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Friday, March 31, 2017

CA - SB 640 by Hertzberg: $123 BILLION Tax Increase—NOT a Typo

OFF THE WIRE
Read the bill, research it and understand just how much this is going to affect not only the cost of living, but the quality of life here in CA. Services that are currently non-taxable will be subject to $123 Billion of new taxes EVERY year. To put it in perspective, that's approx. $3700 of additional tax burden on top of what we already pay each year for every man, woman and child in the state. Don't think for a moment that all this new tax revenue will go to infrastructure. CA politicians have been redirecting our hard earned dollars to pet projects, welfare, state employee pensions and other programs that we have no say in for years while our infrastructure continued to erode year after year, regardless of who has been in office or which political party was in the majority.
To quote Stephen Frank, author of the article...
"If I wanted one bill to kill off what is left of California, I would support SB 640."
So, for those who are not currently able to move out of CA for one reason or another, what are you willing and able to do about this?
SILENCE IS CONSENT
TAXATION IS THEFT

By Stephen Frank
SB 640 by Hertzberg would force you to pay a sales tax on your divorce proceedings, shoe repair, tax preparation by a CPA.  In total, Hertzberg—claiming to be a moderate Democrat, wants to raise $123 Billion in NEW taxes every year.  Imagine if he was a liberal, this bill more than doubles the tax burden on Californians and upon passage throws the State into a Depression, bypassing a recession.  See bill here. 
“The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) released an estimate today indicating that California’s state and local governments may receive approximately $122.6 billion in new revenue if tax was collected on services that are currently non-taxable. Of that amount, $60.9 billion could go to the state, with $61.7 billion for city, county, and other local government entities. The estimate assumes a statewide average sales tax rate of 8.42 percent.
Currently, sales tax generally only applies to the retail sale of tangible personal property, such as a bicycle. Most services are not taxed, except for required services related to the retail sale of tangible personal property, such as assembly charges associated with the retail sale of a bicycle.”
For people in Los Angeles where the tax is almost 10%, only the poor and illegal aliens will remain—most of the middle class and rich will leave as quickly as possible.  If I wanted one bill to kill off what is left of California, I would support SB 640.  Note the media has given this NO publicity.

BOE Estimates Tax on Services May Generate $122.6 Billion for California

California Board of Equalization,  4/14/15

Sacramento –The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) released an estimate today indicating that California’s state and local governments may receive approximately $122.6 billion in new revenue if tax was collected on services that are currently non-taxable. Of that amount, $60.9 billion could go to the state, with $61.7 billion for city, county, and other local government entities. The estimate assumes a statewide average sales tax rate of 8.42 percent.
Currently, sales tax generally only applies to the retail sale of tangible personal property, such as a bicycle. Most services are not taxed, except for required services related to the retail sale of tangible personal property, such as assembly charges associated with the retail sale of a bicycle.
The BOE’s Research and Statistics Section produced this estimate at the request of the California State Senate Governance and Finance Committee. The BOE’s Chief Economist and research staff studied 15 categories of service industries, including health care, agriculture, construction, real estate, finance, transportation and warehousing, and various professional services, such as attorneys, accountants, hairstylists, car washes, and auto and shoe repair. Researchers identified the components within each industry that are currently subject to sales tax, and excluded most of them from this estimate. This estimate took about four months to complete.
“Eliminating income tax is impractical, and inconsistent with our economic structure.  However, it is wise to strike a taxation balance with the goal of stimulating job creation, capitalizing on innovation, and helping Californians compete with the rest of the world—without destroying our environment,” said Chairman Jerome E. Horton, State Board of Equalization, Third District.  “Without this balance, the adverse effects may push people and businesses out of California.”
“That last thing overtaxed Californians need is another tax—in fact, these numbers are dangerous in the wrong hands,” said Vice Chair George Runner. “A broader reliance on sales tax would only make sense if it allowed us to eliminate California’s onerous income tax. My hope is this report will stimulate much-needed conversation on how we can make taxes simpler for all Californians and attract more jobs and investment to our state.”
“Tax reform should be an incentive, not a covert word for job killer,” said Board Member Diane L. Harkey. “The best tax reform is job growth which would create more taxpayers, more revenue to the state, and a boost for California’s job seekers and creators.”
The revenue estimate, a fact sheet, and a spreadsheet with additional data, are available online. Visit OPEN BOE to find other publicly available BOE data.
The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60.5 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees, visit the California Tax Service Center.

Note: This news release may discuss complex tax laws and concepts. It may not address every situation, and is not considered written advice under Revenue and Taxation Code section 6596. Changes in law or regulations may have occurred since the time this news release was written. If there is a conflict between the text of this news release and the law, decisions will be based upon the law and not this news release. For specific help, please contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115.

Virginia ABC Cracking Down on Biker Bars in Central Virginia

OFF THE WIRE
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is warning restaurants and bars they could lose their licenses by becoming a hangout for outlaw motorcycle clubs, calling them criminal street gangs.
It's bad enough that police agencies across the country apply discreet tactics like this to intimidate and coerce business not to service the motorcycle community, but to publically take such actions like it is within their power to break the law of the land is like tyranny looking to seed itself and test our resolve to fight against it. And fight it they should.
If you own a business: tattoo shop, bar, restaurant, motel, etc. where bikers frequent and the police come and threaten to revoke your liquor license or shutdown your business if you service people or groups they don't like, make use you capture it on video and get a copy to your local motorcycle rights organization.
As for no-colors policies, removing a jacket or vest will not change who a person is or their intent.


ORANGE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is trying to put the brakes on biker bars in central Virginia. The ABC is warning restaurants and bars they could lose their licenses by becoming a hangout for outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The ABC says this crackdown comes in response to concerns from law enforcement in Greene County, Louisa, and Orange.
John Nagro, the owner of CJ’s at Byrd Street in the town of Orange, is trying to shake off that reputation for his bar.
“The windows aren't black, there's nobody undressed in here dancing. It's not a biker bar,” Nagro explained. “Don't just say because you have a motorcycle patch on there that you're a bad guy, because it's not true.”
Nagro believes police and the ABC are targeting bikers after a dust-up between a member of a motorcycle club and another customer
“You know, they all like to play dress up with their jackets and who they are, what they are,” Nagro said. “They're good guys, they don't bother me. They don't bother anyone in this town.”
Nagro got a letter calling his restaurant a rendezvous for an outlaw motorcycle gang.
“Next thing I know, the big boys from ABC came in and basically threatened me that I was going to lose my license,” Nagro explained.
ABC agents are handing out the letter to 30 bars and restaurants around Central Virginia, including in the town of Louisa. It describes an increase of outlaw motorcycle gang activity, but these aren't just your weekend riders.
Police describe the group as the "one-percenters".
“Those one-percenters, the ones that create the problems for us in law enforcement and the criminal activity, is the area we need to focus on,” said Chief Ronnie Roberts with the town of Louisa police.
The ABC warns it can revoke the license of a business that becomes a meeting place or rendezvous for outlaw motorcycle gangs.
A pub in Louisa posted the letter and a sign warning bikers not to wear their colors or cuts.
“What we've done is try to make sure everybody is on the same page and not leaving anyone out, so everyone knows what the regulatory issues are,” said Roberts.
Nagro says he's losing business in this battle over rights.
“If the ABC wants to take my license, I guess they can take my license. There's nothing I can do about it, but I do believe that Constitutional rights are being violated here every day,” Nagro said.
Members of motorcycle clubs and their supporters are sending letters to the governor and members of the General Assembly about this issue with the ABC.
The letter calls the department's actions "intimidation" and an "infringement of freedom of speech."
Statement from Virginia ABC:
Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement Region 9 distributed a letter addressed to Region 9 on premise licensees advising them of an increase in outlaw motorcycle gang activity in on premise ABC licensed establishments. This letter was created in response to information received from four local law enforcement agencies within the Charlottesville region. The letter was provided as an educational resource for licensees and was hand-delivered to approximately 30 licensees in the region during inspections and day to day interactions. Special agents are continuing to distribute the letters.
The letter includes applicable sections of Virginia Code and states that all Virginia ABC licensees should take reasonable measures to prevent their establishments from becoming a meeting place or rendezvous for members of a criminal street gang or from becoming a place where patrons of the establishment commit criminal violations. The letter also advises licensees of potential penalties that could be incurred in the event of a violation. It does not state that licensees should decline service to certain individuals and does not require any specific actions on the part of the licensee.
At their request, Virginia ABC is working with the following local law enforcement agencies on this effort: Town of Orange Police Department; Town of Louisa Police Department; Louisa County Sheriff’s Office; and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

BABE OF THE DAY

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CA - Cigarette Tax Goes up $2 This Saturday

OFF THE WIRE
Speaking of new taxes here in the "Golden" state... if you smoke tobacco related products, prices are going to jump big time on April 1st and this ain't no April fools joke either. This measure (prop 56) passed the vote by nearly 57% last November. Some claim the new taxes serve as an incentive to cut back or refrain from smoking all together, but we know better.

By: Connie Tran
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - Starting this Saturday, April 1, cigarettes and tobacco related products are going to be much more expensive. The tax on them will go up by $2 dollars, from $0.87, to $2.87.

Voters passed the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act, otherwise known as Proposition 56, last November. Many health professionals hope the tax hike will deter people from smoking. Voters in Fresno County passed Prop 56 by 57-percent. Now, smokers are looking at spending nearly $9 dollars on a pack of cigarettes.

The owner of the University Market on Shaw and Willow is Chris Benjamin. He said, "It's a draw, it's more of a draw. I mean, you don't make a great margin on cigarettes, but it's a mandatory thing to have in your store. It's like lottery."

Benjamin said he's gearing up for the tax on cigarettes to go up an additional $2 on Saturday.

"We'll get some quitters, you know, but I think if you're a smoker, you're a smoker, and you're just gonna pay the price," stated Benjamin.

Judith Smith has been a smoker nearly all her life.

She said, "I smoke one pack every two days."

Smith said she's willing to spend as much money as it costs to get her nicotine fix.

"It calms me down. It's like a sedative. I don't drink or do anything of that nature, and it's just my little sedative," stated Smith.

But those behind the "Yes on Prop 56" campaign say they hope the more expensive cigarettes will motivate smokers to quit or cut back.

Kaiser Permanente Dr. Nicole Calvillo said, "It is a lot of money and a lot of our patients that smoke are on fixed incomes, so when it comes to paying for your medications or rent, or groceries, or cigarettes, hopefully they're all choosing not to buy the cigarettes."

The California Public Health Department said tobacco control efforts like Prop 56 have reduced smoking rates by half, and it has saved the State $134 billion dollars in health care costs. The funds will go towards tobacco-use prevention programs, the State's new Oral Health Program, and it will fund research on tobacco-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

USA- State Supreme Court Rules Cops No Longer Need a Warrant to Enter Homes and Seize Evidence

OFF THE WIRE
Unacceptable. Hopefully, victims (yes..they are victims even if they are under investigation for criminal activity) of this injustice will soon come forward and together force an appeal to overturn this state ruling in SCOTUS.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court just dealt a death blow to the Fourth Amendment, which is supposed to protect a citizen against unreasonable search and seizure. What’s more, the decision was made by a single, newly-appointed judge who was not even present when arguments were made in court.

In a 4-3 decision, the state’s highest court ruled that evidence seized in a person’s private home during a warrantless search can be used against the person under an expanded view of the “community caretaker” clause.
Police went to Charles Matalonis’ house after his brother was found bloodied at a nearby residence. Matalonis, admitting he fought with his brother, let the cops in, where they saw blood in the apartment and some cannabis. They wanted to look inside a locked room, and when Matalonis refused to unlock it, the cops broke in. There they found a cannabis growing setup, whereupon Matalonis was arrested and charged with manufacture of cannabis.
The Court of Appeals had previously ruled this to be an unreasonable search. However, in the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, “Justice Annette Ziegler found that police were not investigating a crime but exercising their “community caretaker” function by checking to make sure no other injured people were in the house.”

This was challenged by three other Justices, who argued that “by the time officers entered the locked room, some 20 minutes or more after they had been in the house, there was little reason to suspect someone else was in the bedroom, but plenty of reason to suspect it might house marijuana.”
If the case had remained deadlocked at 3-3, then the Court of Appeals ruling that the evidence should be suppressed would have stood. But in a move that is without precedent in the U.S. or the Wisconsin Supreme Courts, newly-appointed Justice Rebecca Bradley cast the deciding vote without participating in oral arguments.

No precedent appears to exist in the United States Supreme Court or in this court for a new justice who did not participate in oral argument to participate in the case without re-argument,” said Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Bradley was appointed by Governor Scott Walker after Justice Patrick Crooks passed away on Sept. 21, and is now running for election. Bradley had not participated in five earlier cases since her appointment, but decided to chime in on this one. She believed that listening to taped recordings of the arguments, instead of being there in person and involved, was sufficient for her to make the call.

So, an unelected judge appointed by a partisan politician cast a single vote, without being present during arguments, which effectively nullified the Fourth Amendment in that state. Now in Wisconsin, cops can enter a person’s home without a warrant, seize evidence and use it against the person.

The irony is that this attack on the Fourth Amendment is being carried out under the guise of cops being “community caretakers.” In other words, the state presumes that it is doing what’s best for the common good by violating the rights of the individual.

F .B. I.Deprivation of Rights Under Color Of LAW

OFF THE WIRE
U.S. law enforcement officers and other officials like judges,
prosecutors, and security guards have been given tremendous power by
local, state, and federal government agencies—authority they must have
to enforce the law and ensure justice in our country. These powers
include the authority to detain and arrest suspects, to search and
seize property, to
bring criminal charges, to make rulings in court, and to use deadly
force in certain situations.

Preventing abuse of this authority, however, is equally necessary to
the health of our nation’s democracy. That’s why it’s a federal crime
for anyone acting under “color of law” willfully to deprive or
conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution
or U.S. law. “Color of law” simply means that the person is using
authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government
agency.

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating color of law
abuses, which include acts carried out by government officials
operating both within and beyond the limits of their lawful authority.
Off-duty conduct may be covered if the perpetrator asserted his or her
official status in some way.

During 2009, the FBI investigated 385 color of law cases. Most of
these crimes fall into five broad areas:

• excessive force;
• sexual assaults;
• false arrest and fabrication of evidence;
• deprivation of property; and
• failure to keep from harm.

Excessive force: In making arrests, maintaining order, and defending
life, law enforcement officers are allowed to use whatever force is
"reasonably" necessary. The breadth and scope of the use of force is
vast—from just the physical presence of the officer…to the use of
deadly force. Violations of federal law occur when it can be shown
that the force used was willfully "unreasonable" or "excessive."

Sexual assaults by officials acting under color of law can happen in
jails, during traffic stops, or in other settings where officials
might use their position of authority to coerce an individual into
sexual compliance. The compliance is generally gained because of a
threat of an official action against the person if he or she doesn’t
comply.

False arrest and fabrication of evidence: The Fourth Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution guarantees the right against unreasonable searches
or seizures. A law enforcement official using authority provided under
the color of law is allowed to stop individuals and, under certain
circumstances, to search them and retain their property. It is in the
abuse of that discretionary power—such as an unlawful detention or
illegal confiscation of property—that a violation of a person's civil
rights may occur.

Fabricating evidence against or falsely arresting an individual also
violates the color of law statute, taking away the person’s rights of
due process and unreasonable seizure. In the case of deprivation of
property, the color of law statute would be violated by unlawfully
obtaining or maintaining a person’s property, which oversteps or
misapplies the official’s authority.

The Fourteenth Amendment secures the right to due process; the Eighth
Amendment prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment. During an
arrest or detention, these rights can be violated by the use of force
amounting to punishment (summary judgment). The person accused of a
crime must be allowed the opportunity to have a trial and should not
be subjected to punishment without having been afforded the
opportunity of the legal process.

Failure to keep from harm: The public counts on its law enforcement
officials to protect local communities. If it’s shown that an official
willfully failed to keep an individual from harm, that official could
be in violation of the color of law statute.

Filing a Complaint

To file a color of law complaint, contact your local FBI office by
telephone, in writing, or in person. The following information should
be provided:

• all identifying information for the victim(s);
• as much identifying information as possible for the subject(s),
including position, rank, and
  agency employed;
• date and time of incident;
• location of incident;
• names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witness(es);
• a complete chronology of events; and
• any report numbers and charges with respect to the incident.

You may also contact the United States Attorney's Office in your
district or send a written
complaint to:

Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Criminal Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20530

FBI investigations vary in length. Once our investigation is complete,
we forward the findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office within the local
jurisdiction and to the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington,
D.C., which decide whether or not to proceed toward prosecution and
handle any prosecutions that follow.

Civil Applications

Title 42, U.S.C., Section 14141 makes it unlawful for state or local
law enforcement agencies to allow officers to engage in a pattern or
practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the
Constitution or U.S. laws. This law, commonly referred to as the
Police Misconduct Statute, gives the Department of Justice authority
to seek civil remedies in cases where law enforcement agencies have
policies or practices that foster a pattern of misconduct by
employees. This action is directed against an agency, not against
individual officers. The types of issues which may initiate a pattern
and practice investigation include:

• Lack of supervision/monitoring of officers' actions;
• Lack of justification or reporting by officers on incidents
involving the use of force;
• Lack of, or improper training of, officers; and
• Citizen complaint processes that treat complainants as adversaries.

Under Title 42, U.S.C., Section 1997, the Department of Justice has
the ability to initiate civil actions against mental hospitals,
retardation facilities, jails, prisons, nursing homes, and juvenile
detention facilities when there are allegations of systemic
derivations of the constitutional rights of institutionalized persons.

VA finalizes disability benefits plans for contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune By: Leo Shane III, March 14, 2017

OFF THE WIRE
WASHINGTON — Former service members exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune over a 35-year period can now apply for veterans disability benefits, under a new federal rule finalized Tuesday.

The move, which comes after a two-month review of the department’s plans, is expected to affect as many as 900,000 veterans and cost more than $2 billion over the next five years.

In a statement, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin called the move “a demonstration of our commitment to care for those who have served our nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service.” 


It comes after years of lawsuits and lobbying by veterans groups who said tens of thousands of troops and their families were exposed to unhealthy levels of contaminants from leaky fuel tanks and other chemical sources while serving at the North Carolina base from the early 1950s to the late 1980s.

In 2012, Congress passed a law providing free medical care for troops and family members who lived at the base and later developed one of 15 illnesses. But that measure did not include the authority to extend VA disability benefits to those veterans.  

The new rule will allow that, for veterans who suffer from one of eight diseases that VA officials have said are definitely connected to adult exposure to the water contamination. Those issues are leukemia, aplastic anemia (and other myelodysplastic syndromes), bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.

Labeling the illnesses as presumptive conditions allows veterans to provide only proof of their medical status, and not evidence the conditions are linked to a specific event or exposure.

VA officials will accept applications from any service member who spent at least 30 cumulative days at the base, whether that service was on active-duty, reserve or National Guard status.

Veterans have a year to file the benefits claims, and and if approved will receive payouts from their date of filing.For more information, visit the VA web page.
Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at lshane@militarytimes.com.

You may be in California’s gang database and not even know it

OFF THE WIRE
Police are “not supposed to rely on CalGang as evidence of gang membership. … In practice, they use it to check if an individual is listed as a gang member.”
Peter Bibring
senior staff attorney, ACLU of Southern California
https://www.revealnews.org/…/you-may-be-in-californias-gan…/
You may be in California’s gang database and not even know it

By Ali Winston

One mild fall evening, two deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit headed into the streets of Carson, California, where palm trees are tagged with gang graffiti and street signs in some neighborhoods are turned around or removed to confuse outsiders.

The deputies, Jon Boden and Alfredo Garcia, had a big job to do. As part of the Operation Safe Streets Bureau, they were expected to get a handle on gang violence in the cities of Carson and Compton.

The intent of that evening’s patrol was to prevent shootings – but the deputies also were on the hunt for intelligence about gang feuds and activity. Several times during the 2014 patrol – with a Reveal reporter riding along – they stopped, searched and questioned young blacks and Latinos about drugs, gangs and what they were doing in a particular neighborhood.

About 10 minutes into their shift, the deputies spotted a young couple in a silver Chevrolet parked under a tree in a J.C. Penney store’s backlot. Boden saw the man rolling a blunt of what he thought looked like crushed marijuana. Both deputies sprang out of the squad car and asked the man and his companion, a woman, to step out of the vehicle.

As Boden held the man’s hands behind his head and searched his pockets, the man started to struggle. The deputy forced him onto the hood of the squad car and handcuffed him. Boden pulled two bullets out of the man’s pants pocket; a search of the car yielded a gun safe with a .22-caliber pistol, several grams of marijuana, prescription drugs, a digital scale and two driver’s licenses that the deputies discovered had been reported stolen.
During a fall 2014 stop in Carson, Calif., deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit searched a car, finding a gun safe with a .22-caliber pistol, several grams of marijuana, prescription drugs, a digital scale and two driver’s licenses that had been reported stolen.

During a fall 2014 stop in Carson, Calif., deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s gang unit searched a car, finding a gun safe with a .22-caliber pistol, several grams of marijuana, prescription drugs, a digital scale and two driver’s licenses that had been reported stolen. Credit: Ali Winston/Reveal

The young man also had an unlocked cellphone on him. Thumbing through the device, Garcia found photographs of him posing with shotguns and pistols, a blue bandanna wrapped around his face. The man quickly admitted that the gun and drugs in the safe were his and that he was a member of the Park Village Compton Crips.

After Boden and Garcia had handcuffed the pair and were searching their car, Sgt. Gerardo Lucio, their supervising officer, pulled up. As the deputies conducted their search, Lucio explained the significance of the stop. It inevitably would produce a field information card identifying the man as a gang member, he said, “because he self-admitted and we found those photographs.” The woman also would get a card referring to her “as an associate” of a gang member.

If the officers hadn’t pulled over the duo that day, Lucio added, they would have “miss(ed) out on that information about his membership. … Field interview cards and field interviews help us figure out who’s hanging with who, when. A lot of the time, my guys get new members we haven’t come into contact with.”

    Police are “not supposed to rely on CalGang as evidence of gang membership. … In practice, they use it to check if an individual is listed as a gang member.”Peter Bibring
    senior staff attorney, ACLU of Southern California

The field card information would then be loaded into CalGang, a statewide database that over the years has grown to include more than 150,000 people. Law enforcement officials maintain that the tool is critical in the ongoing battle against gangs, but it has come under fire from civil libertarians and criminal justice reformers for its secrecy, which can ensnare innocent people without their knowledge.

Lucio said his deputies typically add people to CalGang based on tattoos, gang-related clothing or self-admission, criteria laid out in the 1988 STEP Act – California’s Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act – which allows judges to mete out harsher punishment for gang members.

Self-admission is unique. Whether it’s obtained in a field interview or at jail intake, it is the only criteria the STEP Act allows to stand on its own as proof of gang membership. There’s no room for gray areas: If someone claims a gang membership during a jail interview to avoid being housed with people from a hostile neighborhood or because he or she thinks it will garner respect and status, that automatically marks the person as a gangster in the eyes of California law enforcement.

Aside from a 2013 law that established a way for parents and juveniles to challenge a child’s inclusion in the database, most people can’t find out whether they are in CalGang. An effort to create a similar process for adults failed last year amid heavy lobbying by law enforcement agencies, which use the data to build files and bring charges against people based on their alleged gang ties.

Civil liberties advocates claim that the secrecy surrounding CalGang has created, in effect, a statewide investigative file blocked from external scrutiny.

“They’re not supposed to rely on CalGang as evidence of gang membership. They’re supposed to contact the person who entered that information into the system,” said Peter Bibring, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, speaking of both district attorneys and police. But, he said, “in practice, they use it to check if an individual is listed as a gang member.”

Those concerns, coupled with criticism that the criteria for adding someone to the database are too vague and people of color are disproportionately included, prompted the state to launch an audit of the system last summer. That report is due in August. In February, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, introduced AB 2298, the latest attempt to require that adults be notified if they are included in CalGang.
Consequences of gang classification

Aaron Harvey learned the hard way what it can mean to be documented as a gang member. He was a 26-year-old seeking his fortune in the Las Vegas real estate industry when he stepped out of his apartment to get some lunch on July 18, 2014. The San Diego native had moved there a year earlier to get away from the tumult of the hardscrabble Lincoln Park neighborhood where he grew up and where his family has lived for decades.
Aaron Harvey, a former documented gang member on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in San Diego, CA.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker for CIRonline)

Aaron Harvey was held without bail for eight months on criminal street gang conspiracy charges. Last March, a judge threw out the case against Harvey and several others, finding insufficient evidence to charge them. Credit: Sandy Huffaker for Reveal

Suddenly, nearly a dozen plainclothes U.S. marshals swarmed around Harvey with their guns drawn. He was arrested, booked at the Clark County jail and flown back to San Diego on a warrant in connection with nine shootings back home – shootings that had taken place after Harvey left for Nevada.

The shooters in these incidents never were identified. Instead, several men recorded on a wiretap discussing how to obtain a gun were charged with offenses ranging from attempted murder to assault. Harvey was not among them.

Even after the San Diego County district attorney’s office acknowledged that Harvey was not present for the shootings, he was charged with nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy to commit a felony – one for each shooting. Prosecutors claimed that Harvey was a participant in the conspiracy because he was, they alleged, a member of the Lincoln Park Bloods and stood to benefit because the shootings would increase his notoriety. The gang conspiracy charge is relatively new, created in 2000 when California’s Proposition 21 increased penalties for gang offenses.

    “I tell people that it might be a black and brown issue now, but it is going to be yours later.”Aaron Harvey
    who was charged with criminal street gang conspiracy

To establish Harvey’s gang ties, prosecutors introduced photos from his Facebook account that showed him with other men from his neighborhood, wearing green clothing and making hand signs that prosecutors said were gang related.

They also cited evidence gathered from more than a dozen contacts Harvey had with San Diego gang police over the years – evidence that prosecutors suggested established his involvement with the Lincoln Park Bloods. Many of the contacts dated back to his teenage years, and none had resulted in a criminal charge.

Harvey ended up being held without bail for eight months. Last March, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian threw out the case against Harvey and several of the other men, finding insufficient evidence to charge them.

“How can you attach a conspiracy,” the judge asked, “to a crime that doesn’t have a defendant?”

But release offered little relief. While he was in jail, Harvey lost his apartment and job as a club promoter. He moved back in with his parents in Lincoln Park. Motivated by what he sees as his own unfair targeting by law enforcement, he is now taking prelaw classes and organizing for criminal justice reform.

“I tell people that it might be a black and brown issue now, but it is going to be yours later,” Harvey said.

The case was a dark revelation for him. During an interview last spring at his parents’ home, Harvey vividly recalled those police stops, but it was only after prosecutors filed documents that he realized that police had documented each stop and taken detailed notes – about his tattoos, the colors he was wearing, where he was and the people he was with.

Each time, Harvey insisted that he was not affiliated with a gang. Still, he said, “you knew what the police considered you.”

Harvey now knows that information like that gathered about him routinely is fed into CalGang. That data – according to documents and interviews with law enforcement officials, attorneys and academics – frequently plays a role in arrests, inclusion in civil gang injunctions, deportations and criminal investigations.

The secrecy around CalGang and the loose criteria for inclusion in the database terrifies Harvey.

“It’s like a virus that you have, that you don’t know you have, and you’re spreading it to other people,” he said of gang classification. “(Someone) infected me with this disease; now I have it, and there’s no telling how many other people I have infected.”

But prosecutors believe Harvey has something to hide.

“Harvey knows more than he is willing to admit,” said Frank Jackson, San Diego County’s assistant district attorney in charge of gang prosecutions.
A history of California gangs

California long has been synonymous with street gangs and violence in popular culture, from “Boyz n the Hood” to “End of Watch.” Many of the state’s most infamous gangs – the Crips, the Bloods, the Norteños – coalesced in poor neighborhoods and barrios, particularly in the urban centers of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, in the middle of the 20th century. Others – Nuestra Familia, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood – are offshoots of racial gangs formed in the state’s massive prison system.

As deindustrialization, white flight and urban decay hollowed out Los Angeles and other cities in the 1980s and the drug economy boomed, street gangs that previously engaged mostly in petty crime turned to more lucrative narcotics trafficking and grew as criminal organizations.

Almost as far back as there have been gangs, California law enforcement agencies have attempted to track their members. By the 1970s, this process had become routine. During stops of vehicles or pedestrians, police officers who suspected a person had a gang affiliation filled out a 5-by-7-inch index card, known as a field identification card. It included spaces for the person’s name, nickname, gang affiliation and physical description – including any identifying scars, birthmarks or tattoos – and room to attach a photograph. In the pre-digital days, these cards were filed alphabetically in cabinets, like library index cards.

But an upsurge of violence in the 1980s, largely attributed by law enforcement to the growth of gangs and the crack cocaine trade, led to the 1988 passage of the STEP Act.

Under the act, prosecutors now could seek longer sentences for people facing criminal charges who also fit 3 of 10 criteria that might indicate gang involvement: associating with known gang members, being seen in a known gang neighborhood – such as sections of Compton in the Los Angeles area, the Fillmore District in San Francisco and the Skyline area of Southeast San Diego – or wearing attire that might be gang related, such as a red San Francisco 49ers hat (Norteños/Bloods) or the blue caps of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Sureños/Crips).

As of mid-2015, 8,050 inmates – roughly 7 percent of the state’s prison population – are serving extra time because of these gang enhancements, according to The New York Times Magazine.

As the STEP Act was moving through the Legislature, prosecutors developed another tool: gang injunctions, which in effect are nuisance abatement suits that restrict an individual’s right to associate with other alleged gang members or move around freely in a geographic area linked to a gang. The injunctions provide law enforcement with wide latitude to stop, question and search people. They typically cover at least a dozen people and 1 to 3 square miles.

The injunctions have come under fire as a form of racial profiling in gentrifying areas such as L.A.’s Venice, and academic research does not show a clear impact on violent crime and gang involvement. Yet by 2013, according to court documents from a class-action lawsuit challenging the injunctions, more than 5,700 people in the Los Angeles area had been served with gang injunctions. A $30 million settlement was reached in the suit last week.

Against this backdrop, a private firm called Orion Scientific Systems Inc. began to create the CalGang database. The system’s first prototype, according to a report prepared by the California Department of Justice in 1999, was piloted by the San Diego Police Department in 1996 and rolled out statewide two years later at a cost of $520,000.

CalGang brought a sea change to state law enforcement by allowing officers in the field instant access to digitized intelligence about an individual’s gang ties. Before its launch, officers had to turn to an expensive and cumbersome electronic filing system called GREAT or dig through filing cabinets to pull up that person’s paper file.
Wes McBride was a sergeant in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s gang unit for 28 years until he retired in 2002. He now serves as the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association.

Wes McBride was a sergeant in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s gang unit for 28 years until he retired in 2002. He now serves as the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association. Credit: Stuart Palley for Reveal

GREAT – or the Gang Reporting, Evaluation, and Tracking system – was created by Wes McBride, a sergeant in the Los Angeles County sheriff’s gang unit for 28 years until he retired in 2002. McBride, who now serves as the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association, went on to assist with the design of CalGang.

McBride believes in the value of rapid access to gang information that CalGang provides to field officers.

“In most cases, the gang members that you’re going to deal with are going to be your shooters and your victims,” he said. “These systems are built for when they’re not.”
Database veiled in secrecy

CalGang has been so successful that it has served as a template for similar databases marketed as the GangNet system by SRA International Inc. – which acquired Orion in 2004 – to law enforcement agencies in 13 other states, Canada and three federal agencies, including the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In California, the database holds information on more than 150,000 men and women, according to data obtained from the CalGang Executive Board through the state Public Records Act. In a state where 45 percent of the population is Latino or black, 85 percent of those entered into the database as alleged gang members or associates are Latino or black. They are as young as 9 and as old as 65.

calgang

As is the case with the government’s terrorist watch list, most people do not have the right to know whether they are included in CalGang. The database’s operating guidelines require that secrecy and instruct law enforcement officials to say that they are advised against including references to the database in public reports, court documents or public testimony.

In 2013, the California Legislature took a swipe at CalGang’s lack of transparency, passing a law requiring police departments to notify the parents of juveniles included in the database and to allow them to challenge their children’s gang classification.

But an attempt to extend these protections to adults failed last year.

Adults are removed from the database only if their file is not updated for five years. The trouble is, a police officer can update a file through contact as minimal as stopping someone while he or she is driving or walking in a known gang area – like the dozens of times Aaron Harvey was stopped in his own neighborhood while visiting his family in an area that police say is Lincoln Park Bloods territory.

    “It’s like a virus that you have, that you don’t know you have. … (Someone) infected me with this disease; now I have it, and there’s no telling how many other people I have infected.”Aaron Harvey
    on gang classification

In fact, California prison inmates have more rights than people on the outside because they are notified by authorities if they are classified as a gang member and have the ability to challenge that decision through the corrections department.

“Very little is known about the CalGang database,” said Ana Muñiz, a UCLA sociologist who has researched the database and gang injunctions. “There’s no rigorous oversight. And yet you have files built on tens of thousands of people that could affect their lives in very real ways.”

McBride, the retired sheriff’s sergeant who helped create CalGang, maintains that the database does not harm people unless they break the law.

“Say you’re in there. It doesn’t harm you,” he said. “I can’t use it for jobs. All I can use it for is criminal investigations.”

But such reassurances do not sit well with Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego, who said her adult son was stopped by police in the summer of 2002 while out in the trendy Gaslamp Quarter and told that he would be entered into CalGang.

“Putting people on lists intimidates individuals and communities, and it also gives police officers an opportunity to go and arrest individuals who may not be gang members,” she said. “It casts a very wide net in communities. That has a chilling effect on young men who may have never even thought of being a member of a gang.”

In August, Weber urged the state auditor to launch a thorough examination of the database and its use by state and local law enforcement agencies.

Investigators have been asked to determine whether alleged gang members’ information has been kept in CalGang improperly, whether departments are complying with California’s gang criteria when they add data, whether minors are being removed in accordance with the 2013 law, how local law enforcement use the database, the system’s cost and whether it has been successful.
Efforts to open CalGang to public  

California police and prosecutors highly value the information CalGang provides, and they are concerned about efforts to provide access to the public.

The importance of CalGang to law enforcement became apparent last spring, when the California District Attorneys Association led the charge to derail AB 829, the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, that would have required notifying adults that they had been included in CalGang and established a process to petition for removal.

In emails to law enforcement agencies, association Assistant CEO Martin Vranicar wrote that AB 829 “would completely destroy the use of the CalGang database as a viable law enforcement tool.” He rallied support from other law enforcement advocacy groups to kill the bill before it reached the Assembly floor in April.

“We have to be opposed” to the measure, Aaron Maguire, a lobbyist for the California State Sheriffs’ Association, testified at the time. “We’re talking about undermining criminal investigations and providing very costly hearings.”

Glimpses of how CalGang is used emerge from conversations with current and former law enforcement officials, court filings and internal law enforcement documents.

When someone is stopped by police, his or her identification is checked against California’s law enforcement databases for prior arrests and contacts. Through CalGang, officers can check whether the person previously has been documented as a gang member or associate.

A 1999 California Department of Justice report includes accounts of how law enforcement used CalGang to identify and locate criminal suspects.

In the San Diego area, police identified a gang-related suspect by running a search for a “Maria” chest tattoo. Within minutes, the database pulled up 13 possible matches.

In the Central Valley city of Fresno, sheriff’s deputies identified a suspect in the gang rape of three underage girls by searching the database for a name – “Bolo” – that one of the victims remembered hearing.

Frank Jackson, the San Diego County assistant district attorney, said investigators there routinely use CalGang.

Others were more circumspect.

Many law enforcement agencies declined requests for information about how they use CalGang, how the database facilitates their daily functions and with whom they share records. CalGang’s Executive Board also declined to explain how the database is used.

Brian Schirn, an assistant head deputy with the hardcore gang unit at the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, is a strong defender of the STEP Act and the gang enhancements it offers prosecutors. When he was a prosecutor in the 1990s, he said, he heard residents at community meetings plead for relief from gang warfare.

“We would listen to these people who were afraid to leave their homes,” he said.

But Schirn would not open up about CalGang, beyond denying that his office relies on it for evidence. In fact, he said, the office doesn’t use the system at all. Shiara Dávila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, confirmed that investigators attached to the office have access to CalGang.

Field officers also vary in how diligently they upload information to CalGang – a persistent dynamic since the database’s inception.
Jack Schaeffer, a San Diego police detective and vice president of the local police union, says he routinely reviews CalGang for information on suspects. He says the availability of information varies by department.

Jack Schaeffer, a San Diego police detective and vice president of the local police union, says he routinely reviews CalGang for information on suspects. He says the availability of information varies by department.Credit: Sandy Huffaker for Reveal

Jack Schaeffer, a San Diego police detective and vice president of the local police union, investigates several San Diego Crips sets, or groups claiming a broader gang affiliation. He said he routinely reviews CalGang for information on suspects, though he noted that the availability of information varies from department to department.

“Some agencies will plug things into the system,” he said, “while others won’t and have hard-copy files instead of digital files.”
Inaccurate info used as evidence

One of the CalGang critiques leveled by UCLA sociologist Ana Muñiz and ACLU of Southern California lawyer Peter Bibring is that the secrecy of information in the database and lack of external review of gang evidence can lead to inaccuracies in someone’s file.

The forthcoming state audit is expected to shed light on the training procedures for personnel who input individuals into the database, as well as documentation procedures and information sharing among law enforcement.

Incorrect information uploaded to CalGang already has found its way into court. For example, documentation of alleged gang member Daniel Antuñez, 26 – provided to the Orange County district attorney by police in Santa Ana – was used to include him in a civil injunction against the Townsend Street gang.

Antuñez has three brothers and grew up in the heart of the territory covered by the injunction. He also has dozens of documented contacts with police. But he claims that he is not a gang member and challenged his inclusion in the database with the assistance of the ACLU. On Feb. 5, the Orange County DA decided to drop its efforts to include Antuñez in the Townsend Street injunction, according to Caitlin Sanderson, an ACLU of Southern California staff attorney who represented Antuñez.

Antuñez’s Santa Ana file contains a field interview card on which the nickname and tattoos don’t match Antuñez – they match his twin brother, Sergio. Another field interview card included in the file clearly pertains to his youngest brother, David. Check boxes on the erroneous field interview cards note that they were uploaded to CalGang.

Jeff Launi, a Santa Ana gang detective who testified for the Orange County prosecutor as its expert witness on the Townsend Street gang, admitted in a September deposition that he had never met Daniel Antuñez and relied on the flawed documents to make his determination.

“Inaccuracies on the field interview cards and STEP notices we found in Daniel’s file likely means there are inaccuracies in his entry in CalGang,” Sanderson said.

She described law enforcement’s decision-making process about what constitutes gang evidence as haphazard and in need of outside scrutiny.

“It’s crucial that there’s some form of oversight and transparency in the collection of this information,” she said.

In the Los Angeles class action against gang injunctions, a declaration by Angel Gomez, a gang officer in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division – which includes the Mar Vista, Venice and Palms neighborhoods – revealed rampant inaccuracies in that division’s information on gang members.

“I would estimate that approximately 50% of the address information in our records for Pacific Division gang members is inaccurate at any given time,” Gomez’s declaration reads.

Bibring, the ACLU attorney, said the lack of rigor surrounding the documentation of gang members and associates, the building blocks of CalGang, opens the door for law enforcement officials to exaggerate the gang threat.

“There is a fiction of gangs being more organized than they actually are, which CalGang helps perpetuate,” he said. “It makes documented people easier to prosecute, (and) it makes the task of dealing with gang members easier in that you just put them away.”
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This story was co-produced through an editorial partnership with The Investigative Fund, a project of The Nation Institute. It was edited by Fernando Diaz, Amy Pyle and Esther Kaplan and copy edited by Sheela Kamath and Nikki Frick.

Ali Winston can be reached at awinston@cironline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @awinston.

Top photo: San Diego native Aaron Harvey insists that he never has been affiliated with a gang. But in 2014, he was charged with nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy for shootings that occurred when he wasn’t living in California. CREDIT: Sandy Huffaker for Reveal

BABE OF THE DAY

Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

POCKET TASER STUN GUN

Just try reading this without laughing till you cry!!!

Pocket Tazer Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife.
A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Tazer for their
anniversary submitted this:

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that
sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was
looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came
across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized Tazer.

The effects of the Tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long
term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to
retreat to safety...??

WAY TOO COOL! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it
home... I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the
button.. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I
pushed the button and pressed it against a metal surface at the same
time, I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth
between the prongs.

AWESOME!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that
burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that
it couldn't be all that bad with only two AAA batteries, right?

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently
(trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking
that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving
target.

I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a
second) and then thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But,
if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself
against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as
advertised.

Am I wrong?

So, there I sat! In a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading
glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one
hand, and Tazer in another.

The directions said that:
A one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant;

A two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major
loss of bodily control; and

A three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the
ground like a fish out of water.

Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.
All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5"
long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference (loaded with two itsy, bitsy
AAA batteries); pretty cute really, and thinking to myself, 'no
possible way!'

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.

I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one
side so as to say, 'Don't do it stupid,' reasoning that a one second
burst from such a tiny lil ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.. I
decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it.

I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and...

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. WHAT THE... !!!

I'm pretty sure Hulk Hogan ran in through the side door, picked me up
in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and
over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the
fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples
on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under
my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs! The cat was
making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture
frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid
getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.

Note:
If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a Tazer,
One note of caution:

There is NO such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself!
You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand
by a violent thrashing about on the floor!
A three second burst would be considered conservative!

A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at
that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and
surveyed the landscape.
• My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace.
• The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it
originally was.
• My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching.
• My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom
lip weighed 88 lbs.
• I had no control over the drooling.
• Apparently I had crapped in my shorts, but was too numb to know for
sure, and my sense of smell was gone.
• I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head, which I believe came from my hair.
I'm still looking for my testicles and I'm offering a significant
reward for their safe return!

PS: My wife can't stop laughing about my experience, loved the gift
and now regularly threatens me with it!

If you think education is difficult, try being stupid!!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

The true meaning of the biker 1%er moniker



OFF THE WIRE
We get people from all over the world asking about the biker culture and/or motorcycle ministries. With the help of other Dallas bikers, I will attempt to clarify one question that floats around the most. It goes something like this:
Hi...I have a question for you and after reading some of your work; I feel you may be able to answer this as nobody else has.
I have been riding for the past 33 years. I ride a Harley and have never patched or prospected with any MC. I ride independent...always will; but I consider myself a 1%er. Recently during a rally, a patched (club name) one percenter (minus his colors) embraced me calling me brother thinking I was a (same club name) myself after seeing a 1%er pinky ring that I always wear. I corrected him telling him that I was not patched with anyone. He got abrupt with me and asked who made me a 1%er? I told him I did.
Where is it written that to be an outlaw one must belong to an MC? The very notion that a 1%er MUST do this or that contradicts the meaning of the term. A real outlaw...a true 1%er lives by his own rules and by his own code. He is law unto himself and does not fit in nor does he want to fit in with this so called civilized society. And that is me.
Am I wrong in my definition? I wear a 1%er diamond on my vest and as I said I wear my 1%er pinky ring with pride. What is your opinion?
My answer:
The terms ‘outlaw’ and ‘1%er’ are not one and the same. The term 1%er is synonymous with brotherhood.
My husband, lived with 1%ers, rode with 1%ers, was kin to 1%ers, partied with 1%ers and did business with 1%ers for over 30 years but never pached with them. He had a profitable drug business that he was unwilling to ‘share’. He was too much of a rebel. He wanted to live by his own rules and by his own code. He was a law unto himself and did not fit in; nor did he want to fit in with this so called civilized society – or for that fact, THE 1%er lifestyle either. This made him an ‘outlaw’ biker, but didn’t make him a 1%er.
To be a 1%er, one must commit to a unit (club) and live his entire life for the good of the unit.
When the 1%er term was coined, they wrote the phrases you quoted but it only scratched the surface of its true meaning. It was much too small an explanation. When those phrases were written, they were implying ‘The Club’ lived by THEIR own rules and by THEIR own code. THEY were a law unto themselves and did not fit in; nor did THEY want to fit in with this so called civilized society. Even law enforcement began calling them “The Outlaw Nation” – “The Bandido Nation” etc., because they live, move and have their being as their own culture and set of laws.
To be a true 1%er, one must be willing to be totally sold out to the collective. He must protect anyone in the club at the cost of his own blood or life. It’s the closest thing our modern society has to ancient ‘blood covenants’. It’s a true brotherhood.
I believe this is why so many military vets gravitate to this lifestyle. It’s the mindset they lived with when in the middle of a blood and guts battle – as in Marines swearing their “No man left behind” oath.
Even if a club evolves due to a group of people riding together, they cannot independently decide they are 1%ers and wear the mark (as was the case in the beginning). Nowdays, the status of 1%er must be bestowed on a club by another 1%er club, which could take years.
It’s kind of like being a Doctor. A hundred years ago, someone with medical knowledge might be a self appointed Doctor in a remote area when there was no other sorse of medical help. Someone might feel like they’ve been learning a great deal medical information and may have done some serious studying on their own for many years. He might genuinely possess a myriad of medical knowledge, however, nowdays, if he presents himself to be a Doctor, he will be in big trouble.
The same is true with the 1% patch. You must not only earn it but it must be bestowed on you by a 1%er club. 1%ers are extremely disciplined into the betterment of the club. It’s his first thought in the morning and his last thought at the end of the day. His thoughts are constantly looking for ways to fulfill the needs of the brotherhood.

BABE OF THE WEEK, Tina Marie....


LET HER KNOW YOU SAW IT HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Name: Tina Marie Salustro
5'3
122 lbs
36 DDD
42 yrs old
I go by the name Tina Marie for my modeling, I am 42 yrs old and the
proud mother of 3 amazing kids my oldest son is 20 and my boy/girl
twins will be 12 in September. I started modeling 4 years ago just as
a hobby I was approached by a photographer and it just went from
there.  I started doing bike events almost 2 years ago and have a
great time at events, I am a very outgoing person and love interacting
with people. I love to cook and I am damn good at it, I find it very
relaxing its a stress reliever for me. My other hobbies include
camping, wakeboarding, Yes, I can wakeboard and would love to learn
how to ride a Harley , I want my own someday. I will be appearing in 2
upcoming calendars.
tinamariebikersbell@yahoo.com is the way to find me on facebook..
I am a very strong willed woman and stand on my own two feet never
underestimate a woman with brains!

Being on the cover of EastCoastBiker magizine for the month of Sept.
Tina Marie meets Mondo Porras and Denver's Choppers.
 CHECK THE LINK BELOW..
www.eastcoastbiker.net

PS,
If they buy a membership they can see the whole shoot including topless pics..





















Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

OFF THE WIRE
Before a person can begin to understand the importance of an Outlaw Motorcycle Club (OMCs), they must understand what that is. An Outlaw Motorcycle Club is a very unique societyof very few men who choose to be a part of something bigger than themselves and a brotherhood beyond any that cannot be found elsewhere. Its origin and structure evolved from the Military many years ago, utilizing the leadership structure and rank system. Furthermore, there is a very unique few who make up the 1% er Outlaw Motorcycle Club community. Clubs such as the Bandidos, Hells Angels, Outlaws, Pagans, Mongols, and Sons of Silence are all a part of the 1%er Motorcycle Club community. The 1 % er designation was labeled by the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) back in 1947 in a statement they wrote for their magazine, stating that 99% of motorcycle riders were law abiding citizens and that only 1% were criminals (“AMA 1947”).
          The earliest form of Outlaw was Jesus Christ himself, it’s because Jesus didn’t fit into           the religious mold, or the government mold like the other 99% of society. Jesus and               his followers were the 1% that didn’t “bow down” to the worlds ways. They were in               the world, but not of the world.  Jesus was an outlaw, but he was not a criminal.                       Being an “outlaw” doesn’t mean you are a criminal; it just means you don’t conform             to the world system or its leaders and its officers. (Ridenour)
Many people will disagree with the importance of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs. This is largely due to the lack of understanding and positive exposure to what these clubs do for our communities and some will dispute the negative claims while maintaining the integrity of their beliefs of the OMCs.
        Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs date as far back as post World War II era when soldiers came home longing for continued brotherhood. They have always played a major role in urban cities social culture. Their existence, although grotesque to some, has always served their communities in a positive light. The actions of individuals at times are spotlighted by the media, which often is government driven, to gain support for banning identifying patches (also known as colors) of the OMCs. For example, the U.S.’s ATF agency tried to ban the Mongols Motorcycle Club’s patches in 2013. However, it would have broken the First Amendment rights of the club (Girardot).  The Government wanted to ban the club from being able to wear their patches publically, due to a few incidents of select individuals who are most likely not in the club anymore, since Clubs often police their own. OMCs all follow strict guidelines or bylaws which consist of their rules and regulations. If a member disobeys these rules, they can be punished by being stripped of their patches then banned from the club. It is possible the Government is afraid of these clubs around the U.S., because of their open display of unity and commitment. They are men willing to stand their ground, even against the court system, to fight for rights, as a whole. These men are veterans, fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, and uncles. The rights they fight to protect are the same rights that affect non club members, other motorcycle riders, as well as, the general public.
      There are many positive examples of these OMCs, that many only see in a negative light.One such positive example was the Hells Angels Toy run of 2015, where the club gathered funds that had been raised throughout the year to purchase a large number of bicycles (“Hells Angels Toys 2015”). They waited in line at Walmart for 5 days to catch the Black Friday sale and bought every bike in stock, roughly 200 bikes, in order to give bicycles to children whose families were too poor to purchase them themselves. Acts like this one can be seen throughout the United States by clubs of all levels. Clubs range from Christian Clubs, Veteran Clubs, Support Clubs, and OMC’s. All of which contain some of the biggest-hearted men and women one could ever meet. These are the types of people who manage fundraisers for burn victims, families who have lost their homes, children with special needs, and even the elderly.
        Make no mistake, these Clubs are not the Boy Scouts; they abide by a strict code and rules of the road protocol (Devereaux). At times incidents can occur by the acts of individuals that belong to these organizations. These incidents are often made to be more serious than they really are, and some are no worse than the crimes committed by the arresting authority or an average civilian. On May 17th of 2015 in Waco, Texas, men and woman from all clubs throughout the state of Texas gathered for a Coalition of Clubs meeting, which is to educate riders both independent and Patch holders within clubs of current laws and policies that may or may not affect them. It is also a social gathering amongst riders, and information is commonly shared about upcoming events and benefits. On this day, shots rang out, leaving nine people dead and another eighteen wounded. According to Brian Doherty, who writes for GQ, a grand total of 177 individuals were wrongfully arrested. To this day, it has yet to be proven that the gunfight that broke out started with shots fired from club members, and no police officer has been charged with illegitimate arrest or excessive force. Reports indicate that the first couple of shots were small arms fire, and the rest that followed were all automatic weapons, but no one has been able to identify the first shooter (Doherty). Everyone present that day was arrested, including both civilians and members of Motorcycle Ministries, all of which are innocent and spent a great deal of time in jail with extremely high bails. An interview was conducted by KXANS Brian Collister with Bandido Jimmy Graves, who is the Coalition of Clubs President in Waco, where he expressed the Bandidos recognize and respect law enforcement for doing their job, that they do not condone the violence portrayed upon them (“Bandidos”).  “To get the story crooked is to understand that the “straightness” of any story is a rhetorical invention: a story told from a particular perspective, informed by specific trainings told for a particular reason, to serve particular purposes. History is at best a reasoned report on the documented sources of the past” (Kellner 18).

        Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs are professionals; they may not look like professionals by some individuals’ standards, because they are bikers. Despite the positive actions of club members, the media still portrays them in a negative light by focusing on the bad behavior of a few; for this reason alone, bad behavior and negative publicity is not condoned by clubs or members. The 1%er clubs often police the activities of the clubs within their area to ensure they are “behaving” accordingly and following protocol within the community of clubs. If they do not do this, then there is the possibility of individuals creating negative chaos in the area in which they reside, causing the local law enforcement to crack down on all bikers and provoke unlawful use of force. In turn, the 1%er Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs are protecting the local community in which they reside by protecting all bikers and keeping the negative activities to a minimum. If more individuals would spend time amongst these men, they would see, with their own eyes, the good they do for the community, and all of the charity events along with donations raised to help people in need. They would also see the love and the brotherhood shared by the members of these Clubs as well as the bonds from club to club. These men are the kind of men filled with passion to fight to make things like brotherhood and sisterhood possible by protecting an individual’s rights and protecting people in need, helping friends and strangers alike, standing tall for freedom, love, loyalty, respect, and trust. In which they believe, in a very powerful and sometimes intimidating force. Similar to a battalion of soldiers on the battlefield who have gone to fight and protect what they believe to be right. While protecting these rights, they provide a blanket of freedom for others to sleep under. A positive impression from an experience in this community could help to spread a positive influence throughout our society. This influence would encourage society to stand together to help others in need, even those who are members of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs.