When last we met in this Southwestern Colorado mountain town one year ago, the Pretty Lights Analog Future Band changed the game, the traveling PL-fans from all over the country impressed the locals, who were all happy to welcome the fan-base back to Telluride, CO for a second two-night run.The ever-evolving lineup of musicians who support Derek Smith, now includes new drummer Alvin Ford Jr., along with PL-Veterans Brian Coogan (Hammond B3, Clavinet, Wurlitzer), Break Science’s Borahm Lee (Prophet, Farfisa, Fender Rhodes) and Chris Karns (turntables). The PL Live Band took the project to new places with fresh takes on old school jams, classic rock remixes to stoke the locals, and brand new improvisational vintage future sounds.Something about the Telluride altitude elevates Pretty Lights Music and it was obvious that last year was a major turning point for the project. The Telluride 2015 experience seemed to really deliver on the idea that this project goes beyond just the music; it’s a broader thing, about the family vibes of a group of travelers who rely on each other, who contribute to the experiential vibes that the band feeds off of, along with an improved and completely in-house approach to video (much of which was shot by Smith in the days ahead of the shows), along with a new lighting approach, where lasers and lights were accented by glittery raindrops on night two.In the past, PL-heads would live and die by set lists, hoping for rare gems, but with the current incarnation of the band, all of the music is new-sounding with way more empty space which creates a head nod hip-hop vibe that seemed to look back from the future toward Derek’s earlier collaborative hip hop project, Listen, where he was an MC and producer. This decade-plus old hip hop legacy came to a culmination on night two, where Derek asked drummer Alvin Ford Jr. to lay down a beat for him to ad-lib three full verses, providing a platform for the usually vague Smith to directly address the Telluride crowd, letting them know that the collection of letters delivered to him by the fans the previous year made him cry and changed his life, along with the his perspective on what the PL project is. Tossing his trademark Yankees hat into the crowd and removing his hood for the last two tracks of the weekend emphasized the extent to which Derek had put himself out there this weekend. And everyone was most definitely on the same page.– words Brian Jonke [all photos courtesy of Djivan Schapira – B.A.D. Photography] Load remaining images
State attorneys, PDs need money to reduce turnover Jan Pudlow Senior Editor A half dozen years ago, the legislature boosted the starting salaries of rookie prosecutors and public defenders to lure them in the door. Now it’s time for the second phase of trying to keep mid-level attorneys with three to six years experience, the group with the highest turnover rate.That was the message 19th Circuit State Attorney Bruce Colton, president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, delivered to the Senate Justice Appropriations Committee on January 26.Ditto for public defenders, says Eighth Circuit Public Defender Richard Parker, who made his case for additional staff, as well as increased pay, when he asked for $15 million for workload, an 8.3 percent increase over last year’s trial operating budget.“We can’t stop the turnover,” Parker said. Over an eight-year period, he said, the turnover rate has been nearly 22 percent. That means each year, about one in five attorneys quits the public defenders’ office. Experienced assistant public defenders, he said, are “only making $10,000 more than brand new lawyers coming through the door.”The minimum starting salary for assistant public defenders, Parker said, is $38,317. Yet the minimum starting salary for lawyers in the executive branch after two years is $50,616.The same turnover crisis is also happening on the other side of the courtroom.“We can’t keep experienced lawyers, and we have a problem sending people into court with very little experience on very important cases,” Colton said. “Every day, people apologize for leaving a job they love, because they can’t afford to pay student loans and raise a family.”The prosecutors are asking for $6.9 million.State attorneys are not trying to compete with law firm salaries, just other government agencies, Colton said. He gave the example of the lowest salary of an assistant county attorney in Miami-Dade County is more than 35 percent greater than the average salary of prosecutors in the 11th circuit.Every time the legislature funds a new judge, Colton said, the state attorneys need seven employees, including attorneys, support staff, and a victims’ advocate.In “virtually every case where someone goes to prison,” he said, there are 3.850 motions filed on ineffective assistance of counsel.“These are killing us,” Colton said. “There are four people handling just those motions in our office.”Speaking for the public defenders, Parker agreed: “You can add as many new judges as you want, but if you don’t add corresponding staff it won’t be efficient.”Even without new judges, he said, “We are still facing pressures.”The ineffective assistance of counsel motions are a “tremendous drain” on the public defenders, as well, he said, because they are defending some and prosecuting others.Committee Chair Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, said: “We recognize what your needs are. It’s more than hiring attorneys. It’s staff support.”This year, Crist said, he hopes to fund 66 new judgeships (64 trial and two appellate), 55 Supreme Court certified last year, plus 11 new ones the court has requested.“Whatever we do, we will do in a balanced holistic approach so all parties are equally stroked and no one is penalized,” Crist said. February 15, 2006 Regular News State attorneys, PDs need money to reduce turnover
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