Jan 17, 2015

Do concerns about the environment and wetlands only apply to projects that the Coastal Commission politically disapproves of?

The Language of the Coastal Act Section 30240 commonly known as environmentally sensitive habitat area does not promote erosion, changes in topography or actively promote erosion. This was reiterated in an email to a local concerned citizen by Larry Simon, Federal Consistency Coordinator of the Coastal Commission. Restoration is allowed.

 Locally, only the County can issue a coastal permit and only the Coastal Commission can issue  consistency determination  to approve projects in environmentally sensitive habitat

There have been articles and letters to the editor in the past few months raising concerns about the management of local coastal dunes and after being approached by some members of the community, there are some questions about certain projects that should be investigated and answers given to the public. For the average person, it is easy to get lost into technical language and studies being cited. 

These are not corporate projects. These are projects by organizations such as Friends of the Dunes,
 Manila Community District, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management.

These groups purport to protect the environment.

In the last several  years, there have been several projects that have claimed vegetation removal does not affect the dunes. One such project is near the state park at the north end of Clam Beach.  The cost of this project according Uri Driscoll, is about 1 million dollars.

Uri is not the only person raising concerns but he has been the one who has spoken up about it, most recently. 

According to Uri, many projects obtained permits claiming that moving vegetation would not have deterimental effects and affect wetlands or wildlife. Using the same project near the north end of the clam beach, there have not been "any chicks hatched in the last 6 or 7 years." This area regularly produced chicks.

A county planner planner, Trevor Oslow , is also on the board of the Friends of the Dunes. He
signed off on their permit. Isn't this a conflict of interest?

Here are some questions that members of the community want answered and they want dialogue in a public, transparent forum:

How much money is being spent? Who is funding the beach grass eradication projects?
Are there unintended consequences?
Are there claims that were made in the permits yet there have been effects being seen today that are different?
Where is oversight and who is monitoring the organizations that issue the permits?
How can the public participate in the beach and dune managment process?
Has the snowy plover populations actually benefited from these projects?
What are the affects on topography, wildlife, wetlands etc and how are they being measured?
Who are the players and what is actually at stake?
What effect did the Manila lawsuit have on eradication efforts there? Were wetland restoration grant monies used properly?

There have been projects blocked by the Coastal Commission citing concerns for the environment. Are wetlands and consequences to the environment and approval by the Coastal Commission and County dependent on who is backing the projects. In times when we get told California is broke and there aren't funds to pay for jails, for food for children who need it and other important concerns, why is no one questioning the salaries and monitoring a bureaucrats that think they are above answering to the public that pays their salary?

Free gardening workshops and cooking classes targeting local families and seniors at Redwood Acres

Free gardening workshops:

Redwood Acres is presenting free gardening workshops on Saturday, January 24th from 11 a.m. to 2
p.m. at the Redwood Acres Gardens. Three one-hour sessions will include instruction from Joe Duckett of Turtle Mountain Design on how to make raised beds and container gardens, information from Wes Green on building soils for successfully growing vegetables and guidance from Monty Caid from Lost Foods on how to start plants from seeds. CalFresh information will also be available. For more information or to register, call (707) 445-3037.

Free cooking classes for local families and seniors:

Redwood Acres is launching a monthly series of no-cost cooking classes targeting local families and seniors. Easy Cooking For Your Family, Basic Cooking Lessons for Healthy Living will focus on budget friendly healthy eating.

“Our focus is on quick, simple, nutritious meals,” explained Redwood Acres Director Cindy Bedingfield.  “Attendees will learn healthy recipes, get cooking tips and enjoy a free, delicious dinner at the end of each class.”  Children over 4 years of age are welcome. They will be supervised by an adult and offered fun activities that stress the importance of healthy eating.

The first class will be Thursday, January 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Redwood Acres Home Economics Building and will feature soups, salad and homemade bread prepared by chef Kelli Duckett. For more information or to register, call (707) 445-3037.

Redwood Acres is offering no-cost cooking classes for local families and seniors. Easy Cooking For Your Family, Basic Cooking Lessons for Healthy Living will focus on budget friendly healthy eating.  The first class will feature soups, salad and homemade bread prepared by chef Kelli Reese & the meal is included. Kids over 4 are welcome. For more information or to register, call (707) 445-3037.

GO-Biz California Competes Committee Approves $31 Million in Tax Credits for Companies Adding Jobs in California

Building upon the state’s efforts to bolster the economy, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) today announced that the California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) committee approved approximately $31 million in tax credits for 56 companies expanding and creating jobs in California.

“The California Competes tax credit continues to demonstrate that it is one of the most effective tools for encouraging companies to expand and add jobs in California,” said committee chair Michael E. Rossi. “This group of awardees will add jobs in nearly every region of the state further contributing to California’s position as the most dynamic economy in the world.”

The awards approved by the Committee are projected to help these companies create roughly 4,900 jobs and generate over $900 million in investments across California.

Rossi, senior jobs advisor to Governor Brown, convened the second meeting of the committee which includes Treasurer John Chiang, director of the Department of Finance Michael Cohen, Senate appointee Denise Zapata and Assembly appointee Greg Conger. The meeting was hosted at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento.

“California’s economy not only outpaces U.S. expansion but it has become one of the nation’s leaders in job creation," said Treasurer Chiang. "The California Competes tax credit will help entrepreneurial Californians invest in their businesses, hire more people, and continue to grow the Golden State’s economy.”

Through two rounds of awards, GO-Biz has allocated approximately $60 million to 85 companies that are projected to create over 10,000 jobs and make close to $3 billion in investments. For companies interested in applying for California Competes tax credits, GO-Biz opened another application period on Jan. 5th and companies can now apply for of $75 million in California Competes tax credits until February 2nd. To apply for California Competes, visit: www.calcompetes.ca.gov.

About California Competes
The California Competes tax credit is part of the Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (GEDI) which Governor Brown signed legislation to enact in 2013 (AB 93 and SB 90). Companies apply for tax credits at www.calcompetes.ca.gov and GO-Biz evaluates the most competitive applications based on the factors required by statute, including total jobs created, total investment, average wage, economic impact, strategic importance and more. Companies are exempted from paying state income taxes in the amount awarded.

Jan 16, 2015

In 10 days Maggie has done more than Paul did in the last 12 years

For Maggie supporters, this is preaching to the choir.

The difference since Maggie took over on January 5 this year was evident in less than 24 hours. Defense attorneys no longer run the courtroom. Court cases are called and we no longer wait for certain defense attorneys to saunter in when they please.  Court business is conducted in a timely manner and professionally.

Some Deputy DAs always gave input, now all of them comment and take positions, oppose releases and cite why. Since Day 1, Maggie was in the courtroom and on the second floor overseeing cases, answering questions, in addition to taking on cases, while she works on fully staffing the office. Mr. Andrew Issac has been mentoring  the Deputy DAs.  There is mutual respect and more professionalism between defense and prosecution . So far, no posturing from those who cut deals with Paul.

Maggie is available to answer questions for the media and the public. What a refreshing change to go to the 4th floor and have the DA meet with you and listen to your concerns. Every day, you see people who work at the Courthouse and with the criminal justice system in different capacities greet Maggie, smile and stop and talk to her. Today, a lady waiting for jury duty approached Maggie and from what I could hear, was telling her how happy she was that Maggie is DA.

Unlike Paul, we have a DA who wants to be present, who wants to be accessible to the public and who does not have pet favorites in the media and who listens to people.

Unlike Paul, we have a DA who does not embarass the office of District Attorney and actually understands the law. It will take time for Maggie to fix the mess and the backlog Paul's mismangement created.

Unlike Paul, Maggie is not afraid of scrutiny or coverage in the courts. Unlike Paul, Maggie has been out there visible and holding meetings with the public.

The office now will represent the People, not line the pocket of butt-kissing defense attorneys and those who would sell their soul to make a buck.

Plea deals will still occur, Prop 47 and realignment won't cause every criminal to face consequences. The difference now is that those who break the law just won't pass go and collect $200.

Jan 15, 2015

Nelson tries to postpone his own sentencing, goes on a fantasy rant; sentenced to life in prison with an additional 20 years

Defendant: William Nelson
Judge: Marilyn Miles
Courtroom 2
Prosecutor: Kelly Neel
Defendant's attorney: Greg Elvine-Kreiss

Interrupting the procedure for his own sentencing and despite repeated efforts and explainations by Judge Miles that there was no legal cause shown to delay sentencing, William Nelson caused yet another scene in the Courtroom today.

He called his trial a sham, he ranted on about his attorney with the same accusations he made during closing arguments in his outburst and when he got to speak, which is his right, he strung together sentences with unrelated legal words and rambled on.

Calling the prosecution malicious, accusing his attorney of being in cahoots with the DA's office and yelling at Sheriff's investigators resulted in naught.

Even before his case was called, Nelson wearing glasses and clutching a manila folder with papers shook his head and whispered into Mr. Elvine-Kreiss' ear.

Mr. Elvine Kreiss's did file a motion on behalf of Nelson and before the sentence, Judge Miles denied the motion saying "the verdict was not contrary to law or evidence."

This is one example where no matter what Mr. Elvine-Kreiss did, Nelson accused him of not doing his job.

Both attorneys were asked if they were ready to proceed with sentencing. At this time, Mr. Elvine-Kreiss said his client just told him that he wanted to postpone the sentencing.

When Judge Miles asked Nelson why, he said, "Kelly Neel is lying... Todd Fulton is lying...they are controlling evidence." Just accusations and getting upset. Mr. Fulton is an investigator with the Sheriff's office.

At this point Judge Miles responded to Nelson that the jury trial was over. He did have a right to appeal his conviction after sentencing. She told him there had been " no good cause shown for postponement."

Completely ignoring the Judge, Nelson went on to rant about his attorney making more wild accusations.

Again, the Judge patiently explained he could address the Court before his sentence but explained he was not giving legal cause to postpone the sentence.

Judge Miles stated her tentative decision of denying probation and sentencing Nelson to prison for life for attempted homicide of a peace officer with the possibility of parole. She gave him an additional consecutive term of 20 years for the special allegation of discharging of a firearm.

The attorneys got to speak next. " There is not much for the People to say," said Ms. Neel. "This is a mandatory sentence. This is something that did not have to happen. Mr. Nelson does not want to take responsibility for his conduct."

Mr. Elvine-Kreiss petitioned the court regarding his client's finances and asked for reduction of restitution.

Then Nelson got his say. "I stand before the court a deeply troubled man. I am being sentenced for a crime I did not commit." For the next 20 minutes, Nelson went on a fantasy rant screaming at the attorneys and DA and Sheriff staff in the room. He claimed he was "ambushed by two deputies while he stood in his underwear" and made more unsubstantiated claims about evidence tampering.

Nelson spoke about himself in the third person while reading notes. He accused his attorney of not filing an appeal. Once again, the Judge explained an appeal can only be filed after she has sentenced him.

Before making her final decision, Judge Miles responded to Nelson. "Many of your comments have to do with testimony during trial." She told him defendants and prosecution can have different perspectives but ultimately the jury decides who and what they believe. "Some of what you raise could be accurate but a lot of your issues have to do with your spouse and what we are here for today is the issue of your shooting a peace officer."

Restitution, fines, return of some property was discussed. Once the sentence was finalized, Mr. Elvine-Kreiss did submit an appeal on behalf of Nelson.

If Nelson is paroled, it will only be for 5 years. He cannot possess a firearm or ammunition. Since the trial is over, the Judge lifted the "gag" order on the case.

I just did a post around 1 p.m. today with background and links.

Will William Nelson be sentenced today? Justice for Bang today?

William Nelson, who a jury found guilty of attempted homicide of a peace officer with use of s firearm was supposed to be sentenced today. The HCSO deputy Nelson fired at was Bang Cao. He moved to take another job outside Humboldt County.

The case was prosecuted by Ms. Kelly Neel and Nelson was represented by Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreiss.

The defense filed a motion to modify the verdict on January 12. The People filed their response on January 14.

I will update after this afternion's hearing.

Last post with detailed links on this case:


Jan 14, 2015

People don't back down, continuance granted, but Bullock trial set for March 2

Judge: John Feeney
Courtroom 1
Bullock's attorney : Kaleb Cockrum
Prosecutors: Andrew Issac and Stacey Eads
DA Investigator: John Burke
Fr. Eric's family's lawyer: Kathleen Bryson

Judge Feeney did grant the defense motion to continue the jury trial for Bullock which was scheduled for January 26. Mr. Issac who is prosecuting this case with Ms. Eads vigorously objected to Mr. Cockrum's date of March 20 or further delays. "Unless good cause is shown, we need more specifics than I need until March 20." Mr. Issac said that nothing he said in today's hearing was to be be construed as a personal criticism of Mr. Cockrum.

The jury trial is set for March 2. Trial Confirmation is February 18 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1.

Before his case was called, Bullock sat quietly in the front row, looked around the courtroom, glanced briefly at media and prosecution team and then looked at the floor until Mr. Cockrum briefly chatted with him before his case was called.

Mr. Cockrum said he was requesting the continuance because he had trials until February 26 and was waiting for a report for a defense expert. He suggested March 20 as a new trial date.

"I don't object to the continuance, I don't want it to be an appellate issue," said Mr. Issac. Referring to Ms. Bryson, who was present and sitting in the courtroom, Mr. Issac continued, "The family wants it on record that their position is a strong no regarding this continuance. For them, it cannot happen soon enough. " He then went on to say that the People don't want the case to be put off until March 20.

"The document Mr. Cockrum is waiting for would have been discovery that was due 30 days before the scheduled trial date of January 26 which would have been December 27, 2014. Mr. Cockrum is appropriately witholding the report but he had funding for the expert for a while."

Mr. Issac requested the March 2 trial date. He also requested the trial confirmation date and brought up that dates to be scheduled for motions in limine. "Jury questionnaires and selection will be an issue in this case," Mr. Issac said. Judge Feeney said that he was not sure who the trial judge would be so dates for motions would have to wait to be scheduled.

Mr. Cockrum said that while he got funding for an expert, he had not heard back from him and that he had another investigator interviewing witnesses in Southern Humboldt.

Mr. Issac responded that both sides needed to have discovery completed by January 26 and that includes who the defense expert would be. To which Mr. Cockrum said, "Mr. Bullock deserves a defense and I'm working on that." Bullock nodded his head, in agreement. Then Mr. Cockrum said that if the defense expert he has been trying to obtain does not work out, he would need more time.

"We will oppose that," Mr. Isaac firmly stated.

Will Houston from the Times-Standard was the only other reporter to attend the hearing.

Disturbance with possible discharge of firearm

On 01/014/15 at about 8:47 a.m., officers with the Eureka Police Department responded to 3rd and A Streets for the report of a disturbance with the possible discharge of a firearm.
Upon arrival, officers interviewed numerous witnesses and determined that an argument between two males resulted in one of the males pulling a concealed handgun and brandishing it at the other.  The male who brandished the handgun was identified as Vanya Hummel,18 of Shasta.
A group of bystanders surrounded and overpowered Hummel, ultimately taking the handgun away.  During the removal of the handgun, Hummel said that it was only a BB gun.  A female bystander took the handgun, pointed it at the ground, and pulled the trigger to confirm Hummel’s statement.  The handgun discharged and fired an actual bullet into the ground.
The handgun was later determined to be a 40 caliber pistol.  Hummel was taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and booked for possession of a concealed and loaded firearm.

Whose records are being subpoenaed for the case of Fr. Eric's murder?

This afternoon was supposed to be trial confirmation for the jury trial for Gary Lee Bullock, the suspect charged with the torture and murder of Fr. Eric Freed.

On Monday, I wrote about the defense's third request for a continuance. Previously, a psychologist was appointed to evaluate Bullock. Now, the district attorney is requesting records from Mad River Hospital.

What answers will we get today in court?

Jan 13, 2015

Thursday 5 p.m. deadline if you want to be on the Measure Z Oversight Committee

Unless you have been living under a rock, you should be somewhat aware that by now there are deadlines to apply for the Measure Z Oversight Committee.

If you were snoozing or don't listen or read news, well whose fault is it?

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors are giving you one last chance. Decisions on who should be on the committee will be decided on January 20.

Get your applications in by 5 pm. this Thursday. It is a 9 member committee. Five appointments by individual board members, one by Fire Chief, one by Sheriff and two at-large positions.

Early birds got their applications in and the Supervisors have enough to choose from so time is of the essence.

Call the Clerk of the Board for more information.

"I believe we have a dishonest judge in our midst who does not believe in victim's rights"

Frequent public meeting commenter and community advocate Kent Sawatsky called Judge Watson out today during public comment at the afternoon session of the Humboldt Board of Supervisors.

"I believe we have a dishonest judge in our midst who does not believe in victim's rights."

Mr. Sawatsky was referring to the Elmy Workman case. I wrote about why Judge Watson flubbed  earlier this week, right after sentencing.There is extensive coverage of this case on this blog. This was not a high profile case. The media ran one press release from the DA's office after a successful jury verdict. There were two plea deals rejected by Judge Feeney and Judge Reinholtsen. Both, which I covered in detail.

Mr. Sawatsky opened his remarks with, "This issue is grave in nature." He compared Allison Jackson, who represented the victim pro bono to an Archangel.

"This is what happens when the legal justice goes wrong 100%."

Mr. Sawatsky went on to say maybe Judge Watson made a backroom deal because he hangs out socially with  the defense attorney Neal Sanders. He invited Judge Watson to take three minutes and explain his decision to the public.

He asked the Board of Supervisors to "turn their backs" on Judge Watson in a social situation. "My understanding is Paul Gallegos wants that robe" referring to Judge Watson stepping down in 2016. This plea deal was agreed to originally under Paul's administration and then the sentence was the same. Mr. Sawatsky alluded again to a backroom deal " maybe they smoke pot together, I'm not saying the Judge does..."

The Board of Supervisors have no jurisdiction over the Courts or the Judges. They do over Probation and the District Attorney's office and funds they received.

Mr. Sawatsky and the public deserve answers from Judge Watson, the Probation department for their amended probation reports and all involved.

Unlike Paul, when Mr. Sawatsky called Maggie she responded promptly.

Jan 12, 2015

Federal judge in California to consider marijuana classification


Police officers in New Mexico charged with murder of homeless man



The city's police department is being investigated for excessive use of force.

Frequent LOCO commenter and local agitator Dane Carr wanting a jury trial again, wasting taxpayer money, again

Dane Carr, these day, best known as  one of the frequent LOCO commenters is no stranger to the courthouse. He was often protesting during Occupy Eureka takeover of the courthouse property.

The City of Eureka wasted $13K thanks to Dane Carr and his stubborness. http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20131222/eureka-spends-13k-fighting-camping-violation-case-city-says-defendant-refused-to-enter-plea-agreement

According to the court computers, his latest court date is for alleged violation of CA Penal Code 417. A Trial Readiness Conference is scheduled for 1/14 at 1:00 in courtroom 2.  Jury Trial is set for 1/20 at 8:30 a.m. How much money will Dane cost the County and the taxpayers?

There were arrest warrants issued on 1/17/14 and bench warrants on 7/3/14 and 10/23/14.  It indicates that he was picked up on the 10/23/14 bench warrant on 11/25/14 and released on OR.

Dane has plenty of excuses for his misfortune, plenty of advice for others. Here's some for you Dane. Spend a little less time on the blogs and sticking it to the man. You are a perfect example of how money that should be spent on helping people is wasted on frivolous court appearances defending people who take no responsibility and blame others for life choices.

Whether he is gainfully employed or actually residing somewhere now, he did not get there without help from the very people he criticizes. This is by his own admission if you believe anything he says.

CA Penal Code 417:

417.  (a) (1) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the
presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon
whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry, or threatening
manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other
than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor,
punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30
   (2) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of
any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or
unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any
manner, unlawfully uses a firearm in any fight or quarrel is
punishable as follows:
   (A) If the violation occurs in a public place and the firearm is a
pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon
the person, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three
months and not more than one year, by a fine not to exceed one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
   (B) In all cases other than that set forth in subparagraph (A), a
misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less
than three months.
   (b) Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of
any other person, draws or exhibits any loaded firearm in a rude,
angry, or threatening manner, or who, in any manner, unlawfully uses
any loaded firearm in any fight or quarrel upon the grounds of any
day care center, as defined in Section 1596.76 of the Health and
Safety Code, or any facility where programs, including day care
programs or recreational programs, are being conducted for persons
under 18 years of age, including programs conducted by a nonprofit
organization, during the hours in which the center or facility is
open for use, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison
for 16 months, or two or three years, or by imprisonment in a county
jail for not less than three months, nor more than one year.
   (c) Every person who, in the immediate presence of a peace
officer, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded,
in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, and who knows, or reasonably
should know, by the officer's uniformed appearance or other action
of identification by the officer, that he or she is a peace officer
engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and that peace
officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be
punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than nine
months and not to exceed one year, or in the state prison for 16
months, or two or three years.
   (d) Except where a different penalty applies, every person who
violates this section when the other person is in the process of
cleaning up graffiti or vandalism is guilty of a misdemeanor,
punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than three
months nor more than one year.
   (e) As used in this section, "peace officer" means any person
designated as a peace officer pursuant to Chapter 4.5 (commencing
with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2.
   (f) As used in this section, "public place" means any of the
   (1) A public place in an incorporated city.
   (2) A public street in an incorporated city.
   (3) A public street in an unincorporated area.

Benjamin Carter case close to resolution

The disposition/hearing for Benjamin Carter, the suspect charged with the murder of Zachary Chapman was continued until this afternoon. Carter's defense attorney is Michael Acosta. DDA Luke Brownfield has been prosecuting this case but at the last hearing he mentioned "a possible change in counsel."

Jury trial dates were expected to be set today. Instead, Mr. Acosta told Judge John Feeney that he had spoken to Mr. Brownfield before court and the case is close to resolution.

The new disposition/reset date is January 28 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 1.

No other media was present when this case was called. Carter's sister-in-law who testified for the prosecution was in the courtroom with other family members when the case was called.

Last post and links to other posts on this case:


Will Gary Lee Bullock ever stand trial for the murder of Fr. Eric? Conflict Counsel files 3rd request for continuance

Defense has requested a continuance for the third time now. This is according to information in the court computers.

Why? Won't know until trial confirmation on January 14, the same day this motion will be heard by Judge John Feeney. Since there is a gag order, details will be available only during court. The jury trial was scheduled for January 26.

Why confirm dates and then pull this last minute? Defense has done this three times.