I don't think that they can cut the brush due to the Coastal Commission requiring an incredibly expensive environmental impact report and all types of permits. It would take years and probably a million dollars to get clearance for something like that. They are a PITA to deal with.
Wow, look at that beautiful water line behind the mall. I've never actually seen it before.
Why can't we cut down all the brush cover in Devil's Playground to make that more visible? Clear cutting all the brush would also give all the bike thieves and fire starters no more place to hide.
They need to continue as the theft is HORRENDOUS. The mall needs to eliminate the charging stations and such.Stop eencouraging the homeless to camp out!!
I had to go to the mall last week and felt much safer seeeing an EPD officer. Usually i rush in and out but I actually shopped around a bit because I felt safe. Please keep this going.
transportation of garbage at great distances and for considerable
expense does not seem a solution..for removal...
We will be diving in a bit on this topic on Monday Morning Magazine on KMUD, 4/20, at 7:15 (or so). Thanks for the gathering of this information, and the conversation that so needs to take place.
An arraignment is a hearing to hear allegations, usually by police, and to decide whether there is sufficient cause to charge someone with a crime. It is not proof of a crime. The facts are later weighed at trial.
I spent a number of years reporting on controversial and complicated civil and criminal trials. In two of them, the Bear Lincoln murder trial in 1997 and the Judi Bari vs. FBI civil case in 2002, the jury concluded that the police had lied in their sworn statements. Allegations can not be cited as proof of facts. Is anybody shocked to learn that cops lie, especially in light of recent videos proving they lied to cover their asses after killing unarmed people?
Frances, so are you suggesting that RPC cherry-pick ESL students? I'm just wanting some clarity on this because there is a waiting list (and lottery system) to get into the school and I think it would be outrageously unfair to any anxious parent waiting for a slot to be passed-over in favor of an ESL family to fulfill a quota system. I'm assuming you're not suggesting that, so the only way you will see the percentages you are wanting to see will be when Hispanic families gain entrance into the school via their lottery: ie--growth of the ESL percentage of the RPC population over time by ESL presence on the waiting list and entrance by lottery. And I re-read that article from 2013 "Charter School Rift," which is the article I'm assuming you were referring to, and at no point did the school state "that their goal was to move toward equal percentages of English Language Learners and Hispanic students at their school as compared to the Fortuna Elementary School District" which makes sense since its student population is based on a waiting list/lottery system. As with all public schools in Humboldt, it is up to the parents to decide what actions to take or not to take when deciding on a school for their children.
That looKS like my backpack which was stolen from my car!
I believe federal prosecutors took over Ron LeValley's case because the embezzled money was federal money given to the Yurok Tribe, a federally recognized tribe.
You can read an affidavit of the officier who collected much of the original evidence here:
This is a fairly long and detailed document and well worth reading for anyone interested in this situation.
The information collected through search warrants was used to issue arrest warrants for Ron LeValley, Sean McAllister, and Roland Raymond.
The document linked above goes into detail on the invoices and how the fake ones were identified and some of the information, the checks, and the irregularities at the bank regarding deposits of the checks and very large cash withdrawals.
Here's the federal arraignment document against Ron LeValley:
Anon555, the court papers filed in Del Norte consisted of unproved allegations by the former DA, who was seeking to score political points. That DA has been removed from office and disbarred for abusing the power of his office in another case.
The case was taken over by the feds, as you know.
Take a look at the 2010 tax return For the
THE DAVID AND LUCILE PACKARD FOUNDATION
Scroll to bottom and you'll see the pdf. In this tax document, you'll see $50,000 grant given to THE PACIFIC SEABIRD GROUP
Compare this to the tax returns of the
THE PACIFIC SEABIRD GROUP
I don't see the $50,000 grant listed anywhere on their returns. Where is it? I've looked at the years around 2010 too. That amount is not listed either.
The minutes of THE PACIFIC SEABIRD GROUP are interesting:
(to see links to them all)
"PSG is taking care of all the administrative overhead for the WSC. And in return for that contribution, PSG is getting 10% of the registration proceeds in return for this contribution. Payment to Ron LeValley for his services will come from that 10%."
"Report from Treasurer (Ron LeValley)
Our taxes were not filed for two years due to a bookkeeper error."
"We are holding and managing around $30,000 for the World Seabird Union as a favour. This will increase to $50,000 soon as money from Environment Canada and a GST (Goods and Services Tax) refund come through. At this point, it is easy to manage this money but we will likely want to get something in writing about our understanding with them. It is important that we remain transparent about what this money is for and where it comes from. If PSG is uncomfortable with this arrangement the money can be moved into a different account."
"Do we have money from the $280,000 for specific purposes left? All grant agreements that had requirements have been fulfilled. In terms of the main grants PSG had to respond to the USFWS, Packard Foundation, and an anonymous foundation. We have fulfilled all specific needs from all grants. There is money left over, what is the best way to spend that money?
David Irons: Could we restate our factual observation that we received $280,000 and all grant obligations have been met. The facts we agree upon are that we got the money and have responded to all those that required feedback.
There are two contradictory statements: grant obligations have been fulfilled, but two of them have had little money spent. Does that negate the previous statements that all grant obligations were met?
The USFWS grant is to put on a conference, etc., what that statement (see attachment) says is that we did spend some money on databases, but the grant was exhausted. It looks like there is about $60,000 that came in with no strings attached. This is part of the $280,000. Some grants were very specific about how the money should be spent, others were not. To clarify, PSG received ~$280,000 in grants, ~$220,000 of that were for specific purposes and we have gotten back to the granting agencies. The other $60,000 did not have strings attached.
What about the colony compilation grant from Denmark, was this done? Ron LeValley: I don’t know.
Where did the unallocated $60,000 go?"
For anyone interested I could suggest reading the entire 2012 Feb minutes.
For discussion on an "audit" can be found here: http://www.pacificseabirdgroup.org/exco_minutes/2012_Summer_EXCO_Minutes.pdf
Ultimately, it looks it was for one year only and not a detailed audit.
For heavens sake. The malfeasance lawsuit against these corrupt folks is real.
Frank Whitlatch and whoever else put together one hell of a lame boiler plate statement......what a load of rubbish.
Nicholas, you need to read the court papers, including those filed in Del Norte.
Did Nicholas just say the reason Ron was in prison was just to pay the salaries of the prison guards? Wow!
Ron was extremely influential in getting grants for a lot of projects many of them now need a lot of fixing. The worst of them are built on incredibly faulty "Lavalley science".
Regarding the plover, by his continuous threat to sue the county if we did not bend to his will is a shameful example of a rouge biologist.
Was some of his work Ok? Maybe. But now we are going to have to question all of it.
Personally I am glad he has a friend. We all need them. He just cannot be trusted for a lot more reasons than what he got prosecuted and convicted for.
No wonder all of you anonymous know-it-alls are so negative about Ron. You don't know him, and what you do know is what you may have read a year or two ago in the Slimes-Substandard and what blogger T. Greenson has written about him in the NCJ. This latest missive from Mr. Greenson is permeated with a sneering, negative tone unworthy of a publication that purports to be a professional newspaper/magazine. No wonder they relegated Greenson to the blog section, which doesn't meet professional journalistic standards.
So, without knowledge of all the facts, you guys surmise and speculate about the case and then jump to unwarranted conclusions in line with your negative bias. No wildlife studies were done, no logging ensued, and no endangered wildlife was harmed. You can be sure that state and federal investigators looked thoroughly at everything Ron has done and filed whatever charges they thought the evidence supported.
I know Ron personally and have interacted with him on a weekly basis for several years as a member of a Mendocino coast photo coop. Ron received over 150 letters of testimonial citing his many good works and his generous character, and they were given to the sentencing judge. I attended Ron's sentencing hearing and witnessed the top officer of the Pacific Seabird group testify that a thorough audit of the books kept by Ron in his many years of serving as the group's unpaid treasurer found no problems at all. The Mad River Biologists books were also audited and found to be in order. MRB went out of business last year after several decades of existence. Ron's legal defense cost him tens of thousands of dollars that he didn't have, and he still owes.
The "prison" that Ron was in for 9 months is a federal minimum security satellite camp in the desert of eastern Lassen County. The counselor in charge of his case knew that he was cleared for release to home confinement after only a month or two there, but kept him there for many months more, despite his full cooperation and good behavior. I strongly suspect that the reason for that was to keep full employment for the prison guards. What an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money that was! Federal figures for 2012 show the daily cost of keeping one person in minimum security confinement was $59.27. That figures out to over $16,000 of taxpayer costs that benefited nobody but the employees of the federal prison system. The months of unnecessary confinement also further impoverished Ron by keeping him from earning a living as a wildlife photographer.
At Ron's sentencing hearing a year ago in San Francisco I heard the judge's reasoning for deciding to sentence him to 10 months rather than allow him probation based on a faulty or incomplete reading of the court records and the sentencing report from the federal probation officer. The record clearly showed, and it was admitted by Roland Raymond, the Yurok embezzler who duped Ron, that Raymond was the one submitting false MRB invoices to the tribe, generated on his own computer. Raymond then hand-carried the invoices to the Yurok tribal office and got them paid while he waited, then took the check to the bank and deposited them "less cash" to the MRB account.
Raymond took advantage or Ron's generous nature by saying he wanted Ron's help tapping into Federal grant funds to the Yurok tribe so that he could train Yurok tribal members to do the wildlife surveys and employ them to do the work. Ron agreed to that in order to benefit the tribe. The 20% MRB took off the top was primarily to pay the income tax due on the payments and secondarily a part of the business overhead of MRB. Ron did not make money personally off the deal.
Soon after the arrangement began, and for most of its duration, Ron had moved away to Mendocino County and was no longer closely involved in the operation of MRB. So he was not supervising Raymond's operation as he should have. Ron trusted Raymond that he was using the money routed back to him so as to employ his own team of Yurok wildlife surveyors to do the work. Ron knew it was technically a violation of the terms of the federal grant, but believed it was for a good purpose. He didn't know, until Raymond was busted, that Raymond was using the money entirely for his own personal enrichment and feeding his meth addiction.
The sentencing judge didn't believe Ron didn't know what Raymond was up to, or that Raymond had billed his own tribe for exorbitant amounts of work that was not done. The judge said Ron should have known since his company, MRB, was continuing to send invoices to the tribe right up until the end. But the court record clearly showed that wasn't true. After the initial period of the deal, Raymond started generating and printing the invoices on his own computer, not through MRB's office, and Raymond confessed to that. Ron was out of the loop.
So, based on an erroneous understanding of the facts of the case by the sentencing judge, who said he wanted to deter other potential embezzlers by making an example of Ron, he was sentenced to 10 months of custody instead of probation, which the sentencing report recommended.
Ron cooperated fully with county and federal investigators from day one, driving from Mendocino to Crescent City the same day he learned he was wanted. It was the same day he got home from an overseas birding conference. In contrast, Mr. Raymond did go on the lam and avoided capture for over a month. Raymond was the actual embezzler and he took all of the money for himself. That's why Raymond got a three year sentence. He had known Ron for several years through hiring MRB for wildlife surveys, and knew Ron was an easy mark and a soft touch when asked to help someone in need.
Ron paid a heavy price for his mistake, losing his business and professional license and reputation, as well as 9 months in confinement, loss of earnings, a heavy legal bill, and being held jointly liable along with Raymond for repaying the $800K-plus that Raymond stole from his tribe. Ron admitted he broke the law and pleaded guilty to "conspiracy" not to embezzlement. He did admit that he improperly helped Raymond to tap federal grant moneys (that the Yurok tribe could not touch), but he did so in the belief that the money was going to help the tribe by allowing it to employ its own tribal members, rather than an outside contractor, to do the work that the grant was earmarked for.
If Ron had been greedy instead of generous, he would have refused Raymond's request to turn the survey work over to Raymond so as to benefit the tribe (he thought) by training and employing tribal members. He trusted the wrong guy. He learned a hard lesson. He served his sentence. It's time to let him get on his feet again.
As of today, Ron is released from home confinement and is back at work at the cooperative photo gallery in Fort Bragg that he co-founded over eight years ago. He is required as a condition of release to work at least 30 hours per week, and that's what he is doing. Like the other coop members, Ron receives no pay for his work at the gallery, only a commission on the sale of his photos there, same as the other four members, including me.
For many years, Ron has generously shared thousands of his wildlife photos for free with his daily emails. His emailed announcement that he is finally home requests that some of his subscribers buy an 8x10 print from him to help him financially. Those prints have been and are being sold at the gallery for $15 each. Ron is a very good and well respected wildlife photographer.
I know Ron personally, and have found him completely trustworthy, generous with his time and talents, and a frequent volunteer for nonprofit groups.
Unlike you anonymous lynch mobsters, I'm not afraid to sign my real name to my comments.
Federal prosecutors should prosecute him for violations of the Endangered Species Act. To my understanding, anyone knowingly putting an endangered species in danger acts in violation of this federal law. This is a man who claims to love birds and touts himself as someone who supports conservation, you he put an endangered bird in peril. Does this seem excessively hypocritical to anyone else? This is someone who is supposed to fully understand the ramifications of taking such an action. In my mind, this makes Ron LeValley's actions even worse than if someone else without his specialized knowledge had committed the same crime.
Further, biologists and others who worked with this man should hang their heads in shame, not "support" him. To do "support" him makes one complicit in a sense. The environmental/conservation community, in particular, should be outraged, not "supportive." I don't think I can respect anyone in this community if they now "support" him, especially since he has shown no real expression of remorse for his actions. Financially supporting him in any form just seems completely wrong to me on multiple levels. I for one will be boycotting his prints, not buying them! Who would want a nature photo hanging in their home or business from a man who embezzled money from the Yurok Tribe and put an endangered species in peril?
Having followed the information that has been publicly available, it has become apparent to me that Ron LeValley lied to his family, friends, employees (although some of them evidently knew Mad River Biologists was being paid for spotted owl survey work that had not been done), and the community at large to garner financial support for his legal expenses while adamantly denying publicly any wrongdoing. In fact, he seemed to put all the blame on someone else. It seems to me that he only finally admitted guilt when it became abundantly clear that prosecutors had enough evidence to easily win their case against him, probably on multiple counts of embezzlement and/or related crimes, not just one charge of embezzlement.
Mr. LeValley seems to inclined to put blame on others, insinuating that he was somehow hoodwinked into participating in the elaborate embezzlement scheme. Really, Mr. LeValley? If you ever want to re-gain even a modicum of respect, you should own up fully to what you did. From an ethical standpoint, it wasn't just wrong, it was profoundly wrong. Many have been negatively affected by your actions and you owe them a sincere deep felt apology, not a plea to support you financially. Your actions were also a federal felony. Quit trying to make light of it! There is no way to convince me that a man of your experience and knowledge didn't know full well exactly what you were doing. I would also bet this wasn't your first time to play loosey goosey with the accounting. Inflation of invoices, even to ridiculous amounts, as well as flat out falsifying invoices (as well as other related schemes) is all too easy these days when true oversight of public money is all too lax or even non-existent.
If anything good were to come of this tragedy, perhaps it could be an education to the public on how all this works and just how easy it is to embezzle and misuse public money with environmental and conservation projects. This public money should not be handed over so easily to the likes of Mr. LeValley without there being an effective method in place to monitor exactly how that money is being spent. There should be safeguards in place to ensure the money isn't being embezzled, misused, misappropriated, or otherwise mishandled in any way. After all, this is public money, not private money, that is being handed over to businesses like Mad River Biologists, vendors, and various non-profit organizations, or funneled to them in various schemes. As such, here should be a very careful accounting of that public money and there should be random full audits. Please understand that I do realize that there is good environmental and conservation work being done. However, I also believe there is a lot of money in this area that is being misused and squandered. I also believe a great deal more work in this area could be accomplished if this were not true.
Over the years, Ron LeValley has held prominent positions on boards and advisory committees. This includes not only his role in Mad River Biologists but also his role as the co-chair of the “Science Advisory Team” (SAT) for the North Coast Marine Life Protection Act Initiative and a trustee and treasurer of the Pacific Seabird Group, for which the public address was listed at his private home. In these positions, he directly and greatly influenced important public policy decisions and how public money would be spent. All of the decisions, directives, and policy changes that were influenced by Mr. Ron LeValley should now be very carefully scrutinized. Nothing that this man has ever done professionally should be fully trusted at this point. It would be foolish not to do so. Further, all of the work that Mad River Biologists has consulted on over the years should be very carefully scrutinized. No data or reports (written and verbal) generated by them should be taken at face value.
At the age of 60+, are we to believe that this was the first time Mr. LeValley ventured into "creative" accounting or was this simply the first time he was caught?
I have many other questions but I'll end with these. Did the Packard Foundation award a $50,000 grant to the Pacific Seabird Group? Did that $50,000 go first to Mr. LeValley's P.O. Box? Was this grant money ever given to Pacific Seabird Group? If so, was there a significant delay in doing so and exactly why did that happen? If not, where is the money now? Perhaps everything was handled above board with this $50,000 grant but I do believe it is worth looking into, as well as other accounting by the Pacific Seabird Group, especially any public money that went to this group.
In Mr. Lavalley's 1999 snowy plover report there is a picture of a plover nest in European beach grass. He misidentified it as a native grass suggesting that the European variety needed to be removed. That misrepresentation has cost hundreds of acres of historically productive breeding habitat that was torn up by either bulldozers or hand crews. The plover has not been helped at all and at Little River (Clam) Beach only one year out of the last ten has there been any chicks even hatched.
His senseless promotion of habitat destruction has cost us millions and has cost migrating birds and native species precious sanctuaries. Although he did not act alone.
I can't say if he intentionally misidentified the grass that was helping plovers but he certainly should have corrected that misrepresentation long ago. What is most disturbing is his total lack of remorse.
What is painfully ironic is the birds he and we all love are worse off because of his deception.
At this point, there must be hundreds of things this council could do to reverse the damage done by our good ol' boys and girls.
Unfortunately, they only have 2 years to act unless there's 2 new ballot measures planned for 2016, to get out the vote and retain Eureka's first non-right wing majority. ("Progressive" is yet to be seen).
In Print This Week:
Apr 16, 2015
vol XXVI issue 16
The Green Issue
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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