuts the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. Since the property is outside the of the city, Lee will have to work with the county to make the preservation happen.
Los Angeles Daily News

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Law Enforcement News - Wed, 9/23

Collision With Apparent Red-Light Runner Sends Santa Ana Police Officer To Hospital
A Santa Ana police officer was rushed to a hospital Monday morning after another car apparently running a red light slammed into his patrol vehicle. The crash happened at about 1:30 a.m. at Civic Center and Main Street, about a mile from the Santa Ana Police Department. The officer was on patrol at the time of the crash. The unidentified officer was taken to a hospital to get checked out, but the department says he is OK and is expected to be released shortly. The other driver was not injured in the crash, but was given a sobriety test and passed. Police say the driver, who has not yet been cited, admitted to running a red light. The intersection was cleared before 5 a.m.
CBS 2

Man Critical After Being Shot In Car In Green Meadows Neighborhood
A man is in critical condition after someone walked up to his car in the Green Meadows neighborhood of South Los Angeles and shot him early Wednesday morning. The incident was reported about 12:40 a.m. in the 700 block of East 108th Street, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Guzman said. The unidentified victim was sitting inside his silver Volkswagen when a lone gunman walked up and shot him at least once, Guzman said. He had been in the neighborhood to visit his girlfriend, who witnessed the shooting. The victim was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, Guzman said. Police did not provide a description of the gunman, who fled the area on foot. Investigators believe the victim was targeted but it was unclear why.
KTLA 5

Stolen Car Crashes Into Homeless Camp; Fleeing Occupant Is Stabbed, Police Say
One person was stabbed after bailing from a stolen vehicle that crashed early Tuesday into a homeless encampment in the Harbor City area, police said. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies began pursuing the car near Pacific Coast Highway and Pennsylvania Avenue shortly before 2:15 a.m. after a check of the license plate revealed it was stolen, the Sheriff's Department said. Deputies called off the chase after about a minute because the car was being driven dangerously, according to the department. Several minutes later, the vehicle veered off a dirt road in the 25300 block of Vermont Avenue and crashed into a homeless encampment, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Three suspects fled from the vehicle. One of them was captured by an occupant of the homeless encampment and stabbed, police said. The suspect was taken to a hospital in unknown condition.
Los Angeles Times

EXCLUSIVE: Man Suspected Of Attacking Real Estate Agent Arrested, 2 More Women Come Forward With Allegations
Los Angles Police Department arrested a man they suspect of attacking a real estate agent at an Encino open house on Sunday. The Tuesday night arrest came after two more women came forward to say they also had unsettling encounters with a man caught on video attacking a real estate agent. The woman in the video said she was afraid the man, who introduced himself to her as Tom, was going to rape and kill her if she went inside the home with him. She kept the conversation going on the porch of the home, hoping he would leave, but then he shoved her to the ground amid her screams. It was that video that led one woman to reach out with her encounter. “His eyes, the shape of his head really sticks out,” the Realtor, who did not want to be identified, said. “I knew it was him. I've seen him around.” She said she called police in February after an encounter with him at an open house in Encino.
CBS 2

Van Nuys Man's Conviction Upheld For His Mother's Killing
A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a Van Nuys man's second-degree murder conviction for pushing his 70-year-old mother out a second-floor window and then kicking and stomping on her after she fell to the ground. The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contention that the trial court should have instructed jurors in Fernando Vargas' trial on the lesser offenses of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. A neighbor reported seeing the defendant's mother, Carlotta, flying out backwards from a window, then saw Vargas deliver seven to eight kicks to her upper body, head and chest and then stomp on her chest three times, according to the appellate panel's ruling. Vargas — who had jumped out of the window to continue the attack on his mother — subsequently admitted to police that he had pushed her and hoped she was dead, but later told investigators that he did not want her to die, according to the ruling.
MyNewsLA.com

L.A. Sheriff's Department Gets Closer To Rolling Out Body Cameras

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors signed off Tuesday on a plan to buy body-worn cameras for patrol deputies, subject to receiving a written policy from Sheriff Alex Villanueva governing their use. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis co-authored a motion to approve nearly $35 million in funding for the cameras, as recommended by Villanueva and CEO Sachi Hamai. However, before the Sheriff's Department can reach out to vendors for bids, Villanueva must submit a policy that addresses: When sworn personnel would be allowed to turn their equipment on or off, if and when sworn personnel should be allowed to review footage before writing a first report of an incident, what video footage would be released to the public, any use of facial recognition technology, and the consequences for violating or failing to comply with the policy. The motion was approved without any comment from board members.
Los Angeles Daily News

Convicted California Drug Dealer Arrested With 3 Ounces Of Methamphetamine, 7,500 Lethal Doses Of Fentanyl: Officials
Deputies arrested a previously-convicted drug dealer last week and seized 3 ounces of methamphetamine, along with 7,500 lethal doses of the potent synthetic opioid, sheriff's officials said. Jamal Kenyadda Goodman, 42, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sales, resisting arrest and violating the terms of his Post-Release Community Supervision, or felony probation, stemming from a prior conviction for drug sales, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department officials and booking records. His city of residence was not available. Deputies assigned to the Rancho Cucamonga Multiple Enforcement Team encountered Goodman about 4 p.m. while carrying out a narcotics investigation at an apartment complex in the 8900 block of 19th Street, sheriff's officials said in a written statement.
KTLA 5

‘Rapid DNA' Promises Breakthroughs In Solving Crimes. So Why Does It Face A Backlash?

For decades, scientists have used ever-improving DNA forensics to help solve crimes and detect suspects in cold cases such as the Golden State Killer. But it has never been quick work: Laboratory analyses of genetic evidence can take weeks, even months to complete. That could all change, if private companies succeed in widely marketing a device called “Rapid DNA.” The printer-sized boxes — costing up to $250,000 apiece — can analyze a sample of blood, saliva or other biological matter in about 90 minutes, and they have a number of potential applications. A machine developed by Colorado-based ANDE Corp. helped identify victims of the 2018 Paradise fire and the more recent Conception dive boat disaster. But it is the prospective use of Rapid DNA in criminal investigations that is setting off alarm bells. Both privacy advocates and some forensic scientists fear police will abuse the technology to test people without their informed consent, or to mishandle evidence that could compromise prosecutions.
Los Angeles Times

Fremont Police Tesla Runs Low On Juice During High-Speed Chase
The last thing a police officer trying to chase down a suspect in a high-speed pursuit needs to see is a warning that their patrol car is running low on gas — or on battery juice. But that's how it went down Friday night in Fremont — in a Tesla no less. A Fremont police officer pursuing a suspect while driving the department's Tesla Model S patrol car noticed it was running out of battery power. During the pursuit of a “felony vehicle” that started in Fremont and reached peak speeds of about 120 miles per hour on the highway, the officer driving the Tesla radioed in to dispatch that he might not be able to continue the chase he was leading. “I am down to six miles of battery on the Tesla so I may lose it here in a sec,” Officer Jesse Hartman said. “If someone else is able, can they maneuver into the number one spot?,” he asked fellow officers nearby, as the chase approached the Jacklin Road exit on Interstate 680 south in Milpitas.
Mercury News

Public Safety News

The 14th Annual Police And Fire Appreciation Day Honors 14 Local Heroes
The Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 14th annual Police and Fire Appreciation Day on Thursday. More than 260 people attended. "The reality is, this is pretty thankless work for the most part. 24-hours a day, they're on the line looking out for everybody's safety," Inglewood mayor James Butts said. "As a former police chief, former SWAT officer, former police officer, it's important the community takes time out to recognize you formally." 13 people were honored from the LA County Fire Department, Inglewood Police Department, Inglewood School Police Department and LAX Police Department. Los Angeles County Fire Battalion Chief Mark Tolbert received posthumous recognition for over 30 years service. Los Angeles Chargers' president of business operations, A.G. Spanos was the keynote speaker.
ABC 7

California Health Officials Tell Everyone To Stop Vaping Right Now
California health officials issued a warning Tuesday that people stop vaping immediately, joining a growing chorus of health experts advising caution around e-cigarette use following recent reports of severe lung illnesses linked to the practice. In recent months, hundreds of people have been hospitalized across the nation with serious lung conditions that are suspected to be linked to vaping, both of nicotine and THC. In California, there have been two deaths due to the illnesses as well as 90 people who have been hospitalized, officials say. “We are seeing something that we have not seen before,” said Dr. Charity Dean, California's acting public health officer, in a statement. “There are numerous unknown factors at this time, and due to the uncertainty of the exact cause, it is our recommendation that consumers refrain from vaping until the investigation has concluded.”
Los Angeles Times

Children Of 9/11 First Responders Graduate From FDNY Academy
On Tuesday, 301 probationary firefighters graduated from the FDNY Fire Academy, but this year's graduation had an extra bit of meaning, as 19 of the graduates are children of first responders who died on 9/11 or from a 9/11-related illness. 2019's class is the largest group of legacy graduates in the FDNY's history. “Making my dad proud. It's definitely something that he always wanted me to do,” said Robert Tilearcio. “I took the FDNY test the same month that my father passed away of 9/11-related cancer.” The class also reflects New York City's diversity, with people of color making up 37% of the graduates and the second-largest number of women to join the force. All of the probationary firefighters will now be assigned to firehouses throughout New York City.
FOX 13 News

Local Government News

LA Council Discusses, Takes No Action, On Homeless-Sleeping Restrictions During Raucous Meeting
A proposal to restrict locations where homeless people can sleep appeared to be dead on arrival Tuesday at a raucous Los Angeles City Council meeting that was disrupted by jeering audience members who shouted “Shame on you” at the council for even considering the idea. On the heels of Tuesday's raucous day in the council chambers, District 15 City Councilman Joe Buscaino will introduce a motion Wednesday, Sept. 25, for a council resolution calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a State of Emergency for the homelessness crisis in California. Buscaino said such a move would be designed to “speed up service delivery, supportive housing construction and to address the growing public health, safety, and humanitarian crisis on streets and sidewalks across the state.” On Tuesday, the council grappled with the “sit and sleep” proposal, introduced earlier this month by City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell. It would prohibit homeless people from blocking sidewalks and emergency entrances and would keep them at least 500 feet from schools and other sensitive areas.
Los Angeles Daily News

LA County Board Of Supervisors Unanimously Passes First Vote To Ban Sale Of Flavored Tobacco

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed the first vote for a proposed ordinance to ban flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping products. Supervisors entered their vote on Tuesday. At the hearing, youth groups called for the ban. People who oppose the ban were also there. They say minors should not use tobacco products, but that adults should have the right to choose. The board said there is a second vote scheduled to take place sometime soon. Menthol cigarettes such as Kools and Newports were among the products targeted in a proposed Los Angeles County ban on the sale of flavored tobacco. The ban calls for flavored vaping products and traditional menthol cigarettes to be pulled from shelves in unincorporated areas.
ABC 7
 
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