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January 23
1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]


baca031913a[CN] – Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca pleaded not guilty on Friday afternoon to charges he obstructed a federal investigation into civil rights abuses and brutality at two jails.

Baca, 74, who says he is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, also denied charges that he conspired to obstruct justice and lied to the FBI and federal prosecutors. He was arraigned in U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson’s downtown courtroom.

Anderson determined that Baca was in possession of his faculties even though the retired official told the judge that he sometimes suffers from some “cloudiness” in thinking.

When Anderson asked him how he wanted to plead, Baca replied from the lectern: “Not guilty.”

On Aug. 1, Baca withdrew a guilty plea to making false statements to federal investigators — a roll of the dice that means he faces a jury trial later this year and a potentially harsher sentence.

The move came after Anderson last month rejected a recommendation of six months in prison under the plea agreement. The judge said the sentence would not account for Baca’s culpability in a scheme that involved the destruction of records, cover-ups, interference with a grand jury investigation, tampering with witnesses, and the threatening of an FBI agent.

If a federal jury finds Baca guilty, he could face a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, 10 years for obstruction of justice, and up to five years in prison on the false statement charge.

Baca said earlier this month that he pleaded guilty to making a false statement to avoid the expense of a trial and a courtroom drama.

“I have made this decision due to the untruthful comments about my actions made by the court and the U.S. Attorney’s Office that are contradicted by the evidence in this case,” Baca said.

Earlier this year, Baca’s Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was convicted and sentenced to five years for his part in the obstruction scheme.

Also this month, seven of Baca and Tanaka’s underlings lost the appeal of their convictions. Twenty current or former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officials have been convicted in connection with the crimes, according to federal prosecutors.

The government’s superseding indictment says that by late 2010 it emerged that a rogue gang of deputies called the 3000 Boys had taken over an entire floor of Men’s Central Jail, were beating and mistreating inmates and then filing false reports to cover up their abuses.

By 2011, Baca was aware of civil rights abuses at the jail, prosecutors say.

After the sheriff concluded that informant Anthony Brown was cooperating with the FBI when investigators found an FBI cell phone in his cell, the department’s highest-ranking official ordered Brown isolated from the rest of the jail population, prosecutors say.

Baca instructed officials to “do everything but put handcuffs” on FBI Agent Leah Marx who had been working with Brown, according to prosecutors.

In an infamous video encounter, Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau officers Sgt. Scott Craig, and Sgt. Maricela Long approached Marx outside her apartment complex after she returned home from work on in September 2011.

Craig told Marx she was the “named suspect in a felony complaint” and said he was “in the process of swearing out a declaration for an arrest warrant.”

Marx was never arrested.

Baca wrote to federal prosecutors in LA and accused the FBI of violating state law, demanded that the government reveal the extent of its investigation into the jails, asked it to withdraw federal grand jury subpoenas and threatened to withdraw department support of federal task forces, the indictment says.

On the same day that Long and Craig approached Marx, the indictment says, Baca went on television and said that he suspected that the FBI had committed a crime.

During an interview with investigators in 2011, Baca falsely stated that he did not know about an FBI investigation into the jails and was not part of conversations between department officials to keep investigators from making contact with Brown, according to prosecutors.

Anderson scheduled the trial for Oct. 4. Baca’s attorney Nathan Hochman said that he would need close to six months to go through the 1 terabyte of discovery that the government had provided. He also told Anderson that there was potential for Baca to mount a medical defense related to his Alzheimer’s.

The judge told the parties to meet and confer on Aug. 19 and then come back to him to request a new trial date if necessary.

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018
State and Federal Disaster Assistance Programs are now available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for eligible homeowners, renters and business owners in Los Angeles County who suffered damages or losses due to the December 2017 Creek, Rye and Skirball wildfires.
Monday, Jan 22, 2018
The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve will be open March 1 through May 13 (Mother’s Day) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
Monday, Jan 22, 2018
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2018 spring wildflower season will be held on February 3 and February 10, both Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday, Jan 22, 2018
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck abruptly announced his retirement on Friday, capping off an eight-year stint leading one of the largest metropolitan police forces in America.
Friday, Jan 19, 2018
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that influenza activity has declined over the last two weeks; however, activity is still widespread and higher than peak levels observed during recent seasons.

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State and Federal Disaster Assistance Programs are now available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for eligible homeowners, renters and business owners in Los Angeles County who suffered damages or losses due to the December 2017 Creek, Rye and Skirball wildfires.
Federal Disaster Aid Now Available to Victims of Recent Southland Fires
Starting on Monday, Jan. 29, the city of Santa Clarita will begin work on a federally-funded project which includes the installation of a pre-fabricated steel truss pedestrian bridge over Sierra Highway north of Golden Valley Road, traffic circulation improvements, and trail connections.
Sierra Highway Pedestrian Bridge Construction to Begin Jan. 29
A suspected carjacker from Santa Clarita caused a wrong way crash on the 210 freeway Monday, killing one person and injuring several others.
SCV Carjacking Suspect Crashes on 210, Leaving 1 Dead
The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will swing into the Santa Clarita Valley for a special one-night-only event to be held at West Ranch High School on Monday, Mar. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 19: Glenn Miller Orchestra at West Ranch High School
Back by popular demand, Princess Cruises is offering up to 35 percent off select sailings during the redux of the line’s “Exclusively Caribbean Sale,” on select Spring 2018 Caribbean cruises departing March through May 2018.
Princess Cruises “Exclusively Caribbean Sale” Underway
From the Facebook Page of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriffs Station:
Upgrades at SCV Sheriff’s Station Dispatch; Non-Emergency Calls May Be Delayed
Disney/Pixar's "Coco" earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, a film which CalArts alumnus Adrian Molina co-wrote and co-directed along with Lee Unkrich.
CalArts Alum’s Film “Coco” Earns Oscar Nomination
Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library will hold Antique Appraisal Day on Feb. 10, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Old Town Newhall Library Community Room.
Feb. 10: Antique Appraisal Day at Old Town Newhall Library
1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]
A Castaic man was charged with attempted murder and assault for allegedly trying to set his ex-girlfriend on fire in one of three domestic violence incidents in the SCV Friday and Saturday.
Man Allegedly Tries to Kill Ex-Girlfriend by Setting Her on Fire
College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus officials will break ground on the Science Center on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 24: Science Center Groundbreaking at COC Canyon Country Campus
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley has named Canyon High School sophomore Lluvia Partida the 2018 Youth of the Year.
Lluvia Partida Named SCV Boys and Girls Club 2018 Youth of the Year
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will host five grand openings for local businesses in February 2018 - Fantastic Sams, Bodhi Leaf Coffee, Kaiser Permanente, Farmers Insurance and Open Trails E-Bikes.
February: SCV Chamber Hosts 5 Grand Openings
California State Parks is taking reservations for the spring tour season at Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park in Tehachapi, site of a Kawaiisu Native American village.
Reservations Open for Tours at Tehachapi Native American Village Site
The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve will be open March 1 through May 13 (Mother’s Day) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
March 1: California Poppy Reserve Center Opens in Antelope Valley
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2018 spring wildflower season will be held on February 3 and February 10, both Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Feb. 3, Feb. 10: Poppy Reserve Volunteer Training for 2018 Wildflower Season
The 2017 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey again ranked Santa Clarita among the best cities for doing business in Southern California.
Survey: Santa Clarita Among County’s Best in Cost of Doing Business
Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard in Valencia is being delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. today due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
Small Plane Landings for Movie Shoot in Valencia Until 4 p.m. Today
Adam Rubio's game-winning RBI single in the eighth inning resulted in TMU's 5-4 win over Marymount California University Saturday.
Mustangs Rally to Beat MCU in the Eighth
With Robert Winslow on the mound, TMU won 13-0 over visiting Marymount California University at Master's in the second game of Saturday's double-header.
Master’s Baseball Team Wraps Opening Series in Dominating Fashion
The No. 4 Mustangs men's basketball team scored a 74-71 win over Westmont before a capacity crowd Saturday in the team's 18th straight victory, and fifth straight to open Golden State Athletic Conference play.
Master’s Holds off Westmont for 18th Straight Win
Hannah Forrar scored 16 points Saturday night but The Master's University women's basketball team still lost to Westmont 62-55.
Westmont Rises Over Mustangs 62-56
It’s not too late to register for the College of the Canyons spring 2018 semester, which will run from Monday, Feb. 5 to Thursday, June 1.
Not Too Late for COC Spring Registration
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies caught and arrested two men and two women from Bakersfield allegedly using credit cards stolen in Santa Clarita to purchase items at a Centre Pointe business.
4 Alleged Credit Card Thieves Arrested on Multiple Charges
Caltrans has reopened U.S. Highway 101 in between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara after nearly a nearly two-week closure due to mudslides.
Caltrans Reopens Highway 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara
A 38-year-old man was arrested on charges including theft and forgery in Stevenson Ranch early Thursday morning.
Man Booked for Alleged Theft, Forgery in Stevenson Ranch
L.A. County health officials have extended a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Monday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures.
SCV Cold Weather Alert Extended Through Tonight
In the ninth inning Friday, with Master's well on its way to a 15-7 season-opening win over Marymount California University, Coach Monte Brooks sent Josh Robison to the plate if for no other reason than to see what would happen.
TMU’s Robison Hits 3 Homers in Season-Opening Win
Here is the Castaic/Val Verde public safety and crime information report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of January 1, 2018
Crime Blotter: Theft, Grand Theft Auto in Castaic-Val Verde
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck abruptly announced his retirement on Friday, capping off an eight-year stint leading one of the largest metropolitan police forces in America.
L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck Abruptly Announces Retirement
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]
1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard will be delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, January 22 due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
Jan. 22: Filming in Valencia to Prompt Street Closures
Attorneys Brian Koegle and David Poole of Santa Clarita Valley law firm Poole & Shaffery, LLP will provide insight on legal matters affecting California businesses at the Valley Industry Association's February luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on February 20 starting at 11:45 a.m.
Feb. 20: VIA Luncheon, 2018 Employment Law Update
Oak Hills Educational Foundation and Oak Hills PTA will be hosting their annual science fair at Oak Hills School in Valencia in the form of an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Expo event on Jan. 23rd-26th.
Jan. 26: Oaks Hills STEM Expo