Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Recall DA Gascon Campaign Gives Up For Now; Assembly Passes Law to Eliminate Gang Enhancement Sentencing; Armed Robberies are Increasing in LA and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

Court upholds moratorium on the death penalty; Scammers targeting LGBTQ dating apps; Bill ends jail time for drug offenses

 

September 25, 2021

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Zero bail proposal shelved by State Senator Bob Hertzberg after horrific murder of Sacramento's Kate Tibbits, pictured here. The defendant, who also killed her two dogs, had been out on zero bail from several previous crimes.

Courts & Rulings

Ninth Circuit denies bid by California DAs to challenge death penalty moratorium

In a divided opinion, a Ninth Circuit panel upheld a lower court decision that prevented a group of district attorneys from intervening in a case where Governor Gavin Newsom stayed all executions in the state of California via executive order. "The district attorneys have no authority to choose the method by which California will execute condemned inmates," U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote for the majority.

Courthouse News Service

Federal court revives challenge to death sentence over jury racial issues

A federal appeals court has revived a Richmond man's challenge to his conviction and death sentence for a 1986 murder-for-hire, citing the prosecutor's removals of nine of 11 Black prospective jurors. Curtis Lee Ervin was convicted of accepting $2,500 from Robert McDonald of Pinole to kill his ex-wife, Carlene McDonald.

San Francisco Chronicle

Judge finds Apple App Store rules violate antitrust law

In a major blow to Apple's business model, a federal judge ruled Friday that the technology giant can no longer stop app developers from telling users how to sidestep its App Store and pay developers directly for subscriptions and other services. The decision by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers comes more than three months after she presided over a three-week bench trial in which Epic Games, maker of the popular game Fortnite, challenged Apple's policies as illegal and anticompetitive.

Courthouse News Service

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor issues new general order extending certain criminal and juvenile deadlines as covid transmission remains high in LA County

Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced a new General Order to extend certain Criminal and Juvenile deadlines as the Court balances access to justice with its commitment to safeguard the well-being of court users. Chief Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye granted the Los Angeles Superior Court's application for relief, which will assist the Court to safely continue its careful restoration of court operations as the highly infectious Delta variant continues to spread in LA County.

LA Court News Release

Exclusion of one-sentence quote triggers C.A.'s reversal

The Court of Appeal for this district on Friday reversed a summary judgment granted to Loyola Marymount University in an age and gender discrimination case, with its decision hinging on the trial judge's exclusion from evidence of a single one-sentence remark which a declarant said she heard a supervisor utter. Justice John Shepard Wiley Jr. of Div. Eight wrote the opinion in which he said that the remark, if admitted, would tilt the scales against summary judgment.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Federal judge who faced psych exam over 'antisocial' behavior says order was unconstitutional

One of only two federal judges in the 232-year history of the judiciary who has been ordered by an oversight board to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, U.S. District Judge John R. Adams has a mootness problem as he fights to restore his name. "The harms are concrete and tangible," Judicial Watch attorney Paul J. Orfanedes, representing Adams, insisted Thursday morning at oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit.

Courthouse News Service

California Judge Cuéllar to lead influential think tank

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an influential Washington-based think tank, has appointed Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of California's Supreme Court as its new president. Mr. Cuéllar, who goes by Tino, specialized in international relations during a decade on the faculty of Stanford University before becoming a judge in January 2015. He also served as a special assistant in the Obama White House.

New York Times

Convicted child rapist's release from prison halted pending judicial review

The scheduled release of a convicted child rapist from prison has been put on hold until a Riverside County Superior Court judge can determine whether David Stephen Jakubowski should be committed to a state hospital as a sexually violent predator. Jakubowski, 23, was convicted of two counts of child rape and sentenced in March 2016 to 10 years in prison for raping a boy at a Riverside County foster home in September 2015.

San Bernardino Sun

Right of confrontation does not require eye contact

The Third District Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction of a man on two counts of forcible rape, along with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and false imprisonment, spurning his contention that he was denied his right to confrontation of witnesses because his victim was seated in a chair that was turned to face the jury, she focused on the wall behind the jury, and was barely audible, at times inaudible.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California ban on mandatory arbitration clears Ninth Circuit hurdle

The fight between business groups and California officials over mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts deepened Wednesday after a divided Ninth Circuit panel lifted a ban on a new pro-worker law. A federal judge enjoined the state from enforcing Assembly Bill 51 last year, agreeing with the Chamber of Commerce and other employers that it was pre-empted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

Courthouse News Service

Kristin Smart hearing judge denies several unusual requests by defense

The hearing in the disappearance and murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart has taken several strange turns thanks to the defense team's controversial tactics. Smart hasn't been seen since disappearing on the walk from a party to her dorm on Memorial Day weekend 1996. The lone suspect for more than two decades was Paul Flores, a fellow Cal Poly student who walked back with her that night.

SF Gate

Sentence of seven years, fours months for 83-year-old not cruel, unusual penalty

Sentencing an 83-year-old man to seven years and four months in prison for failing to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and failing to file a change-of-address form was not cruel and unusual punishment, Div. Six of the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday. Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Debate over immigrants' gun rights ignites in 2nd Circ. case

As he walked down a Brooklyn block with a loaded gun in his hand on a dry, hot summer evening in 2016, Javier Perez didn't know he was about to trigger a constitutional dilemma. Seeing a group of youths assaulting a boy from a rival gang with bats and machetes, Perez did what he thought could defuse the situation: He fired a few shots in the air. The brawlers dispersed. No one was injured.

Law360

California cities' ability to stop new housing projects limited by state appeals court

A state appeals court has overruled San Mateo city officials' objections to a proposed four-story apartment building in a ruling that limits local governments' authority to deny housing construction. Under the Housing Authority and Accountability Act, or HAA, if a proposed development is consistent with a city's general plan and zoning standards, a city can reject it only if it would have "a specific, adverse and unavoidable impact on public health or safety" under objective criteria, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said Friday.

San Francisco Chronicle

Order to attorney not to file complaint he drafted is not protected conduct

The Court of Appeal for this district has reversed an order granting an anti-SLAPP motion filed by defendants in an action brought by an attorney against ex-clients, holding that their order not to file a complaint the lawyer had drafted on their behalf - thus depriving him of the prospect of a contingency fee - was not protected conduct.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Redondo Beach Councilman Obagi denies State Bar allegations

Fourth District Redondo Beach Councilman Zein Obagi has been charged with seven counts of misconduct by the California State Bar Association. The charges follow a $710,000 Los Angeles County Superior Court judgment against Obagi, in favor of a former client. The judgment was issued March 12. The State Bar disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 27 and could lead to disbarment.

Easy Reader News

Los Angeles District Attorney

Effort to recall LA County DA George Gascón fizzles out, but a retry is coming

Signaling that its first attempt to boot Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón from office was all but certain to fall short, the campaign seeking the progressive prosecutor's recall said Thursday it would relaunch its efforts later this year. The campaign - which struggled to attract financial support or collect enough signatures after an initial burst of enthusiasm in May - issued a statement Thursday morning announcing it would launch a new recall committee later this year in order to "restart the petition gathering effort and timeline."

Los Angeles Times

Family of slain California bank executive angry over charges homicide suspect is facing (Video)

Anthony Duwayne Turner faces first-degree murder charges in the killing of Michelle Avan. Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascon did not add a special circumstances murder charge.

KTLA

LA County judge admonished for social media activity

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge was publicly admonished today by the Commission on Judicial Performance for his activity on social media, including using his personal Facebook account to join a group calling for the recall of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. The commission determined that Judge Michael J. O'Gara's Facebook activity "gave the appearance of bias against the Los Angeles County district attorney.''

City News Service

Prosecutors

Possible death sentence looms for Jesse Gomez following guilty verdict in SDPD officer's murder

A man who shot two San Diego police officers, killing Jonathan "J.D." De Guzman, in the city's Shelltown neighborhood in 2016 was convicted Monday of first-degree murder. Jurors in the trial of Jesse Michael Gomez, 60, also found true a special circumstance allegation of killing a police officer, opening Gomez to a possible death sentence. The penalty phase of his trial, in which jurors will recommend a sentence of either death or life in prison without parole, will begin Thursday.

Times of San Diego

The Nuestra Familia's general council and other members and associates charged with racketeering

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging 17 defendants with racketeering conspiracy, including acts involving murder, robbery, drug trafficking, and money laundering, and charging five others with drug trafficking-related crimes. The indictment handed down on August 25, 2021, and unsealed today, catalogues a litany of crimes allegedly directed by the Nuestra Familia's command structure incarcerated in California prisons.

Department of Justice News Release

Lancaster beverage company defrauded investors out of $15 million, SEC alleges

The top officers of a Lancaster company that markets beverages to women allegedly defrauded at least 2,000 investors out of more than $15 million largely to finance their luxurious lifestyle, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the SEC is seeking permanent injunctions and civil penalties against Palmdale residents Lupe L. Rose, 52, and Sonja F. Shelby, 58, co-founders of SHE Beverage Co., along with Chief Operations Officer Katherine E. Dirden, 46, of Lancaster.

Orange County Register

Policy/Legal

The U.S. has halted federal executions. Here are the 46 men on death row in Terre Haute.

The United States halted federal executions this month, making news across the country but hitting home more so in Indiana - where the death sentences are carried out. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a moratorium on executions while officials review the Justice Department's policies and procedures related to the deaths. The news came after former President Donald Trump's administration pushed through 13 death sentences in less than a year during the last months of his presidency.

Indianapolis Star

Police unions across the country look to stop mandatory vaccination among officers

As the White House steps up its push to increase vaccinations, police unions across the country are protesting local mandates, despite the number of COVID-19 deaths among officers. Last month, when Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago said there would "absolutely" be a vaccine mandate for city employees, the local police union promised legal action. "It cannot be mandated. It's that simple. Our members don't want to be mandated to do anything like that," said the union president, John Catanzara.

Yahoo! News

Long Beach Police adopts new police vetting database (Video)

It's the first department promoting police accountability. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

NBC4

If the police lie, should they be held liable? Often the answer is no.

In 2010, Officer Heather Weyker of the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota had the biggest case of her career: a child sex-trafficking ring said to have spanned four states and involved girls as young as 12. Thirty people, almost all of them Somali refugees, were charged and sent to jail, many of them for years. Then the case fell apart. It turned out, the trial judge found, that Officer Weyker had fabricated or misstated facts, lied to a grand jury and lied during a detention hearing.

New York Times

Sen. Kamlager's AB 333: Addressing gang enhancements, passes off Senate floor

State Sen. Sydney K. Kamlager's (D - Los Angeles) bill, AB 333: The STEP Forward Act passed off the Senator Floor Sept. 1. The bill passed in a vote of 25-10 and now heads to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. Currently, gang enhancement statutes have vague definitions, weak standards of proof, and are perhaps the most racially discriminatory part of the criminal justice system: 92 percent of people with gang enhancements in California are people of color.

Our Weekly

Four under-the-radar cases that could reshape U.S. gun laws

Any gun case that reaches the nation's highest court is bound to drum up widespread attention. But there are a number of smaller-profile lawsuits making their way up the legal ladder that could herald major shifts in U.S. gun policy. These cases touch on a gamut of Second Amendment issues, from bans on large-capacity magazines to age restrictions on handgun buyers.

The Trace

Los Angeles County/City

LA city workers resist vaccine mandate (Video)

One day after the NBC4 I-Team revealed that thousands of LAPD employees planned to ask for religious exemptions from the city's new vaccination mandate, the city of LA has now released official vaccination data for its employees. Eric Leonard reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2021.

NBC4

6 LAPD officers sue in hopes of blocking COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Six Los Angeles Police Department officers are demanding in a new lawsuit that a federal judge immediately overturn the city's recently enacted COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees. Filed on Saturday in federal court in downtown Los Angeles, the employees claim in the suit the city's mandate enacted in August violates their rights to privacy and due process.

City News Service

Villanueva visits Malibu, calls homelessness No. 1 local issue

There was a full house for LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva's "Community Conversation" at Duke's Malibu Restaurant on Thursday, Sept. 2 - an event organized to discuss public safety concerns in Malibu. The crowd largely appeared to be Villanueva supporters from Malibu as well as other cities served by the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station.

The Malibu Times

Executioners,' 'Reapers,' and 'Banditos': Gangs of sheriff's deputies are wreaking havoc in L.A.

At least four "secret cliques or gangs" of sheriff's deputies - with names like the Banditos and the Executioners - continue to operate and recruit within the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, despite recent reforms intended to ban them. The persistence of illicit factions is described in a new report commissioned by L.A. County that rebukes a department that "either can't or won't" manage a problem that is undermining the legitimacy of the law enforcement agency, and has cost local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to settle claims of recklessness, violence, and harassment.

Rolling Stone

Crime/Public Safety

Crime data shows there really is a spike in armed robberies in Mid City LA

Crime data shows that more people are being robbed at gunpoint around Los Angeles in 2021, and the increase is even more pronounced in Hollywood and Mid-City, where several recent holdups and shootings along Melrose Avenue were captured on security video. "Robberies are essentially flat," LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the LA Police Commission Tuesday, referencing a City-wide, overall count that shows the total number of robberies between January 1 and September 15, 2021 is nearly the same as the number tallied during the same months in 2020.

NBC4

'Miscalculation` resulted in fireworks explosion in South Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Police Department miscalculated the amount of fireworks placed into a containment vessel, resulting in a massive explosion that damaged several residences in South Los Angeles, according to a report released tonight. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Hoffman told residents Monday night the LAPD's containment vessel was designed to handle repeated detonations of 19 pounds of TNT equivalent at a time or a single detonation of 33 pounds of explosives before being returned to its manufacturer for analysis, the Los Angeles Times reported.

City News Service

California correctional officer arrested for allegedly beating bank manager, using racial slur

A correctional officer with the California Men's Colony was arrested for allegedly beating a Wells Fargo bank manager and calling him racial slurs after the officer was asked to wear a mask in the building, police said. On Tuesday, the Grover Beach Police Department announced they arrested James Allen Jones, Jr., of Grover Beach, on felony charges of hate crime, making criminal threats and battery with serious bodily injury.

Sacramento Bee

Consumer

DC attorney general goes after Amazon's first-party business in amended antitrust complaint

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine expanded his antitrust complaint against Amazon on Monday, targeting the company's relationships with wholesale suppliers. Racine sued Amazon in May over allegations that the company illegally maintained monopoly power through its pricing contracts with third-party sellers. The amended complaint expands Racine's initial allegations to include what he claims are the anticompetitive effects of Amazon's agreements with wholesalers known as first-party sellers.

CNBC

Consumer Alert: FTC warns of extortion scam through dating apps

I have to tell you about a scam that's victimizing a whole lot of folks looking for love and this is not your average romance scam. It's so widespread, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning today. Scammers are targeting folks who are using LGBTQ dating apps. Here's how it works. The scammer poses as a romantic partner on apps like Grindr and Feeld. He sends explicit pictures and asks for photos in return. Then the scammer blackmails the victim. He threatens to expose you to friends, family, and employers.

WHEC

California/National

As vaccine mandates proliferate, so do bootleg vaccine cards

A woman from a Chicago suburb was arrested in Hawaii last week for entering the state with a fake vaccine card. Chloe Mrozak, 24, was caught because she misspelled Moderna as "Maderna" on her bogus card. Hawaii requires visitors who have not been vaccinated in the U.S. to quarantine for 10 days; Mrozak is currently out on bond awaiting trial.

Courthouse News Service

San Jose firefighter, police unions oppose COVID vax mandate

San Jose firefighter and police unions are pushing back on the plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for city employees by the end of the month, warning the policy might lead to worker shortages. "Our message has been consistent through all of this process," Matt Tuttle, president of San Jose Firefighters Local 230, told San José Spotlight. "While we strongly encourage all of our members to be vaccinated, we are against a vaccine mandate. We do not believe anyone should be terminated over the vaccine."

San Jose Spotlight

The facts on zero bail in Kate Tibbitts murder

This week, Senate Bill 262, the zero bail bill, was shelved for the year by its author, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, after the recent horrific rape and murder of Sacramento resident Kate Tibbitts by a perpetual felon out on zero bail for his last offense. "A "homeless" transient guy out on the streets despite his recent violation of parole, has been arrested for raping and murdering a Sacramento woman in the Land Park neighborhood Friday, killing her dogs and setting her house on fire," the Globe reported Monday.

California Globe

Judge declares mistrial at trial of Backpage.com founders

A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday at the trial of the founders of the lucrative classified site Backpage.com on charges of facilitating prostitution and laundering money after deciding prosecutors had too many references to child sex trafficking in a case where no one faced such a charge. Michael Lacey, James Larkin and four other Backpage employees were accused of taking part in a scheme to knowingly sell ads for sex on the site.

AP

SF is 'paying criminals not to shoot.' Here's what the program is actually about

In the past week, media outlets throughout the Bay Area and around the country reported that San Francisco plans to give people $300 per month not to shoot each other. The click bait caught national attention and sparked wide debate following an article in The Examiner that was sub-headlined with the $300 amount. The problem is such headlining distorts what the program is about.

San Francisco Examiner

Ethel Kennedy, kids bitterly split on RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan's parole

The stakes were high at last month's California parole board hearing - the 16th one - for Robert F. Kennedy's assassin. But it wasn't just 77-year-old Sirhan Sirhan who was on tenterhooks before learning he would finally be recommended for release after 53 years in prison. Behind the scenes, RFK's widow and kids were at war against each other in a feud that threatens to damage RFK's timeless, Camelot-lite brand.

New York Post

Legislature approves bill ending mandatory jail time for nonviolent drug offenses

California adopted mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes during the height of the War on Drugs in the 1980s and 90s, thus fueling mass incarceration. SB 73, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, would end mandatory prison and jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. This week it passed the Assembly by a vote of 42-26, and the Senate on concurrence by a vote of 23-12. It will now head to the Governor's desk for final approval.

The Davis Vanguard

California finally cracks down on bad cops

Whatever else the California Legislature did or didn't do this year, it finally - and very belatedly - took a long-needed step toward ridding the state of bad cops who victimize people they are supposed to be serving and taint their honorable profession. Last week, after years of unsuccessful efforts to punish errant officers, the Legislature approved a bill creating a process for lifting the certifications - in essence, their licenses - that allowed them to continue wearing badges.

CalMatters

Kern County sues Newsom over oil and gas development permits

Kern County, California, claims in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that Governor Gavin Newsom and other state officials have been illegally delaying or blocking the issuance of permits for oil and gas development involving certain extraction methods, including fracking. The plaintiff, California's largest oil and gas producing region, claims Newsom has been "arbitrary and capricious" in blocking statutorily authorized methods of oil and gas extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing - also known as fracking - and high pressure cyclic steam injection.

Courthouse News Service

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

San Bernardino man who robbed 28 food and retail stores during five-month crime spree sentenced to 6 years in federal prison

A San Bernardino man who robbed more than two dozen retail and fast-food stores during a five-month span in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties was sentenced today to 72 months in federal prison. David Sanchez, 41, was sentenced by United States District Judge Mark C. Scarsi. Sanchez pleaded guilty on June 21 to two counts of interference with commerce by robbery.

Department of Justice News Release

Jury finds La Habra mother convicted of murder to be sane when she pushed 7-month-old son off O.C. hospital parking structure

A La Habra mother was found by a jury to be sane when she pushed her 7-month-old son off the fourth story of an Orange County hospital parking structure in 2011, killing the infant, officials announced Monday. Sonia Hermosillo, 41, was convicted by a jury last month of one felony count of first-degree murder and one felony count of assault on a child causing death.

KTLA

Montebello man pleads guilty to federal drug charges for causing fentanyl overdose that resulted in death

A Montebello man pleaded guilty today to federal narcotics charges, including that he provided a woman a fatal dose of fentanyl. Edwin Oliva, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. He has been in federal custody in this case since March 2019.

Department of Justice News Release

California man accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars gets prison for charter school scam

The co-owner of a network of online charter schools who was accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars in California education funds was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison. Jason Schrock, 46, of Southern California and his business partner, Sean McManus, 48, of Australia, also were ordered to pay $37.5 million in fines, according to the San Diego County district attorney's office.

AP

Man who threatened to kill Pelosi and Bowser pleads guilty

A Georgia man who threatened to murder House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the day after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot pleaded guilty Friday to a felony count of interstate communication of threats. Cleveland Grover Meredith intended to arrive in Washington on Jan. 5 in time for former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally, but didn't end up leaving Colorado, where he was on a ski trip, until Jan. 6.

Courthouse News Service

Corrections & Parole

Land Park murder case: Troy Davis' parole officer was not notified of June arrest

The killing of Mary "Kate" Tibbitts at her Land Park home in Sacramento has raised questions about why the parolee accused of her murder wasn't kept in jail after a June arrest. KCRA 3 Investigates has continued to search for answers on how Troy Davis, a convicted felon, was able to get out of jail after he was arrested in June for stealing a car. It appears that his violent history was not taken into consideration before he was released.

KCRA

Articles of Interest

Slogans don't save lives

In Harlem last Sunday, a woman named Shanice Young was returning from her baby shower when she was shot in the head, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. The ex was apparently looking to confront her current boyfriend when, instead, he shot her. Young was eight months pregnant when she died. She leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter and a younger sister, whom she was raising after her mother's death last year from cancer.

New York Times

Life in LA is murder

It was a punch in the face, followed by a thick spray of blood. Then another punch, another victim. More blood. I was witnessing a random assault on two elderly tourists in broad daylight. A man walked up to a couple, hit the woman so hard she fell to the ground bleeding and when the husband stepped forward to protect her, he too was pummeled. 'I saw what you did!' I yelled as the assailant fled. I called 911 and followed him through a parking garage and onto a side street.

The Spectator

NSA surveillance suit is down and nearly out. High court is last hope

Not ready to throw in the towel, a consortium challenging the National Security Agency's Upstream surveillance program voiced derision at the explanation that the Fourth Circuit gave for throwing out their suit Wednesday. "We are extremely disappointed that the court wrongly credited the government's sweeping secrecy claims and dismissed our client's case," Patrick Toomey, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project, said in a statement.

Courthouse News Service

A secretive Pentagon program that started on Trump's last day in office just ended. The mystery has not.

A Pentagon program that delegated management of a huge swath of the internet to a Florida company in January - just minutes before President Donald Trump left office - has ended as mysteriously as it began, with the Defense Department this week retaking control of 175 million IP addresses. The program had drawn scrutiny because of its unusual timing, starting amid a politically charged changeover of federal power, and because of its enormous scale.

Washington Post

Bankruptcy trustee seeks $1.3M from Avenatti's ex-partner Michael Eagan

The trustee in charge of Michael Avenatti's bankrupt law firm is seeking $1.3 million from a key figure who so far has avoided the publicity engulfing his namesake business: San Francisco attorney Michael Q. Eagan. A new complaint accuses Eagan and his solo practice of accepting money from Avenatti between 2014 and 2016 that Eagan allegedly knew should have instead gone to Eagan Avenatti's growing list of creditors.

The Recorder

Riverside County sheriff won't require COVID-19 vaccinations for jail, other employees

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said he won't require Sheriff's Department employees or job applicants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 despite a state public health order mandating vaccinations or regular coronavirus testing for those working in jails. During a recent podcast and video posted on his department's Facebook page, Bianco also expressed doubts about the vaccine's effectiveness and the threat posed by the pandemic and said it's not the role of government to keep people healthy.

Business Mayor

New plan would push top tax rate to almost 60 percent in these 4 states

Facebook

6 LAPD officers are suing the city for its vaccine mandate. In other cities, police and fire unions are also suing to stop mandatory vaccinations

Successful residents of high-tax states are in for an ugly surprise if new tax legislation passes in Congress. Democratic legislators are currently proposing a multi-trillion-dollar tax hike to raise revenue for a massive welfare and climate change spending plan. Proposed tax hikes include raising the corporate tax rate, higher taxes on cigarettes and vaping products, raising the capital gains tax rate, and higher individual income tax rates.

FEE Stories

Pensions

CalPERS overhauls tracking-error formula

CalPERS' investment committee voted to switch to what pension fund officials call "actionable tracking error," a risk-control method that now will only take the plan's public assets into consideration. According to a newly revised investment policy statement containing the tracking-error changes, the $491.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, uses tracking error to define staff discretion to deviate from the pension fund's policy benchmarks.

Pensions & Investments

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