Mar 18, 2016

Portable bathroom at Moonstone beach who will clean it? Day fees for Clam and Mad River Beach

A concerned, regular reader sent me this via email. Your thoughts?

Board of Supervisors AGENDA March 22, 2016
17. Supplemental Budget for Parks & Recreation-Fiscal Year 2015-16 (4/5 Vote Required) That the Board of Supervisors adopt the attached supplemental budget for FY2015-16.
Attachments: Public Works Supplemental Budget.pdf

AGENDA ITEM  For the meeting of: March 22, 2016
March 8, 2016, Board of Supervisors
Thomas K.. Mattson, Public Works Director
Supplemental Budget for Parks & Recreation-Fiscal Year 2015-16 (4/5 Vote Required)

The insurance cost for the Parks & Recreation budget unit (713) has had a major increase due to a motor vehicle accident in 2013:
• FY 2013-14: $6,154
• FY 2014-15: $54,213
• FY 2015-16: $91,842
The insurance cost is expected to stay at this elevated level for five more years. For FY 2014-15, the General Fund contribution to the Parks budget unit was increased to account for the insurance increase. For FY 2015-16, a supplemental budget request to offset the insurance increase was not approved, therefore the available budget for other expenditures had to be reduced to produce an overall balanced budget. With the spike in insurance charges, insurance is now 42% of the "services and supplies" category of the Parks budget unit. The Parks division has little or no control over most of the expenditures in this category, including utilities, vehicle fuel and maintenance, cleaning supplies, fee envelopes, trash disposal, septic pumping, camp host stipends, and rents and leases. Allocations for equipment maintenance ($7,500) and facilities maintenance ($8,500) were significantly reduced for FY 2015-16.
Prior to the insurance increases, the budget for services and supplies allowed only a limited level of service and preventative maintenance.
In response to the reduced budget for FY 2015-16, the Parks division applied the following cost savings measures:
• Attempted to increase the use of volunteers, community groups. Sheriff Work Alternative Program, and other corrections system manpower.
• Discontinued operation and maintenance of the state-owned Luffenholtz beach access property near Trinidad.
• Developed the means of constructing concrete fire rings in-house rather than purchasing.
• Continued to defer vehicle upgrades, new equipment and tools, computer purchases, and most facility improvements.

In addition, Public Works utilized funds from two Parks trust funds for budget balancing.

During the current fiscal year two projects became urgent and could not be deferred. The Parks maintenance building, which is leased from the Aviation Division, requires testing and abatement for asbestos and mold, structural repairs to prevent further water damage, and lighting upgrades.
Remedying these issues is necessary for occupational health and safety reasons. Testing and evaluation are underway and the total cost of structural repairs is unknown. The repairs for the Parks maintenance building may come before your Board at a later date based on the recommendations by the consultant. Second, the parking lot lights at the Jimmy Smith Fields Landing Boat Launch Facility were chronically failing and required upgrades. Reliable lighting is needed at this facility for public safety. Other unanticipated costs include a hazard tree at Pamplin Grove campground and expenses (administrative time and new signs) for enacting reduced hours at Mad River County Park to address inappropriate nighttime behavior.

 If the projected revenue increases are not achieved,there may be an impact to the General Fund.

Two Parks trust funds are being drawn down to cover the current fiscal year costs.

The current situation points to a structural deficit in the Parks Division budget. Public Works anticipates submitting a supplemental budget request for FY 2016-17 to offset the insurance cost increases. More extensive changes including discontinuing services, adding new fees, and disposing of park properties may be needed to achieve a sustainable balanced budget. Potential changes include: Potential changes include:
• Discontinue servicing of the portable bathroom at Moonstone Beach.
• Discontinue installing the temporary dam for summer swimming at Freshwater Park.
• Charge day-use fees at parks such as Clam Beach and Mad River.
• Selling or relinquishing Crab Park, Centerville Beach, Table Bluff County Park, Samoa Campground/Boat Ramp, Fairhaven T Beach Access, Samoa Power Pole Beach Access, and/or A.W. Way County Park.

Individuals camping behind Bayshore Mall need to vacate by May 2

The City has set a date of May 2, 2016 for individuals camping behind the Bayshore
Mall to leave the area. “Trail construction is set to begin mid-May 2016 and in order to protect  individuals the area must be vacated.”
individuals the area must be vacated.” Mayor Frank J├Ąger stated. The City will be working with
the County Department of Health and Human Services and other local service providers to
coordinate efforts to assist those camping in the marsh to obtain temporary housing, bus tickets
back to family, or other services such as treatment options for drug or alcohol abuse.
In addition, the City will be issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) next Friday, March 25,
2016, for any individuals or organizations who are interested and qualified to execute an “exit
strategy” for relocation of the homeless population in the areas slated for construction. The plan
will be limited to a duration of six (6) months and minimum qualifications will include an
operations plan, a safety/security plan, a staffing plan the  schedule, and a budget. No City funding
or other resources will be provided.
The City wishes to confirm, however, that removal of people will still occur on May 2,
2016 even if an acceptable proposal is or is not received. The RFP process is occurring separate
and apart from the May 2 deadline. “People must be out of the marsh no later than that date so
that construction can proceed,” noted City Manager, Greg Sparks. The RFP process will follow a
different track and timeline.
According to Chief Andrew Mills, “For decades, the Palco Marsh area has been the site
of crime and disorder beyond illegal camping. Reports to City staff, the police, and
Councilmembers of violence, theft, human and drug trafficking have been frequent and
persistent. EPD has made and continues to make arrests, seize firearms and consistently warn
people living in and frequenting the area against criminal behavior. There is a compelling
government interest to protect the City from this behavior. EPD will continue to work with
DHHS, MIST and other organizations to provide housing to those who desire it.”
The City has also been faced with losing its insurance coverage in the marsh area due to a
lawsuit filed by Kathleen Anderson, a local resident, who was allegedly injured in the marsh in
an area known as the Drying Sheds. The City paid out $400,000.00 to Ms. Anderson and the City’s insurer has indicated that if the Drying Sheds are not removed by this summer that the
City will risk losing its insurance coverage for the area.
In addition, the City is very concerned about the environmental degradation that is taking
place not only in the marsh areas but, also to Humboldt Bay. The City has been notified by
several state agencies that the City needs to address the issues surrounding the homeless
encampments or notices of violation could be issued. The Parks and Recreation Department who
has been performing clean-ups of the area on a weekly basis has collected two 40-yard
dumpsters each week for the past several months. “The amount collected has been consistent
with no decrease in illegally dumped material. This past week we actually collected three 40-
yard dumpsters, a significant increase from the previous weeks,” according to the Parks and
Recreation Department Director, Miles Slattery.
“For all of these reasons, the City must take swift and decisive action,” said City Manager Greg Sparks.

Had the cigar lit by Bullock blown up St. Bernard's rectory, I would not be here writing this post, nor would have hundreds of others

Gary Lee Bullock left St. Bernard's driving away in Fr. Freed's car approximately around 7 a.m. About an hour later, I was there to set up for the 9 a.m. mass. I was in the church only a couple of feet away from the kitchen of the rectory as I walked up, a couple of feet away as I was setting up. Another parishioner was in the parish hall by the bathrooms.

A little before 9 a.m. mass, the church was full of people for New Year's Day Mass. On the other side of the rectory are apartments and office buildings. Across the street, Wells Fargo bank and on the 6th street side County and private offices.

When Deacon Frank Weber went to check on Fr. Eric a few minutes after 9 a.m., he was in the rectory where the lit cigar was next to a gas burner.

No one from Gary Lee Bullock's family or friends in court today

After Judge John Feeney read the introductory jury instructions this morning and the "charging document", opening arguments were presented in the jury trial for Gary Lee Bullock.

Listing the order of witnesses he intends to call, the timeline he intends to finish his part of the casewhich is next Friday, and key evidence supporting charges, DDA Andrew Issac drew a road map for the jurors in the Bullock trial in his opening statement which about 45 minutes.

The jury trial will be in session five days a week; Monday to Thursday full days from 8:30 to 4 and Friday mornings from 8:30 until noon. Court will not be in session March 23, March 30, March 31, April 1 and April 13.

Count 1 murder with three special allegations: infliction of torture, murder committed while engaging in first degree residential burglary and murder committed during carjacking. Count 2 and 3 are both first degree residential burglary. Count 4 Unlawful driving/Taking of a Vehicle. Count 5 Arson of an inhabitated structure. Count 6 is Carjacking and Count 7 is Torture.

Defense chose to reserve their right to make their opening statement after the People have rested.

Fr. Eric's family, his three sisters and one brother in law, two parishioners and St. Bernards present pastor Fr. Tom Diaz attended this morning's hearing.

Several Deputy District Attorneys were in court. No one from Bullock's family in attendance.

Previous posts (regarding charges and evidence hearings):

Monday morning the jurors in the Bullock trial will watch an hour and half video taken from St. Bernard's church surveillance system that shows all of Bullock's movements the night he broke into the rectory

The People's first witness, after morning break, was District Attorney Investigator Martin Perrone. He is assigned to computer and cellphone forensics. He was designated an expert.

He identified People's Exhibit 1 which is a google earth map of St. Bernard's Church and immediate surrounding area. He also identified People's Exhibit 123, "one of the numerous cameras attached to the surveillance system" and Exhibit 124, which is the DVR box, which he collected on Jan 1, 2014 from the Church office, located in the Parish Hall.

Investigator Perrone explained in detail collection of the equipment, how he took approximately five and half hours of the surveillance video when Bullock was on St. Bernard's premises condensing it to one and half hour video. The cameras are motion activated and there are several cameras, some of the footage is irrelevant to the case like candles lit inside the church where Bullock never entered.

Monday morning will start with the jurors in the Bullock trial watching an hour and half video taken from St. Bernard's church surveillance system that shows all of Bullock's movements from the moment he is seen on the church premises, including his conversation with two Eureka Police Department officers and to the time he drives off in Fr. Eric Freed's car.

"The hole in the tongue didn't kill him; what didn't kill him was the broken spine"

Before Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac gave his opening statement, a document, People's Exhibit 6 A, was given by the bailiff to all jurors. This was a written transcript to aid them in an audio recording they would hear and which will also be presented later as evidence.

Listing the order of witnesses he intends to call, the timeline he intends to finish his part of the case which is expected to be by next Friday, and key evidence supporting charges, Mr. Isaac drew a road map for the jurors in the Bullock trial in his opening statement which about 45 minutes.

"In a minute, I am going to read you a portion of the transcript you got and then Mr. Perrone will play" the audio, is how Mr. Isaac opened his remarks to the jury. He told the jurors that they will be given a CD to take into the deliberation room with them.

DA investigator Martin Perrone will be the first witness, said Mr. Isaac. "He will show you a video of church surveillance."

"Right now somewhere in the U.S., some prosecutor is saying, actions are louder than words," said Mr. Isaac. "In this case, we have both; we have video and we have audio."

A phone call made on August 23 was played for the jury. Bullock is talking with his mother, Carol Bruno. Bullock is heard saying "They got me on video going into the house. They got me dead to rights."

"As the judge told you, my job is to tell you what the evidence will show or what it will not show," said Mr. Isaac. "As you will hear at the end of the case, when the Judge instructs, this case is legally complex, largely because of Mr. Bullock's intent. There is not going to be any evidence showing you that Mr. Bullock did not kill Fr. Freed."

"Mr. Bullock killed Fr. Freed. Mr. Bullock broke into the house. Mr. Bullock drove away with Fr. Freed's car. Dr. Super will be my last witness."

Mr. Isaac then held up Exhibit 122 which was diagrams made by Dr. Mark Super, a forensic pathologist, who did Fr. Freed's autopsy. The paper was filled with sketches of Fr. Freed's body with hand written notes all over.

"Fr. Freed was beaten from top of the head to the tips of his toes. I will you show the cut on his toe."

"We will start by showing you a video of Mr. Bullock breaking into the house. The first witness will be Martin Perrone. He will tell you how he collected and condensed surveillance video from the church."

Mr. Isaac showed the exhibit which has "the outline of the grounds and rectory" with numbered locations of cameras and pictures next to cameras, which are small representations, of what the jurors will see on the video. Time frame is approximately from 2 a.m to 7 a.m., said Mr. Isaac.

"You are not going to see five hours, you will see an hour and a half when Mr. Bullock is on video."

"You will see Mr. Bullock going in and out of the house collecting stakes and pipe" which were used to beat Fr. Freed. "Dr. Super will explain semi-circular gashes on Fr. Freed's chest which resemble gashes on the wall. Right next to the wall is a big pipe."

The second witness will be EPD Detective Amber Cosetti. She was one of the officers along with Officer Crnich who answered a call and went to talk with Bullock at St. Bernard's the night/early morning hours of December 31, 2013-Jan 1, 2014.

"They encounter Mr. Bullock outside the rectory. It may not be clear why Mr. Bullock was in and about but he was in the area near the church. Detective Cosetti is trained in Crisis Intervention Training." Mr. Isaac said Detective Cosetti can access dual diagnosis. "She will tell you she was face to face with Mr. Bullock. He told her he was looking for shelter/rehab. He seemed rational; not in crisis."

The next witness will be Deacon Frank Weber. When Fr. Freed did not show up for mass around 9 a.m. on New Year's Day, "Deacon Weber goes to check on his friend.". "Blood alcohol for Fr. Freed showed .08 level, he had maybe a couple beers, a glass of wine. He found Eric Freed dead. The last thing you see is Deacon Weber opening the front door waiting for EPD"

Eureka Police Officer Ben Omey was one of the first responders on the scene, along with EMT and firefighters. The rectory "is a two story structure; different officers had different responsibilities. Ben will tell you everyone who went in smelled gas. He went into the kitchen, one burner was lit, next to it was a smoldering cigar. We got the cigar."

Department of Justice analysts Kay Belschner, from Eureka and Amy Rojas, from Okland, tested that cigar. "Mr. Bullock's DNA is on the cigar."

"He is intending to blow the rectory. He didn't watch enough McGyver. You have to place the cigar far away, Mr. Bullock did not, he put it next to the burner. He tried to burn the place down twice."

In 2014, EPD Senior Detective Todd Wilcox, took photos and collected evidence in this case. He now works for the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Isaac told the jurors that when Fr. Freed's body was first discovered, "he was cocooned inside bedding with a wooden stake"

"You will see Mr. Bullock bring it in and a chunk of iron pipe. The bedding is soaked with three empty bottles of Glenlivet scotch and a glossy calendar that is charred."

"The initial confrontation happened at the top of the landing. The evidence is Fr. Freed's phone. Chunks of cell phone found at the top of the stairs and some in a room. There is a table smeared with Fr. Freed's blood. Chunk of a t-shirt ripped out. Tape dispenser smeared with blood. Big gash on Fr. Freed's nose. The evidence will not tell you whether it is from the tape dispenser or nails on the wood."

"You will see debris, rust matching pipe, chips of paint on the stairs, chips of wood sticking out of Fr. Freed's legs. You will have the pipes Gary Bullock used to beat Fr. Freed."

"You will have the most disturbing piece of evidence in the case. Some call it a vase. Bottom is jagged." This has been identified in the evidentiary hearings as  a Pilsner glass.

"Dr. Super will tell you about a hole in Fr. Freed's tongue. That hole was bored when Gary Bullock jammed that beer glass down Fr. Eric's throat and twisted it."

The next witness will be DA Investigator John Burke. Part of his duties involve listening to recordings of phone calls made by inmates. He listened to 60 hours of recordings. There are four calls the jury will hear. One is to Bullock's mother; another call to his grandmother.  Mr. Isaac quoted Bullock telling his grandmother, "If you bail me out, I will tell you everything."

"Another call to his mother and father." Mr. Isaac quoted Bullock as saying, "When you do, it will scare the shit out of you." The last call is to his wife.

"The difference between what I tell you and Mr. Cockrum will tell you will be on intent. The difference between first degree murder and second degree murder. I have to prove that Mr. Bullock intended to kill Fr. Freed."

"I have to prove that Mr. Bullock intended Fr. Freed to suffer. That hole in the tongue did not kill him. What killed him was a combination of being beaten and choked. Asphyxia. In this case there are no marks of pipe, ligature, possibly arm?" Mr. Isaac said that you can suffer internal damage to the throat from applied pressure. "If you hit hard on the face, the brain shuts off breathing. What didn't kill him was the broken spine."

"I have to prove Mr. Bullock intended to kill Fr. Freed," Mr. Isaac said, again. "I also have to prove that he intended to burn the house. I have to prove he intended to take the keys." Mr. Isaac said that in the phone call  Bullock made to his wife, "Stephanie, a month and a half after Mr. Bullock is in jail", he tells her that "they offered me a phone call but I figured no one of you guys would come get me, so I figured I'd find a way home."

"You will see Mr. Bullock drive away with Fr. Freed's car. The car was found near his parent's house, covered. So if you fly over in a helicopter, you wouldn't see it."

"You will see Mr. Bullock look into the camera. You will see him wearing a blue shirt and black pants. You will have those clothes. Amy Rojas will tell you Fr. Freed's blood is on that shirt."

HCSO Detective Greg Musson will testify. He had to assist EPD in finding the road to Bullock's step father and mother's house as he is more familiar with that area. Mr. Isaac spoke about how evidence found by citizens, later collected by Sgt. Jesse Taylor and Deputy Brawner will show that Bullock "crossed the Miranda Bridge in Fr. Freed's car. I have to prove he knew what he was doing." Mr. Isaac said that Bullock threw an insurance card, a Bear River and Cher-ae-Heights Casino card, a Bible, a briefcase and keys from HSU and other items into the water. These items have been identified as belonging to Fr. Freed.

The next witness would be Any Rojas, before her Kay Belschner, if Mr. Isaac needed her to testify to chain of custody.

The last witness, next Friday, will be Dr. Mark Super. "I have given a road map that Gary Bullock intentionally killed Fr. Freed."

First burglary because Bullock broke into the window and drove away in the car; the second burglary"has to do with car keys or shutting up Fr. Freed."

"After the confrontation on top of the stairs, the body is found in his suite. The whole room is undisturbed except where the body is by the door. Not much of a fight. Door was kicked in." This indicates breaking into another part of the house.

"I can't prove to you what was in his mind when he went there but the evidence will show you that he went after Fr. Freed and at some point killed Fr. Freed." Mr. Isaac said evidence would show what injuries were perimortem.

"I think if you make not one but two attempts to burn the place down, it proves arson."

"Ladies and gentleman, this is a very important case to the People, to Mr. Bullock and to both families."

Previous posts (regarding charges and evidence hearings):

Man arrested for possession of brass knuckles, walked around mall with an airsoft gun

On 03/17/16 at about 9:45 a.m., Officers with the Eureka Police Department responded to the 3300 block of Broadway for the report of a male inside a mall store with what appeared to be a large firearm in his jacket.

Upon arrival, mall security advised officers that the male was walking south through the mall foyer.  Officers located the male and took him into custody without further incident.  The male was identified as Daniel Dexter, 29 of Eureka.  Dexter was found to be in possession of an AR-15 replica airsoft gun and brass knuckles.

Dexter was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for possession of brass knuckles and public intoxication.    


Mar 17, 2016

Winning verdicts, one for DDA Jackie Pizzo; the other for DDA Brent Kling

Two wins today for the DA.

Press Release:

On March 15, 2016 Clayton Jerod James was convicted of Assault with a Semi-Automatic Firearm, Reckless Discharge of a Firearm, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, stemming from an incident in Hoopa on January 13, 2015. Mr. James became angry and brandished a firearm at the victim after unsuccessfully attempting to purchase methamphetamine at the residence.  Mr. James also shot the firearm in the direction of the victim’s husband. The case was investigated by the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department and prosecuted by Jackie Pizzo with the assistance of District Attorney Investigators Gary Cooper and Tom Cooke.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 20, 2016 before Judge Cissna. Because Mr. James has two prior convictions for felonies considered “strikes” (manslaughter in 1991 and assault with a deadly weapon in 1999) and the current conviction involves a serious or violent felony, he could be sentenced to 27 years to life.
On March 17, 2016 after a day-and-a-half jury trial before Judge Timothy P. Cissna, jurors returned a guilty verdict against Aaron James Eib for driving while his license was suspended, a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 14601(a).  The jury also found true that Eib had a prior conviction for a similar offense in 2014; this conclusion affected the penalty for the current conviction.  The case against Eib arose from a vehicle stop conducted by Deputy Maxwell Soeth, presently with the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Department, on August 13, 2015 in downtown Fortuna.  Eib was sentenced immediately following the verdict and will serve five days in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  The case was prosecuted by Deputy D.A. Brent Kling.

Bullock jurors will be allowed to propose questions to witnesses, motion for jury to visit rectory withdrawn

This afternoon, Courtroom 1 was briefly opened. Judge John Feeney said that, "we need to address two issues before the jury comes back tomorrow."

Besides court staff, the Judge, attorneys and Gary Lee Bullock, the only audience members were myself, and reporters from North Coast News and Times-Standard.

"The first is whether the Court should allow jurors to propose questions to witnesses?" said Judge Feeney. He said that initially he was "inclined not to, due to consumption of time." After reviewing "Cal Crim instruction number 106", he said it was the Court's discretion.

California Jury Instructions


106Jurors Asking Questions

PRETRIAL                                                                               CALCRIM 106

If, during the trial, you have a question that you believe should be asked of a witness, you may write out the question and send it tome through the bailiff. I will discuss the question with the attorneys and decide whether it may be asked. Do not feel slightedor disappointed if your question is not asked. Your question may not be asked for a variety of reasons, including the reason that the question may call for an answer that is inadmissible for legal reasons. Also, do not guess the reason your question was not asked or speculate about what the answer might have been. Always remember that you are not advocates for one side or the other in this case. You are impartial judges of the facts.

Judge Feeney then cited California Rule of Court 2.1033.

Rule 2.1033. Juror questions
A trial judge should allow jurors to submit written questions directed to witnesses. An opportunity must be given to counsel to object to such questions out of the presence of the jury.

Judge Feeney said he had drafted a "proposed question form" and asked attorneys their input on the motion.

Conflict Counsel's Mr. Kaleb Cokrum, who represents Bullock, said he opposed the motion and had stated his reasons earlier. He acknowledged that "it is up to the Court" and that if Judge Feeney was going to allow this that the jurors "write out a question and then ample time be provided, out of the presence of the jury, for us to view the question."

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac said the last time he used this in a case, it was in Santa Cruz. And said that if Judge Feeney wanted a case, he cited a 1979 case, People vs Gates from 1979. "It is good procedure and good practice."

"I understand Mr. Cockrum's concern," said Mr. Isaac. "If it appears that the jury is abusing the privilege, it should be withdrawn."

Judge Feeney's final ruling was that jurors will be allowed to submit questions. Each juror will be given the questionnaire form along with their notebook tomorrow.

"The other issue is the motio0n filed yesterday by Mr. Isaac on behalf of the People seeking a jury view of the church premises; inside the rectory of St. Bernard's Church."

Just as Judge Feeney was to announce his tentative decision, Mr. Isaac said, "That motion has been withdrawn."

Bullock waived his presence for scheduling of the trial. The attorneys met informally with Judge Feeney after these two motions were addressed.

Mother arrested for outstanding felony warrant after allegedly abducting her own children

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, at about 11:10 p.m., Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs received a call of a possible abduction of three children that had just occurred on the 7600 block of Snow Camp Rd, Blue Lake. It was reported the suspects, 38 year old Nichole Glee Olson, and 38 year old Kenneth Wayne Lee, were last seen driving a white BMW. Olson is the mother to the three children in question. The reporting party stated Olson and Lee were possibly intoxicated and being abusive toward the children.
While deputies were responding to the call they passed a white BMW and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Deputies contacted the driver of the vehicle, Kenneth Wayne Lee. It was discovered Lee did not have a driver’s license, and he had not been driving intoxicated. The deputies next contacted Olson and her children. The children appeared unharmed. Deputies learned Olson had an outstanding felony warrant for her arrest for writing bad checks. Lee and Olson were placed under arrest. The reporting party arrived and took custody of the children.
Lee and Olson were taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Lee was arrested for driving without a license, and his bail was set at $5,000. Olson was arrested on her outstanding felony warrant.

Instead of giving to panhandlers, the City of Eureka "encourages those who wish to help the less fortunate to give to the non-profit of their choice. "

The Eureka City Council unanimously approved amendments to Eureka Municipal Code Section 130.06 “Aggressive Solicitation” at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The City’s panhandling ordinance was originally approved in 1995 and later amended in 2005. It came back before Council in 2012 for additional amendments that were to include additional areas such as parking lots and from motor vehicles. The same day, however, that the Council was set to consider those amendments, the Humboldt Superior Court issued a ruling in a lawsuit against the City of Arcata’s panhandling ordinance. In view of that ruling, the proposed 2012 amendments were revised to prohibit all panhandling in just two areas of the City: banks and ATMs; and, public transportation vehicles. City staff also recommended that “once a further legal determination, if any, regarding these specific locations has been made, the ordinance can be amended.”

The City Attorney’s Office has been monitoring the status of legal challenges to other jurisdictions aggressive solicitation laws. Most recently, the County of Sacramento’s law regarding aggressive solicitation was challenged in court by the ACLU. As a result of the lawsuit, the County of Sacramento amended its ordinance to the satisfaction of the ACLU and is now enforcing that ordinance with some success. The amendments to Eureka’s current ordinance mirror the Sacramento County law.

The adopted amendments will prohibit solicitation in the following additional areas of the City:
Motor Vehicles. No person shall solicit from an operator or occupant traveling in a motor vehicle while such vehicle is located within two hundred (200) feet of any intersection in which at least one corner is controlled by an official traffic signal of the type set forth in California Vehicle Code Section 21450 or by any sign regulating the flow of traffic, such as a stop sign or yield sign.

 Median Strips. No person shall solicit on a median strip or in any manner or location that is inconsistent with the provisions of the California Vehicle Code.

Driveways Accessing Shopping Centers, Retail, and Business Establishments. No person shall solicit from an operator or occupant traveling in a motor vehicle while such vehicle is located within thirty-five (35) feet of a driveway providing vehicular access to a shopping center, retail, or business establishment.

Public Transportation Vehicles and Stops. No person shall solicit in any public transportation vehicle or within fifty (50) feet of any designated or posted public transportation vehicle stop. Gasoline Stations and Fuel Pumps. No person shall solicit from an operator or occupant of a motor vehicle while such vehicle is stopped in a gasoline station or at a gasoline pump.

The amended ordinance will go into effect on April 14, 2016. The City will begin passing out notices to panhandlers this week about the new law.

 City Manager, Greg Sparks, believes that “the Council acted in response to the numerous complaints regarding panhandling from businesses, residents and visitors.” Chief of Police, Andrew Mills, in response to the ordinance’s adoption has indicated that “EPD officers will be trained on the details of the new ordinance and begin enforcement on April 14.”

The City encourages those who wish to help the less fortunate to give to the non-profit of their choice.

Opening arguments in Gary Lee Bullock trial tomorrow morning

Regular jurors, 10 women, two men.

Alternates, 3 women, 1 man.

8:45 tomorrow, introductory jury instructions, reading of information listing charges and opening arguments.

Judge Feeney was emphatic today that the trial will conclude on or before April 18.

Trial will not be in session on March 23, March 30, March 31 (court holiday) and April 1.

Only media in court was myself and Mad River Union.

Twelve regular jurors selected, alternates being questioned for Bullock jury trial

Regular jurors, ten women,two men. Alternates , three women , one man selected by 11:25 a.m. today.

Two potential jurors were excused because they said their religious convictions did not make them a fit for this case. Since individual questioning, they had more time to think of these concerns. They wanted to do their civic duty, just not for this case.

Mar 16, 2016

EPD and police do this every day; doesn't receive media coverage

I saw one of your officers helping an old man using a walker this morning. Your team is making a positive impact in Eureka.

City of Eureka to meet with Counsel in a special closed session this Friday to discuss "anticipated legislation"

The City of Eureka will hold a special closed session on March 18 at 8 a.m. to conference with "legal counsel-anticipated litigation"

Presumably, the lawsuit Peter Martin said he wants to file against the panhandling ordinance.

Thomas O'Rourke sworn in as Yurok tribe chair this afternoon

This follows James Dunlap resignation yesterday, after information about his crimal past surfaced.

He was the next candidate in the election with the most votes. you need at least 30 percent, he got 40.

Press Release:

This afternoon, Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. was sworn in as Chairman of the Yurok Tribe.
“This is a sad day, but we are going to get through this and we are going to make sure that it never happens again,” Chairman O’Rourke said. “We are still a very young government and this is not something we will forget, but we are not going to dwell on it as we move forward.”
Chairman O’Rourke replaced James Dunlap, who tendered his resignation yesterday.
According to the Yurok Constitution, a vacancy that occurs during the first year of a Councilmember’s term is filled by the Tribal Council appointing the person who received the next highest number of votes in the last election if that person received at least thirty percent of the total votes. In the most recent election, Chairman O’Rourke earned greater than the required 30 percent of the total vote.

Yurok tribe Chair James Dunlap just resigned

This just in...

Hours after my post:

Mar 15, 2016

Yurok tribe Chair James Dunlap's alleged criminal past or mistaken identity?

The first screen shot is an article from San Jose Mercury News, said Ms. McCovey.

Listed below are the articles in the archive search from San Jose Mercury News.

Article 6 of 10, Article ID: 8805090706
Published on December 3, 1988, San Jose Mercury News (CA)

James Dunlap, 31, of Humboldt County, charged in San Mateo County with the "sacrifice murder" of his 3-month-old daughter pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the crime during a court appearance Friday. Dunlap is accused of fatally stabbing Brittany Dunlap at his half-brother's San Mateo home on Sept. 9. Kemp set a pretrial conference date of Dec. 6. for Dunlap.
Bay Area in

Article 7 of 10, Article ID: 8804160910
Published on September 14, 1988, San Jose Mercury News (CA)

James Dunlap, 30, was formally charged Tuesday in San Mateo County Municipal Court with murdering his 3-month-old daughter. Dunlap, a resident of Hoopa in Humboldt County, is charged with fatally stabbing his daughter, Brittaney, Friday afternoon while visiting his half-brother's San Mateo home.
Bay Area in

Article 8 of 10, Article ID: 8804160666
Published on September 13, 1988, San Jose Mercury News (CA)

A Humboldt County man is in custody in San Mateo after allegedly killing his 3-month-old daughter "to set her free for God."
San Mateo police said they arrived at a house where the family was staying Friday just as James Dunlap, 30, of Hoopa was lifting the girl over his head and yelling out that he had sacrificed her to God.
The girl, Brittaney, had been stabbed with a buck knife in her crib, police said.
Dunlap was taken to the psychiatric ward of Chope Community Hospital in

Article 9 of 10, Article ID: 8804160752
Published on September 13, 1988, San Jose Mercury News (CA)

A Humboldt County man is in custody in San Mateo after allegedly killing his 3-month-old daughter "to set her free for God."
San Mateo police said they arrived at a house where the family was staying Friday just as James Dunlap, 30, of Hoopa was lifting the girl over his head and yelling out that he had sacrificed her to God.
The girl, Brittaney, had been stabbed with a buck knife in her crib, police said.
Dunlap was taken to the psychiatric ward of Chope Community Hospital in

Article 10 of 10, Article ID: 8804160291
Published on September 13, 1988, San Jose Mercury News (CA)

A Humboldt County man is in custody in San Mateo after allegedly killing his 3-month-old daughter "to set her free for God."
San Mateo police said they arrived at a house where the family was staying Friday just as James Dunlap, 30, of Hoopa was lifting the girl over his head and yelling out that he had sacrificed her to God.
The girl, Brittaney, had been stabbed with a buck knife in her crib, police said.
Dunlap was taken to the psychiatric ward of Chope Community Hospital in

I will be checking the crime database for California later this morning. No record in Humboldt County Superior Court or the court crime database. This case goes back 10 or 11 years and there is no indication how far back the records go in this databse.

Here are some images of court documents:

I did contact both, Mr. James Dunlap and Ms. Patti McCovey, for comment.

Mr. Dunlap responded early this morning. He said he has meetings all day but will call this evening.

Ms. MCovey responded promptly, "That's what I posted. James Dunlap was recently elected to Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. At no point during his candidacy did he reveal these charges. To not reveal them is deceitful. Furthermore, the Yurok Tribe was supposed to run a Federal background check on Mr. Dunlap before allowing him to run for Chairman. It appears that it wasn't done. This information should have been given to the tribal membership before, or during, the election for Chairperson. We have the right to know exactly who we are electing to be our Chairperson. Had we known this information, the elections would have turned out differently. Our tribal leaders are supposed to be upstanding citizens who can represent our tribe with the highest morals possible. Giving the severity of these charges, and others, Mr. Dunlap has no place to serve as our tribal leader. This is an embarrassment and a failure to our membership."

After some glitches, jury selection finally starts in the Gary Lee Bullock jury trial

Second day of jury selection. Roll call at 8:40. Even more people missing today.

Second roll call at 8:50. Only two names were called  out of 15 previously with no answer.

Finally, at 9 the courtroom opened and only one empty seat was left for me, after jurors were seated. No other media in court, no family members or friends. Seventy six jurors packed Courtroom 1.

After introductions, one juror was excused for medical reasons. Two other jurors asked to speak with Judge John Feeney and the attorneys privately. Both were excused.

After all this, a panel of 12 were questioned by Judge Feeney, then the defense and then the prosecution.

Bullock's attorney , Mr. Kaleb Cockrum, questioned all 12 before mid morning break. Deputy Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac questioned the jurors after the break.

Due to extensive individual questioning of jurors, this morning's jury selection proceeded very smoothly. In the morning session, Mr. Cockrum questioned all the jurors together; Mr. Isaac questioned each juror individually, eliciting laughter and some light hearted moments, especially when he made a reference to Cleopatra, the service dog that belongs to his jury consultant, Mr. David Prendergast who left after the mid morning break. He also said he was going to ask jurors what their favorite book was, "something I have never tried before", that question was popular and potential jurors were eager to share.

DA Investigator John Burke has been seated with Mr. Isaac from the beginning of the jury trial and has attended all court hearings.

Both attorneys focused on general legal concepts such as proof beyond reasonable doubt, presumption of innocence and jury deliberation.

At the end of the morning session, both attorneys "passed for cause". Mr. Isaac did not dismiss anyone for his first peremptory challenge. The defense excused one male juror. As of the morning break, only three men left on the jury and eight women.

Afternoon session will begin with the selection and questioning of the twelfth juror.

The trial is all day Monday through Thursday starting at 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and noon on Fridays. Twelve jurors and four alternates will be selected.

Jeremy Chen of North Coast News was in briefly after the mid morning break. Court recessed for the morning session, Steven Moore from TS showed up after the courtroom had been closed for lunch.

In the afternoon session, TS  got there at 2:50, a few minutes before the afternoon break. Session ended a few minutes after 4 p.m. No other media today.

At the end of today, People excused only one person and had accepted the panel several times since the afternoon session resumed. One person's circumstances had changed and she was excused due to financial hardship. There were 12 peremptory challenges today, the defense used every single one to excuse a juror and the ones they got a chance when People had accepted the panel and not used theirs.

A jury panel could have been selected as early as 2 p.m. today and alternates could have been seated, but at the end of the day, it was close but no cigar, jury selection continues tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

So far, the break up of the jury has varied, either 8 women, 4 men or 9 women and 3 men.

California Code and Jury Selection from California Courts:

It is the policy of the State of California that all persons selected for jury service shall ..... 231, shall be entitled to as many peremptory challenges to the alternate jurors as there are alternate jurors called.

 The judge and the attorneys ask jurors questions to determine if the jurors are free of bias (prejudice) or whether there is any other reason why they cannot be fair and impartial; this process is called voir dire.
The law lets the judge and the lawyers excuse individual jurors from service for various reasons. If a lawyer wants to have a juror excused, he or she must use a "challenge" to excuse the juror. Challenges can be for cause or peremptory. There are unlimited challenges for cause and 10 peremptory challenges in criminal cases (20 in death penalty or life imprisonment cases) and 6 in civil cases (Code of Civil Procedure sec. 231).
The process of questioning and excusing jurors continues until 12 persons are accepted as jurors for the trial. Alternate jurors may also be selected. The judge and attorneys agree that these jurors are qualified to decide impartially and intelligently the factual issues in the case. When the selection of the jury is completed, the jurors take the following oath:
"Do you, and each of you, understand and agree that you will well and truly try the cause now pending before this court, and a true verdict render according only to the evidence presented to you and to the instructions of the court?"

Mar 15, 2016

Names of all three Humboldt State students released

The names of three Humboldt State students who were involved in a car crash Sunday morning near Crescent City have been released.
Anthropology major Robert Romeri, who was from Ranchos Palos Verdes, California, had been driving on Highway 101 when he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree around 10 a.m. He died and his passengers, Alexis Galvan and Pearla Saole, were injured.
Galvan, who is studying Environmental Management and Protection, and Saole, a Psychology major, are being treated at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
The California Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate, and has been in close contact with University Police. Campus officials are reaching out to family members, friends, and others to provide support and other assistance.

City of Trinidad and Tsurai Ancestral Society make progress on 2015 settlement

Attorneys for The Tsurai Ancestral Society and City of Trinidad appeared before Judge Dale Reinholtzen  on February 23, 2016 to review progress being made by the City to complete obligations  the City agreed to in order to settle a lawsuit filed by the Tsurai Ancestral Society and individual Tsurai members in 2010.  The settlement agreement was signed by both parties and filed with the Court on August 24, 2015.   
The Tsurai hoped a trial would not be necessary, and has worked diligently to assist the City in completing the settlement conditions within the given time frame of one (1) year.  Unfortunately, none of the stipulated terms of settlement have been met. The City budgeted 20,000 to the site, but has yet to use any funding to do projects such as create a vegetation management plan, or design signage to clearly mark trails.  
Based on this, the Tsurai Ancestral Society and individual plaintiffs requested that the case be set for a jury trial in October. Judge Reinholtzen agreed and set the case for trial on October 17, 2016. It is estimated by the parties that the trial will be 3 to 4 weeks in length.   
 When, and if, the City of Trinidad renews its commitment to honor the terms of the August 24, 2015 settlement agreement by finalizing projects to which it has agreed, the plaintiffs will be open to dismissing the lawsuit.
Information regarding the lawsuit and the settlement agreement is available on the City’s website. The Tsurai Ancestral Society and the other plaintiffs in the case, encourage the residents of Trinidad to become familiar with this litigation and transmit any questions or concerns to the Trinidad City Council and staff. 

Peter Martin suing the City of Eureka, what a surprise, NOT.

What a shocker! NOT! Peter Martin is suing the City of Eureka , this time, just one problematic issue  but most is constitutional, according to a LOCO post.

I guess my press release must have got lost in cyber mail chaos.

As I asked before, does Peter Martin actually have clients other than those he "represents" on these lawsuits against the government.

Does Peter do these pro bono since you know they are all about civil rights. Funny, I don't see his name ever brought up when private attorneys are appointed insteadbof public defenders.

Another LOCO post, looks like more commenters agree with me.

Yurok tribe Chair James Dunlap just resigned

This just in...

Hours after my post:

Man who caused disturbance at liquor store on Fifth street charged with attempted murder and felon in possession of a firearm

On 03/14/16 at about 9:37 p.m., officers responded to a liquor store on the 1500 block of 5th Street for the report of a man causing a disturbance with a firearm.  Upon arrival, officers found Aaron Christopher King, 25 of McKinleyville, restrained on the floor of the store by three citizens. 

Officers reviewed the surveillance footage and saw King enter the store with a firearm in an attempt to rob the store.  King attempted to shoot the clerk several times but the gun malfunctioned each time.  The clerk fought back until a citizen came in and stripped the gun from King and held him down.  Two additional citizens entered the store and assisted in holding down King until police arrived. 

King was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for attempted murder, robbery, assault with a firearm, and felon in possession of a firearm.  It was determined that the firearm used by King was loaded and had been reported as stolen from a residential burglary in Eureka.   

Link to surveillance video:

Econo Lodge suspects denied release, still in custody

An OR/Bail hearing was scheduled this afternoon for Steven Alberson and Jesse Rodriguez.

Bother were denied release.

Mar 10, 2016

Econo Lodge suspects to be arraigned today with "recklessly and maliciously possessing a destructive device and explosive near a hospital" and possession of pipe bombs

Steven Alberson and Jesse Rodriguez were arraigned this afternoon. Both are charged in the complaint with two felonies. Count 1 Possession of a Destructive Device near certain places, "recklessly and maliciously possessing a destructive device and explosive near a hospital".  Count 2 Possession of A Destructive Device, pipe bombs.

Deputy District Attorney David Christensen is prosecuting this case, his colleague DDA Roger Rees stood in for him for this arraignment.

The Public Defender's office was appointed for Alberson. Mr. Luke Brownfield was present for arraignment today.

Conflict Counsel's office was appointed for Rodriguez. Mr. Greg Elvine-Kreis was present for arraignment today. He asked for a supervised release report for Rodriguez.

Time was not waived by either defendant.

Bail/OR hearing is March 14 at 2 p.m. Intervention is March 16 at 3 p.m. Preliminary hearing is on March 23.

Bail remains at half a million dollars for each defendant.

Econo Lodge suspects to be arraigned tomorrow

I just checked and confirmed with District Attorney Maggie Fleming. Steven Alberson and Jesse Rodriguez will be arraigned tomorrow afternoon.

Bail for each is set at half a million dollars.

EPD Press Release:

On 03/08/16 at about 11:35 a.m., an officer with the Eureka Police Department conducted a field interview with a male on probation near a motel on the 1600 block of 4th Street.  The contact led to a probation search of an associated motel room.  Five male occupants, most believed to have gang involvement, were detained in the room. 

While searching the room, officers discovered what appeared to be three improvised explosive devices.  Officers immediately evacuated all guests from the motel and set up a perimeter.  The Humboldt County Sheriff Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team (EOD) was called out to assist and EPD investigators obtained a search warrant.

The EOD team used a robot to carefully remove all three devices and render them safe.  All three were confirmed to be explosive devices and included fragmentation material.  At about 9:30 p.m., the scene was secured and the evacuation notice was lifted.

During a search of the room pursuant to the search warrant, officers found heroin packaged for sales, gang indicia, and evidence that an adjoined room was associated.  Officers obtained an additional search warrant for the second room. 

In the adjoined room, officers found three handguns, ammunition, just under 11 ounces of methamphetamine, small individual packages of heroin, evidence of drug sales, and gang indicia.  Two of the three handguns were confirmed to have been reported as stolen out of Central California.