Nov 30, 2015

New study claims all male or all female brain traits rare

FPPC opens investigation into Leo Sears' allegations about the Harbor District, FPPC also rules that Greg Dale can use campaign funds for this civil lawsuit

This afternoon, a hearing was held for the lawsuit that Leo Sears has filed against Greg Dale, Jack Crider, and the rest of the Commissioners of the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District. Judge Reinholtsen did not make a ruling today on either the defendant's motion to strike or the continuance requested by Mr. Bill Bertain. He has taken the matter under submission and will be issuing a written ruling.

Mr. Bertain is representing Mr. Sears. Mr. Paul Brizzo is representing the Harbor District.

The Fair Political Practices Commission sent a letter on November 10 to Mr. Bertain that they are looking into the allegations made by Mr. Sears. As required, they have notified Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming of this investigation they have opened.

Mr. Bertain filed an opposition to the defendant's motion to strike on November 16. Mr. Beratin also filed a declaration in support of objection to evidence based on newly acquired evidence on November 24. In this declaration, there are documents attached including emails which Mr. Bertain claims contradict declarations by Greg Dale that he did not participate in any Harbor District transactions with Pacific Seafoods/Coast Seafoods.

Mr. Brisso also filed responses. Mr. Brisso said that the lawsuit against Greg Dale was a violation of his first amendment rights and other consitutional rights. He also called most of the ex-parte issues "irrelevant."

I will have another detailed post on the oral arguments today by the attorneys.

At today's hearing, Mr. Bertain asked the Judge for a 30 day continuance to file a supplemental opposition based on newly acquired evidence.

From the FPPC Nov 5 monthly report:

Greg Dale     A-15-210 The Act does not prohibit a Commissioner of the Humboldt  Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation  District from  using campaign funds to pay for legal services related  to  defense of a civil lawsuit  alleging that the Commissioner  and the District violated Section 1090 because there  is a direct relationship between the  expenditure  for legal services and  the  Commissioner’s status as an elected officer.

Previous posts:

Leo Sears rejects LOCO's characterization of him as a "railroad buff" and sets the record straight
I happened to call Mr. Leo Sears right in the midst of him writing a response to LOCO mislabeling him as a railroad buff.

After reading all of today's coverage of the press conference, including mine, Mr. Sears gave me permission to print his response on my blog.

This is Mr. Sears response:

"Your headline derogatorily refers to me a “Railroad Buff”. At the-turn-of-the-century, I served a three year term as a Director of the North Coast Railroad, and have long since recognized our areas need for improved transportation.

That having been said, I have never advocated for (or against) an east west railroad. Richard Marks, President of the of the Harbor District, also serves as a Director of the North Coast Railroad Authority and has spoken of the need for improved transportation. I have never thought of Richard as a “Railroad Buff”, and doubt that Richard is a member or advocate of the east west group. I totally reject the bias you've used to paint me with false colors.

Over the past 20 years I have attended numerous monthly Citizens for Port Development luncheons at the Samoa Cook House, as have many Harbor Commissioners. I never felt doing so necessary made me or them members of the Citizens for Port Development. I am not a member of the Citizens for Port Development, and was unequivocal when asked at the press conference. You have simply taken a whole cloth claim by the Commissioners, and ignored asking me for confirmation.

The accusation that the timing the suit is simply to affect the election is a wholly biased and unfounded accusation. Any blame for the timing of the suit fall directly on the shoulders of the Harbor District. It is in reaction to actions they took in September, and I could not have acted any sooner.

To be perfectly clear, I answer to no one other than myself. Over recent years I absented myself from community involvement to care for the declining health of my wife. But I believe my track record to be one of pursuing Economic Growth and Stability. That is what I'm trying to do now. Nothing more, nothing less."

Oct 5, 2015

"I really want to avoid this lawsuit" Leo Sears wants Greg Dale to resign among other remedies sought

The Harbor District races this November just got a kickstart.

A press conference was held at 1 p.m. outside the Humboldt County Courthouse. A lawsuit was been filed in the Humboldt Superior Court this morning by Leo Sears against Harbor District Commissioner Greg Dale as well as fellow Commissioners Aaron Newman, Mike Wilson, Richard Marks, Pat Higgins, Executive Director Jack Crider and the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District.

The main point of the lawsuit is that the plaintiff, Leo Sears, alleges that "each and every defendant conspired with each of the remaining defendants and that they had common knowledge of and agreed to a plan to borrow $1.25 million from Coast Seafoods and, in a quid pro quo bargain, grant a 10 year lease extension with 4 five year options to Coast Seafoods while Greg Dale was serving on the Board of Commissioners of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District."

"The lawsuit alleges that all defendants were aware of Greg Dale's capacity as an officer of Coast Seafoods, the party with which the Harbor District was contracting. The lawsuit alleges violation of Government Code 1090.

The lawsuit asks that Greg Dale no longer serve as a Commissioner on the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, that the lease extension and $1.25 million loan be voided, several injunctions and costs of attorney fees.

The lawsuit was filed by local attorney Mr. William Bertain for Mr. Leo Sears. The civil lawsuit is a complaint for declaratory relief and preliminary and final injunctions.

Mr. Bertain said that the Commissioners ignored the wishes of citizens. Mr. Bertain said by filing this lawsuit Mr. Sears hoped this would avoid future of conflict of interests.

One of the things that make this conflict of interest significant said Mr. Sears is the quid pro quo issue. "I really wanted to avoid this lawsuit," said Mr. Sears. "No man can serve two masters."

Section 1090 does not excuse a person from  violation of the law just because he abstains or leaves the room, said Mr. Bertain.

Mr. Bertain referred to a 1985 Supreme Court case that upheld 1090. "I would no longer like to se Greg Dale serve on the Commission because of his conflict of interest," said Mr. Bertain. He described it as "blatant."

"We have two commissioners here right now, I guess we are ready to have a meeting." One of those commissioners was Mr. Marks. Mr. Crider had arrived with Mr. Marks. Mr. Greg Dale came in a few minutes late to the conference.

"We are dealing with the 1090 issue," said Mr. Dale. "You have to have ten percent in the company which I don't. This is a political stunt."

Mr. Dale called the people behind this effort a "group of individuals who have an interest in the East-West rail. It's not a coincidence that these people have been sending me threats for the past month and a half, are doing on the day the absentee ballots are to be sent out."

"I look forward to going to court," said Mr. Dale. "I have never been sued before."

Mr. Crider agreed with Mr. Dale that "this was a political stunt.". He said "I try not to get involved in the election office." Being named as a defendant in a lawsuit involving the Harbor is par for the course since he is the Executive Director.

"As soon as the election is over this will get dropped," said Mr. Crider. "We have had multiple attorneys on this, it was a complicated agreement. Because of public interest, we took public input in the final agreement."

Mr. Marks said that the timing was of interest since the absentee ballots come out tomorrow.

Mr. Sears said the timing was dictated by the actions of the Harbor District in September. It was September 10th when they multi-year extension of the lease with Coast Seafoods was signed. It was September 16th when he wrote a letter to the Editor asking for Mr. Dale to resign.

In the press release as well as remarks at the press conference, both Mr. Sears and Mr. Bertain said that at a luncheon meeting of the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Dale told the public attending that he was the one who conceived the idea and pushed the idea of Coast Seafoods, his employer, making a loan to the Harbor District to assist in the removal of pulp processing liquors from the Harbor District's recently purchased property at Samoa that was formerly the Freshwater Pulp Mill.

Mr. Sears also dismissed the criticism by Greg Dale that this was motivated in any way by people involved in the East West railroad. Mr. Sears said he had no connection with the East West railroad. "The only organization I pay dues and am a part of is the Taxpayers League."

Oct 5, 2015

Leo Sears filed a conflict of interest lawsuit in Humboldt Superior Court against Greg Dale, the Harbor District and other commisioners.

This morning, Leo Sears filed a conflict of interest lawsuit in Humboldt Superior Court against Greg Dale, the Harbor District, and the other 4 commissioners.

A press conference is being held at 1 p.m. in front of the Courthouse where more details and a copy of the complaint will be available.

Suspect violates restraining order and allegedly punches his pregnant girlfriend

On 11-20-2015 at about 11:50 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a reported domestic violence incident.

Upon arrival, Deputies learned that a 40 year old female, who was in a dating relationship and recently cohabitated with Gerard Larvie engaged in a verbal argument, regarding her being pregnant.

The argument escalated and Larvie punched the female in the face causing injury to her right eye.

Deputies observed a visible injury to her right eye. There was a small laceration above the eye and it was swollen and slightly purplish in color.

Deputies also learned that there was a domestic violence order keeping Larvie away from the female victim.

Deputies subsequently contacted Larvie in the area of George's Lane and Ellison Way in Fort Bragg, California.

Larvie was arrested for felony domestic violence battery and violation of a domestic violence order. Larvie was determined to be on Mendocino County Court Probation and was also arrested for violating the terms of his probation.

Larvie was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for the listed charges where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000.00 bail.

"No, we are talking about the difference between negligence and intentional"

Mr. Paul Sequeira who is prosecuting the Jason Warren case decimated the defense's main witness, traffic collision reconstruction consultant, Steven Walker during cross examination this morning.

Mr. Sequeira started his cross examination by getting Walker to agree with his statement, "There's no question that the joggers were hit from behind." He further got Walker to admit that he was not asked to estimate speed by the defense. Mr. Sequeira got Walker to admit there were no mechanical defects in the KIA; he got Walker to back off and unsuccessfully justify his claims in the report that the road where the collision happened was dangerous and that the driver was out of control when he hit the three joggers and the Jessica Hunt's dog.

Using google maps, Walker's own words and reports, Mr. Sequeira got the jury's attention and was able to completely unravel Walker's theory and report.

At one point Walker trying to save his report said that  a driver involved in an accident would bring in question of he was a good driver.

Mr. Sequeira responded with, ""No, we are talking about the difference between negligence and intentional."

full update later...

Defense rests in Warren case, closing arguments Dec 2, deliberations to start same day

With only two witnesses, the last one being HCSO Detective Cheryl Franco, the defense started and rested it's case this morning in the Jason Warren jury trial.

Nothing in the defense case pointed towards Warren's innocence or put a dent in the People's case.

Jury will be back for instructions, closing arguments Wednesday, December 2 and is expected to start deliberations the same day.

Jason Warren's juvenile record where he admitted to stabbing and assault put on record, defense traffic collision expert testifies

This morning the People read into record exhibits that will be admitted into evidence this morning about Jason Warren's juvenile record in 2001 where he admitted to attempted murder of a taxi cab driver, Cid Miller, and another admission of assault on a man, Fred Her, riding a bicycle. Both men testified for the  People earlier in the trial.

Judge Timothy Cissna said that "this evidence maybe used solely as to the issue of whether Jason Warren committed acts of stabbing" to Cid Miller on April 10, 2001 and whether he hit Fred Her or his bicycle on April 10, 2001. It cannot be used for any other purpose. There will be a specific closing jury instruction explaining the limited purpose for this evidence.

The defense's first witness was Steven Walker, a self employed traffic collision reconstruction specialist, who has been on the stand for an hour.

full update later...

Missing diver in Point Arena finally found and rescued but deceased

On 11-28-2015 at approximately 7:12 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned to the area of the 45000 block of Light House Rd, Point Arena CA. for a report of a missing diver.

Representatives from the United States Coast Guard (Station Noyo Harbor), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Parks, and Fire personal from the Redwood Coast Volunteer Fire Protection District were requested to respond and assist in the search.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene and learned that two men from Vallejo CA had entered the ocean in the area of the Point Arena Lighthouse at around 2:45 PM to dive for abalone. The reporting party said he finished diving first and noticed it was starting to get dark and he had not heard from his friend who was still in the water. The reporting person said the missing diver was last seen in a cove about 300 yards north of the Point Arena Light House. The reporting party was unable to locate his friend and called 9-1-1 for help.

Helicopters, boats, and personnel on land were utilized to search the area. The search continued into the night but the missing diver could not be found.

On 11-29-2015 the Mendocino County Sheriff Volunteer Search and Rescue Team, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, along with the United States Coast Guard, California State Parks, California Fish and Wildlife, and Redwood Coast Volunteer Fire protection District continued the search for the missing diver.

At about 10:05 AM the missing diver was located, deceased, by members of the Mendocino County volunteer Search and Rescue Team approximately ¼ mile north of the Point Arena Light House in the surf at the Manchester State Beach. The decedent’s name is being withheld pending Next of Kin notification.

Nov 27, 2015

Will anything occur at the next court hearing for Leo Sears lawsuit against Greg Dale?

A court hearing is scheduled this Monday at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 8 for the civil lawsuit filed by Leo Sears against Greg Dale and the Humboldt Harbor District Commissioners.

That day's calendar for that courtroom is huge. Based on covering civil cases, and the slow pace of paperwork back and forth before any decision is made, will happen anything Monday or just another date being set?

Read link below for background.