Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California on December 17, 1985 · Page 8
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Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California · Page 8

Santa Cruz, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 17, 1985
Page 8
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State A-8 Santa Cruz Sentinel Tuesday, Dec. 17, 1985 Inmate SACRAMENTO (AP) -Authorities say it was an inmate of the Tehama County jail who precipitated the state Justice Department investigation of Ronald Koenig, California's top parole official. The inmate, Phil Couch, was in the midst of a tape-recorded parole revocation hearing before a parole agent and a hearing officer of the Board of Prison Terms about 10 weeks ago when he made undisclosed allegations against Koenig formerly sheriff of Tehama County and the Tehama County Sheriff's Department, Capitol sources said Monday. Wnen the new investigation was confirmed last week by state officials, the only reason given was Koenig's desire to clear his name of allegations from a 1982 election that had been investigated and dismissed by a Tehama County grand jury. Details of Couch's statement have not been released. Couch was re IT- Search evidence admissible in spy trial SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that espionage defendant Jerry Whitworth consented freely to a search of his home, saying Whitworth was not the type to be intimidated by FBI Californicms don't fret over big quake SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - An increasing number of Cali-fornians believe it's very likely an earthquake will hit their area, but few worry about it very much, according to the latest California Poll. The poll also shows respondents are optimistic about their chances of surviving a major quake, with 78 percent saying they believed their chances were good or excellent. In the survey, 503 Californians were interviewed between Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 about their thoughts and fears on earthquakes. The sample was weighted by age and gender to conform with U.S. Census distributions, said a news release from pollster Mervin D. Field. The poll found that 62 percent of those surveyed thought it was extremely likely or very likely that a major earthquake would hit their area. In 1979, only 41 percent had taken that view in a similar poll. However, only 11 percent of the respondents statewide said they worry a lot about quakes. Forty-one percent said they worry a little and 48 percent said they don't worry about it. More respondents in Southern California than in Northern California believe an earthquake is likely and are worried about it. Only 54 percent of Northern Californians think a major quake is extremely or very likely while 66 percent of Southern Californians interviewed take that view. Thirteen percent of the respondents in Southern California said they worried a lot about earthquakes and 43 percent said they worried a little. In Northern California, only 8 percent of those surveyed worried a lot and 38 percent worried a little. Only 13 percent of the respondents statewide said they think California is a more dangerous place to live than other states because of the earthquake threat. Sixty-two percent said the threat is comparable to the risk from other natural disasters in other parts of the country. For 24 percent, California is less dangerous than other states. sparked leased from jail two weeks ago, and his whereabouts are not known. Koenig, board executive officer Gil Saucedo and the state Justice Department's Law Enforcement Division have declined to discuss the investigation. But Rodney Blonien, Gov. George Deukmejian's cabinet-level prisons and corrections adviser, said Couch's statements are the same as allegations investigated and dismissed as unfounded by the 1982-83 Tehama County grand jury. The grand jury probed allegations that Koenig and a key aide improperly blocked or delayed the investigation of a suspected local drug dealer, Charles Cobb. The panel said Koenig and Undersheriff Mike Blanusa were socially acquainted with Cobb, but the relationship had not "affected or diverted" Cobb's prosecution. Cobb, the owner of a 10,000-acre Tehama County ranch, was involved fc . . , . -"ping .-.7M?'v agents. As a result of Monday's ruling by U.S. District Judge John Vukasin, prosecutors can use some of the thousands of documents, photographs and tapes that agents reportedly found in two searches of Whitworth's mobile home in Davis last May. The documents, some of which were classified, are under seal. Whitworth, 46, a former Navy radio code expert, is charged with selling military communications secrets for $332,000 to a Soviet-controlled spy ring led by his old Navy friend, John Walker. Walker, who pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison, is believed to have testified before the federal grand jury that issued a new 13-count indictment Dec. 10 charging Whitworth with espionage, conspiracy and tax evasion. Seven of the charges carry potential life terms. Walker's son Michael has also pleaded guilty to spying, and Walker's brother Arthur, the other defendant in the case, has been convicted by a jury. Whitworth is sched Whistle blown on piano player SAN DIEGO (AP) A La Jolla pizza house owner who entertains customers with his piano playing says he would rather buy a computerized player piano than pay a licensing fee to keep serving music with food. "I will keep my people happy with that just like I have been keeping them happy with my playing," said John Pernicano, one of 10 brothers who have operated pizzerias in the San Diego area since the 1950s. Pernicano has played the raised spinet piano that sits in his restaurant's dining room since 1957. His hobby recently attracted the attention of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the organization that serves as an intermediary between creators and users of music. ASCAP told Pernicano that under OSHA adequately protects informants, says report SACRAMENTO (AP) - The U.S. Department of Labor says the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been cleared of charges that it fails to protect whistle-blowers. Whistle-blowers are individuals who speak out about health, safety or other problems associated with their employment. Both federal and state laws contain provisions protecting employees from retaliation for complaining about dangerous situations. The federal OSHA reported Mon official in a marijuana cultivation case that was wending through the courts when he died in a Shasta Lake boating accident in June 1984. He had been arrested in September 1981 after local and federal drug agents made an overflight of his property. Koenig, who was involved in a bitter sheriff's race at the time, said the allegations "contain no truth whatsoever," and were politically motivated. The latest investigation is expected to be completed before the end of the year, said Kati Corsaut, a Justice Department spokeswoman. Koenig, 51, the Tehama County sheriff for 11 years, was named chairman of the nine-member Board of Prison Terms last July by Deu-kmejian. His appointment is expected to come before the state Senate for confirmation or rejection early next year. He has a June 3, 1986 deadline to be confirmed to the d '8 0v AP Userphoto uled to stand trial Jan. 13, but his lawyers said they will ask for a delay to review the new charges. Vukasin rejected Whitworth's claim that he consented to talk to FBI agents who came to his home May 20 and agreed to a search of the home 90 minutes later, only because of psychological coercion. Whitworth testified Dec. 6 he had felt he was under "house arrest" by the two agents. He said they accused him of spying, prevented him from answering the door or the telephone and kept him separate from his wife, Brenda Reis, who was stopped from entering the house. They told him if he didn't consent to a search, he would be jailed overnight, and they would get a warrant, he testified. Vukasin said Whitworth is "a reasonably well-educated person, one who could not be easily intimidated by the presence of FBI agents." Despite some "inevitable discomfort" during the interrogation, Whitworth was not in custody and could have left at any time, Vukasin said. He also said Whitworth had made "knowing, intelligent and voluntary" federal copyright laws, he must pay a $338 annual fee to continue playing in public. If an infringement action were successful in federal court, Pernicano could be fined $250 to $10,000 each time he plays a copyright piece of music. "People come in for a $6 pizza and this is an extra I do," Pernicano said. "I do it for my own enjoyment and for my customers whenever I feel like it. "The guy from ASCAP came in and said I have to have a contract, and I told him I don't need one. I told him I am the owner and I'll do what I damned well please anytime I feel like it. "So when someone says I can't play the piano in my own restaurant, it really tees me off. Actually, I am not all that great." Thomas E. O'Brien, an ASCAP J3? 1 o ti day that "Despite some shortcomings in the California anti-discrimination program, the majority of cases appear to have been handled promptly and satisfactorily." The report said the state had "taken action to improve its antidiscrimination program." But it added that the federal agency will "carefully monitor" California's handling of whistle-blowers, and require modifications if necessary. The federal department had been probe $61,845-a-year position. The powerful Board of Prison Terms sets dates for all inmates sentenced to life terms and handles parole revocation hearings, among other duties. Blonien said he believes Couch "was trying to cut some slack with the hearing representative and began to make allegations against Koenig" in order "to get some easier time" behind bars. "He (Koenig) told me he wanted to put this thing to rest," Blonien said. "He wrote a letter to the AG (attorney general) and the AG accepted the case." Couch's allegations, he added "are exactly the same" as those that prompted the grand jury probe. But sources close to the investigation said the current probe may be broader, involving allegations of a coverup of other Tehama County crimes. Grounded SAN DIEGO A Muse Air airplane sits at Lindbergh Field after smoke apparently caused by hydraulic fluid leaking onto an engine filled the cabin as it prepared to take off, forcing the evacuation of 89 people but causing no injuries, an airline spokesman said. The incident occurred Monday evening. waivers of his right to have a lawyer present and his right to refuse a search. The judge also rejected a defense challenge to a more exhaustive search of Whitworth's home, conducted May 31 under a warrant issued by U.S. Magistrate John Moulds in Sacramento. Defense lawyer James Larson argued Moulds was misled by FBI agents, whose affidavit requesting the warrant failed to mention that the home had been searched for about four hours 11 days earlier. "Once a place has been searched, the agents don't have a right to keep coming back again and again," at least without an indication that additional evidence has been moved there or new crimes have committed, Larson said. He said the omissions were deliberate, and he asked Vukasin to hold a hearing at which the search might be invalidated if the agents couldn't justify their omissions. Vukasin said the agents' failure to mention the earlier search was "curious" but did not invalidate the warrant. district manager in Hollywood, likened Pemicano's playing to a radio or television station using protected music without paying a fee. "If he were to continue to play copyrighted music, he would be using property to which he has no right," O'Brien said. "It would be just as if I were to eat pizzas in his place and walk out without paying." But Pernicano, who said he never thought he needed a license for his part-time playing, refuses to sign the ASCAP contract. "It doesn't make sense," he said. "I would rather give the money to charity than pay for a license to play In my own restaurant. "If they come in and stop me, I will get a player piano, maybe computerized, and put it in the corner. Then when I expire, it will be a monument to me." investigating complaints from Arnold Keith Gray of Indio, former employee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, who asserted that Cal-OSHA's program for protecting workers who speak out on occupational safety and health programs was not as effective as the federal OSHA program. Gray told federal officials that he was harassed and later fired because he spoke out about what he believed were dangerous conditions at the Eagle Mountain Pumping Plant where he worked. ART & OFFICE SUPPLY 1308 Pacific Avenue, Santa Crux 427-1550 2647 41at Avenue. Soquel 476-3799 1404 Freedom Blvd.. 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