May 10, 2014

There is beer, Sherae is emceeing, where are you?

Local brews, Sherae emceeing, live music, where are you?

I repeat. There is beer. Okay samples from local breweries including Lost Coast, Lagunitas, Mad River.

Brew at the Zoo this evening until 9 p.m . Paul and Joan Gallegos, John Ford as well as Marian Brady, Mike Newman and Elan Firpo; the latter 3 who later went to another event.

Brew at the Zoo brings a distinctively different crowd than other events all year long. Cool breeze, grub style pub and you may even run into your best friend.

Free seminar for all businesses and employees that have an alcohol license on May 12

The Eureka Police Department is pleased to announce a free seminar for all businesses and their employees who hold an alcohol license in the County of Humboldt. The training is presented by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and will be held on May 12th, 2014 from 9:00am to 1:00pm. The event will take place in the Warfinger Building located at 1 Marina Way Eureka, CA 95501.

The LEAD (Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs) seminar will provide attendees with:
Information on what is “acceptable” I.D., what is the best way to check I.D., how to refuse service, signs and prevention of illicit drug activity, and much more.
Facts about your criminal, civil, and ABC liability
Update on California alcohol laws
Helpful handouts

No reservation is required. On the day of the training, please bring a copy of your ABC license and plan to arrive a few minutes early to sign in, as the program will begin promptly at 9 a.m. Please call the local Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) or Eureka Police Department if you have any questions.

May 9, 2014

Unconfirmed as of now but Timothy Littlefield case to be retried?

Several community members have called recently to ask me to check and see the status of Timothy Littlefield, the Mckinleyville man convicted of 11 molestation charges last year and eight life sentences without parole.

Judge Dale Reinholtsen sentenced Littlefield last year. District Attorney Paul Gallegos prosecuted and Russ Clanton represented the defendant.

It has been rumored the case is being retried. Possibly due to jury misconduct. And that Littlefield is out of custody.

 I will have comment from Mr. Gallegos and Mr. Clanton when and if I can get some answers. I will look into it myself and have updates between now and Monday.

Bodhi Tree jury selection complete; Trial starts May 14

Opening arguments in the Bodhi Tree trial will start May 14. Courtroom 4 at 8:45.

Bodhi Tree 12 jurors picked; alternates still being selected

The 12 jurors were selected and finalized just before morning break. Alternate juror selection in process.

May 8, 2014

Intervention is attorneys only; why was TS in the courtroom?

During Interventions, I was told only attorneys remain in the courtroom. No public. No media. Why was a TS reporter allowed in the courtroom today?

The Ferrer case drew a lot of public attention. I was in the courthouse and did not go because have always been told intervention is for attorneys only.

I contacted Will.

Will just responded and said he walked in, no one asked him to leave. He has been in intervention hearings before. Will is known to court staff here.

So now that an exception has been made, I think court staff needs to be consistent. The problem is not Will or the Times-Standard. I like Will. The problem is rules being applied
subjectively. Often a few of us are in court, others call in and get information.

When you are trying to scoop each other, every one should have fair access.

Assault case dismissed; recent vehicular manslaughter case result in win too for Colegrove?

In December 2011, Sherlette Colegrove was charged with Felony: Assault and Assault with a Deadly weapon other than a firearm. She was held to answer on the charges in the Preliminary Hearing but the case was dismissed after the preliminary hearing. Her attorney was Kathleen Bryson.

She is a Hoopa resident and according to community reports, she assaulted someone in Willow Creek.

She has 7 other cases in the system; they are general and traffic cases.

Yesterday, in Courtroom 1, Colegrove was scheduled for probation/sentencing. This sentencing has been continued twice. Luke Brownfield who prosecuted the second case was not present yesterday but ADA Kelly Neel was in court on behalf of the People. The charge in this recent case was vehicular manslaughter and a special allegation of fleeing the crime scene.

According to community reports, the victim was an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was the significant other of Colegrove's sister. On May 2, Ms. Bryson who is also representing Colegrove on this case filed a statement of mitigation. Judge Feeney said he had reached a tentative decision.

Responding to a question by Ms. Bryson, Judge Feeney responded that he was leaning towards only probation.

He said his decision was different before he received the statement of mitigation. He also reviewed toxicology results, letters from Joe Thompson, Andrew Issac, Colegrove, her mother, family and community members.

Ms. Neel asked that the police reports and toxicology results be sealed.

Judge Feeney's tenative decision was to refer the case back to Probation for terms and conditions. The next court date is May 21 at 2 p.m.

Sherlette Colegrove is a sixth generation member of the Hoopa Tribe.

Will David Anderson Trial commence as scheduled or not?

Yesterday in Courtroom 1, at the pre-trial conference,  David Anderson's attorney, Ben McLaughlin said that his investigator needed to contact witnesses, and he thought they would be ready in time for jury trial.

Luke Brownfield has been prosecuting the case. Yesterday, Jessica Watson was representing the People. She said the People had subpoenaed records. Both, Mr. McLaughlin and Judge John Feeney said they were not aware of this; Ms. Watson could not provide a date for the Court.

The Court said they could take the matter up at Trial Assignment.

Precious Gems and Stones found at local hotel; no one claims ownership

On 05/07/14 at approximately 5:06 p.m., officers responded to a hotel on the 1900 block of 4th St. and conducted a probation search of a hotel room. Officers located several boxes, each of which contained several hundred individual precious gems and stones.

None of the subjects on scene claimed ownership of the stones or any knowledge about them.  For that reason, officers collected the items for safekeeping.  

Eureka City Council and Eureka Planning Commission Joint Special Session on the the City of Eureka Draft 2014-2019 Housing Element

The Eureka City Council and Eureka Planning Commission will meet in a Joint Special Session on May 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Eureka Council Chambers and the only item to be discussed is the City of Eureka Draft 2014-2019 Housing Element.

Ronald Sanchez, Silverio Sanchez's brother arraigned today on parole violation

Ronald Snider Sanchez  who is ex-fugitive Silverio Sanchez’s brother and was on parole was arrested and this afternoon in Judge Reinholtsen's Courtroom 4, he was arraigned for violating parole.

 Additional charges for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felon being in possession of ammunition and harboring a fugitive are being sought against Ronald Sanchez Jr but have not been filed yet by the District Attorney.

Jessica Watson represented the People today, Jonathan McCrone from the Public Defender's Office is Sanchez's attorney. Intervention is on May 16 at 10 a.m. and Parole Violation hearing is on May 21 at 8:30 a.m.

May 7, 2014

Armed robbery suspect arrested and all property recovered

On 05-07-2014, at approximately 4: 00 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an armed robbery which just occurred, and the victim was at a gas station on Alliance Road, Arcata. The victim told the dispatcher the suspect was still in the area.  Arcata Police Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the gas station.

   When deputies arrived they met with the 25 year old victim.  He told them he had been parked sleeping in his vehicle at the end of 27th Street, Arcata. He was awakened by his car door being opened and the suspect, later identified as Lloyd Antonia Velazquez, 26 years old, from Arcata, asked him what he had in his car. The victim saw Velazquez was brandishing a black bladed knife in his hands when he asked him the question. Velazquez then removed various items from the victim’s vehicle, including a computer, camera and cell phone. Velazquez then got into a vehicle and fled the scene. The victim followed Velazquez  to the gas station on Alliance Road, Arcata. The victim confronted Velaquez in the parking lot and told him to give back the property he stole from him.  The victim also began yelling for someone to call 911, while stating he had been robbed. Velazquez still had the knife which he brandished again at the victim.  The station clerk heard the victim yelling for someone to call 911, and saw Velazquez with the knife in his hand. The clerk called 911.
    Arcata Police checked the area while deputies interviewed the victim, and they located Velazquez hiding behind the gas station. They detained him for deputies who arrested him for armed robbery.  All the victims’ property was recovered, except the victims Iphone. The victim was not injured.

 Velazquez was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional facility where he was booked for armed robbery and violation of probation. His bail is set at $50,000.00.

Operating Engineers Local 3 endorses Ryan Sundberg

Fifth District Supervisorial Candidate Ryan Sundberg has announced that he has received the endorsement of Operating Engineers Local 3, District 40, AFL-CIO.

 "When I originally ran for office, I committed to bringing new jobs to the 5th District. I’ve worked hard to deliver on this promise and am proud of this endorsement,” said Supervisor Sundberg.

Operating Engineers Local 3 represents the interests of people who build and protect the community. Most members work as heavy equipment operators and construction workers, but the organization also represents public employees, such as maintenance workers and police officers.

They offer programs for construction professionals that provides journey- and apprentice-level training that increases the number of skilled workers in the industry.

Humboldt Builder's Exchange endorses Virginia Bass and Ryan Sundberg

The Humboldt Builders’ Exchange Board of Directors has unanimously voted to endorse Virginia Bass
and Ryan Sundberg in their re-election campaigns for Humboldt County Supervisors.

Both Bass and Sundberg have been strong advocates and supporters of the local building industry
and have been instrumental in helping ensure that local construction jobs are performed with local
labor and by local businesses.

The Humboldt Builders’ Exchange represents approximately 300 mainly local businesses aļ¬ƒliated
with the construction industry and we encourage our member businesses and their employees to join
us in supporting Virginia Bass and Ryan Sundberg for Humboldt County Supervisors.

Update on deputy sheriff shot

On 05-07-2014, at approximately 3:30 a.m., 55 year old William Lloyd Nelson, was taken into custody at the Kelly Lane property. Nelson was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. Nelson was not injured.  He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked. His bail was set at two million dollars.

 A Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant was obtained and served on the Kelly road residence and property. The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team, consisting of Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives, California Department of Justice, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Investigators, Eureka Police Detectives and Arcata Police Detectives are still on scene continuing with the investigation.

The deputy who was shot has been released from the hospital and is recovering from his injuries.

Gary Lee Bullock pretrial continued until June 11 at defense request

 It was a packed Courtroom 1 this afternoon with a few cases continued from Courtroom 3's morning calendar. Gary Lee Bullock's case was scheduled for a pre-trial conference.

Courtroom 1 is Judge John Feeney's court. Deputy District Attorney Elan Firpo who is prosecuting the case was present for the People. Kaleb Cockrum from Conflict Counsel is representing Bullock.

Bullock is charged with the murder of Fr. Eric Freed, beloved priest and former pastor of St. Bernard's parish in Eureka.

Bullock looked healthier, has gained some weight, seemed alert and talked with his attorney before his case was called. He even smiled briefly while chatting with Mr. Cockrum. Then went back to his serious demeanor.

Ms. Firpo and Mr. Cockrum sat together where the public sits while other cases were being called.

When Bullock's case was called, Mr. Cockrum said that the defense was in the "middle of doing investigation. It looks unlikely we will be ready for trial in August." Mr. Cockrum said that he could not say when he will be ready and that he would  file a written motion asking for continuance of the trial and perhaps future dates.

Another pre-trial conference is scheduled for June 11.

May 6, 2014

Senior Center DA debate part 2

Another question was about supervisorial experience. Maggie did not directly answer the question,instead she spoke about mentoring and "helping" younger and less experienced attorneys "make decisions." Allan mentioned he was Chief Prosecutor for a while. Arnie said his usual line, "We have all been asked to be ADA at some point or another. and gave a general he had been in charge statement. Elan said, "Management experience is my primary strength." She has created performance reviews and conducted evalauations and was in charge of 30 people who supervised 3,000 employees.

Realignment and how it affected prosecution led to the following response by Arnie, "I left the office shortly after the training." Then he went off on how grant positions are funded and that they are "fraught with fraud" and the tangent which did not answer anything about the question.

Elan said she is the only prosecutor in the office who has been in the courtroom under AB109 and it has "changed the way I prosecute." She said that even if judges want, under the realignment it is a "closed prison" situation and they cannot send people to jail unless they have committed serious violent crimes. She brought up repeat offenders who know there are no consequences. She brought up the Brian Fleming case where he got 8 years for selling meth.

"Realignment has been a disaster," said Allan. He said they transfer prison population to the County jail and that makes Judges hesitant to hand out prison sentences.  Maggie said she would prioritize cases.

Maggie and Arnie took jabs at Elan during questions such as jury selection. The same criticisms have been made by anonymous commenters on blogs about Elan so it did not take a rocket scientist to figure out the question was a plant.

A question was asked what do the candidates admire about the current DA? Elan said that she is committed to civil liberties like Paul; that he is committed to prosecuting cases beyond the Penal Code and mentioned the Skilled Health Care case. She said while Paul is not a manager there are other good improvements under his administration and cited "going from index cards to computers" as an example.

Arnie did not answer the question instead he said, "I am here to bury Paul" And quoted his Titanic line and attacked Elan for being mentored by Paul. That attack by Arnie prompted a response from the audience, and one woman said, "That is mean Arnie." Despite this tactic backfiring on him in debates and otherwise, Arnie presses on with this strategy.

Maggie said Janssen and Malloy brought the Skilled Healthcare case but it was smart for Paul to join the firm in that pursuit.  She did say it was smart of him to start homeless court.

It was Allan who pointed out that the Skilled Healthcare suit was the largest civil judgement in the U.S. that year.

Elan does not take bait. Allan does not either. They both rarely criticize their opponents and when they do, it is factual. Maggie and Arnie are very petty and personal. When you are running for the position of District Attorney where you have power and control over people's lives in a very serious way, vindictiveness is not a characteristic that is sought.

A question about financial scam against seniors sparked another digression from Arnie. "When I attack another candidate, it is not because they are a man or a woman. What you want is an attack dog." Then he sort of answered the question.

In a response about working with the Sheriff's office, Maggie said she would be independent of law enforcement. Considering she is backed by law enforcement, their unions and has received $5,000 in contributions so far from the Sheriiff's; that comment is contradictory.

 If you follow the blogs, the unprovoked responses by Arnie and Maggie will make sense. And so will some of my observations. They are aware of voter concerns.

In closing Arnie attacked Elan again instead of speaking to the issues or about him. Maggie made a dig that she was not a politician, and the office needed a DA. She is wrong. As is Arnie who thinks years of experience in a courtroom makes a good DA.

The office does not need years and years of law experience and a DA in the courtroom. The office needs an administrator who can successfully request a budget, get funds, manage employees, and someone who is politically savvy to work with elected officials and the business community and the public.

When you need to hire more prosecutors and staff, when you need to see what needs to be fixed and where resources are needed, you need to be on the 4th floor more than the 2nd floor of the Courthouse. When you are making decisions as a lawyer, you need to look beyond your law bubble, you need to be diverse as a human being.

On March 20, he gets 270 days; Randall Miles Cook out on SWAP already, with no victim notification

On March 20 this year, Randall Miles Cook was sentenced to 270 days in jail by Judge Marilyn Miles for molesting his own 7 year old granddaughter.

Originally the plea had no jail time. Cook, of Cookhouse Realty, who is also a member of Humboldt Association of Realtors plead guilty to a felony on 12/17. The charge is child endangerment. PC 273 (a). This was a change in plea. Two charges of PC 288 (a) were dismissed. 

There was no notification to the victim and her mother. The victim's mother just returned from a vacation yesterday to find this out on her own. "My daughter was robbed of justice," said Veronica Cook. "And then I find out Randy has been released last Thursday."

During the court proceedings, Randy Cook showed no remorse. The family members' demeanor towards Veronica Cook, the daughter in law was hostile. 

If Randy Cook was released from custody, the Sheriff or the Department of Corrections would make that decision.

ADA Kelly Neel who prosecuted the case had left for the day but was kind enough to get back to me and let me know she will provide a response tomorrow when she is in the office and can look at the file. 

Ms. Neel told me that Penal Code 4019 which allows good time credit and if the sentence left is a certain amount of days, the inmate can apply for SWAP. That was confirmed by Lt. Marco Luna who supervises SWAP.

Randy Cook served his time in custody, he received good time credit. Lt. Luna said he was SWAP eligible. He was evaluated for risk. Since his felony was reduced to a misdemeanor and since he was not a registered sex offender, he was put on SWAP.

Since Randy Cook's attorney, Michael Robinson, had mentioned he had medical issues at sentencing, I brought that up to Lt. Luna. He said not all SWAP work is labor intensive.

Deputy Sheriff shot by Shelter Cove suspect who was being served a civil eviction

On 05-06-2014, at approximately 2:45 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Sergeant arrived at a residence on Kelly Lane, Shelter Cove to serve a court order civil eviction. When deputies arrived at the residence the suspect and homeowner, who has been identified as William Lloyd Nelson, 55 years old, shot at the officers with a firearm. Nelson shot one of the deputies in the chest. Both deputies returned fire while fleeing from the residence.  It is unknown whether the deputies struck Nelson when they returned fire. The deputies immediately radioed for assistance.

Additional deputies, California Highway Patrol Officers (C.H.P.), the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. Team, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Response Team (Negotiators) and medical personnel responded to the scene. The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team (C.I.R.T) was activated and also responded to the scene to assist. The C.I.R.T. consists of investigators from local law enforcement agencies.

The deputy who was shot was airlifted by a California Highway Patrol Helicopter to a local hospital. The deputy’s ballistic vest is credited with saving his life.

Residents in the area have been asked to shelter in place. Reverse 911 was initiated to area residences.

Shelter Cove Road at Willow Glenn, and Shelter Cove Road at Toth Road are both closed at this time. Nelsons condition and location is unknown at this time. He is believed to be in the residence.

William Lloyd Nelson is described as 55 years old, white male, 6’0” tall, 165 lbs, blue eyes, blondish strawberry colored hair.

The investigation is continuing.

In addition to Hoopa and Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, the Yurok Tribe endorses Ryan Sundberg

The Hoopa and Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria were already previously reported but Supervisor Ryan Sundberg has now also received the endorsement of the Yurok Tribe.

Press release from the campaign listed below:

Fifth District Supervisorial Candidate Ryan Sundberg is honored to announce that he has received endorsements from the Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe and Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria.

"I understand many of the needs and challenges faced by local tribes and have worked hard to identify common interests and bring people together. We’ve been able to improve working relationships between the County and the Tribes and I believe we can accomplish even more together in the next term," said Supervisor Sundberg. Sundberg was first elected to represent the 5th District in 2010.

City of Eureka Prepares Streamlined Housing Element Update

The City of Eureka has initiated a comprehensive update of its General Plan to define a common
vision for the City’s future and a strategy to make that vision a reality. Included in this effort is
an update of the City’s Housing Element to ensure compliance with State law. A Housing
Element is one of the required General Plan Elements and a crucial planning tool utilized by
jurisdictions to assess housing needs. To address the City’s identified needs, the Housing
Element sets goals and policies while identifying key resources to support and facilitate the
development of a variety of housing opportunities.

The City’s current Housing Element was adopted September 21, 2010 and addresses the City’s housing
needs for the 4th Housing Element planning period extending from 2009 to 2014. As the current Housing
Element is set to expire June 30, 2014, the City has prepared an update for the 5th Housing Element
planning period that covers the years 2014 to 2019. Consequently, the Housing Element for the 5th
planning period must be adopted and submitted to HCD no later than June 30, 2014. If the City fails to
adopt and submit their Housing Element by this designated due date, future housing and infrastructure
funding is put at risk. Press Release May 6, 2014

The Housing Element requires review and certification by the California Department of Housing and
Community Development (HCD). For the 5th Housing Element planning period, HCD has provided
jurisdictions with the option of submitting for a streamlined review. To qualify for the streamlined
review option, jurisdictions must have achieved certification for and implemented their 4th cycle
Housing Element. Generally, the streamlined review option is utilized by jurisdictions that have a
recently adopted Housing Element and are expecting minimal changes to the content of the document.
The City of Eureka qualifies for the streamlined review and is on track to adopt and submit their Final
Housing Element to HCD by the June 30, 2014 deadline.

In preparation for the Housing Element adoption hearings expected to occur in June of 2014, the
City invites your participation and comments on the Draft Housing Element. An informational
joint study session with the City Council and Planning Commission on the Housing
Element update will be held Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at 5:30 pm in the Council Chambers
located at City Hall, 531 K Street in Eureka. The study session will provide an overview of
the Housing Element update process, document contents, and recent legislation affecting the
production of affordable housing. For more information, visit the General Plan Update website
at or call Lisa Shikany at (707) 268-5265.

DA candidate debate at Humboldt Senior Resource Center

From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. approximately 40 people gathered in the Humboldt Senior Resource Center dining room to listen to all four candidates for District Attorney. The debate was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and moderated by none other than the well-known and respected Byrd Lochtie.

The debate format was 1  minute for opening and closing; questions with 1 minute responses. All the candidates did well with the time.

Elan Firpo, Allan Dollison, Maggie Fleming and Arnie Klein were all present and there were supporters for all candidates in the audience.

The only light hearted moments in the debate were when the wind blew the name cards off the table for each candidate. While it was an equal opportunity wind; it did pick on the men first. Also the mike sputtered and finally failed. These two technical difficulties brought a smile and exchange from all four candidates where the people overruled the candidates. All four candidates have worked in the office at the same time. Currently, only Elan Firpo works in the DA's office.

The debate will be aired on Access Humboldt so you can watch for yourself. I will share some observations and highlights. Before my decision to support Elan in this race, I met and spent time with all four candidates. I know them all. I offered help and advice for their campaigns.

Arnie had his usual lines that we have heard before; Maggie is very careful and sticks to the scripted, familiar lawyer responses. Elan and Allan have some responses they have said before but they change it up, they speak off the cuff and they do not personally attack.

The personal attacks and digs came mostly from Arnie, a few from Maggie. And the audience reacted; not a plus for these two candidates. That is where I feel Elan and Allan showed strong leadership because they stayed focused on their strengths and the debate. Maggie and Arnie cannot differentiate between who they are as people and how people view them as candidates. You can like someone as a person but as a candidate question them and their choices. They do not handle criticism and feedback well or stress and it shows.

If you cannot handle criticism in a campaign, you cannot handle being an elected official who will never please every one. To win your supporters is easy, to convince your detractors is a leader.

In his opening statement, Arnie scored with differentiating himself from other candidates by saying he is the only senior. He took a negative, his age, and turned it into positive. It is also one of the rare original comments I have heard. In most debates, it is the same "rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic;
 and "I am Arnie Klein for the People" shtick.

Elan in her opening pointed out that she is currently the only candidate working in the office, she is prosecuting some of the most difficult cases (Bodhi Tree, Gary Lee Bullock to name two high profile cases) and she has proven success in the private industry.

The first question was about how to deal with the mentally ill population. Arnie said "unfortunately, we have a lot of mentally ill" and that while he would handle with compassion, "I am not running for Chief Doctor of Humboldt County." As DA, Arnie said he would have the power to file or reject  cases involving the mentally ill population. When he could divert them out of the criminal justice system, he would. If they committed a violent crime, he would prosecute.

Maggie advocated a locked treatment facility for those who are violent. For others focus on treatment. She said mentally ill often need assistance to take their medications.

Elan said dealing with the mentally ill population was "one of the very large problems. There is a small group that self-medicates and law enforcement picks them frequently." She cited one individual who had been arrested by EPD 359 times. "My office needs to focus on this small group and work with mental health, homeless groups and Probation."

"Mental Health is not a crime," said Elan. She added that this small group draws attention when they enter the criminal justice system and suggested they get the help they need.

Allan brought up the double murder committed by Vincent Sanchez which occurred near his house. And Sanchez's history. "Most of his time was spent in a state mental hospital to see if he was competent for trial."

Changes in late nightime releases by Sheriff Downey

After attending community forums and speaking with the Humboldt County Chiefs of Police, County Counsel and Humboldt County Mental Health, Humboldt County Sheriff Michael Downey has implemented a Pre-Release Verification Form, along with other changes regarding nighttime releases.

The new Humboldt County Correctional Facility policy became effective on March 17, 2014. Since enacting this new policy, Correctional Officers will now conduct a documented exit interview.  The exit interview form requires officers to ask inmates being released a series of questions and to document and observe the inmate for signs of being under the influence or having mental health issues. If the inmate displayed signs of being a danger to others, a danger to themselves or being gravely disabled, a mental health hold could be placed on the inmate per 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. The releasing officer is also required to ask the inmate if they would like to speak with a mental health professional or like a courtesy ride to mental health.

If the inmate is being released between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., the releasing Correctional Officer will offer to contact a friend or relative by phone to see if they can pick up or assist the inmate with going home. They will also offer to call a cab for the inmate (at the inmates expense), or the inmate can voluntarily stay in custody until daylight.

Since implementing this new policy, Correctional Staff estimates three to five inmates a week have chosen to take advantage of staying in custody until daylight.

Other changes that have occurred with the implementation of the new policy are those inmates that are being detained for short periods of time, such as public intoxication, will no longer have any cash in their possession deposited in the jails account. In the past the inmate’s cash would be deposited in a jail account and when the inmate was released, they would be provided a check. If the inmate was released at night, they would have difficulty turning the check into cash to pay for a cab or other transportation. Now the inmate’s cash when they are booked will counted and placed in a sealed envelope. Upon the inmate’s release the cash is returned to the inmate.

Sheriff Downey believes these changes will assist with making the community safer, while still complying with the law and United States Constitution.

Next court date for Randall Miles Cook on June 19

Review hearing on June 19. He is doing SWAP so not in custody anymore. He was sentenced to 270 days in jail. Now he is doing SWAP.

May 5, 2014

Why you should care about HWMA and it's bad decisions since 2002 and how it directly affects your pocket

 The Humboldt Waste Management Authority is a joint powers governmental entity created in the late 1990's by an association of the Cities of Eureka, Arcata, Blue Lake, Ferndale and Rio Dell and the County of Humboldt.  Originally, the city of  Fortuna was a member but dropped out.

Around 2002, HWMA sold about $8,000,000 in revenue bonds and purchased its existing transfer station from Eureka Garbage, now called Recology.  As a part of the same deal, HWMA agreed to assume the legal duty from Recology to close and manage the old Cummings Road land fill.  About three years later, HWMA sold another large bond offering (which  was also about $8,000,000) to buy its way out of what it thought was a disadvantageous long term management contract for the operation of transfer station from an entity called Waste Solutions Group.

HWMA has made a series of very bad economic decisions since the beginning. The result today is that its April, 2014 balance sheet is negative, showing total assets of about $16,000,000 and total liabilities of about $22,000,000.

It started when they paid way too much for the transfer station which now needs a large additional cash expenditure for repairs.

Then, when HWMA took over the responsibility for the Cummings Road land fill it received a fund of about $10,000,000 that had been collected by Recology from the rate payers through a special fee to close the old landfill.  HWMA has spent this fund down to about $4,000,000 trying to close the landfill but it currently estimates that completion of this project will cost another $12,500,000.  In addition, HWMA has discovered that there was an old and unknown dump site on the property located about half on HWMA’s property and half on property still owed by Recology.  The estimated clean-up cost for this area is now estimated to be around $4,600,000. HWMA and Recology have agreed to split this cost.

To make things worse, one of the first things HWMA did after it bought the transfer station was to hire Waste Solutions Group to operate the transfer station for HWMA.  This was done on a contract with a 25 year term.  By 2005, for some unknown reason, HWMA decided that this contract was too lucrative for Waste Solutions Group and exercised its right to cancel the agreement.  However, the cost of cancellation was a payment to Waste Solutions Group of about $5,000,000.

 Two recent decisions made by HWMA, one in late 2011 and one this month, directly destroyed about 32 living wage jobs. This loss will have a ripple out impact on the local economy..

Prior to late 2011, the Arcata Community Recycling Center operated a major and modern recycling center in Samoa.  It employed about 17 persons in  living wage jobs.  In the recession of 2009-2010 the market for recycled materials, like a lot of things, crashed and to survive ACRC had to charge to accept recyclable material. However, this cost was always much less that the cost to landfill these items.  By mid-2010, recovery was occurring and Arcata Community Recycling Center dropped the charge to accept recyclable material.   HWMA, using the same consultant it would later use for trucking, put out a request for proposals for recycling and Solid Waste of Willits  made a proposal to buy this material for a floating amount that began at about $8/ton and truck it to its plant in Willits for processing.  The per ton amount has fallen with the passage of time.

In January of 2011, Arcata Community Recycling Center closed for good, defaulted on its purchase of the Samoa facility and 17 people directly lost jobs. These people have not neccessarily been employed back into the local economy. Some who have lived here all their lives left the area. In addition, the closure let to a loss of trucking jobs that were dependent on the transport of processed material to marked.  Arcata Community Recycling Center believed that the process that was used by HWMA that led to its permanent destruction was contrary to legal standards and filed suit in the Humboldt County Superior Court.  That action is still pending and may someday actually go to trial.

Of course, HWMA’s position is that while the loss of jobs was regrettable, economics simply dictated this outcome.  But this is not a sound way to look at the issue and ignores the reality of whose interests need to be considered in making such a decision.  For the most part, the money that flows into HWMA is not government money at all.  It comes from local citizens who are purchasing the necessary service of garbage disposal.  And so how were the interests of the local citizens advanced by this action?  No one’s rates were lowered, in fact, the money now being paid for the local citizens’ separated recyclable material is being kept by HWMA and paid to the cities to be used as they see fit.  No one considered the best interests of the local citizens, whose money this really is.

The second shoe fell this month.  Using the same consultant and the same process, the HWMA claimed to have obtained a 10% savings on trucking and disposal to again use Solid Waste of Willits to provide the trucking and disposal service out of Humboldt County.  As long as HWMA has been in existence, about 10 trucks a day have departed the County being driven and maintained by local people.  About 15 of these also living wage jobs are now about to be lost.

The decision to ship these jobs out through the use of Solid Waste of Willits will result in changing the direction of the haul so that now all trucks 3,300 annual truck trips will go south down highway 101 to a landfill that is 25% further away that the current disposal location.  Solid Waste of Willits’ claims that its price is based upon its trucks burning diesel fuel at the rate of 7MPG, a rate that local truckers with significant experience have stated is a false claim.

Finally, HWMA appears to claim that it can make this decision to significantly increase truck traffic down highway 101 and the burning of diesel fuel in the process without ever performing an environmental assessment under CEQA.

The ultimate outcome of these two decisions is the direct loss of at least 32 living wage jobs.  Just as with the decision to force Arcata Community Recycling Center to close, none of the rate payers who live within our local economy will have their cost of garbage disposal reduced.

As a final impact on the local job market, the HWMA is looking for perhaps two million dollars to pay for its share of the just discovered dump site that was formerly owned and operated by Recology.  At the same meeting HWMA announced it was going to end the use of local truckers, it also announced its intention to borrow this money from the Headwaters Fund.  It is ironic that this will make a significant amount of this fund, that came into existence to provide new local jobs, no longer available to promote local employment. And then the money will likely be spent on out of contractors to do the required work.

Only Rex Bohn from the Board has challenged these decisions. We hear a lot about local jobs and job creations. Have the rest of the elected officials on this board helped or hurt that cause? Should you pay for unsound economic decisions made by government officials.

Unlike the GPU, this issue affects every taxpayer. Where is the outrage and attendance at these meetings?

Check out the videos from April 10 HWMA meeting and listen to 2 public speakers: Allison Jackson who speaks on CEQA issues. The other public speaker is Ron Borges of Bettendorf Trucking.

The following links to articles are only some that support the points above.

In this article, read about costs going up and Jud Ellinwood of Zero Waste Humboldt warns that taxpayers rates will go up

Job loss claim refuted by Boyd says this would preserve local jobs when the opposite has happened.

Lawsuit claims HWMA sabotaged its business to purchase Samoa plant at discounted price

15 laptops stolen from Eureka Charter School, no forced entry

On 05-02-2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the principal of Pacific View Charter School, 2937 Moore Avenue, Eureka who reported a theft of computers.

 When the deputy arrived he spoke with the principal who reported that someone had stolen 15 Aspire One laptop computers from the school. The principal was unsure how the suspect(s) accessed the school to steal the computers. The computers were all stored in a white cabinet in a class room on the south side of the building. The computers were last seen at the school on 05-01-2014 in the afternoon.   The principal said there was no signs of forced entry, however mentioned a window could have accidentally been left unlocked. The estimated loss is approximately $5000.00.

Fugitive Silverio Sanchez arraigned in two different courtrooms, old and new charges

Ben McLaughlin appointed for all cases. New charges are serious violent felonies. Time not waived for recent charges and one of the old cases. Previous cases include misdemeanors and one felony.

First, Silverio Parro Snider Sanchez was in Courtroom 4 at 2 p.m. Judge Dale Reinholtsen called his case, no answer from the two prisoners present. He addressed Sanchez and then Sanchez deigned to answer the Judge and identify himself. He had a "whatever" attitude; a "lets get this over with" look on his face. There was a conflict with any of the public defender offices representing him; his previous attorney Benjamin Okin could not represent him so Mr.McLaughlin got assigned to the 5 cases on the Courtroom 4 calendar.

This bad boy seems to have a thing for assault and battery with resisting police officers and inflicting serious bodily injury on them. The vandalism and burglary and possession of marijuana is just light stuff for him.  This is just from the cases filed in 2009 and 2010. Court dates are set for these cases on 5/12 and 5/15 with Disposition/Reset for some; Pre-Trial conference for others.

Then at 3 p.m. with a special arraignment in Courtroom 2 with Judge Marilyn Miles, Sanchez got to do this all over again. There were extra baliffs in each courtroom. Brienne Bennett for the People and Mr. McLaughlin for Sanchez. By this time Sanchez had a bit of attitude adjustment and was more somber.

Judge Miles read the charges. Count 1: attempted is willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder of Officer Bobby Phillips in the commission of a crime with a special allegation that it was inflicted with great bodily injury; Count 2: assault with a deadly weapon (a vehicle) against Officer Bobby Phillips and evading a police officer and during that causing great bodily injury.

These new cases will be heard with the old cases on 5/12 and 5/15 in Courtroom 4. Bail at $750,000

Harris double murder suspect Vincent Sanchez court hearing today

Future dates are expected to be set in the Vincent Sanchez case this afternoon in Courtroom 4.

Sanchez is being represented by Jennifer Dixon from the Public Defender's Office. Kelly Neel is prosecuting the case for the People. Kevin Robinson from the Public Defender's office requested a continuance for 2 weeks to set the preliminary hearing because Ms. Dixon had just returned from vacation and needed time to discuss the case with Sanchez. Judge Dale Reinholtsen granted the request.

The next court date is May 21 at 2 p.m.

Jury selection starts for Bodhi Tree trial today

Last week jurors expressing hardship were questioned. That concluded. This morning general jury selection started mid-morning. As it has been in the past weeks, only the attorneys, judge defenfandt and court staff were inside Courtroom 4.

The courtroom was then opened to the general public and jurors were seated.

The baliff requested that members of the jury pool be seated first due to seating capacity. The courtroom was packed. There was one seat available. General public or press may have to stand during jury selection.

 If you plan to attend, please be mindful of potential jurors who may be in the hallway. Until opening arguments start, really nothing to report right now.

Humboldt Waste Management Authority sticks it to the taxpayer

It is not as exciting, perhaps as Board of Supervisors or City Council Meetings but it has an immediate effect on taxes you pay and local jobs lost.

Taxpayers may want to attend the next HWMA meeting which is on May 8 at 5:30 PM in the Eureka City Council Chambers. Item numbers 5, 6 and 8 on the agenda of the next meeting is what should concern taxpayers.

Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) owns and operates a transfer station that includes garbage drop off, green waste drop off, a recycling center and a household hazardous waste collection facility located at 1059 West Hawthorne, Eureka CA.

HWMA is a Joint Powers Authority made up of the following municipalities: Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Rio Dell and Humboldt

The Board of Directors are: Jack Thompson, City of Rio Dell, Chair; Mike Newman, City of Eureka, Vice Chair;  Lana Manzanita, City of Blue Lake;  Alex Stillman, City of Arcata ;John Maxwell, City of Ferndale
and Rex Bohn, County of Humboldt.

I will be posting again with links to local articles and providing background about why the public should be attending and questioning past and present HWMA decisions.

If you cannot wait until then, the nutshell is that HWMA liabilities in the April 2014 balance sheet is more than the assets. Local jobs have been lost; not preserved. This has been the result of bad decisions by the HWMA board over the past few years.

With no ratepayers on the Board and the public not interested, government officials are not wisely investing your money.