Saturday, February 22, 2014

Trails Vote Kicks Off GPU Firestorm

Posted By on Sat, Feb 22, 2014 at 5:24 PM

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It seems the Humboldt County Planning Commission has kicked a hornets’ nest. Or, maybe it was just Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace.

During its sixth meeting to take up the Conservation and Open Space element of the General Plan Update — recently dumped back into its lap by the Board of Supervisors — the commission voted 4-2 on Feb. 18 to eliminate language from the element supporting the creation of a countywide trail system. Despite a general community fatigue on the GPU caused by a seemingly endless decades-long process, the vote immediately raised hackle and brought forth a flurry of accusations at the commission’s meeting two days later. The flurry seems to have begun with a call to arms from a certain supervisor.

“Stop what you’re doing right now and watch in horror while the Planning Commission eliminates trails and open space from the General Plan Update,” Lovelace, who was on the short end of a 3-2 vote to send the element back to the Planning Commission in the first place, wrote on his Facebook page during the Feb. 18 meeting. “This is what’s happening, and it’s truly appalling.” Lovelace followed the post minutes later with another urging trail advocates to get down to Supervisors Chambers “NOW” to address the commission.

The response to Lovelace’s call wasn’t immediate, but a host of trails advocates did descend on Supervisors Chambers for the commission’s Feb. 20 meeting, and let their frustrations be known. Bayside resident John Olson got things started saying he was disturbed by what he’d seen a couple of nights earlier, saying the commission seems to be enacting a “unilateral inversion of the values system that was created by a previous public process.”

But it also became quickly apparent at the meeting that some commissioners have frustrations of their own. Lee Ulansey, voted to the commission by the board last March, blasted Lovelace for mischaracterizing the commission’s action — pointing out (correctly) that the commission simply voted to remove language from the element supporting the goal of a county-wide trail system, but did nothing to “eliminate trails and open space” from the entire plan, as Lovelace charged.

Ulansey also took issue with Lovelace’s commentary on the commission’s actions in general, saying it was an attempt “push us around and force our decisions into a mold” consistent with Lovelace’s ideology and wishes.

In a curious twist, Ulansey then accused Lovelace of being “totally biased and blind” to the needs of disabled people. Ulansey explained that he objected to the use of the word “no motorized” in the element’s stated goal supporting “a countywide trail system that meets future recreational and non-motorized transportation demands,” feeling that it discriminates against disabled people who need all-terrain vehicles to access trails and recreational areas. The commissioner urged all “able-bodied trail advocates” to think long and hard about the effects of such “restrictive language” on “those who are less fortunate.”

Susan Masten, appointed to the commission in 2011 by Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg, then said she wished Ulansey would have come forward with some of his concerns about disabled access when they discussed the issue a couple of days earlier.

Masten also said she left the Feb. 18 meeting feeling “disturbed” at some of Ulansey’s comments she felt were disparaging to prior work done by the commission. The commissioner went on to say she questions the motives and agenda of some of her cohorts, who she feels are not giving “due consideration” to the scores of people that turned out to provide input earlier in the General Plan Update process and are instead making decisions based on the comments of a select few. “I will continue to encourage the public to attend these meetings, because you need to be here,” Masten said.

Meanwhile, the board is set to consider appropriating nearly $20,000 — $12,625 in General Fund Contingencies and $6,500 in overtime expenses — to pay for a total of 17 special Planning Commission meetings — including the two last week — to take up the GPU elements.

To view the agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting, visit here. Full video of the Feb. 18 and 20 Planning Commission meetings can be viewed here, though the Lost Coast Outpost’s Ryan Burns offers rundowns of the meetings here and here, complete with some select video clips. 
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North Coast Rivers Subject to Low-Flow Closures

Posted By on Sat, Feb 22, 2014 at 2:08 PM

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Looking to grab your rod and pull a nice steelhead out of a North Coast River? Well, you might want to check with the Department of Fish and Game first.

The state Office of Administrative Law recently approved emergency regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission that allow the department to close some waters to angling in response to severe drought conditions throughout the state. On the North Coast, those regulations mean the department has the authority until April 30 to close any river to fishing if flows drop below a certain point.

It seems recent rains have helped the fishing cause locally, at least temporarily, as the Mad River is currently open to fishing. But, folks looking to drop a line into it, the Eel, the Van Duzen, the Mattole, Redwood Creek and the Smith would be wise to call and check first, as fishing in a closed river can come with a hefty fine. Fish and Game has set up a hotline for anglers, which can be reached by calling 822-3164.

Check out the full Fish and Game press release below:

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Sheriff, Eureka Chief to Talk Late-Night Jail Release Policy

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 2:24 PM

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The county’s top law enforcement officers and church leaders will meet Wednesday, Feb. 26 to discuss the Humboldt County jail’s policy of releasing inmates late at night, when few services are available to them.

The jail’s policy came into question after the high-profile killing of Father Eric Freed and was addressed in the Journal’s cover story “Dead of Night” on Jan. 30. 

The meeting will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building.

Here’s the press release:

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Supes to Gather Public Input on Budget

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 4:50 PM

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Looking to cut a projected $2 million in spending next fiscal year, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will hold a simultaneous meeting at five locations throughout the county next month to gather input from constituents.

The board will hold a meeting in each supervisorial district at 6 p.m. on March, with each of the meetings linked through video conferencing equipment, allowing all supervisors and all attendees to hear input from each district in real time.

Earlier this month, staff reported to the board that it is projecting a $3.6 million shortfall in the county’s general fund for 2014-15 — a shortfall that includes a $1.2 million structural deficit. County staff is recommending the supervisors reduce spending by $2 million for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Read more about the county’s budget situation here and see the full press release announcing the March 6 meetings below.

Press release from Humboldt County:

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Updated: Questions Follow Pleas in Stabbing Case

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Juan Joseph Ferrer - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Juan Joseph Ferrer
It looks like the Humboldt County district attorney’s race is hitting stride.

In case you missed it, a 35-year-old Arcata man may spend as little as two years in county jail for the stabbing death of an Abruzzi chef late last year and it is becoming somewhat of a campaign issue.

Douglas Anderson-Jordet was found bleeding to death at the intersection of 12 and H streets on Nov. 25, with a single stab wound to the heart. He died en route to the hospital.

Last week, the three suspects in the case — Juan Joseph Ferrer, 35, Nicholas Benjamin Stoiber, 28, and Sophie Buttercup Rocheleau, 24, — pleaded no contest to charges stemming from Anderson-Jordet’s death, a couple months after all were arrested on suspicion of murder. Ferrer pleaded to aggravated involuntary manslaughter, Stoiber pleaded to assault and Rocheleau to battery. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ferrer will be sentenced to four years' confinement but will serve only two with good behavior, according to prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Elan Firpo. Under California’s new realignment law, he will also be spared state prison and will serve his sentence in county jail.

Stoiber and Rocheleau are unlikely to serve any jail time in the case.

Reaction to news of the plea agreement was swift, with some focused on Firpo’s candidacy to succeed Paul Gallegos as the county’s next district attorney.

“Two years in county jail? Wow… I guess I know who I won’t vote for in the upcoming DA election,” wrote one commenter on the Mad River Union’s story about the disposition.

Similar comments cropped up elsewhere, spawning others targeting some of Firpo’s campaign opponents — Maggie Fleming, Arnie Klein and Allan Dollison. On Tuesday, Dollison's campaign issued a press release stating his opposition to the plea deal. The question, it seems, is: Did Ferrer get off light? And, whether the answer is yes or no, what does the case tell us about the race for district attorney?

Here’s the quick rundown of what we know happened that night. Firpo told KIEM that all four people involved had been drinking on the night in question, and Kevin Hoover’s story in the Mad River Union indicates the defendants claimed Anderson-Jordet “had aggressively insulted Rocheleau with homophobic and racial slurs.” Hoover’s article states those claims were “partially corroborated” by an independent witness.

The confrontation turned physical when Stoiber punched Anderson-Jordet in the mouth, according to Hoover’s story, adding that, “at some point,” Ferrer stabbed Anderson-Jordet below the rib cage at such an angle that the knife punctured the victim’s heart.

Reached Tuesday, Ferrer’s attorney, Marek Reavis, disputed that version of events, saying he “would have loved” to take the case to trial. Reavis said his client, who identifies himself as a member of the LGBT community, Stoiber and Rocheleau were in the street when Anderson-Jordet approached. “All three individuals were relatively flamboyantly dressed — wearing makeup, nails painted, that sort of thing,” Reavis said. “Mr. Anderson-Jordet made some very homophobic statements, and that was immediately followed by him approaching them. He approached Mr. Ferrer in a very intense way, with his hand in his pocket, advancing in an aggressive fashion.”

Frightened, Ferrer stepped back and drew a knife from his pocket, Reavis said. “Anderson-Jordet took a swing at Ferrer, missed and fell against Mr. Ferrer,” Reavis said, adding that Anderson-Jordet fell onto the knife. “It was not an intentional stabbing.”

At this point, Reavis said, Stoiber and Rocheleau didn’t realize Anderson-Jordet had been stabbed and actually thought he was attacking Ferrer, and came to their friend’s aid. When the three left the scene, Reavis said, Anderson-Jordet followed them, yelling another homophobic slur as the three walked away. Ultimately, Reavis said, Anderson-Jordet collapsed about a block away from the scene of the altercation.

“They were attacked,” Reavis said of his client and his two friends. “None of them intended this tragic outcome. None of them wanted this to happen and none of them initiated this altercation.”

Ultimately, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office charged Ferrer with murder, and Rocheleau and Stoiber with felony assault likely to produce great bodily injury.

Under California law, homicide is broken into two general categories: murder and manslaughter. Murder requires a state of mind known as “malice aforethought,” which can manifest in two ways. Expressed malice is the most straightforward, and occurs when someone acts with a specific intent to kill the victim. Implied malice comes when someone intentionally commits an act that is inherently dangerous to human life and does so with a conscious and willful disregard for human life.

Manslaughter in California is broken into two general categories: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 11 years, and occurs when someone intentionally kills another person during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, carries a maximum sentence of four years, and occurs when someone kills another without malice or an intent to kill.

The California Criminal Jury Instructions — which are given to juries to help explain the law before they start deliberating in a case — clarify the distinction between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. “When a person commits an unlawful killing but does not intend to kill and does not act with conscious disregard for human life, then the crime is involuntary manslaughter,” the instructions state. “The difference between other homicide offenses and involuntary manslaughter depends on whether the person was aware of the risk to life that his or her actions created and consciously disregarded that risk.”

According to Hoover’s story, Firpo said she felt the deal with Ferrer was appropriate because there was evidence that Anderson-Jordet instigated a verbal confrontation that led to the fight and his ultimate stabbing, and that there was no indication Ferrer actually intended to kill him. Further, Firpo told Hoover, Anderson-Jordet’s family didn’t want the case to go to trial, where the victim’s life and actions would be put under a microscope.

Reavis said he was prepared to bring forward witnesses who would testify that Anderson-Jordet’s demeanor changed when he’d been drinking. “Unfortunately, the evidence is quite clear that Mr. Anderson-Jordet, when intoxicated, became a very different person and very aggressive,” Reavis said.

Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said he spoke with Firpo prior to the plea agreements and she explained the issues with the case and the proposed disposition. Chapman said it’s not his place to agree or disagree with a disposition in any given case.

“All we can do is investigate to the best of our abilities and turn cases over to the DA,” he said. “Having said all that, I understood why the cases were resolved in that manner and I do not disagree with the disposition.”

Reavis said he was very confident taking the case to trial and arguing that Ferrer acted in self-defense. But, he said, Ferrer was facing life in prison and there’s an inherent uncertainty in jury trials, which prompted him to accept the plea deal. Ferrer, Reavis said, is deeply remorseful at having killed a man.

“Mr. Ferrer is not an aggressive young man,” Reavis said. “He is a very soft-spoken member of the LGBT community. He had reason to be scared. And, if he overreacted, I don’t think there’s anybody that feels it any more deeply than he. He feels terribly about this.”

All three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced April 3.

The full text of Allan Dollison's press release:

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Catch & Release: The Humboldt Steelheads' Untold – Until Now! – Story

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 7:48 AM

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Daffodils are blooming, the days are lengthening, sporting goods stores are stocking up on jerseys, bats and gloves – yes, baseball is in the air. From T-ball beginners to summer collegiate stunners, dreams of home runs and dramatic outs are mere weeks from manifesting.

Except for one team: The Humboldt Steelheads.

Ben Horton wants to tell you the Steelheads' tale in his new documentary, Catch & Release: The Story of the 2011 Humboldt Steelheads, a film aiming "to celebrate this overlooked group of misfits and the game they love."

From the Catch & Release Facebook page:

Some of you may be aware of who the Humboldt Steelheads are, and many of you may not. Some of you also may be aware that after the 2011 season it was announced that the Steelheads program was being put on an indefinite hiatus. Beyond that, many are unaware that I followed the 2011 Steelheads with a camera and documented their season. The purpose of this film is to be a celebration of a wacky group of guys who – by my estimation – play the game for the purest possible reason: FUN. The film does not intend to portray anybody through a rose colored lens. This is not a family film; it is an honest depiction of what it is like to spend an entire summer with a team of ballplayers ranging in age from 19 to 31. It was a pleasure to be around such a fun, colorful group of characters. This team reminded me of why I fell in love with baseball in the first place, and I hope through this film I can pass that on to you. 

Horton throws the gauntlet down more specifically near the end of his description, referring to the Steelheads as, "constantly overshadowed by their big brother and chief rival" – that would be the beloved Humboldt Crabs – and calling them, "Humboldt County's true local baseball team."

Where can you watch this sure-to-be entertaining story? Why, on Vimeo! Yes, Catch & Release was released over the weekend – catch all five parts via here.

Warm up with a teaser below – and please note, as quoted above, this film contains colorful language, cheerful imbibing and other behavior that may offend some. Are the Steelhead players role models? Or just a "crazy group of misfits and underdogs"? In any case, Horton hopes, through his documentary, to remind us what love of the game truly means.

Catch & Release: Teaser# 2 from Ben Horton on Vimeo.



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Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Pot Banking Guidelines Moot in CA?

Posted By on Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:42 AM

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Thanks to some recent direction from the Obama administration, banks are now allowed to do business with folks who make their living in the legal marijuana trade. But, maybe not in California.

In response to a growing uneasiness with the cannabis cash conundrum, spurred at least in part by the introduction of legal recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued new guidelines to financial institutions that it appears will allow them to knowingly accept deposits of pot proceeds.

Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the feds traditionally taken a hardline stance with banks, which are forbidden from knowingly doing business with drug dealers. Despite marijuana’s varying legal status in dozens of states, the Department of Justice has essentially maintained that dispensaries are drug dealers and that banks doing business with them, consequently, risked a severe federal response. This leaves folks in the marijuana business either sitting on huge amounts of cash or essentially having to launder their proceeds through personal bank accounts or other businesses.

Thanks in a large part to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, the issue has received increasing media attention, with a recent Time Magazine story recently detailing how Colorado pot shop owners are travelling with briefcases full of cash, dolling out payroll in $20 bills and financing multi-million dollar construction projects with cold hard cash. Noting that some of Colorado’s marijuana entrepreneurs have taken to storing their money in secret, high-security warehouses, the story quotes Betty Aldworth, a former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, as saying the lack of access to banking is “the single most dangerous aspect of legal marijuana.”

But the new guidelines promise to change that, allowing banking institutions and credit card companies to do business with marijuana shops and dispensaries as long as they do due diligence to make sure everything is above board.

“In assessing the risk of providing services to a marijuana-related business, a financial institution should conduct customer due diligence that includes: (i) verifying with the appropriate state authorities whether the business is duly licensed and registered; (ii) reviewing the license application (and related documentation) submitted by the business for obtaining a state license to operate its marijuana-related business…,” the guidelines read.

Those two provisions might render the whole thing moot in California, which does not have a state licensing system and, instead, relies on local ordinances to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives.

Local dispensary owners have historically been tight lipped about their banking status. That’s understandable, but it means the local impact of the new federal banking guidelines and the uncertainty of their application in California remains unclear. The Journal reached out to a number of local dispensaries on the issue, but has not heard back. We’ll update this story if we do.

While there’s uncertainty in California, most in the marijuana movement seem to agree the new guidelines represent a huge step forward. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a medical marijuana advocacy group, issued a press release saying the new guidelines will make the industry safer for both dispensaries and their patients, who will no longer have to use cash to get their medication.

“We will certainly be working with banks, credit unions and credit card companies to ensure proper implementation of this federal guidance,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer in a press release. “Removing the risks of operating as an ‘all-cash’ business cannot be overstated, but we will also continue to put pressure on the Obama Administration to wrap these types of discrete practices into a more comprehensive medical marijuana policy.”
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Arcata's Mendosa to Retire

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 7:18 PM

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More than three decades after he came to work for the city of Arcata as a bus driver, Randy Mendosa announced Wednesday that he plans to retire his post as city manager in July.

“It’s a great job — I’ve really enjoyed it,” Mendosa said by phone, before adeptly deflecting the praise and attention that came with his announcement. “Arcata’s a really special place to live and work… I’m just really thankful to our really incredible, hard working city employees, without whom we couldn’t have this great city. I want to take this opportunity to tell people how really talented and wonderful this group of people working here is.”

Mendosa earned his first paycheck from the city of Arcata in 1980 as a bus driver for the Arcata Mad River Transit System. Two years later, he joined the police force and went on to work his way up the ranks over the ensuing decades until he was sworn in as the city’s chief of police in 2002.

One day in November 2008, Mendosa said he was running late for a department heads meeting at City Hall when he ran into then-City Manager Michael Hackett, who was leaving the building. “I said, ‘Hey, you’re going the wrong way,’” Mendosa recalled. “He said, ‘I have to go, and can you be acting city manager?’”

It turned out Hackett had received a terminal cancer diagnosis (he died in August of 2009) and wouldn’t return. But Mendosa stepped in and learned the job on the fly. Mayor Mark Wheetley said Mendosa quickly developed a reputation for being a quick learner, treating everyone with respect and tackling whatever the council threw at him. “There’s no problem too small and no task too large for him to undertake and resolve in a positive manner,” Wheetley said.

Mendosa served as acting city manager, and later interim city manager, before the council decided in January 2010 to hand him the reins on a permanent basis. Tom Chapman, who came up under Mendosa in the police department, was then tapped as Arcata’s next chief. Chapman said it’s important to remember Mendosa stepped in at a time of great change for the city.

“City management was really in flux at that time, and the city desperately needed somebody to stabilize the internal dynamics, to provide leadership to the department heads,” Chapman said. “He was able to provide a lot of structure to city hall, and I feel like we’ve seen improvement in communication within the city, with departments working better together.”

For his part, Mendosa said the city had a need and he was happy to help, despite the fact that becoming a city manager was never a part of his career plans. “For a long time, I would say, ‘I’m not a real city manager, but I play one on TV,’” Mendosa said, adding that he grew into the job. “I feel like a real city manager now — I’ve been doing the job long enough.”

Mendosa said it’s time for the city to have some fresh blood come in, and time for him to move into another phase of life. “I don’t intend to slow down, but I’ll do some other things,” he said. Just what do those “other things” include? Well, Mendosa said the only things he has on the docket currently are spending more time with his family and helping with a certain local political campaign. Mendosa declined to say which while on the clock but, after leaving City Hall Wednesday evening said he's looking forward to offering his help to Maggie Fleming's campaign for district attorney.

Meanwhile, Mendosa's departure leaves the city with some big shoes to fill. Chapman said Mendosa’s work ethic, passion for the city and institutional memory will all be missed greatly, while Wheetley pointed to Mendosa’s steadying influence and ability to work with folks from all backgrounds and political persuasions.

Mendosa said the timing of his decision has a lot to do with his confidence in the current city council, which he said is experienced and seasoned and will be able to find a new, capable city manager and show him or her the ropes. Retiring in July, Mendosa said, will also allow a new city manager to step with a budget already in place for the coming fiscal year.

Wheetley was blunt when talking about the task that Mendosa’s retirement leaves the council with. “The process of hiring a city manager is one of the most important decisions a council will face,” he said. “A good city manager can raise the functionality of any city, and a bad one can leave behind ashes.”

Chapman and Wheetley both said that whoever the city hires next will have a tough act to follow in Mendosa. “He’s a consummate professional and just a completely dedicated public servant,” Wheetley said. “I think if we had more Randy Mendosas, the world would be a better place… The people of Arcata really owe a debt of gratitude to Randy and all he’s done for the community over all these years.”
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Huffman Urges Obama to Reclassify Marijuana

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 2:22 PM

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North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, joined 17 of his cohorts today in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substance Act.

Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the act, putting it in the same category under federal law as heroin, ecstasy and LSD and a class above the likes of cocaine, methadone, oxycodone and morphine. The Schedule I designation makes it very difficult to conduct legal testing on marijuana in the United States, as it can only be done with federal permits, which, as one might imagine, the government doesn’t give out very often.

In the letter, the members of Congress urge Obama to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to reclassify under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

“We were encouraged by your recent comments in your interview with David Remnick in the Jan. 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, about shifting public opinion on the legalization of marijuana,” Huffman and company wrote. “Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. We request that you instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way, at the very least eliminating it from Schedule I or II.”

Read the full letter below, and the Journal’s coverage of Obama’s New Yorker comments here.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Biologist Pleads Guilty in Yurok Embezzlement Case

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 5:25 PM

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A local biologist pleaded guilty today to a single federal count of conspiring to embezzle funds from an Indian tribal organization stemming from the bilking of nearly $1 million in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe over a three-year period beginning in 2007, tribal spokesman Matt Mais confirmed.

According to court documents, Mad River Biologists founder Ron LeValley conspired with former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond to steal the funds through a complex scheme fake and inflated invoices and payments for northern spotted owl survey work that Mad River Biologists never performed. Last month, a judge sentenced Raymond — who also pleaded guilty to the single conspiracy count — to serve 36 months in federal prison for the grift.

LeValley is scheduled to be sentenced May 20. The terms of his plea agreement had not been made public as of this afternoon.

Raymond faced a maximum of five years in prison, but received a lesser sentence, in part, due to his cooperation with a federal investigation that led to LeValley’s being charged in the case. Raymond, whose attorney claimed he committed the theft to support drug and gambling addictions, was also ordered to repay $852,000 that he stole from the tribe.

According to court documents in the case, Mad River Biologists submitted more than 75 false invoices between 2007 and 2010. Under the scheme, Raymond would then cut checks from the tribe and LeValley would funnel the money back to him, less 20 percent taken off the top.

The survey work that was never done was primarily looking for habitats for the federally endangered northern spotted owl to determine what tribal properties could be logged without harming owl populations. It’s unclear whether Raymond and LeValley’s conspiracy affected timber harvest plans or led to the destruction of potential owl habitats.

In his plea agreement, Raymond said he initially told LeValley that the scheme was intended to provide Raymond with money to pay the tribe’s forest crews, though the stolen funds were never used to that end.

In addition to having founded Mad River Biologists in Arcata, LeValley is an acclaimed wildlife photographer and birder, and was a member of the Marine Life Protection Act science advisory team for the North Coast. He lives in Mendocino County.

According to court records in his case, prior to today's change of plea hearing, a federal judge granted a request from LeValley modifying the terms of his bail to allow him to attend an annual Pacific Seabird Group meeting in Juneau, Alaska later this month.

For more information on the case, see past journal coverage here and here.
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