Latest on the shooting of Andy Lopez


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May 1, 2014, 3:00 AM

(A letter to the Editor printed today, May 1, 2014)

District Attorney: No decision yet on charges in Lopez shooting
PD Editorial: Let Jill Ravitch build on her first term


Jonathan Melrod holds up a plastic tip from a toy gun on Nov. 5, 2013 while addressing the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors about the deputy-involved shooting death of Andy Lopez. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / The Press Democrat)

Jonathan Melrod holds up a plastic tip from a toy gun on Nov. 5, 2013 while addressing the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors about the deputy-involved shooting death of Andy Lopez. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / The Press Democrat)

The Press Democrat editorial endorsing Jill Ravitch for district attorney (“Let Ravitch build on her first term,” April 13) raises a fundamental question of critical concern for Sonoma County: What exactly do we want and expect from our district attorney? Of course we want unfettered honesty, diligence, unbiased thinking and dedication to serving the entire community regardless of social, economic and ethnic differences.
With those criteria in mind, let’s review Ravitch’s credentials and record with regard to the Oct. 22 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Deputy Erick Gelhaus.


Jill Ravitch at campaign party thrown by Korbel Champagne (think about that the next time you go to buy champagne)

Jill Ravitch at campaign party thrown by Korbel Champagne (think about that the next time you go to buy champagne)

Four years ago, one of Ravitch’s central campaign planks called for more expeditious review of officer-involved fatal incidents. Her campaign pledge to speedily adjudicate filing criminal charges in officer-involved fatalities grew out of a painful 20-year background for victims and families of police-related deaths in Sonoma County.
In fact, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held hearings in Sonoma County in 1998 due to a spate of officer-related, civilian deaths in the mid-90s, and in a 2000 report it sided with community concerns. This report listed 26 recommendations ranging from improved training to a civilian complaint process to an overhaul of “the policies on use of force … to incorporate mediation techniques and less violent methods of resolving a critical incident.”

Had that particular policy recommendation been implemented, Andy Lopez might be alive for his 14th birthday on June 2.

To date, only a few of the 26 recommendations have been implemented. Since the report, there have been an additional 56 deaths resulting directly from police-related incidents. Andy Lopez is only one of the most recent of those victims.
While no district attorney is solely responsible for implementing those recommendations, Ravitch has shown no leadership as the county’s top law enforcement official with regard to any substantive policy change recommended by the commission.

Further, Ravitch continues to walk a precarious legal and ethical path with regard to the Lopez case. While she recused her office from prosecuting Supervisor Efren Carrillo, she has refused to remove herself from adjudicating the criminal liability of Gelhaus, despite repeated attempts by many attorneys, individuals and organizations such as the NAACP to prevail upon her to remove herself.

Soon after the Andy Lopez killing, a group of us met with Ravitch to ask her to remove herself from the case on the grounds that her ties to Sheriff Steve Freitas rendered it impossible to fairly, and in an unbiased manner, judge whether a deputy had acted improperly. She declined.

Under the leadership of the Santa Rosa law firm of Adams Fietz, 18 Sonoma County attorneys signed a letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris asking her to disqualify Ravitch from the Lopez case, further requesting that a special prosecutor be appointed to handle the case. As legal authority for seeking Harris’ intervention, the letter cited appropriate provisions from the California constitution, the state government code and national prosecution standards.

Six months have passed since the shooting death of Andy Lopez, and no decision has been forthcoming regarding the fate of Gelhaus. Ravitch has had this case since January with no indication that there will be a decision before the June election. In fact, as of Tuesday, 90 days have passed since she received the final report, but the community is still waiting.

Even more telling was Ravitch’s quote in The Press Democrat from a recent candidates’ debate in which she said that her office lacks the financial resources and expertise to adjudicate Gelhaus’ criminal liability. This leaves little hope for a fair, transparent and equitable outcome, which is precisely why Ravitch needs to remove herself from any further adjudication and call for an outside special prosecutor.


Jonathan D. Melrod, a Sebastopol attorney, and Mary Moore, a community activist, are both members of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez.

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RICO, not profit, for Donald Sterling


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Donald Sterling2There’s lots of talk in media, both conventional news and social media, on the subject of whether Donald Tokowitz Sterling can be forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers and if so, how much he will profit from the sale. There’s no reason why the Clippers should be sold nor is there any reason why he has to profit from a sale: if the powers that be had the gonads they could RICO Sterling and get a court ordered forfeiture of every last penny he owns. Of course I’ll truly be shocked if anybody in the government has the gonads to do what should be done because that kind of justice is never meted out to the rich.

18 USC 1962(a), part of the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) says in pertinent part:

It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt in which such person has participated as a principal within the meaning of section 2, title 18, United States Code, to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce.

What is a “pattern of racketeering activity?” 18 USC 1961 identifies a whole slew of federal and state laws that when broken constitute such a pattern and all you need is two (2) or more violations to meet the legal definition. One of those laws is mail fraud (18 USC 1341), which states:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

Now for background, read my last blog on the subject of Donald Sterling and pay special attention to his Beverly Hills Properties behavior in trying to unlawfully evict tenants from rent-controlled apartments in Santa Monica:

RICOThere’s absolutely no way that you can conduct the kind of operation described in Sterling’s Santa Monica apartments without engaging in mail fraud, not to mention that if Beverly Hills Properties ever used email or a fax machine to carry out its scheme then 18 USC 1343 (wire fraud) also comes into play, without devising “….any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises….” Believe me, I’ve done criminal defense and criminal offense on these kind of cases and it’s virtually impossible to carry this kind of scheme out without falling afoul of one or the other or both of these laws, both of which are “RICO predicate acts” which trigger the RICO law. There are also plenty of other RICO predicate acts listed in 18 USC 1961 which are hard to avoid violating when pulling these kinds of stunts.

So, how should the government proceed:

1. The City of Los Angeles should have the Department of Building & Safety and the City Housing Department go door to door in every single one of Beverly Hills Properties managed apartments and distribute a leaflet to the tenants asking them if they want to blow the whistle on any potential violation and in follow up investigations find out if they ever got a letter by US Mail, an email, or any other wire communication from the company that was false or contained falsehoods.
2. The City of Santa Monica should review its existing investigative files to determine whether anything they already uncovered constitutes a RICO predicate act.
3. The U.S. Department of Justice and the private attorneys that previously sued Sterling’s businesses should review their files for RICO predicate acts.
4. The U.S. Department of Justice should file either a criminal RICO action or a civil RICO action if they find sufficient (like, two or more) RICO predicate acts and under 18 USC 1963(b) order forfeiture of all of his property derived from RICO activity or derived from money invested from RICO activity (like everything he owns) or order divestiture of his property under 18 USC 1964(a).

Our elected representatives have an opportunity to prove that the laws of the United States of America apply to billionaires with this scenario or in the alternative that they lack gonads.

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Immigration: a family’s life ICED


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by Private Investigator Michael Ferrari:

April 28, 2014

Jose Guadalupe Ramirez-Cervantes has lived in the United States for 18 years. He has been married to the same woman for 20 years, has a son in college in Mexico, an 18 year old daughter, 13 year old identical twin sons, and a 3 year old son.

Jose and his children are bi-lingual. The mom, Carmen, speaks very little English.

Undocumented immigrantsThe parents are better “citizens” than most actual U.S. citizens. They are hard-working and were reluctant to accept assistance, and Jose insists that everyone helping keep track of what he owes them so he can pay them back when he is released. As another example, when I last visited him he told me that $300 had mysteriously appeared in his commissary account, which had only had $5 in it. He said he couldn’t touch it because it was not his. The church had deposited it, and Jose only reluctantly agreed to use it only if he is deported.

The family has lived in the area for 16 years, and moved to Pleasanton so the children could attend good schools. For 15 years, Jose has worked at a McDonald’s in Livermore where he was assistant store manager (and would be welcomed back).

His problems with ICE began 11 months ago when he was arrested for a very minor domestic violence incident (a slap). He has no prior criminal record (not fully verified). Even though Alameda County supposedly only reports persons who have serious violent crimes to ICE through the Secure Communities program, an ICE hold was placed.

Without being able to notify his family, he was transferred to federal custody in a contracted facility, the Contra Costa Sheriff’s West County Detention Facility in Richmond.

I became involved in November when contacted by the pastor of a church asking if I could try to stop the eviction of his family from their two bedroom apartment. Mom had fallen into clinical depression, and had ignored the notices — the eviction was already scheduled by the Alameda SO. I got the SO to hold off for a few days.

We later found out that one of the boys had figured out what was going on and was arrested for shoplifting to try to get money to pay the rent. I got him into a diversion program. Both boys are now attending church youth activities, and enjoying them. Several church members are acting as father figures.

The manager of the apartments confirmed that until Jose was jailed, there was no problem with the family. It was only after his arrest that the twins began hanging out with older, rougher kids.

Until the daughter reached out to the church, Carmen had not started preparing for the move. I visited with the pastor, who is bi-lingual. The church arranged to put their things in storage, and for lodging at a nice motel which served continental breakfast. The church also arranged for supplemental food. The pastor asked Carmen how she imagined life in 5 years. She replied: I want my children to have a stable home, I want them to do good in school and be able to earn a better living than me, and I want to speak English.

I contacted every DV program which offered transitional housing. Even with the help of a county supervisor’s office, they are still on a waiting list. One housing specialist said that there was a perfect 3 bedroom unit which had just become available. It was reserved for persons with physical disability.

Since there was no one with disability waiting for it, the city suggested that they could just “mistakenly” answer that there was a disabled person and the place would be theirs. Carmen refused because a disabled person might need it.

As far as the legal saga:

Before I was involved, Jose was asked to translate between a private attorney and his client because there were no jail interpreters available. The attorney said he would take Jose’s case and Jose could pay when he was released on bond.

Jose had one prior deportation, years ago, because apparently he fell victim to one of those fake “immigration counselor / attorneys.” He has a social security card and driver license bearing his name (How hard would it be for the feds to weed out these slimy operations?).

When I contacted the attorney, he said they were pursuing an asylum exemption because Jose had left Mexico under threat of death. The family had provided a police report. The attorney declined my offer to, pro bono, look further into that, and to verify the circumstances of the DV, perhaps even getting a statement from the officers involved.  The attorney felt he had all that was needed at the time, but did say he would use me as a conduit to communicate with Jose.

After an extended period where the family, Jose and I had not heard from the attorney, I got through to counsel. He explained that bond had been denied, and that Jose was found to be deportable, but the attorney was filing an appeal. I went to see Jose and learned that the attorney had not been to see him, nor had he received any written communication from the attorney.

I prepared a Declaration regarding the non-communication, and his daughter sent it to the court with a cover letter she wrote explaining to the Court, in effect, that her Dad had ineffective assistance of counsel.

I am absolutely amazed, after President Obama’s instructions that discretion should be used in selecting deportees, that people like Jose are still being subjected to the proceedings.  Obama identified the combination of characteristics for those for whom discretion should be used:

1. Alien with minor children who are citizens;
2. Alien is supporting the children/family
3. No significant criminal record
4. Long-time resident in the U.S.

Who's waiting in line for these kinds of jobs?

Who’s waiting in line for these kinds of jobs?

I don’t know if the President identified #4 specifically, but long time residence without problems is about the best confirmation that someone is a good candidate for being a citizen (Someone who “waits in line” is still a dice roll as to their U.S. residency will progress). I would also note that with all of the changes in law, such as random changes in what constitutes a legal gun, plus mandatory reporting laws coupled with in essence treating DV as seriously, in some cases more seriously, than some violent felonies, nowadays, it is pretty hard for anyone to reach age 30 without having some kind of criminal record.

The bottom line is that despite the president’s guidance, depending on which statistics are quoted, 50 to 70 percent of persons deported are without a record of serious criminal conduct. Somehow, despite Alameda County guidelines on who to report, and supposed guidance on discretion by ICE, it is mostly people like Jose who are being deported.

If this is happening in San Francisco, it makes you wonder what the government is doing with “illegals” in other districts — shooting them on sight? All of the immigration attorneys say there is no logical pattern. Some suggested that if ICE and local law enforcement don’t keep the “flow” up, there would be lay-offs (This is somewhat supported by the fact that both Alameda and Contra Costa counties have surplus jail space, even after “renting” to other agencies).

Beside the humanitarian issues, it makes no sense for the taxpayer. Jose stopped contributing to the economy; his family is now receiving social services (despite Carmen working three low-pay jobs); the kids are facing more challenges. Since Co Co County has work furlough and gps monitoring programs, I cannot fathom the logic in having Jose remain in custody all of this time.

Once denied bond and then further asylum proceedings, “jailhouse lawyers” advised both Jose and his family that it would be easier and better for his family if he accepted deportation and just returned. Jose refused, because he was tired of being illegal, and thought — based on what Obama said — he would ultimately prevail in court.

Anyhow, I believe this family has a compelling story. They are grateful to now be sharing a one bedroom apartment.



Email President Barack Obama and ask him to halt the deportation of Jose Guadalupe Ramirez-Cervantes:

Write ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ask them to stop the deportation of Ramirez-Cervantes:

To contact ICE leadership, please write to

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas S. Winkowski
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20536

To contact DHS leadership, please write to

Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

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Happy Birthday Donald Tokowitz Sterling you Jewish oreo


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Donald Tokowitz Sterlling

Donald Tokowitz Sterlling

Donald Sterling was born Donald Tokowitz April 26, 1934 in Chicago to Jewish immigrant parents Susan and Mickey Tokowitz.  Demonstrating that he is the Jewish equivalent of an oreo (Black on the outside white on the inside), a coconut (Brown on the outside white on the inside), Banana (Yellow on the outside white on the inside) or an Apple (Red on the outside white on the inside), he changed his name to Donald Sterling apparently so that he could pass for a  white gentile by not having an obviously Ashkenazic Jewish name.  BTW, my last name “Tucker” was involuntarily changed at Ellis Island by the immigration clerks from the Slavic “Tokar,” not something my family did of its own accord.

People like Donald Tokowitz Sterling disgust me.  Not only does he have some kind of self-hate complex to gentilize his name he forgets that his parents were immigrants and the Jewish commandments of Leviticus:

Leviticus 19:33

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.

Leviticus 19:34

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

From Wikipedia:

In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination in using race as a factor in filling some of his apartment buildings. The suit charged that Sterling refused to rent to non-Koreans in the Koreatown neighborhood and to African Americans in Beverly Hills.[13] The suit alleges Sterling once said he did not like to rent to Hispanics because they “smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” and that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.”[13] In November 2009, ESPN reported that Sterling agreed to pay a fine of $2.73 million to settle claims brought by the Justice Department and Davin Day of Newport Beach that he engaged in discriminatory rental practices against Hispanics, blacks, and families with children.[14] In addition, Sterling was also ordered to pay attorneys’ fees and costs in that action of $4,923,554.75. [Order Granting Motion for Prevailing Party's Attorneys' Fees and Costs, dated November 2, 2005, C.D. Cal. Case No. 2:03-cv-00859-DSF-E Dkt No. 454]. In granting the attorney’s fees and costs Judge Dale S. Fischer noted “Sterling’s’ scorched earth’ litigation tactics, some of which are described by the Plaintiffs’ counsel and some of which were observed by the Court. The Court has no difficulty accepting Plaintiffs’ counsel’s representations that the time required to be spent on this case was increased by defendant’s counsel’s often unacceptable, and sometimes outrageous conduct.”

Judge Dale S. Fischer

Judge Dale S. Fischer

I’ve seen Judge Dale S. Fischer in action and she is a no-nonsense judge whether I agree or disagree with her rulings (on occasion I’ve been on both sides).  Given that Donald Sterling is himself a member of the Bar (California License 31124 issued 1/11/61) and is perfectly capable of supervising attorneys representing him you’d think that maybe, just maybe, the State Bar might consider some kind of disciplinary action against him for his legal behavior.  If you think that’s appropriate, go ahead and write the State Bar (but don’t hold your breath…the State Bar won’t do anything about his bad behavior is my prediction).  In addition to what Judge Fischer wrote about, also ask them whether they’ll take any action against him for admitting under oath in a deposition that he engaged in prostitution:

“The woman wanted sex everywhere,” Sterling said. “In the alley, in her car, in the elevator, in the upstairs seventh floor, in the bathroom.” And he paid her for it. “Every time she provided sex she got $500,” he testified in 2003. “At the end of every week or at the end of two weeks, we would figure [it] out, and I would, perhaps, pay her then.” “When you pay a woman for sex, you are not together with her,” he further testified. “You’re paying her for a few moments to use her body for sex. Is it clear? Is it clear?”  []

Write the State Bar at:

State Bar of California
Intake Unit
845 S Figueroa St.
Los Angeles CA 90017-2515

The sickest thing about Sterling’s sordid record on race relations is that the Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP was just about to honor him with a second lifetime achievement award on May 15, 2014 (they gave him one in 2009 while he was being sued by Elgin Baylor).  As Wikipedia explains the Baylor lawsuit:

In February 2009, Sterling was sued by former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination on the basis of age and race.[15] The lawsuit alleges Sterling told Baylor that he wanted to fill his team with “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach”.[13] The suit alleges that during negotiations for Danny Manning, Sterling said “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.”[13][16] The suit noted those comments while alleging “the Caucasian head coach was given a four-year, $22-million contract”, but Baylor’s salary had “been frozen at a comparatively paltry $350,000 since 2003″.

There is a long tradition (not a time honored one but a quietly carried out and usually unspoken of one) of shaking down racists by so-called civil rights movement organizational poverty pimps when they get into public trouble for their depraved behavior.  I saw the Anti-Defamation League do this when they accepted a huge contribution from Marriott Corporation to give them their organizational seal of approval when an Ethiopian Jew stood up to Host International’s refusal to allow him to wear his Yarmulke at work.  ADL accepted Marriott’s word that the guy was delusional without any semblance of a legitimate investigation.  So carrying on that sordid tradition, NAACP was prepared to honor Sterling and whitewash his longtime pattern of discriminatory behavior, but apparently with his statements on tape and being made public for once, it’s too embarrassing.  These Negroes are not just embarrassed, they’re apparently afraid that honoring him will so discredit them that it will interfere with their further poverty pimping in the name of civil rights, so the estimated $10,000-$15,000 he gave Los Angeles NAACP in the past year alone is no longer enough to buy the organization’s loyalty.

ESPN Deportes tells the details of Sterling’s slum-lording at

The article, which came out as a birthday present yesterday for Sterling contains such choice details as:

Jones had repeatedly walked to the apartment manager’s office to plead for assistance, according to sworn testimony given by her daughter Ebony Jones in the Housing Rights Center case. Kandynce Jones’ refrigerator dripped, her dishwasher was broken, and her apartment was always cold. Now it had flooded. Davenport reported what she saw to Sterling, and according to her testimony, he asked: “Is she one of those black people that stink?” When Davenport told Sterling that Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the water damage and compensated for her ruined property, he replied: “I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch.”

A personal glimpse of the business practices of Beverly Hills Properties, one of Sterling’s businesses, can be found at:  This account contains such tantalizing tidbits as:

Beverly Hills Properties is part of the west coast Donald Trump’s Donald T. Sterling & Assoc. empire. Mr. Sterling was a practicing lawyer before he figured out a much easier way to become wealthy. Why count on billable hours or cashing in on lucrative ambulance chasing lawsuits when you can buy real estate instead?

When Mr. Sterling took over the property, I was immediately served with a letter that “ended” my tenancy illegally. A lawyer was hired, and by the time I knew it, the City of Santa Monica was conducting an investigation into the illegal tenant harassment practices perpetrated on behalf of this company.

It took over a year, but the company finally cashed in over a year’s worth of rent checks that I had been dutifully paying from a separate bank account that I’d started when I became aware that they were not, in fact cashing the rent checks. I’m sure this was done in hopes that I would stupidly spend the money, whereupon there would be insufficient funds for a year’s worth of rent and he could proceed to throw me out as he had originally planned.

Once the lawsuit was settled and Mr. S was sufficiently chastised for attempting to illegally kick out long term tenants in numerous buildings around Santa Monica, things began to settle down. But it is hard to describe what it is like to live under such terror.

The first manager that was installed by this company had to be a first cousin of Hitler. No matter that he was either Israeli or Russian. This man was the absolute most hateful apartment manager that I have ever experienced in my entire life. Living near him was nearly unbearable.

Another testimonial from a former tenant talks about the alleged ripoff by Beverly Hills Properties of his deposit not to mention a rat infestation:

Lastly, I will say while I liked this apartment I had RATS the whole time I was there. I complained and I think traps or rat poison was placed under the apartments, but I had them up until the day I moved out. DO NOT RENT from these people. They will screw you out of your money.

So is there anything that you can do about this which will hurt anything more than Donald Sterling’s ego?  We didn’t end Apartheid in South Africa by resolutions (like a proposed City Council “condemnation”).  We hit South Africa in the pocket book, by divestiture and boycott.

In the past, Beverly Hills Properties made $1,000 campaign contributions to then City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  Why?  Because, as Saul Alinsky taught us, “Power goes to two poles:  to those who’ve got the money and to those who’ve got the people.”  Sterling has the money so he keeps politicians happy who control the City Attorney’s office and the Mayor’s office which in turn controls the Department of Building and Safety and the Housing Department.

Write to Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer and demand a task force to inspect every single rental unit in Los Angeles managed by Beverly Hills Properties and all other Sterling associated businesses.  Demand that they go door to door and deliver leaflets to all of his tenants asking them to blow the whistle on unlawful rental practices.  Demand that they commit to sue on  behalf of every tenant who’s getting shafted by Donald Sterling and Beverly Hills Properties.

If we’ve got the people on our side this is possible no matter how much money Sterling can throw around.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Hall 200 N Spring Street Los Angeles CA 90012

City Attorney Mike Feuer, 800 City Hall East 200 North Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

Now as an “oh by the way,” a real heartfelt HAPPY BIRTHDAY to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (DOB:  4/25/62) who today banned Donald Sterling for life from NBA activity.  Ironic that he was born the day before Sterling’s birthday!

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Activist death fast for political prisoners


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Vitamin B-12


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My friend Charmane Johnson recently wrote about issues involving Vitamin B-12 deficiency:

B-12 is an extremely important vitamin for humans.  I take it everyday myself.  As Charmane notes:

….A deficiency of vitamin B12 can limit your ability to think clearly about anything.  B12 is an organic compound, made from carbons and essential for our normal metabolic function and health. Also, like most vitamins, B12 plays a wide variety of roles in our metabolism which includes, the manufacture of red blood cells; a deficiency leads to a characteristic kind of anemia; is needed to support the normal function of nerve cells, and to manufacture myelin, the insulating material that surrounds some of our nerve cells and speeds neural transmission; Vitamin B12 is required for the replication of DNA…. is an excellent source both for nutritional supplements like B-12 and also for information about their products and the nutritional needs they address.  At their product article for their B-12 supplement, it is explained that B-12 supplements are especially important for vegetarians:

Vitamin B12 is made only by microorganisms, not by plants or animals. This means that animals must obtain this vitamin either from their diet or from microorganisms living in their bodies. For example, cows get their vitamin B12 from gut-dwelling bacteria. Since the vitamin is stored in animal cells, carnivores can get their vitamin B12 by eating meat, even though they don’t themselves have B12-producing gut-dwelling bacteria. Herbivores that lack B12-producing bacteria (such as human vegetarians or pet animals) will develop B12 deficiencies unless they use some kind of B12 supplement. In fact, it has been found that 60-70% of vegetarians have vitamin B12 deficiencies! Left untreated, such deficiencies will eventually do permanent damage to the body.


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RIP: The Hurricane, Rubin Carter


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RIP: Rubin “the Hurricane” Carter, dead at 76. Framed for a murder he never committed, imprisoned and finally exonerated after years in prison in New Jersey.   For the story, Wikipedia:

Bob Dylan meets Rubin Carter in prison

Bob Dylan meets Rubin Carter in prison

The power of a song: Bob Dylan’s “The Hurricane” which helped free him–

Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out “My God they killed them all”
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Three bodies lying there does Patty see
And another man named Bello moving around mysteriously
“I didn’t do it” he says and he throws up his hands
“I was only robbing the register I hope you understand
I saw them leaving” he says and he stops
“One of us had better call up the cops”
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashing
In the hot New Jersey night.

Meanwhile far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down
When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Patterson that’s just the way things go
If you’re black you might as well not shown up on the street
‘Less you wanna draw the heat.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the corps
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowling around
He said “I saw two men running out they looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates”
And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head
Cop said “Wait a minute boys this one’s not dead”
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him that he could identify the guilty men.

Four in the morning and they haul Rubin in
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye
Says “Wha’d you bring him in here for ? He ain’t the guy !”
Yes here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Four months later the ghettos are in flame
Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are putting the screws to him looking for somebody to blame
“Remember that murder that happened in a bar ?”
“Remember you said you saw the getaway car?”
“You think you’d like to play ball with the law ?”
“Think it might-a been that fighter you saw running that night ?”
“Don’t forget that you are white”.

Arthur Dexter Bradley said “I’m really not sure”
Cops said “A boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we’re talking to your friend Bello
Now you don’t wanta have to go back to jail be a nice fellow
You’ll be doing society a favor
That sonofabitch is brave and getting braver
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain’t no Gentleman Jim”.

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
It’s my work he’d say and I do it for pay
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way
Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail
But then they took him to the jailhouse
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The DA said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed.

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder ‘one’ guess who testified
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers they all went along for the ride
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand ?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell
That’s the story of the Hurricane
But it won’t be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Songwriters: SMITH, MINDY

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Legal History of Cliven D Bundy


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Cliven Bundy ProtesterNevada Rancher Cliven D. Bundy and his family are no strangers to the court system of the United States or the State of Nevada.  He was sued by the Nevada Department of Transportation in 1992 [Case No. A304188] and his civil court problems with the U.S. government started in 1998 [Case No. 98-17293].  Bundy had his day in court and appealed that case up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where he lost.

As far as I can tell from a cursory search anyway, aside from a couple of tickets in the State of Arizona, Cliven D. Bundy doesn’t have any record of criminal actions or infractions prior to his current problems with the United States government….but his son, Cliven Lance Bundy sure as hell does.  He’s currently on probation on felony convictions for Burglary and Grand Larceny of a Firearm and still owes the government money and at one point was arrested for violating probation, but this was his original sentence:

01/02/2013 9:00 AM
– SENTENCING Deft. present in custody. DEFT BUNDY ADJUDGED GUILTY of CT 1 – BURGLARY (F) and CT 2 – GRAND LARCENY OF FIREARM (F). Statement by Ms. Ballou. COURT advised Deft. he will give him probation, but ADMONISHED Deft. this is his ONLY chance and if he messes up, he will be revoked. COURT ORDERED, in addition to the $25.00 Administrative Assessment Fee, and the $150.00 DNA Analysis Fee WAIVED as previously taken, and $1,615 RESTITUTION, $715 payable to EZ Pawn at 3050 E. Desert Inn, ; $850 payable to Bargain Pawn at 1902 E. Las Vegas Blvd; and $50 payable to $50 to Gold and Silver Supply at 1300 E Sahara Blvd; Deft. SENTENCED to: CT 1 – a MAXIMUM of NINETY SIX (96) MONTHS and a MINIMUM of TWENTY FOUR (24) MONTHS in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDC); CT 2 – a MAXIMUM of NINETY SIX (96) MONTHS and a MINIMUM of TWENTY FOUR (24) MONTHS in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDC) to run CONCURRENT to CT 1 and CR01719012; SENTENCE SUSPENDED; Deft. placed on probation for indeterminate period NOT to exceed FIVE (5) YEARS under the following SPECIAL CONDITIONS: 1. Abide by any curfew imposed by the Division of Parole and Probation. 2. Enter and complete the Drug Court Program in Clark County unless P&P determines that Lincoln County is acceptable. 3. Submit to any evaluation deemed appropriate and complete any recommended counseling. 4. Pay restitution during term of probation. 5. Have no contact with witnesses whatsoever. 6. Have no contact with any listed pawn shops whatsoever. 7. Pursuant to NRS 176A.400, Defendant to be supervised in P & P’s Intensive Supervision Program to include Electronic Monitoring for a period deemed appropriate. FURTHER, matter SET for hearing in Drug Court, Deft. to remain in custody until that date. 1/17/13 10:15 AM FIRST APPEARANCE: DRUG COURT

Day in CourtIn the current court case that sparked Bundy’s confrontation with the federal Bureau of Land Management began in 2012, U.S. District Court Case No. 12-cv-00804-LDG-GWF.  Bundy had his day in court.  He defended himself.  He lost on “summary judgment” meaning that as a matter of law and undisputed facts he didn’t have a leg to stand on.  He appealed to the Ninth Circuit and then never bothered to file his Appellant’s Opening Brief (AOB) and so the appeal was dismissed.  His “appeal” became his call for violent armed resistance to the government.

SeditionOn its face the public statements on national television by Bundy and his supporters fall under the purview of 18 USC 2384, Seditious Conspiracy:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. [Emphasis added]

That the United States government has not sent in the full force necessary to arrest everybody involved with this crime which was perpetrated in the full view of the national press corps is another example of “Justice in America means ‘Just Us’ White Folk” (H. Rap Brown).  If this had been the Black Panthers, Brown Berets, or the American Indian Movement…..well, do I have to paint you a picture?

Blood DropsBTW, that brings up another weird point in the curious history of the Bundy family:  either Cliven D. Bundy has an alias of Scott Lillie and has lived in South Central Los Angeles (South Hoover in Los Angeles 90044) or else somebody did an identity theft on him or some other weird glitch in computerized records systems…..either that or the Bundy family isn’t quite as white as it looks on television…..My black friends will relate–you know the old saying about them “drops” of blood?

What are the merits of Bundy’s and the government’s arguments.  Read the following documents and make up your own mind because they speak for themselves, but before you do consider this.  One of Bundy’s arguments in his answer to the federal civil complaint is that he relied on the State of Nevada’s NRS (Nevada Revised Statutes) Section 321.596-599.  One of these provisions, NRS 321.596(2)(c) alleges that:

(c) The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, adopted into the Constitution of the United States by the reference of Article VI to prior engagements of the Confederation, first proclaimed the “equal footing” doctrine, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, by which the territory including Nevada was acquired from Mexico and which is “the supreme law of the land” by virtue of Article VI, affirms it expressly as to the new states to be organized therein.

The State of Nevada has bit off just a little more than it intended to chew with this argument.  It’s in essence contending that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has never been complied with….which by the way is the argument that I’ve been making for years as to why the cession of Mexican territory under the treaty is invalid and should be re-addressed under Article XXI of that treaty by Commission or third-nation neutral arbitration.  Ya’ll think that Bundy and his militia type supporters ever thought about those implications?

Federal Complaint_001          Federal Complaint_002Federal Complaint_003Federal Complaint_004Federal Complaint_005Federal Complaint_006Federal Complaint_007Federal Complaint_008Federal Complaint_009Federal Complaint_010Federal Complaint_011Federal Answer_001 Federal Answer_002 Federal Answer_003 Federal Answer_004 Federal Answer_005 Federal Answer_006 Federal Answer_007 Federal Answer_008 Summary Judgment ruling_001Summary Judgment ruling_002Summary Judgment ruling_003Summary Judgment ruling_004Summary Judgment ruling_005




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Bring Hollywood Home pushes AB 1780


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BHHF 1780_001 BHHF 1780_002 BHHF 1780_003 BHHF 1780_004 BHHF 1780_005BHHF 1780_002BHHF 1780_003BHHF 1780_004BHHF 1780_005

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Journey to the Motherland


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The former Soviet states of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are very much my motherland and the motherland of so many American Jews who fled those regions to get the hell out of Czarist persecution.  One of my grandfathers was from Tereshki in Belarus near the Polish border, West of Minsk.  My other grandfather was from Nizhni Novgorod near Moscow.  One grandmother was from St Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) while the other was from Gorodiesche in the Ukraine.

Jewish victims of a Czarist Pogram in Boguslav Ukraine wrapped in their prayer shawls; why my people had to get the hell out of Czarist Russia

Jewish victims of a Czarist Pogram in Boguslav Ukraine wrapped in their prayer shawls; why my people had to get the hell out of Czarist Russia

From having my DNA studied I learned that I’m a 61 out of 67 point Y chromosome match to a John Wolins (whose family name was shortened from Wolinsky).  His most distant ancestor known by conventional genealogy was Yoina Wolinsky who lived in Boguslav, Ukraine, circa 1760.  So as it turns out, my great friend Bruce Boguslav whose family originated in Boguslav Ukraine and who has a bunch of Wolinsky’s in his family is a distant cousin from around 250 years ago.

Arielle Boguslav

Arielle Boguslav

When Bruce and I met it was uncanny how much we resemble each other.  We look more alike than we do to our own biological brothers.  Bruce’s Cambridge (UK) educated daughter Arielle is now living in Moscow and is writing her excellent account of life there, entitled Journey to the Motherland.

In these tense days diplomatically in the former Soviet Union, it’s an interesting perspective of the daily goings on in her travels and travails around the country.  Check it out.

L-Bruce Boguslav, R-Jan B. Tucker

L-Bruce Boguslav, R-Jan B. Tucker

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