Politics, government and public life for Southern California

CA prisoners resume hunger strike to protest isolation units, gang management policies

Prisoner Hunger Strike

Paul Sakuma/AP

Demonstrators rallied in front of the State Building in San Francisco two summers ago to support prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. A new strike started Monday to protest the continued isolation of many prisoners.

Inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison launched a hunger strike Monday to protest the use of Security Housing Units as a way to break the power of prison gangs.

Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said 30,000 inmates refused their morning meal Monday. The department will only recognize a hunger strike when an inmate has refused nine consecutive meals. Also on Monday, 2,300 inmates declined to work or attend class.

California isolates 4,500 inmates from the general prison population in Security Housing Units at four prisons, but those at Pelican Bay face the most severe form of confinement.  The super max's so-called "short corridor" restricts prisoner to their cells 22 1/2 hours a day.  Inmates leave their cell only for exercise in a high-walled concrete yard, to shower, or for medical appointments.  They are allowed no phone calls and can only visit with family separated by a glass partition.


Garcetti says some LA city managers will go, asks them to reapply for jobs

Garcetti gestures

Frank Stoltze

Eric Garcetti speaking with reporters about requiring general managers to reapply for their jobs. July 9, 2013.

LA City General Managers Garcetti

Frank Stoltze

LA City general managers await their meeting with Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is requiring them to re-apply for their jobs.

As he seizes the reins of Los Angeles city government, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday he expects to remove some general managers in the next couple of months.

“I think it would be unlikely that 100 percent of the folks would return,” Garcetti told reporters shortly before meeting with nearly 40 general managers, executive directors and chiefs who run the city’s major departments. He said he’s “not prejudging anyone.”

“I’m not saying that I’ve got a secret list,” said the new mayor, who took office July 1.

RELATED: #DearMayor: What you think Garcetti should do first

In a departure from his predecessors, Garcetti has asked each general manager to reapply for his or her job and to submit a memo by the end of the week detailing:

  • The mission of the department
  • Past achievements under his or her leadership
  • Future goals and plans for the department


Valley business chamber sends list of priorities to Mayor Garcetti

Garcetti Inauguration

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The San Fernando Valley's largest chamber of commerce sent a list of priorities to Mayor Eric Garcetti, ranging from economic development to public transportation.

On his first day in office, Mayor Eric Garcetti invited a dozen chambers of commerce to his office for a roundtable discussion on economic development. Noticeably absent were the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, both of which endorsed Wendy Greuel. Neither group was invited to that event. 

In an open letter to the new mayor, VICA is making its priorities known — from economic development to public transportation. 

The letter from the Valley's business chamber lists seven priorities for Garcetti. 

"You have at least four years – and potentially eight – to create your own legacy as the top steward of the city. What will a Garcetti tenure mean for Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley?" VICA Chair David Adelman  and President Stuart Waldman wrote in their letter. 


Prison realignment: Counties, local law enforcement unlikely to see any major fix

Prison Realignment

Bear Guerra/KPCC

Officer Craig Suzuki takes information from a young gang member. In an example of some of the miscommunications that can happen with between departments with the new prison realignment system, the Unit meant only to verify the man's address (a prerequisite for release) and was surprised to find him home — after having been freed a year ago.

California’s Realignment law  was the Brown Administration’s solution to reduce overcrowding in state prisons. The law (AB109) sends lower-level felons to serve sentences in county jails. But the state hasn’t reduced the prison population enough to satisfy a federal court, and 9,600 more inmates must be released by year’s end.

That means dozens of this year's bills seeking to mitigate the effects of realignment on public safety are dead in the water.

Nick Warner, the Legislative Director for the California State Sheriffs' Association, said it's no secret that tens of thousand of felons California lawmakers shifted to the counties under realignment turned out to be more dangerous and in need of more health care and rehabilitation than most counties can provide.

"The higher level offenders we have under county supervision and in county jails is indisputably and, I think, globally recognized as problematic," Warner said.


Maven's Morning Coffee: tension in LAUSD, FPPC gets new executive director, an endorsement for the LA City Council

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy  sp

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Superintendent John Deasy had threatened to leave LAUSD depending on the outcome of the recent school board election. Despite Richard Vladovic's win as board president, Deasy will stay on.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

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Today is Monday, July 8, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


The Los Angeles Times looks at Superintendent John Deasy's difficult relationship with the new school board president, Richard Vladovic. Prior to the recent board election, Deasy had threatened to leave LAUSD if Vladovic were elected to lead the board.

Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times looks at the man leading the Inglewood Unified School District. "The district has depleted its reserves, burned through nearly half of the emergency funds and is operating at a $17.7-million deficit. Budget woes are worsened by the loss of funding for students who have been fleeing the district for nearby independently run charter schools," according to The Times.