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Monday, October 31, 2011

Santa Cruz, CA - Violent Year Shines Light On NorCal Hells Angels

Hells Angels

OFF THE WIRE
 
The Hells Angels have had a rough year in Northern California.
The Santa Cruz Hells Angels chapter's sergeant at arms, Steve Tausan, and the San Jose chapter's president, Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, both died violently in October amid a turf battle with a rival biker gang.
And law enforcement officials in the motorcycle club's home state are pursuing and jailing members.
The violence spilled into public view in the unlikeliest of places two weeks ago when thousands of Harley-Davidsons rolled up to a San Jose cemetery on a sunny Saturday afternoon to bury a Hells Angels leader who was gunned down weeks earlier in a Nevada casino.
A Hells Angel biker shot and killed Tausan at the cemetery and fled - the latest sign of the in-fighting and violence that has plagued the gang in recent months. And if the deadly gunfire were not enough, a member was plowed down by a van a week later near Oakland, the alleged the victim of road rage.
While no one is predicting the demise of the notorious outlaw motorcycle club, law enforcement officials and gang experts said the Hells Angels' recent woes still stand out for an organization they describe as violent, sophisticated and disciplined with loyal-to-the-death members.
"They are the heavyweight champions of the biker gang culture," said Jay Dobyns, an agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona for two years beginning in 2001. "And every other biker gang wants the belt."
The California Hells Angels' current problems are partly rooted in a battle with the Vagos, a California-based motorcycle club founded in the 1960s. The clubs have been bitter enemies dating at least back a decade to a violent 2001 confrontation at a Costa Mesa swap meet.
"These groups are trying to expand their membership and dominance," said Kent Shaw, the California Attorney General's acting head of law enforcement. "There's going to be a number of clashes and it seems to have gotten worse over the last couple years. It seems to be coming to a flash point."
After dozens of Vagos took over a bar in Lakeport, Calif., and rode their motorcycles up and down the main drag, officials went so far as to close the downtown to traffic on May 14.
Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero said the Vagos were making a statement about controlling the region after one of its members was allegedly beaten by Hells Angels earlier in the year. So Rivero put up a road block that day after the California Highway Patrol and FBI warned that Hells Angels were traveling toward town.
The Angels turned back before reaching the road block. But now the district attorney is investigating whether the sheriff violated the club members' civil rights with his plans to stop them. The sheriff is unapologetic.
"It's a basic response," Rivero said. "I'm not going to tolerate gang violence in Lake County."
A month later, a Vagos member and a friend were severely beaten in a casino. Four Hells Angels have been charged with assault.
Three were arrested and the sheriff said they were bailed out by fellow biker Tausan, who owned a bail bonds company. A fourth is being sought.
San Jose Angels leader Pettigrew was slain during a wild shootout with rival Vagos in a Reno-area casino on Sept. 23.
It was at Pettigrew's burial where more violence occurred. Two shots were fired, and Tausan, Pettigrew's good friend and high-ranking Angel, lay bleeding with a mortal wound. Police suspect fellow Angel Steve Ruiz of firing on Tausan after they argued over the casino shooting and whether enough was done to protect Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose chapter.
Police are now searching for Ruiz, who reportedly was hustled into a waiting car, leaving behind his motorcycle. Investigators initially feared Ruiz was killed and went so far as to dig up Pettigrew's grave in search of a body. But now police believe he is on the run with his girlfriend.
San Jose police were out in force Saturday as Tausan was laid to rest at the same cemetery where he was killed during the Oct. 15 funeral. A police spokesman said there were no reports of any disturbances or violence.
Karen Snell, a lawyer who won a $1.8 million settlement in 2005 after the San Jose chapter filed a lawsuit claiming illegal police searches during a murder investigation, said Pettigrew, Tausan and the others involved with the case were serious businessmen with families.
"They were really responsible clients," Snell said. "In my all my interactions with them, they were always gentlemen."
Now Pettigrew and Tausan are dead.
"We lost our brother, our father, our son and our friend," said Karen Tausan, Steve's sister. "He left a big hole in our family and we can only hope this will come to an end now."
The organization has a long history in California, dating to its founding in 1948 by returning World War II veterans in the dusty town of Fontana and including a notorious incident during a Rolling Stones show in Altamont in 1969 in which a spectator was stabbed by a Hells Angel working security. A jury later acquitted the killer, finding he acted in self defense.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the Hells Angels now have as many as 2,500 members in 230 chapters in 26 countries, and are a major source of drug-trafficking.
Federal, state and local police have pursued the club for decades, infiltrating it with undercover agents, prosecuting suspects with harsh charges once reserved for the Mafia and indicting members on charges ranging from drug trafficking to mortgage fraud.
Yet the club flourished. They opened chapters worldwide, aggressively enforced their trademarks in court like a responsible Wall Street corporation and won high-profile acquittals and other legal battles with law enforcement.
The ATF, which handles many federal biker cases, said it arrested more outlaw motorcycle gang members last year than any other since 2003. Police in Germany, Canada and elsewhere also report a surge in motorcycle gang violence, with much of it connected to the Hells Angels.
The Angels have always maintained they are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly regarded as an organized crime syndicate because of the crimes of a few members acting independently. The club participates in charity events.
"When we do right, nobody remembers," the club's Web site states. "When we do wrong, nobody forgets."

Read more: http://www.ksbw.com/news/29639025/detail.html#ixzz1cPeUO3Q2

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CALIFORNIA - Hells Angels violent year shines unwanted light on gang attracting law enforcement scrutiny

OFF THE WIRE
Source: washingtonpost.com
By Associated Press
The Hells Angels have had a rough year in California.
Three Northern California members have died violently in the last month amid a turf battle with a rival biker gang. And law enforcement officials on both ends of the motorcycle club’s home state are pursuing and jailing members, with 26 Angels and their associates arrested recently in San Diego.
The violence spilled into public view in the unlikeliest of places two weeks ago when thousands of Harley-Davidsons rolled up to a San Jose cemetery on a sunny Saturday afternoon to bury a Hells Angels leader who was gunned down weeks earlier in a Nevada casino.
A Hells Angel allegedly shot and killed a fellow member at the cemetery and fled — the latest sign of the in-fighting and violence that has plagued the gang in recent months. And if the deadly gunfire were not enough, a member was plowed down by a van a week later near Oakland, the alleged the victim of road rage.
While no one is predicting the demise of the notorious outlaw motorcycle club, law enforcement officials and gang experts said the Hells Angels’ recent woes still stand out for an organization they describe as violent, sophisticated and disciplined with loyal-to-the-death members.
“They are the heavyweight champions of the biker gang culture,” said Jay Dobyns, an agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona for two years beginning in 2001. “And every other biker gang wants the belt.”
The organization has a long history in California, dating to its founding in 1948 by returning World War II veterans in the dusty town of Fontana and including a notorious incident during a Rolling Stones show in Altamont in 1969 in which a spectator was stabbed by a Hells Angel working security. A jury later acquitted the killer, finding he acted in self defense.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the Hells Angels now have as many as 2,500 members in 230 chapters in 26 countries, and are a major source of drug-trafficking.
Federal, state and local police have pursued the club for decades, infiltrating it with undercover agents, prosecuting suspects with harsh charges once reserved for the Mafia and indicting members on charges ranging from drug trafficking to mortgage fraud.
Yet the club flourished. They opened chapters worldwide, aggressively enforced their trademarks in court like a responsible Wall Street corporation and won high-profile acquittals and other legal battles with law enforcement.
The ATF, which handles many federal biker cases, said it arrested more outlaw motorcycle gang members last year than any other since 2003. Police in Germany, Canada and elsewhere also report a surge in motorcycle gang violence, with much of it connected to the Hells Angels.
The California Hells Angels’ current problems are partly rooted in a battle with the Vagos, a California-based motorcycle club founded in the 1960s. The clubs have been bitter enemies dating at least back a decade to a violent 2001 confrontation at a Costa Mesa swap meet.

“These groups are trying to expand their membership and dominance,” said Kent Shaw, the California Attorney General’s acting head of law enforcement. “There’s going to be a number of clashes and it seems to have gotten worse over the last couple years. It seems to be coming to a flash point.”
After dozens of Vagos took over a bar in Lakeport, Calif., and rode their motorcycles up and down the main drag, officials went so far as to close the downtown to traffic on May 14.
In this photo taken Oct. 15, 2011, San Jose police prevent bikers from leaving Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park cemetery in San Jose, Calif., after shots were fired at the funeral of former president of the San Jose chapter of the Hell’s Angels, Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigre. Hells Angel Steve Ruiz allegedly shot and killed fellow Angel Steve Tausan during the funeral. Ruiz was reportedly hustled into a waiting car and is now believed to be on the run with his girlfriend.
Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero said the Vagos were making a statement about controlling the region after one of its members was allegedly beaten by Hells Angels earlier in the year. So Rivero put up a road block that day after the California Highway Patrol and FBI warned that Hells Angels were traveling toward town.
The Angels turned back before reaching the road block. But now the district attorney is investigating whether the sheriff violated the club members’ civil rights with his plans to stop them. The sheriff is unapologetic.
“It’s a basic response,” Rivero said. “I’m not going to tolerate gang violence in Lake County.”
A month later, a Vagos member and a friend were severely beaten in a casino. Four Hells Angels have been charged with assault. Three were arrested and the sheriff said they were bailed out by fellow Angel Steve Tausan, who owned a bail bonds company. A fourth is being sought.
In September, the two gangs fought again.
San Jose Angels leader Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew was slain during a wild shootout with rival Vagos in a Reno-area casino on Sept. 23.
It was at Pettigrew’s burial where more violence occurred. Two shots were fired, and Tausan, Pettigrew’s good friend and high-ranking Angel, lay bleeding with a mortal wound. Police suspect fellow Angel Steve Ruiz of firing on Tausan after they argued over the casino shooting and whether enough was done to protect Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose chapter.
Police are now searching for Ruiz, who reportedly was hustled into a waiting car, leaving behind his motorcycle. Investigators initially feared Ruiz was killed and went so far as to dig up Pettigrew’s grave in search of a body. But now police believe he is on the run with his girlfriend.
San Jose police were out in force Saturday as Tausan was laid to rest at the same cemetery where he was killed during the Oct. 15 funeral. A police spokesman said there were no reports of any disturbances or violence.
The Hells Angels didn’t respond to numerous phone calls and email messages sent to their clubhouses in San Jose and Santa Cruz, where Tausan served as the chapter’s sergeant at arms.
The Angels have always maintained they are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly regarded as an organized crime syndicate because of the crimes of a few members acting independently. The club participates in charity events, such as “Toys for Tots” motorcycle runs and blood drives.
“When we do right, nobody remembers,” the club’s Web site states. “When we do wrong, nobody forgets.”
Karen Snell, a lawyer who won a $1.8 million settlement in 2005 after the San Jose chapter filed a lawsuit claiming illegal police searches during a murder investigation, said Pettigrew, Tausan and the others involved with the case were serious businessmen with families.
“They were really responsible clients,” Snell said. “In my all my interactions with them, they were always gentlemen.”
Now Pettigrew and Tausan are dead.
“We lost our brother, our father, our son and our friend,” said Karen Tausan, Steve’s sister. “He left a big hole in our family and we can only hope this will come to an end now.”

A true story from a Texas State Highway Patrol officer..

State Trooper
 Gray Power!!!!

A true story from a Texas State Highway Patrol officer:

I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S.

77 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just South of Serita, Tx. on the way to
Raymondville!
 I asked for her driver's license, and proof of insurance. The old lady took
 out the required information and handed it to me.
 In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see
she had a concealed handgun carry permit. I looked at her and asked if she had
 a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box.
 Something---body language, or the way she said it---made me want to ask if
> she had any other firearms. She did admit to also having
 a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more time if that
 was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38
 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked me right in the eye and said,
 "Not a damn thing!"

CA - Where The Kinzey Case Stands

OFF THE WIRE
agingrebel.com
Sun, Oct 30, 2011
Where The Kinzey Case Stands The sensational drug case against California State University at San Bernardino Kinesiology professor Stephen “Skinz” Kinzey appears to be losing its press appeal. Kinzey earned his colorful nickname as a biker.
San Bernardino County officials held a press conference six days after Kinzey’s Highland, California home was raided by a Swat team on August 26. Speakers at the press event stood behind a table decorated with two Devils Diciples cuts, an Old Lady’s cut, A Nazi SS banner, several one ounce packets of methamphetamine, two sets of brass knuckles, a derringer, a bullet proof vest, two rifles, a shotgun, a police baton and an AP-9 semi-automatic pistol.

The Devils Diciples Menace

Officials were outraged that Kinzey was both a college professor and the President of the Mountain Chapter of the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club.
“He’s smarter than the average dealer,” San Bernardino Sheriff’s Detective Jason Rosenbaum said. “He was doing what he could to keep it under wraps…. I believe he does have the ability to flee the country because there are (Devils Diciples) chapters in other countries. He also has family out of state.” Rosenbaum accused the Devils Diciples of being a nationwide criminal organization.
San Bernardino Sheriff Rod Hoops said, “I have kids in college and to have an associate professor who is a member of the Devils Diciples dealing narcotics is quite alarming. I mean, it’s unusual to say the least…. Hopefully, we can get our main suspect (Kinzey) in custody in the next few days.”
Nationally, the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club has about 150 members. The Mountain Chapter has six members.

The Devil’s Professor

Kinzey was quickly dubbed “The Devil’s Professor” in most of the English speaking world and his predicament was compared the television show Breaking Bad. He turned himself in the week of the press conference and has been free on bail since. His attorney explained he had been on vacation. He is currently on leave from his teaching job.
Kinzey has pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to distribute illegal narcotics, being in possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm and participating in a criminal street gang. Specifically, he is charged with selling ounces of crank to street dealers.
At a court appearance last Friday San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Steve Sanchez said, “By selling drugs, the defendant is furthering the reputation of the gang (the Devils Diciples MC) as a criminal enterprise.”
The case is the fruit of a two-year-long ATF investigation of the Vagos Motorcycle Club.

The Scorecard

Five defendants in the case have already agreed to plea and sentencing agreements. Wendi Lee Witherell accepted a deal September 27 that will sentence her to 210 days in county jail. She can serve the sentence on weekends. Stephanie Danielle Padilla and Elaine Linda Flores took the same deal on October 3. Chelsea Johnson took the same deal October 19. Eric Cortez agreed to do 180 days in county jail plus supervised probation last week.
Kinzey, his girlfriend Holly Robinson, Hans Preszler and Jeremy Disney who is accused of selling the meth to Kinzey are all fighting the charges. All four appeared in court last Friday, October 28 and all four are scheduled to return to court on January 20, 2012.
The remaining defendants in the case, Edward Freer and Chris Rikerd were also in court last Friday. They had their cases continued until November 21.
As of Sunday night, October 30, neither The Associated Press, the Times of London or the Huffington Post had advanced the story.

Shreveport, LA - State Fair of Louisiana will not discriminate against bikers...


The Boardwalk has a dress code that does not allow biker attire

OFF THE WIRE
BY: Mary Baker
 examiner.com
The Boardwalk has a dress code that does not allow biker attire
Credits:  Mary Baker

One thing is certain, when many people see bikers with long hair and beards, dressed in chaps and leathers, they are often intimidated and stereotype them into a category of thugs, ne'er do wells, and even a part of gang activity.  But, in reality, bikers everywhere contribute to charity in a way that not many other segments of the population do.  They participate in toy runs, like the annual Toys for Tots that will be held in Shreveport today.  They rally behind the children forming organizations like BACA to protect them.  They contribute to charities like the Sutton Children's Hospital, the Burn Camp, and more.  And, they definitely make an impact on the local community, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at local establishments including restaurants, theaters, bars, parks, and small businesses.  That is why it is disheartening to hear of discrimination based solely on appearance.
The State Fair of Louisiana, for a minute, mind you, adapted the discriminatory position toward bikers by posting signs that would not allow them to attend the fair in their traditional biker gear, some of which is protective gear.  Yesterday Facebook exploded with messages like this:

"ALERT/INFO: The State Fair of La. has adopted the La. Boardwalk policy::
NO COLORS,,, Signs are now being posted at all gates. NO BIKER COLORS of ANY KIND. Please pass this on to ALL BIKER friends and family. Once again!!! MC's are being Discriminated against. To Complain:::: Call Chris (Director of State Fair of La.) at 318-635-1361. Let Your VOICES be heard...... repost!!! Don't support the fair..."

and...
"Its freaking ridiculous how they want to affiliate all bikers whether they have colors or not with gang bangers! After all the bikers do for charity that others don't and that's including the police!"
and...
"I wouldn`t go spend a nickel with anybody that didn`t want me there! They can kiss me right below my bottom rocker!!!!"
and...
"we are looked at the same as gangs. Most people don't really know what we do for the community, how much money we raise for charity. It's a fear thing, people fear what they don't understand."
You can imagine that bikers, their friends and family were livid.  They began to complain about the discrimination with phone calls to the Director of the State Fair, and his offices.  The result: Before the end of the day, this message by the representative for Independent Riders, Northwest Louisiana, was posted on Facebook:
"UPDATE...UPDATE...UPDATE... WE HAVE WON !!!!! Just received a call... and the State Fair of Louisiana has now changed their policy. THE SIGNS HAVE BEEN REMOVED AND ALL BIKERS ARE WELCOME AT THE FAIR !!!!!! Never, never, NEVER underestimate the power of a close knit FAMILY !!! Thanks to all who made calls and helped !!!"
This is only one small victory for the biker community.  We still have the prohibitions at the Louisiana Boardwalk and we have the negative image that so many of our neighbors have of us. Continuing to proudly wear our colors and gear while participating in charitable events is one way we can change this image.  And, sticking together as a family, and standing up for our rights as we saw in the State Fair instance, is another.  I'm proud to be a member of the motorcycle community in Shreveport.
__________________
Contact Mary at maric12@gmail.com and be sure to visit my website at Pinky's Motorcycle Passion for rides and information about motorcycling in the Shreveport area and beyond. 
Continue reading on Examiner.com State Fair of Louisiana will not discriminate against bikers - Shreveport Motorcycle Travel | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/motorcycle-travel-in-shreveport/state-fair-of-louisiana-will-not-discriminate-against-bikers#ixzz1cHCYyWgC

SADDLETRAMPS Blood Drive and Party

OFF THE WIRE
SADDLETRAMPS MC Blood Drive and Party.   Saturday November 19.
9 am - 3 PM   at San Diego Harley Davidson.  Chuck Wagon Lunch, Live Bands, Detailing, Bake Sales.     If you miss the Blood Drive, it will continue of Sunday
from 9AM - 3 PM

CANADA - Hammer falls on top corruption cop

OFF THE WIRE
BY: KEVIN DOUGHERTY
 montrealgazette.com
Not our call, government says; UPAC says criticism of unit's boss made it 'impossible' for him to stay
It was after Jacques Duchesneau testified about his report In September to a National Assembly committee that he made the remarks that led to him being fired on Friday.
It was after Jacques Duchesneau testified about his report In September to a National Assembly committee that he made the remarks that led to him being fired on Friday.
Photograph by: MATHIEU BELANGER REUTERS FILE, The Gazette.
Jacques Duchesneau, the former Montreal police chief whose investigations confirmed that corruption and collusion involving organized crime and attempts to pay off politicians were widespread in Quebec, was fired Friday.
His offence was saying a judge - not a police officer - should head UPAC, Quebec's permanent anti-corruption unit.
Duchesneau was summoned in the morning to the Fullum St. headquarters of UPAC.
UPAC commissioner Robert Lafrenière informed Duchesneau that his contract to continue probing attempts at collusion to rig bids on public-sector construction contracts was finished.
"Mr. Duchesneau had created doubts about UPAC and its leader," said UPAC spokesperson Anne-Frédérick Laurence, adding Lafrenière told Duchesneau it would be "impossible" for him to continue.
Lafrenière first called in Duchesneau when La Presse reported his comments after Duchesneau testified Sept. 22 at a National Assembly committee, following the leak of his report to the media.
That night, after his testimony, Duchesneau gave a lift back to Montreal to La Presse reporter Michèle Ouimet, who wrote of their wide-ranging discussions about the career of Duchesneau in law enforcement and as one-time candidate for mayor of Montreal.
At the end of the La Presse story, Duchesneau is quoted saying: "UPAC isn't strong. They think like the police."
Lafrenière, 58, was deputy minister of public security before he was named head of UPAC.
He was a senior public security official for eight years, after a 31-year police career, climbing to senior positions in the Sûreté du Québec.
"There should not be a police officer at the head of UPAC, rather a retired judge like John Gomery," Duchesneau told La Presse, referring to the judge who headed the public inquiry into the federal sponsorship scandal.
In yielding last week to sustained pressure from opposition parties, mayors, the police, prosecutors and the public for a public inquiry into Quebec's construction industry, Premier Jean Charest said Duchesneau's report convinced him an inquiry was needed.
"We uncovered a universe that was clandestine and wellrooted, of a surprising scope, harmful to society in terms of security and the economy, as well as for justice and democracy," Duchesneau wrote.
After interviewing more than 500 people involved construction in Quebec, Duchesneau found "people who were exasperated, even desperate, who needed support."
UPAC was created last February by the Charest government, taking over and expanding a team designated Operation Hammer. It has a $30.5-million budget and an authorized staff of 200 people, including police officers from the provincial, federal and municipal levels, as well as investigators from Revenue Quebec, the Commission de la construction du Québec, the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, municipal affairs and federal agencies, such as the Competition Bureau.
Duchesneau was originally named in February 2010 by then-transport minister Julie Boulet to head an anti-collusion unit in her department, but stepped down in November 2010 after allegations he breached Quebec's party financing laws, when he was a candidate in 1998 for mayor of Montreal.
After Elections Québec cleared his name, Duchesneau returned in February 2011 to his job heading the anti-collusion squad, now integrated into UPAC.
On Friday, Quebec's opposition parties blamed the Charest government for Duchesneau's firing, although the government insisted it was Lafrenière's call.
Duchesneau was "efficient, honest, competent," said Action démocratique du Québec's Sylvie Roy.
For Stéphane Bergeron of the Parti Québécois, Duchesneau was fired "for talking too much and irritating the Liberal government."
Amir Khadir of Québec solidaire deplored the firing, saying that while Lafrenière found his remarks "disloyal" to himself, as UPAC head,
"Duchesneau proved his greater loyalty to Quebec."
Hugo d'Amours, Charest's press secretary, recalled that the premier "said many times he hoped Duchesneau could continue his work," adding: "The premier was sincere, but UPAC is a totally independent body."
Duchesneau has said he planned to step down next March, when his contract was to end, to finish his doctoral thesis on air terrorism. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
Mathieu St-Pierre, press secretary to Robert Dutil, Quebec's public security minister, said Friday that UPAC is "totally independent" and had not informed the minister that Duchesneau had been let go. St-Pierre said he learned of Duchesneau's firing in the media.
UPAC line to report crimes in the construction industry: 1-888-444-1701. Email: upac@upac.gouv.qc.ca
kdougherty@ montrealgazette.com

New York NY - The Rage Of A Privileged Class

OFF THE WIRE
 theatlantic.com

To get some sense of where we are with the police in New York, it's worth reading every single word of this stunning story from the Times:

A three-year investigation into the police's habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.

As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting, "Down with the D.A." and "Ray Kelly, hypocrite." As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom. 

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward. The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts, the bulk of them misdemeanors having to do with making tickets disappear as favors for friends, relatives and others with clout. 

But they also outlined more serious crimes, related both to ticket-fixing and drugs, grand larceny and unrelated corruption. Four of the officers were charged with helping a man get away with assault. Jose R. Ramos, an officer in the 40th Precinct whose suspicious behavior spawned the protracted investigation, was accused of two dozen crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers and revealing the identity of a confidential informant. 

The case, troubling to many New Yorkers because of its implication that the police officers believed they deserved special treatment, is expected to have long tentacles. Scores of other officers accused of fixing tickets could face departmental charges. Some officers have already retired. Moreover, the indictments may jeopardize thousands of cases in which implicated officers are important witnesses and may be seen as untrustworthy by Bronx juries.

Read the whole story down to the rather stunning end...

On Friday morning, on the street outside the courthouse, some 350 officers massed behind barricades and brandished signs expressing sentiments like "It's a Courtesy Not a Crime." 

When the defendants emerged, many in the crowd burst into raucous cheers. Once they had gone and the tide of officers had dispersed, the street was littered with refuse.

...it's a shocking look at a privileged class. Privileged we have awarded them. 

MORE: This a department with one officer presently accused of rape, (again) and another caught on the radio saying falsified reports after falsely arresting and imprisoning a black man, bragging that he "fried another nigger."

COMMENT,
There are a number of issues here.

First, the off duty cops who shoved the camera people should be arrested for assault.     The NYPD should have had enough on duty uniformed people to control the off duty idiots and as the NYPD has deployed cameras during the OWS protests they should have deployed cameras here.
Second, part of the rage is based on the fact of the hypocrisy of it all and Kelly in particular.  Ticket fixing has been an accepted part of the NYPD culture for generations.      Kelly had to know this.     This goes beyond some cop flashing his badge to get out of a traffic ticket.   I understand that.     Cops actually provide their friends and family with little "tokens" which identify them as friends or family of cops and "deserving" of a break.   This is even worse because it is nullifying tickets AFTER the fact.
Third, the current Superintendent(Chief) of the Chicago Police Department, Garry McCarthy, is a former high ranking NYPD official.   
In 2005 he had an altercation with New Jersey cops who had the temerity to give his daughter a ticket.

http://nypdconfidential.com/co...

He later tried to get the agency that issued his daughter the ticket and arrested him shut down.       The arrogance is breathtaking.
I'm about as reasonably pro cop as one can be.   I felt the BART shooting was an instance of a scared cop screwing up and I said that in this forum as was roundly attacked for it.
During my glorious magnificent military service I had a weapon in a holster and a badge on my chest.    Not the same as civilian policing, but it gave me a wee bit of an idea what they put up with.    Thankfully, military police in peacetime have a much easier job generally than civilian cops.      I considered a civilian police career in Chicago, but when I got out of college they weren't hiring and after my second stint in the military I decided on a different path.     I became a golf caddy to the rich and famous.    The Dalai Lama promised me total consciousness on my deathbed.    So I have that going for me.
I generally think most cops are decent people trying to do a difficult job.   That being said there is a significant percentage of cops, say 20 percent, who should not be cops.   
Many of the problems in policing come down to leadership at the highest levels.     My impression of the NYPD under Kelly is not good.    Right now NYC has a Mayor who seems to almost be a monarchist and a Police Commissioner who seems to believe in a quasi police state.    
It's  unfortunate because with their size and high profile the NYPD could be a beacon of change to help policing improve generally.

CALIFORNIA - Medical Marijuana Group Wants Raids to Stop

OFF THE WIRE
By CHRIS MARSHALL

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A medical marijuana advocacy group sued the federal government for threatening property owners with forfeiture and criminal prosecution if they rent to medical marijuana providers. They say the federal government has no right to "coerce and commandeer the police power and legislative and executive functions of the state of California."
     Americans for Safe Access accuses Attorney General Eric Holder and local U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of usurping California's right to make and enforce state laws.
     Haag and the three other U.S. attorneys for California held a press conference on Oct. 7 at which they said they would send mass mailings to property owners threatening civil forfeiture and severe criminal punishment if the owners rent to medical marijuana dispensaries, even those that operate legally under state law.
     The U.S. attorneys also promised to raid and prosecute medical marijuana providers, again not making exceptions for those operating legally under state law.
     Americans for Safe Access says one of the U.S. attorney even threatened newspapers that carry ads for state-allowed dispensaries with criminal punishment for such ads, which are protected by the First Amendment.
     Americans for Safe Access says the government is entitled to enforce criminal laws against marijuana in states that have decriminalized it for medical use in an "even-handed manner," but that "the Tenth Amendment forbids it from selectively employing such coercive tactics to commandeer the law-making functions of the state."
     The group says it does not challenge Congress' authority to enact laws criminalizing the possession or control of marijuana across the country or in California. But it takes issue with the "government's tactics, and the unlawful assault on state sovereignty they represent."
     It says the federal government may not commandeer the law-making functions of a state or its subdivisions directly or indirectly through the "selective enforcement of its drug laws."
     The group says the federal government has "vigorously opposed" state efforts to legalize medical marijuana, has tried to persuade local and state officials to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients, and failing that, has tried to coerce states into criminalizing all marijuana use.
     The federal government threatened criminal prosecution and revocation of the license needed to receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid for any doctor who recommended medical marijuana to a patient, until it was enjoined from doing so by a federal court, which was affirmed in Conant v. Walters.
     Despite that injunction, the federal government has continued to target health care professionals with the intent of rendering medical marijuana laws inoperable, the complaint says.
     In 2007 the Department of Justice obtained a federal grand jury subpoena against Oregon's Health Services Department, its Medical Marijuana Program, and a medical clinic in Portland, seeking intimate medical information about medical marijuana patients in the state.
     The Eastern District of Washington quashed the subpoena, Americans for Safe Access says.
     When those attempts failed, the federal government decided to selectively target medical marijuana patients and providers for federal prosecution with "draconian penalties," the complaint states.
     In 2002 Asa Hutchinson, administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration, publicly confirmed that the raids and prosecutions were part of a "federal commitment to sabotage and render unenforceable California's medical marijuana laws."
     Hutchinson later repeated that it was federal policy to "disrupt implementation of California's medical marijuana laws" in a letter to California's then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer, according to the complaint.
     California voters approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, on Nov. 4, 1996. It allows patients with a doctor's recommendation to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use.
     Americans for Safe Access is a nonprofit based in Oakland, which claims membership of 20,000 medical marijuana patients in California. Its primary purpose is to "protect the rights of patients to use marijuana for medical use, including assisting California localities to consider and adopt reasonable regulations under state law over the provision of medical marijuana to the seriously ill."
     It wants the federal government and its creatures enjoined from "seeking to coerce and commandeer the police power and legislative and executive functions of the state of California and its political subdivisions in regard to the implementation of the state's medical marijuana laws."
     Americans for Safe Access is represented by Joseph Elford.  

Milkman and the Blonde......

A blonde heard that baths in milk would make her beautiful. She left a note for her milkman to leave 25 gallons of milk.
When the milkman read the note, he felt there must be a mistake.  He thought she probably meant 2.5 gallons.  So he knocked on the door to clarify the point.
The blonde came to the door and the milkman said, "I found your note asking me to leave 25 gallons of milk.
Did you mean 2.5 gallons?"
The blonde said, "No, I want 25 gallons.  I'm going to fill my bathtub up with milk and take a milk bath so I can look young and beautiful again."
The milkman asked, "Do you want it pasteurized?"
The blonde said, "No, just up to my tits. I can splash it on my eyes."

ABATE LOCAL 6 "E-MAIL BLAST"

LOCAL 6  E-MAIL BLAST !
for November 2011 
 
DATES AND EVENTS FOR LOCAL 6 MEMBERS AND
AND ASSOCIATES.
           SUNDAY November 6 there will be a memorial ride  FOR BARRY & CAROL  Sandberg,  Local 6 members who were taken from us two years ago.    The ride starts at 1PM a couple of blocks from here at Mount Soledad,  and ends at American Legion Post 460 where a lunch will be prepared for the first 100 people to attend.  The lunch has been paid  for by friends of Barry & Carol.
Today,  we will have an ABATE local 6 monthly meeting, which will start at Noon sharp, and will end at 12:45 sharp,  so that those wanting to go to Mount Soledad and join the ride, may do so.
Anyone’s option may also include leaving the local 6 meeting and going directly to the American Legion Posts 460 where lunch will start at 2 PM.
 
SATURDAY  NOVEMBER 5  PARKING LOT BBQ  11AM – 2 PM  Sweetwater Harley.   Eats,  Music.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5  U.S. BORDER PATROL… FALLEN OFFICERS RIDE.  El Cajon Harley, 9 AM
SATURDAY  NOVEMBER 5  “WINGS FOR WARRIORS” Benefits Veterans medical research. KSU 9 AM at Biggs Harley Davidson.
SUNDAY  NOVEMBER 6    DAYLIGHT  SAVING TIME  ENDS
 
 
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6     ABATE Local 6   Holds their regular monthly meeting at Kate Sessions Park in Pacific Beach , San Diego ,   at NOON.  
 
SUNDAY  NOVEMBER 6    MEMORIAL RIDE FOR BARRY & CAROL  Sandberg.    Meet at Mt Soledad  1 pm.(follows the ABATE local 6 meeting).
 
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6    MEMORIAL LUNCHEON for Local 6 members Barry & Carol Sandberg.    2 PM.      at American Legion Post 460 .
 
SUNDAY   NOVEMBER 6      BOOZEFIGHTERS M/C  Chapter 15
“Black Jack Run”  (Charity Benefiting) Check-In 9-11am
Leucadia, Ca.         Contact Cheeto 714-270-0977
 
  SATURDAY NOVEMBER 12    GRAVEYARD GAMBLERS MC  “BLACKJACK PARTY”. Sign-in 11 AM – Noon…Party from Noon – 5 PM   At Flynn Springs Inn 15505 Olde Hwy 80, El Cajon .
 
SUNDAY  NOVEMBER 13    ABATE LOCAL 11 (North County) holds their monthly meeting at  the Oakvale Country Store above Lake Wholford , in Escondido .   11:00 AM.
 
 SATURDAY  NOVEMBER 19  “VETERANS HOME
 RUN”  10 AM
Ride from Sweetwater Harley Davidson to visit the Vets in the Chula Vista Veterans Home.
 
 SATURDAY NOVEMBER 19.    SADDLETRAMPS MC      Blood Drive and Party  9 am - 3 PM   at San Diego Harley Davidson.  Chuck Wagon Lunch, Live Bands, Detailing, Bake Sales.     If you miss the Blood Drive , it will continue on   Sunday from 9AM - 3 PM
 
 
SATURDAY  NOVEMBER 26  “Christmas  party / At Sweetwater Harley / Canned Food Drive ”  3 – 6 PM.   Canned goods appreciated for South Bay Community Center .
 
SUNDAY NOV 27       "THE 31st ANNUAL SAN DIEGO TOY RUN".   Gathering at 9 AM – 10:30 AM on Harbor Drive at the FireFighters Training Academy on Harbor Drive  west of  the San Diego Airport . Bring a new, unwrapped toy.
 
SUNDAY  DECEMBER 4  ABATE Local 6 Monthly meeting.
12 NOON.
 
SUNDAY DECEMBER 11  ABATE Local 11 Monthly meeting.
11 AM.
 
SUNDAY DECEMBER 11,  “The 33rd Annual visit to the Vets” in the San Diego VA Hospital.  Meet at Noon in the parking lot at the Hospital on La Jolla Village Drive .
 
SUNDAY  DECEMBER  18   THE TIJUANA TOY RUN  9 AM at San Diego Harley Davidson.  (bring your U.S. Passport to return from Mexico ).
 
SUNDAY  DECEMBER 25  “CHRISTMAS WITH KIDS” 6 AM.  Would you like to help hand out bicycles and toys to hundreds of needy kids ?  Meet Snowman and the BoozeFighters MC at 223 E 3rd St .  National City .
 
SUNDAY  JANUARY 1  ABATE Local 6 Monthly meeting.
12 NOON.
 
SUNDAY  January 1  Dead Bird Run  Sweetwater Harley  10 AM.

JANUARY  7   OPEN HOUSE…..Sweetwater Harley,  BBQ, Band, DJ.   Demo Rides,  etc.     11 AM.
 
SUNDAY  JANUARY 8  ABATE Local 11 Monthly meeting.
11 AM.   LAKE WOHLFORD,  ESCONDIDO
 
Monday  January 9   2012   10:30 am ABATE  FREEDOM RALLY  in Sacramento on the south capitol steps. Visit your legislators.  Free Parking.  See flyer at  http://abatelocal6.org/  “events”.


HIRE A VETERAN

                  
John Del Santo
    ( 619 ) 223 - 0421

AUSTRALIA - Shootings linked to turf war between rival gxxgs of thugs


OFF THE WIRE

SCAREMONGERING between rival bikie gxxgs is thought to be behind a spate of drive-by shootings in Sydney.
A couple and their two young children escaped injury when their home in Granville was shot at several times and a woman in the same suburb was treated for shock after her home was hit moments later.

Five houses - in Granville, Holroyd, Canley Heights and Old Guildford - were sprayed with bullets just hours apart on Saturday night and early yesterday. No one was injured.

Police sources said the shootings were thought to be linked to a feud between members of the Hells Angels and Nomads bikie gxxgs.

"That is the strongest line of inquiry we have so far," the police source said.

Head of the Middle Eastern organised crime squad Superintendent Deb Wallace warned somebody will be seriously injured or killed if the brazen shootings do not cease.

A strike force was set up to investigate the shootings, and another drive-by at Merrylands on Thursday night.

But Supt Wallace said the process was being hampered by some of the victims' unwillingness to cooperate.

"We are frustrated by the lack of help we have been getting so far. There is no doubt some of the people know more then they are letting on," Supt Wallace said.

Supt Wallace said the shootings appeared to be targeted attacks.

Supt Wallace said patrols of Sydney's south-west will be increased in case of reprisals.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/shootings-linked-to-turf-war-between-rival-gangs-of-thugs/story-e6freuy9-1226180847567

Late for work, Miami officer accused of going 120 mph

OFF THE WIRE
Troopers arrest him at gunpoint after leading police on a brief high-speed chase..
 A Miami police officer is accused of driving 120 mph on a turnpike because he was late for his off-duty job working security at a school.
  1. The Florida Highway Patrol says officer Fausto Lopez was arrested at gunpoint after leading police on a brief high-speed chase.
According to a police report, a trooper spotted a patrol car changing lanes in a dangerous manner earlier this month. The report says the patrol car ignored warnings to pull over and led a brief high-speed chase before stopping near Hollywood.
Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss told The Associated Press on Saturday that administrative action against Lopez depends on the outcome of the case.
Univision first reported the arrest.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hells Angels Feud Traces Back to Starbucks

OFF THE WIRE
 Mark DeLucas

As thousands of bikers paid tribute Saturday to slain Hells Angels member Steve “Mr. 187” Tausan, California police described to reporters the strange turns in a biker gang turf war that has left several men dead, wounded or missing and has its origins in a seating dispute at a Santa Cruz, Calif., Starbucks.
Tausan, who was buried Saturday before 3,000 fellow bikers, was shot and killed two weeks ago at a funeral for another Hells Angels member, Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, who was himself shot and killed in September at a casino in Sparks, Nev. Tausan, police say, was shot during a dispute with fellow Hells Angels member Steven Ruiz. Pettigrew died at the hands of a member of the Vagos motorcylce gang.
According to police, Vagos and the Hells Angels have been feuding since January 2010, when several members of Vagos attempted to claim seating rights at a Santa Cruz Starbucks — a well-known Hells Angels hotspot. Fisticuffs ensued, with gang members wielding ball-point pens.
“"It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown," Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark told Reuters News Service. "The Vagos brazenly came in and tried to cement their presence. It was a pretty strong play on their part to establish themselves as the premiere club."
"Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who's going to control pumpkin spice lattes."
Violence re-erupted several months later when the gangs exchanged gunfire in Chino Valley, Ariz., wounding five and leading to 27 arrests.
The war turned lethal in September when Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose, Calif., chapter of the Hells Angels, was gunned down in a melee at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel and casino. One Vagos member was wounded and another was shot non-fatally in a drive-by shooting the following day.
According to police, internal blame for Pettigrew's killing fell on the shoulders of Hells Angels member Steven Ruiz, who was with Pettigrew at the time of the shooting. Police say Tausan and several other members confronted Ruiz at Pettigrew's funeral over his perceived failure to protect Pettigrew; under provocation, Ruiz fired on Tausan. Ruiz then fled the funeral, apparently with the aid of at least some members of the gang, who whisked him away in a car, eluding police capture.
Police say Ruiz remains at large.
Violence isn't unknown to the Hell Angels, whom the U.S. Justice Department has classified as an outlaw gang involved in drug and weapons trafficking, extortion, theft, money-laundering and petty crime. The Vagos imbroglio is the second serious gang war in which the Angels have been involved in the last 10 years. In 2002, Reuters reports, an extended conflict with the Mongols motorcycle gang left three gang members dead.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. - Hazards Ahead: Many agencies contribute to roadway safety projects, planning

BY: Elizabeth Larson
Source: lakeconews.com

Image

OFF THE WIRE

The safety of Lake County’s roadways is a matter of great concern not just for drivers but for officials and agencies across a broad spectrum – from health to planning, public works to law enforcement.

Health studies, planning efforts and safety projects all play a part in making roads and highways safer, as well as understanding the key factors that create dangerous conditions.

Studies about Lake County's rate of motor vehicle collisions often draw a similar conclusion, linking those incidents to a high prevalence of drug and alcohol use in the county.

The 2010 Lake County Health Needs Assessment made that finding, based not just on the hard numbers tracked by public health agencies but also because of input from community members who took part in an interview process. Those respondents cited “prevalence of illegal drugs” and impacts including vehicle crashes.

Just what can be done about those health concerns is something that public health officials like Dr. Karen Tait, are trying to address.

Tait, Lake County's health officer, leads a small division that – like most public health departments in rural counties – is tasked with providing information, awareness and some health services, like flu clinics.

But because of its small size, the department doesn't have funding for an epidemiologist – someone who closely studies public health trends in an effort to provide information to policymakers, Tait said.

Tait, who has some epidemiological training, said she tries to do that kind of analysis when she can, but says not having such resources results in a big gap for the county.

Increasingly Tait is finding her public health resources called on to address larger sociological matters and their influence on public health.

“We really have had very little to do with this in the past,” she said. “We really have no resources to dedicate to it.”

While previously safety planning hasn't been a part of public health's tasks, Tait calls it “an emerging area.”

Public health often has focused on communicable diseases, but the trends today are to look more at chronic illness, Tait said. “It's a big subject of discussion but there's been no funding for it.”

Planners consider the challenges

Tait said she's worked with the Lake County/City Area Planning Council – a regional planning agency that works with the cities of Lakeport and Clearlake and the county of Lake on projects to improve transportation, infrastructure and community development – and found the council a willing and interested partner in considering the intersection of health and planning.

The council’s work is connected to health mainly through outcomes, including improving safety, although its reports include health considerations.

The Area Planning Council’s Lake County 2030 Blueprint, completed last year, included poor road conditions and drug use as top countywide challenges.

The council is working with the city of Clearlake on a transportation planning study, funded by a $160,000 state grant, to look at how to improve the city’s Lakeshore Drive corridor, according to Bob Galusha, the city’s engineer. The project starts in January.

“It will look at safety issues from the standpoint of pedestrians, intersections that may need to be reconfigured or eliminated,” as well as channelization and other issues, said Galusha.

Lisa Davey-Bates, the Area Planning Council’s executive director, said the group just provided funding to the city of Lakeport so it can develop its own vehicle collision database to study hot spots.

Davey-Bates pointed to Lake County’s unique terrain as a particularly challenging factor when it comes to transportation issues – from planning to collisions, an observation Tait also has made.

The area’s natural terrain makes it difficult to build wide roads in many places, especially on Highway 20 along the Northshore. “There's just not a whole lot you can do so you try to find ways to get around it,” Davey-Bates said.

For that reason, the Area Planning Council is working on the Lake 29 Expressway project, which runs along an eight-mile portion of Highway 29, on the other side of the lake. “We’re trying to get people away from Highway 20,” Davey-Bates said.

While building the entire four-lane expressway along eight miles would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $160 million – making it unfeasible for Lake County, especially in light of current economic tough times – Davey-Bates said the Area Planning Council still wants to pursue up to 10 small projects along that corridor.

Those projects will include passing lanes, which she said the council made a priority, and which she suggested should help address crashes.

However, that work won’t be done in the near future. Davey-Bates said the environmental study on that project isn’t expected to be completed until 2015.



Image 



Cities, county pursue safety projects

Safety is on the mind of county and city officials, who are looking for ways to maintain and improve roadways while finding the competition for state and federal grants increasingly tough.

Area Planning Council pavement condition indexes completed for the cities and county in 2008 showed an average rating of poor for pavement countywide, but in new reports now being finalized, “It appears our pavement condition index is going to go up,” said Scott De Leon, Lake County’s Public Works director.

De Leon’s department oversees 622 miles of road in the county’s unincorporated area.

“This summer our crews really focused on preventive maintenance, which is something that has been lacking over the last few years,” he said.

The department has a small maintenance budget of about $300,000 annually, which covers materials only, said De Leon, who added that his department attempts to do many projects with its own staff to stretch its dollars farther.

He said it normally takes about $30,000 per mile to complete a chip seal project, the most basic road overlay that uses asphalt and small aggregate. His department only has about $5,000 per mile available for maintenance.

De Leon said Public Works bases its maintenance decisions on a number of factors, including road classifications, with arterial and collector streets being the top priorities.

Between last fiscal year and the current one, the Board of Supervisors set aside a total of about $1 million to purchase materials to upgrade local roadways, De Leon said.

He said that will allow his road crew to complete about 50 miles of chip seal next summer. “We're already planning for next summer's construction projects.”

Because many of Lake County’s roads lack streetlights, De Leon said increased emphasis has been placed on working to make roads safer at night. They also aggressively work to remove right-of-way obstructions.

“Nighttime safety is very important to us,” he said. Nighttime safety projects include having signs, paint and markers that are highly reflective.

“We try to make our roads as safe as possible,” he said.

He said his department has had moderate success in applying for safety grants to improve area roadways. They apply yearly, but competition has been heightened because of the financial challenges in all areas. “We’re all in the same boat in that budgets are tight.”

In its most recent large grants, in 2008 the county received a $1.2 million Safe Routes to Schools grant to construct curb, gutter and sidewalk along Highway 20. That same year the county received $783,000 for an overlay skid resistance project on Bottle Rock Road at Harrington Flat, the latter funded through a Hazard Elimination Safety/Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Highway Safety Improvement Program funding also is funding an upcoming safety project along Lakeshore Boulevard in Lakeport, according to City Engineer Scott Harter.

Based on a collision history for that area, Harter said the project will seek to slow traffic through a traffic circle – not a full roundabout – at Jones Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, and bike lanes painted with contrasting colors to make them more noticeable. Construction is expected to take place in the summer of 2013.

Like the county, the city of Lakeport aggressively seeks out grants to support road improvements, Harter said.

Because of Lakeport’s limited resources, Harter said the Lakeport City Council established a policy to focus most of the city’s maintenance efforts on its mostly highly traveled roads, including Main, High and 11th streets.

Clearlake also has concentrated its rehabilitation efforts on main roadways, including Olympic Drive, Lakeshore Drive and Old Highway 53, said Galusha.

“We’re constantly looking for grants,” Galusha said.

Since 2006, the city has repaved nearly 11 miles, or 57,000 feet, of roadway through a number of federal and state funding sources, including $3.2 million for a 2008 project on Lakeshore, Olympic and Old Highway 53, another $813,000 for collector streets rehabilitation from stimulus funds in 2009 and $600,000 for phase two of the collector rehabilitation in 2010, Galusha said.

The new roadways include thermoplastic striping with reflective markers, improved fog lines and added safety for driving during nighttime and in the rain, Galusha said.

De Leon’s department, which follows crash statistics closely, has found that collisions on county-maintained roadways have been on a downward trend since 2007.

Analyses provided by Todd Mansell, Lake County Public Works’ special projects engineer, found that between 2006 and 2011, the top three causes of collisions on county-maintained roadways included improper turning, driving under the influence and unsafe speed.

Looking for solutions on the highways

While policy makers and health officials consider the trends, addressing the high rates of crashes and deaths on local highways is a primary function for the California Highway Patrol.

“Our job is to save lives,” according to Lt. Greg Baarts, who took over as commander of the CHP's Clear Lake office in May.

Over the past decade, the CHP's Clear Lake Office has worked with Caltrans and other agencies to increase safety and raise awareness of drivers, encourage the use of child safety seats and reduce the number of intersection collisions.

Following the 2002 death of a young Lucerne girl who was hit and killed by a motorist as she was walking to catch the school bus, then-Commander Lt. Dane Hayward worked to secure $500,000 for pedestrian safety along the Northshore in 2003.

Caltrans added $500,000 to the effort, which went toward the addition of a continuous turn lane through Nice, Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks, as well as installing flashing pedestrian safety signs and the “piano key” crosswalks in Northshore communities.

The result was that there were no pedestrian deaths from Clearlake Oaks to Nice in the years 2003 to 2009. The area’s first pedestrian fatality after several years came in 2010, when a man in a motorized wheelchair was hit near Robinson Rancheria.

Hayward's successor, Lt. Mark Loveless – who earlier this year took over as commander of the Trinity River CHP office but worked for nearly three years in Lake County – secured a yearlong “Five Alive” grant funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to attempt to reduce growing numbers of fatal motorcycle- and alcohol-involved crashes.

The Clear Lake CHP Office reported that Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System figures between 2001 and 2008 showed a “troubling upward trend” in fatal and injury crashes.

During that seven-year time span, the CHP's analysis concluded that reportable motorcycle-involved collisions in Lake County were up 144 percent, while reportable alcohol-involved crashes increased 13 percent.

Loveless said earlier this year that the grant was going to use weekend patrols, air support, warrant service operations targeting drivers with multiple DUI offenses, and a public education and awareness campaign to reduce those statistics.

In an October interview, Loveless told Lake County News, said the CHP does extensive analysis on all crashes to get a clear picture of what's happening on the roadways.

They also work to educate young drivers and take into account what they hear from communities, said Loveless. “We combine that with what we're seeing.”

Sgt. Dave Stark, the Clear Lake office's grant writer – who also worked on the Northshore pedestrian grant – said the Five Alive grant began Oct. 1, 2010, and this past ended Sept. 30.

Since the grant started earlier this year, the CHP’s Clear Lake area office had 252 individual DUI saturation patrols, four motorcycle safety operations conducted during motorcycle rallies and eight DUI motorcycle enforcement task force operations. The agency said the enforcement operations were conducted in conjunction with other local law enforcement agencies, warrant service operations targeting drivers with multiple DUI offenses and CHP Air Operations.

Stark said that, in his opinion, the Clear Lake office met its main goals of reducing DUI- and motorcycle-related crashes. He said more specific numbers will not be available until the CHP headquarters office releases finalized data. That may not happen until next year.

Stark, Baarts and Loveless all credited Caltrans as being a great partner with CHP in the goal of making highway safer.

Loveless said Lake County's CHP area commander regularly meets with the district Caltrans chief on highway-related issues.

Stark said he's never seen a Caltrans team that cares as much about the public as the District 1 safety team led by Ralph Martinelli does. He said they've worked to make many life-saving changes.

“Whatever we ask them to do, they work closely with us,” said Stark.

In the next installment, Caltrans discusses analyzing crash corridors and a look at the outcomes from safety projects.

This Lake County News special series was produced as a project for the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, a program of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews, on Tumblr at www.lakeconews.tumblr.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .elarson@lakeconews.com This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it




Steve Martin “187” Tausan,

Steve Martin “187” Tausan
Well wishers are encouraged to contribute to the care and support of Steve Tausan’s minor children. Checks should be made out to “Stevie Tausan, Trustee for the Tausan Family Trust” and should be mailed to Rebecca F. Weisman, Attorney at Law, 79 Devine Street, San Jose, CA 95110.

OFF THE WIRE
agingrebel.com

Steve Martin “187” Tausan (above photo right in Red and White), the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Santa Cruz charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and a former member of the club’s San Jose charter died October 15, 2011 at the funeral for his close friend Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew.
Tausan was a complex, widely respected and fondly remembered man. He was a former Marine, a former professional boxer and a good father. Many of the most memorable stories about Tausan describe his paternal devotion and his general kindness to children. He once left a Hells Angels New Year’s Eve party early because he wanted to make sure his children were in bed by 10:30 p.m.
In addition to his club brothers, Tausan is survived by his mother Ramie Jean Tausan; his sisters Karan and Kathy; his niece Lynee; his fiancé; and his four children Stevie, Rowdy, Steve Jr. and Daisy Mae.
Tausan will be buried Saturday, October 29 in the same cemetery where he suffered his fatal wounds. The funeral is private and mourners may attend by invitation only.
Well wishers are encouraged to contribute to the care and support of Steve Tausan’s minor children. Checks should be made out to “Stevie Tausan, Trustee for the Tausan Family Trust” and should be mailed to Rebecca F. Weisman, Attorney at Law, 79 Devine Street, San Jose, CA 95110.
Steve Tausan died bravely. Many women will weep for him. He was 52.
Requiescat In Pace


Gar Says:

Interesting photo. Buffets breed unity.




  • Rebel Says:
    Dear Gar,
    I ran that photo just so people who don’t know much about this subculture, like reporters in the mainstream press, might get some clue that the outlaw biker world is more complex than it is usually portrayed as being. There was so much noise in the press the last couple of days, even the fucking Huffington Post, about biker violence and the Starbucks War and all that horsehit. I thought the Huffington Post and the Chronicle and so on should see that photo.
    The Mongol next to Steve Tausan is a very widely respected guy who I happen to like quite a lot. I think everybody who knows the guy likes him including some ATF Agents. I have never mentioned his name here and out of respect to him and the Mongols I never will. The cafeteria line is at a bike show. It is a picture of two guys, side by side, who were just looking at motorcycles.
    My tiny, little contribution to try to encourage three or four days in a row of world peace. Not that it is any of my fucking business. But, sometimes I just gotta be me.
    Rebel













  • Gar Says:
    Rebel:
    Very cool, man! Thanks for sharing. Yeah, you’ll never see a headline in the mainstream media that reads “Local Bike Show A Success: Several Bike Clubs Gathered for Bikes and Brats; Law Enforcement Scampers to Justify Their Exorbitant Budget and Manpower Overkill.”













  • Phuquehed Says:
    My condolences to his family and his brothers of the club. Keep the memories strong in you and it’ll be almost like he’s always still there with you.













  • JAMES Says:
    On the photo, REBEL you are so correct, some were even conversing and getting along very well.









  • PHILIP, R.I.P. MY FRIEND....

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Suicide bombing of NATO convoy kills 17

    OFF THE WIRE
    Blast is deadliest single attack against U.S.-led coalition since Aug. 6 chopper downing..

    Image: A foreign soldier investigates the crater caused by an explosion at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul
    Mohammad Ismail  /  Reuters
    A soldier investigates the crater caused by Saturday's suicide attack in Kabul.
    A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into an armored NATO bus Saturday, killing 17 people, including 12 Americans and a Canadian in the deadliest attack on the U.S.-led coalition in Kabul since the war began. It was a major setback for the alliance as it begins to draw down combat troops.
    The explosion sparked a fireball and littered the street with shrapnel and twisted metal hulks. Heavy black smoke poured from burning wreckage at the site along the four-lane highway frequently used by foreign military trainers in the southwestern section of the city.
    Underscoring the difficulties ahead, the brazen assault occurred on the same day that top NATO and Afghan officials were meeting elsewhere in Kabul to discuss the second phase of shifting security responsibilities to Afghan forces in all or part of 17 of the country's 34 provinces.
    It also was a blow to efforts by the U.S. and President Hamid Karzai to forge peace with the fundamentalist Taliban movement as NATO plans to withdraw all its combat troops from the country by the end of 2014, with support for the costly war reaching new lows in the West.
    NATO said five coalition service members and eight civilian contractors working for the coalition died in the explosion.
    A U.S. official said all were Americans, but Canadian defense spokesman, Lt. Col. Christian Lemay, told The Associated Press that a Canadian soldier was among the troopers killed.
    The Afghan Ministry of Interior said three Afghan civilians and one policeman also died in the attack. Eight other Afghans, including two children, were wounded, said Kabir Amiri, head of Kabul hospitals.
    Kabul has increasingly been targeted by attacks in recent years, with many blamed on the Haqqani network, an al-Qaida and Taliban-linked movement that operates out of Pakistan. But NATO already has shifted security responsibilities for the capital to the Afghans and foreign forces have little presence on the streets.
    A similar Taliban attack targeted a NATO convoy on the same road in May 2010, when a suicide bomber struck a convoy, killing 18 people. Among the dead were five American troops and a Canadian colonel. But Saturday's strike was the deadliest since the decade-long war began.
    The Taliban said the bomber, Abdul Rahman, was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV containing 1,540 pounds (700 kilograms) of explosives and targeting foreigners providing training for Afghan police. The Taliban, who frequently exaggerate casualty claims, said that 25 people were killed by the blast.
    The Taliban also claimed responsibility for another suicide bombing outside a government intelligence office in the northwest province of Kunar in which only the bomber was killed. In all, there were three attacks against NATO and Afghan forces, killing at least 21 people. Story: NATO: 30 insurgents killed in eastern Afghanistan
    Elsewhere, a man wearing an Afghan military uniform opened fire on a joint NATO-Afghan base, killing three Australian service members in Uruzgan province, an area in the restive south that is traditionally viewed as the Taliban's stronghold, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
    Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Zahir Azimi said officials were investigating whether the shooter, who was killed in the incident, was a member of the Afghan army or a militant wearing an army uniform.
    In Kabul, the armored personnel carrier, known as a Rhino, was sandwiched between of a convoy of mine-resistant military vehicles traveling on the road, a major artery leading to the landmark Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of former Afghan kings. The attack occurred near the entrance of the American University.
    NATO and Afghan forces sealed off the area as fire trucks and ambulances rushed in. An AP reporter at the scene saw two NATO helicopters landing to airlift casualties, while coalition troops using loudspeakers ordered bystanders to evacuate the area.
    One witness, Noor Ahmad, said he saw a coalition soldier choking inside the burned bus.
    "The bottom half of his body was burned," Ahmad said.
    Coalition troops were seen carrying three black body bags from the burned wreckage and one charred body on a stretcher toward the waiting helicopters.
    It was the deadliest single attack against the U.S.-led coalition across the country since the Taliban shot down a NATO helicopter on Aug. 6 in an eastern Afghan province, killing 30 U.S. troops, most elite Navy SEALs, and eight Afghans.
    The most recent attack in Kabul occurred on Sept. 20, when an insurgent with a bomb hidden in his turban assassinated former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani. The insurgent was posing as a peace emissary coming to meet Rabbani, who was leading a government effort to broker peace with the Taliban. Afghan officials blame the Haqqani for that incident.
    Earlier Saturday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up as she tried to attack a local government office in the capital of Kunar province, a hotbed of militancy in northeast Afghanistan along the Pakistan border.
    Abdul Sabor Allayar, deputy provincial police chief, said the guards outside the government's intelligence office in Asad Abad became suspicious of the woman and started shooting, at which point she detonated her explosives.
    Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces conducted operations earlier this month, killing more than 100 insurgents in an effort to curb violence in rugged areas of Kunar where the coalition and Afghan government have a light footprint.