Tuesday, August 25, 2009
When Elk Grove Police made a routine traffic stop late last night, they came across something slightly more unusual.
According to police reports, when officers stopped 39-year old Raymell Eason of North Highlands, they discovered that not only was the suspect on parole, but was also in possession of five counterfeit five-dollar bills. Eason was arrested and transferred to the county jail.
Elk Grove officers made two other arrests yesterday.
A 49-year old female suspect was arrested for physically assaulting a 17-year old female in a domestic violence incident. The teenage victim was punched in the head several times and another bystander sustained minor scratches to the chest and arms while intervening.
Police also arrested 21-year old Cameron Bender near Franklin Boulevard and Laguna Boulevard for impaired driving. The suspect was transferred to the county jail.
at 3:39 PM
United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced today that Senior United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia sentenced BRIAN RAYMOND WOODIN, 41, of Lincoln, today to 30 years in federal prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release for producing, transporting, and possessing child pornography. In addition, WOODIN was ordered to pay $152,902 in restitution to victims.
This case was the product of an extensive investigation by the Savannah Georgia and the Sacramento offices of the FBI.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Laurel D. White, who prosecuted the case, WOODIN pleaded guilty in April of this year to charges that he produced images of his then nine-year-old stepdaughter and transported those images to another person in Georgia. A search warrant had been obtained for WOODIN’s Placer County residence and work place, and law enforcement officers seized numerous computers that were found to contain thousands of images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
U.S. Attorney Brown stated, “Today’s severe sentence sends a clear message to those who exploit children—they do so at their own peril.”
The investigation was undertaken as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC). PSC is a United States Department of Justice initiative established to increase federal prosecutions of violent sexual predators of children and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking. As a part of PSC, the United States Attorney’s Office has teamed with state and local agencies and organizations to increase law enforcement presence on the Internet, and to educate the public about safe Internet use, thereby reducing the risk that children might fall prey to online sexual predators.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced today that CHARLES BARKSDALE, 28, of Oakland and Sacramento, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. to 10 years and 10 months in prison for bank fraud. BARKSDALE pleaded guilty on February 17, 2009. Papers filed with the court indicate that he is a member of the “G-Mob” gang in Sacramento.
This case is the product of investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and police and sheriffs’ departments in several states.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthew D. Segal, who prosecuted the case, the scheme netted between $1 million and $2 million in losses to 37 financial institutions in late 2007 and early 2008. The schemers, operating from California, sent runners to Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas to use so-called “prepaid” credit cards for cash advances at banks.
Although the cards only had small amounts of money available, the runners would tell the bank tellers to call a toll-free number that was controlled by a co-schemer. The co-schemer would pose as a card services representative, state that there were thousands of dollars available on the card, and then instruct the teller on what buttons to press on the card terminal in order to make the transaction go through.
The runner would then keep a portion of the funds for his or herself, and would remit a portion of the fraudulently obtained funds, typically half, to BARKSDALE and others in the Sacramento area. Runners sent money by Federal Express, by wire, or by depositing funds into bank accounts controlled by BARKSDALE and others.
On July 7, 2008, Secret Service, FBI, and police investigators executed search warrants at multiple locations in Sacramento. At the time, BARKSDALE was in Sacramento County Jail on unrelated charges.
When he learned of the searches, he called a woman he knew. On the recorded line, he used coded language to instruct the woman to destroy a computer, withdraw funds from a bank account, and remove expensive merchandise from a residence.
Judge Damrell, in sentencing, said that BARKSDALE was the “Chairman of the Board” in an extensive criminal enterprise, responsible not only for stealing over $1 million, but also for bringing many more people into the scheme.
Judge Damrell looked at BARKSDALE’s extensive record of arrests, which included arrests for violent crimes, and commented that since his teenaged years, “Mr. Barksdale has been an active criminal.”
at 11:07 AM
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced today that CHARLES BARKSDALE, 28, of Oakland and Sacramento, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. to 10 years and 10 months in prison for bank fraud. BARKSDALE pleaded guilty on February 17, 2009. Papers filed with the court indicate that he is a member of the “G-Mob” gang in Sacramento.
This case is the product of investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and police and sheriffs’ departments in several states.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthew D. Segal, who prosecuted the case, the scheme netted between $1 million and $2 million in losses to 37 financial institutions in late 2007 and early 2008. The schemers, operating from California, sent runners to Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas to use so-called “prepaid” credit cards for cash advances at banks. Although the cards only had small amounts of money available, the runners would tell the bank tellers to call a toll-free number that was controlled by a co-schemer. The co-schemer would pose as a card services representative, state that there were thousands of dollars available on the card, and then instruct the teller on what buttons to press on the card terminal in order to make the transaction go through. The runner would then keep a portion of the funds for his or herself, and would remit a portion of the fraudulently obtained funds, typically half, to BARKSDALE and others in the Sacramento area. Runners sent money by Federal Express, by wire, or by depositing funds into bank accounts controlled by BARKSDALE and others.
On July 7, 2008, Secret Service, FBI, and police investigators executed search warrants at multiple locations in Sacramento. At the time, BARKSDALE was in Sacramento County Jail on unrelated charges. When he learned of the searches, he called a woman he knew. On the recorded line, he used coded language to instruct the woman to destroy a computer, withdraw funds from a bank account, and remove expensive merchandise from a residence.
Judge Damrell, in sentencing, said that BARKSDALE was the “Chairman of the Board” in an extensive criminal enterprise, responsible not only for stealing over $1 million, but also for bringing many more people into the scheme. Judge Damrell looked at BARKSDALE’s extensive record of arrests, which included arrests for violent crimes, and commented that since his teenaged years, “Mr. Barksdale has been an active criminal.”
at 9:53 AM
Friday, August 14, 2009
Majority of homes with mortgages in area have negative equity, price drop continues
In another sign of continued woes in local real estate, Santa Ann Calif. based First American Core Logic reported yesterday that the majority of houses in the greater Sacramento area have negative equity, meaning the loan balance is greater that the current market value of the house.
According to the report there are 257,871, or 51.1 percent of all properties with mortgages are in negative equity a total of 276,834 mortgages, or 54.8 percent are in near negative equity positions.
The report did not break out individual cities in the Sacramento area.
Separately, Irvine, Calif. based RealtyTrac also reported discouraging housing numbers. In July there were 360,149 more foreclosures in California than June, a 6.42 percent increase.
RealtyTrac also reported that year over year foreclosure sales prices dropped 16.9 percent, or $35,605. The average sales price of a foreclosure in July 2009 was $175,503.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
$1 trillion of California property ‘under water’
A report published this afternoon shows that nearly $1 trillion of property in California is in a negative equity meaning it is worth less than its original loan value, or ‘under-water.’
The report published by First American Core Logic of Santa Ana, Calif., continues to paint a bleak picture of real estate values in California and mationally.
According to the report, 42 percent of California mortgages are under-water. The report says that 2.9 million California mortgages have negative equity and another 3.2 are approaching negative equity.
Nationally, the report says that there are 15.2 million negative equity loans with a value of $3.4 trillion. The 15.2 million represents 32.2 of all mortgaged properties nationally.
at 3:42 PM
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Over the next several days Sac Metro News will present an analysis of the monetary contributions received by each of Elk Grove's city council candidates based on the California 460 filings with the city clerk.
Update Tenative Schedule. Cooper: Sunday, Davis: Monday, Detrick: Wednesday, Scherman: Friday.
As many of you may have guessed the ‘Mother’s Milk’ reference comes from the legendary speaker of the California Assembly, Big Daddy Jesse Unruh who said "Money is the mother's milk of politics."
Understanding who, and from where a politician receives contributions from gives constituent an insight in what motivates our elected leaders.
Our first analysis will be on Mayor Pat Hume:
Check back as images of the complete 460 filing for Hume and each council member will be posted.
Monday, August 10, 2009
High speed pursuit went thru South Sac, Elk Grove
District Attorney Jan Scully announced that Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny sentenced James Lee Blake on Friday, August 10 to a term of 25 years to life in prison. Blake was convicted for felony violations of evading a police officer, driving in a reckless manner and driving opposite the flow of lawful traffic as well as a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer.
On August 20, 2007, officers stopped Blake for driving a stolen car. Blake pulled to the side of the road, waited for officers to get out of their vehicles, then drove away at a high rate of speed, with two passengers in his car.
He proceeded to lead officers on a 52 mile pursuit lasting over 30 minutes and reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour on the freeway and through residential neighborhoods in South Sacramento and Elk Grove.
During the pursuit, Blake drove on the wrong side of the road, caused other cars to swerve to avoid colliding with him and avoided three law enforcement tack strips before eventually losing control of the car and crashing into a drainage ditch.
Blake has been previously convicted twice of burglary in the first degree. Due to the serious nature of his prior convictions as well as the extremely dangerous conduct in the present case, he was prosecuted as a three striker.
Deputy District Attorney Kristi Tungesvik said, “It is a miracle that the reckless actions in this case did not result in death or serious injury. This is a just sentence for a repeat convicted felon who once again showed complete disregard for the safety and well-being of the people in our community.”
Thursday, August 6, 2009
On Tuesday, the much anticipated funds for so-called ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects made their first appearance in Sacramento County with ground breaking ceremonies for a Rancho Cordova road improvement project.
One of the dignitaries on hand at the ceremony was the California 3rd Congressional district representative, Republican Dan Lungren. At a nearby press conference, Lungren said he was pleased with the project.
Lungen, a longtime deficit hawk, said that he thought spending on “simple infrastructure” was laudable. Lungren voted against President Obama’s stimulus package that won approval last winter.
Lungren’s change of heart might be related to the fact that the Democratic Congressional Candidate (DCCC) has identified that Lungren as vulnerable to defeat in the 2010 congressional midterm elections. Indeed, Obama won the traditionally Republican 3rd district last fall and Lungren was unable to win a majority in his victory over under-funded opponent, Dr. Bill Durston.
The irony of Lungren’s statement was not lost on the DCCC’s Western Region press secretary Andy Stone.
“After just saying no to the economic recovery package, then returning home to promote its benefits, Congressman Dan Lungren’s pattern of saying one thing in Washington and something different in California is crystal clear,” said Stone. “Two different times, Lungren could have supported the Coloma Rd. project and other road projects throughout Sacramento and Amador Counties, but both times he voted no.”
While there are no announced opponents for Lungren’s party nomination, three Democrats, Dr. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, Elk Grove City Council member Gary Davis and SMUD director Bill Slaton are seeking their party’s nomination to challenge the Gold River Republican.
at 6:16 AM
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
'The Big Build' Supported by U.S. Department of Transportation Funds
Sacramento International Airport’s terminal construction project – The Big Build – will receive more than $8.9 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to assist with costs associated with the expansion and enhancements of the airport.
“Phased construction of the terminal apron, remain overnight parking for aircraft and a crossfield taxiway directly benefit from the grant funds,” said G. Hardy Acree, Director of Airports. “Construction not only enables Sacramento International to replace aging facilities that no longer meet the needs of its customers. Construction also provides hundreds of jobs to our region and ensures that Sacramento International will be poised to accommodate growth in air carrier activities, providing more employment opportunity in the future.”
The Big Build is critically needed to accommodate projected growth at Sacramento International Airport and replace the aging Terminal B complex that has reached obsolescence since its opening over four decades ago. Projects associated with the Big Build will also enable Sacramento International to operate more efficiently with less congestion.
“The Big Build is the largest capital improvement project in Sacramento County history,” said Susan Peters, Chair of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, “With a combination of bonds and federal funds, the project is a landmark investment in the region’s future to ensure that Sacramento International Airport will serve travelers as a welcoming gateway to Northern California for years to come.”
The Letter of Intent payment stream for the grant is scheduled over a seven-year period concluding in fiscal year 2015 and supports the $1.08 billion budget for the Big Build. .
“During a period of economic downturn, it is tempting to lose faith in progress and development.” said Terry Schutten, Sacramento County Executive, “However, federally supported projects such as the Big Build provide employment opportunities to our residents and ensure that our facilities are prepared for the future. Such projects are an investment in the economic vitality of the region as a whole.”
Sacramento County Airport System is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. For more information on the system, visit www.sacairports.org.
State Employee Who Inspected Rehab Clinics Indicted on Corruption Charges for Allegedly Taking Cash Bribes
An employee of the California agency charged with coordinating alcohol and drug abuse programs across the state was indicted today on federal corruption charges for allegedly demanding more than $100,000 in bribes from the owners of two rehabilitation clinics that were seeking state certifications.
Gary Eugene Goethe, 45, of Sacramento, was named today in an indictment that accuses him of four counts of “honest services” wire fraud, four counts of extortion and two counts of bribery.
Today’s indictment follows Goethe’s arrest on July 9 by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as he was leaving a meeting where he allegedly accepted a $3,500 cash payment that was part of a $10,000 bribe he had negotiated. Goethe was initially charged in a criminal complaint, a charging document that is now superseded by the grand jury indictment.
“Whether they are employed by local, state or federal government, all public employees have a duty to properly serve the citizens who pay their salaries,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “Corruption by any public official undermines everyone’s opinion of government and challenges the fundamental concept of fair and equal treatment.”
Goethe worked for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) as a “drug Medi-Cal monitoring supervisor” who traveled to alcohol and drug treatment clinics throughout California to inspect records and documentation related to Medi-Cal billings. ADP, which receives millions of dollars in funding every year from the United States government, is responsible for administering prevention, treatment and recovery services for alcohol abuse, drug abuse and problem gambling.
For the past year, Goethe allegedly solicited and accepted bribes from rehabilitation facility owners in exchange for his promise of approvals and other benefits. The indictment alleges that in one case Goethe told a clinic owner that he could help the owner obtain certifications that would allow the owner to expand service offerings to include mental health treatment. Goethe allegedly promised that, in exchange for cash bribery payments, he could “guarantee” that the clinics would be certified to provide mental health treatment services. Goethe allegedly demanded $92,000 in bribery payments from the owner.
In relation to another facility, Goethe is accused of revealing to the owner that the facility was being investigated by the California Department of Justice, but that, in exchange for cash bribe, Goethe could “help” the clinic owner by providing confidential information about the subjects and progress of the investigation, as well as steering CalDOJ away from the clinic. Goethe allegedly demanded $10,000 in bribe payments from the owner of this facility.
After being arrested last month, Goethe was freed on a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment next Monday in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
The charge of “honest services” wire fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The charge of interference with commerce by extortion under color of official right also carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case against Goethe was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
at 12:30 PM
The current economic downturn has taken its toll on the City of Elk Grove. The City’s budget is tight. Many important city services have been cut. Yet, the City Council is about to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on an effort to expand the City’s sphere of influence (SOI) into the Cosumnes River floodplain South-East of the City.
A sphere of influence defines the area outside the City’s current borders that the City believes will be needed to support future growth. Inclusion of the floodplain in the City’s SOI is unnecessary to meet these needs.
More importantly, this action is generating substantial local, regional, statewide and even national concern because the Cosumnes River is the only undammed river on the west side of the Sierras and its floodplain supports a unique ecosystem that provides habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife species including those currently threatened with extinction. As a result, the environmental review process required as part of the SOI expansion program will be lengthy, expensive, and may not even be successfully completed.
What’s Going On?
So why is the Council considering this action? Because they don’t want to disappoint a handful of landowners who own large parcels of land that extend from Grant Line Road to the Cosumnes River. Significant portions of these parcels are in the floodplain.
Some of these owners want all of this land to be annexed into the City because they think the City will be more likely to support their development plans. They have pushed the Council to include the floodplain in the City’s SOI expansion program and the resulting increase in program costs to the citizens of Elk Grove.
What is the alternative?
The City Council could take at least two steps that would minimize the concerns raised by the SOI expansion and reduce the costs associated with the environmental review process. First, the Council could limit the expansion area to the lands south and east of the City that are outside the floodplain. These lands are more than ample to meet the City’s long-term planning needs under any reasonable analysis.
Second, the Council could negotiate an agreement with the County of Sacramento that protects the floodplain and provides assurances to the landowners that the City and County will cooperate in addressing their development interests.
Due to the current economic situation, the Council is requiring all programs to take these kinds of steps to reduce spending and meet the requirements of the City’s budget. City staff refers to this process as “right sizing."
The most recent example is the Council’s decision to restructure e-Tran services, increasing the cost of monthly passes, cutting commute services, and completely eliminating week-end and holiday services that many of the City’s disabled residents rely on.
Why shouldn’t the SOI expansion program be similarly managed to cut costs instead of skewing the program to benefit a small number of landowners at the expense of everyone else?
What Can You Do?
If you agree that the City should not waste money by expanding into the floodplain, please forward the attached e-mail to your City Council representative before August 26, 2009.
Mayor Pat Hume: firstname.lastname@example.org 683-7111
Vice Mayor Sophia Scherman: email@example.com 718-9631
Councilmember Jim Cooper: firstname.lastname@example.org 683-7111
Councilmember Gary Davis: email@example.com 683-7111
Councilmember Steve Detrick: firstname.lastname@example.org 683-7111
You should also forward this to the LAFCo Commissioners through the Commission Clerk, Diane Thorpe, at her e-mail listed below.
(Prepared and distributed by the Wilton Action Group – [www.wiltonactiongroup.org])
at 10:10 AM
Earlier today Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness announced that he will not seek a second term as Sacramento County's top law enforcement official.
Elk Grove News has acquired a portion of an internal e-mail from McGiness to Sacramento Sheriffs Department (SSD) personnel regarding his planned retirement.
Like every government agency in California, the SSD has been forced to operate on a smaller budget which has lead to reduced staffing.
Here is the e-mail:
The extraordinary people of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department are enduring a most difficult time. The consequences of the recent budget reductions have devastated the Department and resulted in the loss of valuable programs, critical equipment and most importantly, the loss of many of our most precious resources, our own people. I am also sensitive to the many good people in the organization who, while still employed, have suffered demotion or loss of special assignment and the associated element of personal satisfaction. While we have endured significant hits, we are still strong in terms of character and quality of people, it is such strength that will allow us to endure.
Recent publications have suggested the economy is beginning to recover. While I hope that is true, many economists continue to believe we have yet to bottom and that the recession may continue or worsen before recovery begins. Regardless of the progress of true economic recovery, any benefit we see in the public sector will lag behind that of the financial markets and the private sector in general. We are only 34 days into this fiscal year and the County of Sacramento is already facing significant fiscal challenges; the State of California has passed a budget that will not likely survive the calendar year. The combination of all these factors should serve as a strong indicator that we will continue to have challenges unprecedented in the County’s history throughout the next year. In fact, I believe the coming year may be the most critical in our evolution, and that the manner in which we manage this critical period will have a profound impact on the success of SSD long after we have moved on.
I am wholly committed to efforts to protect and restore our organization. Such an endeavor will consume all of my available time, energy and effort. With that as my singular focus, I have decided to not seek another term.
I greatly appreciate the good work, friendships and support I have experienced over nearly thirty years with the Department. My sincere hope is that we will see significant economic growth and restoration before my anticipated retirement in January of 2011.
at 12:30 AM
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness announced today that he will not seek reelection in 2010.
Within hours, Elk Grove City Council member Jim Cooper formally announced he will seek the office.
McGiness, who has been with the department for 29 years, said that in addition to Cooper there were two other candidates that would be vying for the position.
For Cooper, a charter member of the Elk Grove City Council and it's first mayor, it has long been speculated he aspired to be sheriff. Cooper was the sheriffs department spokesperson for several years in the mid 1990's.
It was this role as spokesperson that made Cooper widely known when he first ran for office in 2000 and is credited with his place finish in the 2000 election that fielded over 20 candidates. Prior to that, Cooper's Elk Grove community involvement was confined to children athletics.
at 8:04 PM