CalPERS Succeeds In Getting Appeal Of SB Bankruptcy Ruling Certified

(December 18)  LOS ANGELES—The California Public Employees Retirement System will get another bite at the apple in trying to establish that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury erred when she ruled four months ago that the city of San Bernardino qualified for bankruptcy protection.
After years of staving off financial challenges, San Bernardino filed a Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition in August 2012. In its filing, the county seat asserted it had $180 million in ongoing unfunded liabilities and a $49 million annual operating deficit. Shortly thereafter, the state’s public employees retirement system, known by its acronym CalPERS, contested the city’s filing, maintaining San Bernardino has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets it could liquidate to make good on its responsibility to its creditors.
CalPERS is San Bernardino’s largest creditor. The city currently has a $25 million annual obligation to the retirement system and it withheld more than $14 million in pension fund payments from July 2012 until July of this year. The city wants to continue to make partial payments until such time as it gets back on its feet financially. Even more alarming to CalPERS is the perception that the city is looking down the road at a longer-term solution that would include renegotiating the amount of its commitment to the retirement system, one that would indeed set a precedent in California of reducing the pensions of retired or soon-to-retire city employees.
In addition to opposing San Bernardino’s bankruptcy petition outright, CalPERS has asserted that the pension fund system has a special status among the city’s creditors and that it should go to the front of the line when the city begins to pay those to whom it is in arrears. Jury did not accept that, ruling that CalPERS has no greater or lesser standing than the scores of other entities the city owes money to.
Moreover, Jury has consistently ruled that San Bernardino is as insolvent as it claims. In August, she ruled that the city’s bankruptcy should be granted pursuant to a pendency plan by which the city continues to pay its employees and other expenses critical to its day-to-day operations but services its other debts on the basis of the limited financial means available to it.
CalPERS wants out of Jury’s courtroom and previously pressed for leave to appeal the matter to another judge, a request Jury denied.
CalPERS took a writ to U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, where Judge Dolly Gee granted the pension fund’s request to appeal Jury’s findings directly to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Gee’s decision merely gives the California Public Employees’ Retirement System permission to request that the 9th Circuit here the case. The 9th Circuit can turn down the appeal request or agree to hear arguments that Judge Jury was wrong in allowing the city to envelope itself in the blanket of bankruptcy protection.
Jury had been reluctant to allow CalPERS to pursue the appeal because she was hopeful that ongoing mediation sessions involving the city and its creditors before one of her colleagues, U.S Bankruptcy Judge Gregg Zive, were making considerable progress and she was concerned the appeal would divert both the city and the pension fund’s focus to non- productive issues.
As it stands, the Zive-led efforts to reach an accommodation will continue while the 9th Circuit considers whether to hear the appeal.
That appeal and the mediation come in the midst of a profound examination of a basic public financial and policy issue, i.e., the question of whether public pension obligations are to be held as sacrosanct, no matter how generous or reasonable individual pensions are, or whether troubled municipalities can skip out on their commitments to continuously fund the retirement accounts of  their current and past employees.
San Bernardino is at the forefront of that issue, having sought to have its pension fund obligations categorized as indistinguishable from its responsibilities to its other creditors.
In the cases of two other cities in California that have sought bankruptcy protection, Stockton and Vallejo, those cities have chosen to stay current on their obligations to CalPERS.
Seven–ninths of the way across the continent, in Detroit, the Motor City had its bankruptcy petition granted on December 3 as a consequence of having run up a monster debt so humongous it could only be estimated – at an unfathomable $18 billion. The U.S. Bankruptcy Judge  hearing that case, Steven Rhodes, threw public employee unions and pension funds into paroxysms when he  ruled that Detroit is not only eligible for bankruptcy but can also cut pension benefits as part of its strategy to map its way out of the financial abyss it has found itself in. Pensions, just like any other contracts, can be altered, given the exigency of bankruptcy, Rhodes ruled.
Rhodes’ ruling provides a precedent that outfits San Bernardino with more leverage in its match with CalPERS, providing the city with the potential option of abrogating a contract that CalPERS and the city’s municipal employee’s unions considered absolutely ironclad.
Like that of Jury, Rhodes’ ruling is now the target of an appeal request.

Lame Duck SB Councilman Jenkins Pleads Not Guilty

(December 17)  RIVERSIDE—San Bernardino Second Ward Councilman Robert Jenkins pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the thirty criminal charges lodged against him by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
On October 17, Jenkins was charged with 18 felonies and 12 misdemeanors pertaining to his use of the internet to place several personal advertisements on Craigslist seeking sex liaisons and then diverting responses to those ads to his one-time boyfriend or the man whom Jenkins is alleged to have believed his former boyfriend to be involved with, as well as with forging a San Bernardino Police Department internal memorandum. Jenkins is represented by attorney Virginia Blumenthal, who has consistently proclaimed her client’s innocence, as well as by attorney Jeff Moore.
Blumenthal previously suggested Jenkins, who once hid but now openly acknowledges his homosexuality, was set up by his former lover, who had a key to his home and access to his computer.
But the Riverside District Attorney’s Office says evidence churned up during the course of its investigation contradicts that version of events. Investigators traced the online ads to Jenkins directly at locations beyond his home, linking the postings, through IP, or Internet protocol, addresses at his workplace at the Riverside Office of Education and the home of his relatives, where his former boyfriend had no access.
Moreover, the forged San Bernardino Police Department memorandum was conclusively shown to be the handiwork of Jenkins, investigators insist. Jenkins is said to have relied upon his access, as a city councilman, to materials unavailable to the two alleged victims in the case. The forged memorandum utilized the names of two department employees, Sgt. Tom Bielaszka and Lt. Dario Robinson, along with police department seals. The memorandum was intended to make it appear that Jenkins had also been a victim of online harassment, according to the district attorney’s office.
Jenkins, who avoided arrest and being taken into custody when Blumenthal arranged for a bondsman to post $25,000 bail on Jenkin’s behalf through the court on the day he was charged, was nevertheless hurt by the negative publicity surrounding the affair. On November 5, Jenkins failed in his reelection attempt, losing to his only opponent in the race, Benito Barrios. Jenkins will remain in office until March, when Barrios is to be sworn in.

Facing Financial Meltdown, Hi-Desert Medical Center Promotes Tyk To CEO

(December 16)  JOSHUA TREE — The Hi-Desert Medical Center’s governing board on December 11 voted unanimously to promote Robert Tyk, the hospital’s chief financial officer for the last 11 months, to the position of chief executive officer.
The board’s action follows by less than two months what was termed a mutually agreed-upon  decision  for current chief executive officer Lionel “Chad” Chadwick to depart at the end of the year.
Tyk will officially take over the reins of the hospital on January 1.
The decision to hire Tyk came during a half hour-log closed session in which Dianne Swella was not present but participated by the means of a remote communication device.
The same secrecy that shrouded Tyk’s selection attended Chadwick’s departure. Throughout the first nine months of 2013, Chadwick appeared to be working diligently on the financial challenges facing the hospital district. On October 29, however, the district made an abrupt announcement that Chadwick would be leaving his position on December 31. Despite statements to the effect that all parties were amenable to the departure, an indication of the board’s discomfiture with Chadwick came in the form of the terms of his departure, which did not include the conferring of a severance payment.
A terse press release that went out with the announcement of Chadwick’s pending departure cited “irreconcilable incompatibility of management approach” between Chadwick as hospital CEO and the board. “Dr. Chadwick has made meaningful and appreciated contributions to the district’s mission and operations,” according to the release. “We thank him for his many contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
The hospital district’s financial woes are variegated, consisting of burgeoning patient care costs and dwindling revenue from solvent patients, insurance carriers and governmental programs set up to cover the medical costs of indigent patients or those otherwise eligible for subsidized medical assistance.
Many of the services rendered at the hospital by doctors are not billed for by the hospital but by the  physicians themselves, who are not employees of the hospital, by law.  The hospital does not now have clearly delineated revenue sharing agreements with local healthcare providers such as Oasis Healthcare and the county of San Bernardino.
A major portion of Hi-Desert Medical Center’s financial travail is attributable to the persisting economic recession, which has been accompanied by the reduction of government payments to hospitals, including 25 percent cuts from the Medicare and MediCal programs, entailing an annual loss of revenue to the institution exceeding $500,000.  Simultaneously, federal law mandates that hospitals deliver emergency care whether or not patents have medical coverage or the ability to pay for that treatment.  This has been coupled with steady increases in the cost of delivering medical care.
Chadwick had advocated the aggressive use of case management to discharge recovered patients earlier and reduce the length of time they remained in the hospital consuming costly services. This was of only limited success.
In order to remain operational, Hi-Desert Medical Center has for the last three-and-a-half years burned entirely through its operating budgets and tapped into financial reserves.  Chadwick’s attempts to stem this hemorrhaging of red ink have failed, resulting in the consternation of the board. Chadwick’s efforts to directly lobby both state and federal legislators for relief, coupled with similar requests of other civic and community leaders he had enlisted for that cause were largely ineffective.
In a last-ditch effort to right the hospital’s listing financial ship before he was essentially forced out, Chadwick in September induced the board to vote to put a tax initiative on the November 2014 ballot.
That move was considered a long shot. In the less lean economic atmosphere of 2005, the hospital sought voter approval for Measure N, a tax bond that would have added $24 to individual homeowners’ annual property taxes to provide funding for emergency room improvements and other hospital service enhancements. Measure N went down in defeat in a mail-in ballot election.
The board, led by board president Korina Cole, is staking the hospital’s future on what it hopes will prove to be the superior financial management skills of Tyk, who boasts more than three decades of experience in the healthcare industry, including a stint as chief financial officer for Roswell Regional Hospital in New Mexico and interim financial management and reform work at several institutions while he was with Kaizen Consulting.
Tyk said he took pride in his selection by the board to “lead our healthcare district through these challenging times. I look forward to working with this board, our physicians and staff to ensure the viability and future of our healthcare district.”

Ontario Airport Displays A Trove Of Diverse Art By SoCal Artists

(December 17)  Travelers will have another reason to utilize Ontario International Airport over the next five months as its two main terminals will host a display of the work by several contemporary artists relating to international themes.
Los Angeles World Airports), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, announces a group exhibition featuring twelve Los Angeles-based artists who derive inspiration from the urban and natural worlds to create photographs, paintings, sculptures, and installations, which are on display at Ontario International Airport, on the Departures Levels in Terminals 2 and 4 through May 2014.Curated by Ginger Van Hook, Out of Thin Air features a blend of original contemporary artworks reflecting the individual artistic processes intrinsic to working and creating in Southern California amidst an assemblage of people, places, and ideas from across the world.
Los Angeles World Airports, known by its acronym LAWA, is the airport oversight and operations department for the city of Los Angeles, which owns and operates  Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport, and Van Nuys Airport.  Over the last several years, city of Ontario officials have been critical of LAWA as ridership at Ontario International has declined from its peak of 7.2 million passengers enplaned there in 2007 to 3.9 million this year. In response, LAWA is seeking to attract passengers to San Bernardino County’s largest commercial airport, a medium-hub, full-service facility with seven carriers offering 14 daily nonstop flights to 13 major U.S. cities plus seven daily non-stops to Guadalajara, Mexico.
Out of Thin Air is a free exhibit on the second floor of both terminals, beyond the airport’s security screening barriers, making it accessible only to ticket-bearing passengers.
The nine artists on exhibit in Terminal 4 use a variety of media and methods to survey their surroundings.
Kenneth Ober, Luke Van Hook, Holly Tempo, and Michael Giancristiano demonstrate distinct approaches in examining and interpreting the landscape, in its organic and artificial states, from intricate renderings to fields of color and pattern.  Renée Foxcombinesornate paintings and sculpturesto depict microscopic occurrences, such as the propagation of a flower or the power of a seed, while Shizuko Greenblatt incorporates synthetic and organic objects to reference Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
Michael Massenburg and Mark X Farina mix color, language, and abstract forms to create a sensory experience and express human relationships with the environment. Artworks by Scott Griegeralter manipulate perspective using digital art and design.
The three artists on exhibit in Terminal 2, Siri Kaur, Yoichi Kawamura, and Anne Marie Rousseau, use photography to explore the expansive and limitlessness nature of the skies. Kawamura’s images of distant horizons and Kaur’s diptych of photographs capturing the Aurora Borealis reference themes of infinity, vastness, and contemplation. Rousseau’s combination of air show photographs creates a collage of intersecting lines and open space.
Initiated in 1990, the purpose of the Public Art and Exhibitions Program at Los Angeles World Airports is to educate and entertain the traveling public at Los Angeles International, Ontario International and the FlyAway Bus Terminal at Van Nuys Airport. The program showcases local and regional artists through temporary exhibitions and permanent public art installations, which enhance and humanize the overall travel experience for millions every year. Additional information is available at
Ontario International Airport is located near the confluence of the I-10 and I-15 freeways, roughly 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, and close to Orange County, the San Gabriel Valley, and Palm Springs. making it the Inland Empire’s preferred airport for nonstop flights throughout the West.  Information on flights and schedules is available at

Chabot To Run In 40th Assembly District

(December 19)  Paul Chabot has given indication he will run for the lower house of the California Legislature if  40th Assembly District Assemblyman Mike Morrell is obliged to leave that post if he achieves success in his bid to succeed bill Emmerson, who resigned as 23rd District state senator effective December 1. That senate seat will be filled in a special election next year.
Chabot, a Republican who unsuccessfully sought election to the Assembly in the 63rd District in 2010, touts himself as a conservative, Navy veteran and anti-drug crusader.
Morrell’s 40th Assembly District includes Rancho Cucamonga, the foothills and mountains around San Bernardino, and the cities of Highland, Loma Linda and Redlands. It is considered to be a relatively safe district for Republicans.
Though he has not officially declared his candidacy, Chabot sought to deflate the chances of others who might vie to replace Morrell. In an email sent to his supporters on December 15, Chabot mentioned without being specific a Republican rival to succeed Morrell who he said is claiming to have endorsements of GOP higher-ups. Chabot said that is not true.
“[T]here is misinformation being spread regarding the Assembly race I intend to formally enter after the New Year,” Chabot said. “First, the state party and state party chairman have not endorsed nor are they supporting my soon-to-be opponent in the race. This piece of misinformation has been told to a number of officials in our region. The chairman, by rules, cannot support, and neither can the party. There are two local Republicans in this race so far, and could be others.”
Chabot did not name who those local Republicans are. He said he had personally “just returned from a trip to Sacramento and “leadership” [i.e. Republican Party leadership] has made absolutely no decision on ‘support’in this race –It’s too early.”
Referring to his campaign, Chabot said, “We are not making an official announcement until after the New Year – and even then it’s too early. Morrell still holds the seat and has yet to resign from it.”
“I will go to Sacramento as your future elected Assemblyman and lead with courage, honor, integrity, faith, passion, leadership and dedication,” he declared on one of the website’s pages.

Growing East LA Fixture Manufacturing Company Locates In Ontario

(December 17)  A growing Southern California Company has expanded its manufacturing footprint, moving some two-thirds of its operations into San Bernardino County.
The expansion of CELCO Manufacturing, Inc. from what was formerly its main base of operation in East Los Angeles into the city of Ontario’s industrial district is the model that Inland Empire officials are hoping will be repeated over and over again as business owners are learning that lower property leasing and purchasing prices in and around San Bernardino County represent a decided advantage for entrepreneurs.
Celco is is the corporate personification of the Cortés  Family, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the mid-1970s. Seven of the eight Cortés brothers found employment with Hamilton Fixtures West,  a manufacturer of display furniture located in Brea, learning the various aspects of the fabrication of both wood and metal furnishings and display racks. In 1994, the eleven Cortés  brothers  and sisters – who then ranged in age from 18 to 37 – contributed to starting Celco. They drew their clients from both the retail industry and display furniture manufacturers.  They specialized in providing display racks and cases for companies such as Nabisco and Kraft Foods as well as component parts such as shelving and case legs.
The company struggled initially as it sought to break into a market dominated by well-established companies, but forged a toehold in the industry and grew steadily if slowly for a dozen years. By 1996, Celco boasted 35 employees and exceeded the $3 million revenue mark. The economic downturn that began the following year took its toll, however, and by 2009 the company brought in only $1.8 million and was forced to shed 17 of its employees.  Beginning that year, the company intensified its marketing efforts, targeting furniture design companies with needs for the type of components Celco could readily supply.
By late 2010, the company experienced a turnaround, with a 40 percent uptick in sales. And even as the recession’s grip on the local and national economy persisted, the company continued to prosper. In 2010, the company had $2.6 million in sales. This year, the company is on track to hit over $6 million, and it now employs 58, of whom, according to president and CEO Cesar Cortés, “27 are immediate family.”
The decision to set up shop in Ontario, Cortés said, was one that naturally evolved as a consequence of the company’s success, the lower cost of functioning outside of Los Angeles, the quality of the manufacturing and warehouse space available in Ontario, the nearby presence of a number of the company’s customers and suppliers, as well as the consideration that the new location is much closer to where the majority of Celco’s employees reside.
“We have a 17,000 square foot building in East Los Angeles,” Cesar Cortés told the Sentinel during an exclusive interview at his company’s new 30,000 square-foot plant, located at 1524 West Brooks Street in Ontario. “We are going to keep that facility open while we move 70 percent of our operation here. We chose to relocate here, first, because we need a bigger place and, second, some of our best customers are in this area.  One important difference is it is almost 30 percent less expensive here. Six out of eight of our supervisors live nearby in Chino. Most of our suppliers are closer – San Dimas and Ontario. There is also the advantage of 45,000 square feet of enclosed yard at this location, which is very valuable for the type of business we do.”
Cortés gave a description of the niche his company has found.
“Our basic product line is point of purchase displays – racks and fixtures for department stores such as Sears and Forever 21,”  Cortés said. “Our products include some office furniture. We incorporate wood, metal and plastic into our production process. We provide wood products for companies that fabricate or deal mostly in metal products.  We do thousands of wood components for the La-Z-Boy, United Furniture Industries and Jonathan Louise. We have a couple of customers who purchase close to a million dollars worth of merchandise from us.  We have had great sales for four consecutive years, with each year exceeding the last. In 2010, we predicted sales of $2.8 million and the company hit $3.2 million. We are now up to six million.”
In touting his company’s fabricating capabilities, Cortés said he would like his prospective customers “to know that we are one of just a few companies in Southern California that has the machinery and capacity to meet high capacity demand in a very short turnaround time.  We have a proven track record fabricating a quality product to our customers’ specifications. We work primarily as a subcontractor to businesses that want to increase their sales but find themselves too busy to complete new job proposals. We offer fabricating outsourcing that carries with it the advantage of reducing a company’s machinery requirements and capital investments, decreases its direct labor costs, and saving not only time on prefabrication cutting and preparation of materials but on material handling and on ordering raw materials. We have at our disposal ten CNC [computer numerical control] machines, two edgebanders, one panel saw, a CNC dowel inserter and ten conventional woodworking machines. We have a full-blown engineering department that can do volume engineering.”
The consideration that Celco is a family-owned and operated business provides the advantage of cohesion and dedication that is not always available elsewhere, Cortés said.
“My brothers, including myself, worked 103 combined years at Hamilton Fixtures West and we now have 83 more combined years working together with Celco,” Cortés said. “We are an unusual family in that we have been working together – the four of us who are the corporate officers with Celco – for 32 years. We occasionally have differences of opinion but we get along and we all take pride in meeting our customers’ needs and expectations.”

Once-Influential Police Rights Law Firm Sued By Police Interest Group

(December 19) SANTA ANA—The Police Officers Research Association has sued the recently shuttered Upland-based law firm of Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir, alleging malpractice and fraud relating to alleged overbilling practices.
Over the last 16 years, Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir had grown to become what was arguably the most aggressive and successful of law firms in the state devoted to representing police officers and their unions.
Along that way, the firm had made a fair number of enemies, including ones inside and outside the law enforcement establishment, particularly after the firm made use of tactics and surveillance techniques that had formerly been the province of the law enforcement agencies that employed many of their clients.
Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir represented police unions, officers in actions or defenses as well as professional law enforcement interest groups such as the Police Officers Research Association of California, known by its acronym PORAC, which maintained a legal defense fund for officers.
The firm established a reputation for dogged representation of its clients, prevailing in a majority of the cases it handled, occasionally pursuing expensive litigative strategies the unions had not endorsed that more often than not resulted in positive results, either at trial or in settlements short of trial.
A criticism leveled at the firm was that it routinely blurred the distinction between an aggressive legal defense and political activity, as was demonstrated in the unfulfilled political aspirations of one of the firm’s founding partners, Dieter Dammeier, as well as intensive scrutiny that bordered on the verge of invasions of privacy of elected and non-elected government officials and police department administrators in an effort to obtain negotiating leverage in legal cases or labor actions that were characterized by some as intimidation tactics or efforts at extortion.
This year, even as the firm was experiencing unprecedented success on several legal fronts, it was hit with a devastating rearguard action when PORAC this summer alleged Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir had consistently overbilled it.
On September 10, PORAC President Ron Cottingham informed his group’s legal defense fund participants Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir had been removed from its panel of approved providers of legal services, based on a finding of the legal defense fund’s board of trustees “that the former panel law firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir has committed serious acts of misconduct regarding their billing practices.”
Cottingham said auditors that had gone over the PORAC Legal Defense Fund books found that Sakunthala E. Ethirveerasingam, one of the firm’s thirteen partners, in 2012 submitted invoices claiming to have worked 4,275 hours, more than double what a full-time attorney would bill for in a typical year, and that she had acknowledged she had engaged in not only double billing, but “triple billing” on occasions where she had worked on three client cases at the same time, billing PORAC for three hours of work during a single one-hour period. Ethirveerasingam uses the professional name “Saku Ethir.”
Auditors had also determined, Cottingham said, that another of the Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir attorneys, Kasey Sirody traveled once to a single destination to interview three clients and then submitted invoices to PORAC’s legal defense fund for three separate trips, including time and mileage.
PORAC’s auditors also accused Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir attorney Peter Horton of billing for “phantom trips” and that he generated “scores of invoices” claiming travel mileage and travel time when he had never traveled at all.
The lawsuit, filed by the Police Officers Research Association (PORAC) on Nov. 26 in Orange County Superior Court, alleges legal malpractice, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, unjust enrichment and unfair business practices. It names as defendants attorneys Dieter Dammeier, Michael McGill, Peter Horton, and Kasey Sirody.
The Orange County venue was an inauspicious one for the firm. It was in Orange County where its aggressive tactics in representing law enforcement officers with regard to labor actions came under sharp scrutiny, which in turn led to the demise of the firm, which dissolved earlier this year.
As tense contract negotiations were proceeding in 2012 between the city of Costa Mesa and the Costa Mesa Police Association, the firm, which represented the union, advised members to step up pressure on the city’s elected leadership. Shortly thereafter, a private investigator under retainer by Lackie Dammeie McGill & Ethir, Christopher Lanzillo, began tailing members of the Costa Mesa City Council. On August 22, 2012, Lanzillo followed Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer to a bar, Skosh Monahan’s, owned by another city councilman, Gary Monahan. Lanzillo followed Righeimer after he left Skosh Monahan’s as the mayor drove home, and en route called 911 to report Righeimer was drunk and driving erratically. When police came to Righeimer’s home, they found that he appeared sober but subjected him to a field sobriety test, which he passed. Righeimer subsequently produced a time and date-stamped credit card receipt for two Diet Cokes he had consumed while at Skosh Monahan’s. Information then emerged that the police association had also been seeking, at Lackie Dammeier McGill & Ethir’s suggestion, to entrap Monahan and another council member, Steve Mensinger.
Soon thereafter, the Costa Mesa Police Association ended its relationship with Lackie Dammeier but not before other Orange County municipal officials, including city council members from Buena Park, Fullerton and Irvine, came forward to tell how the Upland-based firm and its clients engaged in efforts to harass them as they headed into elections and contract negotiations with their cities’ police unions, which were represented by Lackie Dammeier McGill & Ethir.
So brazen was the law firm in its pro-police union strategies that it posted on its website a political activity playbook that advised police unions on how to intimidate and twist the arms of politicians and lobby the public in a way that associates police pay raises with higher levels of public safety. In the brouhaha that ensued, Lackie Dammeier McGill & Ethir removed that posting.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office’s has opened up an investigation of Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir. On October 10, investigators with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, assisted by Orange County Sheriff’s Department detectives and officers, served a search warrant at the 367 N 2nd Avenue Upland law office of the law firm, which at that point was in the midst of decommissioning itself and farming its cases out to various of its former partners or other law firms. Ivestigators carted off scores of boxes full of documents and other materials from the office.

Volaris Confirms Ontario Airport Service To Guadalajara Starting Next Spring

(December 18) ONTARIO—Volaris confirmed a start date of April 13, 2014 for its previously announced, twice-weekly service between Ontario International Airport and Guadalajara.
“This is the first time Volaris will serve Ontario International, which is great news for international travelers wanting more options when flying to Mexico,” said Ontario International Airport’s manager Jess Romo.  “We look forward to partnering with Volaris and having another international carrier at Ontario Airport.”
Tickets will be available through, Volaris’ Call Center at (866) 988-3527, as well as through authorized travel agencies.  Starting April 13, the schedule includes arrival of the inagural flight to Ontario International at 12:05 a.m. with a departure from Ontario at 1:20 a.m. Flights will arrive in Guadalajara at 6:45 a.m.  Departures from Ontario International Airport will continue on Sunday and Thursday of each week.
Volaris Chief Executive Officer, Enrique Beltranena, spoke of the importance of arriving in Ontario as a significant step in stimulating the market of those who visit family and friends between Mexico and the U.S. “This market is the largest of its kind in the world, which is why we are committed to covering its connectivity requirements, offering flights at affordable fares that allow us to compete with ground transportation fares, while fostering cultural, commercial, and financial exchange with the United States.”
Other airlines currently serving Ontario Airport include AeroMexico, Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways.  International flights depart from Ontario Airport’s Terminal 2 with arrivals at International Arrivals Terminal.
The addition of Volaris will raise the number of Ontario International’s carriers from its current seven to eight.

Rialto Councilman O’Connell Survives Car Plunge Down I-15 Embankment

(December 12)  One of San Bernardino County’s leading citizens narrowly averted death when he lost control of his vehicle while driving northbound on the 15 Freeway south of Devore early Wednesday morning.
Rialto Councilman Shawn O’Connell sustained substantial injuries that left him unconscious for nearly 12 hours after he plunged down a 30-foot embankment on the east side of the freeway south of the Glen Helen Parkway exit at around 2:15 a.m. as he was en route to the home of a friend in the High Desert who was going to make repairs to O’Connell’s wheelchair.
The California Highway Patrol has yet to establish the precise cause of the accident. There have been recurrent reports that O’Connell, who has only limited use of his legs, was experiencing intense back pain and spasms, which may have precipitated the crash. Some seven hours previously, O’Connell had left the Tuesday evening city council meeting before it concluded because he was experiencing intense back spasms.
O’Connell sustained significant internal injuries, including  bruised kidneys and lungs, a fractured vertebra and spinal contusions. His car lodged against overgrown chaparral and brush against a fence at the bottom of the embankment. The former police sergeant with the Rialto Police Department remained and unconscious and azed for well over ten hours.
Meanwhile, the person he was journeying to visit when the mishap occurred, described as O’Connell’s best friend, became alarmed when O’Connell did not arrive. He attempted to phone O’Connell and when he could not reach him on his cell phone, contacted the Rialto Police Department to inform them he believed something may have befallen the councilman.
Rialto instituted a search for O’Connell, including making a check of his home. That search expanded to include a drive along the likely route O’Connell would have taken up the 15 Freeway from Rialto to the High Desert, and when that proved unfruitful, the Highway Patrol was contacted and a request was made to the sheriff’s department to do a helicopter flyover of the 15 Freeway as well.
Sometime around 1 p.m. O’Connell regained consciousness and was able to use his cell phone to summon assistance. While rescurers utilitzed his cell phone transmissions to triangulate on his location, O’Connell  was able to start his vehicle and move it to a spot where he was visible to responding units.
The councilman was transported to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he remained at press time within the hospital’s intensive care unit.