By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Kelly’s trip to the death chamber, which was scheduled for last spring, was delayed by a series of remarkable events, including an unprecedented pre-execution sanity trial triggered by the warden’s doubts that the inmate was mentally fit to die. The scope of the court’s decision is unclear, though both Kelly’s attorneys and the state Attorney General’s Office agree that at least 40 cases would be affected. A broad interpretation would open the door for reconsideration of all cases in which the federal appeals process was already underway when the new filing deadline was imposed. Or the ruling may apply only to cases complicated by questions of mental competency.
In Kelly’s case, the decision allows his attorneys to argue both that his police confession was involuntary and that his original lawyers were incompetent. They will also revisit questions about his sanity. U.S. Assistant Public Defender David Fermino says he last visited Kelly a month ago, and found his client confused and disoriented. "He didn’t remember who I was," Fermino says. "He was extremely disheveled, could not write his name and did not know what day it was." The ultimate goal, Fermino says, is to reduce Kelly’s sentence to life without possibility of parole and move him to a penal mental institution. "Mr. Kelly is so badly brain-damaged that he needs to be taken care of," Fermino says. "Unfortunately, the California Department of Corrections is not equipped to do that."—Sara Catania
one love RADIO
The latest programming paroxysm at kpfk has some radioheads wondering if the progressive but sometimes befuddled station has a new theme song: "Mama Don’t Allow No Hip-Hop Music ’Round Here." Two prime-time music shows on the listener-sponsored station bit the dust last week, and the unpaid volunteer programmers who left say it’s because of management’s aversion to rap and youth culture. DJ Dusk, whose Tuesday 8 to 10 p.m. show, The Bridge, featured reggae, rare ’70s soul, salsa and hip-hop, was fired and replaced by a rap-free format, he said.
Carlos Niño, whose All at One Point aired Wednesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m., said he quit after receiving an order to stop playing hip-hop. Managers also asked him to limit his patter to a minute and to drop his use of such phrases as "peace and love" and "one love," which they said were alienating an older audience. (Hey, OffBeat could have sworn we heard that "peace" thing once or twice back in the ’60s, but we could be wrong.) The love talk ban was later lifted, but Niño — at 22, one of the younger programmers on KPFK (and a Weekly contributor) — elected not to continue his edgy mix of noncommercial hip-hop and world music. "It’s not like I was playing sell-that-dope-and-go-shoot-your-neighbor crap," Niño said. "I do not want to bring KPFK down. It is the most progressive station around with a real potential to be a community voice . . . But I do not support what the station management is doing. They basically didn’t like what I consider my youthfulness, colorfulness and life affirmation."
The axings are part of the chronically underfunded station’s move toward slicker, "eclectic" programming to entice a more upscale KCRW-type audience; both Dusk and Niño acknowledge they were not top fund-raisers. But is killing hip-hop, arguably the biggest money-maker in commercial radio, the answer? General manager Mark Schubb said hip-hop will continue on late-night programs, but it was not drawing an audience in the earlier slots.
"The majority of our listeners, and of our donors, are not 18 years old," Schubb said."It’s wonderful to bring youth into the mix, but it’s never going to be the focus of what we do."
"Rap is the music I and a lot of other people grew up with," said Dusk, a La Habra native. "Now it’s the one style of music missing from the equation."