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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Crime and Punishment on the Left Coast


My old home town of Los Angeles has been in the news a lot lately, as usual, for all the wrong reasons. Folks in other parts of the country have been laughing at LA and SoCal for decades, often calling it "the land of fruits and nuts". The nation really took notice when OJ Simpson was acquitted of a double murder by a jury of..., well...., his peers. That was followed by the trials of Michael Jackson and Robert Blake, all leading the rest of the country to wonder about justice in the Golden State. Now the buzz is all about Paris Hilton and the leadership of the city of Los Angeles, from its mayor to city attorney, chief of police and county sheriff.

A few weeks ago, LA had another one of those "million man" marches in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. In the process, 15 LAPD officers were injured by projectiles thrown by marchers. In the process of clearing the area where the problems occurred, some officers pushed resisters out the way with their batons including some (gasp) reporters. Naturally, a big scandal ensued, and several supervisory officers were punished, literally thrown under the bus by LA's hack police chief, William Bratton, a transplanted former chief of the NYPD, who has the typical "If I can make it in New York, I can make it anywhere" attitude. It should be remembered that LA is a "sanctuary city" under the regime of Antonio Villaraigosa (of whom more will be said later). This means that the city and its police will not cooperate with Federal Immigration authorities in identifying and deporting illegal aliens who come in contact with the police. So even when illegals are arrested for committing crimes, they are allowed to go through the justice system and be put back on the street without being turned over to ICE. A couple of years back, Chief Bratton made a statement to the effect that if people in LA didn't like the policy, they could pack up and leave California. (A lot of people are doing just that, with the eventual result that the city may some day change it's name to "Los Illegales".

Then there is the current mayor of Los Illegales, Antonio Villaraigosa, aka Tony Villar. That's right, we have a mayor who changed his name from Villar to Villaraigosa when he married his now estranged wife, combining her maiden name with his. What was that all about? Did Tony have a few outstanding warrants from his youthful days on the mean streets of LA? Villar is openly friendly to the Illegals' cause, once trying to imitate ML King's "I have a dream" speeech with one of his own in which he proclaimed, "We cleaned your toilets!" This at one of LA's "Million illegals" marches.

A couple of years back, Time or Newsweek (I can't remember which of those fishwraps) spotlighted Tony as one of the leading new politicians in America. It is commonly assumed that Mr Villar sees himself as the next governor of California and then, who knows? Maybe the next Barack Obama, young, photogenic and full of vision for the future, ready to run for the presidency and "bring us all together".

Unfortunately for Villar,er...Villaraigosa, his personal life has just thrown up some roadblocks. Well, maybe just speedbumps; after all, he is a Democrat. A couple of weeks ago, he and his wife split up amid rumors of the mayor's reported womanizing. In confirming the breakup, His Honor asked the public and press to respect the family's privacy during this difficult time, something the mainstream press is all too ready to do. Unfortunately for Villaraigosa, local radio talk jocks, John and Ken of KFI didn't get the memo as they have continued to pound the mayor unmercifully for this and other transgressions at City Hall.

Then there is the chain reaction pile up that has resulted from the latest antics of LA's most cherished icon, the multi-talented superstar, Paris Hilton. Among all her other life accomplishments, Hilton has gotten in trouble with the law in LA for drunk driving and driving on a suspended license. Hauled before a judge, she was given a dose of reality with a 45 day jail sentence, which caused her to flip out in court like Marie Antoinette on her way to the guillotine. That's when the fun started. Before she even reported to jail, "someone" reduced the sentence from 45 to 23 days- FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR!!! (I remember the good old days, when prisoners got time off for good behavior by being good behind bars .) But I digress.

Finally, Hilton reported to the LA County lockup in the wee hours of the morning after attending some typical Hollywood masked ball where she was the butt of some tasteless jokes uttered by some other empty dress, and the public turned its attention to other less important matters, like the war in Iraq.

But wait! Two days later, we learned that Hilton had been released from jail (again in the wee hours of the morning) by LA County's "Sheriff to the Stars", Lee Baca, a climber known to give special status to celebrities. Now, with Hilton on "home arrest" (which had been specifically denied by the judge), Baca had a lot of explaining to do to the press and public. Between his own press conference and the breathless public utterings of his spokeshole, Steve Whitmore (son of actor James Whitmore), the hole kept getting dug deeper. Reason for the release? It seems Ms Hilton was very unhappy in jail and apparently withdrawing from whatever medication she had been on in the free world. (What that medication was, could not be divulged due to medical privacy, probably something for her blood pressure, cholesterol or whatever.) It even emerged in these "briefings" that Hilton was being given credit for two full days served for the early morning arrival and departure from the jail.

The public was outraged (or amused-I'm not sure which.) Rocky Delgadillo, the LA City Attorney, expressed his displeasure at the irregular treatment being afforded Ms Hilton by the "Sheriff to the Stars", Lee Baca.

Then the original judge jumped back into the picture. Outraged that his sentence had been countermanded, he ordered Paris back into court for a hearing on the matter. Even then, she failed to arrive on time, claiming that "someone" had told her she could do it all over the phone (just like the rest of us). Next thing we know, we have a veritable swat team storming the Hilton mansion in Hollywood with an army of TV helicopters circling overheard to record history in the making. Back to court-back to jail and more tears and screaming.

But wait! There's still more to this saga. While Paris stews in jail and her family tries to negotiate million dollar interview rights with the "major" TV networks to tell her story to the World, the next major scandal erupts in LA. Remember Rocky Delgadillo, the LA City Attorney who criticized the special treatment given by the Sheriff's Department to a celebrity who had been driving with a suspended license? As they say- payback is a mother.............! This past week, someone (there's that mysterious "someone" again) dropped a dime to the press that Mrs.Rocky had been herself a proud graduate of the Paris Hilton Driving School, not only driving a car with a suspended license, but crashing a car on a suspended license-not just any car, but an official city car-which she had no business driving. It has also been reported that Delgadillo initially sent the repair bill to the city. In addition, it has also been revealed that the Delgadillos have been using city employees to babysit for the little Rockys, also a misappropriation of the taxpayers' money.

Where all this will lead is anyone's guess. Remember, these are Democrats here. They never say they are sorry, and they never resign. Life just goes on in Los Illegales.

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