Friday, December 15, 2017

Huffman Introduces 'Moments of Truth' on Trump

Posted By on Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 12:55 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, has given the first of what he says will be a series of “moment of truth” speeches on what he describes as the 45th president’s compromised conduct.

Huffman’s office said in a release that each of the remarks will describe different examples of evidence to “hold the President accountable in the Congressional Record for his actions and those of his staff and family, as well as shine a light on their extensive connections with Russia.”

In his initial comments given on the House floor Thursday, Huffman dedicated the time to discussing “damning revelations — secret meetings, business and financial entanglements, and elaborate attempts to conceal information,” specifically regarding Trump associate Felix Sater.

The congressman also spoke about the “bombshells” of revelations that keep coming out, noting that the amount of evidence pointing to Trump-Russia ties “makes your head spin.”


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

KQED's California Report Visits Humboldt County

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 1:24 PM

John Sepulvado - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • John Sepulvado
John Sepulvado, host of San Francisco public radio station KQED's California Report, is reporting from KHSU this week. The California Report is broadcast on public radio stations across the state. This morning, KQED aired an interview with Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal in which he talked about the impact of prison realignment on local jails, saying that people who would normally sober up and receive services in the Humboldt County correctional facility are instead being released onto the streets in the midst of mental health crises, creating a situation that looks like "the walking dead."

Sepulvado also interviewed a man recently released from the jail, Earl Gordon, describing his face as "busted up, like he spent the night sleeping on a pillow that was made of fists." Gordon begins crying during the interview, describing an overdose in 1997, and saying he is "very, very high" during the interview.

In a phone interview, Sepulvado says he doesn't see Gordon as just "someone that's high on the street and worthy of judgement" but, rather, as a person enduring a mental health crisis and not receiving the services he needs.

"The problem with methamphetamine has not gone away here," Sepulvado told the Journal. Sepulvado studied at College of the Redwoods for a semester in 1998 and says he is invested in exposing the "disintegration of our rural communities."

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Arcata, Meet Your New Mayor and Vice Mayor

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 1:09 PM

Sofia Pereira and Brett Watson. - COURTESY OF THE CITY OF ARCATA
  • Courtesy of the city of Arcata
  • Sofia Pereira and Brett Watson.
The Arcata City Council today selected Sofia Pereira to serve as mayor for the next year and Brett Watson, who was appointed to his seat in April, to serve as vice mayor.

The council rotates the honorary positions on an annual basis.

Pereira, a Humboldt State graduate and the community manager for She Should Run, a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of women in leadership roles, was the top vote getter in a four-way race for two council seats when she was elected in 2014. Her term ends next December.

“I am excited to continue working with our community partners on issues surrounding the Plaza, housing, public safety and ensuring this is a livable community for all our residents. I am looking forward to supporting the city’s goals while at the same time being responsive to the needs of our community,” Pereira said in a city press release. “We live in a great and engaged community — I’m proud to step up and serve in this role.”

Watson was selected by his fellow councilmembers to replace Mark Wheetley after he stepped down to take the job of Fortuna city manager. A small business owner, Watson also graduated from HSU.

Pereira will preside over her first meeting as mayor on Dec. 20.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Loleta School Board to Discuss Voluntary Resolution to Civil Rights Complaint

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 4:56 PM

doe.jpg
The Loleta School Board meets this evening to discuss a voluntary resolution agreement with the United States Department of Education that may conclude a four-year process kicked off in December of 2013 by a complaint from the Wiyot Tribe that the Loleta Union Elementary School District had engaged in discriminatory practices toward Native American students.

The complaint, lodged with help from the National Center for Youth Law, the ACLU of Northern California and California Indian Legal Services, led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

According to a press release from the National Center of Youth Law, the investigation found evidence that the district "had created a hostile environment for Native American students, disciplined Native students more harshly than other students, and failed to provide legally mandated services for students with disabilities."

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Rio Dell Slated to Select New Police Chief

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 1:31 PM

Jeff Conner - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Jeff Conner
Taking on the role of Rio Dell police chief will be a sort of homecoming for Jeff Conner, who is scheduled to be appointed to the position tonight during a special city council meeting.

“I started my law enforcement career in Rio Dell so it seems fitting that I end my career in the same city, passing on the experience and knowledge that I gained in 24 years of law enforcement,” Conner said in a city press release.

Conner has spent years working in the county's code enforcement unit, dating back to when it was under the district attorney's purview and wielded law enforcement powers. Conner has seen a variety of changes in code enforcement since his arrival, including the unit being stripped of law enforcement powers amid community concerns in Southern Humboldt and the unit's transfers, first to the county counsel's office and then to planning and building. Throughout his years with the county, Conner has continued to serve as a reserve officer in Rio Dell, allowing him to keep current with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training even in recent years when he wasn't working for a law enforcement agency.

The University of California at Berkeley graduate will replace Graham Hill, who retired in July after 22 years with the force, including 13 as chief.

If all goes as planned, Conner is expected to begin work before the end of the year with a formal swearing in ceremony set for Jan. 2.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Still no Crab

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 4:22 PM

The crab, the state says, are still not ready. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • The crab, the state says, are still not ready.
Another round of testing shows that local Dungeness crab are still not filled out enough, prompting a second delay for the commercial season in Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today that the opener has been pushed back to Dec. 31 and may not end up starting until after New Year’s, depending results from another set of quality tests scheduled for next week.

“Additional testing will be scheduled to occur by Dec. 22,” the release states. “If quality remains low, an additional delay until Jan. 15, 2018 will be issued by the director. This date is the latest the season can be delayed due to quality testing.”

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Update: Appellate Court Rejects Bullock Appeal

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 11:17 AM

Gary Lee Bullock stands next to his attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, at his arraignment in January of 2014. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Gary Lee Bullock stands next to his attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, at his arraignment in January of 2014.
UPDATE: A panel of California Appellate Court justices today rejected Gary Lee Bullock’s bid to overturn his life sentence for the vicious murder of beloved local priest Eric Freed, whose battered body was found in the St. Bernard Church rectory on New Year’s Day 2014.

In unusually swift turnaround, the decision came down less than a week after oral arguments were presented Dec. 6 in a San Francisco courtroom with the judges summarily rejecting claims that Bullock’s Miranda rights were violated and evidence did not support his torture conviction.

“In our view, the trial court could reasonably infer from the extent and pattern of wounds that torture was not merely the means of killing Father Freed, and that torture was not merely incidental to the killing of Father Freed,” the unpublished opinion states. “Rather, the severance of the tongue and other injuries were inflicted for the separate objective of causing extreme pain. Substantial evidence supports the trial court’s ruling.”

Read the full unpublished opinion here.

PREVIOUSLY:  Nearly four years after the crime that shook Humboldt County, three California justices in San Francisco’s First District Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday on whether to reverse Gary Lee Bullock's murder conviction.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Deputy Sheriff's PAC Fined $17K for Violations

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 4:21 PM

cover-badge_.jpg
The Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff’s Organization’s political action committee has reached a proposed settlement with the state Fair Political Practices Commission after pervasive campaign finance disclosure violations dating back to 2012.

Under the proposed settlement, which still needs to be approved by the commission, the PAC will admit to seven violations of campaign finance transparency laws and pay $17,500 in fines. It faced a maximum penalty of $35,000 for failing to timely file 16 disclosure forms over a five-year period that would have reported a total of $82,467 in donations to the PAC and $68,510 in political contributions from the PAC.

Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff’s Organization President Jamie Barney said the problem appears to have started when a new member began taking over campaign finance disclosure filings for the organization back in 2012. “The guy who was doing it for us apparently didn’t do it properly or didn’t do it at all,” Barney said, declining to identify the member. (The FPPC settlement identifies him as Scott Hicks.)

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

TL;DR: Five Questions to Catch You Up

Posted By on Sun, Dec 10, 2017 at 10:50 AM

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Photo illustration by Jonathan Webster
Busy week? We’ll help you catch up on the basics of this week's cover story, which details the conversation about what should be done about the statue of President William McKinley and a plaque commemorating the Jacoby Storehouse on the Arcata Plaza. Read the full story here before you dive into a Facebook comments debate.

Below, find four questions answered in Kimberly Wears story, "A Monumental Decision," and a bonus question that expands the story beyond the Arcata Plaza. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

What’s happening? Following a national trend, dozens of Arcatans filled the D Street Community Center on Dec. 4 to discuss what to do with a pair of historic artifacts that most feel conflict with the city’s values. The vast majority of the few dozen who addressed the Arcata City Council that night encouraged the council to take the artifacts down, arguing they promote ideologies of racism, imperialism and violence.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

UPDATE: Draft Interdistrict Transfer Policy Set to Go Before School Boards

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 3:23 PM

A draft policy on open enrollment is set to go before local school boards next week. - THINKSTOCK
  • THINKSTOCK
  • A draft policy on open enrollment is set to go before local school boards next week.
Editor’s note: This story was updated from a version posted this morning to include additional information and text of the draft proposal.

Humboldt County’s long-standing tradition of allowing parents to choose where their children go to school will likely see some changes next year under a tentative agreement reached by area superintendents this week.

Office of Education Superintendent Chris Hartley said the draft set to go before most — if not all — the county’s school boards next week “embraces the concept of open enrollment” but includes the addition of strict timelines parents would need to meet to register in schools located outside their home districts.

While the process is currently open all year, under the draft agreement reached Dec. 6 parents or guardians would need to make a transfer request during an “enrollment window” of Dec. 1 to Feb. 1.

(For the 2018-19 school year, the last day to apply will be Sept. 1.)

The home district would then have up to 10 days after the Feb. 1 deadline to approve or deny requests and forward any approvals on to the district of choice, which has until mid-February to accept transfers.

But there is a caveat in the draft agreement that allows home districts to deny a request if a parent or guardian “does not participate in a DOR Reasonable Enrollment Information Activities, absent good cause.”

Those reasonable activities include: “a discussion with school administration/designee, orientation meeting, site visitation, or informational literature.”

Parents can appeal a denial to the county Board of Education.

The basic idea, Hartley said on Thursday, is to strike a balance between preserving school choice and giving districts the ability to better plan for staffing and other needs by knowing how many students to expect in their classrooms.

For example, state education code requires districts to notify employees about potential staff reductions in March, a decision that depends heavily on how many kids are expected to walk through the doors the following year.

“Folks are trying to use some common sense here with this thing and make it accessible to parents who are looking to utilize an interdistrict transfer,” Hartley said, emphasizing the specifics were still be worked out.

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