Tag Archives: d.a.

California counties, cities settle with Safeway over handling of hazardous wastes

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2015 —

Safeway Inc. has agreed to pay $9.87 million in “civil penalties, costs and supplemental environmental projects” after a group of California officials alleged its stores have been mishandling hazardous and pharmaceutical wastes.

The office of Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig was among the 42 district attorneys and two city attorneys who joined the legal action against Safeway. The Pleasanton-based company settled the case after working “cooperatively” with investigators. The court judgment was approved this month in Alameda County Superior Court.

“The investigation into Safeway’s practices began after discovery of improper shipments of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste to Safeway’s distribution centers form their stores,” said Reisig’s office in a press statement.

“The investigation revealed that Safeway was also routinely and systematically sending hazardous and pharmaceutical wastes to local area landfills not equipped to receive such waste. Upon being notified by prosecutors of the widespread issues, Safeway worked cooperatively to remedy the issue, enhance its environmental program and train its employees to properly handle such waste.”

The settlement resolved allegations involving over 500 Safeway stores and distribution centers, including its brands of Vons, Pavilions and Pak ‘n Save. Safeway operates several stores in Yolo County, including a Safeway at 1298 West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The News-Ledger contacted the D.A.’s office to find out how much of the settlement is earmarked for Yolo County. We received a response after this article was published in our print edition.

A spokesman informed the News-Ledger that $375,000 of the settlement will go to Yolo County District Attorney’s office in the form of civil penalties, and the D.A.’s office will also receive about $89,000 in cost recovery.

The Yolo County Environmental Health Department will receive about $35,250 of the Safeway settlement in civil penalties and will recover costs in the amount of $5,400.

Copyright News-Ledger 2015

Yolo ‘comfort dog’ gets $500 support

Trainer Laura Valdez with ‘Aloha’ -- a four-legged helper at the Yolo County District Attorney’s office (courtesy photo)

Trainer Laura Valdez with ‘Aloha’ — a four-legged helper at the Yolo County District Attorney’s office (courtesy photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 11, 2014 —

The Davis Rebekah Lodge has donated $500 to help care for “Aloha,” a comfort dog working with the Yolo County District Attorney’s office.

Aloha often visits with adults and children as they participate, under stress, in court. And she visits kids and parents in family law court.

“Aloha seems to know who needs her most, and heads straight for that person and sits calmly next to them,” said Yolo Judge Kathleen White, herself a member of Rebekah Lodge.

(Info courtesy of the Yolo County D.A.’s office)

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Don’t be too quick to click: several Internet-related scams are making local rounds

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 12, 2014 —

The office of Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig wants the public to be aware of a couple of scams currently making the rounds.

In one ripoff, consumers receive a computer-generated phone call telling them they have won $100 off of their AT&T phone bill. The phone call instructs them to log onto the website www.iliveatt.com, which looks legitimate but is only a “convincing fake,” reports Dave Edwards of the D.A.’s office.

The site tries to steal personal information to use for fraud.

Also reported locally is an email message that purports to be a “foreclosure notice.”

The email sounds official, and tells you that you are being foreclosed and evicted from your home. You are asked to respond immediately by clicking on a link.

The message “is designed to scare you into responding quickly, while you are upset and not thinking clearly,” reports Derek Soriano of the D.A.’s office. “Cybercriminals are trying to get you to open attachments which may contain computer viruses, or provide them with a credit card number. You can be sure this is a scam designed to steal your money and possibly your identity. If you receive an unexpected or unsolicited email like this and you are not sure if it is legitimate, you should contact your bank and/or realtor to ask them about it before you respond.”

Edwards offered these tips:

— Beware if a message offers something that seems too good to be true.

— Watch out if the message threatens negative action, such as canceling your account, if you fail to act immediately.

— Be suspicious if a message asks you to click on a link to update or submit your information.

— Don’t respond to or open attachments, or click on links, in unsolicited emails.

  EDITOR’S NOTE: At the News-Ledger office, we have seen the “foreclosure notice” email scam mentioned above by the D.A.’s office. We have also received a fake “Notice to Appear in Court,” claiming to notify the recipient that he or she is due in court, and attempting to get the recipient to click on a link for more details. Clicking on the link would no doubt lead to trouble.

 

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‘Neighborhood court’ coming to West Sac: model follows SF and Davis

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 29, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The concept of “neighborhood court” is soon to West Sacramento.

Those accused of certain low-level crimes will have a chance to exchange a court appearance and possible conviction for a chance to negotiate a resolution with a group of local volunteers and a facilitator in “neighborhood court.”

JEFF REISIG Yolo County District Attorney (News-Ledger file photo)

JEFF REISIG
Yolo County District Attorney
(News-Ledger file photo)

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig told the News-Ledger that the program focuses on “restorative justice” – a concept that cuts across cultures and across the centuries. A modern version of these citizens’ courts is now in operation across the causeway in Davis. It will launch in West Sacramento during the next few months.

The Yolo County version of the neighborhood court follows San Francisco’s model. Reisig said that he has personally watched the Bay Area model in session.

“We have tweaked it a bit to make it more ‘restorative,’” Reisig said.

“Restorative justice is really just a way of having an individual accept responsibility for the harm they’ve cause to the person or community, and finding a way to make it right. It’s all about accountability – making the victim whole.”

This approach is based on “positive, not punitive,” he added.

The neighborhood court model heading to West Sacramento will involve recruiting citizen volunteers to work with a trained “facilitator.” Together, they will meet with alleged offenders and try to hammer out a deal that fits the crime.

To get to neighborhood instead of criminal court, the defendant in a low-level crime – a misdemeanor or infraction case – has to agree to go. In Davis, such cases have included those accused of public drunkenness, vandalism or simple assault.

The victims of the alleged crimes can, if they wish, show up to tell the perpetrator exactly how the crime affected them.

According to an official report of the Davis neighborhood court, victims often appreciate that opportunity. Also, allowing the victim and the offender to communicate can be an effective way to prevent new offenses. One anonymous victim was quoted in the report as saying the victim/offender conference was very satisfying:

“I enjoyed the positive outcome and insightful process,” the battery victim was quoted. “I learned a lot and it provided me with an opportunity to improve my patience.”

“The program is totally voluntary,” explained Reisig. “If somebody is arrested by the police, they can go through the normal process and go to court. Or, if this is an option, they can go to the neighborhood court. If an agreement is reached between the neighborhood court and the offender, there’s a group called the Center for Intervention that monitors the contract.”

That organization – under contract with Yolo County – monitors the deal. The offender pays a “small fee” to be monitored, but won’t be turned away from the program for being unable to pay the fee.

If the offender fulfills his obligations – say, by volunteering a certain amount of community service hours erasing graffiti – the case is closed. There’s no criminal conviction.

If the offender drops the ball, he or she can end up back in “real” court to face the charges. At the moment, reports Reisig’s office, the Davis and UC Davis communities report having held a total of 153 neighborhood court conferences. 95 of those offenders have completed their contract, 28 more are in the process of doing so, and two offenders have dropped the ball.

What kind of offenses has the Davis neighborhood court been handling?

“Keep in mind, Davis is a very different community (from West Sacramento) because of the college students,” Reisig commented. “You have a lot of alcohol-related problems. Most common, maybe, are public drunkenness and alcohol possession.”

Other offenses eligible for neighborhood court include petty theft, vandalism, public urination, noise violations, battery and resisting arrest.

For a theft conviction, says the Yolo County report, an offender might be told to write a four-page essay on the impacts of shoplifting, along with an apology to the store he or she stole from. To answer a charge of public urination, the offender may agree to spend three hours with a local graffiti abatement team.

West Sacramento may see its neighborhood court addressing a different mix of offenses, although the mix may also include alcohol, he said. To be eligible for neighborhood court, not only does the crime have to be a small one, but the offender can’t be on probation or parole, can’t have a criminal history and can’t be facing other criminal charges.

Local service organizations and nonprofits will be invited to become involved so that offenders serve their penance by performing unpaid public service.

The search for West Sacramento neighborhood court panelists and facilitators begins Feb. 20, with a public workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. at the library (1212 Merkley Avenue). Recruitment and training will follow. The volunteers will serve on a single city-wide court.

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