Government

Monday, December 11, 2017

Deputy Sheriff's PAC Fined $17K for Violations

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

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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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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Eureka City Council Approves Key Waterfront Projects

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 10:19 AM

A mock up of "Halvorsen Village." - FROM THE SCHNEIDER PROPOSAL.
  • From the Schneider Proposal.
  • A mock up of "Halvorsen Village."
The Eureka City Council voted in favor of several waterfront projects Tuesday night, including the commitment of city funds to complete Waterfront Drive between G and J streets and authorizing staff to negotiate a lease-to-buy option for 11 acres east of Halvorsen Park with a developer who would like to build an upscale RV park and mixed-use development. Both motions passed unanimously, with Councilmember Austin Allison absent.

The completion of Waterfront Drive, as was noted in a presentation by Public Works director Brian Gerving, has been in the works for "years and years and years," first initialized by city staff in 2005 when the council approved a project study report.

Currently drivers and pedestrians cannot continuously navigate Waterfront Drive and have to detour around a block between the Adorni Center and G Street. Staff is still in the process of finishing the right of way process and expect to have that done by February of 2018. State funding from the California Transportation Committee is expected in March of 2018, with the entire project costing $3.3 million. The city's engineering staff has found several funding streams to make up that amount, with the city committing a portion yet to be decided. After some discussion, the city council voted in favor of the extension, which will allow staff to seek money from the State Transportation Improvement Program. Completion of Waterfront Drive — tentatively scheduled for October — will also bridge one of the last remaining gaps in the bay trail.


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Huffman Votes to Push Impeachment

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman joined 57 of his colleagues today in a failed vote to allow consideration of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The measure pushed forward by Rep. Al Green faced an overwhelming defeat when a motion to sideline it was approved 364-58, with four Democrats voting "present."

In a statement, Huffman defended his vote to move the articles forward.

"The magnitude and breadth of President Trump’s actions to undermine his office and the public trust — those that have been illegal, corrupt, or have caused deep damage to our country — is stunning and most of the facts are indisputable," Huffman said. "For these reasons, I’ve stated for months that I believe President Trump should be, and eventually will be, impeached. And for the same reasons, if I am presented with a vote on this subject, I’ll vote my conscience and support impeachment."

Read the full statement copied below:


Rep. Huffman Statement on Impeachment Vote

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) today released the following statement today after voting to allow consideration of articles of impeachment introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-TX):

“Impeachment is an extraordinary measure, but it should be clear to anyone who examines the facts that President Trump’s actions justify his impeachment, including his efforts to obstruct justice, his self-enrichment and serial violations of the Emoluments Clause, and his involvement in a cover-up stemming from his campaign’s very likely collusion with Russian interests to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

The magnitude and breadth of President Trump’s actions to undermine his office and the public trust – those that have been illegal, corrupt, or have caused deep damage to our country — is stunning and most of the facts are indisputable.

For these reasons, I’ve stated for months that I believe President Trump should be, and eventually will be, impeached. And for the same reasons, if I am presented with a vote on this subject, I’ll vote my conscience and support impeachment.

It is vital, however, that we distinguish impeachable offenses from offensive behavior, divisive political instincts, ineptitude, and poor judgment. These are all frustrating but in my view do not rise to the level of impeachable offenses. I understand why many of my Democratic colleagues, including many who believe President Trump should ultimately be impeached, voted no on today’s resolution.

We are a long way from having the votes in Congress to impeach, a vote that must happen on a bipartisan basis. We need to work in a bipartisan way to bring accountability and transparency to a White House that is doing great damage, including through ongoing Congressional oversight, a new independent commission on Russian election interference, and the ongoing work of Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller.”

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

County Swaps Attorneys, Challenges $2.5 Million Wrongful Death Verdict

Posted By on Sat, Dec 2, 2017 at 2:45 PM

Daren Borges and his mother, Stephany Borges. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Daren Borges and his mother, Stephany Borges.
The County of Humboldt is asking for a new trial in the civil case that in August resulted in a jury verdict finding the county and its correctional officers liable in the 2014 jail death of Daren Borges and awarding $2.5 million in damages to his family.

In addition to filing motions last week asking a court to throw out the jury’s verdicts in the case and grant a new trial, the defendants in the case — the county of Humboldt, former Sheriff Mike Downey and correctional officers Tim Hershberger, David Swim, Terri Bittner and Tim Hammer — also filed papers seeking to have local attorney Nancy Delaney replaced with John Whitefleet of Sacramento’s Porter Scott law firm as lead attorney in the case.

On Aug. 28, a federal jury found correctional officers failed to follow policy and were indifferent to Borges’ obvious medical needs when they opted not to have him medically screened while booking him into the Humboldt County jail about two hours before he was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose in a jail sobering cell. The jury, which deliberated for about 10 hours before returning its unanimous verdicts, also found that Humboldt County had failed to adequately train its correctional officers.

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Eureka City Council to Cast Crucial Waterfront Votes

Posted By on Sat, Dec 2, 2017 at 10:16 AM

A mock up of "Halvorsen Village." - FROM THE SCHNEIDER PROPOSAL.
  • From the Schneider Proposal.
  • A mock up of "Halvorsen Village."
The Eureka City Council is slated to meet Tuesday evening with a very long list of resolutions, ordinances and reports to discuss, many of which will immediately impact Eureka’s waterfront.

On the consent calendar, the council is expected to approve without discussion an item that would bridge the last remaining gap in Waterfront Drive, between G and J streets, which would “provide continuity in pedestrian and bicycle access along the city’s waterfront,” completing the Eureka portion of the Bay Trail. Once the city commits to funding the measure, it will be eligible for $735,000 from the State Transportation Improvement Program. The area would also be paved for vehicle access. It is also expected to authorize the city manager to grant $250,000 in Wastewater Reserves to install a pre-treatment system at the building currently occupied by Pacific Seafood, at 2 Commercial St.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Remembering Sheriff Cox, 35 Years later

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Sheriff Gene Cox - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Sheriff Gene Cox
He was known as the sheriff who never carried a gun; the man whose laugh you could hear ringing across the building.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Former Humboldt County Sheriff Gene Cox’s death. Cox was killed in the line of duty in 1982, just four weeks before he was set to retire, the last Humboldt County law enforcement officer to be killed by a suspect.

On that deadly Monday afternoon, Cox stopped by the Ebb Tide RV Park on his way home from work to help his father-in-law, park manager Jack Alton, handle a dispute with a distraught resident. The resident, Clarence Eugene McCutcheon, confronted Cox with a rifle, fatally shooting him. McCutcheon shot and killed two others in the rampage, Alton and former local education official Claire Montgomery. When officers with the Eureka Police Department arrived on scene, McCutcheon again opened fire. He was later fatally wounded in a shootout with Eureka Police officers.

“I was out hunting when my wife called me and told me the news,” Retired HCSO Detective Sergeant Dave Walker said. “It was heartbreaking.”


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Public Defender Reportedly Got $25K in Severance Pay

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 11:32 AM

David Marcus - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • David Marcus
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors reportedly agreed to give embattled former Public Defender David Marcus two-months severance pay when he resigned his position, according to Marcus’ letter of resignation.

That would equate to about $25,000 given Marcus’ $150,000 annual salary.

It’s unclear when the board reached this agreement or how it was finalized. With 24-hours notice, the county scheduled a special closed session board meeting for 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving, with two items on the agenda: discussion of the lawsuit challenging Marcus’ hiring and the review of an unnamed county employee. The board met in closed session for about an hour and 45 minutes before adjourning, reporting no final action out of closed session.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Griego to Dismiss Public Defender Suit

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 11:49 AM

FILE
  • file
Local attorney Patrik Griego announced this morning that he will be dismissing the lawsuit he brought challenging David Marcus' appointment as Humboldt County public defender in light of Marcus' resignation.

In the short release (copied below), Griego notes that his lawsuit was challenging whether Marcus met minimum state qualifications for the job when the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors hired him to succeed Kevin Robinson, who'd recently retired from the post. Marcus' controversial tenure came to an abrupt end when he resigned his post Wednesday night, hours after the board spent almost two hours in closed session discussing Griego's lawsuit and reviewing the performance of an unnamed county employee. Sources told the Journal earlier Wednesday that Marcus had packed up the personal belongings in his office and left at about 2:30 p.m.

It's currently unclear if the board has appointed an interim public defender in the wake of Marcus' departure, which came a few weeks before Griego's lawsuit was scheduled for a pivotal hearing in the case.

Griego had previously offered not to pursue the recovery of fees and costs  — which he estimated had run up to $125,000 in the case — if Marcus left county employment, whether it be via resignation or termination. Griego said this afternoon that he will not be seeking to recover those costs from the county.

County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck was unavailable for comment when the Journal called this morning.

See Griego's full press release copied below:


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Friday, November 24, 2017

David Marcus' Resignation Ends Tumultuous Tenure

Posted By on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 3:26 PM

David Marcus - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • David Marcus
Supervisor Virginia Bass confirmed that David Marcus has stepped down from the county’s public defender post after a tumultuous nine months in office.

“He sent a letter on Wednesday evening informing us of his resignation,” Bass said Friday.

Marcus’ sudden departure came after the Board of Supervisors held a special closed session meeting — called 24 hours earlier — to “consider the evaluation of performance of a public employee and to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee by another person or employee."

Also up for discussion was a lawsuit filed by local defense attorney Patrik Griego that questioned whether Marcus met the minimum qualifications for the public defender’s job as required under California law.


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

As Supes Prepare for Thanksgiving Eve Meeting, Marcus Packs Up His Desk

Posted By on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 3:14 PM

David Marcus - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • David Marcus
UPDATE: Multiple public defenders’ office employees have confirmed that Marcus has packed up his office, cleaned out his desk and left without addressing employees.

Previously:

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will meet late this afternoon in closed session to discuss the pending lawsuit against controversial Public Defender David Marcus. According to Clerk of the Board Kathy Hayes, the meeting was announced exactly 24 hours in advance via the county's website and posted outside the chambers. No supervisors were available for comment this afternoon.


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