Police officers, with the help of federal marshals, nabbed the suspected triggerman in the shooting of Frank Tacadena, a 60-year-old grandfather who was murdered while sitting in his car on West Islay Street on September 13. Luis Gabriel Sosa, 26, of Lompoc was arrested last Wednesday in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was allegedly hiding out with family members. Sosa is now in county jail on suspicion of murder. Sosa, who did not know the victim, is a suspected member of the same Ventura gang as John Manuel Lopez, a 26-year-old Santa Barbara man who has a history of bad blood with Tacadena. According to police, Lopez and Sosa were together when Tacadena was shot; Lopez was arrested the next day and is in police custody on suspicion of murder.
The Santa Barbara city cop who fired three shots at the conclusion of a car chase last Friday – hitting a passenger in the car with two of them – has been placed on paid administrative leave while the matter undergoes both criminal and administrative investigations. Enrique Alvarado – a Santa Barbara cop since 2002 – fired his weapon after his demands that the car’s driver stop trying to free the vehicle from a brick wall went unheeded. Two of the shots struck the car’s passenger Mike Hernandez, who has since been treated and released from Cottage Hospital.
Santa Barbara City Attorney Steve Wiley is considering ordinance language to reform campaign finance at the municipal level. An ad hoc committee – comprised of Mayor Marty Blum and City Councilmembers Roger Horton and Brian Barnwell – hopes to bring its suggestions to the full council in early November for adoption next year. The committee has shown no enthusiasm for public financing of campaigns but has entertained the idea of allowing contributions from individuals only, establishing maximum dollar amounts, prohibiting contributions through intermediaries, and arranging for equal time for candidates on public television.
Grocery store conglomerate Ralphs will have to pay some $70 million in restitution fees after a settlement was reached in the criminal case stemming from their illegal rehire of employees during the 2004 labor strike. In a scheme that is still under criminal investigation, Ralphs used fake names and false Social Security numbers to rehire a number of locked-out employees. The ruling comes after Ralphs pled guilty to five felony charges in late June. Twenty million dollars will go toward fines, while the remaining $50 million will go toward reimbursing the workers’ union.