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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Which Way ADDA? Pt 7 Debbaudt Debunks AFSCME "Message"

DDAs will have received "A Message from your Law Enforcement and Public Safety Colleagues in the CCU" hot on the heels of the December 15 ADDA Board meeting.

The message purports to be from three law enforcement unions representing Deputy Sheriffs, Deputy Probation Officers and Firefighters, and urges DDAs to "stay with AFSCME."

Probation Officer's Union President Ralph Miller did not authorize the use of his signature
to this letter.


The Dragnet previously speculated that the letter was likely the work of AFSCME's Cheryl Parisi, "she may well have dictated, printed and mailed it for them." we said. Confirmation of our suspicions came in the form of a comment from ADDA President Marc Debbaudt suggesting that the digital signature of Ralph Miller, President of the Probation Officers Union had been affixed to the letter "without his [Miller's] permission or authorization."
 
"This is the equivalent of forgery" Debbaudt said.

Debbaudt points out that under "union rules" individual unions are not allowed to criticize other unions, and they must "come to their aid or be sanctioned." In other words, if Miller has been presented with the letter he would have had to sign it or face sanctions. But according to Debbaudt, Miller was never even asked.

Miller has been an outspoken critic of AFSCME, according to DDA Steve Dickman's open letter to DDAs urging them to disaffiliate, Dickman says "I attended an ADDA meeting in which the President of the Probation Officers Union (that is stuck in AFSCME and can’t get out of it) spoke. They affiliated with AFSCME yet he was deeply critical of them saying AFSCME had not provided the promised services or support. He warned us not to affiliate with them." Dickman said. It is therefore possible that Miller would have chosen to decline to sign the letter and face "sanctions," perhaps even challenge the validity of those sanctions on first amendment grounds.

Whether AFSCME's unauthorized use of Miller's signature constitutes the crime of Forgery was a question raised by a later comment.


The answer likely depends on whether AFSCME's unauthorized use of Miller's signature was done with the "intent to defraud." If indeed, a referral for investigation is made, that will be the key issue. [Those wishing to offer opinions on whether the necessary intent can be established are cautioned to refrain from doing so, due the potential conflict of interest previously discussed.]

If ever better proof was needed that AFSCME is a bad fit for DDAs, this must surely be it.

&tc.




Which Way ADDA? Pt 6 - The Stench of Fear Hits the Trenches


Monday night's ADDA Board Meeting saw AFSCME's response to the growing organic movement to disaffiliate from the big labor group roundly decimated by ADDA President Marc Debbaudt. With Jeff McGrath's proposed "special membership meeting" that would have denied DDAs a vote on disaffiliation having previously been eliminated, it fell to AFSCME's Cheryl Parisi and McGrath to try to convince those in attendance that remaining tied to AFSCME is the better route for DDAs. The AFSCME promise is higher pay and better workplace conditions because of AFSCME's "political influence."

Those in attendance reported a sense of desperation if not fear from Parisi and McGrath. For Parisi, the loss of DDA representation goes far beyond the $365,000 that AFSCME takes in dues annually; it challenges her credibility and viability as a rising star in organized labor. The stakes are high for Parisi, and that doubtless led her to make some fairly wild and somewhat childish claims.

Perhaps the most pathetic claim was that AFSCME's recent political and economic support for the campaigns of two newly-elected LA County Board Supervisors, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, would make pay increases for DDAs a done deal. The implication is that these new supervisors would be more 'big labor friendly' than outgoing uber-liberals Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina. That claim  is laughable; both Yaroslavsky and Molina were every bit as 'big labor friendly' as their successors.

If the crass in-artfulness Parisi's claim is not a big enough red flag for DDAs that the corruption ridden AFSCME is the wrong choice for a law enforcement oriented organization like the ADDA, then their bald-faced suggestion that there is a "pay to play" relationship between AFSCME and Supervisors Kuehl and Solis surely is the best indication that the kind of people who run AFSCME are not suited to the ethics and standards of DDAs.

Perhaps Parisi was blindsided by the way that Debbaudt tore each and every one of her claims to shreds. After all, it's not like AFSCME represents any other group that consists entirely of post-graduate members. AFSCME is at its essence a blue collar union and the majority of its membership are, perhaps, more inclined to drink the AFSCME Koolaid without question.

Good union soldiers or "bothers and sisters," are expected to roll over and tow the union line. Independent thought is not the "union way" and is actually barred under "union rules."Debbaudt explains this in his recent missive "DDAs To Be Inundated By Messages From Non-Stakeholders." True to Debbaudt's prediction, the first such message arrived by mail Wednesday.


The letter from unions representing Deputy Sheriffs, Probation Officers, and County Firefighters, repeats the same facile, simplistic rhetoric of Parisi, she may well have dictated, printed and mailed it for them. It is well known that the only one of these three organizations that is represented by AFSCME (Deputy Probation Officers) is very dissatisfied with the way AFSCME has represented them. Yet, here's a letter from them and others extolling the virtues of AFSCME and promising that "Pay to Play" is going to fix all your concerns. Even if ALADS, DPOs and Firefighters privately believe that AFSCME sucks, they cannot say that. Is that the kind of organization DDAs want to be associated with?


Yes folks, this is the "union way" and AFSCME is running scared because the overwhelming response to AFSCME, Parisi and McGrath from DDAs is to disaffiliate. DDAs need to terminate this unholy alliance before it's too late.

Ballots are in the mail, please let the Dragnet know when you receive them.

&tc.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Which Way ADDA? Pt 5 - Deadline to Disaffiliate Dawns


Ahead of Monday night's ADDA "Disaffiliation Meeting," a YouTube video entitled "The Disinterested D.D.A.'s Guide to Disaffiliation" has been posted outlining the some of the arguments in favor of terminating the 3-year relationship with AFSCME.



The video, attributed to DDA Nathan Bartos,  incorporates many of the arguments made by other DDAs who have come to the conclusion that AFSCME is both expensive and inappropriate to represent the interests of a law enforcement oriented group like DDAs.

Other DDAs who have expressed their support for ADDA President Marc Debbaudt's election platform to terminate AFSCME's representation include:

DDA John Harrold, ADDA Director, who points out that AFSCME's explanation for why it has "failed so miserably in representing the interests of DDAs" was to blame former ADDA Presidents for "refusing  to do what AFSCME told them to do." Click here to read the full text of Harrold's message. Blame shifting is not only a well-worn political trick, but has little persuasive impact, and generally belies a failure that has no legitimate explanation. Harrold also expressed his opinion on AFSCME's "Incompetence" during negotiations with the County over DDA pay. Click here to read that message.

DDA James Evans, ADDA Treasurer, who lashes out at AFSCME for repeated failures to provide the ADDA with any accounting "as to how over one million dollars in membership funds were utilized. They have steadfastly refused to provide any meaningful explanation. I have been provided no balance sheets and no profit and loss statements for the years we have paid dues to them. No representations of substance and nothing that would qualify as legitimate documentation." Click here to read the full text of Evan's message. How strange, a big union refusing to turn over financial records as to how funds are used. Perhaps the ADDA should affiliate with Brian D'Arcy's DWP Union; at least he's finally handing over financial records.

DDA Sandi Olivera, former ADDA Director, who lambasts the pro-AFSCME lobby for making personal attacks on those who were brave enough to speak their minds on the demerits of affiliation with AFSCME. "AFSCME is not evil. They are not bad people. But, they are not the right people for us. I urge you to vote to disaffiliate." She says. Click here to read the full text of Olivera's message. Sadly, as Olivera recounts her past experiences on the ADDA Board, vitriolic, scathing and unwarranted personal attacks continues to be the hallmark of the pro-AFSCME lobby. 

DDA John Lewin, who is sharply critical of the "service" AFSCME provides. "AFSCME has done little more than provide us food for our meetings, and in exchange for those chips, enchiladas and tacos, expects lifetime dues in return. It is apparent that whatever interests AFSCME has been serving, they are not those of the hardworking prosecutors in this office ...  I strongly encourage all of you to take this one chance to get out from under our disastrous affiliation with AFSCME." Lewin says. Click here to read the full text of Lewin's message.

DDA Marc Debbaudt, ADDA President, weighs in on AFSCME's contemptible support for Prop 47, and slays the "spin" that the pro-AFSCME lobby are trying to put on their abject betrayal of the ADDA's opposition to Prop 47. "At no time did AFSCME tell ADDA or me that there would be a debate on Prop. 47 at their conference ... If AFSCME had notified us that Prop. 47 was on the agenda, we would have been there." Click here to read the full text of Debbaudt's response to AFSCME's spin.

DDA John Colello, who buttresses his view that "I strongly urge you to WITHDRAW from our affiliation with AFSCME" with some home truths about what three years and a million dollars has bought from AFSCME:
  1. NO increase in compensation;
  2. NO increase in benefits;
  3. NO enhanced working conditions;
  4. NO effective legal representation or grievance representation; and
  5. NO effective political clout.  
Click here for the full text of Colello's message.

DDA Oscar Plascensia blasts AFSCME for supporting "legislation or propositions that undermine public safety." Plascensia states he was "neutral regarding AFSCME initially, but I have been very disturbed by their support of Proposition 47 which is completely counter to the goals of our office."
Click here to read the full text of Plascensia's message. AFSCME's support for Prop 47 may well be the straw that broke the camel's back on the ADDA's relationship with Prop 47's protagonist. The unintended consequences of this deceptively titled proposition continues to rankle, create headlines, and voters are coming to resent the way they were duped. All the more reason to disaffiliate.

DDA Anthony Colannino, ADDA Director, takes AFSCME to task over its lousy reputation for corruption. Colannino knows "first hand how corrosive an affiliation with corruption can be to both individuals and organizations." Colannino cites 17 recent cases where AFSCME officials have been either implicated in, or convicted of corruption, and raises the valid point that the taint of corruption will impact DDAs:
  • Does anyone believe that California legislators are unaware of the AFSCME’s nationwide reputation and the jailing of its leaders?
  • How are the interests of DDA’s advanced and protected by being associated with an organization with a nation-wide reputation that is outlined below?
  • When will judges and/or defense attorneys connect the dots and raise the point that DDA’s are part an organization such as AFSCME; and how will that help us represent the People of the State of California?
Click here to read the full text of Colannino's message. Colannino's message can be summed up succinctly "Why would any one, let alone a law enforcement oriented association, want to be associated with an organization with a reputation for corruption like AFSCME?" Another question to ponder is whether the DA's Office would be recused due to a "conflict of interest" from any investigation or prosecution into allegations of AFSCME corruption in Los Angeles County? Could that be a reason why AFSCME is so keen to maintain its so-called representation of DDAs?  Disclaimer: The Dragnet is not aware of any allegations of corruption involving AFSCME or its officers in Los Angeles County that are of a similar nature to those involving AFSCME in Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Oregon and New York.

DDA Steve Dickman supports disaffiliation for the simple reason that "they do not share our values as prosecutors." Citing AFSCME's prior support for Prop 66, "an initiative that would have gutted the 3 Strikes law," as well as AFSCME's current support for Prop 47 as examples of divergent values, Dickman also blasts AFSCME for its woeful track record in representing law enforcement personnel. Dickman says he "attended an ADDA meeting where the President of the Probation Officers Union (that is stuck with AFSCME and can't get out of it) spoke. They affiliated with AFSCME yet he was deeply critical of them saying AFSCME had not provided the promised services or support. He warned us not to affiliate with them." he said. Click here to read the full text of Dickman's message.

Much of the material above was gathered from the pro-Disaffiliation website: ADDAMembersForDisaffiliation.com.

ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath has also established a website setting forth the argument in favor of remaining affiliated with AFSCME: Voices4Reason.com. In contrast to the 10 DDAs who have urged disaffiliation, McGrath has three, all of whom appear urge DDAs to remain with AFSCME because AFSCME provides  the ADDA with a business representative, photocopying, office space and a meeting room.

Tonight's ADDA meeting will likely see some spirited debate as the pro-AFSCME lobby led by McGrath attempts to explain and excuse AFSCME's lamentable record. As to the all important board vote on whether DDAs will get to vote on disaffiliation, Debbaudt will likely win the day and DDAs will get to have their say. Judging by the number of statements in favor of disaffiliation listed above, the AFSCEM affiliation will soon be a thing of the past. A vote for disaffiliation will provide the ADDA with the opportunity to independently decide whether to affiliate with a larger organization with values that more closely represent DDAs, or to remain a truly independent organization, behooven to nobody but its members.

Bottom line: The ADDA can do better than AFSCME. If it turns out that the ADDA cannot find a better partner than AFSCME, or if hell freezes over while pigs fly, the ADDA can always go back to AFSCME. Once the ballots hit mailboxes, send them back with the resounding message: DISAFFILIATE.

&tc. 




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Which Way ADDA? Pt 4 - Disaffiliate!

The battle lines appear to be drawn clearly ahead of the December 15, 2014 ADDA Board Meeting.

On one side, a group of "holdovers" from the dark days of the Ipsen-Seligman era. They are headed by ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath who recently tried and failed to hold a "special membership meeting." This proposed meeting was nothing short of a shambolic attempt to deny DDAs their democratic right to vote to get rid of AFSCME; the big labor group that has taken $1M in dues from DDAs, and given nothing in return.

On the other side, the "new ADDA," headed by President Marc Debbaudt, together with Board Members brave enough to stand up to McGrath and the deceitful antics of AFSCME. Debbaudt was elected as ADDA President on a platform committed to terminating the ill-conceived relationship with AFSCME, and make the ADDA a truly independent body free to decide on its affiliations and endorsements. Debbaudt urges members to attend the December 15, 2014 meeting to ensure there are no surprises and to hear all the reasons for and against disaffiliation.


A majority of the ADDA Board appears to support Debbaudt's position: It is time to say "thanks and goodbye" to AFSCME. In the three years that AFSCME has purported to represent DDAs at an annual cost of $365,000, there is nothing to show for the $1M in member dues that has flowed to AFSCME.

Worse, AFSCME recently provided the best evidence as to why DDAs should not be represented by a big labor group that ignores the interests of DDAs, in favor of AFSCME's agenda.

AFSCME actively supported and endorsed Proposition 47 despite assurances that AFSCME would not get involved in "non labor related" political issues, and despite their knowledge that the ADDA was opposed to Prop 47.

There are many other reasons why AFSCME is "not a good fit" for the ADDA, but it boils down to this; the original reason for associating with AFSCME was the a result of gross mismanagement by Steve Ipsen and Hyatt Seligman. It's time to put that shameful period in the past and move forward.

McGrath offers no persuasive reason for remaining indentured to AFSCME. His arguments amount to simply "better the devil you know, than the devil you don't know." But the reality is that if members vote to disaffiliate, they will have the opportunity to be independent or to choose from associating with any number of larger organizations who better represent the interests of law enforcement and professionals.

Remaining affiliated with AFSCME is a one way street; there is no way out. There will be no future opportunity to leave AFSCME. If, by some frankly unforeseeable circumstance, the decision to disaffiliate proves to be wrong, there is no down side; the ADDA can always go back to AFSCME - they won't say "No" to $365,000 a year in dues, and neither will other groups who will do more for the ADDA than AFSCME ever did.

Bottom line: AFSCME was a bad deal. It's time to move on.

&tc.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Met News Blasts Brown over Baker Boondoggle

The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise published a scathing condemnation of California Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown's latest proposed judicial appointment; 37 year old Lamar W. Brown, currently special assistant and associate counsel to the president. Baker is slated for appointment to the California Court of Appeal, a position that will pay $204,600.00 per annum to the Yale graduate with no judicial experience.


Baker is virtually unknown to California state law practitioners - the very people who are currently being contacted through the JNE Commission to opine on his suitability for the Moonbeam appointment.

Exactly why the Governor is so eager to appoint someone with no judicial experience to sit in judgment of the decisions made by judges, is the subject of some well-founded speculation in the Met News "Perspectives" column entitled "Lamar W. Baker: Bereft of Credentials for the State Appellate Bench, He's Apt to be Appointed."

Baker, it seems, has much in common with other recent Brown appointments to the high courts; he is young, a Democrat hailing from Yale, a member of a racial minority and has no judicial experience.

According to the Met News, those appear to be the requisite qualifications for Supreme and Appellate Court jurists in the mind of the man who we must never forget, brought us Rose Bird. Other Moonbeam appointments identified by the Met News are:

California Supreme Court Associate Justice The Hon. Goodwin Liu: Democrat, a Yalie, formerly Associate Dean at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall. Lui was 41 with no judicial experience when appointed to the State's highest court in 2011.

California Supreme Court nominee Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar: Democrat, a Yalie, currently a Stanford Law Professor. He is 42, has no judicial experience and will assume the position being vacated by retiring Associate Justice The Hon. Marvin R. Baxter in January 2015. 

California Supreme Court nominee Leondra R. Kruger: Democrat, a Yalie, described by the LA Times as a "rising legal star and top Obama administration lawyer," Kruger is 38 and has no judicial experience and her California Bar status has been "inactive" since 2009. She will assume the position vacated by retired Associate Justice The Hon. Joyce L. Kennard in 2015.

It's certainly within a Governor's prerogative to choose jurists likely to follow his agenda, however, the wisdom of choosing people who have never sat as judges in lower courts, let alone California courts, is troubling if not bizarre. There is no shortage of experienced judges, both in the Superior Court and the Court of Appeal, who would make ideal Supreme Court Justices, yet Brown has passed them over. Why?

The Met News notes that Brown's appointments were likely viewed favorably by Obama.
  • "Obama in 2010 nominated Liu to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But the nomination languished, and on May 25, 2011, Liu withdrew himself for consideration. Brown came to his rescue, appointing him to the state Supreme Court two months later. 
  • Cuéllar was a member of the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008 and served from 2009-2010 as a special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy and has performed other chores for the president. 
  • Kruger is in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel which assists the attorney general in advising the president."
Now Brown is providing a soft landing for Baker, one of several staffers likely choosing to bail out of the Obama administration before their reputations are tarnished irreparably as the sun sets on the hope and change administration.

The big question is why? Why is Brown so keen to curry favor with Obama? The Met News notes that Brown "unsuccessfully, and quixotically, sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1976, 1980, and 1992. He has recently disclaimed any interest in running in 2016. For a politico who has disclaimed an interest in seeking an office to later seek it would hardly be an unprecedented phenomenon."

"Does Governor Moonbeam have the thought in his cranium that he can, through his judicial appointments, so please the president as to win an endorsement from him to be his successor? That would be a pretty wild theory, were it not for the wildness of Brown’s thinking and actions." The Met News said.

Another explanation for Brown's appointments may have more to do with a personal desire to ensure the continued decline of law and order through an activist agenda. Brown has devastated the Superior Court system by substantially defunding it. Through AB109 he has wreaked havoc on the county jails by requiring them to house felons who belong in state prison. Why not ensure that any legal challenges to his agenda are thwarted by a Supreme Court likely to tip the balance in his favor?

&tc.

Monday, December 1, 2014

There's a New Sheriff in Town - Jim McDonnell Sworn-In as Sheriff of LA County

Less than a year after announcing his bid to become the first outsider to be elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County in over 100 years, Jim McDonnell was today sworn-in as Sheriff.

(Photo credit: John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News)
McDonnell, looking good in green, was joined at the podium by outgoing interim Sheriff John Scott, together with his wife Kathey and daughter Megan, as Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey had the honor of swearing in McDonnell at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.

For Lacey the moment must have been particularly satisfying; Lacey, together with former DA Steve Cooley, formed the core of McDonnell's campaign, a campaign so successful that McDonnell came within a percentage point of winning election outright in the primary election. In the runoff election that followed, McDonnell won by a crushing margin, a victory that owed as much to McDonnell's character and reputation, as it did to having the powerful endorsement, guidance and support of Lacey and Cooley.

For McDonnell, his successful election as LA County Sheriff is a another milestone in a career that has seen him rise through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department to become former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton's second in command, before becoming Long Beach Police Chief. McDonnell was widely tipped to succeed Bratton as LAPD Chief, but lost out to Charlie Beck. It's a loss that McDonnell likely does not regret; while Beck serves at the pleasure of the Mayor of Los Angeles, and must often bow to political wishes regarding law enforcement, McDonnell now finds himself in a more powerful position where he can truly stamp his mark on law enforcement in LA County free from political whims and wishes. That is especially so given crushing electoral victory he obtained.

McDonnell's success in law enforcement was recently recognized by the Los Angeles Police Protective League at their annual Eagle & Badge Awards Dinner.

Former District Attorney Steve Cooley presents Sheriff-elect Jim McDonnell with the
prestigious Line of Duty award at the LAPPL's Eagle & Badge Gala November 19, 2014
(Photo credit: William Kidston)
Former District Attorney Steve Cooley presented McDonnell with the LAPPL's prestigious 'Line of Duty' award at the Eagle & Badge Gala on November 19, 2014. The award, Cooley said, was a tribute to McDonnell's stellar career in law enforcement, encompassing 29 years with the LAPD where McDonnell received the highest award for bravery; the Medal of Valor, as well as his tenure at Long Beach Police Chief, prior to becoming Sheriff elect.

Much is expected of McDonnell, but few doubt that he is precisely the right person to head up the nation's fourth largest law enforcement agency. He brings with him not only a wealth of relevant personal experience, but cadre of experienced and influential civic and law enforcement leaders who will help him to cary out his electoral mandate to restore the prestige and honor of the Sheriff's Department. The Dragnet wishes Sheriff Jim McDonnell every success for the future.

&tc.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Which Way ADDA Pt.3 Debbaudt Defeats McGrath's "Special Membership Meeting"

Thanks to ADDA President Marc Debbaudt, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorneys will get the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to sever ties with AFSCME - the pro-Prop 47 big labor group that thus far succeeded only in taking over $1M in "union dues" from DDAs, while delivering nothing in return, or become independent and lower the cost of being an authorized "bargaining unit."

Debbaudt succeeded in blocking a sneaky move by ADDA Executive Vice President Jeff McGrath that would have denied the rank and file a vote. On November 18, 2014, McGrath responded to pressure from the Dragnet to lay his cards on the table and state unequivocally whether he supported giving DDAs a vote on the future of the ADDA - one that remains hog-tied in an unholy alliance and allegiance to AFSCME, or one where the ADDA would be independent. In his response, McGrath stated that he wanted "a special membership meeting to be held on December 15th to allow all members of the union to make this decision." (See Which Way ADDA Pt 2 and scroll down to the 6:00am Update.)

Well that sounds fair enough, doesn't it? "A special membership meeting" where "all members of the union" get to decide? What could possibly be wrong with that? That's a rhetorical question, because there is a great deal wrong with a "special membership meeting."

If DDAs need any better example of why they need to vote to terminate AFSCME's right to take $365,000 a year in "union dues," it is the bald-faced lie that was fed to them by McGrath - an unashamed AFSCME supporter. The "special membership meeting" that McGrath attempted to orchestrate would have meant that a simple majority vote by 45 DDAs would have decided the issue. Under "union rules" McGrath only needed to have 23 DDAs to vote in favor of remaining hog-tied to AFSCME, and 850 DDAs would be "spoken for." McGrath apparently believed that he could round up enough votes to carry the day and deliver DDAs irrevocably into the hands of AFSCME.

McGrath's AFSCME "special membership meeting" was, apparently, within union rules allowing for such meetings to empower less than 5% of the membership to make irrevocable decisions for the majority. Thanks to efforts from Debbaudt, there will be no "special membership meeting," instead, much to the chagrin of McGrath and AFSCME, all members will be mailed ballots and will get to vote on whether to terminate AFSCME.

There many reasons why DDAs need to end their servitude to AFSCME. ADDA President Marc Debbaudt has listed many of them here, but surely the most compelling reason must be to put an end to kind of backroom underhand shenanigans like McGrath's "special membership meetings."

DDAs currently have no say in what their $365,000 in annual "union dues" is used for. AFSCME recently used DDA's dues to support Prop 47, a voter initiative that will result in responsibility for prosecuting 40,000 cases a year being taken away from the District Attorney's Office, and given to City Attorneys to prosecute as misdemeanors instead of felonies. It remains to be seen how that will impact the staffing requirements of the DA's Office, but by any rational analysis, it would appear that the need for felony prosecutors has been significantly diminished.

AFSCME also falsely used the ADDA's "Business Representative" to mislead law enforcement members into believing that DDAs supported an attack on PPOA, the Professional Peace Officers Association - another backroom underhand shenanigan that was perpetrated without the knowledge of DDAs.

AFSCME has a filthy reputation amongst law enforcement groups, one so unsavory that it prompted Alan Barcelona, President of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, not only to point out the number of AFSCME executives who have been convicted of corruption, but to pose the question, "why would anyone in law enforcement want to be represented by those kind of people?"

AFSCME, by its own actions over Prop 47, its abuse of DDA's relationship with PPOA, and McGrath's underhanded attempt to preempt and deny a full members vote, has proven that AFSCME is not a fit body to represent DDAs in any capacity. It is time to end the relationship and to allow Debbaudt not only to lead DDAs independently, but also to lower the annual dues currently exacted from DDAs, something he has committed to do.

On December 15, 2014, ADDA dues paying members will receive ballots allowing them to vote on which way ADDA: stay with AFSCME and continue to hand over $365,000 a year with zero results and even less accountability, or terminate AFSCME and end the dark clouds of the Ipsen-Seligman era, the shady McGrath attempt to end-run democracy, and finally get real representation and some value for money.

&tc.