From the daily archives: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Essay is Open to Students in Imperial, Orange & San Diego Counties

The San Diego Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration Committee in partnership with the University of California San Diego Early Academic Outreach Program have joined forces to sponsor the 12th Annual Cesar E. Chavez High School Essay Contest.  The essay contest, to honor the life and achievements of the late civil rights and labor leader, is opened to students in grades 9-12 in Imperial, Orange and San Diego counties.

Students of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to enter by composing their essays on the following theme: The Art of Inspiration in Serving Our Communities.

Essays must be submitted with an application and should be postmarked no later than Friday, March 12, 2010. Students interested in participating can obtain an application and contest guidelines by visiting www.sdchavezcommittee.info or by contacting the UCSD Early Academic Outreach Program at (858) 534-4250.

All prizes will be awarded at the 12th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Breakfast on Monday, March 29, 2010 at the San Diego Convention Center.  The grand prize winner will be invited to read his or her essay to a crowd of more than 1,000 guests.

The winners will also be recognized at community celebrations and at UCSD events honoring Cesar E. Chavez.  All submitted essays will become the property of the San Diego Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration Committee.  A panel of representatives from the Commemoration Committee and UCSD will review the essays and select the winners.

In the 1970’s, Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta helped organize a mass movement to gain support for farm workers who had previously been voiceless and unsupported.  His non-violent movement helped spark a legacy of activism and social awareness that continues to the present.

 

Sacramento-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today sent a law-enforcement bulletin to California’s district attorneys and sheriffs in which he asserted his position that California Penal Code Section 4019, the new law that reduces jail time for prisoners in local facilities, applies prospectively.

The Attorney General has begun filing briefs in a series of court cases advancing his position that Penal Code 4019 provides enhanced good-time and work credits to prisoners during the time spent in prison after January 25, but not before.

“In responose to numerous inquiries, this bulletin states the position of the Department of Justice,” Brown said. “After analyzing the code section, it seems reasonably clear that the law should apply prospectively.”

The bulletin, distributed today throughout the state, is below:

BULLETIN TO ALL CALIFORNIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

Re: CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 4019

Effective January 25, 2010, Penal Code section 4019 was amended to change the calculation of good-time and work credits earned by prisoners not guilty of sex or violent crimes while they are confined in local facilities. The amendment states that these prisoners will earn one day credit for every day they are confined so long as they comply with applicable rules and do not refuse to perform labor. Before this section was amended, these prisoners generally earned one day credit for two days they were confined.

District Attorneys and county counsel have differing views on whether the amendment is retroactive (i.e., applies to the time prisoners were confined before January 25) or prospective (i.e., applies only to the time prisoners are confined after January 25). These differences are understandable since the Legislature was silent on the issue when it enacted the amendment.

Ultimately, the courts will have to decide whether the amendment is retroactive or prospective, and it is not normally the role of the Attorney General to resolve differences in possible interpretations of criminal statutes affecting local law-enforcement matters. But in light of numerous questions that have arisen, this Law Enforcement Bulletin summarizes the position that the Attorney General set forth in a brief filed last week, and will continue to advance in briefs that will be filed today and in subsequent weeks, in cases before the state courts of appeal. That position is that Penal Code section 4019 should be deemed prospective because there is no clear evidence that the Legislature intended it to be retroactive.

“[I]n the absence of an express retroactivity provision, a statute will not be applied retroactively unless it is very clear from extrinsic sources that the Legislature . . . intended a retroactive application.” (Evangelatos v. Superior Court (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1188, 1209) (citing Penal Code section 3).) Here, there are no clear extrinsic sources demonstrating that the Legislature intended a retroactive application.
Rather than simply reducing sentences, the amendment is designed to encourage good behavior on the part of prisoners by increasing the amount of work and good-time credits that they can earn. In concluding that a similar amendment was prospective, the appellate court in In re Stinnette noted that the public purpose behind such laws “is the desirable and legitimate purpose of motivating good conduct among prisoners so as to maintain discipline and minimize threats to prison security. Reason dictates that it is impossible to influence behavior after it has occurred.” (In re Stinnette (1979) 94 Cal.App.3d 800, 806.) Although People v. Doganiere (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 237, found that an amendment to the calculation of conduct credits could be imposed retroactively, the holding is unpersuasive because the court failed to address the point that conduct credits are intended by their nature to influence future behavior.

If the Legislature had intended to lower incarceration costs by reducing prison sentences retroactively, it could easily have done so through a more direct means, such as increasing credits in a manner unrelated to prisoner conduct. The fact that it declined to do so, combined with its failure to expressly address retroactivity, supports our position that the amendment should be applied prospectively.

 

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents found more than 40 pounds of marijuana buried in the Imperial Sand Dunes Sunday.

At about 6:30 p.m., Border Patrol agents assigned to the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Unit detected the vehicle tracks of a “sand rail” off road vehicle which had parked next to the International Boundary fence. Agents observed footprints on the south side of the fence which indicated possible illegal activity. Agents followed the “sand rail’s” tracks for about 200 yards north into the dunes, where they located six bundles of marijuana that had been buried in the sand. ATV agents secured the marijuana and followed the tracks of the “sand rail” further into a popular camping area, but were unable to locate it or its occupants due to the high level of weekend traffic.

The six bundles contained marijuana with a total weight of approximately 40 pounds and an estimated street value of $32,360. The marijuana was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

By Chris Furguson
The City of Brawley held a special public workshop at the Del Rio Community Center on February 13
The workshop was preceeded by a walk of the downtown area, starting from the City’s Council Chambers and Administration Building.
The purpose of the workshop was to, in the near future, develop a specific plan for the downtown area that could be funded.  According to Brawley City Planner Gordon Gaste, areas with a specific plan are more likely to receive funding.
Brawley joins Calexico, El Centro and Holtville in having gone through this process.
The consultants, RDF Consulting of San Diego, organized the event with Brawley’s Planning Department.
The day began with a walk of the downtown area, including some of the more problem areas of the area, including empty buildings, unused spaces and poorly maintained lots.
Brawley’s downtown area consists of portions from 1st and 10th streets between D and H street.
During the workshop itself, participants were given several options of what they would like to see done to the area and voted via an electronic device.
Among the options given included open and covered sidewalks, perpendicular signs, various modes of seating arrangements.
Later in the workshop, ideas were gathered for suggested changes to the area, including the removal of a dilapidated theatre on the Plaza, closing downtown to through traffic and breezeways to make access to rear parking available.
The expense for the project was paid for by a grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for $142,400.

 

Former Calexico Mayor and City Councilmember John R. Renison announced his intentions to run for the vacant seat on the Imperial County board of Supervisors for District #1. Renison served on the Calexico City Council from 1996 thru 2008. He served as Mayor on three occasions.  He stated his reasons for deciding to run are various.
”I have always been involved in my city and feel now is the right to serve once again. I am known for being accessible and available. I will serve all constituents, working across party lines.  I am an independent thinker and will do what’s best for all citizens. During my twelve years on the city council I built a reputation for fairness and dedication to service”.

Renison is currently Director of Advancement for SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus.  He is bilingual with many contacts throughout the Imperial Valley.

He went on to say, “we are at an important juncture to further economic development throughout the valley. I will work hard to become a team player at the county level while at the same time fighting hard for federal and state monies for our border area”.

You can contact me at 760-540-2389 or by email: johnrenison@live.com.

 
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