SO CAL CONNECTED EXPOSES OUTRAGEOUS HOUSING AUTHORITY CORRUPTION, HEAD GUY IS OUSTED—AND WALKS AWAY WITH $1.2 MILLION
This is just incredible.
Earlier this year, investigations by KCET’S So Cal Connected exposed corruption and fraud at the Los Angeles Housing Authority—or HACLA—the agency responsible for providing shelter for the city’s poorest residents, and for overseeing LA’s Federal public housing projects. Then this past week, the show broadcast a whole new round of investigations into the shocking level of waste and abuse of tax payer money by top managers at the agency..
So Cal Connected’s investigation, plus audits by City Controller Wendy Gruel, resulted in the ouster of HACLA head guy Rudolf Montiel. However, it turns out that, instead of being sanctioned, Montiel was given a $1.2 million departure package by the HACLA board, reports the LA Times.
KCET has an interactive database here that allows you to check out the HACLA managers’ thousands of dollars worth of dinners, gifts and “employee incentives.”
There’s lots more to this story, so stay tuned.
PRESIDENTIAL PARDON’S: YOU’RE WA-A-A-AAAY MORE LIKELY TO GET ONE IF YOU’RE WHITE—AND WELL CONNECTED
Dafna Lindzer and Jennifer LaFleur of ProPublica did this important 2-part series that it co-published with the Washington Post
Here’s how Part 1 opens:
White criminals seeking presidential pardons over the past decade have been nearly four times as likely to succeed as minorities, a ProPublica examination has found.
Blacks have had the poorest chance of receiving the president’s ultimate act of mercy, according to an analysis of previously unreleased records and related data.
Current and former officials at the White House and Justice Department said they were surprised and dismayed by the racial disparities, which persist even when factors such as the type of crime and sentence are considered.
“I’m just astounded by those numbers,” said Roger Adams, who served as head of the Justice Department’s pardons office from 1998 to 2008. He said he could think of nothing in the office’s practices that would have skewed the recommendations. “I can recall several African Americans getting pardons.”
The review of applications for pardons is conducted almost entirely in secret, with the government releasing scant information about those it rejects.
ProPublica’s review examined what happened after President George W. Bush decided at the beginning of his first term to rely almost entirely on the recommendations made by career lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
The office was given wide latitude to apply subjective standards, including judgments about the “attitude” and the marital and financial stability of applicants. No two pardon cases match up perfectly, but records reveal repeated instances in which white applicants won pardons with transgressions on their records similar to those of blacks and other minorities who were denied.
And here’s Part 2, a fascinating piece which tracks the circuitous process of trying to get a pardon for a well-connected, well-off guy who eventually did get the 12th pardon of George W. Bush’s presidency.
ProPublica’s editors write that this is “the kind of journalism that demands action.” Yep.
WHEN LOS ANGELES SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES ASSAULT INMATES, THEY MAY GET FIRED, BUT THEIR CASES OFTEN DON’T GET PASSED ALONG TO THE DA’S OFFICE FOR PROSECUTION
The LA Times’ Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi, who have been covering the jail abuse scandal for the Times, report that the “L.A. County Sheriff’s Department does not always share with prosecutors the results of investigations of possible inmate abuse.”
Here’s a clip:
Even as a sergeant shouted, “Stop hitting him! Stop hitting him!,” Deputy Marcos Stout continued punching an inmate in the head. Then, with the inmate on the concrete floor, Stout landed his knee on the man’s skull.
Lawyers for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department described the deputy’s actions as “callous and brutal behavior toward a helpless and unresisting person.”
Though Stout’s excessive force was egregious enough to get him fired, prosecutors did not charge him with a crime — but not because they concluded that the violence wasn’t criminal, according to interviews. They never knew about it.
In several cases in recent years, deputies who were disciplined or even fired for abusing inmates escaped criminal scrutiny because Sheriff’s Department officials chose not to give the evidence to the district attorney’s office, opting to handle the cases internally.
Law enforcement experts interviewed by the Los Angeles Times said the department should routinely conduct criminal investigations of brutality claims and forward the results to prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
“Just because you’re part of the Sheriff’s Department doesn’t mean you can commit battery with impunity,” said Dennis Kenney, a former Florida police officer and current professor studying police use of force at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
U.S. CITIZEN FLORIDA STUDENTS ARE REFUSED INSTATE COLLEGE TUITION PRICES IF THEY CANNOT PROVE THEIR PARENTS ARE LEGAL IMMIGRANTS
This story by NYTimes Opinionator contributor Linda Greenhouse truly falls into the You’ve-Got-To-Be-Kidding category.
Here’s how it opens:
In the current race to the bottom to see which state can provide the most degraded and dehumanizing environment for undocumented immigrants, Arizona and Alabama have grabbed the headlines. But largely unnoticed, it is Florida, home to nearly one million Cuban refugees and their descendants, that has come up with perhaps the most bizarre and pointless anti-immigrant policy of all.
Beginning last year, the state’s higher education authorities have been treating American citizens born in the United States, including graduates of Florida high schools who have spent their entire lives in the state, as non-residents for tuition purposes if they can’t demonstrate that their parents are in the country legally.
Yes, you read that correctly – although when I first came upon a description of the policy a few weeks ago, I was sure that I had misunderstood something. It’s a basic tenet of equal protection law that the government can’t single out citizens for disfavored treatment without a good reason. The Supreme Court is serious about this, even ruling unanimously a decade ago that an Illinois village violated an individual homeowner’s 14th Amendment right to equal protection by demanding from her a bigger easement than it required of her neighbors as the price of connecting her home to the municipal water supply.
A few feet of land more or less may not have made a life-changing difference to the plaintiff in that case. But consider the difference between in-state and non-resident tuition at the University of Florida: $5,700 a year versus $27,936. The disparity is similar at the state’s community colleges, although the price tags are lower. It is the difference between a college education and none.
It seems grossly unfair, as the Supreme Court acknowledged 30 years ago in Plyler v. Doe when it held that Texas could not deprive undocumented children of a free public K-through-12 education, to blame children for the wrongdoing of their parents. Unfair and, as Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. observed in his concurring opinion, socially self-destructive, in creating a permanent underclass of uneducated people.