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L.A. official is offered deal on drunk driving

To avoid jail time, Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon would have to plead guilty to drunk driving and child endangerment involving a 2011 incident in San Bernardino County.

December 11, 2012|By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon, shown in 2011, has been charged with misdemeanor counts that include driving under the influence and child endangerment.
Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon, shown in 2011,… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

The San Bernardino County district attorney offered a deal to Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon on Tuesday that would require her to plead guilty to drunk driving and child endangerment stemming from her arrest near Running Springs two days before New Year's.

Alarcon attorney Michael Scafiddi declined to comment about the offer but told the case prosecutor that he is prepared to fight the allegations.

Alarcon, 33, has been charged with misdemeanor counts that include driving under the influence and child endangerment, since her now 11-year-old daughter was in the car when she was detained by the California Highway Patrol on Highway 18 about 9 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2011.

A pretrial hearing in the case was postponed until Jan. 23. Alarcon did not appear at Tuesday's court session.

Deputy Dist. Atty. William Gale said his office is unwilling to budge on the two main charges. Alarcon's blood alcohol level that night was allegedly 0.19 — more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, Gale said.

Scafiddi said Alarcon might challenge some of the blood-alcohol evidence.

"A plea to DUI and child endangerment, that's our position," Gale said. "That's what she's guilty of."

Under the deal, Alarcon would face no jail time but would face four years' probation, a mandatory DUI class, a 52-week program for child abusers and more than $2,000 in fines.

According to the CHP, witnesses reported a vehicle with a flat tire. When an officer contacted Alarcon, who was in the vehicle with a juvenile passenger, the officer noticed "signs of intoxication" and began a DUI investigation, said CHP spokesman Benjamin Baker. Alarcon was placed under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Alarcon, the daughter of Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, is also being investigated for a second alleged child endangerment incident that occurred downtown shortly before midnight on Nov. 16 when her daughter was found unattended at City Hall.

An assistant to a top aide of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told Los Angeles police that she and Alarcon were at a downtown hotel the night that the 11-year-old was found alone about 11:45 p.m.

According to law enforcement sources, the girl told police she secretly followed Alarcon out of City Hall about 10:30 p.m. as her mother walked with a man and woman. When the girl caught up at 1st and Main streets, Alarcon told her to go back and wait at City Hall, according to the sources. Officers who patrol city buildings saw the 11-year-old a short time later and, about 11:45 p.m., took the girl to a Los Angeles Police Department station, the sources said.

San Bernardino County prosecutor Gale said the City Hall investigation "didn't help her case out here."

Alarcon, who was appointed by Villaraigosa to her $130,000-a-year post, has taken a leave of absence and has not been charged or arrested in the City Hall incident.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, confirmed two weeks ago that an investigation regarding Alarcon had been referred to her office but said prosecutors requested more evidence before determining whether to file charges.

Lacey's deputies are prosecuting a perjury and voter fraud case against Alarcon's father and his wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon. That case centers on whether the councilman lied about living in a house in Panorama City.

phil.willon@latimes.com

Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein and David Zahniser contributed to this report.

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