Raul Quintero representing the 831 fighting in Salinas May 16th. Fight shirts will be available soon (we didn't take this pic)
Nine arrested after drugs seized on South Coast
Authorities say they found more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana associated with a panga boat that turned up at Año Nuevo State Park on Friday. Photo courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 12:40 pm | Updated: 12:06 pm, Tue Aug 5, 2014.
By Julia Reis [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] |7 comments
Nine suspects were arrested after a 40-foot vessel carrying 5,100 pounds of marijuana was intercepted by authorities in Pescadero late Friday night.
The panga, a lightweight boat commonly used by drug smugglers, was seized at Año Nuevo State Park around midnight on Friday and six men were initially arrested. Three additional suspects were taken into custody around 10 a.m. on Saturday, according to Virginia Kice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force agents that such a boat might be landing off the coast. The agents witnessed two large vans enter Año Nuevo State Beach around 10 p.m. Friday and meet a panga that landed there. Agents stopped the vans as they drove onto Highway 1.
The panga floated off after the marijuana had been loaded off the boat, but a local fisherman spotted it adrift. It was recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a release from the San Mateo County district attorney’s office.
The boat was piloted from Mexico, and four of the suspects are residents of Sinaloa, Mexico, authorities say. The other suspects are from San Diego and San Jose, Calif. The defendants are 20-year-old Luis Farid Gonzalez, 36-year-old Mario Gonzalez, 39-year-old Juan Hernandez, 50-year-old Juan Valdez Lopez, 28-year-old Luis Espinoza Mendoza, 39-year-old Estaban Flores Salazar, 19-year-old Joan Sicairos, 38-year-old Mark Richard Teixeira, and 33-year-old Phin Yo Vorn.
All of the defendants, with the exception of Mario Gonzalez, who was unavailable for court, pleaded not guilty on Monday. The preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 14. Bail for all the defendants has been set for $1 million, and all are currently being held at San Mateo County jail.
Kice said it’s possible that the defendants could still face federal prosecution, as well.
Agencies that assisted with this incident include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is the lead investigative agency, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Land Management.
This incident is the second of its kind in recent months. In May, a little more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana were seized from an abandoned panga that washed ashore at Pescadero State Beach.
From Oct. 1, 2013, through July 9, 2014, there were two drug smuggling vessels seized in San Mateo County along with 1,026 pounds of marijuana. No arrests were made in conjunction with these incidents. According to statistics provided by Kice, the majority of smuggling apprehensions during that time took place in open ocean waters, including those off Mexico.
Can simply being near the ocean wash away stress?
A new book sets out to answer some big questions about the brain and bodies of water. "Blue Mind" explores why so many of us are drawn to the ocean, and how this scientifically connects to our health and happiness, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.
Most of us know that feeling of calm we get when we are on, in or just near the water.
"This is what you want if you're in the midst of a stressful week," said Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and conservationist who lives near the central coast of California. "You just want to hit that big blue reset button and get out here."
Nichols spent much of his professional life trying to protect endangered sea turtles. Now he's exploring the scientific reasons for why humans have such a deep connection with the deep blue.
"There are all these cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by water, in water or under water," Nichols said.
The marine biologist dubbed it our "blue mind," the mildly meditative state our brains enter when exposed to water.
Initially, Nichols was apprehensive that people would dismiss him as a California beach-lover, but he attests that his thesis is scientifically backed.
"Once you get into it, you realize that it's chemistry, it's biology, it's physiology. It's deeply personal but it's also strong science," Nichols said.
The science is still evolving, but Nichol's work is getting plenty of attention. He began hosting "blue mind" seminars that are attracting neurologists and psychologists from around the world.
Brain imagining indicates that proximity to water floods the brain with feel-good hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol actually drop. Scientists have also discovered that the brain prefers the color blue above all others and water increases our ability to focus.
"Our response to water is deep," Nichols said. "It's human, it's about life and it's about survival."
In fact, our bodies consist of about 60 percent water and our brains, a whopping 75 percent.
"So when you see water, when you hear water, it triggers a response in your brain that you're in the right place," Nichols said.
From rafting to kayaking to surfing, water therapy is increasingly being used to treat a variety of ailments, including wounded veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression.
"I think connecting public health to a healthy ocean is critical," Nichols said. "It helps you relax, just literally sucks the stress out of your body and out of your mind."
So the next time you gaze into that blue horizon, you'll know that feeling you get really is all in your head.
© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.July 22, 2014, 8:11 AM
Khosla slams media, decries Martins Beach 'blackmail'By Aaron Kinney
There is no public access to Martin's Beach in Unincorporated San Mateo County, Calif., photographed on Thursday, July 19, 2012. Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and a green venture capitalist, bought the beach land in two lots in 2008 and has closed the public access to the beach. (JOHN GREEN/Staff)
MARTINS BEACH -- In his first interview about the coastal access battle at Martins Beach, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla told this newspaper he doesn't intend to back down, blasting news coverage of the controversy and accusing his opponents of "blackmailing" him into giving up his property rights.
Khosla spoke hours after his attorneys delivered their closing argument in a closely watched trial over the publics ability to visit the secluded San Mateo County beach. The Surfrider Foundation argues Khosla violated the California Coastal Act by failing to obtain a development permit before permanently locking the gate at the top of his private road off Highway 1. The previous owner had allowed the public to use the road for a fee.
Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla arrives at San Mateo County Superior Courthouse Monday afternoon May 12, 2014, in Redwood City, Calif. Khosla was called to testify about his refusal to open public access to a stretch of beach along the San Mateo County coastline. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
"If the story was right and people thought I was doing something wrong, I'd live with that -- it wouldn't bother me," Khosla said Wednesday night. "But there are massive lies and misrepresentation on the issues here. Surfrider and the Coastal Commission are attempting to coerce and blackmail me."
Surfrider attorney Mark Massara responded Thursday, saying Khosla's comments show he is "out of touch."
But Khosla said he is making a principled stand in defense of individual property rights against overzealous government agencies. The clean energy investor claimed Surfrider, San Mateo County and the Coastal Commission are trying to shame him into ceding those rights, skewing the balance between private and public interests.
"He's put himself in a very unfortunate position," Massara said. "Community concern, legislative initiatives and widespread condemnation are the natural, predictable result of his conduct and strategy."
Surfrider sued the high-tech magnate last year in a bid to force him to seek a coastal development permit for closing Martins Beach Road in 2010. Surfrider is also asking San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach to levy millions of dollars in penalties.
Khosla said Wednesday that news reports have repeated myriad falsehoods, particularly regarding changes in access to the beach. He said reporters have overstated the degree to which the previous owners of Martins Beach, the Deeney family, allowed the public to visit. Rich Deeney testifed in May that the family typically opened the beach during the day but closed it during bad winter weather or whenever it wasn't convenient for them.
The founder of Khosla Ventures also claimed news reports have failed to note that the popularity of Martins Beach had dropped significantly by the time he purchased it in 2008. Rich Deeney testified the decline in visitors contributed to the family's decision to sell the land, which languished on the market until Khosla bought it for $32.5 million. Smelt fishing, once the biggest draw at the beach, had slowed as the fish became less abundant, Deeney testified.
Khosla said he initially allowed the same public access provided by the Deeneys, but the county demanded changes. In a February 2009 letter, the county instructed Khosla's property manager to lower parking prices to $2, since that was the price in 1973 when coastal development laws went into effect, and keep the road open throughout the winter.
"We had allowed access on the same basis as historical access," Khosla said Wednesday, "but then the county starting overreaching and demanding much more."
That touched off a legal battle that Surfrider attorney Joe Cotchett predicted could eventually rise all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The next step, however, is a ruling from Mallach, who will issue her decision in coming weeks.
In addition to Khosla's remarks, Martins Beach LLC, which is owned by Khosla and operated by property manager Steve Baugher, issued a blistering four-page statement Wednesday after closing arguments. The statement accused Surfrider of encouraging "mob behavior" and "class warfare" and claimed the Coastal Commission has rebuffed attempts by Khosla's team to discuss the matter of public access.
Baugher testifed in May that Coastal Commission staff members told him in a November 2011 meeting that Khosla's team should simply give in because the commission would never grant them a hearing if they applied for a coastal development permit.
Nancy Cave, the Coastal Commission's district manager for San Mateo County, disputed that claim Thursday. Cave attended that 2011 meeting, and she remembers it differently. Khosla's attorneys, she said, were unwilling to discuss any solutions to the access problem.
"We're waiting for you to take an enforcement action so we can sue you," said Cave. "That was their response to everything we suggested."
Khosla testified that he had no specific plans for Martins Beach when he bought it. He said Wednesday that hasn't changed. Just because he isn't allowing public access, he said, doesn't mean he isn't interested in environmental protection.
"That's where all my interest in sustainability comes from," he said, "is preserving nature."
Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.
Billionaire claims he owns the road, the beach and the tidesPosted on Wednesday, May 28 at 2:07pm | By Peter Fimrite
There had, until now, been a note of uncertainty about why beach owner Vinod Khosladecided to kick people off Martins Beach, but the billionaire venture capitalist made his motives pretty clear, according to this Chronicle story by Melody Gutierrez.
The green tech titan does not want the hoi polloi touching what he believes is his sand, tidelands or surf.
“Martin’s beach is private property, including the sandy beach and the submerged tidelands seaward of the mean high tide,” argued lobbyists hired by Khosla in a letter to state lawmakers. “There are no existing ‘public’ lands to which access is needed.”
The techie tycoon’s hired guns were trying to convince lawmakers to vote against a bill by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo requiring the State Lands Commission to buy the road or obtain access rights to Martins Beach, 6 miles south of Half Moon Bay. The Senate passed the bill 22 to 11 Wednesday. It will now be taken up by the Assembly.
The lobbyists for Khosla are using as justification for their position a decision last October by Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald that said Martins Beach was still subject to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. The treaty essentially required the United States to recognize Mexican land grants as long as the owner filed a claim. Jose Antonio Alviso, who owned the land grant at the time, filed such a claim, and a patent for the beachfront property was issued in 1865.
Judge Buchwald ruled that Alviso’s patent, handed down over the generations, extinguished all public rights to the property, including beach access rights established under the public trust doctrine in the California Constitution, which was first drafted in 1879.
The letter opposing SB968 claimed thatBuchwald’s order means Khosla does not have to provide access to either the beach or off-shore submerged tidelands, which his lawyers point out were specifically mentioned in Buchwald’s ruling.
Lawyers fighting for public access to the beach were apoplectic.
“It’s preposterous,” said Joe Cotchett, the lead attorney for Surfrider, which is awaiting a decision on a lawsuit claiming that Khosla needed a California Coastal Commission permit before he could close the road or make other improvements.
Gary Redenbacher, who argued the case before Judge Buchwald, said even under Mexican law beaches were public property below the highest tide line.
“The beach itself has always been public,” he wrote in an e-mail. ”Therefore, the claim by the lobbyists that it is a private beach has zero credibility in the law whether part of a Mexican Land Grant or not.”
There has been speculation that Khosla’s real motive in the beach battle is to extract payment for a public easement and to force the government to absolve him of liability concerns and take over responsibility for public safety and security. His latest actions, opponents say, lay waste to that theory.
“This,” Redenbacher said, ” is a blatant attempt by Khosla to abscond with public property.”
SF Gate Article HERE
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Health officials respond to beach radiation scareBy Mark Noack [ email@example.com ] | Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 5:21 pm
An amateur video of a Geiger counter showing what appear to be high radiation levels at a Coastside beach has drawn the attention of local, state and federal public health officials. Since being posted last week, the short video has galvanized public concerns that radioactive material could be landing on the local coastline after traveling from Japan as a result of the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
Government officials say they are looking into the video shot on Dec. 23 and performing their own sampling of the beaches, but they have found no indication so far that radiation levels were hazardous.
“It’s not something that we feel is an immediate public health concern,” said Dean Peterson, county environmental health director. “We’re not even close to the point of saying that any of this is from Fukushima.”
First posted last week on YouTube, the seven-minute video shows the meter of a Geiger counter as an off-camera man measures different spots on the beach south of Pillar Point Harbor. The gadget’s alarm begins ringing as its radiation reading ratchets up to about 150 counts per minute, or roughly five times the typical amount found in the environment.
Counts per minute is a standard way for Geiger counters to measure radiation, but it does not directly equate to the strength or its hazard level to humans. Those factors depend on the type of radioactive particles and isotope.
Nonetheless, the video went viral online, gaining nearly 400,000 views in the last week.
In a blog entry, the unidentified poster of the video noted that he has been monitoring local beaches for two years before noticing a sudden rise in radiation levels in recent days. The Review was not immediately able to contact the man who made the video.
In the following days, other amateurs with Geiger counters began posting similar videos online. The videos follow other alarming news last month that starfish were mysteriously disintegrating along the West Coast, a trend that has not been linked yet to any cause. Past computer simulations had indicated that radioactive cesium-137 from the Fukushima reactors could begin appearing on West Coast shores by early 2014. Those findings, published in August by the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain, also noted that any radioactive material that crossed the Pacific would likely be diluted and fall below international safety levels.
County health officials first learned of the radiation levels last week, and they sent their own inspector on Dec. 28 to Pacifica with a Geiger counter. Using a different unit, the county inspector measured the beach to have a radiation level of about 100 micro-REM per hour, or about five times the normal amount. REM stands for “Roentgen equivalent man,” a measurement of the dosage and statistical biological effects presented by radiation.
Although the radiation levels were clearly higher than is typical, Peterson emphasized that it was still not unsafe for humans. A person would need to be exposed to 100 microREMs of radiation for 50,000 hours before it surpassed safety guidelines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he explained.
Peterson admitted he was “befuddled” as to why radiation levels were higher than normal, but he was skeptical that the Fukushima meltdown could be the cause. He noted that many innocuous items could spike the radiation levels in an area, including red-painted disposable eating utensils.
“I honestly think the end result of this is that it’s just higher levels of background radiation,” he said.
Peterson forwarded the matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Public Health, agencies with more expertise on analyzing radioactivity.
A state Public Health spokeswoman said her office was contacted on Thursday and was still looking into the matter. More information would be available by next week, she said.
“We can’t comment on anybody’s media creation. We really have no way of knowing right now whether it’s valid or not,” said spokeswoman Wendy Hopkins.