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California and the West | CALIFORNIA DATELINE / PATT
MORRISON

Snapshots of life in the Golden State.

Dropping the Gavel on 53 Judges in California

April 06, 1999|PATT MORRISON

These stingers are not weapons of war, but they can still hit their targets--53 state judges.

The Commission on Judicial Performance each year sends out "stinger" letters that carry no disciplinary barbs, but nonetheless put judges on notice of alleged ethical violations. Last year's record 53 "stinger" letters went to, among others, four judges for smoking in their chambers, which perhaps is less a breach of ethics than a violation of state law.

Among the array of alleged offenders were a judge who had a bailiff search a defendant's wallet even after the defendant asked for a lawyer, and another judge who slept, or appeared to be sleeping, in court.

And of course the four honorable smokers, who, lest they shrug this off, may consider Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nancy Brown, who faces possible discipline for having smoked in her chambers.

Defending herself, Brown has said she no longer smokes but that she considered her chambers a private place at the time.

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Dogs gone: It wasn't the hip-hop music that had his Claremont neighbors calling the authorities on Snoop Dogg--it was the rapper's stable of canines.

Over the last five years, the files of the Inland Valley Humane Society and Claremont police have accumulated 44 reports about alleged illegal dogfights, pit bulls and Rottweilers roaming unlicensed and unleashed, all-night barking, and at least one attack on a neighbor's dog and child by canines belonging to the rapper, whose non-stage name is Calvin Broadus.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin obtained copies of the complaints under the state's public records act. Broadus was never cited for any of the allegations in the complaints, the newspaper reported.

The hip-hop artist has moved from his $721,671 home to a house in a gated neighborhood in Diamond Bar, where he is said to have built a high-security compound for his dogs.

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Hotel, Californian: It's more expensive than a mint on the pillow but cheaper than room service.

For $2 a minute, by phone or in person, guests at a certain San Francisco hotel can avail themselves of the counseling services of psychologist Charmian Anderson.

But the Nob Hill Lambourne has changed her title from "corporate psychologist" to "corporate coach," perhaps because only two guests have to date availed themselves of her services--a woman who had to decide whether to take a job that would require her to move back in with parents, the other a banker who was in a panic, with only a few weeks to raise millions to save a floundering company.

The rest of the hotel is in keeping, offering vitamin packs, on-call massage therapists and algae breakfast shakes.

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One-offs: The granite markers unveiled near mass graves at the Sonoma Mission bear the names of 900 Native Americans who helped to build it, the first time such note has been taken of so-called Mission Indians who died by the thousands . . . Conservation groups are suing federal officials for allegedly failing to identify and protect critical habitat for the endangered California red-legged frog, the once-prolific celebrated jumping amphibian of Mark Twain . . . Another anonymous donor's check, this one for $80,000, is among the thousand contributions that will help Gaia, a Berkeley independent bookstore, stay up and running until it is reorganized as a nonprofit next year . . . An Imperial County mental health worker won a $410,000 federal jury judgment after being subjected to religious harassment by a superior who claimed the worker's office was possessed by the devil . . . Nevada is reconsidering a law that has, since 1935, made it illegal for Nevadans to come home from a California vacation, or anywhere else, with more than a gallon of wine or spirits a month.

EXIT LINE

"We're the flavor of the month right now."

--Volunteer John Cromwell, about the flood of news media calls regarding the upset victory by Green Party member Audie Bock over veteran Democrat Elihu Harris in a Bay Area Assembly race, the party's first state office.

California Dateline appears every other Tuesday.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Types of Taxpayers

Happy April! Have you finished your income tax return yet? In case you were wondering, here is a breakdown of California taxpayers and what they paid to the state in 1996, the latest year available:

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Filing Status 1996 Returns Taxes Paid Single 5.2 million $5.1 billion Married 5 million $14.1 billion Head of household 1.8 million $749 million Surviving spouse 11,000 $18 million Married, filing separately 157,000 $346 million

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Source: California Franchise Tax Board, Sacramento

Researched by TRACY THOMAS / Los Angeles Times

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