Highway One closed

Hi Kate, Just wanted to give you a heads up that we are going to be closing the road right now (Friday night 8pm) at the Willow Springs maintenance station and at Ragged point due to multiple slides between here and there.

Greg DeAlba Jr.
Willow Springs Maintenance Yard

I am sure Greg and crew will be working on clearing these slides at first light and will have the road open as fast as possible. There were several times earlier this evening where it was raining 3″ an hour for a while.

Profile, Willow Springs Supervisor

Recently, a new face came to the South Coast, at the Willow Springs Maintenance Yard. His name is Greg DeAlba. He is the new supervisor. He came to us from Santa Barbara where he was a lead worker, which sometimes entails acting as supervisor. He has six years experience with Cal Trans, although his father has over 30 years.


He oversees a crew of six. Currently, he has only four on his crew, including himself. One of his crew, another Greg, also comes to us from Santa Barbara, and has only been here a short time. The other, Joel, comes from the Cambria station, and has been here a few months longer. When I asked him what he thought the major difference between the Santa Barbara station and this one is, he replied: “The quiet. You can go out on the road first thing in the morning and not see another car.” He recently hiked a couple miles up the back country behind the Willow Springs Yard, and is completely taken with the beauty of his new home.

He acknowledges that keeping the road clear this first winter will be his biggest challenge, but he is enthusiastic, and says he, Greg, and Joel all love to work, and are looking forward to and are up for the challenge.

Greg is married with three children, the oldest of which just started second grade at Pacific Valley School.

Lost Dog

One of the new family members at the Cal Trans Yard (Willow Springs) sent me a plea to help find their lost dog. They, and their dog are new to the area, so the dog may be confused. The dog answers to the name of Blazer and is a Yorkie mix. It has a collar with the owners name and number on it, and even though it is from Ventura, they have the same number. If you have any information please contact nescha42@yahoo.com or call the number on the collar if you have the dog. Thank you. This has been one of many public service announcements.


Bail Reduction granted

This morning in court, the same Judge who set bail for the Willow Springs maintenance crew at $1 million dollars each, reduced that bail to $50,000 each. The Deputy District Attorney agreed that bail should be reduced, given the lack of criminal histories by those accused. One DDA asked for and received a no contact order with the witness, as well as a stay away order from their own houses at the yard.

A gentle reminder to ALL community members, anything you say or do toward the witness or his family could be misconstrued and attributed to the defendants, thus resulting in them being tossed back in jail. Be kind in any contacts you may have, if you have any at all. Until this is resolved, we ALL must walk on egg shells for our friends and neighbors.

We learned very little about the charges themselves, today, as at the calendar call, or readiness calendar, on Wednesday, the public defender for one of the defendants continued it until next Friday, the 25th. I intend to be present, if possible.

The Cal Trans 5 in court

The Cal Trans 5 were in court in Salinas this afternoon, but the arraignments were continued until tomorrow at 8:30 am. An attorney for one of the defendants said it was likely not to be heard until 1:30 in the afternoon. A significant outpouring of support showed up in solidarity for the Five from the South Coast of Big Sur, including family and friends, local school officials, and other community members. All told, there were probably at least a dozen people who made the 2 and 1/2 drive to show their support. Two camera crews from local news stations also showed up to cover the proceedings.

Attorney Tom Worthington appeared on behalf of Phil Taylor, the retired Cal Trans employee. Attorney Juliet Peck made a special appearance for Cal Trans Supervisor Danny Milsap. She will also make a special appearance tomorrow. A special appearance simply means that financial arrangements have not yet been finalized between the client and the attorney. The public defender was appointed for the remaining three, but the Public Defender will only represent one of the three, and alternative defenders will be appointed to represent the other two. Those attorneys are likely to be present tomorrow.

The only surprise presented in court addressed why the bail had been set so unusually high.Tom Wothington pointed out that the standard bail schedule for these non-violent, non-serious felonies is usually $10,000 per offense charged. However in this case, a declaration was filed under seal under Penal Code section 1275.1 to allow for the extremely high bail of $1,000,000 each. None of the parties – the DA, the attorney, or the court had seen this sealed declaration.

Either a police officer or a prosecuting attorney must file a declaration under penalty of perjury that he or she had probable cause to believe that the money that may be used to post bail was obtained by fraudulent or felonious means, and therefore, it may be set much higher than the bail schedule allows.

This is just another piece of the puzzle. A million dollar bail requires $100,000 cash. That is the sum alleged to have been involved in the overtime fraud charges by ALL 5 people. So the question in my mind is how a cop or a prosecutor can claim that all four are going to use feloniously obtained funds to post bail when they collectively are only charged with “stealing” enough money to post bail for one? Since no one is yet allowed to see the declaration (although defense attorneys will get a copy) we cannot know the reasoning behind this move by the prosecution. The defendants are entitled to a probable cause hearing on the Penal Code 1275.1 declaration, as soon as their attorneys can be ready for it. In the meantime, a preliminary hearing has been set for May 18th.

This story has lots of layers, which will only be revealed over time. My fear is that the real story will never find its way into the public information system.

UPDATE: 11pm, Tom Worthington was interviewed after the bail hearing and told the reporter that in his opinion this matter was WAY over charged and that he expected these men (and one woman) to be released tomorrow. Interesting. Let’s hope he is right.

I cannot make the 8:30 time frame, but if it is held over until 1:30, I will be there and report back.