LA Council Approves Sale of ‘Ultracompact” Weapons

August 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 Tuesday to undo a longtime ban on the sale of so called “ultracompact” handguns, bowing to legal pressure from the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

The ban was enacted in 2001 under a motion authored by then-City Councilman Mike Feuer, who is now the city attorney. Feuer and other gun control advocates argued at the time that the smaller weapons, or “pocket rockets,” posed a risk to public safety because they would be easier for criminals to conceal.

The ban prevents the sale within city limits of firearms with a length less that 6.75 inches or a height less than 4.5 inches.

The NRA and California Rifle & Pistol Association have long been opposed to the ban, and last year wrote a letter to Feuer threatening legal action if it was not overturned, arguing that state law allowed the sale of some of the weapons and preempted the local ordinance.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Feuer, noted that the state law changed after the ban was enacted and that other cities and counties have already undone similar ordinances.

“The other municipalities like L.A. County and West Hollywood and San Francisco and Sacramento also have repealed this ordinance,” Wilcox told City News Service.

Wilcox also said that no person has ever been prosecuted for violating the ordinance.

Feuer Sues DOJ Over Crime Fighting Grants

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Justice to block what he calls an unconstitutional effort to withhold crime-fighting grant funds from cities that fail to act as “an arm of federal civil immigration policy.”

The Justice Department recently issued new requirements for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, including that jurisdictions would not be eligible unless they provide 48 hours notice before they “release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities.”

Feuer said he objected to the guidelines for several legal reasons, including that the Justice Department does not have the authority to impose rules on the grant because it was created by Congress.

The city attorney also said the guidelines were impractical because by law the city’s police department cannot hold someone past 48 hours unless an arrest falls over a weekend, making the guidelines unconstitutional.

“We’re suing to block the Trump Administration from unconstitutionally imposing its will on our city. The administration would put L.A. to the untenable choice of risking a key public safety grant or making LAPD an arm of federal civil immigration policy,” Feuer said. “The administration’s action
is as ironic as it is unlawful, since the funds at stake support a model L.A. program targeting violent gang-related crime.”

The Los Angeles Police Department has a longstanding policy of not initiating contact with a person just to ascertain their immigration status.

Since President Donald Trump took office in January and enacted a series of aggressive actions on illegal immigration, city leaders have repeatedly said they will not change their policies to have the LAPD enforce federal immigration law.

The city of Los Angeles received $1.55 million from the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program during the federal government’s 2017 fiscal year, according to Feuer. The city has received more than $1 million annually since 1997 from the grant.

Feuer outlined his objections in a letter to the Justice Department earlier this month.

“Unlike state prisons or Los Angeles County jails, the city’s detention facilities are not used to house inmates serving post-conviction sentences. As such, because Los Angeles rarely, if ever, holds detainees for 48 hours’ time, it is not possible for the city, or other similarly situated cities, to comply with the 48-hour advance notice provision posted in the JAG solicitation, without detaining individuals beyond the point at which they are entitled to release,” Feuer wrote.

Applications for the grant are due by Sept. 5, and Feuer said repeated attempts by his office to get clarification from the Justice Department have not been sufficiently answered.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco, where the city intends to join similar lawsuits filed last week by the state and San Francisco.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the new policies as necessary to help fight illegal immigration when he announced them last month.

“So-called `sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said when he announced the new guidelines in July. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by
perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”

City Council President Herb Wesson said he supported Feuer’s lawsuit.

“We have a responsibility to the families of Los Angeles to always fight for their safety and protection,” Wesson said. “Our city is a beacon of light for the rest of the country because we do not compromise our values, regardless of what the federal government demands.”

Feuer Goes After Carl’s Jr. for Wage Theft

June 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Monday that he is taking legal action against the Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain for alleged wage theft.

The company is accused of failing to pay 37 workers at seven of its Los Angeles locations the minimum wage of $10.50 per hour from July through December of last year.

Carl’s Jr. is facing a possible total of $1.45 million in restitution and penalties. Feuer said the alleged lost wages totaled over $5,000, but a fine is assessed each day the wage is unpaid, and the company is also facing more fines for allegedly failing to allow investigators access to employees and for not posting required signage about minimum wage laws.

“L.A. law is clear: Employees must be paid at least the minimum wage. Anything less is a slap in the face to workers struggling to make ends meet. This is a major corporation that should know the rules,” Feuer said. “Our offices will always aggressively stand up for workers to ensure they get the wages they’re owed, and all the protections and benefits the law demands.”

Feuer said the case stemmed from a complaint made by a Carl’s Jr. employee, which triggered an investigation by the city’s Office of Wage Standards.

Carl’s Jr. did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

“The minimum wage is a legally established threshold below which employers may not venture to pay their workers,” said John Reamer, who oversees the Office of Wage Standards as head of the Bureau of Contract Administration. “The minimum wage was established to ensure economic equity and opportunity, and the Office of Wage Standards will continue to partner with the city attorney to regulate and enforce compliance with the law.”

Feuer said that Carl’s Jr. sent his office documentation Monday showing it had paid its workers for the lost wages and that his office was still working to verify the paperwork.

The money Carl’s Jr. is being ordered to pay is $910,010 in penalties to the 37 employees no later than July 24, and $541,423 in penalties and fines for allegedly violating the minimum wage law, failing to post the required notice at two locations and failing to provide investigators access to interview employees at two locations.

Feuer said Carl’s Jr. has a right to appeal the legal action, but failure to make payments could result in a civil action or a lien against Carl’s Jr. properties in the city alleged to be involved in the wage theft.

Feuer Acusa a Carl’s Jr. de Robar Salarios

June 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El fiscal de la cuidad de Los Ángeles, Mike Feuer, anunció el lunes que esta tomando acciones legales contra la cadena de comida rápida de Carl’s Jr. por presunto robo de salarios.

La compañía es acusada de no pagar a 37 trabajadores en siete de sus locaciones en Los Ángeles el salario mínimo de $10.50 por hora de julio a diciembre del año pasado.

Carl’s Jr. se enfrenta a un posible total de $1.45 millones en restitución y sanciones. Feuer dijo que los supuestos salarios perdidos ascendieron a más de 5 mil dólares, pero una multa se cobra cada día que el salario no es pagado y la compañía también enfrenta más multas por presuntamente no permitir que los investigadores tengan acceso a los empleados y no publicar letreros sobre las leyes del salario mínimo.

“La ley de Los Ángeles es clara: los empleados deben ser pagados por lo menos el salario mínimo. Cualquier cosa menos es una bofetada a los trabajadores que luchan para llegar a fin de mes. Esta es una corporación importante que debe conocer las reglas”, dijo Feuer. “Nuestras oficinas siempre se defenderán agresivamente para que los trabajadores se aseguren de que obtienen los salarios que se les deben y todas las protecciones y beneficios que la ley exige”.

Feuer dijo que el caso provenía de una queja hecha por un empleado de Carl’s Jr., lo que desencadenó una investigación por la Oficina de Normas de Salario de la cuidad.

Carl’s Jr. no respondió inmediatamente a una solicitud de comentario.

“El salario mínimo es un umbral legalmente establecido por debajo de cual los empleadores no pueden aventurarse a pagar a sus trabajadores”, dijo John Reamer, que supervisa la Oficina de Normas de Salario como jefe de la Oficina de Administración de Contratos. “El salario mínimo se estableció para garantizar la equidad economía y la oportunidad, y la Oficina de Normas de Salario continuará asociándose con el abogado de la cuidad para regular y hacer efectivo el cumplimento de la ley”.

Feuer dijo que Carl’s Jr. le envió la documentación a su oficina el lunes mostrando que habían pagado a sus trabajadores por los salarios perdidos y que su oficina todavía estaba trabajando para verificar el papeleo.

El dinero que Carl’s Jr. tiene que pagar es de $910,010 en multas a los 37 empleados a más tardar el 24 de julio y $541,423 en sanciones y multas por supuestamente violar la ley de salario mínimo, no publicar el aviso requerido en dos lugares y no proporcionar a los investigadores el acceso para entrevistar a los empleados en dos locaciones.

Feuer dijo que Carl’s Jr. tiene el derecho de apelar la acción legal, pero el no hacer pagos podría resultar en una acción civil o un embargo preventivo contra las propiedades de Carl’s Jr. en la cuidad que supuestamente están involucradas en el robo de salarios.

Wells Fargo Claws Back Millions in Compensation

April 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

LOS ANGELES  – Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said Monday the Wells Fargo board’s decision to claw back $75 million in compensation from two ex-executives it blames for much of the company’s sales scandal is a “positive step,” but falls short.

Feuer’s office last year settled a lawsuit it brought against the bank after some of its employees created more than two million unauthorized accounts as a way to meet aggressive sales goals set by management.

The settlement resulted in $50 million in civil penalties for the city of Los Angeles and $135 million for two federal agencies, and Wells Fargo was ordered to provide restitution to affected customers.

“From the moment we sued Wells Fargo over fake accounts through the time we resolved the case, the bank seemed determined to blame and fire low-level employees, rather than take responsibility at the top,” Feuer said in a prepared statement.

“While clawing back outrageous bonuses from people in charge when the scandal erupted is a positive step, providing full restitution to affected customers is imperative,” he said. “Pursuant to our settlement, next month Wells will report to me on its progress toward doing just that. My office and
our federal partners will continue to watch closely and take any further action necessary to hold Wells or other big banks accountable.”

Wells Fargo is seeking a total of $75 million from former chief executive John G. Stumpf and its former head of community banking, Carrie L. Tolstedt.

Lacey, Feuer Join Call to Stop ICE Courthouse Arrests

April 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

LOS ANGELES  – Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey are among a dozen prosecutors who sent a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking the federal government to stop its agents from making immigration arrests at local courthouses.

The letter was sent in support of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who first raised the issue in March in a letter to the Trump administration.

The letter followed a report by the Los Angeles Times that found Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado are arresting immigrants in the country illegally at courthouses.

ICE officials defended the tactic, saying they make arrests in courthouses only when all other options have been exhausted, according to The Times.

Cantil-Sakauye wrote that she worried about the “impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be.”

Feuer and Lacey were joined by 10 other prosecutors who signed the letter, including Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, Santa Monica City Attorney Joseph Lawrence and Burbank City Attorney Amy Albano.

“ICE courthouse arrests make all Californians less safe. These practices deter residents concerned about their immigration status from appearing in court – including as crime victims and witnesses – jeopardizing effective prosecution of criminals who may then re-offend,” the letter said.

City of L.A. Joins Transgender Student Equal Rights Lawsuit

March 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office announced Thursday the city has joined with about 30 other cities and counties in a legal brief supporting a transgender student’s equal rights case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The brief was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender boy, after the Gloucester County, Virginia, school board passed a policy that prevents him from using the boys’ restroom.

Transgender students in the district are required to use separate single-stall restrooms.

“All our children deserve fair and equal treatment,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “All our children are entitled to respect and to be free from discrimination. That includes our transgender children.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed Feuer’s sentiments.

“No child should be subjected to bullying, intimidation, or humiliation. Discrimination against the transgender community is wrong, it can be especially destructive in the lives of young people, and has no place in our schools,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I am proud to stand with cities across America in the fight to protect the dignity and safety of all our children.”

Feuer said the brief argues that forcing transgender students to use these separate restrooms is a form of `separate but equal’ treatment that “visibly marks them as different from their peers and exposes them to a risk of violence and harassment.”

Los Ángeles Pagará la Defensa de Indocumentados Ante Amenazas de Trump

December 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Autoridades locales de Los Ángeles anunciaron el 19 de diciembre una iniciativa para establecer un fondo de ayuda legal de diez millones de dólares para la defensa de los indocumentados que enfrenten una deportación durante el gobierno del presidente electo, Donald Trump.

“Las personas que han construido sus vidas en Estados Unidos tienen derechos y merecen todas las protecciones que ofrece nuestro sistema legal”, dijo el alcalde de Los Ángeles, Eric Garcetti al anunciar esta alianza.

“El Fondo de Justicia de L.A. llegará a personas que son estadounidenses por cada medida excepto por los papeles que portan, miembros de nuestra familia, amigos, vecinos y compañeros de trabajo. Ellos son parte de nuestra comunidad y lucharemos por ellos”, agregó el alcalde al explicar la iniciativa.

El fondo es una alianza entre la ciudad de Los Ángeles, el condado de L.A., la Fundación de la Comunidad de California, la Fundación Weingart y California Endowment.

El aporte provendrá de 5 millones de fondos de los gobiernos locales, mientras que la otra mitad procederá de las fundaciones privadas.

“Debemos aumentar nuestros esfuerzos para ofrecer representación legal a los residentes inmigrantes que necesitan un abogado pero no pueden pagarlo”, argumentó la supervisora del condado, la hispana Hilda Solís.

“Construir alianzas público-privadas entre el condado de Los Ángeles, la ciudad Los Ángeles y organizaciones filantrópicas será absolutamente crucial como pioneros de este esfuerzo”, agregó.

En su reunión de mañana, la Junta de Supervisores de Los Ángeles tiene previsto estudiar el aporte de, al menos, un millón de dólares para financiar los procesos legales de los indocumentados

El concejal Gil Cedillo, representante del primer distrito, destacó la iniciativa de hoy como un modelo para resolver amenazas futuras.

“Esta cooperación multisectorial e intergubernamental servirá como una guía para resolver futuros desafíos sociales”, afirmó Cedillo.

“Unidos estaremos mejor preparados para responderle a Trump y darle a nuestros constituyentes un sentido de alivio al saber que estamos peleando por ellos”, aseguró el político hispano.

El fiscal de Los Ángeles, Mike Feuer, igualmente respaldó la iniciativa en favor de los indocumentados.

“Un sistema jurídico justo debe ofrecer a los inmigrantes que enfrentan la deportación -incluyendo niños y familias que tratan de alcanzar sus esperanzas y sueños- con abogados para proteger sus derechos”, afirmó Feuer.

El fiscal argumentó que este fondo evitará además que el fraude: “En este clima de miedo es crucial que los inmigrantes acudan a abogados legítimos para que no sean víctimas de estafadores que se aprovechan de su vulnerabilidad”.

Las autoridades angelinas se alinearon así con los legisladores estatales que a inicios de diciembre anunciaron una “lucha frontal” contra las posibles medidas de deportación de Trump, que hizo de la inmigración uno de los ejes de la campaña electoral, durante la cual prometió además levantar un muro en la frontera con México.

En su sesión inaugural, el presidente encargado del Senado, Kevin de León, y el presidente de la Cámara, Anthony Rendón, aseguraron que utilizarán su poder político y legislativo para luchar contra las masivas deportaciones anunciadas por Trump.

Igualmente varios legisladores presentaron proyectos de ley para pagar por los abogados de los indocumentados, oponerse a la construcción del muro fronterizo y prohibir a las agencias estatales que den cierta información de los inmigrantes al Gobierno federal, entre otros.

Fuentes oficiales calculan que en el área del Gran Los Ángeles hay 3.700 inmigrantes detenidos que no tienen representación legal, y miles más se agregarían en caso de que las autoridades intensificaran la aplicación de las leyes federales de inmigración.

El condado de Los Ángeles tiene el mayor número de indocumentados del estado, con cerca de 815.000, según un cálculo del Instituto de Política Pública de California, que estima en 2,1 millones el total de indocumentados en la región.

“En este momento, el paso más importante que podemos dar es establecer este fondo de ayuda legal, de manera que nuestras comunidades más vulnerables sepan que estamos trabajando para mantenerlas seguras y protegidas”, afirmó Solís.

Ejecutivo Viviendo en Contenedor de Carga Enfrenta Problemas Legales en Montecito Heights

August 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

El fundador de la compañía Soylent, la cual produce bebidas de reemplazo alimenticio, se enfrenta a cargos por instalar un contenedor de carga como su vivienda en su propiedad en Montecito Heights, anunció el fiscal municipal, Mike Feuer el viernes, 29 de Julio.

Robert Rose Rhinehart Jr. presuntamente violó los códigos de la zona, falló en cumplir con las regulaciones del departamento de construcción y seguridad de la ciudad y obró sin obtener los permisos correspondientes para su establecimiento.

Según los abogados de la ciudad, ellos intentaron colaborar con Rhinehart en junio pero él se rehusó a cooperar y no quiso aceptar un plazo de cumplimiento para los requisitos.

El fiscal municipal dijo que su oficina exigirá la rendición de cuentas a todos los dueños de las propiedades en la comunidad que no sigan las normas establecidas para la construcción.

“Las estructuras edificadas sin consentimiento de la ciudad presentan un riesgo de seguridad” y además corrompen nuestro estilo de vida ya que pueden ser desagradables a la vista”, dijo Feuer.

Un contenedor de envío fue encontrado por inspectores en la propiedad de Rhinehart, situada en el 2936 N. Ashland Ave., en abril. El contenedor fue caracterizado por el ejecutivo como una “instalación de vivienda experimental”.

Una multa de $4,000 junto con una posibilidad de dos años en prisión serán aplicados al jefe ejecutivo si él es encontrado culpable.

Pregnancy Clinics Warned to Follow ‘Choice’ Law

May 26, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said Monday he has taken steps to enforce a new state law that requires pregnancy centers and clinics to provide clients with referrals to low-cost or free abortion, contraception and family planning services, and he sent letters to six facilities to remind them to comply.

AB 775, which went into effect in January, requires that “there be accurate, clear information provided by these so-called crisis pregnancy centers,” Feuer said.

“We’re going to move forward to enforce the law,” Feuer said, even though some jurisdictions in California are holding off on enforcement until legal challenges from anti-abortion groups are resolved.

Feuer noted that “so far no court has agreed to suspend implementation of this law.”

“Waiting for a day, or a week, or a month to enforce this law threatens the health and safety of women who, during that time period, may not be informed of their choices,” Feuer said.

Matt Bowman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom — which represents the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, or NIFLA — said AB 775 violates the First Amendment rights of pregnancy centers.

“Requiring pro-life pregnancy health centers to refer women for free abortions is a blatant violation of their free speech rights,” Bowman said.

A federal appeals court is set to hear the alliance’s challenge on June 14, Bowman said.

Attorneys for Humboldt County and the cities of Grass Valley and Eureka have agreed not to enforce the law while legal challenges are pending, according to court papers provided by Bowman.

Feuer said Monday he sent compliance notices to six pregnancy centers — two of which are unlicensed as medical facilities — to inform them of the law’s requirements. He noted, however, he had no evidence that any of them have been violating the law.

“They are varying entities that are obligated under the statutes of the law to comply with the law,” he said. “Whether they are or not remains to be seen.”

Feuer said he will send out more letters once he identifies additional centers in the city subject to the law.

The county Department of Business Consumer Affairs will follow-up on the notices with “investigations to ensure the laws are being effectuated by these crisis pregnancy centers,” Feuer said.

Under the state law, centers that offer counseling about pregnancy options or other pregnancy-related services are required to post information about how to access a range of programs, including abortion and contraception, or provide clients with the information on paper or digitally.

Facilities that are unlicensed must also disclose that they are not licensed as medical providers. The first offense of the law carries a $500 fine, while additional violations each have a $1,000 penalty.

Feuer’s office sent the notices to:
— Avenues Pregnancy Clinic, 862 N. Vermont Ave.;
— Los Angeles Pregnancy Services, 2524 W. Seventh St.;
— Claris Health Pregnancy Clinic, 11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 570;
— Pregnancy Counseling Center, 10211 Sepulveda Blvd.;
— Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic, 9535 Reseda Blvd., Suite 303; and
— Harbor Pregnancy Help Center, 705 W. Pacific Coast Highway.

Several of the centers referred CNS to Bowman and other attorneys for NIFLA, which is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits challenging the law.

Dan Steiner, executive director of Avenues Pregnancy Clinic, told CNS his facility has “always complied with the law” and that “every woman we’ve talked to, we’ve talked about abortion.”

Fawn Kemble, the client services director for the Claris Health Pregnancy Clinic in West Los Angeles, said the facility has been “in compliance since January” and has been providing pregnancy option information to clients with a paper handout. Claris CEO Talitha Phillips said that prior to
the law going into effect, the clinic was already providing information about abortion services, “anytime a woman wants information about options,” and the clinic is not among the groups challenging AB 775.

Feuer’s statements today were applauded by NARAL Pro-Choice California, which sponsored AB 775 together with Attorney General Kamala Harris and the group Black Women for Wellness.

“Today, the city and county of Los Angeles took a stand against anti-choice bullies that are using the courts to interfere with women’s reproductive health choices,” the group’s state director, Amy Everitt, said. “Other cities and counties should follow their lead and send a clear message that our
commitment to women’s health won’t be compromised.”

City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who represents a San Fernando Valley district, said she received a complaint last year from a constituent that a pregnancy center — one of the six that received notices from Feuer — failed to offer information about abortion services.

“She went in for the full range of services and this particular option to terminate her pregnancy was not offered to her, and she ended up carrying to full term,” Martinez said.

Martinez said she recently introduced a motion addressing pregnancy centers that steer clients away from abortion. She described these centers as “often deceptive” and “detrimental to women when they are most vulnerable.”

“They make women believe that they are medical clinics or that they offer options for women who are pregnant, and they really don’t,” she said.

“In fact, in many of these centers … they keep information from women who are thinking about terminating their pregnancy, or they’ll pressure a woman into making a specific decision about her pregnancy which may not be the best option for her or her individual circumstances.”

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