Monday, June 30, 2008

Death Penalty On Its Way Out?

A report issued Monday says California's death penalty, which has been in existence for 30 years, is "close to collapse."

The report ( says the state's death penalty costs more than $100 million annually to run. The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, appointed by the state Legislature to propose criminal justice reforms, released the 117-page report detailing major flaws in the death penalty system. Among the findings was that California has the biggest backlog of cases in the nation.

The commission stopped short of calling for the abolition of the state's death penalty, but did note that California would save millions of dollars throughout the criminal justice system if capital punishment were eliminated.

At the present, there are 673 inmates on California's death row and 79 inmates there are still in need of being appointed attorneys to prepare their automatic appeals to the California Supreme Court.

California, which takes on average about 17 years to execute someone who has been convicted, has executed 13 inmates since the death penalty was reintroduced in 1978, but none since 2005.

According to the report, "The families of murder victims are cruelly deluded into believing that justice will be delivered with finality during their lifetimes."

This will be the commission's final report, as it disbands Tuesday.

Editor's Take: We still believe in the death penalty and support it. We also say that there should not be on average a 17-year lag between conviction and execution. While everyone is certainly entitled to a fair trial and an automatic appeal, the time drawn out between conviction and execution is not only costly to the state, but harms the families of the victims who were killed. Let's make the system have more of an impact on the people it was intended for - the criminals.

So what do you think? Should the state abolish the death penalty?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Man Convicted in 2005 Metrolink Train Disaster

Juan Alvarez, 29, the man accused of killing 11 people back in a 2005 commuter train derailment in Glendale, California, was convicted last Thursday on 11 counts of first-degree murder.

Alvarez, who was acquitted on a count labeled train wrecking, was also convicted of one count of arson.

According to authorities, Alvarez said he was trying to commit suicide when he stationed his SUV on railroad tracks back in January of 2005. That decision resulted in a Metrolink train derailing and striking a second Metrolink train.

The penalty phase of Alvarez's trial will take place next month. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

Editor's Take: There are many 'easier' ways for someone to kill themselves. The sad part here is that 11 other people suffered the ultimate loss; they had no choice in the matter. Alvarez, who had a choice in the matter, should get his previous wish.

Question of the day: Should Juan Alvarez get the death penalty when he is sentenced next month? Feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Employer Fined in Breastfeeding Issue at Work

California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet announced the issuance of a citation to a Santa Clara-based International Security Services, Inc. for reportedly failing to provide private accommodations for an employee to express breast milk for her newborn. The citation is the first of its kind since the law took effect in 2002. A fine of $4,000 has been assessed.

“Under the law, employers are obligated to accommodate employees who wish to provide breast milk for their infant children,” Bradstreet said. “This employer failed to provide a reasonable amount of break time and a private room for an employee to express milk for her baby as required.”

The labor commissioner received a complaint -- the first lodged as a result of the 2002 legislation -- from the employee on March 7, which prompted an investigation. The investigation revealed that the employee was not provided an appropriate, designated room. Initially the room that was provided was computer server room with security cameras. This offered an inadequate level of privacy needed to perform the milk expressing process.

Labor Code sections1030-1033 became law in 2001 and mandates every employer, regardless of size, to provide a reasonable amount of time to accommodate expressing of breast milk and to make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom, in close proximity to the employees work area to express milk in private.

Bradstreet urged women who are not being provided appropriate accommodations for milk expressing to contact her office and file a complaint.

“This is not the type of law that we can address with enforcement sweeps and filing a complaint is important so that we can correct the violation and educate the employer,” added Bradstreet.

What do you think about this issue? Do you have a problem with a woman breastfeeding while on a break at work?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


It is the weekend and we're packing up the car and headed to the beach to escape our mini heat wave that has descended on Southern California. That being the case, we thought a visual for the day would be appropriate. It appears model Kate Moss left nothing to be hidden when she was out with her 5-year-old daughter in public recently. So, did Kate bear a little too much? Photo - Scanpix/SipaPress

Friday, June 20, 2008


** Thought of the Day: It is Friday and all our heads are already thinking the weekend. With that being the case, I couldn't help but pull out a photo of our good friend Jocelyn Kirsch. Don't know who Jocelyn Kirsch is? Well, we blogged (see June 5 entry) about her a while back. Jocelyn is the young 20-something who got into a wee bit of trouble with her former boyfriend. Authorities say the two went on an identity theft crime spree in Philadelphia and stole ID's from other people to travel the world before finally being caught last year. Kirsch, whose mother lives in California, reportedly stole a credit card out here and used it after being nabbed in Philly in '07. She has since returned to Philly and was recently in court, with her sentencing yet to come. Anyhow, we couldn't resist another pic of the beauty to start the weekend off right. She definitely can work a camera.

On a more serious note, see story below if you like to drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand holding a cell phone. Times are about to change. Happy weekend!!

* Starting July 1, drivers in California will have to stop using hand-held cell phones while driving or risk a fine. But one area not covered in the new law is texting.

The new law states that drivers must use hands-free devices to talk while driving, but it does not stipulate you cannot text while driving.

Looking to make things safer for all drivers on California's roadways, one state senator has proposed legislation that would add texting to the new cell phone ban. Sen. Joe Simitian (D- Palo Alto), has proposed that text messaging be added to the lists of things not to do while driving.

However, even if the no-texting legislation does gain approval and is signed by the governor, it would not take effect until Jan. 1.

The law taking effect next month takes special aim at juvenile drivers. While adults will no longer be able to use hand-held cell phones (they can use hands-free or text messagers), juveniles cannot use any mode of communication, including all cell phones and text messagers.

The violation, though, is a secondary offense, which means minors may not be pulled over for using a hands-free cell phone or text messager unless they are pulled over for breaking a second traffic offense at the same time.

California became the fourth state to ban motorists from holding cell phones while driving when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law legislation that passed in the state assembly back in 2006.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. are the other areas where it is illegal to drive and be talking on a hand-held cell phone, unless in an emergency situation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Headlines.....

** Thought of the Day: We saw a story on the wires today about what happens to homes after someone is murdered in them. The story on (,2933,369083,00.html) looked at such former homes as those of murderers John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer, and victims like Sharon Tate (pictured to right), Nicole Brown Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey. It is a very interesting story and makes one wonder if you could live in the home of someone who killed or was killed. Our guess is it would be a little spooky to say the least.

* San Diego
City Attorney Michael Aguirre has sued San Diego Gas & Electric in an effort to recover millions of dollars in damages caused to city property and for firefighting costs associated with last October's wildfires. The civil complaint says SDG&E failed to take steps to prevent downed utility lines from sparking the devastating Witch Creek and Guejito fires. The lawsuit reportedly seeks to claims tens of millions of dollars. To see more on this story, visit .

* A Norwalk man was arrested after reportedly leaving his 8-year-old Rotweiler in the car as temperatures outside topped 100 degrees. The dog, Sierra, died after being left in the vehicle on Wednesday afternoon. The man claims he answered a phone after leaving the car and forgot about the dog.

* A new cell phone law goes into effect in California on July 1. If you are caught holding a phone in your hand while driving, police will issue fines. The initial ticket is $20, but with court fees, it's closer to $75. Motorists will still be allowed to use a hand-held cell phone or other mobile device in an emergency.

* Mixed results Thursday afternoon for So Cal's baseball teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers scored a 7-4 win in Cincinnati, while the San Diego Padres dropped a 2-1 decision to the Yankees in New York.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Celtics Rout Lakers 131-92, Claim 17th NBA Title

The NBA championship is back with its traditional holder - the Boston Celtics.

Boston placed five players in double figures, led by a game-high 26 points from both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, in routing the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday evening in Beantown, 131-92. Finals MVP Paul Pierce added 17 points. You could say that the Big 3 had a little help from their friends.

Rajon Rondo (21 points, six steals) and James Posey (11 points), who also both scored in double figures, and a cast of others, clearly outplayed the Lakers on this late spring evening in Boston.

This was no fluke or what could have been for the Lakers. They were clearly outplayed for most of the Finals and by one factor - defense. Although Boston scored 131 points on this night, it was the defensive play of the Celtics that was the difference.

As great a player as Kobe Bryant is, his supporting cast left him out to dry for most of the Finals. There is no doubt Bryant is the best player in the NBA at this time, but his teammates were virtually non-existent for much of this series.

Although the Lakers figure to be back in the hunt next season, and although salaries and free agency will play a major role with this team, management needs to do some house cleaning. We believe that moving Vlad Radmanovic, Luke Walton and Ronny Turiaf would be a good start. The Lakers bench in this series was clearly a major disappointment.

Secondly, Lamar Odom needs to amp up his game if he wants to keep playing with Bryant. Odom, except for flashes of good play here and there, was also non-existent in this series. The same could be said for Pau Gasol.

In the end, the better team clearly won, but Lakers fan can only wonder what the series would had been like if Bryant would have had a little help from his friends.

Monday, June 16, 2008



* Police captured a parolee accused in the killing of a Yolo County sheriff's deputy in Dunnigan. Marco Antonio Topete, 35, of Arbucke was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing deputy Tony Diaz of Woodland. The shooting happened around 10 p.m. Sunday during a traffic stop. Topete reportedly then fled on foot after the shooting. Dunnigan is approximately 40 miles from Sacramento.

* Police shot and killed a man outside Turlock Saturday evening after he reportedly beat a baby to death. The man reportedly fought with passers-by who tried to intervene, before he was shot to by a police officer. The 27-year-old suspect has not been identified. The child appeared to be 1 or 2 years old.

* One woman was killed and seven others were injured Sunday after an SUV ran into a crowd of people leaving church in Venice. The vehicle hit five people around 1:15 p.m. following a Father's Day mass at the Catholic Church of St. Mark.

* The former husband of a San Diego area woman who was found dead in her driveway in May was to be arraigned today on a murder charge. Frank Weaver, 60, was arrested last month in Idaho and brought back to San Diego. While police have not said how the Santee woman died, her body exhibited signs of trauma, according to reports.


* With Game 5 in their pockets, the Los Angeles Lakers headed back east today to prepare for Tuesday night's Game 6 in the NBA Finals with the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles avoided elimination Sunday evening with a 103-98 victory at the Staples Center.

* In baseball action today, New York Mets at Los Angeles Angels (7:05 p.m.); Detroit Tigers at San Francisco Giants (7:15 p.m.).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hollywood Celebs Need to Tell It Like It Is

Do you think there will come a day when Hollywood celebrities just tell us the truth? We didn't think so.

The Hollywood crowd goes out of its way to shield itself from the public, except of course, when it will do them some good.

Whether it is the hush-hush of having a baby, noting a disease or who you are currently dating, Hollywood celebs go out of their way to keep it private for the most part. Now everyone is entitled to their privacy of course, but we generally support these stars through thick and thin.

A report out today says actor Paul Newman, 83, is doing just fine after previous communications said he was battling lung cancer. Okay, either Newman is fighting lung cancer or he is doing just fine for a man his age, which is it? If he is battling lung cancer but is in relatively good condition, then just tell us that. Maybe he could help other lung cancer patients by coming out and addressing the disease.

Are celebs afraid that if word gets out they are seriously ill, etc. that they will never work again?

Another example are Hollywood celebs having babies and keeping it more of a secret than the secret code at Fort Knox. While we don't need to know every single detail, telling us (the public who supports your movies and tv shows) a few nuggets is not the end of the world.

On a brighter but sad note, we congratulate Ed McMahon for going public on his foreclosure difficulties. McMahon and his wife are reportedly some $640,000 behind on house payments and could lose their home. Maybe McMahon did it to gain some attention for his personal cause, but it is something most folks would not want to brag about. We applaud McMahon for being up front about it.

Maybe some other celebs will take a cue from Johnny's right hand man and just tell it like it is.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jail Time for Jocelyn? Not Just Yet

Is jail time in the cards for Jocelyn Kirsch? Well, at least not yet.

A judge in Philadelphia on Thursday released her on bail and said that she could continue home confinement. It was just recently that Kirsch was on California soil and allegedly up to her old tricks again.

You remember our report ( a few days ago on our globe-trotting little daddy's girl, right? Well if you don't know, Kirsch, 22, is charged with identity theft that allowed her and her former boyfriend to travel the world for a year at other people's expenses.

Kirsch had been under house arrest, but new allegations are that she stole a credit card while working at a Starbucks in California where her mother resides. The original charges from her jet-setting travels include aggravated identity theft, money laundering and fraud. The judge, however, said the alleged credit card swipe in California was not considered a violent crime.

Maybe a little time behind bars with some other girls, and not the kind who have breast implants, tons of money (via other people) and travel the world will do little Jocelyn some good.

Photo courtesy of Fox 29

Tuesday, June 3, 2008



* SAN DIEGO - With all the votes not counted yet, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders (pictured) garnered 52 percent of the vote in his race against businessman Steve Francis for mayor. If Sanders holds onto his current lead, he will avoid a November runoff election against Francis. Francis, who spent more than $4 million campaigning, is trying to oust Sanders from office, in an election that has gotten ugly at times.

* SAN FRANCISCO - According to the San Francisco Medical Examiner, a teen killed last December by an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo had both marijuana and alcohol in his system at the time of his death. A just released toxicology report says Carlos Sousa Jr. had both drugs in his body when killed. Two of Sousa's friends were injured by the tiger, who was killed by police. The zoo has come under fire because it was discovered that the enclosure surrounding the tiger was lower than what industry standards recommend.

* RANCHO CUCAMONGA - A Rancho Cucamonga transient is behind bars, accused of torturing cats. Officials allege that Timothy Kooyman, 24, abused two cats who were found with broken bones and had their tails removed. He is also linked to an arson in which a cat had been covered with gasoline and set on fire. He is charged with six counts of felony animal cruelty and one count of recklessly causing a fire. He was reportedly on probation from abusing cats previously at the time of his arrest.

VENTURA COUNTY - Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten announced that Alexandra Eisele (DOB 10/28/65) of Port Hueneme was found guilty of five felony counts of workers' compensation fraud following a two-week jury trial. On Dec. 8, 2003, Eisele filed a workers' comp claim alleging a work injury from typing and cradling her phone between her head and neck. Eisele's primary treating physician kept her off work based on her complaints that she was in so much pain that she could not work. She then began receiving workers' comp benefits in the form of tax free bi-weekly checks for $820. While Eisele was receiving benefits, her workers' comp insurance carrier learned she had reportedly opened a clothing boutique store and was working. Video surveillance reportedly showed her working at her boutique store for up to seven hours a day.


* The Los Angeles Lakers enter as slight underdogs (+2.5) in Thursday night's opening game of the NBA Finals at Boston. The rivals have not met in the finals in 21 years.