January 09, 2014
By Kenneth D. Miller
Assistant Managing Editor
Longtime Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca who has been under siege with FBI investigation and deputy misconduct will resign after 48 years, he announced on Tuesday.
Baca will leave the department at the end of January, he said.
Flanked by deputies, family and supporters, Baca made it official at Sheriff Department Headquarters.
“I’ve been proud and honored to serve the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the people of this greatest of counties, Los Angeles County, for the past 48 years,” Baca said, his voice occasionally cracking with emotion.
“I can’t even imagine anyone working 48 years at anything, but I’ve done that, which has made this decision in my life probably the most difficult.”
Baca, 71, was first elected in 1998 and was facing a tough re-election campaign this year for his fifth term, including a challenge from one of his former deputies.
Baca denied that his decision to step down was prompted by the possibility of federal charges against him, but the looming allegations have brought about the darkest cloud during his tenure.
Eighteen current and former deputies were recently indicted on a variety of charges, including mistreating jail inmates.
“My decision is based on the highest of concern for the future of the sheriff’s department,” Baca said.
He said he was recommending that the Board of Supervisors appoint Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald to oversee the department once he steps aside.
Baca had announced Monday January 6 that he would support a citizens' commission to oversee department operations.
He described the citizens’ commission as “consistent with my view on strengthening transparency and accountability.”
A local newspaper in December revealed that the department hired dozens of officers in 2010 despite evidence of significant misconduct found during their background checks.
Subsequently, Federal prosecutors filed charges against current and former deputies in December, accusing them of beating jail inmates and visitors and trying to intimidate an FBI agent.
The charges related to a long-standing corruption investigation of the jail system, which was administered by the sheriff’s department.
The department is also facing civil lawsuits relating to the actions of some of the deputies charged with misconduct.
Additionally, the U.S. Justice Department last year accused sheriff's deputies of engaging in widespread unlawful searches of homes, improper detentions and unreasonable force as Antelope Valley authorities conducted an effort to discriminate against African Americans who received low-income subsidized housing.
However, Baca was considered as an advocate of the African American community, frequently implementing policies such as educational programs for inmates and launching the innovated Sheriff Clergy Council, hailed as a national model for law enforcement.
County Supervisor Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas said he spoke with Baca on January 6 and that the sheriff gave him “no indication” he was thinking of stepping down from his post. The supervisor said his feelings about Baca's decision were mixed.
“He’s seen as one of the most enlightened law enforcement officials in the nation and I think in many ways he is,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Somewhat unpredictable, typically progressive, he tried his best to be responsive, so it’s mixed. You can’t deny the problems that are stalking the department.”
City Councilman Bernard Parks hailed Baca as “a remarkable public servant for almost 50 years.”
“There are very few that get the opportunity to start at the entry level of an organization and eventually reach the top leadership position,” Parks said. “Sheriff Baca should be commended for his many achievements and personal sacrifice. I wish him well in retirement and he will soon find out there, but there is life after LASD.”
The Board of Supervisors will need to appoint a successor to Baca, and staffers are researching the requirements for the post.
Ridley-Thomas said the list of potential appointees would include all the assistant sheriffs, adding Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo’s name to the speculation. But the supervisor said he wasn’t ready to comment on the campaign.
Four challengers are declared to run for the post in a primary election on June 3, and a potential general election on Nov.4.
LAWT News Service
The Los Angeles County Fire Department is proudly presenting a series of Firefighter Preparatory seminars between January and May 2014 to help interested candidates prepare for its upcoming Fire Fighter Trainee examination this summer.
The Firefighter Preparatory Seminar will be presented by expert members of the Department’s human resources and firefighter training teams. To give everyone an opportunity to attend and learn more about this prestigious firefighting career in one of the world’s leading emergency services agencies, the Department plans to offer the seminar three times in each of its three operational regions across Los Angeles County, for a total of nine presentations.
The first seminar is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 11, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., at Western University, located at 309 E. 2nd Street in the City of Pomona. Additional dates and locations are being scheduled at this time, and will be shared with the public once confirmed.
These comprehensive seminars will cover a wide range of information, including:
• Introduction to the Fire Service
• Recruit and Probationary Firefighter Expectations
• Written Test Preparation
• Oral Interview Preparation
• Introduction to the Background Check process
• Health and Fitness
• Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)
Interested participants must register online beginning January 6 at fire.lacounty.gov to attend, and a copy of the registration confirmation form must be presented at the door in order to ensure a seminar seat.
Founded in 1923, the Los Angeles County Fire Department is an international leader of the fire service, and one of the largest emergency service agencies in the world. Each day, more than 900 emergency responders are on duty to provide fire protection, life safety and environmental protection services to more than four million residents and commercial businesses in Los Angeles County’s 2,296-square-mile area. When called into action following major international disasters, the Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team responds around the globe as members of California Task Force 2. Once back in Los Angeles County, these same elite responders can be found at work in hometown neighborhoods in 58 cities and unincorporated areas. The Department proudly continues to be a frontrunner in firefighting technology, offering specialized training opportunities in Urban Search and Rescue, Emergency Medical Services, Hazardous Materials, Air Operations and Homeland Security. Behind the scenes, more than 800 dedicated business professionals help carry out the mission.
For more information, contact Captain Tom Richards in the Public Information Office at (323) 881-2411.
December 26, 2013
by Brandon Brooks, Managing Editor,
Kenneth Miller, Asst. Managing Editor
& Jennifer Bihm, Sentinel Staff Writer
Nothing ever came easy for financial expert, Dega Nalayeh, but the Somalia native, who grew up in a family of 12 children, has made her transition into the billion dollar financial industry look as smooth as her beautiful skin coat.
Nalayeh migrated to Canada before arriving in the United States and her ability to learn quickly and move rapidly has been key in her escalation into the hierarchy of U.S. Trust where she continued to grow professionally in a male dominated industry.
“Dega is a motivating person,” said Miesha Carter, client sales and service officer, of her boss Nalayeh, who is a senior vice president private client advisor with U.S. Trust, a division of Bank of America.
“She stays on top of everything. She knows what she’s talking about. And, just to be able to get in front of clients and know what you’re talking about and when you’re able to come back and convey that to your employees and encourage them to do more and better, I think that’s her greatest attribute. “
Nalayeh began her career with Bank of America over 15 years ago, where she started in the Consumer Bank and quickly assumed higher responsibility. She joined Bank of America’s Private Bank in 2006. Currently, she oversees more than $2.5 billion of client assets.
“I deal primarily with individuals and wealthy families (minimum $3 million in liquid assets),” explained Nalayeh during a recent interview with the Sentinel.
“My job is to help them preserve their wealth. I also manage their risk while helping them accomplish their goals. My goal is to get to know that individual, get to know their family dynamics. [I get to know] their feelings about money. What is it that they want to accomplish? What legacy do they want to leave behind?”
Nalayeh was born the fifth of twelve children in Somalia, where her father had been a politician. He defected in the early 80s, she said, and sought political asylum in Canada.
“It was my father defecting from Somalia, which was home and finding out on the news, just like everyone else,” she recalled.
“Pretty much, the government came to our home and took everything away. It took about two years to get all of us out of the country one by one.”
She credits her success with clientele to being part of a large family.
“My 7 sisters and four brothers and I all grew up in the same household. I think that really makes me good at what I do,” Nalayeh said.
“It’s not just knowing the product, knowing the numbers… it’s about knowing human beings. A lot of what I do is like being a therapist, especially when you’re dealing with multi-generations of family and advising them on how to pass down wealth. There’s a lot of complexity when it comes to family.
“What gives me, I think [an edge] is I can walk into any meeting and I can read everyone. What are they thinking? What are their hot buttons?”
Nalayeh and one of her sisters left Canada for Atlanta where she began her career. They left Atlanta after two years for California. She’s been in her current position for a little over seven years now and it’s been hard work, she said.
“I started with no clients,” she explained.
“Luckily, I can say seven and a half years later, I manage over 2 billion dollars in assets. And, that’s really just going out there, going out in the community and just asking for business.
“It’s not easy. No one is just going to give you 3 million dollars and say, ‘hey, Dega, I see your title, here’s 3 million dollars for you to manage.’ I think it’s credibility and having your existing clients. The majority of my business comes from referrals from my existing clients… one thing that makes me unique is the passion that I have.
“[For example] I deal with a lot of international clients, not just local clients. A lot of them are very secretive when it comes to wealth. The matriarch of the family will have all of the wealth and the family doesn’t know it. I’m about educating that person and making them see the importance of setting their family to succeed instead of fail.”
That’s why she sets up customized classes for her client’s kids.
“They could be a teenager, they could be 40,” she said.
She begins with a test to see where they are financially. From there, she teaches them everything from the basics of banking to lending and investing.
As busy as her work schedule is, Nalayeh, a single mom, must also find time for her six-year old son and a variety of volunteer efforts, one of which is speaking to women about financial literacy.
“One thing I advise is that women need to take control of their finances,” she said.
“Throughout the years I’ve seen a lot of women hand over their finances to the significant other in their lives. What I do is more educational… how do we understand our own finances.
She also volunteers at schools, teaching kids financial basics.
“I think that children are so impressionable,” she said.
“I teach them the basic concepts of money and at the end of the year, I see what they’ve learned. Whether it’s an inner city school, a public school or a private school, I love educating kids. If we start [teaching] them young as mothers and fathers about money… education is great but as equally important as teaching them how to be successful and financially independent, is teaching them about money. They need to know how to save, how to spend and how to give.”
Being healthy and finding balance is how she keeps it all together, she said.
“I think health and wealth go hand-in-hand. Health should be your number one priority. If you don’t have health, you don’t have anything. ”
Eating well and staying active just makes for a better life.
“You manage better,” she said.
“You have more energy… and I don’t have energy to waste. I have a six-year old, so when I come home, I [still] have to be full of energy.”
Part of her health routine is doing marathon runs for different charities.
“Running for me, is peaceful and I have a passion for charity, so why not combine the two,” she said.
“She’s a go-getter and she doesn’t back down,” said Taire Hanson, a client services manager who has worked directly with Nalayeh for the past six years.
“She’s a great motivator and I actually look up to and admire her.”
Nalayeh works with high end clients but says anyone can apply her financial advice to their lives.
“I think it’s really important to understand the big picture. I don’t care if you’re making ten dollars or sixty dollars. Start saving. Be on a budget,” she said.
“The sooner you start saving the better. When you get your paycheck, don’t pay your bills first, pay yourself first. It could be $100, it could be $50… also, start investing. The earlier you invest the better. If you don’t know, seek the information. There are so many resources these days, especially on line.”
Nalayeh received her Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from York University in Toronto, Canada, where she majored in Applied Mathematics and Physics.
Sacramento – If you have a passion for public service, the Capital Fellows program may be just the ticket. The Capital Fellows programs offer a chance to prepare for a career in public service while working under a seasoned mentor. Fellows work for 10-11 months as full-time, paid staff members in the California State Assembly, State Senate, Executive Branch or California Judiciary.
Addison Peterson, a recent graduate of Cal State University Los Angeles, has been named an Assembly fellow in the office of Assemblymember Holden. Peterson was very involved in student government and served as board chair for the Cal State LA student union. He also lobbied on behalf of the California State Student Association and says his dream has been to be involved in legislative government.
The Capital Fellows Program has been rated one of the top internships in the country, and includes a very competitive selection process. Many alumni of the program have gone on to prominent positions in courts, state and national government, as well as many elected offices.
Recent college graduates, graduate students and mid-career applicants with a desire for public service are welcome to apply.
The online application deadline is February 10, 2014. For further details: www.csus.edu/calst/programs or call the office of Assemblymember Holden at 626.351.1917.
By Stephon Johnson
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News
If information is the new currency, communities of color could go broke.
A new report by the Greenlining Institute, titled “DISCONNECTED: What the Phone System’s Digital Transition Will Mean for Consumers,” alleges that the immediate shift to digital phone networks could leave certain communities without basic standards like affordable services and access to 911 for emergencies.
The Greenlining Institute is a Berkeley, Calif.-based research and advocacy nonprofit with a focus on racial justice.
According to the report’s findings, because major telephone providers plan to upgrade the technology they use in their telephone networks, including switching to all-digital networks, the FCC needs to enforce basic standards during the transition to make sure phone service is available and affordable.
“People in rural areas could lose service, and low-income consumers might not be able to get basic phone service they can afford,” reads the report.
But many major carriers argue that the Federal Communications Commission should reduce its ability to enforce the basic standards that the Greenlining Institute’s study advocates. They advocate the elimination of FCC and state oversight of all-digital networks based on the argument that they should be treated as information services and not telecommunications services.
The report points out that all of these findings combined would affect all telephone users but would hurt low-income consumers and communities of color the most because those groups are less likely to have home Internet service and spend more time on their phones.
This week, the FCC planned on looking at these issues during a meeting, when the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force will present a status update.
“While analog televisions and digital televisions use different technologies, they are both televisions,” stated the report’s conclusion. “While gas and electric cars use different technologies, they are both cars. A call made on an analog telephone network and a call made on a digital telephone network may use different technologies, but both calls are telephone calls.”
The report called upon policymakers, industry and other stakeholders to design an analog-to-digital telephone transition that “protects, enhances and improves the universally available phone service that we have today.”
Paul Goodman, legal counsel for the Greenlining Institute and co-author of the report, said that all phones share the same purpose, no matter how they are being used.
“A century ago, America realized that telephone service isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, and built a careful system of consumer safeguards into our phone network,” said Goodman in a statement. “All of those safeguards could be at risk if the FCC fails to recognize that, for consumers, a phone call is a phone call, regardless of what technology carries the signal from point A to point B.
“FCC Chair Tom Wheeler seemed to acknowledge this recently when he said that ‘technology doesn’t change the basic relationship between networks and those that use them,’ and now that understanding must be backed up with action,” concluded Goodman.
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