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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Neighborhood Prosecutors Tap Into Social Media

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer’s program for Neighborhood Prosecutors is receiving mixed reviews from Valley attorneys. Under the program, one prosecutor in Feuer’s office is assigned to each geographic division of the Los Angeles Police Department. The goal is to prevent crime and increase prosecutions by working with neighborhood groups and residents. Specific initiatives focus on a crackdown on illegal dumping, closing unlawful medical marijuana dispensaries and identifying polluters. Feuer’s office has partnered with Nextdoor, a private online social network for neighborhoods. Any resident with an email and an address can sign up for Nextdoor and send tips to the local prosecutor. Jonathan Birdt, a solo practitioner in Porter Ranch who has worked with the city attorney on matters ranging from broken sidewalks to police misconduct, thinks that since residents already have the phone numbers of city departments, and the police at the Devonshire station have always been helpful, there’s little need for the program, especially for businesses. “Do business owners now have a contact in the city attorney’s office? That would be great, but in all my interactions they have put up hurdles to business and made conditional use permits nearly impossible to get,” he said. But David S. Kestenbaum, a former city attorney who now practices criminal defense law in Van Nuys, believes neighborhood prosecutors can provide a familiar contact person for homeowner associations and business owners. In fact, he once called the Van Nuys prosecutor because a building behind his office was becoming a flophouse for drug users. Within three days the problem was cleaned up. Kestenbaum, who serves as treasurer at the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, has found prosecutors particularly useful in mediating disputes. “They have to play by the same rules as any other city attorney, but you have one person to deal with,” he said. “After a number of cases, there is a consistency and we are able to resolve matters.” The program also serves a political function for the elected city attorney. “They are seen as helping the people who vote and not just prosecuting the people who get arrested,” Kestenbaum said. Media Talent Consumer Attorney Marketing Group has hired two media veterans as part of its expansion strategy. The Woodland Hills firm runs TV, radio and online campaigns for lawyers seeking plaintiffs for prescription drug, medical device and personal injury lawsuits. The company produces some of the most-viewed direct response commercials on the air. The new hires will work to lower clients’ case acquisition costs through savvy media buying. Sean Sosa has joined the company as senior vice president of media strategy and Betsy Ray is a new account executive. Sosa will focus on planning campaigns, including media buying, including interactive marketing and online marketing. Ray will be responsible implementing the campaigns and maintaining relationships with clients. Sosa has more than 20 years’ experience in media buying. Previously he was an executive at Icon Media Direct in Sherman Oaks, where he oversaw campaigns for Proactiv, Hotwire NutriSystem and Oxiclean. Ray was previously an account executive at InterMedia Advertising in Woodland Hills, where she specialized in direct response campaigns. “Sean and Betsy’s media buying expertise, combined with our team’s law firm industry experience, will provide successful TV and radio campaigns for our clients,” company President Steve Nober said in a statement. On the Docket Bob Huber, mayor of Simi Valley and a practicing attorney, is one of the top 10 personal injury lawyers in Ventura County, according to the Prime Buyer’s Report. The publication compiles the list by conducting phone call surveys with individual customers and companies. Huber originally was deputy district attorney for Ventura County, and in 1978 he started a private practice in litigation. He said in a statement that the top 10 designation “is validation for my clients that my quality of service and trustworthiness has been verified by an independent third party.” … Pearlman Borska & Wax expanded its footprint in the Valley last month with a 18,685-square-foot lease expansion for its headquarters at Encino Plaza, a 192,505-square-foot office tower at 15910 Ventura Blvd. in Encino. The firm has occupied the building’s penthouse and now will take additional space on the 10th floor. The firm also has offices in Oxnard, Glendale, Gardena and San Diego. … A case argued by Roxborough Pomerance Nye & Adreani LLP will go the California Supreme Court. Augustus v. ABM Security Services will decide whether “on-duty” rest breaks are permissible under California law. In 2012, the firm obtained a summary judgment of nearly $90 million in wages, interest and penalties for about 15,000 security guards. The California Supreme Court voted 7-0 earlier this month to review an appellate court ruling. Staff Writer Joel Russell can be reached at (818) 316-3124 or jrussell@sfvbj.com.

Joel Russel
Joel Russel
Joel Russell joined the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter. He transferred to sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2012 as managing editor. Since he assumed the position of editor in 2015, the Business Journal has been recognized four times as the best small-circulation tabloid business publication in the country by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Hispanic Business magazine and editor of Business Mexico.
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