Occupy L.A.: 30 tons of debris left behind at City Hall tent city

Click here to see more photos.Sanitation officials said Wednesday that they expect to haul away 30 tons of debris from the Occupy L.A. encampment –- everything from clothing to heaps of garbage to oddball curiosities left behind by the protesters who lived at the City Hall tent city for two months.

Andrea Alarcon, president of the city Public Works board, said workers already have removed 25 tons of belongings from the City Hall park, all of it heading straight to a landfill.

Sanitation crews also have vacuumed up about 3,000 gallons of water that had washed into a catch basin in recent days and are testing it for hazardous materials, she said.

Occupy L.A.: Photos | Videos | 360° photos | Live webcam

The sheer volume of personal belongings left behind after the early morning Los Angeles Police Department raid has astonished city workers: books and CDs, luggage and boom boxes, mattresses and dining chairs, cellphones, electric razors, a small red guitar with its neck snapped –- all surrounded by dozens of collapsed and empty tents.

A steady flow of people stopped by the park Wednesday to take photos and video and watch workers in white hazmat suits rake trash into neat piles.As workers broke down tents and placed them in trash cans, Ramir Delgado, 25, snapped photos out of curiosity.

“It’s a shame how I see all trash around here,” he said. He pointed to his head. “People don’t understand that the freedom starts here in your mind.”

Delgado said he was disappointed in Occupy L.A.

“You know why this is filthy and not clean is there isn’t leadership,” he said.

A few feet away, crews in the hazmat suits raked trash of discarded protest signs, nail polish and jars of peanut butter.

“This looks like pure anarchy,” Delgado said, adding, “in a Hollywood way.”

Donna Spurgeon, who snapped pictures on her phone, said she was surprised by the mural in the center of the south lawn.

“How did that get built” she asked of the structure that city officials built around an historic fountain, a structure protesters turned into an art piece.

“If you’re here to protest, don’t deface public property,” Spurgeon said.

She said the aftermath looked like a “little war zone, a little ghetto.”

Norman Schwartz, 76, a retired attorney from Calabasas, felt differently. He stopped by Wednesday afternoon to snap photos and suggested that the Occupy L.A. scene was a great lesson in democracy. He said he was sad to see the park so empty.

“There was no longer this wonderful thing going on,” he said. “It was just an empty, dirty park.”

Fallbrook man pleads not guilty in strangulation of ex-girlfriend

Cary2
A 43-year-old Fallbrook man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the strangulation of his ex-girlfriend as prosecutors released chilling new details about the woman’s death.

In a brief hearing at the Vista branch of San Diego County Superior Court, Michael David Robles pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and first-degree murder in the death of Kathleen Cary Scharbarth, 34, of Carlsbad.

Prosecutors allege that Robles strangled Scharbarth in her home Nov. 23 minutes after she walked a new boyfriend to his car. Scharbarth’s 13-year-old daughter was asleep in the home.

Robles then cleaned up evidence of the struggle and took Scharbarth’s body to a remote canyon and buried it in a shallow grave, prosecutors said.

The next day, prosecutors said, Robles went to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. Scharbarth’s family reported her missing; her body was found Saturday, hours after Robles was arrested.Days before her death, Scharbarth had filed a domestic violence claim against Robles and received a restraining order against him.

Robles is being held without bail. The charges include murder by lying in wait, which could bring the death penalty. Robles allegedly plane tickets to Mexico, suggesting he planned to flee the area to avoid police, prosecutors said.

Occupy L.A.: Nearly 300 protesters still in jail face $5,000 bail

Occupy L.A. protesters arrested

The National Lawyers Guild is calling for nearly 300 Occupy L.A. protesters arrested early Wednesday to be released from jail.

The majority of the 292 protesters were taken into custody for failing leave a City Hall park after police issued a dispersal order early Wednesday, city officials said. A smaller number also were cited for resisting arrest.

All are being held on a minimum $5,000 bail until they are arraigned by a judge — a process that can take up to two days.

$1.4-billion renovation proposed for two L.A. County jails

Pitchess Detention CenterThe Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic
is one of the two jails involved in the proposal. (Al Seib / Los Angeles
Times)

 

By Jason Song, Los
Angeles TimesNovember 21,
2011

Los Angeles County supervisors could soon be asked to
approve the county’s most expensive building project ever, a $1.4-billion
reconstruction and renovation of two jails, one of which has figured in
allegations of inmate abuse.

The officials will also have to gauge
whether the potential benefits outweigh the hefty price tag, given the tough
economy. Some supervisors wonder whether they may be diverting money from other
vital services when cheaper jail alternatives could be considered.

Law
enforcement officials agree that the aging Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los
Angeles needs an upgrade because its antiquated layout makes it difficult for
guards to watch all inmates.

County Chief Executive William T Fujioka and
Sheriff Lee Baca endorsed a plan
to replace Men’s Central Jail and add space to the Pitchess Detention Center in
Castaic during a meeting last month. They said the moves would make the nation’s
largest jail system safer and cheaper to operate by modernizing the design.
Building costs would be historically low because of the economic downturn, they
added.

“It’s bold. It’s large. But there’s no better timing than now,”
Baca said.

But some supervisors are balking at the price tag, saying it
could take money away from other important programs for up to 30 years, the time
needed to pay off the loans it would need to pay for the project.

It
would “consign the other vital services to second class status for two
generations,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky,
who believes the supervisors should consider other, less costly
options.

Yaroslavsky said such an expensive project should be put to a
public vote.

“You want $1.4 billion? Put it on the ballot,” he said.
“Nobody wants to do that; they know what the taxpayer would
do.”

Supervisors are scheduled to discuss the plan at a meeting later
this month, where they are expected to weigh potentially cheaper alternatives,
including replacing only parts of the jails or putting more less-violent
prisoners on home detention.

The plan would add only about 400 beds to
the currently overcrowded 23,600-bed jail system. But it would increase
efficiency by modernizing the design in Men’s Central, supporters say. Instead
of featuring long rows of cells, the jails would be rebuilt to put more beds in
smaller, circular groups.

Currently, dangerous or unstable inmates are
sometimes housed alone in 10-bed cells. The new facilities could include almost
4,000 high-security beds for men in smaller cells, which would make it easier to
isolate prisoners.

The current jail layout “creates significant safety
problems,” Fujioka said. “It’s terribly inefficient with respect to energy and
operation.”

The proposed new facility would be easier to maintain and
cheaper to supervise, leading to overall savings, he said.

Even staunch
jail critics concede that a new facility might be needed, especially since parts
of Men’s Central Jail were built in the 1960s.

“We believe there are
serious problems with having people in Men’s Central Jail and are skeptical
about needs for a plan this big, but it merits further study,” said Peter
Eliasberg, legal director of the American
Civil Liberties Union
of Southern California.

Eliasberg said he
believed a feasibility study could be conducted quickly.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, who
has been critical of Baca and the Sheriff’s Department over allegations of
inmate abuse in the jails, said she’s not sure if the $1.4-billion plan is
necessary but wants to tie any new construction plans to jail management
reforms.

“I’m sort of using this as a way to bring accountability to the
department,” said Molina, who has noted several times that supervisors can
influence Baca, an independently elected official, only by constraining the
Sheriff’s Department budget, its legal costs or construction
projects.

“The Sheriff’s Department is a very elusive agency,” Molina
said.

The FBI is
investigating the allegations
of inmate abuse
and other deputy misconduct.

In particular, Molina
said she wanted to explore whether deputies could wear individual cameras inside
jails, something the deputies union has opposed, and whether often-delayed
use-of-force investigations could be done within 30 days.

Other
supervisors have wondered whether the county should wait until the effects of
the state’s “realignment” plan are clear. Beginning in October, some parolees
and prisoners convicted of nonviolent and nonsexual crimes and once under state
care are being released to counties, leading to an increase in the number of
inmates in local facilities.

Los Angeles County officials expected an
additional 600 prisoners as a result of the plan but reported that they received
900, leading to fears that the jail system would become even more
overcrowded.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Yaroslavsky
said.

Baca has said he supports the $1.4-billion renovation plan, but he
is willing to explore other options, especially since supervisors are concerned
at the cost, according to Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve
Whitmore.

“Everything needs to be fleshed out,” Whitmore said. “He
understands the realities like everyone else.”

jason.song@latimes.com

//  

Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail – Sheriff Baca was warned about jail deputies’ conduct, retiree says

Los Angeles County jailsOn the 3000 floor, shown here, of Los
Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, a former official said he observed deputy
misbehavior almost immediately after being named jails captain. (Jay L.
Clendenin, Los Angeles Times / November 3, 2011)

 

By Robert
Faturechi and Jack Leonard, Los Angeles TimesNovember 30, 2011, 6:28 p.m.

A top commander in Los Angeles County’s jail system said
he warned Sheriff Lee Baca and other senior
officials last year about deputies using excessive force against inmates but was
ignored until the problems grew into a public scandal.

In an interview with The Times, Robert Olmsted said he tried to raise red flags about shoddy
investigations that allowed deputies to escape scrutiny for using force. He also
voiced concern about deputies forming aggressive cliques.

He alleged that two top officials rebuffed him, telling him it was impossible to change the
deputy culture in the downtown L.A. lockup, an antiquated facility that houses
some of the county’s most dangerous inmates.

Olmsted, a 32-year department veteran who retired late last year, had commissioned several
confidential audits and internal memos that found serious problems with
excessive force and inadequate supervision in the jail. He said top sheriff’s
officials seemed not to take his concerns seriously. The jails are now the
subject of an FBI probe into
allegations of deputy brutality and other misconduct.

“It’s frustrating knowing that this never, ever needed to have occurred,” Olmsted said. “There was
a systematic failure of leadership.”

In an interview Wednesday, Baca described Olmsted as a “very strong and competent commander.” He acknowledged
that Olmsted approached him twice last year about the jails. But the sheriff
faulted Olmsted for not following up and for not fixing the jail issues
himself.

“He doesn’t have to ask permission to solve the problem,” Baca
said.

Baca, however, publicly chided his top executives recently for shielding him from problems inside the jails.

As scrutiny of his lockups intensified in recent weeks, Baca sought Olmsted’s advice for fixing the
problems and asked him to temporarily work on the department’s reform efforts.
Olmsted, 60, declined.

In an interview at his home late Tuesday, Olmsted
said he encountered misbehavior among Men’s Central Jail deputies almost
immediately after being named the lockup’s captain in 2006. Days after his
arrival, he accompanied a judge on a tour of the jail’s 3000 floor. He said he
was shocked to see offensive graffiti scrawled all over the ceiling, walls and
computer equipment inside a deputy control booth. One bumper sticker on display
read “Don’t feed the animals.”

He said he quickly set out to improve
conditions in the jail for deputies and inmates. The vast majority of employees,
he said, were hardworking and treated inmates with respect.

After his
promotion to commander, Olmsted concluded that deputy force was a growing
problem at Men’s Central Jail. A small portion of deputies, he found, were using
excessive force because of poor training and inexperience. A smaller group,
Olmsted said, were using malicious force on inmates to earn acceptance to deputy
cliques.

He accused the head of the jail, Capt. Daniel Cruz, of ignoring
his orders and of failing to discipline problem employees.

“Some of these supervisors think they’re untouchable,” he said.

Olmsted said his concerns prompted him to ask other managers to review force reports from the
jail. Those managers detailed their findings in internal memos that raised
similar concerns. One concluded deputies were crafting narratives “dramatized to
justify” force and delaying using weapons such as pepper spray that could end
fights “to dispense appropriate jailhouse ‘justice.'”

Olmsted said he provided the memos to his immediate supervisor, Chief Dennis Burns, and
criticized Cruz’s job performance. Burns, he said, told him the jail’s culture
could not be changed. Frustrated, Olmsted said he took his concerns in the
summer of 2010 to Asst. Sheriff Marvin O. Cavanaugh, who was sympathetic but
told him the same thing. He also spoke to then-Asst. Sheriff Paul Tanaka, who as
undersheriff now runs the day-to-day
operations of the department.

Burns, who oversees the department’s custody operations,
denied that Olmsted gave him the memos and told The Times on Wednesday that he
first saw the documents recently, saying he was “a little surprised and somewhat
disappointed” by their findings.

At the time, he said, “no one above the rank of commander saw those memos.”

//  

Video released in mugging of 88-year-old woman

By SEAN EMERY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

TUSTIN – Investigators are searching for a person of interest in the mugging of an 88-year-old woman returning home from a bank withdrawal, Sheriffs Department officials said Wednesday.

Authorities have released surveillance videos and a photo of a man seen at a bank branch at Newport Avenue and Irvine Boulevard on Nov. 22, where Roberta Alston withdrew $2,400 before the robbery and beating.

Article Tab: Sheriffs are searching for a person of interest in the mugging of an 88-year-old woman.
Sheriffs are searching for a “person of interest” in the mugging of an 88-year-old woman.
COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT

Alston reportedly placed the money into an envelope and drove to her home in unincorporated Tustin.

As she opened the gate to her courtyard, she was struck on the head from behind and knocked to the pavement, Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials said.

The robber or robbers went through her purse and took out the envelope containing the money before fleeing. Authorities say one to three men may have been involved in the mugging.

Alston, a retired medical technologist, sustained a fracture under her eye and on her wrist, needed stitches to sew up her lip and had a bump on her head, authorities said.

She was treated at a hospital and released in time to join her family for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Authorities have not said whether the man in the surveillance footage had any role in the robbery, describing him only as a person of interest in the case.

They described him as a clean-cut Hispanic man, about 5-foot-6, 150 pounds with short black hair, who was wearing dark pants, a gray sweat shirt with three dark stripes on the sleeves and a horizontal dark stripe on the chest, as well as a shirt with a collar under the sweat shirt.

Sheriff’s Department officials are asking anyone who recognizes the man or who has any information about the case to call investigator D. Bloom at 7714-647-7064 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

 

Staff writer Vik Jolly contributed to this report.

 

Contact the writer: 714-796-7939 or semery@ocregister.com

Marine faces trial on charges of killing colleague over drug money

By LARRY WELBORN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SANTA ANA – Opening statements are expected Thursday in the trial of a Marine charged with the shooting death of a fellow Marine in a secluded area of San Clemente over a dispute about stolen drug money.

Christian William Carney, 25, of Manorville, N.Y., who was stationed at Camp Pendleton, is charged with murder, criminal threats, attempting to dissuade a witness and a sentencing enhancement for using a gun.

Article Tab: Alvin Lovely booking photo
Alvin Lovely booking photo

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 53 years and eight months to life in prison

Co-defendant Alvin Reed Lovely, 24, of Dallas, also a Marine at Camp Pendleton, faces trial at a later date on murder, criminal threats, plus using a gun. He faces 38 years to life if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh contends Carney was a cocaine and Ecstasy dealer at Camp Pendleton who went to Texas on the weekend of May 9, 2008, to pick up Lovely.

While Carney was gone, Stephen Serrano, 20, and his friend, Chad Hatch, broke into Carney’s room and stole his drug money, according to a new release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

When Carney and Lovely returned from Texas, a witness told them he saw Hatch breaking into Carney’s room, prosecutors said. The witness did not identify Serrano.

Carney and Lovely later drove Hatch to a secluded area in San Clemente on May 13, 2008, pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him if he did not tell them who helped steal the drug money from Carney’s room, prosecutors said. Hatch, fearing for his life, gave up Serrano.

The defendants are accused of returning to the base, luring Serrano outside to a meeting, and then driving to a secluded area in San Clemente near the end of Calle Cordillera.

Carney then shot Serrano once in the face and three times in the back, prosecutors said.

Serrano’s body, dressed in desert fatigues and military boots, was discovered in a ditch by a jogger on May 15, 2008. He was a radio operator who joined the Marines in March 2007, according to news accounts.

Superior Court Judge William Froeberg is presiding over the jury trial.

Staff writer Kimberly Edds contributed to this report.

 

Contact the writer: lwelborn@ocregister.com or 714-834-3784

Holiday Dinner of Lex Romana, Italian American Lawyers of Orange County

Holiday Dinner of Lex Romana, Italian American Lawyers of Orange County.  REMEMBER TO BRING A RECIPE!!!

 

PleaseRSVP no later than December 9, 2011 to mbuttacavoli@minyardmorris.com

 

Please send your payment to:

Jill Laird, CSSC

CalderonSettlements Group

1851 EastFirst Street, Ste 900

Santa Ana, CA 92705

 

ALSO ATTACHED is the official ballot for the 2012Board of Directors.  Please follow the directions on the ballot and returnit as indicated NO LATER THAN 5:00 p.m. ON DECEMBER 20, 2012.

 

 

MatthewS. Buttacavoli, Esq.

MinyardMorris LLP
PracticeLimited to Family Law  Litigation, Collaborative Law & Mediation

 

1811Quail Street
Newport Beach, CA92660
949-724-1111
949-724-1117 (fax)

Visalia Police Department

The Visalia Police Department will conduct a DUI/drivers license checkpoint 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location in the city.

Officers will be checking drivers passing through the checkpoint for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment.

Occupy L.A.: Police begin making arrests

Click here to see more photos.

Shortly before 1 a.m., Los Angeles police began making their first arrests of Occupy L.A. protesters who failed to disperse.

One demonstrator standing near Main Street stood calmly while he was handcuffed, surrounded by five officers. One took his picture with a digital camera, which Officer Sarah Faden said police plan to do with every arrestee.

In the middle of the City Hall plaza, more than two dozen protesters sat with arms linked around a tent. Protester Alex Everett, 26, stood in front of them. “I’m ready to be arrested,” he said. “I’m surprised there’s this many cops for a peaceful assembly.”

Occupy L.A.: Photos | Videos360° photos | Live webcam

Meanwhile, police demanded that all media not a part of the designated pool leave the area. Photographer Ian Perez, who said he is a student, was one of them. He said he was willing to get arrested to document the events.

Protesters angry at the exclusion of the media shouted: “This is what a media blackout looks like!”

An officer was addressing the group of protesters in the plaza, which they are calling “a circle of peace.” He told them that anybody who wanted to stand up and get arrested without resisting could.

One protester told him: “If you give me a hug, I will leave right now.”

“Are you serious?” the officer asked with a smile. He appeared for a moment ready to comply, but then moved away.

Several members of the clergy were escorted by police toward the protesters. They appeared there to persuade the protesters to leave peacefully.

TV footage showed police putting several protesters in plastic handcuffs inside the camp. Some of the arrestees were being move into City Hall. Others were being loaded onto buses.

Evicted protesters were being offered a home at La Placita Olvera Church at 536 N. Main Street.

The Los Angeles Police Department has told the hundreds of remaining protesters that they must leave right away or face arrest.

Protestors chanted: “This is what a police state looks like.”

Columns of police moved from several sides into the camp, which has been the subject of much debate across Los Angeles since it was set up nearly eight weeks ago. Lines of officers came from inside City Hall, forcing hundreds of protesters onto the south lawn and quickly encircling them.

The protesters were essentially trapped in the park. They linked arms as the officers moved in. Some chanted “We are peaceful” and “We are the 99%.”

Police tore down a large plastic structure on a stairwell and pulled out large bags of cement that protesters had placed in some tents.

The LAPD strategy appeared to be to trap protesters inside the park, sometimes pushing them with batons but not appearing to strike them. Some officers were armed with bean-bag rifles.