A.M. Splash: Mirkarimi Ethics Hearing; Death Row Suicide at San Quentin
- Mirkarimi ethics hearings off to a slow, raucous start (SF Examiner)
A packed, at times raucous, hearing Tuesday evening for the possible permanent dismissal of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi produced indications that the Ethics Commission would like to narrow the focus and quicken the pace of what will likely be a contentious public spectacle.
- Wife’s text urged Mirkarimi to stop investigation (SF Chronicle)
Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s wife pleaded with him to use his “power” to try to stop a domestic violence police investigation of him in the early hours of the case, to which he replied in part: “I cannot,” according to text messages between the couple reviewed by The Chronicle. That exchange, as well as other text messages and days of phone records from Mirkarimi and his wife’s cell phones, provide a compelling but incomplete glimpse into what the sheriff described as “a nightmare” as the couple attempted to deal with the fallout from a Dec. 31 altercation where Mirkarimi grabbed his wife’s arm hard enough to bruise it.
- California court bureaucracy battered in new report (SJ Mercury News)
California’s statewide court bureaucracy is “dysfunctional” and should be slashed, reorganized and relocated to cheaper headquarters to save millions of dollars per year, an 11-judge committee found in a report released over the weekend. Siding with increasingly vocal critics within the judiciary, the 298-page report blasts the state Administrative Office of the Courts for its unchecked growth and accumulation of power at a time when California’s courts are coping with Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to cut the judiciary’s budget by $544 million this coming year.
- Feds, Oakland cops arrest 60 suspects, seize 92 guns in undercover sting (Oakland Tribune)
Oakland police and federal agents announced the arrest of 60 “worst of the worst” violent criminals during a four-month undercover operation that included the seizure of 92 guns and several pounds of drugs. Police Chief Howard Jordan said he requested the aid of undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after three children were killed by gunfire in Oakland last year.
- Jeffrey Morales to head Calif. high-speed rail (SF Chronicle)
The man who headed Caltrans under Gov. Gray Davis and helped overhaul the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s business plan as a consultant was named the agency’s new chief executive officer Tuesday. The authority’s Board of Directors hired Jeffrey Morales, 52, to head the agency struggling to start construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail line, a project estimated to cost $68 billion, in the Central Valley late this year or early next year. He replaces Roelof van Ark, a veteran transportation engineer and manager, who resigned in January.
- Caltrans open to outside experts reviewing new Bay Bridge (Sacramento Bee)
The director of the California Department of Transportation said Tuesday he would consult with independent experts from outside his agency about testing and construction concerns involving the foundation of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
- Death row inmate commits suicide in San Quentin cell (AP)
California prison officials say a death row inmate convicted of killing a 13-year-old boy has committed suicide. The state Department of Corrections says 68-year-old James Lee Crummel was pronounced dead Sunday after being found hanging in his cell at San Quentin State Prison.
- Grand jury urges Marin supervisors to provide for a county morgue (Marin Independent Journal)
Marin County officials should provide for a county morgue when they remodel the Marin Commons building as a public safety facility, or provide space for a morgue at the Hall of Justice when the sheriff’s department moves to the Commons, according to the civil grand jury. The jury weighed in on the morgue issue in its latest report, saying that until space is found for a permanent morgue, the county should have all autopsies performed at the Napa County Morgue, which now is used by Marin for homicide and suspicious death cases.