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Friday, December 15, 2017

Reyna Calls Critics Laughable

McLennan County District Attorney Abelino Reyna thinks repeated questions about his integrity by “biker lawyers” and “disgruntled former employee” are funny.
Since the first “biker brawl” trial ended with a hung jury, Reyna has been repeatedly called deluded and corrupt by people who would not seem to have any particular ax to grind with the small town politician.
In fact, it looks like there is probable cause to believe that Reyna demanded that almost 200 men and women be falsely arrested after a tragically botched, biker sting operation (part of a clandestine joint investigation of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club by the FBI, DEA. ATF and the Texas DPS) at a time when he was under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for corruption.The only direct evidence of quid prop quo is that the FBI investigation has not yet found a conclusion.
It also looks like Reyna accepted bribes to dismiss charges against people who were justifiably arrested; that his chief assistant was spying on him for the FBI; that he was aware of and protecting a “gambling operation;” that he flaunted his cocaine use and that he may have acquired some of his cocaine from a police evidence room; that he consorted with and did favors for drug dealers; that he deliberately and repeatedly hid evidence that would tend to prove the innocence of people he hoped to convict; that he committed perjury and that he suborned perjury.

No Big Thing

None of this has sparked outrage in Waco, Texas or the rest of the country and it hasn’t attracted anything approaching the interest, speculation, misinformation or litigation that the so-called “Twin Peaks Biker Brawl” attracted. Reyna sees all of the smoke and flames that now surround him from the perspective of an ambitious politician.
Last month, when he announced he was running for reelection, Reyna said, “After seven years on the job, the record is pretty clear. Violent criminals are finally getting the justice they deserve, crime is down and our streets are safer, and we’ve come in under budget every year. The criminal defense bar, disgruntled former employees, and a bunch of out-of-towners from Dallas can try and smear my name all they like, but the facts don’t lie.”
Recently, Reyna has been metaphorically slugging it out with a couple of Twin Peaks defense lawyers named David Conrad Beyer and Brian Bouffard. Yesterday the two Fort Worth attorneys filed and released an affidavit by former Waco detective Sherry Kingrey. Kingrey doesn’t have an obvious motive for lying about Reyna.
Reyna reacted to her affidavit with a statement to Waco television station KCEN that argued:
“The affidavit of Ms. Kingrey secured by a biker defense lawyer and the four-year-old allegations it contains are equally not true and even more laughable than those previously asserted. The only calls I remember from the night of Twin Peaks were to the Waco Police Chief, individuals from my office, my wife, and a current restaurant owner to arrange for food to be brought to our hard working law enforcement men and women. Had Ms. Kingrey been at the scene, she could have enjoyed a tasty chicken sandwich and fries. As for my conversation with Detective Chavez, her affidavit would mean that not only myself but at least two other assistant DA’s who witnessed our conversation are also not telling the truth. Further, had she believed this was important, why did she not address it in any reports while an active officer?”
Reyna might be more credible if he was a little more bold with his lies: If instead of weasel words like “the only calls I remember,” he came right out and said “the only calls I made.”
Kingrey told KCEN, through her lawyer, that her statement was true, that she was at the Twin Peaks that night and that she had had a “cabbage roll.”

Pardon For Pay

Today Bouffard filed and released a letter on Reyna’s official stationary dated December 16. 1013 in which Reyna asks the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole to fully pardon Kevin Chirafis. Reyna admits in the letter that he met Chirafis through his uncle Sammy Citrano and describes Chirafis as his “good friend.”
The letter substantiates an allegation made by Reyna’s former top assistant, Greg Davis, in an affidavit filed in another Twin Peaks case on November 10. Davis wrote:
“In addition to having cases dismissed for political and/or personal reasons, I also know that Reyna wrote at least one letter -requesting .a full pardon for a campaign supporter’s relatoive. For example, even though the DA’s office had a policy of opposing early parole for offenders, Reyna wrote a letter in December 2013 requesting a full pardon for Sammy Citrano’s nephew Kevin Chirafis who had been convicted of the felony offense of Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance in Brazos County.”
At the time, Reyna dismissed his former assistant’s claim about the pardon as “fake news.”


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bruce Brown - died Sunday in Santa Barbara.

Bruce Brown, a film maker who was briefly famous for two landmark documentaries about a now vanished America and world, died Sunday in Santa Barbara.
The films, were The Endless Summer about the joy of riding surfboards and On Any Sunday which was about the joy of riding motorcycles.
He grew up in Long Beach where, as the writer Drew Kampion once put it, he “majored in not going to school.” He did a hitch in the Navy and was working as a lifeguard when he started making 16 mm films.
Brown shot The Endless Summer in 1963 and 1964, It is about a couple of guys named Robert August and Mike Hynson who surf their way around the world. Brown couldn’t find a distributor for the movie so he “four walled” it. He rented out movie theaters and showed the film there. It became a hit in Wichita, Kansas and eventually grossed $30 million – which was a more significant sum in 1964 than it is today.
He made On Any Sunday in 1971 at the urging of and with the financial backing of the actor Steve McQueen. It was nominated for an Oscar.
For the rest of his life, Brown was mostly content to surf, shoot and play motorcycles. He told the Los Angeles Times “I don’t want to go to Hollywood. I’d rather live in a trailer on a perfect surf break than live in Beverly Hills in a mansion with 50 servants and Rolls-Royces.”
Working with his son Dana Brown, he released The Endless Summer 2 in 1994 and a sequel to On Any Sunday in 2014.
He is also survived by his son Wade Brown and daughter Nancie Brown, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Bruce Brown was 80. He lived his life his way.
Requiscat In Pace

California looks at dumping gas tax for per-mile fee as cars use less fuel

 Increases to California's gas tax were approved in 2017 and will continue for years.

By Tony Bizjak
My feed

Weeks into a new gas tax hike, California transportation officials said Thursday they are studying ways to charge drivers based on how many miles they drove since their last fill-up rather than the amount of fuel they use.

The problem? California drivers are choosing such fuel-efficient cars that the state fears it will be deprived of enough road construction revenues in the long run.

The Caltrans study – the California Road Charge Pilot Program report – is billed as a way for the state to move from its longstanding but outmoded pump tax to a system where drivers pay based on their odometer readings.

Caltrans Deputy Director Carrie Pourvahidi said the state will send out a request early next year to technology companies for ideas on a simple communication system at gas stations or electric charging stations that can instantly tell how many miles the car has driven.

“It’d be point-of-sale technology,” she said. “We’re looking for something so simple that there is nothing (the driver) has to do.”

If the state finds technology that works, it will apply for a federal highway grant to explore how to set up a statewide system. Other states have been looking into switching to a per-mile road tax, but California appears to be the first to look at point-of-purchase technology in recent years, Pourvahidi said.

Officials say the research stems from the state’s struggles to come up with adequate per-gallon pump revenues as more cars get higher mileage.

Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature passed a controversial set of tax and fee increases this year that they see as a stopgap. Those fees, including a 12-cent per gallon tax increase, are being challenged by tax groups seeking a November 2018 ballot repeal.
In a report issued Thursday, state officials said this year’s Senate Bill 1 tax should succeed in “delaying the expected transportation funding shortage by a decade or more,” but contends the state ultimately will need a new system for funding road maintenance and repair.

Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, is an opponent of SB 1 and dismissed the pay-per-mile concept as well, saying the state has adequate funding already.

“It’s another terrible idea from Sacramento Democrats to reduce productivity,” he said.

The California Road Charge Pilot Program report included an overview of a just-finished road charge experiment that enlisted more than 5,000 volunteer drivers to have their mileage monitored over nine months of driving.

Most volunteers used a device plugged into the vehicle’s data port that relied on wireless technology to transmit mileage information to a state contractor. The state then sent each driver a simulated monthly invoice, and drivers sent in online mock payments.

State officials report that the project went well and is doable on a larger basis for the entire state driving population.

However, they said, a system based on paying per mile at the gas pump or charging station could be simpler, more cost effective and more
readily accepted by the public. It likely will take at least until 2025 to come up with a system, the report’s authors said.
That new system will be problematic politically, though.
Rob Stutzman, a consultant who works with Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said it could create a policy conundrum for California. “Any effort to charge those users creates a disincentive to purchase alternative fuel vehicles,” he said.
Matthew Baker, policy director for the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental group, said the pay-per-mile concept could help reduce the vehicle miles traveled by California drivers, an important goal for his group, but the fee could have the negative effect of hitting lower-income communities harder.
He said the state should use revenues from a pay-per-mile system to provide more access to non-car travel modes, such as public transit, and should focus efforts as well on creating communities where people don’t have to drive as many miles in their daily lives.
as many miles in their daily lives.

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Christopher Cadelago The Sacramento Bee
Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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Knife Carry Laws in California

California law makes it illegal to possess and carry certain types of knives. Many are confused as to what types of knives are legal, and which types are illegal. For purposes of this blog we will seek to shed some light as to what constitutes legal carry of knives.
Per the penal code there are many types of “knives”, each with it’s own description and set of laws. These include, ballistic knives, switch blades, folding knives, dirk or dagger, belt knives, assisted opening knives, disguised knives etc. As a general rule of thumb, most exotic types of blades are outright illegal for the common citizen to possess, sale, manufacture, etc. See California Penal Code Section 12020(a)(1) for detail.
What Types of knives can be legally carried?
The three most common types of knives are folding knives, switch blades and fixed blade knives also know as dirks or daggers. We will define each type of knife and explain the laws surrounding them.
Folding knives are knives that “opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position” . All folding knives are legal. California Penal Code Section 17235. As long as they are in the folded position they can be carried in a concealed manner. There is no blade length restriction per the penal code.
Switch blades are generally defined as knives that look like folding knives but lack the above elements. (thumb stud, bias toward the closed position etc). They include spring blades, snap blades, gravity knives or any knife which can be opened automatically. Automatically, meaning by a mechanism, spring, gravity, flick of the wrist etc. The blade must be 2 inches in length or longer in order to be classified as a switch blade. Switch blades are illegal to sell or give away. They are illegal to carry in public, concealed or open. Penal Code section 17235.
For fixed blades (known as a dirk or dagger), or a folding knife in the open and locked position, they must be carried “openly”. California Penal Code section 16470 classifies a dirk or dagger as a knife or instrument with or without a hand guard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death. Per the penal code there is no length limit as long as it is carried openly. A knife carried in a sheath that is worn openly suspended from the waist of the wearer is considered open carry and is legal. Penal code section 20200. Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is illegal pursuant to Penal Code Section 12020(a)(4).
There are restrictions as to carrying knives when entering schools, Universities and Colleges, and Public buildings open to the public such as courts, city halls, police stations etc. For Schools K-12, no knives with blades longer than 2.5 inches are allowed unless they are required for particular work type duties. Razor blades and box cutters are also prohibited. Penal Code section 626.10. For colleges and Universities, no fixed blades bigger than 2.5 inches are allowed. However there is no restriction on folding knives as long as they don’t fall under the category of switch blades. For state or local public buildings, it is illegal to carry any knife with a blade of more than 4 inches onto the premise. California Penal Code Section 171b.