- County's Marijuana Strategy Sued
- Sheriffs Oppose Courthouse Move
- Meteor Shower
- MTA Thoughts
- Three Statisticians
- The Warrior's Heart
- What Ghosts Want
- Broken Promises
- Bad Time to Shoplift
- Implications of LeValley Sentencing
DA EYSTER, SHERIFF ALLMAN and State Attorney General Kamala Harris, have been sued to stop the DA's innovative marijuana strategy by which first time defendants are allowed to plead to misdemeanors in exchange for proportionate fines.
THE SUIT ALLEGES that the program is “not simply unlawful, but criminal,” and wants the court to return some $3.7 million in fines returned to 350 defendants. The fine money has been distributed to County police departments.
MARK CLAUSEN, a Santa Rosa attorney twice suspended from practicing law, is the author of the lawsuit. It is assumed to have been funded by a number of Mendocino County cops and miscellaneous citizens who contend the program is a "get out of jail free card." Which it isn't because defendants are also placed on probation and face felony charges if they're arrested again for the same marijuana offense.
DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER appeared before the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday morning to make the following remarks during public expression:
“Good morning. Craig Walker appearing strictly in my capacity as President of the Deputy Sheriff's Association. You might be surprised that I'm here this morning not to talk about negotiations or money. Rather, We’d like to talk about an issue that we would like to take a stand on and we would welcome your participation as well. That would be the prospective new courthouse. I think everyone in the room is familiar with some of the well-known issues involved there and the impact it would have on the downtown should the courthouse be relocated. Although we share those sentiments, our organization is concerned about the county's potential exposure to costs that will be in our opinion forced upon us by the relocation. We are referring specifically to the idea that the proposed new courthouse would house strictly court employees and that the county employees who currently are housed within the existing court facility and nearby would have to travel that extra distance. We don't think that's a feasible alternative for the medium or long term. What we envision is the county being forced at some point to construct another building down by the new courthouse or lease space at substantial cost and that we would then be on the hook for maintenance of the old and abandoned facility and all of these things could easily run into the millions of dollars in cost for the county that the state, as far as we can tell, is not factoring into their planning. So for those reasons our organization is adamantly opposed to relocating the courthouse. We feel that some reasonable renovations to the existing structure could be made at a fraction of the cost. We realize that this project is being driven by the State Office of the Courts and not by the county and not by some other local agency. Nevertheless, we think that because of that ancillary exposure to the County and to the county employees that we really need to work together and oppose this project and we will be contacting the Governor’s office and the Administrative Office of the Court to express our displeasure and we would like to think that you would join us in that regard. Thank you.”
The Board did not inquire or comment on Deputy Walker’s remarks.
WAS THAT TICHININ? On Wednesday (21 May) a person described only as "a high level administrator at the Mendocino County Office of Education" was spotted, during work hours, trying to take down the large Warren Galletti campaign sign on private property just north of the Mendocino County Office of Education.
GALLETTI, a native of Point Arena where he worked at the high school for many years, is presently employed at Ukiah High School. He is one of three persons running for the $120,000-a-year job held for nearly three decades by Paul Tichinin. A highly regarded Mendocino woman, Kathy Wylie, and one of Tichinin's over many sub-administrators, Paul Joens-Poulton, are also running to succeed Tichinin, who got his start at MCOE many years ago as a valued colleague of persons who wound up in jail on corruption charges.
MS. WYLIE has thrown a major scare into the current MCOE apparatus by stating at a Ukiah candidate's night that she thought the office was administratively "top heavy." Which it is and has been for years. It is also a typical Mendocino County educational establishment in that its employees are terrified at being identified as partisans of one candidate or another at election time.
THE MAN REMOVING the Galletti sign, where it had been placed with the permission of the property owner, was apparently intending to replace it with one for Paul Joens-Poulton, the man Tichinin wants to succeed him.
THE TRESPASSING VANDAL was going about it in a furtive manner, with his hat pulled down to obscure his face. He has not yet been identified but is assumed, by many in MCOE's Talmage headquarters, to have acted at Tichinin's direction.
THE MCOE OFFICE is split. Quite a number do not want to see a Tichinin clone installed in the superintendent's job. Joens-Poulton is viewed as the clone. Galletti seems to be running strong as is Ms. Wylie.
IF YOU HAVEN’T MADE MEMORIAL DAY PLANS YET, here’s a great way to start off the three-day weekend: Staying up to watch a never-before-seen meteor shower. Tonight, Earth will travel through the dust ejected from a comet in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries (let that sink in for a minute — isn’t space amazing?). If the comet emitted a lot of debris centuries ago, we could be treated to a meteor shower as spectacular as the August Perseids. Because we’ve never experienced this meteor shower before, NASA scientists caution against relying too heavily on projections. There’s a chance that we may not see any shooting stars at all. But their “current best estimate” is a peak rate of 200 meteors per hour so feel free to get a little excited.
AN MTA BUS RIDER WONDERS: “It always strikes me as a curious coincidence how MTA schedules its public policy meetings at hours when the people who actually ride the bus are indisposed — at work or scrambling around to get their weekly shopping done in town; it's pretty much a rule of thumb that if you don't come early, you'll be left, except on days you do come early, the bus will invariably run late. In the morning, the timing is crucial, because you've just finished a pot of coffee and know that by the time you get to Ukiah your bladder will be howling bloody murder; if you're running late… sorry to hear about your bad luck. Betimes I've had to get off at a turnout and walk or hitch the last five or ten miles.”
THREE STATISTICIANS go out duck hunting one early morning. After a flurry of noise, a duck flies up out of the mist and the first hunter fires a shot. But it sails a foot over the duck. The second man fires a shot that goes a foot under it. "Woo-hoo!" exults the third, "We got it!"
WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME
When Johnny comes marching home again,
We'll give him a hearty welcome then,
The men will cheer, the boys will shout,
The ladies they will all turn out,
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.
* * *
The old church bell will peal with joy,
To welcome home our darling boy,
The village lads and lassies say,
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.
* * *
Get ready for the Jubilee,
We'll give the hero three times three,
The laurel wreath is ready now,
To place upon his loyal brow,
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.
* * *
Let love and friendship on that day,
Their choicest treasures then display,
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.
- Patrick Gilmore
IF YOU KNEW that your life was merely a phase or short, short segment of your entire existence, how would you live? Knowing nothing “real” was at risk, what would you do? You'd live a gigantic, bold, fun, dazzling life. You know you would. That's what the ghosts want us to do — all the exciting things they no longer can.
— Chuck Palahniuk
BROKEN PROMISES. On May 15th at about 12:55am Ukiah Police responded to the Jack in the Box parking lot, at 1115 Airport Park Boulevard, for a large group loitering around two vehicles. As the group was dispersing, 43 year old Raymon Allen Curtis, of Seattle, approached and spoke with the officer. Curtis had been drinking and the officer cautioned Curtis not to drive. Curtis promised he would awaken his wife and she would be driving them away. The officer continued to respond to calls in the area regarding disruptive subjects. At about 1:25am the officer saw Curtis driving in the 1100 block of Airport Park Boulevard. Curtis immediately parked the vehicle and exited, apologizing for driving. Curtis was found too intoxicated to drive, and was arrested for DUI. Curtis was driving with a suspended driver’s license, and was in violation of his requirements to update his registration as a sex offender, and was charged accordingly. (Ukiah PD Press Release)
FLUBACHER’S INDICATIVE RECORDATIONS. On May 16th at about noon Ukiah Police responded to WalMart, at 1155 Airport Park Boulevard, for a shoplifter. Officers learned 26 year old William Howard Flubacher of Little River was seen buying a cellular telephone, then exiting the store without paying for a shirt he was wearing or an electronic device he had in his cart. Flubacher was detained by store employees, and taken into custody by Ukiah Police for shoplifting. Flubacher was found to possess $1000.00 cash in his wallet, and a vial with heroin inside. Flubacher had additional heroin hidden amongst additional cash he had hidden inside his hat. Flubacher had less than a gram of methamphetamine on his person, and cash hidden in each shoe. Flubacher had items commonly used to smoke heroin, and recordations indicative of drug sales. Over $6000 cash was removed from Flubacher’s body and subsequently seized pursuant to state asset seizure laws. Flubacher was charged with shoplifting and possessing heroin for sale. (Ukiah PD Press Release)
FORMER MLPA SCIENCE CO-CHAIR SENTENCED TO 10 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON
Biologist and co-conspirator embezzled over $852,000 from Yurok Tribe
by Dan Bacher
A federal judge in San Francisco on May 20 sentenced Ron LeValley of Mad River Biologists, the former co-chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, to serve 10 months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle over $852,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe.
In February, LeValley pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of conspiracy to commit embezzlement and theft from an Indian Tribal Organization (18U.S.C §§ 371 and 1163) in the complex scheme in collaboration with former Yurok Forestry Director Roland Raymond. According to court documents, LeValley submitted more than 75 false invoices between 2007 and 2010 in payment for “work” on northern spotted owl surveys that was never performed.
Raymond would write checks from the Tribe and LeValley would then funnel the money back to him, less 20 percent. For details on the complex embezzlement scheme, go to my article: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/10/27/18745508.php.
The link to the indictment is available at: http://noyonews.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/U.S._v._Ron_LeValley_As_Filed.pdf
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup also sentenced LeValley to three years supervised release, along with ordering LeValley to perform 100 hours of community service and to give talks about his crime to 200 people. (http://www.mendocinobeacon.com/latest-local/ci_25815597/local-biologist-sentenced-10-months-prison)
In addition, the judge ordered LeValley and Raymond to jointly repay the $852,000 they embezzled from the tribe as restitution to the victims of their crimes.
The sentencing statement submitted to the judge by the U.S. Attorney’s Office recommended a one-year prison sentence, citing LeValley's cooperation in the case:
"The applicable guidelines range for LeValley is twenty-four to thirty months’ imprisonment. Like Raymond, LeValley proffered, cooperated, and substantially assisted and expedited the government’s prosecution of the Yurok Tribe cases. Unlike Raymond, LeValley’s post-charging conduct consistently has demonstrated acceptance of responsibility, candor, and a commitment to correcting course.
From the low end of the guidelines range, the government moves for a twelve-month downward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 and recommends imprisonment for twelve months and one day. The government also recommends that the Court order LeValley jointly and severally liable for $852,000 in restitution."
While acknowledging LeValley’s cooperation on the charges, the U.S. Attorney noted, “he has not suffered meaningful injury or incurred danger or risk of injury through his cooperation. If anything, cooperating has helped repair his damaged reputation. Still, LeValley's assistance was timely and useful from the government's perspective."
On the other hand, LeValley's attorney, William H. Kimball, recommended "a non-custodial sentence of home confinement and rigorous community service," after citing his "personal history and characteristics" in the defendant's sentencing memorandum:
"The criminal conduct in this case is, by all accounts, a complete aberration in the life of Ron LeValley -- a man whose 'personal history and characteristics' are not only strikingly at odds with the events in this case but also dramatically different from those routinely presented for sentencing in white collar cases. Ron LeValley’s life has been defined both by his concern for others and for the environment of Northern California. Unfortunately, by foolishly and naively agreeing to participate in a criminal conspiracy that he believed was intended actually to help members of the Yurok Tribe, Ron in fact hurt the tribe and its members deeply."
LeValley’s co-conspirator, Roland Raymond, was sentenced to three years in prison in January.
After the sentencing, Thomas O’Rourke, Chair of the York Tribe, told the North Coast Journal that he was very disappointed with the sentence, describing it as a slap on the wrist.
“He’s considered a leader in the community, and pillars of the community are held to higher standards,” O'Rourke said. “In my mind, and in the tribe’s mind, he’s a crook. And, basically, he was slapped on the wrist with the sentence.”http://www.northcoastjournal.com/Blogthing/archives/2014/05/20/biologist-gets-10-months-for-yurok-grift
“O’Rourke said LeValley has never taken full responsibility for his actions, or showed remorse for the damage he’s done to the Yurok Tribe,” according to the Journal.
“He said he was duped, that he was tricked,” O'Rourke told the publication. “He’s an intelligent man, a business man, and he didn’t get this far in life being tricked … The Yurok Tribe is very disappointed in the sentence, and in the system.”
Validity of MLPA Initiative 'Science' Challenged
Many North Coast residents believe LeValley’s sentence to federal prison on federal embezzlement charges calls into question the legitimacy of the "science" employed by the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiate Science Advisory Team that he co-chaired.
This “science” was used to close vast areas of the North Coast to fishing and tribal gathering under the MLPA Initiative – while doing nothing to stop pollution, fracking, oil drilling, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.
“I would like to know how the state of California is going to revise the science advice LeValley provided for the North Coast MLPA Initiative process, based on him filing false documents,” said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), when the federal charges were filed against LeValley in October 2013.
He suggested forming a “truth and reconciliation commission” to unravel "what really happened" in the MLPA Initiative.
The validity of the science employed by the MLPA Initiative Science Advisory Team under LeValley’s leadership becomes even more suspect when one considers that LeValley and the Team repeatedly and inexplicably refused to allow the Yurok Tribe to present their scientific studies regarding "marine protected areas."
The Tribe exposed the questionable science of the MLPA Initiative in a statement on June 6, 2012 that questioned the "protection" provided in the so-called "marine protected areas, showing how two species, Pacific eulachon and mussels would be "summarily mismanaged." (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/06/17/18715613.php)
"Under the MLPA each marine species is assigned a certain level of protection," according to the Tribe. "Species like mussels are given a low level of protection, which in MLPA-speak, translates to more regulation.
"To date, there has been no scientific data submitted suggesting that mussels on the North Coast are in any sort of danger or are overharvested. In fact, it's just the opposite. The readily available quantitative survey data collected over decades by North Coast experts shows there is quite an abundance of mussels in this sparsely populated study region," the Tribe continued.
"Fish like Pacific eulachon, also known as candle fish, are given a high level of protection, or in other words, their harvest is not limited by the proposed regulations. Eulachon are near extinction and listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act," the Tribe stated.
"Both of these marine species are essential and critical to the cultural survival of northern California tribes," said Thomas O'Rourke, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. "However, under the proposed regulations they would be summarily mismanaged. It's examples like these that compel our concerns."
The Tribe said it attempted on numerous occasions to address the scientific inadequacies with the MLPA science developed under the Schwarzenegger administration by adding "more robust protocols" into the equation, but was denied every time.
For example, the MLPA Science Advisory Team Co-Chaired by LeValley in August 2010 turned down a request by the Tribe to make a presentation to the panel. Among other data, the Tribe was going to present data of test results from other marine reserves regarding mussels
The Northern California Tribal Chairman's Association, including the Chairs of the Elk Valley Rancheria, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Smith River Rancheria, Trinidad Rancheria, and Yurok Tribe, documented in a letter how the science behind the MLPA Initiative developed by Schwarzenegger's Science Advisory Team is "incomplete and terminally flawed." (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan-Bacher-MLPA-Initiative-based-on-incomplete-and-terminally-flawed-science.php)
On the day of the historic direct action protest by a coalition of over 50 Tribes and their allies in Fort Bragg in July 2010, Frankie Joe Myers, Yurok Tribal member and Coastal Justice Coalition activist, exposed the refusal to incorporate Tribal science that underlies the "science" of the MLPA process.
“The whole process is inherently flawed by institutionalized racism," said Myers. "It doesn't recognize Tribes as political entities, or Tribal biologists as legitimate scientists."
The no-take state marine reserves created under LeValley's leadership currently prohibit tribal gathering and fishing at Redding Rock, the False Klamath and other traditional tribal gathering areas on the North Coast, in spite of numerous requests by the Yurok and other North Coast Tribes to protect tribal gathering rights.
Wouldn't it have been prudent for the Natural Resources Agency and Department of Fish and Wildlife to have postponed the implementation of the alleged North Coast "marine protected areas” until this case had been resolved in the courts - and when the legitimacy of the "science" of the MLPA Initiative was already facing severe criticism from respected Tribal scientists?