Friday, July 5, 2002
Local Attorney Named to Law Enforcement Standards Commission
From Staff and Wire Service Reports
Michael R. Yamaki, Los Angeles attorney and appointments secretary to Gov. Gray Davis, has been appointed to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission
The Governor’s Office announced Yamaki’s appointment Tuesday to a term ending July 1, 2005. The appointment requires Senate confirmation.
Yamaki has been Davis’ appointments secretary since October 1999. He will remain in that position, advising Davis on appointments to state commissions and boards.
Yamaki, 54, earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his law degree from the School of Law at the University of West Los Angeles.
He has served as president of the Los Angeles Fire Commission, as vice chair of the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners and on the Los Angeles Police Commission. He is currently on the Board of Directors of D.A.R.E. America and the Los Angeles Police Historical Society.
He succeeds Monty Holden, executive director of the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs.
COPS endorsed Davis for governor in 1998, but switched to support his Republican opponent, Bill Simon, this year.
Asked Wednesday if Yamaki’s appointment was retaliation for the COPS’ endorsement of Simon, Davis said Holden’s term was up “and I replaced him with a very knowledgeable person who served on the L.A. police commission and has been active in law enforcement affairs.”
Alex Traverso, a Davis spokesman, said because of Yamaki’s experience as a lawyer and his “extensive law enforcement background it was an easy choice for the governor to make.”
But Simon charged that Davis’ refusal to reappoint Holden was a “glaring example of the pay-for-play Davis administration.”
“Either you put up the campaign cash or the major endorsements or Gray Davis isn’t going to listen,” he said. “Monty Holden is as qualified to hold a position on [the] POST commission today as he was when he was first appointed.”
Three vacancies remain on the 14-member POST Commission.
Simon noted that Davis political adviser Garry South, after learning that COPS was considering endorsing Simon, sent a fax to a COPS representative saying Holden “needs to lose his job” if he supported the switch.
Holden said last month that COPS decided to back Simon because of lack of leadership from Davis on the energy crisis and the state budget.
But a confidential COPS memo complained that Davis wasn’t paying attention to the group and that endorsing Simon would help COPS recruit Republican law enforcement as members. The group represents 5,000 officers statewide.
The memo added, “If we go with Simon in the general [election], there’s very good chance the board will get the chance to meet the president.”
Nearly every other law enforcement and public safety organization in California has endorsed Davis, including the California Police Chiefs Association and California State Firefighters Association.
POST is a voluntary organization for California law enforcement groups. It was established by legislation in 1959 to set minimum standards for selection and training of law enforcement officials.
There are over 600 participating agencies including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company