Thursday, September 18, 2014


One Citizen Speaking...


Posted: 17 Sep 2014 11:22 PM PDT


Remember those outrageously expensive red light camera tickets?

Remember the red light camera vendors who were out lobbying local politicians to use their third-party services to process tickets using a minor safety issue as a revenue enhancement scam – with most “red light” tickets be issued for right-hand turns without stopping. Additionally creating a real hazard of a rear-end collision when someone jams on the brakes to avoid a ticket.

Well it is about to get worse, much worse …

Under the guise of implementing a simplified non-criminal “good neighbor” ordinance policy, the Los Angeles City Council is about to screw all of the residents and visitors to the City of Los Angeles with a municipal scam designed to generate millions in revenue – revenue that will fund the underfunded public employee union pension funds and result in significant money being available for raises.

Here are some excerpts from the City Council Agenda … 

The Los Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance No. 182610 on June 21, 2013, to establish an Administrative Citation Enforcement (ACE) Program along with direction that ACE be implemented initially as a pilot program (ACE Pilot Program) involving the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Department of Animal Services (DAS).

ACE is an alternative method of enforcement for violations of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. An administrative citation - a ticket - would be issued to a violator in place of a criminal citation or an arrest. The present citation process results in a criminal conviction with penalties that may include probation, fines, and jail.

An administrative citation, on the other hand, can be resolved through the payment of a fine and there is no resulting criminal record, probation, or threat of jail.

As discussed in further detail in the revenue section of this report, projections indicate that a program developed in partnership with a vendor would generate sufficient revenue to cover all program costs and likely generate fines in excess of operational costs beginning in the first year of operation.

Several local municipalities have recently conducted extensive competitive bid processes for the same purpose. The Office of the City Attorney proposes utilizing the results of those processes to select a vendor for an initial three-year contract. During this time, the City would refine the needs of the program and develop a Request for Proposals to serve as the basis for the next vendor selection and contract period.

Once selected, the vendor would be responsible for the entire citation process subsequent to a citation being issued. The vendor would log and track the citations; send notices to cited parties requesting payment within 20 days; accept payment via US Mail, telephone or web-based payment systems; provide scanned images of all citations for departmental reference; send second notices of payment due when necessary; transfer revenue to the City, segregated by department; and report regularly on enforcement activities.

ACE vendors are typically paid a flat fee of approximately $17-25 per processed citation. 

Collection of delinquent citation fees would be handled by an outside vendor to be negotiated in the first year of the program.

<Source: L.A. City Council Agenda>

It should be noted that vendors associated with processing and collection activities often are dis-incentivized to act fairly and use low-cost marginal personnel who are overworked and unlikely to offer any real form of customer assistance or relief. It should also be noted that many municipal red-light camera tickets were signed by sworn officers who committed perjury as they did not witness the actual act.

The SCAM explained …

For current violations, the City must actually act in accordance with law and the recipient of a violation notice forced to appear in court. This comes at a significant cost to the city in terms of time, effort, and money. A sworn officer needs to present evidence and the city needs to prove their case. 

Now, with the simplified procedure the City need no longer prove its case – the burden of seeking a judicial review has been shifted to the alleged ordinance violator who must take time and/or pay for an attorney to contest the matter. The City is calculating that the fine will be cheaper than lost wages and attorney costs for the majority of those cited.

Since, the devil is in the details, what type of things are now subject to a $250 fine for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for the third offense?

LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL CODE (Law enforcement has discretion to cite as misdemeanor or under ACE)

41.27(c)Drinking in public
41.27(d)Possession of open container on posted ABC location
41.4Construction  noise- allowable 7AM to 9PM
41.42Music reproducing  devices -public resort hours of operation
41.46Failure to keep sidewalks clean
41.47.2Urinating or defecating in public
41.5Smoking violation
41.57Loud & raucous noise
42Illegal vending
42.03Selling tickets in public places and places open to the public
42.15Vending and excessive noise on beaches*
46.91Tobacco retail permit required
47.11Unlawful display of aerosol paint/markers
47.15Spectator at speed contest
53.55Dogs on beach
56.08Property owner obstructing sidewalk
56.15Bicycle riding sidewalks
56.15.1Use of skateboards
57.55.01Possession/Use of fireworks
63.44Regulations  affecting Park and Recreation areas
66.04Deposit of garbage on street/LA River
66.28Tampering with refuse/rubbish/salvage
67.02Posting or erecting signs on public street pole, sidewalk, alley, public property or private property without permission
85.07Prohibition against rollerskating, skateboarding, or bicycling in violation of posted signs 
103.20(a)Failure to post City business permit in a fixed location of business
103.20(b)Failure to carry City business permit when no fixed location of business
103.102(c)Cafe entertainment  without a permit
103.106(b)Operating a dance hall without a permit
103.112(b)Operating a Billiard room,pool room, or bowling alley without a permit
103.202(b)Operating a parking lot without a permit
112.02Amplified sound - refrigeration air or heating
112.05Exceeding maximum noise level- 7AM to 1OPM-power equipment/tools
112.06Amplified sound-place public entertainment
113.01Rubbish and Garbage Collection and Disposal- 9PM to 6AM
114.01Vehicle repairs in restricted area- 8PM to 8AM
114.02Vehicles- unreasonable  sound
114.03Loading/unloading  vehicles (hours prohibited) 10PM-7AM
114.04Loud air horns/vehicle  loud speakers
114.05Audible advertising devices- food truck vendors 9PM to 7AM
115.02Sound amplifying devices or loudspeaker on public property
116.01Loud & unusual noise

Some of these offenses are extremely subjective and are likely to be influenced by the mood of the code enforcement officer. There is a good reason why the city wants to shift the burden of challenge and proof to a citizen – much like you a guilty until you prove yourself innocent instead of the rule of law that states a person is “innocent until proven guilty” by the state.

I have omitted Attachment A-2, ACE PILOT PROGRAM - ANIMAL SERVICES -- SCHEDULE OF VIOLATIONS -- LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL CODE (Law enforcement has discretion to cite as misdemeanor or under ACE) that describes the offenses relating to animals and that is similarly extensive.

As you can see, the city has criminalized most of your daily living and depending on the whim (or financial incentive) of the code enforcement officer, we are about to be royally screwed.

BOHICA – Bend Over Here It Comes Again: Look at how the program is being sold in the media … 

Los Angeles City Council approves ticketing nuisance violations

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved the concept of what began as “the good neighbor ordinance,” allowing officials to give out the equivalent of traffic tickets for nuisance infractions such as barking dogs, gas-powered leaf blowers and other quality-of-life issues.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Attorney Mike Feuer, said his office is continuing to work on the ordinances within the program, and it will be up to the city to hire new staff, develop a contract with a vendor to process citations and work with the Los Angeles Police Department and Animal Services on operational issues.

City officials estimated it would cost $577,000 to start the program and that it could bring in more than $2 million in revenue.

Officials said the program is designed to prevent minor quality-of-life issues from rising to the level of a misdemeanor crime. One example cited was loud parties where officers would be called out to a location two and three times before being able to see compliance. Issuing a citation could quiet a disturbance on the first call, they noted.

Under the program, citations of $250, $500 and $1,000 for the first, second and third offensewould be issued by officers. An administrative review process would be available to appeal the tickets.

Source: Los Angeles City Council approves ticketing nuisance violations

Bottom line …

Rather than act as representatives for their constituents, City Council members apparently are acting on behalf of the special interests (unions, vendors, etc) who contribute campaign funding, media attention, and voter support to their personal campaigns. It is in the best interests of Council members to insure that revenue flows into the city’s coffers to pay-off the public employee unions that supported their campaigns.

Los Angeles is about to become a city like Tijuana, Mexico, with the potential for small cash bribes to overlook small offenses being the rule rather than the exception. Considering the number of illegal aliens in Los Angeles that do not obey the law, do not provide identification, and simply throw away notices of violations – this legislation will affect the law-abiding public in a disproportionate manner.

Keep your eyes open and demand that you are kissed before you are screwed.

-- steve


Posted: 16 Sep 2014 02:28 PM PDT

dsDr. Saleh Saleh (middle) with his award winners Drs. James W. Davis, Jr. (left) and Darryl Y. Sue (right)

Dr. Saleh Saleh, as he was colloquially known, could be found roaming the halls of UCLA Hospital at odd hours – consulting on difficult cases with his own wide-ranging style of multi-disciplinary inquiry. Something I experienced first hand as we tried to save my mother using some of UCLA’s top physicians in their respective fields.

Unlike other specialists, Dr. Saleh Saleh did not believe in one-size fits all and conventional wisdom. He was unafraid to let his mind wander far and wide in seeking solutions to life’s major problems.

I had known of his reputation long before my mother was hospitalized, as my sister and her co-workers at UCLA Hospital used to speak of him in reverent tones when he saved another life by unraveling mysteries that remained opaque to other clinicians.

I had gotten into a pissing match with the Chief of Surgery over an issue regarding my mother’s treatment – something I backed with medical literature, but the doctor remained unwilling to order. I told him that I was going to approach Dr. Saleh Saleh and would he abide by his decision. His respect for Dr. Saleh Saleh was evident as he agreed without further discussion, and questioned how I managed to find the hospital’s top troubleshooter.  Not so surprising considering my sister’s experience and that my mother’s primary care physician and world-class gerontologist, Dr.James Davis, Jr,  was one of the recipients of the clinical teaching awards honoring Dr. Saleh Saleh. 

I returned to the hospital the next morning at 7:30 a.m. when I ran into the Chief who was just arriving. We went to the chart area together and he noted that Dr. Saleh Saleh had “dropped by” at 3:20 a.m. and wrote notes agreeing with my request. We tried the new protocol, and unfortunately it did not work. Dr. Saleh Saleh dropped by to follow-up and suggested options – one of which led to an additional two months with my mother and a peaceful death.  Having dealt with a large number of doctors, many arrogant assholes, it was readily apparent that this was an exceptional man as well as a doctor.

Here is the UCLA announcement …

Dr. Saleh Salehmoghaddam died on Sept. 11, in Los Angeles. He was 66. For more than 30 years, he served as an exceptionally devoted physician and teacher. In recognition of his skills as a clinician and educator, a clinical teaching award was established in 2009 in his name.

A native of Iraq, Salehmoghaddam completed his secondary education in Europe. He received a B.S. degree in pharmacy from Northern Ohio University, followed by graduate studies in pharmacology at McGill University in Canada, where he also received an M.D. degree in 1977. Salehmoghaddam then completed training in internal medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, a fellowship in clinical pharmacology at Vancouver General Hospital and chief residency in medicine at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver.

He came to UCLA in 1981 for a fellowship in nephrology and joined the clinical voluntary faculty in 1984. He served as co-director of the Renal Transplant Service in 1985-86 and subsequently became a consultant nephrologist to the transplant and other services at the Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

“The consummate clinician with unfailing devotion to patient care and teaching, he could be found in the hospital at any hour of the day and night, always willing to be of help with a complicated case, and always ready to share his vast fund of knowledge and experience that extended far beyond his specialty of nephrology,” said Dr. Alan Fogelman, executive chair of the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Jonathan Hiatt, professor of surgery and vice dean for faculty, in an announcement of Salehmoghaddam’s death.

Salehmoghaddam was nominated for the Department of Medicine Housestaff Teaching Award almost every year and was selected as its recipient on multiple occasions. To reward excellence in clinical teaching, clinical care and scholarship, the Serge and Yvette Dadone Clinical Teaching Award in Honor of Saleh Salehmoghaddam, M.D. was established.

”It is indeed sad to know that Saleh has left us,” Fogelman and Hiatt said in their announcement. “We should be inspired by his example. We should aspire to the standard of excellence to which he held himself in the practice of medicine, and we should emulate the kind, warm, and generous spirit in which he treated everyone with whom he came into contact.”

A memorial service on campus will be planned for the near future.

Source: In memoriam: Dr. Saleh Salehmoghaddam, a ‘consummate clinician’ | UCLA

Bottom line …

I find it ironic that Dr. Saleh Saleh was born in Iraq, died on 9/11, and will be buried close to where both of my parents are buried. His life and teaching have inspired a number of outstanding clinicians who are not afraid to step outside their individual specialties and consider alternative drugs and protocols. I will remember him fondly every time I visit my parent’s graves.

-- steve