City Hall

Garcetti changes up police commission (and gives Pleitez a gig)

Mayor Eric Garcetti continued his high-profile commission appointments today by naming four new members of the police commission.They include Steve Soboroff, the civic leader (and typewriter collector) who has served on city commissions before, and former NBC 4 general manager Paula Madison. The only Villaraigosa commissioner retained is Rob Saltzman, a USC law professor among other things. Out are longtime police commissioner John Mack and former federal prosecutor Andrea Ordin. Both have had prominent roles on LAPD issues through the years.

Joel Rubin, the LAPD beat reporter for the LA Times, notes the loss of institutional depth and the lack of police experience among the new appointees. From his story:

Along with Soboroff, Garcetti tapped Paula Madison, a former journalist and media executive; Kathleen Kim, a law professor whose work has focused on human trafficking and immigration issues; and Sandra Figueroa-Villa, the executive director of a nonprofit community group.

The choices lack experience in policing issues. Although such knowledge has not been a prerequisite for past appointees to the board, the arrival of these four all at once to the commission equates to a dramatic loss of institutional knowledge of how the LAPD operates....

Saying he wanted "to keep up the momentum on crime," Garcetti is shaking up the influential body at a key time for the LAPD and the commission. Emerging from more than a decade marked by sweeping reforms that were imposed on it by federal officials, the LAPD has become, once again, its own master, and the commission is fully on its own in keeping the department in check.

The commission acts much like a corporate board of directors, setting the LAPD's policies and overseeing its mammoth operations. It also relies heavily on its inspector general, whose staff investigates and audits various aspects of the department on behalf of the commission.

Separately, Garcetti also named Emanuel Pleitez to the commission that oversees police and fire pensions. Pleitez, a former aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraiogsa, finished fifth in the recent primary election for mayor. Pleitez then endorsed Garcetti in the runoff. He is the third losing mayoral candidate that endorsed Garcetti to receive a post in the new mayor's administration, after Jan Perry and Kevin James.

Here are the official bios on the nominees to the police commission. All require City Council approval, I believe.

Sandra Figueroa-Villa

Sandra Figueroa-Villa has been Executive Director of El Pueblo del Centro since 1980. She is a member of the First 5 LA Commission and previously served on the Los Angeles Children, Youth and Family Commission, the Los Angeles Unified School District Redistricting Commission, and the board of the Mia St. John Foundation.

Kathleen Kim

Kathleen Kim is a professor of law at Loyola Law School. Previously, she worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco, and in 2005, she became the inaugural Immigrants’ Rights Teaching Fellow at Stanford Law School. Kim currently co-directs the Anti-Trafficking Litigation Assistance and Support Team and was a gubernatorial appointee to the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery.

Paula Madison

Paula Madison is the Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management. Madison previously served 22 years with NBCUniversal, first as a Peabody Award-winning reporter, then as Vice President and News Director of NBC4 New York, and eventually as President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles. She then served as Executive Vice President of Diversity for NBCUniversal and as a Company Officer for General Electric from 2007 to 2011.

Robert Saltzman

Robert M. Saltzman was appointed to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners in 2007 by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He previously served on the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission from 2005 to 2007. Saltzman has served as Associate Dean of the Gould School of Law at USC since 1988. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute and previously was a member of the Board of Directors of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Steve Soboroff

Steve Soboroff is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Weingart Foundation and past Chairman and CEO of Playa Vista. Previously, he was the Senior Advisor to the California Science Center on its project with NASA to bring the Space Shuttle Endeavour to L.A. He is Chair of the Maccabiah Games Committee of 18, Chair of the Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, a Senior Fellow and member of the Advisory Board at UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a member of the Board of Councillors at the USC Price School of Public Policy. He served as Senior Advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and as President of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission.

More by Kevin Roderick:
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Read the memo: LA Times hires again
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Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
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