Looking Back to 1940: Grand jury indicts justice of peace and supervisor
Excerpts from Wednesday, July 3, 1940, Paso Robles Journal:
Defendants blame politics
John Norton, San Luis Obispo county supervisor for supervisorial district No. 3, and Ben Bierer, justice of the peace of Templeton township, were indicted for willful and corrupt misconduct in office through fraudulent use of public funds by San Luis Obispo county grand jury last Thursday, it was revealed Saturday.
According to the grand jury charge, Mr. Norton is accused of inspecting county roads in a county owned and operated truck, and collecting 16 cents per mile for such inspection. Further charges accused him of collecting expense claims for inspection trips he did not make.
Specifically, this part of the accusation says, “That particularly, did he not inspect any of the streets, or roads, mentioned in the claim for the month of May 1940, listed to have been inspected on the 21st, 23rd, 24th and or 28th of May 1940.”
The accusation against Mr. Bierer days in part that he “failed, refused and neglected to make adequate and correct entries in the docket of said township with relation to criminal cases pending of disposed of in said court; that he has willfully and corruptedly failed to account for and pay into the County Treasury of the County of San Luis Obispo, within the time prescribed by law, moneys paid into said court by defendants adjudged guilty of Violations of the California Vehicle Code.” For instances were named totaling $20.
Members of the grand jury included James I cousins and B.H. Davis of Paso Robles.
Both Mr. Norton and Mr. Bierer have stated that the charges against them are the result of “politics.”
CAA Engineer inspects local airport today
Further activity toward improving the municipal airport transpired Tuesday and Wednesday of this week when H.K. Friedman, CAA engineer of Washington D.C., made an inspection of the local field.
He stated that the CAA was most anxious to install lights at Paso Robles and King City airports and would do so as soon as improvements were made at the Paso Robles airport. Engineer Friedman conferred with city officials Tuesday night and today (Wednesday) inspected the field with city officials.
Arrangements were completed today for removal of trees which were deemed dangerous to landing operations, but which were not situated on the airport proper.
A committee consisting of Paul Turner, chamber of commerce president, A.F. Trussler and W.V. Gaham met with District Attorney A.H. Brazil and the county board of supervisors Friday to further their request for funds to improve the airport. Supervisors decided that there were too many legal difficulties in the way of granting such aid and instructed Attorney Brazil to write to the Attorney General for an opinion.
Read previous Looking Back articles
- Looking Back to 1936: Freak storm starts five rural fires
- Looking Back to 1940: City purchases land for airport, county considers funding for improvements
- Looking Back to 1959: Five cars wrecked, Camp Roberts adds 6500 troops
- Looking Back to 1904: Seven students graduate from Paso Robles High School
- Looking Back to WWI in 1918: Letter from local soldier, snapshots of local support
Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back
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