By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
On the other hand, Bastard’s record brims over with the type of suspiciously flimsy charges that are common for young black men: traffic stops that escalate to serious charges, phantom police "shootouts" that vanish in the light of day, personal beefs blown up into criminality. Bastard was shot and robbed in a Brooklyn apartment last summer, and friends say someone is trying to kill him, in the vein of slain rap stars Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. "I don’t know what anybody’s trying to do to me, but I can’t allow no conspiracies against me. I won’t allow them," Bastard commented earlier this year. Under the Wildman law, Bastard could have petitioned the chief of police for special permission to wear the armor — but did he know about this provision? Where are the civil libertarians when purely defensive armament is banned? And in a city where Biggie Smalls’ 1997 Wilshire District murder remains unsolved, should a hip-hop star be punished for defending himself? Bastard didn’t seem too worried Monday; he napped in the courthouse hallway before greeting Shapiro and entering a not-guilty plea. He faces a possible five-year prison term.—Greg Brouwer
THE BUCK STOPS HERE
Last week’s school-board election gave Mayor Richard Riordan most of what he wanted and maybe more — a strong shot at a mayoral-backed majority to mount education reform, but no more excuses if L.A.’s dismal school performance remains unchanged. (Two Riordan-funded challengers won outright; Riordan-supported board member David Tokofsky is holding a narrow lead in a still-undecided race, and Riordan-endorsed Genethia Hayes forced a runoff against incumbent Barbara Boudreaux.) The winning candidates say they will not be mouthpieces for Hizzoner, but money talks. And in this election, Riordan’s greenbacks spoke loudly.
OffBeat took a peek at campaign reports for the four Riordan-backed candidates and discovered that the mayor and his political cash mill, Coalition for Kids, doled out 80 percent of the loot used collectively in all four races — a total of $2.2 million. IBM executive Caprice Young, who beat incumbent Jeff Horton in District 3, received 90 percent of her $620,000 campaign coffer from Coalition for Kids.
In the 7th District, first-time candidate Mike Lansing raked in campaign contributions six times the amount of incumbent George Kiriyama — and smashed him. At last count, 95 percent of Lansing’s campaign treasure chest came from the pockets of Riordan and his millionaire buddies. His funding total of $815,000 is unheard-of for a school-board race and works out to $55.49 a vote.
OffBeat agrees with Mayor Riordan that increased education spending is the right thing to do — just not on corny television ads and mindless political mailings. Next time Riordan & Co. are in the mood to shop, OffBeat has a list: Just half of what Coalition for Kids contributed this time around to campaigns could purchase 25,000 new textbooks, 1,000 new personal computers, 30 scholarships for teachers to obtain advanced degrees at UCLA or nearly 4 million pencils.—Sara Dunn
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