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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.

Elk Grove Unified School District Candidate's Ballot Designation Challenged

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August 26, 2016 |

In a complaint filed this week with the Sacramento County Superior Court, the Sacramento County Voters Registrar is being challenged on a ballot designation granted to a candidate for the Elk Grove Unified School Board of Trustees.

That candidate, Marlon Hill, is challenging incumbent Nancy Chaires-Espinoza for the Area 6 seat which covers the western portion of the City of Elk Grove. Chaires-Espinoza was appointed to the seat in 2015 after former Trustee Steve Ly vacated the seat upon his election to the Elk Grove City Council.  

The lawsuit was filed by the Sacramento-based law firm of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn on behalf of their client, Terrence Schanz, and EGUSD resident, against Jill Lavine, Sacramento County Voters Registrar.  The lawsuit asserts that Hill, whose occupation is an information technology specialist, was improperly allowed by the County Registrar to list his ballot designation as either "Parent/Coach/Educator," "Parent/Educator/Coach," or "Parent/Coach."   

In a memorandum of point and authorities in support of the petition filed on Wednesday, the plaintiffs claim that the Registrar "appears ready to allow Mr. Hill to use "Parent/Coach/Educator" as his ballot designation. The plaintiffs argue that allowing Hill to use that designation is a violation of California election law. 

The complaint also states on his official ballot designation sheet Hill lists his occupation as Information Technology Specialist with the California Office of the Legislative Counsel.  According to case law cited in the filing, "those candidates seeking the ballot designation of "educator" are required under Elections Code to hold an active license to teach."

Noting the laudable volunteer coaching of his daughter's basketball team, the complaint nonetheless notes that a records search reveal that Hill has never held a teaching credential with the State of California and has never coached professionally. Allowing Hill to use the designation, the complaint argues, is a violation of the law and, more crucially, a misrepresentation of his profession to voters. 

For relief, the plaintiffs are seeking a writ of mandate ordering the Registrar to forbid Hill from using the above-noted designations. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, in Department 31 of the Sacramento Superior Court, Judge Michael P. Kenny presiding.   





Defendant Convicted for Kidnapping, Carjacking at Gunpoint

Thursday, August 25, 2016 / No Comments


Today a Sacramento County Superior jury found 25-year old Vigel Jamol Patterson guilty of two counts of kidnapping in the commission of a carjacking with personal use of a firearm, felony evading officers, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

On August 3, 2015, the victims were unloading their car at their apartment complex when Patterson jumped over a cement wall and asked them for a ride. When they said no, Patterson pulled out a gun and ordered them to get in the car and drive out the complex. 

During the ride, Patterson held the gun to the head of the victim who was driving the car, and made threats to kill them. Patterson then made them stop and exit the car before driving off. 

One of the victims was able to call 911 on their cellphone. When officers spotted the stolen car, a chase ensued. 

Patterson rammed the car through a gate that blocked access to a bike trail and then took off on foot. He was found soon after hiding in the backyard of a nearby house.

Patterson was identified by the victims, and his DNA was matched to DNA on the gun found in the stolen car and the airbag. 

Patterson’s criminal history includes a prior 2009 strike conviction for carjacking, a 2009 felony grand theft conviction, and a 2014 felony vandalism conviction. Patterson faces a minimum sentence of 40 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for October 14, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department 42 before the Honorable Allen Sumner

Elk Grove to Celebrate Diversity With 5th Annual Multi-Cultural Festival

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 / No Comments


Recognized in 2015 as the seventh most “Racially and Ethnically Diverse” city in the country by WalletHub, the City of Elk Grove is celebrating its diversity with a festival featuring the sights, sounds and tastes of its many cultures at the fifth annual Elk Grove Multicultural Festival on Saturday, August 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Elk Grove Regional Park.

The Elk Grove City Council has designated August 21-27, 2016 as Cultural Diversity Awareness Week in Elk Grove. The week encourages community members to learn more about Elk Grove’s ethnic and cultural diversity. The City will welcome thousands of participants to a day-long festival featuring a blend of world music, art, fashion, food and activities for kids. The Festival is Elk Grove’s signature community-wide celebration of diversity and is hosted by the City of Elk Grove’s Multicultural Committee. In 2015, the Festival attracted an estimated 10,000 guests.

Opening ceremonies for the Festival begin at 10 am on the Diversity Dance Stage and are scheduled to include a special Key to the City presentation to local historian and educator, Elizabeth Pinkerton. The entertainment will continue through 5 pm with more than 20 dance performances from Native American, Hmong, Sikh, Russian, Chinese, West African, Filipino, Peruvian, Mexican, Indian and Punjabi cultures and musical performances from Way Out West, Chalice Star, Gary Mendoza Band and Kumandee. 

Check out more than 100 art show entries on display in the festival pavilion representing painting, photography, sculpture, and mixed media works. Guests can contribute to the festival awards program by voting for their favorite in the “People’s Choice” category and contribute to a community mural.

Interactive activities include an international petting zoo, free art activities, Pokestops for festival trainers, and a new car show hosted by Corvettes of Elk Grove. A photo booth and pledge forms will allow participants to sign the Elk Grove Diversity Pledge and commemorate their day at the Festival. Grab some ethnic cuisine and find a chair to check out the “Taste of Diversity Cooking Contest.” This event returns for the second year featuring a friendly competition among home cooks with dishes containing the key ingredient of tomatoes. Award winning Chef Ray Duey will create and display cultural carvings from melons and other produce in the new Hill Physicians Culinary Corner.

More than 90 cultural, religious, community, and service organizations will have booths at the festival to promote awareness, education and local programs, products and services.

More information is available here



Eight Candidates Seek Two Seats on Citrus Height City Council

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With two of five seats open this year, there are eight candidates who have qualified to appear on the November ballot for Citrus Height's City Council.

Among the candidates are the following: 
  • Bret Daniels 
  • Rick Doyle 
  • Porsche Middleton 
  • Michael Nishimura 
  • Tim Schaefer 
  • Jeff Slowey 
  • Amor Taylor 
  • Marcel Weiland

Of the eight candidates, only one, Jeff Slowey, is an incumbent.  The other current city council member, Sue Frost, is running for Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.  

Daniels is former city council member who served from 2009 to 2005.