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
The L.A. Police Commission threw a going-away bash Tuesday for Valley car-sales mogul Herbert Boeckmann II, who must give up his seat on the five-member panel due to a police-reform measure that limits commissioner terms. But anyone with enough fingers to count must have noticed that 16-year panelist Boeckmann has been around far longer than the maximum two terms permitted under the city charter.
Boeckmann, owner of Galpin Motors in North Hills, already had served seven years under Tom Bradley when then-new mayor Richard Riordan returned him to the commission to fill an unexpired term in 1993, the same year the reform measure was adopted. Boeckmann then served a second term, which ran out at the same time Jim Hahn took the mayoral oath in 2001. But Hahn wanted to keep an experienced Valley presence to help combat secession and to steady the inexperienced police panel, so with a legal sleight of hand he appointed the termed-out commissioner to complete the tail end of another member’s term.
Even now, Boeckmann isn’t disappearing from the scene — at least not entirely. Hahn picked top Boeckmann aide Alan Skobin, Galpin’s vice president and general counsel, to succeed his boss on the commission. Skobin, like Boeckmann, will be the panel’s only Republican. But unlike Boeckmann, he is a lawyer — as are each of the four continuing police commissioners.
Padilla’s Personal Battles With Accountability
The long, sad saga of a lobbying-reform ordinance that just can’t seem to make it to the council floor got a little longer and a little sadder last week as Council President Alex Padilla sent it back to committee “at the request of a council member.” In an unusual move Padilla didn’t specify who the council member was, but the City Clerk’s Office identified the requesting member as — Alex Padilla. The committee it was sent to is chaired by — Alex Padilla. Padilla has set no schedule to take up the measure, which was first sent to council by the City Ethics Commission in the summer of 2001.
The law, if it is ever passed, would disqualify elected officials from acting on contracts, ordinances or anything else that comes their way if they get lobbied on those matters by people who also raised campaign money for them. The idea is to prevent the mayor, the council and other officeholders from owing legislative favors to paid lobbyists who went to bat for them at election time.
Padilla tried to squelch the matter in committee, but his committee colleagues made sure the matter moved forward. But so much time has passed that five new council members have come aboard, and Padilla spokesman David Gershwin said they need time to get up to speed. Meanwhile, Padilla gets to appoint new members to his rules committee, where the measure languishes, and there is a chance that the new appointees will be more likely to see the lobbying reforms the same way he does.
Another Jab at the Baretta Investigator
Robert Blake’s defense team was back in Van Nuys court last week asking for approval to take testimony from a potential bombshell witness before the actor’s murder trial even begins. But the judge rejected the unusual request, ruling the jury has a right to see and judge the credibility of Diane Mattson for itself.
In pleading his case to put the Washington state resident on the stand at a pretrial hearing, Blake’s defense attorney, Thomas Mesereau, targeted the credibility of Robbery Homicide Detective Robert Bub for a second time.
Last March, the L.A. Weekly reported that Bub had misrepresented statements from Robin Robichaux, a waitress at Vitello’s Restaurant, the night Blake’s wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, was gunned down. Bub told the Weekly he made a mistake in his preliminary-hearing testimony, because he forgot about a taped follow-up call with the witness.
This time, the actor’s attorney alleged that Bub and his partner had not taped a recent follow-up interview with Mattson, so they could misrepresent what she told them in court.
Mesereau told the judge that Mattson, a former friend of Christian Brando, the son of Marlon Brando and the former lover of Bakley, overheard a speakerphone conversation between the younger Brando and Ronald “Duffy” Hambleton, in which shooting Bakley was discussed. Hambleton is a former stuntman and key prosecution witness who testified at the preliminary hearing that Blake solicited him for murder.
Prosecutor Greg Pohi said police eliminated Brando as a suspect after Mattson told detectives they were at a barbecue in Washington the night of the murder. Mattson, said Mesereau, called the defense team after the preliminary hearing was over because she recognized Hambleton’s voice from his televised testimony. In court, Mesereau stated that Mattson told her story to defense investigators and then to LAPD detectives the second time they interviewed her. Her attorney also confirmed this. Mattson was first interviewed by police at Brando’s lawyer’s office, but never mentioned the phone call because she was too afraid, her lawyer said.
Mattson’s attorney, Brian Oxman, also said she is terrified of Brando because he allegedly threatened to shoot her if she testified against him. And, he added, this request was made to put her testimony on the record to give her insurance against Brando’s threat.