Tuesday, November 24, 2009
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. sentenced MICHAEL ANDREW WILLIAMS, 28, of Sacramento, to six years and five months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for bank robbery. He was also ordered to pay restitution.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Sacramento Violent Crimes Task Force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez, who prosecuted the case, WILLIAMS robbed the U.S. Bank located at 10635 Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento on December 24, 2008. He presented the teller with a demand note, threatening that he had a gun. He then fled the bank on foot with approximately $1,174. On August 3, 2009, when WILLIAMS pleaded guilty, he also admitted that on January 21, 2009 he returned to the same U.S. Bank branch and robbed it a second time, again presenting a similar demand note. He then escaped on foot with approximately $501 in cash. At the time he committed the two bank robberies, WILLIAMS was on supervision by the state of California for battery, drug, and grand theft offenses.
WILLIAMS, who is a “Blood Gang” member, has an extensive criminal history that, as Judge Damrell observed, indicated “a life crime.” At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, WILLIAMS was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
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Monday, November 23, 2009
Jobs and FaceBook.
Those were two of the main ideas explored at the Elk Grove Business Summit held on Thursday night at the Grocery Outlet as business owners gathered to brainstorm on how to soften the bruising recession.
Sponsored by the Elk Grove Community Connection, the summit brought together elected leaders, city officials and business owners who discussed ways for businesses to survive and thrive.
The event was facilitated by Elk Grove Council member Gary Davis who commended all the participants. “You are the civic infrastructure of Elk Grove,” Davis said.
“Tonight is about cementing one thought -- Elk Grove is laser focused on rebuilding our economy,” Davis went on to say.
After Davis’ remarks, each of the seven panelists spoke of how they would rebuild the local economy. Perhaps the most salient remarks came from Elk Grove City Manager Laura Gill who said bringing jobs to Elk Grove was critical to the city’s recovery.
Echoing Gill was Steve Czarnecki, Executive Director of the Elk Grove Economic Development Corporation who noted employees spend money where they work. “People are not spending money here because they don’t work here,” he said.
As part of their efforts, Czarnecki said they are conducting a worldwide marketing effort to attract companies involved in the clean tech and medical sectors to locate operations in the city. He noted this is a long-term project and because of the recession it may take some time before businesses are ready to expand.
Black Friday blast
Another idea that stimulated discussion was the use of internet social networking site such as FaceBook. Elk Grove resident Kenny Alvarado said businesses are losing out on bringing in young consumers by not using the social networks sites.
“As a young person, I’d like to see a FaceBook blast,” Alvarado said. He went on to suggest ideas such as a pre black Friday blast.
Agreeing with this idea was Sharron Harrison, owner of the Elk Grove’s Edible Arrangements who said her company did a similar campaign on FaceBook to much success. Harrison said the campaign brought in younger customers who have never been in the store before.
The participants and panelist also discussed topics ranging from sales tax revenue to the development of the civic center.
In his closing statements, Davis said the summit was productive and that it was worth doing again. “I think we got some good substantiate ideas,” he said.
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Friday, November 20, 2009
The axiom about not mixing politics and religion was put to the test at last night's Elk Grove City Council meeting and the results were not pretty.
During the public comment section of the session, several Catholic parishioners expressed strong displeasure with the Elk Grove City Council over the handling of the proposed St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church.
The new parish, which is proposed for the west side of Bradshaw Road just north of Sheldon Road, has been a lightening rod of controversy. The initial proposal was rejected by the planning commission citing the projects inconsistency with city’s general plan.
The Sacramento Diocese appealed the decision and after a five-and-a-half hour meeting on September 9 that saw dozens of public speakers, the council seemingly approved the project based on reducing the seating capacity of the church. At the time, Mayor Pat Hume congratulated the parishioners on their new parish.
Subsequent to the September meeting, the council again heard the matter on October 28and after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations decided to continue the matter based on lingering design concerns voiced by the church's adjoining neighbors. To resolve the matter and work toward a solution, the council decided to create an ad hoc committee with members of the church, adjoining neighbors and Mayor Pat Hume and council member Gary Davis.
At the October meeting very few parishioners attended and diocese attorney James Sweeney said the matter had not been properly noticed. Council member Davis said that said he had personally communicated with Sweeney the prior day.
The most pointed criticism of the city council came from Dan Brennan who said parishioners were under the impression that their church had been approved following the September meeting.
City council accused of Chicago backroom politics
“Like a backroom in Chicago, all of a sudden everything changed and two opportunists leaped on the chance to kill the project right then and there,” Brennan said. The two opportunists were not identified
Brennan went on to say he thought voters would be shocked to learn of how the church was being treated. “I intend to share all that information with everybody in Elk Grove,” he said.
In the June 28, 2009 edition of the parish bulletin Brennan is listed as the church’s building contact.
After the public comments, Hume apologized for the misunderstanding at the conclusion of the September meeting and said he hoped the conflicts could be resolved by the ad hoc committee.
“I apologize for the confusion that my comments made,” Hume said. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”
Although no specific date for the first ad hoc meeting has been set, city staff said it anticipates the first meeting to take place in early December. The meeting will not be open to the public.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Normal real estate market years off
I recently attended a national foreclosure conference in Las Vegas where one of the key note speakers was Rick Sharga, Senior Vice President of Irvine, Calif. based RealtyTrac. Those closely following the foreclosure calamity are probably familiar with RealtyTrac as the go-to company for national foreclosure statistics.
Without going into all the gory details, these were Sharga's major points during his Monday, November 16 presentation:
- The foreclosure contagion is spreading to states and cities that have up to now have been immune to the crisis such as Boise, Salt Lake City and Provo.
- Next year, in monetary terms, there will be a huge wave of commercial property foreclosures.
- Residential foreclosures will continue to climb through at least 2012.
Not coincidentally, in a speech also delivered on Monday to the Economics Club of New York, Fed Chairman Ben Bernacke blamed banks for the worsening economic conditions and the accompanying rise in unemployment.
“Bank lending has contracted sharply this year...[and] banks continue to tighten the terms on which they extend credit for most kinds of loans… Banks' reluctance to lend will limit the ability of some businesses to expand and hire," Bernanke said. "Because smaller businesses account for a significant portion of net employment gains during recoveries, limited credit could hinder job growth."
Bernacke went on to predict unemployment would continue to rise. The good news, in Berancke’s words was that "the best thing we can say about the labor market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly.”
What about Elk Grove? Sacramento Railyard in trouble?
Without a doubt, should this foreclosure and unemployment crisis continue as predicted it will continue to affect Elk Grove for years to come. Sales revenues, the city’s single largest source of revenue, will either fall drastically or show no growth.
With declining revenues the city must continually reexamine the costs of the services it provides residents. Baring some miracle, at some point the general reserves fund well will dry up and severe cuts in service will take place.
Where will these cuts be made? Law enforcement? More employee layoffs or furlough days? Reduction in city executive pay? Bus service cuts?
What about the continual rise in unemployment? Will this lead to more criminal activity which would make Elk Grove an unattractive place to locate a business, much less a family? Will rising crime rates push employed people out of town further exasperating the fall?
If commercial foreclosures increase, what will happen to all the never-occupied retail and commercial space in Elk Grove? Speaking of commercial foreclosures, does the Elk Grove Promenade really have any chance of opening for business in the next three or four years? If it does open, will it drive other retailers out of business?
If the predictions of Sharga, Berancke and a host of other economists are correct, these are serious questions current or future members of the Elk Grove City Council need to contemplate now.
Elk Grove is at a crucial point in its short history as a city. How well city leaders navigate through this crisis will be the determining factor of Elk Grove’s long term prospects as being a quality place to live.
On a side note, one source who asked not to be named said there is "good chance" the developers of the Sacramento Railyard project in Downtown Sacramento would fall into foreclosure sometime next year.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009
By D. A. Gougherty
Later today politicians from the President on down to our very own city council members will take the opportunity (or is it opportunism?) to acknowledge all the men and women who have honorably served our nation in uniform.
There will be speeches, parades and lots of talk on how we ought to honor those who have served so that we may live free. No one will argue this point.
Aside from honoring members of the armed services every November 11, how well do we really honor and take care of those, particularly those permanently injured, who have served our nation?
Unfortunately many come home to find medical care that has been lacking. Have we forgotten the deplorable conditions injured vets endured at Walter Reed?
How do we honor all the current armed service members? We “honor” our service members by sending them on multiple tours of duty to war zones to fight our wars with more deployments in the future.
Regardless of what your thoughts are on the merits of our forays into Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no doubt that few of us today have sacrificed to the degree our current members of the armed services have.
Have those most enamored with the wars volunteered to serve in the armed forces? Have they asked their sons and daughters to serve? Probably not.
So as we rightfully honor Veterans today, keep in mind the many who promulgate these war have asked far more of others than they have of themselves or their children.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The people of Elk Grove will have an opportunity to honor its Veterans this Wednesday morning with the community’s ninth annual Veterans Day parade.
Joining the parade will be marching bands from the U.S. Army as well as from Elk Grove area high and middle schools. Also scores of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from local troops will march.
The ceremony will start at 10:45 with Elk Grove Council Member Sophia Scherman reading the names of veterans residing in Elk Grove. This year’s Honorary Grand Marshal is the District Six Vice Commander of the American Legion, Tony Arca.
The parade will start at the CCSD parking lot at 8820 Elk Grove Boulevard and proceed to Elk Grove-Florin Road and go south until its terminious at the Elk Grove Regional Park
Complementary meal following parade
Following the parade, participants and spectators will be offered complementary hot dogs, chips and sodas.
Portions of Elk Grove Boulevard and Elk Grove-Florin Road will be detoured starting at 9:45 am.
at 7:38 PM
2000 Postcards from Residents say NO to Canal Plan
Assembly member Alyson Huber delivered 2000 postcards to the Governor’s office. The postcards are from Delta residents who are opposed to Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to build a peripheral canal.
“I have heard from my constituents – residents of the Delta region – and they have said loud and clear they oppose the construction of a peripheral canal,” Huber said. “The Governor showed how out of touch he is with my communities when, just hours after the water package was passed, he touted his plans to build a canal through the Delta at a business event in Stockton. He just doesn’t get it - he might as well walk into a Giant's game wearing a Dodger jersey.”
The Governor’s spokesperson, who came to accept the postcards, answered with a clear “yes” when asked by reporters if the Governor does in fact have plans to build a canal.
As the Governor signs the bills in the water package passed by the legislature, Huber wants to remind the Governor of the strong opposition to his canal plan by Delta residents. These residents will not stand aside while the Governor and his Southern California water buddies bulldoze their way through the Delta.
Huber opposed the water package because it creates a new layer of bureaucrats who will make decisions on water that will impact the communities in her district, including the details of a canal. To counteract proposals to give all authority to a group of unelected appointees, Huber offered up a simple bill (AB 13 7x) one to require a full analysis of the peripheral canal and require legislative approval – a common sense approach. The bill was killed without a hearing. Huber plans to resubmit the bill in the coming weeks.
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Monday, November 9, 2009
On November 2nd, in an unprecedented move, the Elk Grove Republicans voted unanimously to suspend bylaw provisions and endorse Congressman Dan Lungren, R, Gold River for reelection to California’s 3rd Congressional District.
“Our membership felt it critical to get ahead of the curve in this race and endorse Congressman Lungren. This will allow the club to begin dedicating resources to the campaign as early as possible.
Congressman Lungren has demonstrated unwavering support for the district through his voting record as a fiscal conservative and his law and order position on numerous pieces of legislation. He is a man of unquestionable integrity” said Bruce Kaspari, Vice Chairman of the Elk Grove Republicans.
For more information, please contact Bruce Kaspari at 916-505-4065.
Friday, November 6, 2009
The last several weeks have been tumultuous times for the Elk Grove City Charter Commission.
In early October, Christopher Orrock resigned his position as vice chair at the urging of Mayor Pat Hume who had appointed him. According to reports in the Elk Grove Citizen, Orrock was criticized by council member Steve Detrick for violating the city ethic code.
In that story Detrick accused Orrock of spreading rumors and acting like a “mole” who hides behind “blogs and third parties to wreak havoc.”
Orrock resigned prior to a specially scheduled meeting that was to decide whether or not to ask him to step down. Orrock is the husband of Cosumnes Community Services District vice president Michelle Orrock.
Monday saw the resignation of another commission member, Clifford Loveland. Appointed by council member Gary Davis, Loveland did not cite specifics reasons for his abrupt resignation.
Davis said he was unaware of any specific reason for Loveland’s resignation. Loveland could not be reached for comment.
Loveland’s resignation comes in the aftermath of a seemingly contentious public hearing over the further need of the commission at last week’s regular city council meeting. In that meeting council member Jim Cooper pushed to have the commission disbanded.
While Cooper commended the work of the commissioners, he questioned the further need of its existence. Cooper also questioned the public outreach efforts and policy items inserted into the proposed charter such as the two-thirds majority council vote requirement on several tax and assessment related issues.
Although Davis sided with Cooper that the commissions work had been completed, Mayor Pat Hume and council member Steve Detrick were, at that time, in favor of keeping the commission intact so they could conduct public outreach. Council member Sophia Scherman was absent.
Meetings cancelled to conduct public outreach
Following Tuesdays charter commission meeting, the city clerk’s office posted notices yesterday that the next two meeting scheduled for November 17 and December 1 were cancelled.
The minutes for Tuesday’s meeting are not yet available, however a city spokesperson Angela Frost confirmed that commissioners will hold multiple community group meetings. Frost said that the public relations concern, The Hoyt Company, will update the charter commission’s website as meetings are scheduled.
When asked if he believed the city council would not disband the commission, Commissioner Jake Rambo said that he would take the council on their word when they did not take such action last week. “They gave us a schedule, we're going to meet that schedule,” Rambo said.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
On Monday, November 2, 2009, The Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet M.D., declared a local public health emergency. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors ratified the emergency declaration yesterday.
To date there have been 333 hospitalizations and 15 confirmed deaths in Sacramento County since April. The most vulnerable are those 60 years old and younger.
Below is a briefing held by Dr. Trochet held this afternoon.
District Attorney Jan Scully announced yesterday that attorney Gary Appelblatt was sentenced to 18 months in prison following his plea of no contest to four felony counts of sexual battery by a professional and one felony count of attempted sexual battery by a professional. Appelblatt will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.
The case involved five counts relating to five different victims. Appelblatt, a divorce lawyer, fondled the breasts of several female clients under the guise of performing a “medical examination.” During consultations, the defendant would tell the women that he was a pharmacist.
He would discuss his training and his degree and at times would also let them know that his wife was a doctor. The defendant suggested that the women sounded sick or looked sick.
In most cases, Appelblatt would then proceed to pull out a stethoscope and conduct an “exam” as if he were a physician. He would feel their glands, listen to their lungs and listen to their hearts just as a medical doctor would do.
The defendant would then touch, or attempt to touch, the victim’s breasts. However, once the victims realized what he was actually doing was not for a professional purpose, they would stop him. In all cases the victims immediately left the office.
Predator off the street
“The defendant was a predator who used his professional status as a divorce attorney to sexually assault a number of female clients over a period of years,” said deputy district attorney Keith Hill. “Today’s prison sentence will help insure he is no longer in a position to prey on future victims.”
According to state bar information, Appelblatt was admitted to practice law in California in 1989 and will be subjected to an interim suspension on November 23, 2009.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Last week the U.S. Bank branch located inside the Safeway grocery store at 4040 Manzanita Avenue in Carmichael was robbed by a middle aged woman wearing a black trench coat and clear eyeglasses. Making no attempt to conceal her identity the woman walked into the bank and tossed a note to one of the tellers demanding money.
Although no weapon was observed the note indicated the robber had a gun and would use it if necessary. The teller put money in a large black leather type purse the robber had placed on the counter. The robber then grabbed the purse and fled the store.
The suspect is described as a white female with brown hair, 54 to 58 years old, around 5'7" to 5'8", and weighing 200 pounds.
The robbery occurred on October 28, 2009, at 3:37 in the afternoon.
This case is being investigated by the Sacramento Violent Crimes Task Force (SVCTF), comprised of FBI agents and Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Robbery Detectives. Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to contact the FBI in Sacramento at (916) 481-9110, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00.
at 12:16 PM
Who: Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Division and Sacramento Office of Emergency Services
What: DHHS Director Ann Edwards-Buckley; Sacramento County Public Health Officer Glennah Trochet, M.D.; and Sacramento Office of Emergency Services Chief Rick Martinez will hold a news conference to discuss the H1N1 flu situation in Sacramento County and ongoing response activities.
When: 1:30 PM -- Monday, November 2, 2009
Where: DHHS Conference Room 1, 7001-A East Parkway, Sacramento, CA Directions: -Southbound Highway 99 to Florin Road West offramp -Florin Road West to East Parkway (1st light west of highway 99)
-Turn right on East Parkway -Turn right into the Department of Health & Human Services parking lot -Park and walk to the main entrance (large entry toward the east side of the building with the
address “7001-A” on the glass entry doors). You will be directed to the conference room.
Background: H1N1 flu activity continues to be widespread in the Sacramento area. At the news conference, H1N1 status, actions being taken to manage the pandemic, and implementation of County-operated H1N1 flu clinics will be discussed.
7001A East Parkway, Suite 600B • Sacramento, California 95823 • phone 916.875.5471 • fax 916.875.5888 • www.scph.com