Saturday, September 22, 2007

My response to Nicole:
One of the best ways to change case law is to challenge it in court.

Is Mike Aguirre wrong to pursue wrongdoing by goverment?

Many in San Diego are outraged that Mike Aguirre is pursuing government wrongdoing. They say he should not reveal any wrongdoing by government, because he represents the individuals in city government, not the people of the city.

The city attorney should not help hide individual wrongdoing, or even conspiracies among individuals.

Hiding wrongdoing is not in the city's long term best interests.

San Diego shouldn't be like Washington County, Utah, where the Warren Jeffs trial is going on. The word has apparently been handed down from both the mainstream Mormon churches and the breakaway FLDS, controlled by Jeffs, that no one is to talk to the media. It sounds a lot like Jerry Sanders' order to San Diego city employees that they may not talk about what goes on in the city.

City government should stop being secretive. It should stop hiding the truth from the public. How can citizens elect better officials if they don't know what the past and present officials and employees have been up to?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Soldiers prefer Dragonskin

Soldiers like Dragonskin

Why were high-profile soldiers wearing a type of body armor that was banned by the army?

a) They were foolish, careless individuals.
b) They believed that the army had, for reasons unrelated to safety, actually banned the best body armor, Dragonskin.
c) They were smart people who were temporarily unhinged by immunizations that caused psychotic behavior.

NBC's Lisa Myers talked to the man who designed Interceptor, the body armor that the army uses. He says Dragonskin is better than the armor he designed!

So NBC conducted its own test. It found Dragonskin to be better.

The CIA also decided Dragonskin is better.

Brig. General Mark Brown claims that Dragonskin failed a highly secretive test done by the army.

NBC's Adam Ciralsky and Lisa Myers report that "there’s just one problem: the Army banned Dragon Skin in March, almost two months before that testing began in May."

The report contains an interview of Gen. Brown:

"[LISA] MYERS: General, the Army banned Dragon Skin before the Army even tested it.

"BROWN: Lisa, I’m — I’m not aware of that… I don’t know that it had not been tested at that time. I wasn’t here.

The NBC report notes:

"Nevin Rupert, a mechanical engineer and ballistics expert, was for seven years the Army’s leading authority on Dragon Skin. Now a whistleblower, he says the Army’s timing wasn’t coincidental.

"RUPERT: I believe there are some Army officials at the lower levels that deliberately tried to sabotage it.

"MYERS: What possible motive would Army officials have for blocking a technology that could save lives?

"RUPERT: Their loyalty is to their organization and maintaining funds."

Who were the high profile soldiers who wore Dragonskin after it was banned?

NBC news reports that, well after the Army ban, "select soldiers assigned to protect generals and VIPs in Iraq and Afghanistan wore Dragon Skin. An active duty soldier, who asked us to conceal his identity, told NBC he wore Dragon Skin on certain missions, with the full knowledge of his commanders."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Arctic ice level at Lowest; may help shipping

Is that a cool headline, or what? No, that doesn't quite work.

Is that a hot headline, or what?

I found it on the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune this morning.

Hey, why not look on the bright side? Mosquitos are thrilled! Olive farmers in England are delighted! Sales figures for sunblock take off in Greenland! Specialists in tropical diseases revel in new respect and rocketing paychecks!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Alex Smith is giving much-needed help to foster kids

San Francisco 49ers football player Alex Smith has started a foundation to assist foster kids when they turn 18 and lose their homes. I am impressed with Alex's efforts to give help where it's needed most.

I trust Alex will stick to a path of integrity in his life.

Alex's mother, Chula Vista Elementary School District board member Pam Smith, can give him practical guidance, but let's hope Alex will avoid his mother's moral side trips into obstruction of justice regarding crimes committed in schools.

Pam Smith was one of the five board members who decided to cover up crimes at Castle Park Elementary and CVESD, causing $100,000s of taxpayers dollars to be spent for the purpose of obstructing justice, and an elementary school to fall apart, with plunging test scores, a PTA embezzlement, and the best and brightest teachers and principal driven away.

Is secrecy buying these girls a better life?

A cop says this about a Los Angeles sorority: ""I've had an easier time infiltrating street gangs than penetrating this organization."

Sandy Banks of the Los Angeles Times reports on a lawsuit regarding two girls, Kristin High and Kenitha Saafir who died during a sorority hazing for Cal State Los Angeles. Banks' reporting is all the more interesting because she reveals that she is glad she pledged a sorority and went through hazing when she was in college.

Kristin's mother told Banks, "Kristin was always a type-A daughter. Super student, athlete, campus leader, mother of a 2-year-old son. Joining Alpha Kappa Alpha was something she had always wanted.

The reporter continues:
"But [Kristin's] mother said the weeks-long process of pledging was more grueling than Kristin had imagined. She'd straggle home late at night, exhausted and edgy. She wouldn't talk about what was going on. "I didn't worry as much as I should," Strong-Fargas said this week. "There were things I missed, because I trusted her. Kristin was always on top of things."

"According to her family's lawsuit, Kristin, Kenitha and two other pledges were worked nightly to exhaustion, in sessions that often lasted until 1 or 2 a.m.

"The night they died, the lawsuit claims, they'd spent hours at the beach doing calisthenics before they were ordered to walk backward into the ocean. A wave hit Kenitha and knocked her down. Kristin knew Kenitha couldn't swim, so she went in after her. Both were dragged by high waves under the water, the lawsuit alleges.

"That is what Kristin's mother believes, based on witness accounts collected by the family's private investigator, Robert Freeman.

"She doesn't know for sure because the two pledges who survived won't talk to her.

"The next day, when the young women brought Kristin's car home, her mother said Kristin's pledge journal was missing and numbers had been deleted from her cellphone. "They wanted to just drop the keys and run," Strong-Fargas said when I interviewed her this week at the small Christian school she runs in South Los Angeles.

""These were girls who had spent hours at our home, who had eaten with my family, played with Kristin's son. They were the only ones who could tell me what happened to my daughter. And they couldn't even look at me in my face.""

"...According to those who track hazing injuries, more than 80 pledges have been killed or injured around the country in the last 15 years during rites that involve binge drinking, beatings or extreme physical exertion. But the deaths of Kristin and Kenitha had special resonance among Greek-letter organizations. "Their deaths were like 9/11 for fraternities and sororities," said Lawrence Ross Jr., the author of a book on black Greek organizations and an anti-hazing lecturer on campuses. "It forced a lot of people out of denial."

"As a reporter, I covered the story when they died. I suspected from the first bare-bones account that this was no simple jaunt on the beach. Because when I was a college student, I pledged a sorority.

"The insults, the paddling, the forced exercise routines that I endured went beyond humiliating and veered perilously close to dangerous. But I didn't balk.

"Then, I believed the party line: Surviving brutality was a badge of honor, keeping secrets a measure of loyalty. Now, I'm not so sure.

"I've always been glad that I pledged and proud I made it through. As difficult as it sometimes was, the process gave me confidence, and taught me to draw on an inner strength that's served me well in adulthood.

"But then I made it out alive.

"Now, 35 years down the line, I'm no longer courting the respect of would-be sorority sisters. I'm a mother with a daughter in college. And I'm wondering what secrets I'll be willing to share if she comes to me one day and says, "Mom, I'm thinking of pledging a sorority.""

Full article:,1,36756.column?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

Here is a link to the attorneys who represented Kristin's family:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sometimes life is better without development

I remember about 35 years ago heavy equipment operators came to Ocean Beach and began to dig in the sand. People protested fiercely, and the digging stopped. I visited that place two days ago. The wide blue sky is unobstructed, and dogs and children and adults move about in the meandering blue inlets that lead to the San Diego River. A lot more people enjoy this place, which is now Dog Beach, than if it had become a marina. I hope Chula Vista will have similar good fortune in preserving its natural beauty.

If you give Cheryl Cox a campaign donation, will she try to get your project built?

Is Riverwalk Chula Vista's Sunroad?

Here is a partial article, found on the San Diego Reader's website, that contains a frank discussion of what is going on in Chula Vista. All over San Diego county, it seems, the same people keep turning up as campaign donors, then as developers asking for permission to build (think McMillan). And another group of people keeps turning up as lobbyists, then as public officials (think Cox).

Published on August 23, 2007
By Susan Luzaro

On any given day, it's difficult to tell who works for the residents of Chula Vista and who works for private industry. A proposed residential development by CV 42 Investments, LLC, represented by Bill Ostrem, who is also the president of EastLake Development Company, lays bare the diseased underbelly of the problem.

The development, approximately 550 homes in the lower Sweetwater Valley, has been christened Riverwalk, but a more appropriate name would be Freewaywalk, because the project's 61 acres of low-lying land are bounded by I-805 and SR54...

Leilani Hines, senior community development specialist, was made the City's project manager. E-mails among City staff are often as revealing in tone as in content. A June 12, 2006 e-mail from advance planning manager Ed Batchelder advises, "Keep watch over how and in what forums to avoid the perception of up-front 'agreements' as to addressing/mitigating issues prior to the process being fully engaged, and analysis being done." And a June 16 e-mail from acting director of community development Ann Hix reads: "After talking to Bill, I got the same impression...he is happy with you and Mary, just unhappy that we don't have the team formed and haven't moved forward with the EIR yet." Is it the City's job to keep Bill happy?

...Hines crosses the line again for Ostrem's project in trying to obtain additional property for the entrance to Riverwalk. On December 22, 2006, she e-mails the Chula Vista police team member and asks, "Is it possible to see about any police activity for a property located at XXX N Second Avenue? We are looking at this property for inclusion in the Riverwalk project. Someone on our field visit made a comment about activity at this house. I know we have code enforcement issues but as to criminal/police???" While the Redevelopment Agency is supposed to provide assistance to developers, should it be on the lookout for properties to seize or condemn?

...Ostrem is no stranger to general plan amendments. As vice president of J.G. Boswell Company and president of Yokohl Ranch Company, Ostrem is also seeking a general plan amendment in Tulare County, California. Yokohl Ranch will be a massive planned community covering 36,000 acres of ranch land in the Sierra Nevada foothills. EastLake, by comparison, is chump change with only 3200 acres. The vice president of the Yokohl Ranch Company is none other than Chula Vista's own Alex Al-Agha. Al-Agha served as a city engineer and deputy director of engineering for the City of Chula Vista from 2003 until August 2006.

According to an article in Big Builder Online, the Yokohl Ranch project will be taking bids from builders. Ostrem says, "...we've talked to a few of them -- Centex, Lennar, and McMillin, to date -- either because we have crossed paths, or because they have made a call.... We've worked with Ken Baumgartner for years [president of Corky McMillin Companies] and last time I saw Ken he told me that he wanted me to meet his people in the region." How will this huge potential contract affect Lisa Johnson of the Redevelopment Advisory Committee and Chris Lewis of the Chula Vista Redevelopment Corporation, both of whom work for Corky McMillin Companies? Yet another conflict of interest appears possible.

The last stop for the Riverwalk project is the Chula Vista City Council and Mayor Cheryl Cox. Mayor Cox is familiar with this contested piece of land. In 1994, her husband, county supervisor Greg Cox, who was a lobbyist at the time, brought to the City and northwest Chula Vista a proposal to build the Family Fun Center project on the land. Later, residents recall Cheryl Cox, as lobbyist, touting the virtues of the Family Fun Center, replete with water bumper boats, go-karts, miniature golf courses, and a lighted parking lot for 280 vehicles.

Ostrem donated the maximum allowable amount to Cheryl Cox's 2006 mayoral campaign, and the Reader reported that right before the election, on October 13, 2006, Yokohl Ranch gave $4000 to the GOP's Lincoln Club. Four days later, the club paid $7245 for a poll in support of Cheryl Cox for mayor. Perhaps coincidence, perhaps a show of confidence, Ostrem e-mailed community development specialist Hines on November 8, 2006, the day after the election, to advise her that he was applying for the general plan amendment. "Subject: Deposits on the way." In the e-mail he stated: "I meant to tell you that the application with check should be to you today."

Prior to Mayor Cox's election, a U-T editorial posed a question that time will answer: "Certainly, former council members have left office and become paid lobbyists, or 'governmental relations representatives.' But, to go from lobbyist to mayor?"

But there are bigger questions. Can Chula Vista wean itself from its unhealthy dependence on developer dollars? Can projects be made with residents rather than developers in mind? And on any given day, who is working for the citizens of Chula Vista?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tommy Thompson, John Proctor and the doctor who implants chips said they'd get chipped, but they haven't

The following partial article is from World Net Daily
February 10, 2006

A Cincinnati company is requiring any employee who works in its secure data center to be implanted with a microchip.

The video surveillance company injected two of its employees in the triceps area of the arm with the VeriChip, a glass-encapsulated RFID, or radio-frequency identification, tag, according to Liz McIntyre, co-author of "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID."'s Network Administrator Khary Williams spoke with McIntyre by phone Wednesday after the company announced it had integrated the VeriChip VeriGuard product into its access control system.

The tag can be read through clothing from a few inches away.

The highly controversial device is being marketed as a way to access secure areas, link to medical records and make purchases like a credit card.

As WorldNetDaily reported, when former Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson joined the VeriChip Corp. board of directors, he pledged to get chipped and encouraged Americans to do the same so their electronic medical records would be available in emergencies.

But McIntyre and co-author Katherine Albrecht contacted VeriChip Corp. in December and were told the chipping never took place.

VeriChip spokesman John Procter said Thompson had been "too busy" to undergo the procedure, adding that he had no clear plans to do so.

CityWatcher's Williams said a local doctor already has implanted two of the company's employees with the VeriChip devices.

"I will eventually" receive an implant, too, he added.

Meanwhile, Williams accesses the data center with a VeriChip implant housed in a heart-shaped plastic casing that hangs from his key chain.

He told McIntyre he had no reservations about having the procedure and would do it as soon as time permits...

[Law enforcement officers in Mexico have been implanted with chips. See]

Who exactly is the FDA trying to protect? Not you and me.

Tommy Thompson has given up his efforts to become Presdent of the United States in 2008. But he hasn't given up trying to get rich.

Did the FDA approve cancer-causing chips so that Tommy Thompson could get rich? It certainly looks like it.

RFID Chips Linked to Fast-Growing Cancer
Jason Mick (Blog) - September 10, 2007

Last week, Dailytech reported that California's State senate had blocked employers from requiring their employees to get "chipped"--implanted with an RFID chip that would allow for radio identification and tracking.

Now in addition to the privacy concerns, a new report by the Associate Press has brought to light serious doubts on RFID implants' medical safety.

The report details how numerous studies on RFID implants in animal test subjects, starting in the mid-1990s, revealed that the implants led to a significant increase in malignant tumor growth.

Keith Johnson, a retired toxological pathologist who led one of these studies, in 1996 at Dow Chemical Co., when interviewed in the report stated that he had no doubts about whether RFID was to blame for the increased incidence of cancer. He is quoted as clearly stating, "The transponders were the cause of the tumors."

The findings were reviewed by top cancer specialists, who found the results disturbing. They cautioned people that these tests were performed on animals, so that they were not necessarily applicable in humans, however, most felt additional research was a necessity. Some went as far to say that they would not allow family members to receive implants.

Currently about 2,000 people worldwide have received RFID chips implants, according to VeriChip, the leading manufacturer of FDA-approved RFID implants, including a couple who were ordered to do so by their employer...

A significant detail to these studies is that many of them were not intended to study the correlation between RFID chip implanting to cancer--rather, during research on a separate topic the increased cancer rates were high enough to catch the researchers' attention and allow them to draw a clear conclusion that the chip was causing the increased cancer rate.

The AP report goes on to discuss the suspect nature of the FDA's approval of VeriChip's human RFID implant. The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Sciences, which at the time of the approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson.

The VeriChip reader

Just two weeks after the Jan. 10, 2005 approval of the device, Tommy Thompson resigned his post with the department and within five months assumed a position at VeriChip. He received stock options and cash compensation for his newly acquired position...

C. Anne Hudson and Richard Currier have solved their problem

Updated January 29, 2008

Even Li'l Kim (who was sentenced to a year in jail for lying under oath) now knows better than to commit perjury. Why haven't education attorneys and school board members in San Diego figured this out?

I have complimented Grossmont Union High School District board members (such as Richard Hoy, in photo) for hiring the law firm Currier & Hudson, but I was disappointed with attorneys C. Anne Hudson and Richard Currier when they hired Deborah Garvin, a lawyer who has worked with education attorneys Daniel Shinoff and Kelly Angell to suborn perjury by law enforcement officers and teachers. Garvin suborned perjury when she was working with her former partner John McCormick and former associate Gabriel Hedrick.

Subornation of perjury is a felony. What can we expect from our schools when they are run by people who need lawyers like Deborah Garvin?

I wrote to Currier and Hudson about this problem, and Garvin seems to have left the firm, according to the information now available from the California State Bar.

But Grossmont Union High School District itself still seems have no concern about the ethics of its lawyers. Members Dick Hoy, Priscilla Schrieber, Larry Urdahl, Jim Kelly and Robert Shield wouldn't have signed up with Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law firm, Parham & Rajcic law firm, and Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost law firm, as they did on March 14, 2007, if lack of ethics bothered them. Oddly enough, GUHSD's minutes indicate that the district signed up 'Stutz, Gallagher, Shinoff & Holtz." Gallagher? Gallagher left years ago. You really aren't paying attention, are you?

Gallagher left right after he found out Shinoff was obstructing justice at CVESD. Perhaps the board thinks it is saving money by hiring lawyers who win at any cost. They would be giving kids a better education, and saving money in the long run, if they hired ethical lawyers.

Secrecy in schools must stop in New York and California

At Jamaica High School in New York, deans were forbidden by the chancellor to call 911 under any circumstances because the school had landed on a list of dangerous schools as a result of too many altercations.

When a 14-year-old girl suffered a stroke at Jamaica High School in New York, her mother was called, but an ambulance was not called. The mother is suing the district for $10 million dollars because no medical treatment was sought for an hour after the girl was stricken. The girl is having trouble walking and reading, among other things.

Success through secrecy seems to be the motto of just about every school district in the country.

Secrecy is also a standard tactic for dealing with problems at Chula Vista Elementary School District, the school district where I studied as a child and taught as an adult.

The board and administration of CVESD refused to investigate a report by two teachers that there might be a mass shooting at the school. Even the teachers union, California Teachers Association, and the local Chula Vista Educators, refused to insist on an investigation. Why? Because past and current presidents of Chula Vista Educators (Gina Boyd, Jim Groth, and Peggie Myers) were afraid that crimes by teachers would be brought to light if an investigation took place.

We need administrators and union leaders who will solve problems at schools, not cover them up.

San Diego Police arrest man for trying to rescue police vehicle

A disturbance at Pacific Beach on Labor Day got worse when police arrested a man who was trying to help them. The man was trying to rescue a police all-terrain vehicle that had ended up in the surf. As a result of the arrest, the crowd began yelling and throwing sand and cans at the police, who called in 60 reinforcements, 40 of them in riot gear.

Onlookers said that officers were spraying mace at innocent people.

Police Chief Landsdowne admitted, "It's possible some people got some Mace on them who weren't involved." If we extrapolate from this statement, using the formula William Landsdowne regularly uses when reporting crimes statistics, we must suspect that there was indeed some overreaction on the part of the police.

[We baby boomers remember when Pravda was considered the voice of the devil.]

Police end massive brawl at San Diego's Pacific Beach
09/04/2007 Source: AP ©

Police used smoke and tear gas to break up a hostile crowd throwing bottles and cans during a massive brawl at San Diego's Pacific Beach.

Sixteen people were arrested and face charges of fighting and being drunk in public stemming from the Labor Day holiday incident. The size of the crowd was estimated at about 500.

After lifeguards called police about a fistfight, hecklers began throwing bottles and sand at police who were writing citations, prompting a call for riot-control teams, said San Diego Police Department spokeswoman Monica Munoz.

Lifeguards evacuated four towers, removed their uniforms and ran into the water to waiting rescue boats, Lifeguard Service Lt. Nick Lerma said.

"It just got out of control," Lerma said.

It was not immediately known what triggered the fight.

A police helicopter hovered over the beach while officers on the ground formed a skirmish line along the boardwalk.

No officers were injured.

Lifeguards said an estimated 364,000 people visited San Diego beaches on Monday.

Conservatives, liberals and the anterior cingulate cortex

Can you withhold your habitual response when it's necessary? Then your anterior cingulate cortex is in good working order.

When human beings find themselves at a dead end, their anterior cingulate cortex tells them that they need to change course. Or at least that's what it should do.

But in some people, this part of the brain is less sensitive, causing these individuals to ignore new information.

43 college students were hooked up to electroencephalographs and given a button to press when a computer flashed the letter M. They weren't supposed to press the button when the computer flashed W.

The computer usually showed M, so the subjects got in the habit of pressing the button. It turned out that some people just can't let go of a habit, even when the situation calls for them to change course.

Those who did best on the test had the most electrical activity in their brains when the "No Go" cues were presented, according to researcher David Amodio.

Some people, it seems, will just keep on doing the same thing, even when they are receiving information that tells them they aren't getting anywhere.

Students who had identified themselves as most liberal were the most accurate in pressing the button, and had the most electrical activity in their brains.

See articles:
Los Angeles Times
September 10, 2007,0,5982337.story?coll=la-home-center

Chicago Tribune
September 10, 2007,1,6328755.story

All this makes me wonder how it would have changed history if George W. Bush had a more sensitive anterior cingulate cortex.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Larry Craig can dish it out, but he can't take it

Soon-to-resign Senator Larry Craig of Idaho recently pleaded guilty when he was caught propositioning an undercover male cop in the airport in Minneapolis.

Larry Craig has long campaigned on a holier-than-thou platform.

One example of Craig's sense of moral superiority was reported by Jonathan Alter in Newsweek, September 10, 2007, "In 1998, Larry Craig refused to attend Clinton's State of the Union address, calling the embattled president a 'nasty, bad, naughty boy.'"

Now Craig has pleaded guilty to being a naughty boy, but still insists that he is morally superior to the many friends he has apparently made in public restrooms.

Perhaps Craig is suffering from compartmentalization, where one part of the brain seems to be cut off from the rest of the brain, and appears to be following a different set of rules.

Or maybe he's just a particularly bold hypocrite.

Clue found regarding mysterious bee disappearance
September 07, 2007
By JR Minkel

Mysterious Honeybee Disappearance Linked to Rare Virus

Researchers isolate possible cause of "colony collapse disorder" but stress that other explanations are still in play

Bees sampled from beekeeping operations afflicted with the perplexing colony collapse disorder have turned up a possible cause: a bee virus discovered recently in Israel.

The mystery illness that has bedeviled U.S. beekeepers since 2006 may stem from a bee virus that apparently spread to the U.S. from Australia three years ago, according to a new study that marks the first big break in the puzzling case of the disappearing bees.

Researchers performed a sophisticated genetic comparison of healthy and diseased U.S. colonies that revealed the presence of Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), an obscure but lethal bee bug, in almost all beekeeping operations affected by "colony collapse disorder" (CCD), but in only a single healthy one they examined.

"We haven't proven this is the cause. It is a candidate for being a trigger for CCD," says W. Ian Lipkin, director of the center for infection and immunology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, one of the study's lead members.
The disorder may also result from a combination of poor nutrition, pesticides and other factors, including infection, Lipkin and his colleagues say. They add that time-consuming tests are needed to determine whether IAPV can trigger CCD alone or in concert with other stressors, or whether certain combinations of stressors instead make hives vulnerable to the virus.

Israeli virologists discovered IAPV three years ago after investigating unexplained cases of dead bees piled in front of hives. The new study found the virus in samples of Australian bees, which were first imported to the U.S. three years ago...

Late last year, reports surfaced that adult honeybees were mysteriously abandoning commercial colonies, leaving ghost hives full of honey, larvae and unattended queens. The disorder wiped out an average of 45 percent of bees among the 23 percent of commercial U.S. beekeepers affected last winter...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Deborah Garvin finds a happy home

"When whoever put that letter in front of me -- and I'm not positive it was Jim or whoever -- I literally wasn't paying that much attention to it," he said. "I obviously was not as careful as I should have been. I don't know, but I don't consider myself an oaf."

The above quote from San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders can be found in a story by Scott Lewis in Voice of San Diego at

I was fascinated to see that this quote was almost identical to what Santa Barbara Sheriff's Commander Sam Gross said when I asked him under oath about a false declaration he had signed.

The declaration was prepared by San Diego attorneys Deborah Garvin and John McCormick.

These longtime law partners are no longer together, but Deborah Garvin has found a happy home at Hudson & Currier law firm in San Diego.

Read more here.

More corrupt school board members

I have made public records requests regarding SDCOE and CVESD payments to lawyers working for insurance companies, but I have not succeeded in getting the information I wanted. Apparently the best way to get such information is by setting up a sting like the one below regarding the Pleasantville School District in New Jersey.

New York Times
11 Arrested in N.J. Corruption Inquiry
September, 2007

Federal agents used a phony insurance brokerage as part of a sting operation that resulted in the arrests of 11 public officials in New Jersey this morning, including two state assemblymen and the mayor of Passaic...

The investigation started in mid-2006 after the F.B.I. received evidence of corruption in contracts issued by the Pleasantville School District, federal prosecutors said.

The investigation is the most recent of a series of corruption probes Mr. Christie and the F.B.I. have conducted across the state. Mayors in several of the state’s largest cities, as well as members of city councils and county boards have been charged in the past few years.

The statement said that several members of the Pleasantville School Board took thousands of dollars in bribes from the cooperating witnesses, and that they referred the undercover agents to public officials in other parts of the state who would also be willing to take the payments...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rock the boat, but only if you can swim

"The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."
Albert Einstein

Petraeus likes his "designated thinkers" to be highly intelligent, and preferably, to engage in a little hero-worship

General David Petraeus

George Bush's executive branch seems to be run by young, loyal, highly politicized, but not well-educated, people like Monica Goodling.

General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, likes a different type of young person: one who can think outside the box. One of Petraeus' favorite thinkers is Wesley Morgan, a 19-year-old Princeton sophomore who became interested in military history and counterinsurgency at age 6. He has studied Petraeus for years, and seems to have a significant case of hero-worship. Morgan is spending his summer vacation in Iraq, going out on patrols, and confering with Petraeus and other leaders.

Meg Greenwall of the Washington Post wrote on September 3, 2007:

"He [Petraeus] has been open about his desire to shape the officer corps into a group of highly educated thinkers and has surrounded himself with Rhodes Scholars and PhDs, a group that has come to be known as his brain trust.

""I think he's universally well known for finding smart people who are interested in doing things a little differently, and I think that's a major reason for his success," says Capt. Elizabeth McNally, a West Point graduate and Rhodes Scholar who is Petraeus's speechwriter."

Perhaps someone who doesn't worship him might give Petraeus less biased feedback. But I have a feeling that Petraeus is grooming Morgan for a long term position at Petraeus' side.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

San Diego needs an elected auditor

An elected auditor is needed in order for San Diego to shed its image as a fraudulent borrower. Few people are going to believe the financial reports that are produced by an appointed auditor. San Diego can't get good interest rates from lenders until it lives down its reputation as Enron by the Sea.

This country also need to fix our campaign finance system. No more private money should be allowed in campaigns. Too many big private donors make elected officials feel like they were appointed!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Are the rich getting most of the welfare money after Hurricane Katrina?

Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Biloxi Mississippi

Many are still struggling on the Gulf Coast. But casino and real estate investors are living large -- thanks to Republican officials.

By Tim Shorrock

As residents of Mississippi's Gulf Coast gather today to commemorate the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, they will recall a cataclysmic storm that spared no one, rich or poor, from its destruction. Virtually every structure along the 90-mile stretch of coastline was either wrecked or swept away after Katrina's 140-mile-an-hour winds and 40-foot storm surge came ashore like a steamroller from hell.

Yet, while the national media has focused its attention on New Orleans, it has given relatively little coverage to the hurricane's impact elsewhere, even though the destruction to coastal Mississippi, which bore the full brunt of the storm, was as bad as, and in some places worse than, the calamity that struck New Orleans when the levees there broke.

Two years later, some of these areas are still distressed. One reason for the lack of attention paid to the Gulf Coast may be the massive investments made in the region by casino, hotel and real estate interests.

That has created the appearance of a recovery that business promoters say has brought, and will continue to bring, enormous growth to the area.

But many locals say that the casino-led development has done little to alleviate post-disaster conditions for most residents, including the 37 percent of the population -- approximately a half million people -- who earn below what federal guidelines deem low to moderate income.

Moreover, maneuvering in Washington by the state's Republican leaders has diverted aid money away from some of the people who need it the most.

...Reilly Morse, a civil rights lawyer from Biloxi who works for the Mississippi Center for Justice, [says] "Since the aid money began flowing, there's really been two recoveries here: one that generally favored homeowners with resources, and another one that basically priced the poor out of the housing market."

The $23.5 billion in federal funding that Mississippi's [Republican] governor and its two Republican senators managed to obtain was unprecedented in scope for a state recovering from a natural disaster. But the distribution of the $4 billion the state obtained specifically to help residents rebuild their housing, thanks to Barbour, has been badly skewed toward wealthy homeowners.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Will Shinoff, Sleeth and Stutz law firm finally be forced out of MiraCosta College?

This blog long ago called for Daniel Shinoff to stop digging MiraCosta College ever deeper into the morass he created there. It seems that Superior Court Judge Michael Anello agrees.

Here is an article about the effort to disqualify Shinoff, Sleeth and other Stutz law firm lawyers from representing MiraCosta College.

August 25, 2007

VISTA ---- Superior Court Judge Michael Anello heard arguments Friday for and against disqualifying the law firm representing MiraCosta College in the case of a former vice president who has sued the college, but issued no final ruling...

However, in a tentative ruling issued Thursday, Anello sided with attorney Tracy Warren in granting the disqualification.

Warren represents Julie Hatoff, the former vice president of instruction accused by college officials of "wasting taxpayer money" and "protecting a rogue employee." She faces disciplinary action by the college before an administrative law judge.

Hatoff sued the college in May, alleging breach of contract, negligence, extortion, harassment and labor law violations.

In his tentative ruling, Anello said Daniel Shinoff, a partner in the law firm Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff and Holtz, violated a rule requiring lawyers to clearly inform people who they represent.

Warren said in court Friday and in court documents that Shinoff had opportunities in five meetings during the investigation of the illegal sale of palm trees from the campus horticulture department to tell Hatoff that he represented the college ---- not her as an officer of the college.

Warren said Shinoff guaranteed Hatoff confidential "attorney-client privilege" protection but then used information she provided to build a case against her.

Jack Sleeth, an attorney with Shinoff's law firm, argued Friday that Hatoff was never his client, and so no rules prescribing the attorney-client relationship pertain.
This is an earlier version of the article:

[Interestingly enough, attorney Ann Smith, of San Diego MEA pension fame, violated the rule to clearly inform a client if they are already representing someone who is in opposition to that client. Ann Smith asked me a lot of questions in January 2002 when I went to her office. Then I found out that she never considered representing my interests, and was helping those who were opposing me].

Woman who made false accusations heads to jail

Those who make false accusations can be very convincing. My theory is that they are often mentally ill, and the hysteria they exhibit is real, but the hysteria is caused by problems within the accuser, not by anything the innocent target did.

Judith Ann Lummis, whose made false accusations against an innocent person, will be going to jail, but not because of putting an innocent man in jail.

The Associated Press wrote the following story September 1, 2007:

"A woman whose lie about being raped kept an innocent man behind bars for almost two years is now in jail herself.

"Armand Villasana, 54, was jailed for rape from 1998 until 2000, when his conviction was overturned based on DNA evidence. His accuser, Judith Lummis, admitted Aug. 7 that she made up the rape to cover up an extramarital affair.

"The statute of limitations prevented Lummis from being charged with perjury. But on Friday, Lummis, 41, turned herself in after her probation was revoked last week. She will serve a four-year prison term imposed in 1998, when she pleaded guilty to fraudulently attempting to obtain prescription diet pills...

"On Sept. 16, 1998, Lummis reported being kidnapped from a Sonic Drive-In, forced to drive to a wooded area and raped. Greene County detectives and prosecutors said she was so convincing they had little reason to doubt her story..."


CBS News notes:

"Villasana became a suspect in the supposed rape case even though no physical evidence tied him to the crime and Lummis' description of her assailant differed from Villasana in age, height, weight and speech patterns."

Why did prosecutors try to stop Thomas Doswell’s DNA from being tested?

Prosecutors didn’t want anyone to know that Doswell was innocent. They’d rather destroy an innocent person than admit they made a mistake.

Saturday, July 30, 2005
By Bill Moushey

Almost 20 years after his imprisonment for an early-morning rape in the cafeteria of an East End hospital, a Homewood man will be freed Monday because DNA testing proved he did not commit the crime.

Thomas Doswell, now 44, who has professed his innocence since the victim and another witness identified him just hours after the 1986 attack, will walk free on a motion by the Allegheny County district attorney, who concedes the forensic tests prove police got the wrong man.

The action will cap a flurry of legal activity over the past 10 days that started when DNA tests, which the prosecutor had initially fought against, excluded Doswell as the man who raped a 48-year-old woman at the former Forbes Hospital on Frankstown Road.

Doswell, who was 25 and the father of two young children when he was sentenced to 13 to 26 years in prison, has been denied parole four times over the past eight years because he refused to take responsibility for the crime. Had the DNA testing not exculpated him, he would not have been eligible for release until about 2012. His children are now adults...

The legal work to implement the DNA testing was done by the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City. Through DNA testing, it has successfully exonerated more than 160 wrongfully convicted people.

"These tests confirmed what Mr. Doswell has been saying from the moment he was charged, that he was innocent and that this was a misidentification brought about by police officers who may have engaged in misconduct," said Colin Starger of the Innocence Project.

During almost 20 years of imprisonment, he cited several other discrepancies in the witness identifications. The victim said her attacker had a beard, but Doswell only had a mustache. A former employee of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, he also said he was wearing a neck brace from a work-related injury at the time, which limited his ability to run.

"The Doswell family has been telling me for 15 years that he was innocent, that he was railroaded. They never let it rest," said Pittsburgh attorney James E. DePasquale, who helped put together a motion for the DNA testing. "Now it's proven," he said.

CBS News noted that there is a Catch-22 for innocent convicts:

"During his nearly two decades in prison… Thomas A. Doswell was denied parole four times because he refused to accept responsibility for the crime. But DNA evidence has finally proved what he's been saying all along: He didn't do it. Prosecutors opposed DNA testing for Doswell, but a judge ordered it."

August 1, 2005

What's the problem with public records?

King County in Washington has the same problem that we have here in San Diego County: many public entities simply ignore public records requests.

The Seattle Times published the following story on August 31, 2005.

"We can only hope that last week's nearly $300,000 judgment against King County for years of flouting a legitimate public-records request will make an impression on public agencies.

"Armen Yousoufian…acting independently…was able to wrest public documents from an agency reluctant to give them over…

"Last week, Judge Michael Hayden boosted the fine from $5 to $15 a day…

"In 2001, Learned ruled "the county was negligent ... at every step of the way, and this negligence amounted to a lack of good faith." The appeals court ratcheted up its criticism, characterizing the failure to disclose public documents as "gross negligence."

"There is nothing for the county to be proud about here. A better, more reassuring response would have been:
"We screwed up. Big time. We're sorry. We won't ever do it again.""