Fire At Missouri Nuclear Site!!! Heads Up! Yall Be Safe!!!

CBS: Fire erupts at another U.S. nuclear site near major city — Witness: Flames within feet of radioactive waste — TV: “You can see the smoke for miles… A big-time scare” — EPA emergency response specialists deployed (PHOTO & VIDEOS)

Published: October 28th, 2015 at 11:19 pm ET
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KTVI, Oct 24, 2015 (emphasis added): Brush fire at West Lake Landfill sparks concernSmoke could be seen for miles as fire crews responded to a brush fire at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton Saturday… The fire was started by a faulty switch… inside the landfill’s perimeter. The switch overheated, causing hot metal to drop below and ignite a fire… Arearesidents and elected officials gathered near the scene of the fire Saturday to see if it would move into a restricted area where an underground fire is burning. Residents were concerned that the fire would reach area whereradioactive waste is buried

KTVI Transcript, Oct 24, 2015: You can see the smoke for miles… A big-time scare for residents out there tonight… Dawn Chapman, resident: “This fire came within feet of it,within feet of radioactive waste“…

CBS News, Oct 27, 2015: No one knows for sure what will happen if the fire comes into contact with it… some low-level radiation has moved into neighborhoods… But it’s not just the underground fire that is a concern – this weekend a grass fire erupted within some 75 yards of the radioactive waste. This region also sits near an earthquake fault line.

AP, Oct 26, 2015: On Saturday, a fire blamed on a faulty utility pole ignited brush on the West Lake Landfill’s grounds… [EPA official Mark] Hague said testing showed no immediateevidence residents were in peril.

St Louis Public Radio, Oct 27, 2015: Stoking many fears was [a] brush fire at the Bridgeton Landfill… which was first called in to the fire department by a resident. Some took that as asign that the landfill’s owner, Republic Services, does not have an adequate handle on the site… [EPA] sent a letter reprimanding Republic Services for the incident.

St. Louis American, Oct 25, 2015: Saturday’s fire supposedly resulted from a malfunctioning electrical switch… EPA emergency response specialists were deployed to the site of the fire, according to the EPA’s statement. “Personnel will be in the field today taking samples from the surrounding area to confirm there is not a release of contaminants,” it stated… “Pattonville Fire District conducted air monitoring during the event.” The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)… reviewed data from its monitors located near the landfills, “and the readings stayed consistent with background,” according to the EPA.

CBS St Louis, Oct 25, 2015: Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster [said] “the fire at the Bridgeton Landfill is ever changing”… Koster says Saturday’s fire is a reminder flames can surface in unexpected places without warning.

See report from earlier this month here:  AP: Catastrophic event could release radioactive fallout over major U.S. metropolitan area — Gov’t issues emergency plan as fire burns near nuclear site — Senator: “What we have… could end up as Chernobyl” (VIDEO)

See last week’s reports from Las Vegas-area here: EPA data shows radiation spike in major US city soon after explosions at nuclear waste facility — AP: Drums of buried waste were blasted over site’s fence; Large crater reported (VIDEO)

Watch broadcasts: CBS News | KTVI

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A Must See For Every True American

I just watched a very, very short video at: http://www.conservativewarchest.com/

 It really made one hell of a statement.  Every true American needs to see this video, to see where we stand in this country.  A true eye-opener.  

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king obama 300x224

Everyone has 2 minutes to see this.  It last only two minutes:

 

American Prosperity: “Obama Left the Border Open Something Deadlier than Ebola Found Its Way In”

Found at:

http://americanprosperity.com/because-obama-left-the-border-open-something-deadlier-than-ebola-found-its-way-in/

Because Obama Left the Border Open Something Deadlier than Ebola Found Its Way In…

Screen Shot 2014 11 01 at 9 14 02 PM 300x236

Obama demonstrated what could be called a most lackluster response to a serious crisis when he allowed the Ebola virus into the U.S.

His actions to refuse to stop flights into America from Western Africa led to Ebola’s emergence here in the U.S.

But what isn’t being discussed nearly as much as it should be is how Obama’s failure to close the American-Mexico border has likely contributed to the emergence of another super-deadly virus.

One that has killed far more people than Ebola has so far.

The virus is known as EV-D68. It’s an enterovirus similar to polio, but slightly different in structure.

So far thousands of men, women and children have fallen ill with the virus and as many as nine people have died since contracting it.

Top health officials have made connections to the EV-D68 virus that has shown up in numerous locations in the U.S. to the same EV-D68 virus from Central America.

As the Daily Caller reports:

So far, that virus has been found in nine American kids who died from illness, has apparently inflicted unprecedented polio-like paralysis in roughly 50 kids, and has put hundreds of young American kids into hospital emergency wards and intensive care units throughout more than 40 states.

A series of government researchers, health experts and academics refused to comment, or else urged self-censorship, when they were pressed by The Daily Caller for statistical and scientific data that would exonerate Obama and his deputies.

As illegals have surged over the border, health officials knew this kind of fallout was possible. And that’s why they’re keeping quiet about it now. Because the connection is obvious.

Enteroviruses infect anywhere from 10-15 million people in the U.S. a year. But what’s different about this particular strain is its origins are likely from people who came here illegally.

The path of illegals from Central American countries as well as Mexico has been well documented, and with 100s upon 1,000s of them making it over the border every day, the likelihood the virus came in with them is extremely high.

If nothing else, this kind of health debacle demonstrates how Obama’s ineptitude isn’t just maddening, it’s deadly.

Cynthia J Becker, Longtime Member of the Black Robed Mafia, Shown in Article by TinaTrent.com, http://crimevictimsmediareport.com/?p=1

Becker’s excuse for her failings that caused the death of a special cancer research specialist, was that she liked the wedding dress website that the felon had told her was his website. How that woman’s family must have felt, and had to deal with her death.

TinaTrent.com ●

February 21, 2009 2:40 pm

The Anatomy of Yet Another Unnecessary Murder: How the Justice System Failed Eugenia Calle and Is Failing Us All

by Tina in Atlanta,Citizens Fight Back,Crime and Justice Blog,Judges,Recidivism

Introduction

What follows is a preliminary effort to piece together Shamal (aka Jamal) Thompson’s long and troubling journey through Georgia’s broken criminal justice system prior to February 17, 2009, the day he murdered* an innocent cancer researcher named Eugenia Calle. Ten months earlier, a DeKalb County Superior Court Judge named Cynthia J. Becker let Thompson walk free from what should have been a ten-year sentence for burglary. She did so on the grounds that he was a first-time offender.

He was not.

I gathered the records of Thompson’s many other criminal charges and pleas merely through Internet searches and a few phone calls to court clerks in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties in Georgia. These counties and jurisdictions vary quite significantly in their commitment to making public safety information available to the public. Fulton County’s public records system is almost uniquely shameful in comparison to similar courts throughout the country, while DeKalb County’s records are impressively detailed and easy to access on-line.

This information is preliminary, based only on a few phone calls and web searches. If you choose to reproduce or quote this article, please understand that I am unable to guarantee its absolute accuracy at this point. Court records themselves often contain errors, and I can only reproduce what is entered on-line by the courts. However, I include the public records case numbers for every case I cite, and if anyone involved in the justice system (or not) wishes to offer corrections or add to this account, please contact me through this website.

Why Didn’t Judge Cynthia Becker Do What I Did?

I am not a lawyer. I don’t even live in Georgia anymore, though I lived in southeast Atlanta for twenty years. Yet I managed to look up Shamal Thompson’s criminal history while sitting at a computer in Florida. From 500 miles away, with no press credentials or official status or legal secretary or law clerk, I was able to easily discover what several judges in Georgia apparently did not care enough to find out: Shamal Thompson was no “first-time offender,” or mere “troubled kid” when he strolled into courtrooms throughout Metro Atlanta and was repeatedly given a slap on the wrist and a fourth, or tenth, second chance. He was no first-time offender when he strolled into Eugenia Calle’s condominium and beat her to death on Tuesday.

He was clearly no first-time offender in 2006, when he walked away from felony charges of aggravated assault in DeKalb County after the ADA declined to present the case against him to the Grand Jury (DeKalb County on-line Judicial System, #D0170113). He was no first-time offender in 2007, when State Court of Fulton County Judge John Mather let him take a plea on theft-by-taking (State Court of Fulton County #06CR314782). And he was certainly no first-time offender ten months ago, when DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia J. Becker let him walk out of prison with time served on a ten-year sentence for Burglary that she chose to reduce to a six-month “first offender” sentence, and then reduced, even more, to time served (DeKalb County On-Line Judicial System #07CR3936).

How does ten years become six months become time served? How does somebody who has bonded out of several courts and been charged with multiple crimes multiple times keep getting defined as a “first-time offender?” Why do judges keep releasing him, and DAs keep declining to prosecute him? How many innocent people have to die before we acknowledge that our courts are so de-funded and functionally broken that predators have little or nothing to fear from being arrested over and over and over again?

How many people have to die before we say that we’ve had enough?

Here is the burglary sentence delivered to Shamal Jerome Thompson on April 3, 2008 in a courtroom in DeKalb County, Georgia. Think of it as Eugenia Calle’s death sentence:

Docket Text Details

Case ID 07CR3936
Description Sentence
Docket Filing Date 03-APR-2008
Associated Party SHAMAL JEROME THOMPSON
Text
AS TO THOMPSON, FIRST OFFENDER SENTENCE, 10 YEARS TO SERVE 6 MONTHS IN JAIL AS TO COUNT 1. CREDIT FOR TIME SERVED FROM 9/30/2006 – 10/4/2006 AND FROM 2/11/2008 TO PRESENT, TIME TO SERVE REDUCED TO TIME SERVED. MUST PAY $32/M PROBATION FEE AND $50 INDIGENT DEFENSE FEE, RESTITUTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $350, RESTITUTION NEEDS TO BE PAID WITHIN 12 MONTHS, IF PROBATION IS DONE CORRECTLY AND RESTITUTION IS PAID CASE MAY CLOSE AFTER 5 YEARS. SIGNED BY JUDGE BECKER ON 4/3/2008
Why did Judge Becker give Thompson First Offender status? His adult record stretches back virtually to the day he ceased being a juvenile, which certainly suggests that he committed crimes that we, the public, cannot even know about before he turned 18. And why, once again, was I able to find these things on-line, hundreds of miles away, while the courts in Atlanta kept letting Shamal Thompson back onto the streets?

WSB Atlanta offers some truly gut-wrenching insight into what Judge Becker was using her Internet for when she should have been looking into Thompson’s criminal history before sentencing him on those burglary charges. She was looking at the bridal gown website Thompson claimed to have designed. According to WSB (and WSB was the only news station that reported this), “Judge Becker cited the Web site and the ‘beautiful designs’ on the site as part of the reason for the light sentence she gave Thompson in the burglary case.”

Let’s take a moment to let that sink in.

Perhaps because I wasn’t busy looking at bridal gowns, what I found on-line about Shamal Thompson had less to do with taffeta than serial identity theft. And fraud. Little clues that should have led the Judge to ask herself: “Is this guy even telling me the truth when he tells me he’s a bridal fashion designer?” Cynthia Becker needs to resign, out of embarrassment if not some deeper comprehension of the grotesquely ironic lack of judgment she displayed.

Am I the only person who thinks Cynthia Becker needs to quit her day job? Well, here’s a good way for you to decide. Because DeKalb County keeps such stellar on-line records, you can actually go to their website, the Online Judicial System of DeKalb County.

Go to Shamal Thompson’s case, #07CR3936, and you will see a list of documents – a case docket. Some of the documents are on-line, and some, like the court transcripts, aren’t on-line, but you can go to the court and request to see those. Or pick some other offender – someone who has been terrorizing your neighborhood, or someone who has been in and out of the courts, or another of Becker’s cases. Take a look at the dockets and think about all of the money we’re wasting on truly baroque and foolish things, while the crimes themselves – the point of the courts – seem to literally disappear in the endless processing and pleading and not prosecuting, or “nolle prosequi.”

Nolle prosequi can occur because nobody had the resources to even investigate the case, or because there are too many defendants, or too many crimes, or because the public has become so gob-smacked with the idea that they are freeing innocent men that it is practically impossible to get most people put away anymore. Nolle prosequi might as well be translated: we’re losing this game every day.

And don’t expect critical news about the broken court system from the daily paper. They run personality pieces on criminals and mash notes about defense attorneys and never, ever, challenge judges. The AJC hasn’t done a substantive series questioning sentencing in the courts since 1993. They’ll go after the police, and some of the time when they do they should, but the courts get treated with real kid gloves.

So I encourage you to go to the courthouse and see how things work. But please remember, court clerks are busy people. The good ones rank among the un-noticed heroes of our dysfunctional courts. They don’t get the cushy no-show jobs like Juanita Hicks, former Fulton County Clerk of Court, who appointed her crony, Cathelene Robinson, who then turned around and paid Juanita to “write a history of the Clerk’s Office,” which Hicks of course, didn’t get around to writing.

But she did take the money, which is just one reason why Fulton County says it can’t afford to put criminal records on-line, so you can’t go on-line and find information about the dirt-bag who just kicked in your back door.

Just remember that when you’re standing in the hallway of the courthouse with a paper in your hand on which Judge Cynthia Becker prattles on about Shamal Thompson’s design skills: it wasn’t the clerk behind the counter who let Thompson walk out the door you’re about to walk out through. The clerk behind the counter probably would have thrown him in prison, where he belonged.

Who is Shamal Thompson?

I know nothing of Thompson’s life story. For that type of “color coverage,” you’ll have to wait for the AJC to run long, plaintive stories about his difficult youth. Meanwhile, here is what I was able to find out about Shamal Thompson’s crimes and history, so far:

Thompson was born either on 3/11/86 or 11/3/86, and he may well have used different birthdates, as well as different names, to avoid detection of his other crimes. Of course, with technology like the In-ter-net, and fingerprint databases, such simple ploys should not have worked at all. Did they? Interesting question.

On May 18, 2005, a warrant was issued for Thompson in Gwinnett County on the charge of theft by receiving stolen property (#05W-17152). It would be two years before the courts addressed these charges. He also apparently committed an act of theft on December 9, 2005 (#06CR314782). The information I received was confusing, but the State Court of Fulton County wouldn’t address those charges, either, until 2007.

Meanwhile, on September 28, 2005, Thompson was arrested in DeKalb County. He was released on October 5. Charges included felony aggravated assault, fleeing/attempt to elude, and reckless driving. Eight months later, on July 25, 2006, an Assistant District Attorney declined to present the case to a Grand Jury in DeKalb, and Thompson walked (#D0170113, or use the name Shamal Thompson, and be sure to hit the “all” button on the “case status” prompt).

Why did the ADA decline to go forward with the case? Why didn’t the jurisdictions of Gwinnett and DeKalb communicate with each other and deliver Thompson to Gwinnett to face his outstanding warrant there?

In any case, on August 26, 2006 (note, we’re up to 2006 now – the dates get confusing: there’s so many of them), Thompson committed a felony burglary in DeKalb County. He was arrested and spent five days in jail – from September 30 to October 4, 2006. This case wouldn’t reappear until 2008, in Judge Becker’s court.

About ten weeks later, December 5, 2006, Thompson was in trouble again, this time in the State Court of Fulton County. I have little information on this case, and the on-line database from the State Court of Fulton County is ridiculously unusable. The charge was forgery-in-the-first-degree; Thompson was the second defendant in the case, and it is “still open,” according to a helpful clerk on the phone. The case number is #06CP5770.

Next, on or around December 18, 2006, Thompson was either charged with theft-of-services and identity fraud or appeared in court on those charges. Again, the information I have is confusing, but the clerk told me that the case is still open; the “last court date scheduled for it was January 2, 2007; and that the Fulton DA “hasn’t scheduled another court date.” The case number is #06CP60870.

All of this could be made clear to us on-line, of course, if there were any functioning leadership at the Clerk of Court during the expensive and ruinous years of Juanita Hicks and Cathelene Robinson.

The next day, December 19, 2006, Thompson had 11 counts of identity fraud “dismissed at jail.” Whatever that means. It could be that some overworked cop didn’t show up, or didn’t show up the sixth time, after Thompson’s defense attorney managed to spin the date a half-dozen times before. It could mean some paperwork disappeared. Or was disappeared. It could be that the overworked DA’s office couldn’t cope, that the case seemed insignificant compared to the thousands of others they were investigating and preparing. In any case, in case #06CP60926, Thompson walked out the door. Free again.

For forty days, at least. On January 30, 2007, the State Court of Fulton County got around to addressing Thompson’s 12/9/2005 theft charge. Judge John Mather accepted a plea, and Thompson walked. The case number is #06CR314782.

It would be great if somebody in Atlanta would go to the State Court of Fulton County and take a look at Judge Mather’s sentence and any other materials related to the case. For if Thompson accepted a plea, why is it that Judge Becker gave him a first-time offender’s break, and Judge Michael Clark (we’ll get to him next) simply dropped charges against him and let him walk?

Onward and upward. On April 23, 2007, Judge Michael Clark of the Gwinnett Superior Court cut Thompson a deal: in exchange for Thompson pleading guilty to theft by receiving, Clark dropped another charge of theft by taking and gave him five years probation — as a first offender. Case #06-B-02474-4, Gwinnett Courts.

Questions arise. If Thompson pleaded guilty on January 30, 2007, why did he get to plead guilty, again, as a first offender, some seven weeks later? For that matter, had Judge Mather give him a first-offender deal, too, those seven weeks prior to his second first-offender plea, despite his juvenile record, if it exists, and all the other confirmed charges floating around? The head swims. But, then again, I’m sitting here in Florida, getting paid nothing to watch the dolphins cavort, dreaming of crime victims.

I’m not some judge in her chambers in DeKalb County getting paid to enforce the law. Dreaming of wedding gowns.

Some time around February 11, 2008, Shamal Thompson was back in jail again in DeKalb County, where he stayed until April 3, when he convinced Judge Cynthia J. Becker that his bridal gown web design skills entitled him to a third first-offender sentence, a further reduction in that sentence, and immediate release with time served, justice be damned.

And 319 days later it was, wasn’t it?

What Will Happen Now?

What will happen now is that Shamal Thompson has just bought himself (on our tab) a very expensive and high-profile defense team who will use our money to accuse us as a society of failing this talented /troubled/ mentally unstable/ promising/ neglected/ sensitive/ misunderstood young man while using every trick they’ve embedded in the criminal justice system to try to get him off again as they grandstand to enhance their public personas while lining their pockets and wailing that they do all this in order to defend justice from its enemies.

Lapdogs in the daily press will breathlessly report this.

Eugenia Calle’s family and loved ones will bury her body and remember all the good she did while she was alive.

Her colleagues will go back to trying to cure cancer.

Who Was That Who Saw it Coming?

In 2005, a writer named Coley Ward published a startling article in Atlanta’s Creative Loafing. Called “Case Dismissed: Accused Felons Often Are Released When Officers Fail to Testify,” Ward interviewed Fulton County Magistrate Judge Richard Hicks, who complained that more than half of the felony cases scheduled in his courtroom had to be dismissed, usually when police officers didn’t show up to testify. The police argued back that they didn’t always receive subpoenas in time, or that they were on duty elsewhere or off the clock – working for free. DA Paul Howard (whose own staff is stretched beyond human means) argued that most of those felons eventually got re-arrested for something else and thus indicted, an argument Judge Hicks called statistically untrue. Even if it were true, Coley Ward points out, what type of system lets out half its felons, or more, on the grounds that they’ll be back again soon?

Everybody agreed on one thing, though: the justice system is so broken that the chance of a felon even getting indicted once he has been caught, if he is caught, is so small in Fulton County that it hardly seems worth worrying about.

Now picture Shamal Thompson boldly strolling through Dr. Eugenia Calle’s condominium lobby, trying to get back into her apartment, where he knew her body lay, after killing her and going on a cold-blooded shopping spree with her credit card. No consequences. No fear.

We should have all seen it coming. Thompson appears before Judge Richard Hicks on March 3, four years after Hicks pulled the fire alarm on his own courthouse.

And the Mayor and the Chief of Police continue to say that there’s no problem, that it’s all in people’s heads, that crime is down.

I once had a defense attorney say: “Geez, you take this stuff so personally.” Well, I’m a victim of violent crime, and so is my husband and many, many of my friends in Atlanta. I matriculated from Emory University’s Graduate School, and as a public health worker and lobbyist, I occasionally worked with the epidemiologists, including those involved in seeking the links between hormones and cancer that defined Eugenie Calle’s research (I never met her). My dear friend, Toni, lost her life to cancer two years ago. Another dear friend and mentor, Vicki, has been fighting breast cancer for years. I lost a beloved male friend suddenly to cancer last year. And since Christmas, my mother has been waging a valiant fight against late-stage lung and brain cancer.

So, yeah. As someone who prays daily for those gone to cancer and those fighting it now, I take the loss of a brilliant and dedicated cancer researcher personally. God rest.

As a crime victim, I take crime personally.

As an Emory alum, I take their community’s safety personally, and I would expect all members of the campus, even those faculty of the offender-besotted-ilk, to take the murder of a member of their community seriously.

As a woman, I take the vulnerability of women personally. As a former Atlantan who worked hard to make the city a safer place for women and children, I take crime in Atlanta seriously.

It’s up to us – black and white, neighbor by neighbor by neighbor, to come together to demand that criminals be removed from the streets. Permanently. The only way to break the cycle of violence — to save the younger brothers and sisters of all the Shamal Thompsons out there, is to change what the courts have been doing for the last thirty years.

Stop letting the predators out. All of them.

Start prosecuting crimes. All of them.

Start telling us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what is happening in our courts. They are the problem. And that is what this blog will be about.

I am so, so sorry for Eugenia Calle and for the people who loved her.

Tomorrow: What citizens in Atlanta are doing to fight crime and monitor the courts.

*Of course, Thompson has not yet been convicted of the crime.

Strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — Much higher incidences of whole range of health problems reported — Experts: 1,000,000 cancers

“Truly Frightening”: Doctors being threatened for linking illnesses to Fukushima — Strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — Much higher incidences of whole range of health problems reported — Experts: 1,000,000 cancers, plus many other ailments possible (AUDIO & VIDEO)
Published: October 28th, 2014 at 12:43 pm ET

By ENENews
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Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education on Radio Ecoshock, released Oct 29, 2014:

Alex Smith, host of RadioEcoshock (at 10:30 in): We’ve heard almost nothing about the impacts [of the Fukushima catastrophe] on people in that region. There are accounts coming out of there of strange tumors, kids dying, pets dying — what have you heard? Can we ever expect an honest accounting from Japanese authorities?
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer (emphasis added): That’s a pretty good summary, frankly. We continue to get information from people who live there about cancer rates — and illnesses in general, not just cancer. We think of radiation as a cancer causing thing, but it also causes many other ailments. Much higher incidences of a whole range of illnesses than they had in 2010, the year before the accident… We’re also working with doctors in Japan, and some brave doctors are saying that they’ve been threatened — that their hospital rights have been threatened — if you tell your patient this illness is radiation related you’ll lose your right to practice and things like that. So there’s enormous pressure on the medical community to tell the patients that what they’re experiencing is not at all related to radiation. The key is statistics, and the question is when will the statistics be released for mortality, morbidity, and general illnesses… We’re not seeing the data. The medical community now has to file every report that it writes with the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, before it’s issued. So if you’re a hospital, and you’ve got mortality data, you’re not allowed to issue that to the public until those reports have been cleared by the IAEA. Well, Article II of the IAEA charter is to promote nuclear power. So even if the hospital was conscientious — there’s a lot of political pressure not to be — but even if it was conscientious, there’s another step in the process, and they’ve got to clear an IAEA hurdle before those numbers are released. It’s truly frightening, the pressure the medical community is undergoing in Japan. Very few of them are willing to tell the truth.
Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer, Oct. 20, 2014 (at 15:00 in): There’s experts out there like me – independent experts – who are saying that as many as a million cancers may result.

Sneak peek of Oct. 29 broadcast here | Watch Oct. 20 presentation here

It’s Time for People to Demand Information About Our Own Nuclear Disaster! We Cannot Allow a Cover-Up!

Top Official: “Really concerned” over radiation release at US nuclear site; Feds “have put a noose around scientific personnel”… they refuse to reveal crucial information about WIPP disaster — Investigators becoming suspicious — Nuclear Expert: “It sure seems like there’s a cover-up” (AUDIO)

 
Published: September 6th, 2014 at 5:16 pm ET
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The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 6, 2014: Flynn accuses feds of blocking WIPP probe — New Mexico’s top environmental regulator lashed out at the U.S. Department of Energy this week, accusing it of impeding the state’s investigation into [the WIPP] radiation leak… Secretary Ryan Flynn warned [about] Energy Department roadblocks that have protracted the probe… Increasingly in recent weeks, the federal Energy Department has thwarted attempts by the state… Flynn accused the Energy Department of muzzling scientists with crucial information about the waste…. [They] asked for documentation supporting the scientists’ observations [but] the Energy Department has repeatedly refused… his frustration with the Energy Department grew as its denials… became more frequent… The Energy Department’s refusal to provide information raised suspicions among Flynn’s investigators…

New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn, Sept 6, 2014: “The problem is that Department of Energy headquarters back in Washington, D.C., is looking at this situation through a political or (public relations) lens, so they’ve put a noose around the scientific personnel who can answer our questions… there’s a willingness (by LANL personnel) to provide information [but] someone back at headquarters decides that no, they’re not going to provide that information to the state… it happens repeatedly, that’s when you start to get really concerned… they don’t provide certain information [or] make staff available… The more we investigate, the more we’re discovering at Los Alamos… the Department of Energy headquarters refuses to provide certain information.”

Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group, Sept 6, 2014: “[Not sharing this information] could be a danger signal for workers and the public. Mislabeling drums and withholding information can be criminal.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 3, 2014: Review, relabeling of LANL waste raises questions about scope of problem… [Los Alamos National Laboratory’s] review of the incident has led to uncertainty over the volatility of hundreds of other drums… The lab notified state environment officials late last month that it was re-evaluating and relabeling as “ignitable” or “corrosive” the contents of 86 drums at LANL… The Department of Energy also is reviewing and relabeling more than 300… stored in WIPP’s underground… [This] raises questions about the scope of the problem that led to the leak at WIPP.

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator & engineer, Aug 28, 2014 (at 22:15 in): “It sure seems like that there’s a combination of a cover-up, and a combination of slip-shot record keeping. Now there’s talk of whether they ditched those records after the fact or before the fact, but those records are nonexistent. One would expect really good records as to what is being stored, where it’s being stored, when it was put away, when it was stored, all that – every bit of information that one would expect to have in a nuclear storage facility and these are missing, there’s a lot of information.

Full interview with Harris here

 
Published: September 6th, 2014 at 5:16 pm ET
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  1. Officials: Leakage seen on “many” nuclear waste drums in WIPP underground — We think the seals have degraded — Public “should be concerned” about another explosion — 1,000s of radioactive drums now seen as too risky to move (VIDEO) June 13, 2014
  2. Expert: No one in world has ever dealt with something like WIPP disaster — Continuous release of radioactive material ’24/7′ to environment — Nobody knows when leaking will end — It’s a ‘major failure’ for so many people to be exposed — Gov’t yet to say if dump will open again (AUDIO) April 6, 2014
  3. Video: WIPP nuclear site may close for several years — Explosion in multiple drums suspected — “Very much a cause for concern” — Top official gives ‘fiery speech’ calling for public to be told what has happened — DOE refuses to name source of nuclear wasteMay 9, 2014
  4. WIPP Expert: Nuclear waste is getting out above ground — Plutonium / Americium found in “every single worker” on site when leak began — New Mexico officials ‘totally unsatisfied’ with lack of info from Feds — “We don’t know how far away it’s gone” — Continuing threat for long time to come (AUDIO) March 5, 2014
  5. Officials now admit over 500 barrels of nuclear waste at risk of bursting open — AP: 368 already at WIPP dump — “New Mexico sees ‘imminent’ danger” — State orders WIPP to prevent “health or environmental threat”; Must ‘permanently seal’ underground storage areas May 21, 2014

City of Springfield Banned all Foreclosures! How Will The Supreme Court Rule On That?

 

BOSTON – A group of Western Massachusetts banks argued before the state’s highest court on Thursday that the city of Springfield’s anti-foreclosure ordinances should be overturned.

The banks say the local ordinances contradict state laws, and a bond levied on lenders constitutes an illegal tax. “It’s not that banks are opposed to mortgage laws and reform, but to how it’s being done,” said Craig Kaylor, general counsel for Hampden Bank, one of the banks that brought the lawsuit. “These are for the state to decide, not city by city.”

But the city disagrees and says the laws are necessary to avoid blight and protect neighborhoods that have high rates of foreclosure.

“This is the city’s response to the foreclosure crisis,” said Springfield Assistant City Solicitor Thomas Moore, who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court. “It’s a response from the city council and mayor based on what they see every day in the city. They’ve taken the strongest stance to protect homeowners and the city itself.”

The city of Springfield passed two anti-foreclosure ordinances in 2011 as the city was being hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. One ordinance requires a bank that forecloses on a home to pay for a $10,000 bond, which can be used by the city to maintain the foreclosed properties, if the bank fails to do so.

The other ordinance requires the establishment of a mandatory mediation program to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The bank would be responsible for paying most of the cost of the mediation.

Springfield is among the top cities in the state in the number of distressed properties it has. The city says high rates of foreclosures lead to health and education problems for children in families that lose their homes, and high rates of blighted or vacant properties lead to crime and violence in those neighborhoods.

Six western Massachusetts banks, with Easthampton Savings Bank as the lead plaintiff, challenged the ordinances. A U.S. District court judge upheld the ordinances. However, on appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stay preventing Springfield from enforcing them. The federal court then asked the Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, to answer two questions related to state law before the federal court makes its ruling. The case is Easthampton Savings Bank and others vs. City of Springfield.

The SJC must decide whether the local foreclosure ordinances are preempted by existing state foreclosure laws. The court must also decide whether the $10,000 bond is a legal fee or an illegal tax. Cities and towns cannot create taxes without legislative approval.

The banks also argue that the ordinances violate the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution by impairing the contract between the homeowner and the mortgage-holder, a question that remains before the federal court.

During Thursday’s arguments, Tani Sapirstein, an attorney representing the banks, argued that the bond is a tax because banks do not get any particular benefit from paying it – which is the criteria for calling something a fee. The way the bond works is when a foreclosed property is sold, if the city did not have to use the bond money to maintain it, $9,500 would be returned to the bank and $500 is kept by the city as an administrative fee, used to maintain blighted properties and implement the foreclosure laws.

Chief Justice Ralph Gants questioned Sapirstein on whether the bank does not actually receive benefits. “You have an interest in preserving the value of your property,” Gants said. “If there are foreclosed properties going to hell all around your property, it diminishes the value of your property and diminishes the value of what you receive on the foreclosure. Why is this concern about avoiding blight not something that would benefit the bank as well as the city?”

Sapirstein replied that eliminating blight would benefit the bank “as well as the city and other property owners in the neighborhood.” “How is that a particularized benefit?” she said.

Moore argued that the bond is a fee, which the city needs to hire code inspectors and create a database of who controls foreclosed properties.

But Justice Geraldine Hines said if she pays for a copy of her birth certificate, she gets a document in return for the fee. “Here I don’t see that,” she said. “The property owners, the mortgagees, don’t have something tangible.”

Moore said the banks get a “well-regulated industry” and preservation of their property values. In addition, when a bank registers ownership in the database, the city knows who is responsible and problems can be resolved more easily.

Sapirstein also argued that local law cannot require more than state law in an area that is regulated by the state or the result would be “a patchwork of ordinances.”

Gants indicated that the court may move to narrow the ordinances – for example, applying them only to a bank that has taken possession of a house, not a bank that is in the process of foreclosure when the homeowner is still living there. Gants said the ordinance as written could fine a bank for not maintaining a property where the homeowner still lives. As a homeowner, Gants said, “I’d say I’m still living here. This is my home. How can they be punished for not invading what’s still my home just because they happen to be foreclosing on it?” Gants said.

Moore acknowledged that the ordinance may be overbroad and said the city does not anticipate pursuing a violation in a case like that. Moore said the lenders’ lawsuit is premature because there is no information yet about how the city will enforce the laws. “We have the lenders essentially saying the sky will be falling, we are worried about x, y, z happening. None of that has happened and none of that may happen,” Moore said.

Moore said the city is still writing the regulations for the ordinances and if they are upheld, “The city is ready to go forward with implementation within a period of weeks.”

Similar foreclosure ordinances were established in Lynn and Worcester, and local banks challenged those as well. That lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Worcester. The case involving Lynn and Worcester could be affected by the SJC’s ruling in the Springfield case.

Several activists supporting homeowners came in from Lynn and Springfield to hear the arguments. Candejah Pink, a Springfield homeowner and community organizer battled foreclosure for four years before reaching an agreement to keep her home. She helped write the Springfield ordinances. Pink said the bond is there to ensure that homes are maintained, which keeps crime and violence down. The mediation program, she said, is important to help homeowners come to an agreement with lenders. “We’re not asking to live in our homes for free. We’re asking for some mediation,” she said.