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Judge arrested for alleged DUI; D.A. reviewing case

Original post made on Jun 10, 2014

A San Mateo County judge was arrested on U.S. 101 in Redwood City during Memorial Day Weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence, police said June 9.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 9, 2014, 8:49 PM

Comments (42)

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Posted by Finally
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:21 am

It is good that the Almanac and the Merc and NBC news are all reporting this, but they all should have credited the intrepid Palo Alto Daily Post for breaking the story.

Why is it that poor Jimmy Velasco's DUI was released to the press six days after the fact, along with his blood alcohol levels but the DA won't release the blood alcohol levels of Scott ? Scott sends people to prison for DUI's. Whatever he was doing must have been pretty bad for them to be so secretive.

One rule for Velasco and another for Judge Scott.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 4:45 am

JulieToo is a registered user.

From Bay Area News Service:

"Officers determined he was driving under the influence of alcohol and arrested him"

If the arresting officers determined he was driving under the influence of alcohol, why are they calling this an ALLEGED D.U.I.?

And why is The District Attorney's Office "reviewing it"?

Is this common operating procedure for DUI arrests?

Is Judge Scott going to be sitting on the bench judging court cases while his own DUI is being reviewed? I would hope not.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 5:14 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

So why is it that the DA's office released information about this Hispanic man's DUI to the press just FIVE days after the incident, complete with details of his blood alcohol levels and what he said to the arresting officers, yet they can't release the same information about Judge Scott, a judge who has put people in prison for DUI's?

It is my hope that the press asks some tough questions about this practice of the DA trumpeting information for citizens who are not influential or not wealthy and are often minorities yet they won't release any information on Judge Scott or tell the press about wealthy Greenplum tech executive Luke Lonergan when he was arrested ?

From the Examiner this past January on the DUI arrest of Jimmy Valesco:

"A South City man accused of drunken driving last week after he rear-ended a SamTrans bus has plead not guilty, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jimmy Alameda Velasco, 31, was reportedly behind the wheel of a car that struck a SamsTrans bus Jan. 3 about 6 p.m. at El Camino Real and Arroyo Drive in South San Francisco.

Several passengers in the bus were injured and taken to local hospitals, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. Velasco himself was uninjured and reportedly told police at the scene, "I hit the bus, I'm a little drunk."


Velasco reportedly failed field sobriety tests and preliminary alcohol tests revealed his blood alcohol level to be between .17 and .19. The legal BAC limit in California is .08.

Velasco was arrested and when he was put in the squad car, he reportedly threw up all over the back seat, prosecutors said.

The results of a subsequent blood alcohol test are pending.

Web Link


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 5:30 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

In Broward County in the last few months, THREE judges have been arrested for DUI's. In each instance, the DA notified the press and the police willingly gave all details of the arrests, including how the judges were driving before they pulled over; their blood alcohol level and details of slurred speech. The press in Broward County wouldn't stand for a DA and police stonewalling them on such an important story. Let's hope there are editorials from all San Mateo papers on this unethical stonewalling and secrecy. This is NOT normal or ethical to have the DA and police not to have alerted the press immediately or to give more details.

For the press: between the time that the Judge was arrested on May 24, which no one knew about, and now, did he sentence any people to DUI's?

From NBC in Florida:

Web Link

Deputies said in the police report that Judge Rosenthal then got out of her vehicle and "appeared unsteady on her feet, her speech was slurred and she had difficulty obtaining the required documents."


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 5:42 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

Can the press file a FOIL request to get the information about Scott's arrest and blood alcohol levels? Seems like a discriminatory act for the DA to release information about a DUI incident involving a minority, Jimmy Valesco in January, five days after his incident, but not release to the press the same information about Judge Scott.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 5:54 am

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It will be interesting to see what the California State Bar response will be.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:08 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

JulieToo: Someone would have to file a complaint with the California Bar State Bar about Wagstaffe on this. I am not sure however, this is something they would discipline a prosecutor for.

This is more of a civil rights issue, as it appears that the pattern for the DA is to release information about alleged crimes committed by poor Hispanics and other minorities to the press, but to frequently withhold information about crimes by the rich and powerful, like Judge Scott and Greenplum Executive Luke Lonergan who was arrested for child porn, but Wagstaffe forgot to tell the press about it. Also, if you are a cop who commits a crime, like that officer who not that long ago who beat up the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend, chances are that the DA won't release that informationto the press, either. In both the case of the cop who committed violence and the Luke Lonergan case, and now the Scott case, the Palo Alto Daily Post learned of these incidents and were the first to report on them AND to ask the San Mateo DA why he never released this information to the press.

If I were someone like Jimmy Valesco, who got his mugshot and details of his DUI splashed all over the papers,( just five days after the incident occurred) I would argue that the DA's office is being discriminatory in how it releases information to the press. Seems like if you're poor and Hispanic, you're out of luck.

I would think the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department in DC would be interested in this sort of discriminatory and unfair practice. Someone would have to file a complaint.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:28 am

JulieToo is a registered user.


Holly L.

Ok thanks for the information.

Re: FOIL. I would think that that could be used. I don't know enough to say one way or the other.

But I know of a reporter, in another close-by county, who used that aid in the investigation of government corruption. I am going to give them background of what has been going on. I have had brief contact with the reporter in the past.

The reporter won a newspaper award for investigative reporting in local government corruption in the county where they live for the story.

Let's see what happens.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:34 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

Good. Go for it. There are NUMEROUS instances of the San Mateo DA's office releasing information by crimes by minorities, but not when they're committed by police officers or the rich and powerful and white.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:41 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

The police arrested 53 people for drunk driving in the annual "Avoid the 23 DUI" campaign in San Mateo County this past Memorial Day weekend. Did they include Judge Scott in their tally?


DUI arrests total 53 during Memorial Day weekend
May 28, 2014, 05:00 AM

Final numbers were released Tuesday for the Memorial Day weekend Avoid the 23 DUI campaign in San Mateo County. In all, 53 arrests were made during the holiday weekend's drunk driving crackdown.

Avoid the 23 is a task force consisting of 23 different Peninsula law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

JulieToo is a registered user.


Re:
"The police arrested 53 people for drunk driving in the annual "Avoid the 23 DUI" campaign in San Mateo County this past Memorial Day weekend. Did they include Judge Scott in their tally?"

HA HA HA ! Now that's a good one!

(Of course, it's none of OUR business)


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:59 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

The Almanac and the SMDJ have just published a Bay City News press release on this high profile DUI case.
Web Link

That is 18 days after the arrest. and several days after the Palo Alto Daily Post front page story.

"How did you hear about it?" was SMCDDA Karen Guidotti's response to reporter Angela Ruggiero asked about it.
Was there a meeting of "those who matter" or an e-mail with instructions regarding the public's right to know?

Comprehensive Compliance Review Audits would stop this.

PADP Editor Dave Price said " If I was Judge Scott, I would have called the reporters into my office, admitted that I had been arrested and told them everything that happened just to show the public that judges aren't above the law.

To Dave Price I say nice idea and Welcome to San Mateo County


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 10:51 am

JulieToo is a registered user.

Holly L.

I emailed the reporter and provided some backstory.

Also I provided the link to The Almanac so that the information in our comments will give more information, in the News section and in the two threads in Town Square.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:08 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

Good. Thanks. Tell the reporter to Google "Luke Lonergan" as well. Another criminal case involving a person with wealth and power that mysteriously never managed to make it on on the DA's "Cases of Interest " list to the press. But those who were minorities and committed the same kind of crime, did get their cases on the list.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Holly L. is right

Tell the reporter to Google "Luke Lonergan" as well. Another criminal case involving a person with wealth and power that mysteriously never managed to make it on on the DA's "Cases of Interest " list to the press. But those who were minorities and committed the same kind of crime, did get their cases on the list.

One of the people that made Steve Wagstaffe Cases of Interest list in the above case committed suicide.


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Posted by Another Rez
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Another Rez is a registered user.

FYI: for all those using the incorrect acronym "FOIL", the correct one is "FOIA", which stands for the Freedom Of Information Act (used to request docs).
Using an incorrect acronym doesn't enhance your cred - just sayin'.


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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Hey, Everyone!!!

This is San Mateo County, where the good-old-boy network is alive and well. Per usual, double standards abide. We all know this case should be reviewed by some outside agency, rather than by the San Mateo County District Attorney's office. These good-old-boys cover for each other all the time.

See the San Mateo County District Attorney's web page here: da.smcgov.org, where they say: "WE IN THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE ARE COMMITTED TO SEEK JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ALL WHO VIOLATE THE LAW IN OUR COUNTY." Hmmm...does that go for judges, too? I guess we shall see.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

To "Another Rez": In New York State and some other states, it's know as a "FOIL" request, as in Freedom of Information Law request. New York State government information here: Web Link


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


To: Another Rez

I knew what Holly L. was referring to.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


To Pearl:

That is too funny. I guess that's what's known as "lip service."

People really would like to trust the government agencies and those people they employ. That's what most people would like.

Given a choice to trust...or...to be cynical, most people would choose "to trust". If only they could.

There have been instances when many a "good old boy" has gone to prison when they least expected it to happen to them. If I were them, I wouldn't be so arrogant to suppose that that couldn't possibly happen to them, should they be corrupting the laws.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


To: Holly L. and Michael G. Stogner

I have had a response from the reporter. I also sent the information about Luke Lonergan. I'm sure that is enough information to get a clear impression.

They were very gracious.

If I receive anything more, I will post it.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 7:10 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


From The Almanac article:

"Officers determined he was driving under the influence of alcohol and arrested him."

(Quoting District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, from The Almanac article):

"He said his office hopes to make a decision this week about whether charges will be filed against Scott."

Seeing these two sentences side-by-side makes me wonder how the District Attorney can justifiably use the word WHETHER.

Weather? charges will be filed? Just what pivot points will decide whether...or NOT...charges will be filed.

Is the Office of The District Attorney going to tell us why or why not charges were filed, once decided?

They should. If charges were filed for other DUI's, then charges need to be filed for this one...assuming there are no vast differences in the facts of the cases.

Otherwise, we have no equality in the legal system in San Msteo County. We have favoritism. That is not the equity that the law promises its citizens.

Let's see how well the blind lady holding the scales of justice works this time. Will justice be blind? Will it be fair? Will it be judged according to what is written in all of those leather-bound books in the Legal Library across the street from the County Courthouse?



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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 6:14 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

JulieToo brings up an excellent point. The short answer is because he can do whatever he wants, he has 100% discretion, no oversight and no accountability. What we have here is others who have corrupted to public information records and possibly test results.

From The Almanac article:

"Officers determined he was driving under the influence of alcohol and arrested him."

(Quoting District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, from The Almanac article):

"He said his office hopes to make a decision this week about whether charges will be filed against Scott."

Seeing these two sentences side-by-side makes me wonder how the District Attorney can justifiably use the word WHETHER.

Weather? charges will be filed? Just what pivot points will decide whether...or NOT...charges will be filed.

Transparency and citizens involvement like this blog will help…Pivot Points

Thank You for being interested.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 11, 2014 at 6:28 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

[Post removed. The Almanac coverage area is Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. We usually don't cover county stories that don't have a specific connection to our area. For example, we wrote about the District 3 supervisorial election, but not District 2. We also don't want to use Town Square to conduct an investigation into alleged or suspected wrongdoing. ]


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Some facts about DUI arrests

Web Link


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

To Editors: there has been a thread up on the Almanac on he issue I posted today, since February 28, 2014. The information I posted today was taken from a comment in that thread. You didn't take down the thread then after a commenter posted on a legal motion in the courtroom back in May:

Web Link

As someone posted over at the San Bruno Patch (reported here) about problems with Judge Scott snoozing on the bench, any problems that citizens are experiencing with him is relevant.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

JulieToo is a registered user.


Michael G Stogner,

Re: Thank You for being interested.

Sometimes our best instincts surface whether or not we want them to; whether or not it's convenient, whether or not it's easy.

A knee-jerk response that is often helpful.

Thank you for the WebLink you posted on DUI. Very interesting.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Redwood City Manager Bob Bell the ball is in your court. You have a Police Chief that is either allowing or ordering the corruption of public information, either way it is your job to correct it.

You were warned when the hid from the public the 2 arrests of a San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy.

Web Link

Take care of this now.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Michael G Stogner:

Yes on that.

Also, very informative thread and comments in the Web Link you most recently provided.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Almanac:

I fail to see anything inappropriate in what Holly L. posted. This is just my personal opinion.

Re your statement here:

"[...We also don't want to use Town Square to conduct an investigation into alleged or suspected wrongdoing. ]"

That is not what we are doing. We are not a lynch mob.
We have the Constitutional right to state our opinion and to make inquiries. Don't we?

In order to conduct an investigation one needs facts and information and we presently have little of that. And that is just not right. What ever has happened to "The People's Right To Know?"

I will state the obvious: the Judge Scott DUI is a very sad and a very difficult situation for the main people involved.

DUI laws exist to protect the public, also to protect the safety of the DUI driver! Judge Scott, I am assuming, would agree.

For that reason they should be upheld.


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Posted by Another Rez
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Another Rez is a registered user.

Re: FOIL vs FOIA

FOIL is a State law (NY), which differs from the Federal law and applies only in NY;

FOIA is the Federal law. CA's version is not FOIL, it is "CPRA";

Since San Mateo County is in CA (not NY), one would use the FOIA, or CPRA, not FOIL
Just sayin'...pesky cred thing. Again.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Another Rez:

Thanks for the clarification. I knew it was FOIA. (But that's Federal legislation...ok).

Good to note, for Califormia, CPRA is the legislation.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

I don't understand why the DA's office refuses to comment on whether he had a passenger or not. That is just really weird and suggests that he may not have been alone.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Holly L.

No I don't understand that either.

If, and I say only "if", maybe the passenger requested anonymity. Maybe they did not want to be put on the spot in case of any potential questioning about the event, at some later date.

How having a passenger could in any way affect the status of the arrest just doesn't make sense.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 12, 2014 at 2:45 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

The San Mateo finally tells the San Francisco Chronicle what the Judge's blood alcohol level. Odd that he wouldn't tell San Mateo County reporters.

(06-11) 19:43 PDT SAN FRANCISCO --

Scott, 63, failed field-sobriety tests and was arrested, authorities said. He submitted to a blood test, which showed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent, higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, Wagstaffe said..

Web Link


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 12, 2014 at 5:16 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

San Mateo DA charges Judge Scott with DUI. Will he still be permitted to preside over DUI cases? His blood alcohol level was high.

Papers should all credit the Palo Alto Daily Post for breaking the story.

Web Link


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2014 at 7:27 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

San Mateo Daily Journal article today 19 days after the arrest. It doesn't mention 0.12
Web Link

Angela Ruggerio gets the full credit for bringing this story to San Mateo Couny's attention. The story isn't about a judge getting arrested for DUI, its about a small group of people hiding this public information.


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 12, 2014 at 7:43 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

Newspapers around the country know the rules: when a paper breaks a story that did NOT come from the DA or the police but through their hard work and independent reporting, the paper that broke the original story is given credit by the other papers. The New York Times; Washington Post and LA Times do this.

Shame on the Chronicle, the Almanac, the San Mateo County Times and the San Mateo Daily Journal for jumping on the bandwagon but failing to credit the Palo Alto Daily Post for breaking this story. Very poor form on the part of the other local papers.


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:20 am

JulieToo is a registered user.


Michael G Stogner:
Re:
"Angela Ruggerio gets the full credit for bringing this story to San Mateo Couny's attention. The story isn't about a judge getting arrested for DUI, its about a small group of people hiding this public information."

Someone should do an Op-Ed (opinion editorial) on this.

That it happened here in San Mateo County is bad enough. The questions are: 1. How many other counties are following the same devious protocol?; and 2. How many times does this happen, here or elsewhere, when the public never knows it's happening?



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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2014 at 10:09 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

The Half Moon Bay Review has not written one word about the arrest, the corruption of public information, or the charges of our Superior Court Judge. So fair to say this information is not newsworthy for the coast residents.

Web Link


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Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Michael G Stogner

Re
"The Half Moon Bay Review has not written one word about the arrest, the corruption of public information, or the charges of our Superior Court Judge. So fair to say this information is not newsworthy for the coast residents."

Web Link

You are absolutely right. I searched the link just to double check.

And also because I find it so hard to believe!

It truly is almost unbelievable. But it's true.

I guess "over the hill" (as people sometimes call the coast side) is alot farther than it used to be. Even in the digital age.


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Its one thing for the Half Moon Bay Review to not report the arrest because a Redwood City Police Officer manipulated the public records, and Steve Wagstaffe wanted to keep it a secret for awhile. Now that Angela Ruggiero brought the public this story and it is a story that impacts all residents in San Mateo County including Half Moon Bay.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge arrested and charged with 2 counts DUI.

This might be a good time for residents and customers of the HMBR to think about their investment as a subscriber.

vote with your wallet.


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