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WLA on Madeleine Brand Show Wed. Talking About Baca & LASD….Closing the Camp Kilpatrick Sports Program?…. How Has Prez Done on Criminal Justice?….Farewell to Harold Ramis


I’ll be on KCRW’s new Madeleine Brand show on Wednesday at 12 noon, 89.9 FM. We’ll be talking about my lengthy article on former Sheriff Lee Baca that is in the March issue of Los Angeles Magazine (due out Wednesday).

UPDATE: I originally thought it was going to be broadcast Tuesday, but although it was taped Tuesday morning, it’ll be broadcast on Wednesday.

You can listen in real time. I’ll also link to the podcast after the show.

(And here’s a link to a sort of teaser interview that my editor at LA Mag, Matt Segal, did with me about the story.)

Obviously, I’ll let you know when the story itself is out!


The LA Times’ Sandy Banks has a story on the possible closure of the famous juvenile sports program at LA County’s Camp Kilpatrick.

We’ll have a lot more on this issue in the next few days, but in the meantime, here’s a clip from Banks’ column:

A sports program that brought national acclaim to a Los Angeles County probation camp is headed for extinction — unless it can prove that it helps youthful offenders stay trouble-free.

For more than 20 years, Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu has been the only juvenile correctional facility in the state to field teams that compete against public and private schools in the California Interscholastic Federation.

The camp’s football team inspired the 2006 movie “Gridiron Gang” and sent several players to college. Its basketball team has come close to being a regional champion. Its soccer program produced this year’s Delphic League MVP.

But Camp Kilpatrick is being torn down next month and will be rebuilt on a new model — one that stresses education, counseling and vocational training over competitive sports.

It’s part of a long-overdue shift in the county juvenile justice system, from boot-camp style to a therapeutic approach to rehabilitating young people.

Still, it would be a loss to the young men incarcerated at Camp Kilpatrick if sports are a casualty of reform….

We agree. Read the rest here.


In his final column for the paper, outgoing NY Times editor-in-chief, Bill Keller grades President Obama on his criminal justice reform record.

Here’s a clip:

I DOUBT any president has been as well equipped as Barack Obama to appreciate the vicious cycle of American crime and punishment. As a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s, he would have witnessed the way a system intended to protect the public siphoned off young black men, gave them an advanced education in brutality, and then returned them to the streets unqualified for — and too often, given the barriers to employment faced by those who have done time, disqualified from — anything but a life of more crime. He would have understood that the suffering of victims and the debasing of offenders were often two sides of the same coin.

It’s hard to tell how deeply he actually absorbed this knowledge. In the Chicago chapters of his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama notes that in the low-income housing projects “prison records had been passed down from father to son for more than a generation,” but he has surprisingly little to say about the shadow cast by prisons on the families left behind, about the way incarceration became the default therapy for drug addicts and the mentally ill, about the abject failure of rehabilitation.

Still, when the former community organizer took office, advocates of reform had high expectations.

In March I will give up the glorious platform of The Times to help launch something new: a nonprofit journalistic venture called The Marshall Project (after Thurgood Marshall, the great courtroom champion of civil rights) and devoted to the vast and urgent subject of our broken criminal justice system. It seems fitting that my parting column should address the question of how this president has lived up to those high expectations so far…..


“This is something that matters to the president,” [US Attorney General Eric] Holder assured me last week. “This is, I think, going to be seen as a defining legacy for this administration.”


Radiantly, brilliantly, humanely funny.
It seems terribly wrong that Harold Ramis is dead.

Above is writer, actor, director Ramis talking to students about “good comedy.” With his films such as Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Animal House, Stripes, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, and more, Harold Ramis showed how it was done.


  • These scandals were apparent during Baca’s first term in office. Scott Zacky. How long did it take after Moonbeam started his Special Reserve Program for Scott Zacky to get arrested for waving his badge and gun around? Then another one was some kind of gun smuggler or something along those lines and another one was a domestic batterer. The LA Times ran a story on it. Didn’t dig any deeper. No big deal. Did they not a red flag regarding Baca’s judgement or his willingness to give out badges and guns to those who not only hadn’t earned them, he was giving them out to people with criminal arrests in their background? I guess not.
    The letter Baca sent to the White House (President Clinton) on behalf of convicted drug smuggler Carlos Vignali. His father was a campaign contributor to Baca. It made the LA Times. Nobody chose to dig deeper. I guess they missed the glaring conflict of interest in this and the obvious willingness of Moonbeam to act less than ethical on behalf of his campaign donors.

    And it continued on, and on and on throughout every term of Moonbeam’s. The obvious signs were there from the very beginning. Anybody in the media who says they didn’t see them is in denial. If they didn’t see the propensity for corruption under Moonbeam, it’s because they didn’t want to see it. It was there from the beginning.

    Finally those in the media who formerly supported and endorsed Moonbeam through four terms as sheriff didn’t want to accept his “I didn’t know” excuses any longer.
    Now they are outraged. Laughable. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a Channel 7 reporter do an interview where he asks another member of the media why they continued endorsing Moonbeam for so long when it was more than obvious that he was corrupt? Oh wait. That won’t happen, because then the person being interviewed could ask the Channel 7 reporter the same question.

    It was all one big clusterf#%k of denial by the supposed watchdogs in the media. Sure, they reported it. But they let it get swept under the rug. They loved Moonbeam. They didn’t want to see the obvious signs of corruption, mismanagement and failure of Moonbeam to do his job. They can save their outrage as far as I’m concerned. The ACLU included. They had nothing but praise for Moonbeam for years.
    Pat Gomez and a few others sure were lonely on the bandwagon for a long time. Now the Johnny Come Lately’s are crowding them out. I hope the media and ACLU members didn’t injure themselves when they jumped so fervently on the bandwagon.

    Welcome aboard. About time.

  • #2 Correctamoondo. Everything you speak of is factual and quite representative of the Progressive Media agenda. Obama and the Dems along with virtually all Dems receive a pass because they are of the same mind. State Senator Calderon and his brother indicted for in-your-face corruption and no one is surprised. Baca and Tanaka became so arrogant because the media was asleep in bed with both of them. That is disgraceful and shows how the Progressive game is played. It took investigative journalism by the little o’l WLA and the LAT to bring LASD into focus. And the FBI not the LA County
    DA, to take Boss Hog and his sidekick down. The mainstream media should be ashamed, they were Baca’s lapdog, not our watchdog.

  • Well said Memory Lane. Like Celeste, the media likes what Baca SAYS. What he SAYS is music to their ears. What he SAYS are like many of the ivory-tower ideas espoused by Celeste’s recommended professors. What he SAYS will cure the county of all its ills.

    Celeste, let me help you with Leroy’s “complex psychology”

    For those of who have know him for 30 of 40 years know him for what he is. We know not to believe a word he SAYS. He is a person who will say anything that is expedient _ some call it lying, like the LA Times did in their Oct 25, 1998 Editorial He will SAY anything to anybody simple as that.

    Yes, he probably did believe in some of his ideas but he never gave a second of thought as to their practicality and never, never went back to ensure that they ever worked (or even got off the ground). The examples are far to numerous to site, but suffice it to say that each and every one of those hair-brained failures cost the taxpayer plenty of money.
    I believe he felt himself a intellectual superior to the common man and felt good by coming up with these ideas and SAYing them. Once the point was made, it was time to move on and prove it again.

    As to his ethical shortcomings mentioned by Memory Lane, he only scratched the surface. Leroy’s ethical shortcomings have been apparent throughout his career and were well known within the LASD and I will not go in to them. But suffice it to say that it was one of the reasons the LASD Division Chiefs recommended to Sheriff Block that he promote any of the 15 other Commanders to Chief except Leroy (and one other Commander). Before even becoming Sheriff, Leroy and his thugs began a policy of cronyism and “play-for-pay.” They promised promotions to those who supported them and threatened those who supported Sheriff Block. Take a look at the campaign contributions from the 1998 election and see who contributed to Leroy’s election and compare it with those who were promoted after he was elected. Then in subsequent elections the command staff were intimidated in to making contributions to Baca’s reelection campaigns (Sheriff Block had discouraged staff campaign contributions). Paul Tanaka only built on a cronyism system that was well in place well before he came to power within the LASD.

    And as far as his “Phd” is concerned. Celeste, I’ll have to give you that one. Anyone who would write their Phd. thesis on the proposition that incest should be decriminalized, indeed does have a “complex psychology.”


    All PhDs are doctorates. (It’s a terminal academic degree that literally stands for doctor of philosophy, even though, obviously, most who get PhDs don’t get them in philosophy.)

    The other doctorates, which are not PhDs, tend to be professional degrees rather than academically or research based. Like a JD, juris doctorate, which, as we know, you get by successfully graduating from law school. Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Then there are weird ones like Th Ds, Doctors of Theology.

    I notice the Price School of Public Policy at USC offers both professional doctorates and PhDs. To be honest, I don’t know which Baca got (I’d have to delve into my notes), but they are both equally rigorous.

  • Celeste, Excuse the nit pick, you have better things to spend your time on. I’m not managing my anger well being an alum of USC & LASD. I’m embarrassed for both!

  • I harken you back to 2011. The media was so proud of Moonbeam. After all, he was the only law enforcement official to take on Peter King at his Muslim radicalization hearings. No red flag for the LA media. No worries to them, no raised eyebrows even, that nobody from the FBI or any other law enforcement agency was there advocating for peaceful Muslims. No thought given to the fact that there wasn’t any other LE official there scolding King at his hearings.
    A layman’s guess as to why no other LE official was there advocating for peaceful Muslims is because, newsflash Moonbeam and the LA media, the hearing wasn’t about PEACEFUL Muslims. It was about radical Muslims. Yet Moonbeam chose to go there and spread his message. Had to be the big shot. Had to show everybody what a progressive he was. It was akin to somebody having a forum about African American gangs and some LE official showing up and telling the leader of the meetings that the majority of African Americans are good, peaceful people. NO SHIT SHERLOCK!!! Really? Thanks. How profound. But we’re not talking about the majority of African American people.
    All of this while the LASD was fully engulfed in scandal and corruption. No wonder Moonbeam didn’t want to hear from those telling him he had BIG PROBLEMS in his own house MCJ. He was probably too busy writing his speech to put King in his place. Too busy solidifying his standing with the LA Muslim community to hear about the problems. Nevermind the LASD was burning. Moonbeam had bigger fish to fry. His progressive message made the media love him and secured their continued endorsements. THAT’s what wins elections in LA. Get out there and espouse that progressive idealism, even if it doesn’t apply at the specific forum you do it. It got him a pass for his malfeasance, corruption and incompetence for years.

  • #4
    Speaking of Moonbeam’s hair brained ideas costing the taxpayers plenty of money, tell us about LASD2. What a whimsical load of bovine dung designed to do nothing but build a legacy. Epic failure.

  • Go on the line at Custody Facilities. I just did, and I can tell you two things. The morale is in the toilet, and all the custody Deps are celebrating Leroy and Paul’s combined demise. The tone I picked up was one of an abused child whose abusive parents were just arrested and they’re waiting to find out if they get adopted by a good family or not. Relief that the beatings will stop, but terror that they make jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. I’ve never seen deputies so dejected, ashamed to wear the uniform and afraid to do their jobs. This is a sad situation for our younger generation of LASD deputies. I feel bad for them.

  • Good Point WILD TURKEY regarding terrible morale. It is going to take a long time for employees to be able to trust their supervisors and executives to be able to do their jobs.

  • I am surprised that morale in custody could be so low, when they have such great Chiefs running the show, with one standing around smoking cigars all day and the other looking for the next wife to entice out of her marriage.

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