Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley may have retired from public service, but not from the public eye, or ear to be more precise.
On Friday night Cooley filled in for KFI AM640 talk show host Tim Conway Jr., promising no 'ding-dongs' and no 'what the hell did Jesse Jackson say' segments. Instead, Cooley promised a 'more classy operation' including guests Madame District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Long Beach Police Chief and LA County Sheriff front runner Jim McDonnell, former Mayoral candidate, talk show host and current President of the LA City Board of Works Kevin James, and Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen.
During the first hour of the show DA Jackie Lacey discussed the challenges facing prosecutors under AB109, the so-called 'Realignment.' Cooley was critical of the way Governor Brown's realignment has filled the already overcrowded jails with prison convicts, and Lacey confirmed that an unforeseen consequence of Brown's bill has been the exceptionally early release of those convicted misdemeanor crimes. Lacey stated that despite the problem posed by realignment, the DA's office is responding by encouraging the use of split sentences, thereby reducing the jail population and placing convicts in the community under supervision.
Next up was Jim McDonnell who won first place the primary election for LA County Sheriff, coming within six tenths of a percentage point of winning the election outright. McDonnell faces second placed Paul Tanaka in the November runoff, and given that McDonnell garnered three times as many votes as Tanaka, Cooley believes that McDonnell will win the runoff handily. McDonnell stated that, if elected, his first priority will be to rebuild the public's trust in the scandal-ridden department, and then restore moral amongst the rank and file.
KFI news reporter Steve Gregory joined Cooley to discuss the debunking of the Obama administration's claim that the recent surge of illegal immigrants was due to a flight from crime in Latin American countries. However, a recently leaked report from the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) shows that 95% of the unaccompanied minors crossing the boarder illegally have come in search of 'permisos,' a term used to describe what they believed was Obama's promise to fast-track immigration. Crime in their native countries, was not a concern.
EPIC also provided crime statistics showing that contrary to the Obama administration's claims, crime has actually fallen in Latin American countries. Cooley believed that it was just as important for the Obama administration to enforce immigration law as it was to better communicate with Latin America so as not to perpetuate the "false promise" that has caused so many young people to put their lives at risk by illegally entering America.
Gregory pointed out that it was "remarkable" that EPIC, a government agency, was contradicting the official line of the Obama administration. Gregory said that the claims of flight from rape, mayhem and torture touted by the Obama administration is not supported by the Federal agencies who interviewed the illegal immigrants. Gregory also announced that he would be hosting a three-hour show on the topic of the boarder crisis illegal immigration next Friday, July 25, from 10am to 1pm.
During the second hour of Cooley's entree to the talk show world, he was joined in studio by Kevin James. In what Cooley described as a reversal of roles, Cooley interviewed the former talk show host about his current duties as President of the Los Angeles City Board of Works, as well as the work of the Board itself. Cooley did not give James and easy time, probing James for an explanation as to why the streets of the City of Los Angeles are so bad when compared to the streets of surrounding cities such as Burbank and Beverly Hills.
The final hour of the show pitched Cooley with KFI's Aron Bender and his popular segment on controversial news stories, and gave Cooley some time to air his views on news in general and the criminal justice system.
Interspersed between his guests, Cooley also gave his own views on the
criminal justice system, top of the list was his excoriating
condemnation of Proposition 47, the so-called 'Californians for Safe Neighborhoods and Schools' Act, described by Cooley as a "complete fraud" and something that "is going to endanger public safety" notwithstanding its title. Prop 47 would change the categorization of several felonies to misdemeanors, which thanks to AB109 carry no real risk of jail time. It would also allow convicted felons serving time in jail, to petition courts to re-sentence them as misdemeanor offenders, thereby releasing them into the community without any supervision.
A real stinker in Prop 47 is a presumption in favor of re-sentencing, such that it would be virtually impossible for a court to deny re-sentencing. How then, does going soft on crime benefit neighborhoods and communities? According proponents, the money saved by releasing felons into the community, would be given to schools and neighborhoods. In other words, the check's in the mail. Cooley concluded that Prop 47 is "The next great fraud to be perpetrated by the initiative process," and that "Idiotic is too nice a word to use for this initiative." Although he did not say as much, expect Cooley to be a leading light in the fight against Proposition 47.
To hear Steve Cooley standing in for Tim Conway Jr., listen to the podcasts provided by KFI:
Hour 1 - Guests Jackie Lacey, Jim McDonnel and Steve Gregory.
Hour 2 - Guest Kevin James
Hour 3 - The News Bender and surprise call-in guest Tyler Izen President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.