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Defendant Convicted of Multiple Charges, Stemming from Bar Shooting

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 / No Comments

A  jury today convicted Abelino Nunez of attempted first-degree murder with personal use and discharge of a weapon allegations found true. Nunez was also convicted of assault with a semiautomatic pistol, felony evading an officer with wanton disregard for public safety, hit and run, driving under the influence, bribery of a public official, and being a felon in possession of a handgun. 

On December 16, 2013, Nunez was escorted out of the La Cabana Bar by security because he was intoxicated and tried to start a fight. Nunez got into his car and pulled up to the front of the bar, where he motioned to the bouncer to come closer to his car. Nunez then fired several shots. 

The bouncer dove behind a rock wall to avoid being hit. One bullet entered the bar and another became embedded in a rock wall where the victim dove. 

When police officers responded to the scene, a witness pointed out Nunez’s car. Officers pursued Nunez and a high speed chase ensued. 

Nunez reached speeds in excess of 90 MPH, running multiple red lights and stop signs, and driving in the opposite lane of traffic before crashing into a parked truck. Nunez took off on foot, but was quickly detained. 

A test of his blood alcohol revealed that he was two and a half times above the legal limit. Nunez then offered one of the officers up to $25,000 if she would let him go. 

Nunez faces a maximum potential sentence of 31 years, 4 months to life in prison. Sentencing is set for October 21, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. in Department 11 before Judge Trena Burger-Plavan.

South Sacramento Murder Under Investigation

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Last night Sacramento Police responded to the 7200 block of Franklin Boulevard regarding a shooting that occurred.    
Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male laying in front of a open business and it appeared that the man had sustained an apparent gunshot wound. EMT's from the Sacramento Fire Department responded to the scene and immediately transported the victim to an area hospital for medical treatment.  Despite lifesaving efforts, the victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Homicide detectives and Crime Scene Investigators responded to the scene to collect evidence and canvass the area for potential witnesses. A specific motive has not yet been established in this case but the investigation remains active.  
No arrests have been made and investigators are asking for the community’s help in providing any information regarding this incident. The identity of the victim will be released by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. 
The Sacramento Police Department encourages any witnesses with information regarding this homicide to contact the dispatch center at (916) 264-5471 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or submit an anonymous tip using the free “P3 Tips” smartphone app.  Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

AHF Lauds CA Legislature for Passing HIV Testing Bill & STD Outreach Bill; Urges Governor Brown to Sign Both

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 / No Comments


STDOutreach Bill (SB 1090) and Hospital HIV Testing Bill (AB 2439) will improve lives of Californians
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today lauded the California Legislature for approving two important public health bills intended to improve the lives and health of Californians. The bills moves on to Governor Edmund G. Brown’s desk for his consideration and signature. AHF is strongly urging the Governor to sign both bills, which include:
  • AB 2439 (Adrin Nazarian, D, 46th District, Van Nuys), which passed Assembly Concurrence with a strong bipartisan vote last night (59 to 21), creates a pilot program for routine HIV testing in the emergency departments of as many as four hospitals throughout California (a policy which the CDC first recommended as far back as 2006), and
  • SB 1090 (Senator Holly Mitchell, D, 30th District, Los Angeles), which passed—unanimously—out of the legislature Friday, requires the state’s Department of Health STD Control branch to direct funds for STD outreach and screening throughout the state based on population and incidence of STDs while also balancing the need to spread funding to as many counties as possible in order to provide meaningful services to each funded county. While this bill does NOTappropriate any money per se; it will inform how the state directs existing public health funding. Earlier this year, California approved increased budget funding for STD prevention, outreach and treatment to over $5 million—a budget augmentation request made by AHF.
“We applaud the California Legislature for approving these two pieces of pragmatic public health legislation and thank Senator Holly Mitchell and Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian for authoring and carrying these bills. We also urge Governor Brown to quickly sign these two bills into law,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) Public Health Division. “As for the STD outreach bill, the state wisely increased STD funding to five million dollars earlier this year. SB 1090 will help direct resources and services to so-called ‘hotspots’ of STD incidence to better manage and control these potentially debilitating and costly infections. Regarding AB 2439, back in 2006, the CDC first issued a recommendation that everyone between the ages of 13 and 65 be offered routine HIV testing at least once in medical settings like clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices. Unfortunately, there are still approximately 5,000 new HIV infections occurring each year in California, and outreach and education hasn't worked to find those new infections. This pilot program for offering routine HIV testing to all those visiting an emergency department at a hospital may go a long way in helping address this issue."
Background on Need for HIV Testing Bill (AB 2439)
Currently 70% of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States do not have their virus suppressed, meaning, for some, they have never been tested for HIV; while for others, they may know their HIV status but for whatever reason, are not in care and on lifesaving HIV antiretroviral treatment. There are approximately 5,000 new HIV infections each year in California. Making HIV testing both routine and easily accessible as part of a hospital stay would help identify and link additional HIV-positive individuals into care, thus helping us break the chain of new infections.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 614,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

EGUSD School Board Candidate Opposes Massive Bond; State Treasurer Issues Warning

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August 29, 2016 |

One candidate for the Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Trustees has come out in opposition to the district's proposed school bond measure.

Nikita Kostyuk, who is running against incumbent Carmine Forcina for the Area 7 seat, announced today that he opposes the EGUSD's Measure M. That measure if passed, would permit the district to issue $476 in bonds for school renovations. 

Arguing against the bond, Kostyuk asserts that while he supports facility maintenance, the measure has several structural flaws.

“Twenty-four schools constructed in the last 15 years made the list to receive money from Measure M,” he said. “Why aren’t we prioritizing aging schools that need this money the most?” 

At their August 1 meeting, the EGUSD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to place the bond measure on the ballot. The measure needs 55-percent approval to pass.

According to Richard Michael of the school bond watchdog group BigBadBonds.org, Elk Grove's measure is one of 184 local measures in 46 counties in California that will appear on the November ballot. In the November 2014 election, there were 114 measures on ballots statewide.

"The total face value of the bonds is $25,313,826,000," Michael said. "The cost to homeowners and business owners that actually pay the bill will be over $50 billion." 

Michael also noted the total could have been higher were it not for 12 school boards who rejected about $2 billion more bonds. Additionally, the State of California has placed a statewide measure, Proposition 51, on the ballot that seeks $9 billion in school bonds.  

In light of the spate of local bond measures, California State Treasurer John Chiang recently took steps to stop Wall Street bond underwriters from helping local school district fund pro-bond political campaigns. Under this scenario, the Wall Street firms who fund the campaigns for school districts are then awarded lucrative underwriting contracts. 

“There are unscrupulous Wall Street firms offering to fund local bond campaigns in exchange for lucrative contracts,” Chiang said. “Not only are these pay-to-play arrangements unlawful, they rip-off taxpayers and endanger the integrity of school bonds, which are vital tools for building classrooms and meeting the educational needs of our communities.”






Fish and Game Commission Adopts Marine Protected Area Master Plan - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sunday, August 28, 2016 / No Comments


By Dan Bacher

The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday, August 24, adopted the controversial Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas in California that delays regional scientific reviews of MPAs, as originally promised, from every five years to every ten years.

After a very short discussion and hearing with public comment, the Commission by a 4-0 vote approved text related to traditional ecological knowledge and then adopted the proposed final Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas and the Marine Life Protection Program pursuant to the Marine Life Protection Act (Pursuant to Section 2850, et seq., Fish and Game Code).

The Commission had already voted to supported the plan with the 10 year reviews in previous meetings, in spite of hearing considerable testimony from anglers opposing it. The approval of the plan, with the addition of Traditional Ecological Text, was a mere formality.

I made five points in my testimony before Commission President Eric Sklar, Vice President Jaque Hostler-Carmesin, Commissioner Anthony C Williams and Commissioner Peter Silva regarding “The Good, The Bad and Tthe Ugly” in the Master Plan:

The Good: First, I strongly support the inclusion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) from California Indians in the Master Plan. This is long overdue, considering that the marine protected areas were “completed “ in December 2012 without one single Tribal scientist ever being allowed to serve on the Science Advisory Teams for the MLPA Initiative.

The Bad: Second, the proposal breaks the original promise given to anglers by officials that regional reviews of the alleged "marine protected areas" created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative would be conducted every five years. The new plan changes the regional reviews to once every ten years, a move that anglers and public trust advocates, including myself, strongly oppose because it results in less frequent scientific monitoring of the MPAs.

Here’s what the MLPA Initiative South Coast News, the official publication of the Initiative, actually said on October 16,2009, contradicting claims by Commissioners that this promise to conduct five year reviews was never made:

“Q: If an area is closed as an MPA will it always be closed?

A: Not necessarily. The MLPA specifically requires monitoring, research and evaluation at selected sites to facilitate adaptive management of MPAs and ensure the system meets its goals and objectives. Within the MLPA master plan, it is recommended that the MPA network be evaluated approximately every five years. As MPAs are re-assessed for effectiveness, changes may be necessary, either to individual MPAs or the network as a whole. This may mean changing boundaries and/or allowances for extractive activities depending on how well MPAs are meeting goals. Just because an area is closed to one type of use or another does not mean that it will always be that way.”

The Ugly: Third, the plan does nothing to make the faux "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative into real ones. The alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" created under the privately funded initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil spills, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

Fourth, the plan accepts as legitimate the tainted "marine protected areas" created under the helm of a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and relentless advocate for the expansion of fracking and offshore oil drilling and the evisceration of California's environmental laws, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Southern California Coast at the same time that the region's marine waters were being fracked by her industry.

She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. The Commission should support an investigation into what Reheis-Boyd knew about fracking off the coast at the time she served as Chair of the task force. (www.dfg.ca.gov/...)

Fifth, the proposal fails to challenge the terminally flawed "science" employed to create MPAs under the "leadership" of a convicted embezzler. A federal judge in San Francisco on May 20, 2014 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 spite of numerous complaints, the Fish and Game Commission refused to review the legitimacy of the "science" used to create the "marine protected areas" developed under his helm at the same time that he was engaged in a conspiracy to embezzle money from the Yurok Tribe."(www.dailykos.com/...)

I urged the Commission to finally address these unresolved issues posed by the "marine protected areas" created under the privately-funded MLPA Initiative. As expected, no Commissioners, all appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, replied to my comments and those that others made before the Commission on this issue.


Mother Who Starved Daughter to Death Sentenced

Saturday, August 27, 2016 / 2 Comments


The mother who pled guilty to starving her disabled daughter to death was sentenced yesterday.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny sentenced Sheila Johnson to 15 years to life in prison. Johnson’s daughter, Ravetra Jones, was sentenced to 4 years, 8 months in prison.

On June 29, 2016, Johnson pled no contest to second-degree murder and Jones pled no contest to involuntary manslaughter and fraud.

The victim, 37-year old Monique Johnson was developmentally disabled, non-verbal, and unable to walk. Monique lived with her mother, Sheila Johnson.

Initially, Johnson was paid by InHome Supportive Services (IHSS) as Monique’s full-time caregiver. Then Jones, who is Monique’s sister, was paid by IHSS as Monique’s caregiver.

On February 12, 2014, Monique died from severe neglect, dehydration, and starvation. She weighed 36 pounds at the time of her death.

Various agencies attempted to intervene prior to Monique’s death about concerns over her care. Sheila Johnson was offered free services and assistance to help with Monique’s care, many of which she refused. Ravetra Jones allowed Monique’s health condition to deteriorate to the point of death, while simultaneously receiving payment for services.



Kavon Cry, Omar Talley Get Life Without Parole For Murder of Marquail Hayes

Friday, August 26, 2016 / No Comments
Kavon Cry. 

Kavon Cry, 19, and Omar Talley 21, were sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Marquail Hayes. Cry was sentenced to an additional 25 years to life for a personal discharge of a firearm causing death allegation. 

On July 19, 2016, Cry, Talley, and co-defendant, Eric Ring,19, were convicted by a jury of first-degree murder with the special circumstance that the murder was committed during the commission of an attempted robbery. Ring will be sentenced on October 14, 2016. 

On the night of October 18, 2014, the three defendants set up a marijuana transaction with the victim, Marquail Hayes. The victim was to purchase $2,000 worth of marijuana and was instructed to meet the defendants at Riverview Elementary School in Rancho Cordova. 

Upon arriving at the school, Ring handed the victim a bag that was supposed to contain the marijuana. When the victim began opening the bag, Talley and Cry emerged from a play area where they were hiding. The victim ran and was shot in the back of the head by Cry.