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HAHN POLICE NOMINEES APPROVED 3 ROOKIES TO OVERSEE LAPD.

Byline: Rick Orlov Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council gave approval on Wednesday to Mayor James Hahn's nominees to the Police Commission despite some concerns about the qualification of one of the appointees.

Attorney Silvia Saucedo was approved, however, on a 12-2 vote with several members coming to the defense of the 27-year-old real estate attorney, saying her being a Latina coming from the Pico-Union area gives her unique experience.

In separate votes, the council voted 14-0 to confirm Bert Boeckmann - the only holdover on the panel - as well as attorneys Rick Caruso, David Cunningham III and Rose Ochi.

Council members Cindy Miscikowski and Jack Weiss opposed Saucedo's confirmation, saying they believed she needed more experience in the community and other city panels before being named to one as critical as the Police Commission.

``This is the most crucial commission the city has,'' said Miscikowski, who chairs the council's Public Safety Committee overseeing the Los Angeles Police Department. ``I am opposing her not because she isn't an outstanding person, but I don't feel she is at the point where she has been tested and battle-scarred.''

Weiss offered similar views.

``I am voting against her because she is at the early stage of her career and needs to develop more qualifications,'' he said.

Several other council members came to her defense, however.

``Any time you are a minority that grew up in an area like Pico-Union you have been tested,'' Pacheco said. ``When you grow up in a family where English is not your primary language, you have been tested. When you graduate high school where 50 percent of the students drop out, you have been tested.

``When you graduate college and go on to pass the state bar, you have been tested.''

Saucedo, after the vote, said she was grateful for the confirmation and believed her youth would be an advantage.

``If you look at the city as a whole, I am about the average age,'' Saucedo said. ``I am the average age of a Los Angeles police officer and can understand their concerns.''

During questioning by council members, she also asserted she will be independent of the department and others attempting to pressure the commission.

``What we have to remember is that public safety is our No. 1 job,'' Saucedo said.

Also, she agreed with the other nominees that the commission had to play a more active role in resolving morale issues and improving the LAPD's standing in the community, possibly by holding more commission hearings at night around the city.

But Councilman Joel Wachs questioned if any commission can resolve the problems facing the LAPD with a federal consent decree over its operations, continuing questions regarding the Rampart Division corruption case and morale problems among officers.

``I'm not optimistic that five people - any five people - can change the culture of the LAPD,'' Wachs said. ``And, it's going to take a change in the culture of the department.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 16, 2001
Words:490
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