RESHAPING LA COUNTY’S DISTRICTS – WHO WILL WIN THE POLITICAL BATTLE?
The final hearing on the topic of how and how much the county ought to be redistricted will be held at Tuesday’s LA County Supervisors’ meeting, at which time the three possible redistricting plans for LA will be discussed. Two of the plans aim to substantially re-carve the boundaries of the county’s supervisory districts in order to create a second Latino district—which may (or may not) be required to satisfy the legal parameters of the Voting Rights Act.
Theoretically the Supes will vote on all three plans on Tuesday—one proposed by Gloria Molina, one by Mark Ridley-Thomas, one by Don Knabe—and will select one of the three. But to pass a redistricting plan, a supermajority of four votes is required, not the usual three. And none of the plans has four supporters among the Supes.
If the Supervisors cannot agree, then the decision will be made by the LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley and LA County Assessor John R. Noguez—and the Supervisors are not fond of that option either.
If you’re confused about what all this means and want to acquire some kind of working knowledge of the politics at play with this decision, start by reading Monday’s column by the LA Times’ Jim Newton, which is pretty good, (except that I think that Newton has the boundaries of Mark-Ridley Thomas plan a little screwed up, but otherwise it’s quite informative).
After that, you should turn your attention to the analysis by LA Weekly’s Gene Maddeus who did a very savvy job of explaining the possible political implications of the decision with his column: The Politics of The L.A. County Redistricting Fight Explained — With Venn Diagrams!
If you want still more, the LAT also has an informative Op Ed in Tuesday’s paper.
And, of course, you can look at WLA’s report for yet another take.
I should have more from the meeting as the day wears on—that is if anything actually happens.
MORE ON THE FBI INVESTIGATION OF THE JAILS—AND THE NOW ESCALATING CELL PHONE CAPER
When we last left off, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca was mighty unhappy because FBI agents probing abuse of inmates by deputies and other misconduct at the LA County jails managed to get an illegal cell phone to a jail inmate in a sting operation. Now LAT reporter Robert Faturechi has more on the cell-phone kerfuffle.
Here’s a clip:
FBI agents probing misconduct allegations in the L.A. County Jail orchestrated an undercover sting in which they paid about $1,500 to a sheriff’s deputy to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate, sources said.
The revelation is the first public indication that the FBI’s investigations into allegations of inmate beatings and other deputy misconduct in the jails have uncovered possible criminal wrongdoing.
The FBI conducted the cellphone sting without notifying top Sheriff’s Department brass, enraging Sheriff Lee Baca and causing a rift between the two law enforcement agencies.
Baca, who is scheduled to meet Tuesday with U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. to discuss the escalating tensions, went on television Monday to slam the FBI, saying smuggling a cellphone inside a secured lockup created a serious safety breach. Baca suggested that the FBI committed a crime by doing so.
“It’s illegal,” he said. “It’s a misdemeanor and then there’s a conspiracy law that goes along with it.
Yeah, that works. Federal law enforcement officers ran a successful sting and a dirty LASD deputy allegedly committed a criminal act and got stung. So the Sheriff wants to go after the Feds instead of cleaning up his own house? Really??
There’s more coming this week on the jails/abuse story, so stay tuned.
THE COMING PAROLEE HANDOVER
And as if those stories weren’t enough….
….Beginning this Saturday, Oct 1, a pile of state parolees will be handed over to LA County Probation for supervision (instead of being supervised by the state parole officers), and there is no telling how ready the county is for the handover.
I’ll have more on this too as the week progresses. But here’s a link to the LA Times Op Ed on the topic in the meantime. Read it as it provides excellent background for the news that will be coming.