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DEVASTATING: 19 Firefighters Killed Sunday Night in AZ Wildfire…and Other News

July 1st, 2013 by Celeste Fremon



As many of you may have heard by now, 19 firefighters were killed Sunday
night battling an out-of-control wildfire, located about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The 19 were members of a team of highly-trained wildland firefighters known as the Prescott Granite Mountain Hot Shots (pictured above), one of the elite Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHC) that are deployed as needed to major wildland fires throughout the nation.

The deaths of the Prescott hot shots is the second worst such incident in U.S. history, and the worst firefighting loss of life since 1933.

When firefighters or police officers are killed, it tears a particular kind of hole in the community—both locally and in the larger community. Thus, while WLA doesn’t genrally report on wildfires, in this case….attention must be paid.

Here is what LAPD Chief Charlie Beck tweeted at around 10 pm Sunday night:

Feeling incredible shock and grief over the deaths of the 19 firefighters killed in Yarnell,Az wildfires. Please pray 4 their families.CB

Yes.



AND IN OTHER NEWS…

OFFICER LAWSUITS AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT DEMONSTRATE NEED FOR CHANGES AND REFORMS SAYS LAPD’S INSPECTOR GENERAL

The LAPD’s Inspector General, Alex Bustamante, issued a sharply-worded report that critiqued the department’s failure to institute reforms to reduce the number of officers suing department—and collecting big $$ payouts—as a result of various claims of ill-treatment at the hands of the LAPD.

Here’s a small snip from the LA Times’ Joel Rubin’s story on the matter:


Alex Bustamante, the inspector general, calculated that the city has paid $31 million over the last five years to resolve employment-related cases in which members of the LAPD contended they were victims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation or other misconduct. That was almost one-third of the $110 million paid in all LAPD lawsuits, including those involving allegations of excessive force and traffic accidents, the report found.

In a set of recommendations, Bustamante called on the department to implement a mediation program devised by the LAPD, city attorneys and officials from the union representing rank-and-file police officers.

The Los Angeles Police Comission will discuss Bustamante’s report on Tuesday.

And while we’re on the topic, it would be good to know what percentage of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department payouts are to settle with department members.

It should also be noted that, in his report, Bustamante said that, in the last 5 years, the LAPD has paid out $110 million in lawsuits, 31 million of which is cops suing the department.

The Sheriff’s department has, by contrast, paid out over $100 million-in three years.

So how much of that 100 million plus is paid to settle with LASD department members who are suing their department?

Has anyone called for reforms to help cut those numbers down?


SUPREME COURT JUSTICE KENNEDY TOSSES OUT PETITION TO STOP GAY MARRIAGES.

On Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy turned down requests from Prop. 8 supporters to put a stop to gay marriages in California until they could appeal to SCOTUS to rethink it’s ruling.

Kennedy said, Uh, no.

NPR’s Mark Memmott has the story. Here’s a clip:

On Thursday, the court (with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion), ruled 5-4 that the proponents who came forward to defend Prop 8 after it was struck down by a lower court did not have the proper standing to bring the case to the High Court. So, in effect, the lower court ruling was allowed to stand.

The ruling has brought hundreds of same-sex couples to courthouses and city halls across California. As we wrote Saturday, it’s “wedding weekend in San Francisco” and other places.

This weekend, Kennedy (to whom appeals of decisions from California are directed) was asked to put a stop to the weddings. Prop 8′s supporters, as our colleagues at KQED reported, argued that because they have 25 days in which to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling, the marriages should be on hold for at least that long.

Kennedy disagreed. So, the marriages can continue.


TRAVIS COUNTY, TX, EXPERIMENT COULD SET THE STAGE FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM ACROSS THE STATE

Travis County, Texas, (which includes Austin within its borders) has decided that it can do a better job in helping its law breaking kids turn their lives around, by making use of intensive therapy and other rehabilitative programs.

Brandi Grisson writing for the Texas Tribune has the story. Here’s a clip:

“…We will no longer commit kids to the state,” said Jeanne Meurer, a Travis County senior district judge. “We will take care of all of our kids.”

This year, legislators approved a law to allow the county to commit juvenile offenders to local detention facilities instead of sending them to large institutions operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. If the Travis County model is successful, it could set the stage for the next steps in reforming the juvenile justice system — sharply reducing the size of the agency and the number of detention centers.

“Travis County’s experience doing this will tell us what’s possible,” said Michele Deitch, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and an expert on jail conditions.

Since Texas deals with many of the same complex youth populations in its facilities as does California, what Travis does should be worth watching.

Posted in Charlie Beck, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Fire, juvenile justice, LAPD, LAPPL, LASD, LGBT, Life in general, Supreme Court | 8 Comments »

8 Responses

  1. Surprised Says:

    Reforms? How about reforming society. Jurors are the people who are too stupid to get out of jury duty and we want to place guilt/innocence/lawsuits in the hands of these people LOL. Look, if dirtbag gets shot and killed by police because he/she is a dirtbag and earned those bullets, then don’t award money to dirtbag’s family. If dirtbag got socked up because dirtbag earned an ass whopping and not quite enough to get a bullet, don’t award money to dirtbag.

    A bad shooting is a bad shooting, a bad ass whopping is a bad ass whooping…money should change hands. However, we are at a place where money is being sucked out by the families of righteous dirtbags. Nobody gives a shit about these people until they get smoked and then we have to see every cousin and play cousin crying on TV wondering how much an extra tear will get them so they can kick the Section 8.

  2. Cognistator Says:

    Last Friday three things happened over at the L.A. times:

    1. Its parent company, the Chicago Tribune, lost 41% revenue in the past quarter. This was duly reported by LAT.
    2. Its front page online format was drastically changed. This was obvious & needed no comment from LAT.
    3. Something like 20 Journalists were laid off from LAT’s newsroom.

    No comment on any of this from WLA, but it can all be Googled, search words “Layoffs at L.A. Times.”

  3. Prophet Mo' Teff Says:

    The LAPD Inspector General’s report, in this particular instance, was not focused on payouts for civil suits on behalf of dirtbags.
    I think the report does provide a total dollar number for all LAPD related settlements, which would include the dirtbag component.
    However, the report chose a different component to breakout for closer study.
    That component is the non-dirtbag police officer(employee) lawsuit against the department(employer) for damages caused by actions of his/her manager/supervisor

  4. J.London Says:

    Surprised: I agree that there are times when deadly force is required. However, it must be legal, moral and ethically done according to the constitution. Sherman Block once told me “We shouldn’t knowingly break the law to enforce the law.” I agree! To read more please look up what is ‘objectively reasonable under Conner v. Graham and Gardner v Tenn. The ‘end does not justify the means!’ Machiavelli would be proud of your post. We (LASD and LAPD) lack Character, Integrity and Leadership! Remember our Oath of Office! Also note; that a good portion of suits are against execs and supervisors for Retaliation. Name just one exec that was held accountable or punished for retaliation? I.E. Waldie has cost the county MILLIONS of taxpayer money and Baca sent him ‘LOVE!” Of all the reasons I’m voting for Gomez is that I am convinced that all current and past execs will be brought to task for their misdeeds!

    Cog: Great post!The print media and it’s affiliates did not keep up with what Americans want to read. Just the news and not liberal dribble! The purchase of additional stations with a different more newsworthy format will either break or make the LAT. If the LAT and WITLA doesn’t change they will go down and lose their jobs. Why? Inflexibility! I like Celeste and I believe she believes she is doing the right thing! However, after reading just one line(in most articles)I can already predict where the article is going! And that’s not news! I read Witla because Celeste has the courage to go after Baca and the thugs! I know she is NOT in the tank for Baca and knows that Baca needs to go as we all do!

    Lastly, the reason why we don’t know more about the Retaliation suits is because Baca insists that the judgements are confidential and the victims must keep quiet and NOT run for office against Baca. Ask Leyva and Herrain what they had to sign to get their money! Pat Gomez refused to play! Once again the reason why I’m voting for Pat!

  5. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Cognistator, thanks for the heads up. I usually hear about layoffs from friends, but I completely missed the story on Friday. Here’s a link to the KPCC write up on the layoffs and the losses.

    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/economy/2013/06/28/14141/new-round-of-layoffs-at-the-los-angeles-times/

  6. dribbling all over ourselves Says:

    “The print media and it’s affiliates did not keep up with what Americans want to read. Just the news and not liberal dribble!”

    What news? ET, TMZ, Idol, The Voice, FOX, CNN, USA Today, MSNBC, MTP, FTN,TBN, and the Disney Channel? No one is doing the news. They’re running ads between entertainment segments. No one can afford or wants a staff to do real news. No one wants real news. No one reads anymore. People have software for everything but their brains. You don’t have to burn books to bring this nation to its knees, just keep substituting Youtube videos and infomercials. That’s not a liberal phenomena, it’s a business model. Open your eyes. Honestly, your brains won’t fall out.

  7. J.London Says:

    Oh Plaaasee!!

  8. shake my head Says:

    I want to pay my respects to the firefighters lost recently may God hold your families tight during this time of loss and grief. My prayers are with all the families.

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