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September 18
1962 - Articles of incorporation filed for Golden State Memorial Hospital on Lyons Avenue [story]
Golden State Hospital


By Martin Macias Jr.

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A body tasked with oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that Sheriff Alex Villanueva failed to properly explain and document his decision to halt investigations into officer misconduct.

The incidents of misconduct under investigation by county investigators range from officers sleeping on the job and being involved in traffic accidents to officers sexually assaulting jail inmates and abusing children.

While department policy allows for some misconduct probes to be inactivated – in cases where the officer resigns or retires or when the complaint is withdrawn, for example – Villanueva’s decision to halt the investigations raised concerns from officials.

Villanueva has locked horns with county leaders in recent months, most notably for his decision to reinstate officer Caren Carl Mandoyan. Mandoyan faced but was never convicted of domestic violence charges in 2016.

After being elected on a reformist platform and backed by dozens of LA community organizations, Villanueva drew backlash after claiming Mandoyan was wrongfully fired under a departmental process that terminates or disciplines officers for misconduct.

In January, Villanueva told the county Board of Supervisors that his “truth and reconciliation” panel would review as many as 400 cases where officers’ “exculpatory evidence” was ignored by county investigators.

The board responded by voting to freeze Villanueva’s internal review over concerns that it would turn the clock back on officer oversight and accountability reforms.

But Villanueva had already kicked off his internal review, issuing a December 2018 “verbal directive” that department brass should identify misconduct investigations that should be inactivated without any determinations being made, a county inspector general report said.

Out of 45 investigations that the department inactivated earlier this year, 31 were closed for reasons that don’t conform to department policy, according to the report dated April 11. By comparison, only 10 cases were inactivated in the final quarter of 2018.

The inspector general’s report describes an incident where a lieutenant endorsed blank checks from a department fund but was not disciplined. The probe was closed, which means no findings are publicly available.

Villanueva also inactivated a probe of an officer suspected of forcing a female jail inmate to perform oral sex in two separate incidents. The department never initiated an administrative investigation into the case.

At a hearing Tuesday, members of the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission took issue with Villanueva’s failure to identify the specific policy he used to inactivate the probes.

Commission chair Patricia Giggans said Villanueva’s actions could lead to a breakdown of public trust and a culture of impunity.

“It’s critical that policies be followed, otherwise it gives deputies the impression that no matter what you do it’s about who you know when it comes to accountability,” Giggans said. “It gives the public the impression that there is a thumb on the scale of justice.”

Deputy inspector general Bita Shasty told commissioners information from inactivated misconduct probes would not be subject to disclosure under Senate Bill 1421 because they concluded without any findings or determinations.

The bill, which took effect Jan. 1, opens up access to personnel records on incidents of police shootings, excessive force or sexual assaults by officers.

“I think it’s troubling that the public wouldn’t be able to access this info,” said commissioner Priscilla Ocen.

The commissioners said they would consider subpoenaing Villanueva for documents pertaining to the inactivation policy.

A spokesperson for Villanueva did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In March, the sheriff told county board members that his “truth and reconciliation” review was on hold. Last week, he said he acting to protect the department from liability by ending investigations that exceeded the statute of limitations or violated the officer’s due process rights.

“The department has acted responsibly in dealing with such personnel matters, and we continue to work to mediate the concerns of the Board of Supervisors,” Villanueva said in a statement, adding that the department “would never take any action that would jeopardize our communities.”

Villanueva’s decision to rehire officer Mandoyan prompted the supervisors to sue, claiming Villanueva acted outside the scope of his authority. The board sought an emergency order forcing Mandoyan to return his badge, gun and other county property.

But a California judge denied the county’s request and set a June 26 hearing in the matter.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Sep 17, 2021
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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the first death due to the West Nile virus for the 2021 season in Los Angeles County. The patient, a resident of the eastern region of Los Angeles County, was hospitalized and died from WNV-associated neuro-invasive disease.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1962 - Articles of incorporation filed for Golden State Memorial Hospital on Lyons Avenue [story]
Golden State Hospital
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the first death due to the West Nile virus for the 2021 season in Los Angeles County. The patient, a resident of the eastern region of Los Angeles County, was hospitalized and died from WNV-associated neuro-invasive disease.
Public Health Confirms First West Nile Virus Death of 2021
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 25 new deaths and 1,823 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 35,090 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley. Additionally, Public Health announced that the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified today to require vaccination verification or a negative test prior to entry to all mega-events and event venues by Oct. 7.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: Health Officer Order on Vaccination Verification to be Issued in L.A. County; SCV Cases Total 35,090
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Wednesday that would require developers of various types of residential, commercial and industrial projects to provide public art in private developments in the amount of 1% of the building valuation or pay 1% of the building valuation toward a public art fund.
Supervisors Approve Art Fee for Developments, Barger Abstains
The Santa Clarita City Council received a brief report Tuesday about Camps Scott and Scudder, two Saugus facilities recommended by the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council’s Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Ad-Hoc Subcommittee in May to become the new homes of violent juvenile offenders in Los Angeles County.
City Council Receives Update on Camps Scott, Scudder
A big-rig fire Friday afternoon rapidly grew to a 100-acre brush fire east of Interstate 5 at Vista del Lago Road.
100-Acre Fire Closes I-5 Ramps at Vista del Lago, 0% Contained
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1879 - First official Newhall School building erected near Walnut & Ninth streets [story]
First Newhall School
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Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: Henry Mayo Reports 164th, 165th Deaths; SCV Cases Total 35,022
1872 - Mitchell adobe home in Soledad Canyon area first used as schoolhouse; genesis of 1879 Sulphur Springs School District [story]
Mitchell adobe
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Student Mental Health Services Expansion To Be Explored County Wide
Supervisor Kathryn Barger has read a motion to accept a portion of Sloan Canyon Road near Castaic High School into the county system of highways in an effort to ensure roadway safety and prevent future crashes. 
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Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Tuesday confirmed 37 new deaths and 1,930 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 34,936 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: Public Health Issues New Vaccine Order; 34,936 Total SCV Cases
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station deputies are looking for the scoop after multiple Baskin- Robbins ice cream shops were burglarized overnight Tuesday, including two locations in the Santa Clarita Valley.
2 Suspects Arrested In Connection To Baskin-Robbins Burglaries
The city of Santa Clarita invites non-profit organizations interested in learning more about the 2022 grant cycle of the Community Services and Arts Grants Program to a meeting on Thursday, Sept 23.
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