Search Results for ‘"costa mesa"’

The Costa Mesa Syndrome

Reuters on the phenomenon of police harassment of local political opponents (earlier here, here, etc.) By no means are the reports limited to California:

There also have been allegations of intimidation by police in Cranston, Rhode Island.

On Jan. 9, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung announced that state police will take over an investigation into a flurry of parking tickets issued in the wards of two council members. The pair claim the tickets were issued as retribution after they voted against a new contract for police that would have given them a pay raise….

Major Robert Ryan, a spokesman for the Cranston Police Department, said: “The matter is under investigation, and pursuant to law enforcement’s bill of rights, no-one is going to comment on this.”

As readers may recall, those high-sounding “law enforcement bill of rights” gimmicks serve mostly to entrench law enforcement personnel against consequences or accountability for misbehavior, and thus have less than nothing to do with the Constitution’s actual Bill of Rights. More: Radley Balko.

Police roundup

Police roundup

  • Ex-Costa Mesa police union head testifies re: scheme to set up councilman on bogus DUI charge [Daily Pilot, our earlier coverage of the scandal]
  • Ferguson-1-year-later stories should concede that initial “hands-up” accounts of the Michael Brown shooting were wrong, no? [Greg Weiner, Law and Liberty]
  • “Cops: We ‘Expected Privacy’ Because We Tried to Smash All the Cameras” [Lowering the Bar, Conor Friedersdorf/The Atlantic on Santa Ana, Calif. police union’s effort to suppress evidence in dispensary raid case]
  • Beach patrol, serving warrants, college football display: reasons departments gave in 465 requests for mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles from the Pentagon’s 1033 program [Molly Redden, Mother Jones via Anthony Fisher, Reason]
  • “Prosecutors’ union inadvertently demonstrates why local prosecutors shouldn’t investigate police shootings” [Radley Balko]
  • Past time for a public airing of what went on in the Chicago facility known as Homan Square [Spencer Ackerman and Zach Stafford, The Guardian]
  • Which human decision-making process claims a mere 0.25% error rate? Shootings by Chicago police [Coyote, Radley Balko on investigator in that city fired for resisting pressure to exonerate cops]

City of Detroit as regulator

Part of a letter to the editor from Bert G. Osterberg of Costa Mesa, Calif. in the December 19 Wall Street Journal:

As a former Detroit resident and former city employee, I can attest to the odious role of overregulation in my hometown’s decline. When Detroit began to racially change, Mayor Coleman A. Young addressed the complaints of home buyers that they were being cheated with undisclosed defects of their home purchases by championing the passage of City Certification before any sale. This regulation not only required disclosure of defects but that all properties be brought up to current city code before the sale could be made. This, of course, led to mass abandonment of older homes as the cost of compliance was often more than the value of the house….

I’m in the early stages of a contemplated writing project on why my home city of Detroit failed, that is, why it has performed so much more poorly in recent decades than many other American cities that have faced serious economic challenge and social conflict. Feel free to send specific explanations, vignettes and suggested readings (not general rants about the city, please) to me at editor – at – overlawyered – dot – com or leave as comments if they are of general reader interest.

“Tell them I went rogue and (you) had no idea and you immediately fired me”

The Costa Mesa, Calif. police union scandal breaks wide open with new court papers shedding light on the conduct of a law firm representing the union. [Orange County Register] Two private investigators hired by the law firm called in a fake DUI on the town’s mayor and attached a GPS to a councilor’s car to track his movements, according to the county district attorney’s office. [Daily Pilot] We’ve been covering the scandal for more than two years here, here, and here.

More: union gumshoes alleged to have set honeytrap for opposing councilmember. [Matt Coker, OC Weekly] It’s like Costa Mesa Confidential!

P.S. And yet more from the “playbook”: “keep the pressure up till that person assures you his loyalty then move on to the next victim.” [Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union-Tribune (“Yes, ‘victim'”)]

Downfall of a California police-union law firm

Last year we linked a report about a series of unfortunate events that kept happening to elected officials in Costa Mesa, Calif. after they resisted negotiating demands from the city’s police union. One saw his supporters’ businesses harassed by cops, while another was picked up on a bogus DUI charge phoned in by a private eye with ties to an Upland, Calif. law firm, Lackie, Dammeier, McGill, and Ethir, known for extremely aggressive representation of police unions around California.

Now the Lackie, Dammeier firm is in turmoil following a raid on its offices by the Orange County District Attorney’s office. Former Costa Mesa councilman Jim Righeimer, target of the bogus DUI report, and council colleague Steve Mensinger have also alleged in a lawsuit that the law firm’s private investigator attached a GPS device to Mensinger’s car. Lawyers for the two believe the device allowed the investigator to trace the pair’s whereabouts to the bar, allowing for the called-in DUI report which failed when Righeimer produced evidence he had consumed only a couple of Diet Cokes. Mensinger “said the device was affixed to his car during the entire 2012 election season and came to his attention only when he was alerted by the Orange County district attorney’s office.” [L.A. Times, more] The Orange County Register reported: “Mensinger and Righeimer are strong supporters of reforming public pensions and privatizing some city services. … Besides Mensinger, [investigator Chris] Lanzillo is also suspected of following former El Monte City Manager Rene Bobadilla to his home in June 2011, according to a police report obtained by the Orange County Register.” And more recently: “Though they made no admissions, lawyers for the law firm and Lanzillo argued in court papers that placing a tracking device on Mensinger’s truck wouldn’t be an invasion of privacy.” The Costa Mesa police union, also named as a defendant, says in a separate filing that it wasn’t involved with any GPS-tracking plan. [Daily Pilot]

That’s not the only trouble facing the firm: “A statewide police defense fund is no longer sending [it cases] after a forensic audit uncovered triple-billing, bogus travel expenses and ‘serious acts of misconduct.'” [Orange County Register] According to press reports, the firm is in the course of dissolving.

ADA: sidewalks still not clear

Ramps and other aids to sidewalk and crosswalk accessibility having been one of the earliest and most successful demands of the modern disabled-rights movement, you might assume that the litigation and expense arising from the changeover was by now mostly a thing of the past. Not so, according to a Los Angeles Times piece last month. In California, plenty of legal action is in progress against cash-strapped municipalities, which say they can’t afford to comply. “The estimated cost in California alone is $2.5 billion. ‘The cost of retrofitting is phenomenal,’ said Gregory Hurley, a Costa Mesa attorney who has represented local governments. ‘Where is the money going to come from?'” The accommodations “include wheelchair ramps at curbs, level pavement, gently sloping driveways, minimum clearances for wheelchairs and crosswalk warnings for the vision-impaired.” (Dan Weikel, “Getting there is none of the fun”. Los Angeles Times, Nov. 13).

Fall speaking schedule

I’ll be speaking this evening (Thurs. Sept. 30) in Baltimore as part of a dinner-hour panel discussion on medical malpractice reform sponsored by the Chesapeake Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society. Other events scheduled for this fall (sponsored by the Federalist Society unless otherwise specified):

* Mon. Oct. 11, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, Calif.

* Tues. Oct. 12, Chapman Law School, Orange, Calif. (lunch) and Trinity Law School, Santa Ana, Calif. (late afternoon)

* Thurs. Oct. 14, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., Legal Reform Summit, debating Bob Levy of Cato on federalism and litigation reform

* Wed. Nov. 10, Cato Institute, Washington, D.C., commenting on publication of Bob Levy’s new book Shakedown

* Fri., Nov. 12, Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, Washington, D.C., panel discussion on regulation by litigation with (among others) former Mississippi Attorney General Michael Moore and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young, Jr.;

* week of Nov. 15 (exact date TBA), Fordham Law School, New York City.

To inquire about our availability for speaking engagements, email editor – at – [this-domain-name] for me or tedfrank – at – [this-domain-name] for Ted.

Calif. bounty-hunting, again

The Los Angeles Times’s Michael Hiltzik doubts that the cleanup of the Trevor Law Group spells an end to shakedown litigation under California’s Section 17200: “As I write I’m looking at a letter sent two weeks ago by a Bay Area lawyer to a San Jose pool company, offering to settle a potential 17200 claim over a supposedly deceptive newspaper advertisement in exchange for a ‘reasonable attorney’s fee’ of $5,000” (“Consumer-Protection Law Abused in Legal Shakedown”, Jul. 21). Hiltzik also relates an amusing anecdote about how the Trevor lawyers helped seal their fate: “The group also made the mistake of picking on the wrong victims; thinking that it was suing only ma-and-pa service stations, it named, apparently unwittingly, a couple of repair shops owned by the big tire maker Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, which took umbrage and put Sybesma [experienced defense lawyer Edward Sybesma of Costa Mesa’s Rutan & Tucker] on the case. ‘How was I supposed to know this was Bridgestone/Firestone?’ Sybesma recalls one of the Trevor lawyers lamenting one day — a line one wouldn’t be surprised to hear during an episode of ‘America’s Dumbest Criminals.'”

The Wall Street Journal’s free OpinionJournal has now posted our editor’s op-ed on section 17200, which appeared in the paper last Tuesday and was linked here in different form last week (see Jul. 22). (Walter Olson, “The Shakedown State”, OpinionJournal.com, Jul. 27.) Reader comments, too. And Baseball Crank (Jul. 27) quotes extensively and informatively from Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent in the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear the 17200 case against shoemaker Nike.