Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Government Earth News

Authorities Arrest Activists Instead of Those Responsible For CA Gas Leak (inhabitat.com) 128

MikeChino writes: The California State Patrol has arrested two people in connection with the massive methane leak in Southern California's Aliso Canyon. Instead of busting company executives and engineers that caused the leak, the CSP arrested protesters who had draped banners on the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission. The banners highlighted the lax regulatory environment that enabled the spill.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Authorities Arrest Activists Instead of Those Responsible For CA Gas Leak

Comments Filter:
  • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @04:56PM (#51537705)
    I think you mean the California Highway Patrol

    This suggests something about the quality of the source's and the submitter's fact checking ability.
    • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @04:59PM (#51537737) Journal

      > This suggests something about the quality of the source's and the submitter's fact checking ability.

      Check all of his submissions, they're all trying to astroturf his shitty 'news' site [inhabitat.com]

      • Yes. So why are they being posted? Aren't there, like, editors or something?

      • Check all of his submissions, they're all trying to astroturf his shitty 'news' site

        While a good observation, I don't think anybody's really astroturfing. The submitter's user name is MikeChino, who seems to be the 'Managing Editor' at that particular blog. If anything, they're doing SEO.

        Nonetheless, I'd never trust a site where the editors have selfies as profile pictures. If they can't be bothered to go to a professional photographer to take a decent picture for their bio, what does that tell about the quality of their stories?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A quality story now requires a professional photographer? I didn't know that was a requirement, I will definitely make sure anything I read online is backed up by a man in a suit to ensure only the truest information passes by me.

          Tl;dr? GP tried to link two unrelated events acting as if one requries the other to be true. Site/Blog could be shit still, just raising the poor argument.

          • by Calydor ( 739835 )

            While a good article does not require a professional photographer, presenting yourself with a selfie displays a tendency to laisez faire solutions - a tendency that may very well be displayed in your journalistic integrity as well.

            As always, the two may have nothing to do with each other, professional journalists certainly write their share of BS, but there is nothing inherently wrong in considering it the first warning that something is amiss.

            • presenting yourself with a selfie displays a tendency to laisez faire solutions

              I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean what you think it means.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Your attitude is why the country is in the shitter.

          You give people credibility based on their ability to polish a turd, no matter how useless their are otherwise.

          You put down people who don't polish the turd, and instead put effort into the matters at hand.

          Completely FUCKING BACKWARDS.

    • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:32PM (#51538005) Journal

      There were in fact California State Police, but they were rarely seen outside Sacramento, the state capitol, as their duty was to protect the state buildings, and our elected officials. The California Highway patrol are tasked with patrolling the freeways and highways that cross county jurisdictions, with the stated purpose of traffic enforcement and assisting with incidents that cross county lines. There are also California State park police, aka Rangers, who are full on police but generally limited to, guess what, state parks and some county park/open space areas that contract to the state for such services.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:46PM (#51538095)

      From the article: Headline (emphasis mine):

      Shockingly, authorities arrest activists instead of people responsible for the Aliso Canyon methane gas leak

      No, it's not "shocking" that authorities would arrest someone who knowingly committed a minor crime rather than investigate one who caused a large-scale industrial accident, even if negligence was involved. Because, you know, that would require some bureaucrat to get off their ass and do some work rather than rubber-stamping forms and collecting fees. And it might just inadvertently highlight some systemic corruption or incompetence within the department, and that could just get plain messy. No one wants that. The protesters are low-hanging fruit. I sometimes wonder why it is some people put so much faith in their government when they're every bit has corrupt and/or incompetent as these corporations that are vilified so much?

      But unbelievably, the activists are now the ones going to jail.

      This writer is quite easily flabbergasted, isn't he? Or he loves faux-outrage. Either way, it makes him sound ridiculous and juvenile. Don't misunderstand... I'm sympathetic to what happened to these poor people who had to move out of their homes because of this gas leak, but the "article" is laughably bad. Yellow journalism is apparently back with a vengeance.

      the CSP arrested two protesters who draped banners on the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission

      Oho... I think I spotted the problem here. They went and pissed off government officials. That's why the hammer came down on them. And when you piss off the government, they can send police after you to arrest you and cart you off to jail.

      P.S. If I get modded down as flamebait, I'm going to blame government officials with mod points for trying to silence me.

      • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:54PM (#51538175)

        No, it's not "shocking" that authorities would arrest someone who knowingly committed a minor crime rather than investigate

        And it is even less shocking that the police would arrest someone who is currently committing a crime in public while still investigating a potential crime committed by the officials of a company. As in, they can see the protesters committing the crime, but it may take a while to examine documents to determine liability in a corporate environment.

        Where did we get the idea that arresting protesters in the act meant that they were arrested INSTEAD of someone else who allegedly committed some other, corporate crime?

        • Honestly, I'm not all that sympathetic with the people who did this. But lets get real... hanging banners in a place you aren't supposed to is about as minor a crime as you can perform and still call it a "crime", possibly just shy of jaywalking. Unless, of course, you're Greenpeace and you stomp all over an incredibly fragile natural treasure, scarring it permanently. But this was a banner hung on an office building.

          We'll see if anything comes of this investigation other than a slap on the wrist - my be

          • But lets get real... hanging banners in a place you aren't supposed to is about as minor a crime as you can perform and still call it a "crime",

            It is trespassing and potential destruction of government property. It's a crime. It may be a minor crime in your opinion, but still a crime.

            And you ignored the point that they can be arresting these folks for that crime while still investigating whatever other crime it is that you are more concerned about, so the statement that these folks were arrested INSTEAD of the others is ridiculous. A more complicated, white-collar crime requires more investigation than a trespass, and you'd expect trespassers to b

      • by nytes ( 231372 )

        This was at the California Public Utilities Commission, a regulatory agency.

        The company responsible for the leak is the Southern California Gas Co., and they've been arraigned on criminal charges already. (Admittedly, the charges they've brought so far don't carry much of a penalty, but at least they're being charged.)

    • Ok MikeChino. Driver's license and registration please. [erikestrada.com]
    • A more important question is ...

      WHY THE FUCK IS THIS POSTED ON SLASHDOT?

      It has nothing to do with any technology that isn't 150 years old other than the website of the jackass slashvertisement.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Authorities aren't going to arrest themselves.

  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @04:57PM (#51537715) Journal

    Instead of busting company executives and engineers that caused the leak, the CSP arrested protesters who had draped banners on the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission.

    Because the corporation has already been charged. What's your point here? You're saying if somebody does something illegal, everybody else gets a free pass to do illegal things to them? That's stupid.

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:11PM (#51537837) Homepage
      The corporation has been charged but none of the people at the corporation have been charged.

      Corporations can't go to jail. All they can do is pay fines or be dis-incorporated. Historically the fines charged tend to be minute - small fractions of the cost to make whole - and they are almost never dis-incorporated.

      Charging a corporation is like giving a warning to a person - it does nothing.

      If you want to truly punish wrong doing by corporations, you HAVE to press criminal charges and not at low level either. If the head of the corporation does not personally know the guy going to jail (or go to jail himself), he's just going to do the same old crap all over again.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        None of that changes the fact that the headline is wrong by making it seem like activists were arrested for causing the gas leak instead of execs. The activists were arrested for trespassing and vandalism.

      • you HAVE to press criminal charges and not at low level either.

        The problem is proving them is next to impossible. Just look at the BP case, the criminal trials ended up falling to the point that one person is now facing a misdemeanor despite 7 high level criminal charges brought against him including manslaughter. The only personal punishment so far was by someone who pleaded guilty as they didn't want to go through years of legal battle and the $50000 fine would have been less than the legal fees anyway.

        • Thats because the government agencies don't care about charges. They press for fines, as the criminal charges come from prosecutor who rarely investigate till after the agencies do/.

          Basically, the agencies should have a new rule - penalties must exceed cost to fix unless someone goes to jail. You want the minute fines, that's fine - as long as the corporation provides evidence against their employees. If not, the fines must cover total fix.

      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@noSpam.world3.net> on Thursday February 18, 2016 @06:46PM (#51538473) Homepage

        It's time to introduce jail for corporations. In Japan corporations can be forced to shut down for a number of days. Staff sometimes get paid if they were not to blame, but otherwise the company can't do any business at all during that period.

        The longest shut down so far was over 100 days.

        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

          by HiThere ( 15173 ) <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Thursday February 18, 2016 @07:32PM (#51538661)

          Sounds good. I do think that during that period corporations should be allowed to dissolve (but not go bankrupt). But how can you apply that to an international corporation? Especially not one incorporated within your legal bounds? Forbidding them to do business locally isn't quite the same thing. And what about rents due during that period on premises they occupy?

          I think that this would require an entirely new set of laws to be written. Does making a river poisonous count as 1 week, 1 year, or one decade "in prison"? Does it depend on who uses the river for what? Whoo! The idea has merit, but implementation would be horrendous, with many questions that have no obvious answer, and you know who would be pushing for minimal punishment.

          • Sounds good. I do think that during that period corporations should be allowed to dissolve (but not go bankrupt). But how can you apply that to an international corporation? Especially not one incorporated within your legal bounds? Forbidding them to do business locally isn't quite the same thing. And what about rents due during that period on premises they occupy?

            I think that this would require an entirely new set of laws to be written. Does making a river poisonous count as 1 week, 1 year, or one decade "in prison"? Does it depend on who uses the river for what? Whoo! The idea has merit, but implementation would be horrendous, with many questions that have no obvious answer, and you know who would be pushing for minimal punishment.

            The problem isn't in being able to apply punishment to either companies or those behind the companies because the legal framework already exists for this.

            The problem is that governments prefer to be bought off with large bribes (or penalties / fees if you prefer) and to get those bribes they have to agree not to penalize the company and those behind the company in any real way.

            • by HiThere ( 15173 )

              There's a lot of evidence that your reply is the most correct.

              FWIW, Louisiana used to have (perhaps it still does have) a "corporate death penalty" on the books. It was so rarely enforced that it might as well not have been there.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            You are right, it does require new laws. There are allowances for things like paying rent and suppliers, the rule is basically that the company can't do anything that generates profit like selling goods, manufacturing, getting new business, attending conferences etc.

            It's a great idea because it scales nicely with the business. For example, Apple make so much money that any fine is likely to be insignificant and written off as the cost of doing business, far smaller than the resulting profit. However, force

        • by nytes ( 231372 )

          So Cal Gas is a public utility. Shutting them down would mean that the gas gets shut off for everyone's heating and cooking.

      • Has there ever been a large corporation in the US actually dis-incorporated for criminal wrongdoing?
      • Historically the fines charged tend to be minute - small fractions of the cost to make whole

        Remind me again how much BP has paid out? Or does the "B" in BP mean that the normal rules don't apply, despite the fact that it is more of a US company now than the name would imply?

        Incidentally, where are all those people on /. who want less regulation? Why are they not posting in this story?

      • Charging a corporation is like giving a warning to a person - it does nothing.

        No, its worse than that.

        Giving a warning to a person goes on record and will almost certainly result in harsher punishment the next time around.

        When a corporation does it, they get fined and thats it. Next time they just get fined again, not anything larger or anything, just again. No real reason not to continue.

      • The corporation has been charged but none of the people at the corporation have been charged.

        Corporations can't go to jail. All they can do is pay fines or be dis-incorporated. Historically the fines charged tend to be minute - small fractions of the cost to make whole - and they are almost never dis-incorporated.

        Actually, disincorporation is not an option, given that it's a California Company, and that's not a legal remedy (i.e. it would take a majority of shareholders voting to voluntarily dissolve). Delaware and Pennsylvania have similar restrictions (Pennsylvania requires both a majority and illegal activity by the directors, among other causes).

        Not that the whole "make whole" argument is pretty bastardized for this case, since the amount of methane being leaked, if it goes on for a full year, is about the same

      • by khallow ( 566160 )
        The thing is we don't actually have criminal activity by anyone. There's no point to demanding people get charged in the absence of criminal activity with which to charge people.
    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      Because the corporation has already been charged. What's your point here? You're saying if somebody does something illegal, everybody else gets a free pass to do illegal things to them? That's stupid.

      No, that's socialism. Or what passes for it these days.

      • socialism (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        socialism is public libraries, public healthcare, public roads, public schools, public parks

        if you are really a pure libertarian, all that should be private.

        or perhaps you are a little libertarian, and a little socialist, and you like some public services, but not all.

        There is no pure capitalist, libertarian or socialist government. Governments built on fixed ideology fail quickly.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          How the hell is that insightful? You know, the Libertarian ideology is older than Rand, right? If you don't understand the ideology, ask.

      • by asylumx ( 881307 )

        No, that's socialism. Or what passes for it these days.

        I don't see how economic policy plays in to this.

    • Because the corporation has already been charged.

      And I bet they're SO scared. Look, they're like totally shaking. They're willing to pay a fine paid for by price hikes on the consumer.

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @04:59PM (#51537739)

    Also taking out your frustrations on random people, isn't a valid legal defense.

  • Is this Slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:02PM (#51537769) Homepage
    What the fuck is this story doing on Slashdot? How is this, in any way, tech related?
  • We must protect the corporations at all cost, if the people get sick and die that's OK.
  • by choprboy ( 155926 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:14PM (#51537857) Homepage

    The California State Patrol has arrested two people... instead of busting company executives and engineers that caused the leak, the CSP arrested protesters who had draped banners on the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission.

    In other words, exactly the right people? On the one hand you have "company executives and engineers" that are responsible for the loss of control over an industrial process; which has been clearly documented, who are currently the subject of state and federal investigation, and which is sure to lead to fines and punishment to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. On the other hand you have a bunch of self-righteous protesters, with no understanding of the real facts of what it takes to provide for millions of lives, who trespassed and possibly defaced/damaged private property. The local authorities have dealt with the local violations. The state/federal authorities are dealing with the state/federal violations. In other words, exactly what is suppose to be happening.

    • The state/federal authorities are dealing with the state/federal violations. In other words, exactly what is suppose to be happening.

      If by dealing with you mean ignoring or giving them a fine equivalent to a jaywalking ticket after a settlement where they admit no wrongdoing, then yes it's proceeding as planned.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:15PM (#51537859)

    I expect (hope) the police will enforce the laws, and arrest people who have violated the laws, and not those who have not done so. The laws may be bad or biased in various ways, but it is not the job of the police to change laws - that is the function of the legislature.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      That's fair. And I'm pretty sure it's illegal to poison people, so they are going to arrest those guys who poisoned people for profit, right?

  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .1relpek.> on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:31PM (#51537999)
    Well, for fuck's sake, what do you expect?

    Complex violations of the law require more proof and investigation than simple everyday offenses.

    The case against any executives from the responsible company would involve proving that they were negligent, violated some codes, transmitted false information, etc. etc. etc. Duh. Do you even know what specific offenses they would be charged under? I'm guessing not.

    The protesters climbed on a building that wasn't theirs. Even I can figure out what laws that violates.

    The execs probably will eventually be charged. It just takes more time, but the wheels of justice do turn.
  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @05:37PM (#51538043)

    In the US we don't normally arrest people for honest mistakes, assuming they actually made mistakes, even if it's a result of incompetence. Unless someone has evidence to the contrary, it's perfectly reasonable to arrest the protesters without arresting anyone at the company.

    I really, really don't like this idea that someone has to go to jail every time something goes wrong. It's corrosive, and it will end up shielding people who really do belong in jail.

    • I agree. And this, incidentally, is why we don't allow legal proceedings to pierce the corporate veil very often. We want engineers and technical people in general to feel safe to do their jobs and innovate for the betterment of society. It's extremely rare to actually press criminal charges against them, unless there are obvious, egregious, purposeful ethics violations. This isn't a third world country, where you design a plant with a flaw you didn't anticipate, and they drag you out of your home in the mi
    • I really, really don't like this idea that someone has to go to jail every time something goes wrong

      I thought that was the American dream? Something about smoking a joint and sitting behind a fence.

    • In the US we don't normally arrest people for honest mistakes,

      Mistakes? They intentionally put the gas there, someplace it should have never been stored in case there was a problem. This is an incredibly seismically active area we're talking about, that is to say, the whole goddamned state. This was a horrible, terrible, ridiculous idea from the beginning, and anyone willing to take money for it should be fired out of a cannon without a safety net.

  • And now, time for another episode of...Unfrozen Caveman Websurfer!

    Unfroze Caveman Websurfer: Your world frightens and confuses me. These "computer" boxes seem like bad juju magic to me. A post like this makes me want...to go onto tumblr and rage around.

  • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Thursday February 18, 2016 @07:32PM (#51538663)
    Pasadena Star News [pasadenastarnews.com] has a far better write-up on this. One, is was the California Highway Patrol. Two, the building they trespassed on is owned by the California Public Utilities Commission, which is a .gov so it's probably property belonging to the State of California ("after scaling state building" in the headline). Three, the protesters are quoted "we are occupying the PUC".
  • Nice "Agenda" laden post. Good job /. editors.
  • It has come to the point that many people now believe that only "certain people" are arrestable in the US. For example, find just one federal conviction last year for a man sleeping with an under- age prostitute. Yet twelve- year- olds do get arrested for prostitution but not the Johns.
  • Instead of busting company executives and engineers that caused the leak, the CSP arrested protesters who had draped banners on the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission. The banners highlighted the lax regulatory environment that enabled the spill.

    Which caused the accident, the executives and engineers or the lax regulatory environment?

  • Nice to see an unbiased summary on Slashdot for a change. (/sarcasm)

    • Nice to see an unbiased summary on Slashdot for a change. (/sarcasm)

      Thanks for marking the sarcasm! 8-)

BASIC is to computer programming as QWERTY is to typing. -- Seymour Papert

Working...