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Yesterday, Thursday June 20, the First Amendment Coalition and the Student Press Law Center, along with 24 other free speech and press freedom organizations, called on the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office to decline charges against a student journalist who was arrested while covering a demonstration at Stanford University.
Police arrested Dilan Gohill, 19, a first-year Stanford student and reporter for The Stanford Daily, along with 12 protesters after the university sought a law enforcement response to demonstrations that were taking place on June 5. Those protests included occupation of the Stanford president’s office. Gohill was held in jail for 15 hours and faces charges of felony burglary, vandalism and conspiracy, according to his lawyers and the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
According to the First Amendment Coalition, Gohill’s journalistic assignments extend to covering student activism and campus developments, such that he was caught up in events he was there to observe which were beyond his control. As someone who was not actively involved in the activities for which others have been criminally cited, his prosecution is not warranted according to the letter, which was authored jointly by the First Amendment Coalition and the Student Press Law Center and signed onto by the ACLU of Northern California, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, the Associated Collegiate Press, the Los Angeles Chaptger of the Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, the California News Publishers Association, CCNMA Latino Journalists of California, the Coalition For Women In Journalism, the College Media Association, the First Amendment Foundation, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Los Angeles Press Club, the Media Alliance, Media Guild of the West/News Guild-Communications Workers of America Local 39213, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association, the Orange County Press Club, the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, The NewsGuild-CWA Local 39521 and Women Press Freedom.
According to the letter, “It is clear to us that Gohill was present to cover the news. As the editorial board of The Stanford Daily explained, Gohill was on assignment and did not plan or participate in the protest in any way. It is our understanding he did not break into any buildings, vandalize any property or engage in the creation of barricades. In the course of his reporting, Gohill became barricaded inside the building. He identified himself as a reporter, displaying his newspaper-issued press badge and wearing a red Stanford Daily sweatshirt, which visibly distinguished him from protesters who dressed in black. When officers arrived, Gohill told them he was a member of the press, and protesters even told police he was not one of them, an interaction his editors could hear via speakerphone. Further demonstrating that Gohill was present in his capacity as a journalist, he published breaking news detailing activity inside the building.”
A dispatch on The Stanford Daily’s website reads. “Once inside, protestors barricaded doors with bike locks, chains, ladders and chairs and covered security cameras with tin foil.”
According to the letter Gohill’s journalistic efforts relating to the events of June 5 helped inform the outside world, including the campus police officers who ultimately arrested him, of what was taking place in side the Stanford president’s office.
“Gohill’s coverage of the events helped inform the campus and broader community of protester demands and conduct, and of the university and law enforcement response,” the letter states. “Given these circumstances, it is difficult to see how charging Gohill with multiple felonies serves the interests of justice, especially because as a journalist reporting on breaking news he lacked the requisite intent for the crimes he is accused of committing.”
The letter, while advocating on Gohill’s behalf, does acknowledge that he willingly placed himself within a context of activity authorities deemed illegal.
“The Israel-Hamas war and related protest movement is one of the biggest news stories of our time, especially on college campuses,” the letter states. “Gohill’s specific beat at The Daily is student activism. Given this dedicated area of coverage, you can understand how this would lead to an emerging journalist’s desire to closely follow protester activities, especially activities likely to prompt a law enforcement response. Based on the circumstances and absence of any criminal motivation, we urge your office to avoid expending significant resources prosecuting a young journalist who was acting in good faith to serve the public’s interest in timely coverage of newsworthy events.”
Rosen and his office have not made any public reaction to the letter.

Having Jettisoned Montoya, SB Council Now Mulling Proceeding With Calvin Censure

By Mark Gutglueck
The sharp division on the San Bernardino City Council has not abated despite the temporary consensus that manifested on May 22 with the unanimous eight vote decision to terminate City Manager Charles Montoya. Up in the air is whether the council will proceed with its ruling majority’s earlier-stated intention of censuring Councilwoman Kimberly Calvin before she leaves office later this year.
The poisonous political atmosphere which has been brewing for more than 18 months has created tensions which now extend to questions over the continuing tenure of the city attorney and whether the elected leadership will be able to resolve its differences in a way that will allow the city to find an administrator to plan, organize, direct and control municipal operations in the county seat for a duration which will allow for the return of stability in the 170-year-old city.
Shortly after Helen Tran’s electoral victory in the 2022 mayoral election which saw then-Mayor John Valdivia – a highly polarizing figure – defeated and due to leave office, then-City Manager Robert Field resigned over concerns that his ties to Valdivia would leave him at odds with the incoming Tran regime. The city council then turned to former City Manager Charles McNeely to serve as interim city manager while a recruitment for Field’s replacement was carried out by the Berkeley-based Koff & Associates/Arthur J. Gallagher & Company headhunting firm.
In bringing in McNeely, the council made a fateful commitment that at least some would come to regret. They declared that whoever was to serve in the interim management capacity would not be eligible for consideration in the recruitment of a long-term city manager. Within a few months, McNeely, who had provisionally come out of retirement to take on the temporary assignment, began to warm toward the idea of reassuming the post of city manager on a full-fledged basis. This sparked a division within the city council, with some members wanting to rescind the prohibition against the interim city manager being considered as a candidate for the top city administrative post and others insisting that the city stand by the rules it had set up. Meanwhile, some 67 individuals with varying levels of municipal management experience applied for the San Bernardino City Manager’s post. After Koff & Associates/Arthur J. Gallagher & Company eliminated 44 of those and winnowed the field to 23, the city council carried out remote interviews with those candidates using the Zoom real time video/audio platform. Continue reading

Sheriff’s Deputies Doing A First Class Job Persuading The Homeless To Leave

With the arrival of summer nearing, lower downs in the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are complying with orders from higher ups to get aggressive with the county’s homeless population in an effort to induce them to leave for places elsewhere.
Around the county, the destitute tend to congregate and set up living quarters on sidewalks, in parks, alleyways, in the Mojave River, Santa Ana River or Lytle Creek riverbeds or around them, under railroad trestles or freeway overpasses, hidden in the spreads of chaparral that are a feature of much of the undeveloped land locally or within the landscaping along freeways or state highways.
Since late May, the sheriff’s department, which serves as the contract police department in Rancho Cucamonga, has vectored its deputies, working in conjunction with the California Department of Transportation, known as Caltrans, to remove homeless individuals subsisting in encampments. Over the past several weeks, the department received information regarding two such makeshift living arrangements located near the Interstate 15 Freeway’s intersection with Foothill Boulevard and Arrow Route. Continue reading

Spurning Lowering Staff Salaries, Yuciapa Passes 2024-25 Budget With $7.3M Deficit

On June 12, the Yucaipa City Council signed off on its 57,766-population city’s 2024-25 spending plan, which is to entail $7.3 million less in revenue than expenditures in its two operating budgets.
This is the second year in a row that the city is engaging in deficit spending. The revenue shortfall is to be made up by drawing funds out of the city’s reserves.
According to Phil White, Yucaipa’s director of finance, it is anticipated that approximately $35.7 million will flow into the city’s general fund from all external sources in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024 and ending June 30, 2025. Over the same 12 months, there will be $40.1 million in expenditures from the general fund. “The net of these budgetary flows is a general fund deficit of $4.4 million,” White stated.
The other category contained in Yucaipa’s operations budget is its public safety fund. This coming year, the public safety fund is projected to make total outlays of $23.5 million. Of that, $13.6 million is to be consumed by making good on the city’s contract with San Bernardino County for the law enforcement services of the sheriff’s department, which serves as the city police department in Yucaipa, as is the case with 13 other county municipalities, those being Adelanto, Apple Valley, Big Bear Lake, Chino Hills, Grand Terrace, Hesperia, Highland, Loma Linda, Needles, Rancho Cucamonga, Twentynine Palms, Victorville and Yucca Valley. The city contracts with the California Division of Forestry and Fire Protection, known by its acronym, CalFire, for both fire protection and paramedic services. Yucaipa is due to pay CalFire $5.3 million for fire protection services and $2.1 million for paramedic services. Included in the inflows to the public safety fund is a transfer from the city’s fire fund. While by set arrangment, the public safety fund is balance by the same amount of money being put into it on a yearly basis as it taken out, to do that this year requires a transfer of $2.9 million from the city’s fire fund. That $2.9 transfer is logged as an unfunded payment. Continue reading

Jury Hangs & Mistrial Declared In Smith-Jones Assault Trial

Corie Smith, the former sheriff’s deputy who was presented with two lifesaving awards in 2020 but whose law enforcement career ended in ignominy the following year when he was caught on video kicking a prone and surrendering suspect in the head, this week successfully concluded his and his legal team’s three-year battle to keep him from being labeled a felon.
Smith’s trial on the charge begun on April 29 before Judge Ingrid Uhler with Deputy District Attorney Melissa Emperatriz-Rivera prosecuting the matter and Smith represented by attorneys Michael Selyem and Kasey Castillo. Evidence was presented and testimony heard on April 30, May 1, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, with deliberations beginning on May 30 and continuing on June 3 and 4.
At three junctures the panel took a vote as to where it stood. The first time, jurors were evenly split, 6-to-6 for acquittal and conviction; the second time 7-to-5 for acquittal and, on June 4, 7-to-5 for conviction.
At that point, Judge Uhler declared a mistrial and scheduled a hearing on June 7 in order to begin preparations for a retrial.
During the trial, on May 14, Selyem and Castillo brought a PC1118.1 motion, based on the presentation of testimony and evidence to that point which they said clearly demonstrated there was insufficient evidence before the court to sustain a conviction, such that the case should not be submitted to the jury for a decision and an acquittal should be entered. Judge Uhler denied the motion. On June 7, Emperatriz-Rivera came to court, prepared to request the court’s permission to retry the case. At that point, however, Judge Uhler, apparently on the basis of the jury’s failure to reach a verdict and the May 14 PC1118.1 motion, over Emperatriz Rivera’s objection dismissed the case against Smith. Continue reading

FPPC Postpones Levying Near-Record Election Fund Reporting Fine On Adelanto Councilman Ramos

Less than a month after the California Political Fair Practices Commission put in place what it represented as final preparations to impose on Adelanto City Councilman Daniel Ramos one of the largest penalty assessments ever made against a local officeholder, the councilman has apparently begun negotiations with the state’s official political watchdog agency over how to cure the reporting violations he has amassed over the last six years.
According to the May 16, 2024 agenda for the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), Ramos, who is currently Adelanto’s mayor pro tem, despite numerous notifications and posted requests that he do so, had not submitted campaign fund accounting paperwork for his unsuccessful 2018 campaign for the Victorville City Council and he had further repeatedly failed to provide an accounting of his victorious 2020 campaign for the Adelanto City Council.
All told, it is estimated that Ramos collected and then spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $57,000 on both of those electoral efforts. An exact figure is not available because he has not filed the State Form 460 documents used to itemized donations to, expenditures from, loans to and from and nonmonetary contribution or in-kind payments relating to, his electioneering efforts. Continue reading

Man Arrested for Placing an Explosive Device Near A Residence in Rancho Cucamonga

A Devore man has been arrested on suspicion of having planted a bomb in a Rancho Cucamonga residential neighborhood.
On June 3, 2024, at 4:36 PM, deputies from the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department responded the 9300 block of Lomita Drive regarding reports of a suspicious device near the roadway. Residents nearby were evacuated as a precaution. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s arson/bomb detail responded and the explosive device was disarmed and removed.
Residents in the evacuated area were allowed back into their homes at about 10:20 p.m.
Through investigation, Detective Derek Brandt identified the suspect responsible for having planted the device as Brian Carreon, a convicted felon, and believes Carreon is responsible for placing the explosive device at the location.
On June 7, 2024, Carreon, 52 of Devore, was arrested for Penal Code 18715, possession of explosives in public. A search warrant at Carreon’s residence in Devore revealed chemicals and materials consistent with making explosive devices. Chemicals known to manufacture methamphetamine, a stolen firearm, and ammunition were also found. Additional felony charges have been recommended to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.