The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on December 22, 2003 · Page 9
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 9

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Monday, December 22, 2003
Page 9
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ME_B_6_B6_IE_1_12-22-03_mo_1_CMYK 2003:12:21:22:23:26 B6 MONDAY,DECEMBER22,2003/IE CALIFORNIA LOSANGELESTIMES MONDAY & TUESDAY COMPLETE DINNER OR LUNCH ONLY $24.95REG. $39.95 ENTERPRISECO. FISH 2 POUNDLIVE MAINE LOBSTER Since 1977 225 State Street, Santa Barbara 805-962-3313 174 Kinney Street, Santa Monica 310-392-8366 4024323 $ 836 5068 ZBAR Retrofit NO GRID DG LOW E (Not Pictured)  Doors  Aluminum  Wood  Vinyl  Hardwood  Windows  Mouldings WE DO IT ALL!!! FACTORYPREFINISH & INSTALLATION (818) 734-8050 or (800) 953-3667 INSTALL NEW WINDOWS & $$ SAVE $$ ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS NOW! INSTALL NEW WINDOWS & $$ SAVE $$ ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS NOW! The Valley’s Hottest Showroom! CUSTOM WINDOW & DOOR 21606 OSBORNE ST. 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The assailant raped Patty and bludgeoned them to death. For many years, the victims’ families offered rewards and held news conferences, trying to drum up any information about the killer. But Bruce Harrington said that he had become resigned to the case’s never being solved. That changed in 2000, when Orange County sheriff’s investigators announced that they had linked the Harrington caseto four other unsolved murders in the area from the 1980s. Detectives dubbed the unknown killer the “original night stalker.”They also linked the perpetrator’s DNA to dozens of sexual assaults throughout the state, and suspect that he killed four others in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. “Up until then, it was a random killing,” he said. “Now we know there is a common link. We are going to mine the population DNA of prison inmates. Through that mining effort, we are hopefully going to bring closure to who is the original night stalker.” The state’s database contains more than 200,000 DNA samples from offenders convicted of any of 36 serious and violent felonies, including murder, manslaughter, rape and sexual assault. It was expanded in 2002 to include first-degree residential burglary, first-degree robbery, carjacking and arson. An all-felon database would include more than 1 million samples. Law enforcement officials say it would lead to more cold hits, which occur when DNA from an unsolved crime scene matches a DNA profile from evidence in another case, or an offender’s DNA profile in the database. The number of cold hits has increased dramatically since the creation of the state’s databank in 1994, according to the attor- ney general’s office. There were 11 cold hits in 2000, 52 in 2001 and 148 in 2002. This year, an average of one cold hit a day has been recorded from among the DNA evidence backlog of over 13,000 unsolved rape cases statewide. “If we’re really going to do something about trying to deal with the backlog,” said Dave La- Bahn, executive director of the California District Attorneys’ Assn., “we’ve got to have a crime- fighting tool that is accurate and complete.” LaBahn said he expected the proposed initiative to succeed where the legislation had failed because the public understands that DNA is reliable and crucial evidence in criminal cases. The initiative was drafted by a coalition, including Harrington; La- Bahn; L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Lisa Kahn; and the state Department of Justice. The state attorney general’s office received the draft on Dec. 9 and backers expect to begin collecting signatures next year. They must collect 373,816 valid signatures by April 2004 to get the proposed initiative on the November ballot, but they plan to collect more than 500,000, said Mitch Zak, who is coordinating the campaign. Harrington plans to fund the effort, which is expected to cost more than $1 million. “We have the technology in California, and we are not using it,” Harrington said. “My goal is to put my money where my mouth is and get the voters to pass the initiative.” Backers cite as a model the database in Virginia, where data show that 82% of rape and murder hits would have been missed hadthe databank beenlimited to violent offenses. The data also show that 35% of the violent crimes solved were committed by individuals with previous property crime convictions, Kahn said. The initiative would be funded by charging convicted felons an additional 10% in fines, which would raise about $25 million annually. In the first and second years, 70% of the funds would go to the state treasury so the attorney general’s office could build the infrastructure necessary to do the increased number of samples, and 30% would go to local agencies. The third year, the funds would be split evenly between state and local agencies. After that, the state would get a quarter of the annual funds. The success of an all-felon databank depends on local agencies’ commitment to testing the samples in unsolved cases and making their way through their backlogs, said Kahn, who is in charge of forensics services for Los Angeles County. Thousands of rape kits and crime scene samples currently sit in freezers throughout California. “California will have the biggest DNA databank in the country,” Kahn said. “But unless local law enforcement is willing to devote the resources to testing, then the databank will have been for nothing.” Kahn said roughly 40 states have databases with all convicted felons. “Enough is enough,” Kahn said. “DNA databasing is a 21st century crime-solving tool. We cannot be the last state in this nation to have an all-felon database.” Expanded Database Sought VICTIMS: Keith and Patty Harrington were killed in 1980 in Laguna Niguel by a man since dubbed the “original night stalker.” [ DNA, from Page B1 ] expect to shell out extra dollars for top-quality service. “This helps build on that mutual employee contract,” said Levenson, a professor at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations.“Companies that provide higher-quality products often pay more expenses than they would if they were following simple economic values. This was a solution to keep their best workers on the payroll without being a total financial drain on the hotel.” The inn was built in 1923, initially luring wealthy East Coast residents with the area’s mild winters and restorative dry air. It has been renovated several times, but the $70-million project underway is the most extensive in years. Plans call for the addition of 100 rooms, four restaurants and a clubhouse for the inn’s 18-hole golf course. Ballroom and conference hall space is also doubling, Williams said. With the inn being Ojai’s biggest employer, the renovation has meant a temporary lag in bed taxes for the city, with a population of 8,000. Also, many residents who would normally turn to the 200-room hotel for employment have had to look elsewhere, Williams said. “Ojai is a small community and it’s hard to just jump to another job,” she said. “This program has allowed us to keep some local residents employed.” Ruthie Dimmick, a 10-year waitress, was able to hang onto her position by learning how to paint like a professional. Now, instead of taking orders in the posh Maravilla dining room, she leads a crew of 10 putting fresh paint on dated guest rooms. “I really wanted to stay here,” said Dimmick, 36. “And it was important to me to keep my benefits.” Georgia Deutsch landed her job as the hotel’s floral designer just two years ago. The 53-year- old artist had just bought a fixer-upper in nearby Oak View. So when the retraining offer came, Deutsch put aside her fear of electricity and plunged in. In the past few months, she has tiled floors, drafted blueprints and laid miles of electrical wire. On a recent day, she clutch- ed a smoke alarm that needed rewiring while wearing a heavy tool bag around her waist. “I think it’s really cool,” she said. “I can fix my house on my own now. I wanted to learn as much as I could so I could apply it at home.” She likes her new work so much, in fact, that Deutsch is considering transferring to the engineering staff after the hotel reopens late next summer. “If they need me to do a flower arrangement, I’ll just run over and do that, too,” she said. The retrained workers are being used only for renovation work, such as spackling thick adobe-styleplaster on guest room walls and tearing out old sinks and toilets. A contractor with his own crew of carpenters is handling the new construction, including several “village” clusters that will house new guest rooms, Williams said. But that hasn’t meant that the retrained workers feel like a lower class of laborers. On a recent day, the refurbishing crew showed esprit de corps by wearing matching T-shirts proclaiming, “Building a Better Shangri-La.” Dimmick said she has discovered a pride in her work that was less apparent before. Her painting technique has improved — at least for someone who was previously an amateur, she said. “I’ve done it for friends before,” she said. “But I’m getting paid for it now.” Photographs by Stephen Osman Los Angeles Times OVERHAUL: The 1923 inn’s $70-million renovation is its most extensive makeover in years. It will have 100 added rooms, four restaurants and a golf course clubhouse. From Bellhops to Builders [ Inn, from Page B1 ] SAFETY: Trainees learning new jobs at the inn were state-certified in safety procedures.

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