Robo Arrested On Concealed Weapon Charge – April 20, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

HUMBOLDT – Activist Jason Robo was arrested last week on two outstanding warrants over an incident at his home last year.

Robo was participating in the Wednesday, April 13 protest over state budget cuts to the California State University system. At about 1:25 p.m., the picketers with whom he was marching happened to pass through the lobby of the Student and Business Services Building where the University Police Department is located. There, officers spotted Robo, confirmed that the warrants were still in effect and arrested him without incident.

The warrants stem from a June 10, 2010 incident at Robo’s McKinleyville residence. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brenda Godsey said Robo had called 911 for unknown reasons, and a deputy responded.

[Editor’s note: contrary to the erroneous initial reporting, this encounter took place not at a residence, but on U.S. Highway 101, where Jason Robo was bicycling. We regret the error. – Ed.]

According to HCSO records, Robo answered the door drunk and and yelled at the deputy, “I’m the one who called you!” The deputy said he believed Robo and asked him not to put his hands in his pockets.

Robo continued to state that he called the deputy and to reach into his pockets, and the deputy continued to say that he believed Robo and asked that he keep his hands out of his pockets.

At some point, Robo reportedly stated, “My knife is…” and reached for something. The deputy then took Robo into custody, searched him and found a concealed fix-blade knife.

Jason Robo interrogates a tired but patient Bill Ayers at Northtown Books last year. KLH | Eye

He was arrested on a felony concealed weapon charge and taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for booking. There, he refused to allow officers to collect a DNA sample as is mandatory for in felony arrests, and a midemeanor charge was added for that.

When he failed to appear for a court date, Judge Tim Cissna on Feb. 17 issued a pair of $25,000 arrest warrants.

Robo was released on bail Friday, April 15.

Robo has a colorful history as an activist and media personality. A participant in the “9/11 Truth” movement, ardent cannabis reform advocate and HSU student activist, Robo describes himself as “a hyper-activist and scholarly revolutionary,” and a Taurus.

He presents his observations and theories on an Internet video program called Unstacking the Deck.

In 2009, Robo organized a short-lived boycott of the Arcata Eye based on what he said was the paper’s distorted and untruthful coverage of “cannaculture,” or cannabis culture.

Another of Robo’s avocations is crafting parts for hookkahs.

In 2007, Robo was elected as an HSU student representative, then impeached and ruled ineligible to re-run due to failing to meet academic standards. He blamed political persecution by the administration.

Robo’s previous brush with the law occurred July 30, 2008 at Boston’s Logan Airport. After boarding a Delta flight for Salt Lake City and using a restroom, a crewmember found a hand-lettered sticker on a mirror that said “9/11 was an inside job.”

According to a flight attendant, he then stated, “I have to get off this plane right now,” and charged off the plane. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, interference with aircraft operation and disorderly conduct on a public conveyance.

Robo denied the charges, and was placed on six-month pre-trial probation. The charges were dismissed on July 9, 2009.

Not even former Weather Underground revolutionary William Ayers escaped Robo’s withering scrutiny. After a  book signing and talk at Northtown Books last year, Robo aggressively questioned Ayers about his father, Thomas G. Ayers’ service on the boards of defense contractor General Dynamics Corp. and G.D. Searle & Company.

After patiently enduring a somewhat antagonistic barrage of questions, Ayers told Robo that he couldn’t vouch for or endorse all of his father’s business dealings, but that he was his dad and he loved him.


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72 Responses to “Robo Arrested On Concealed Weapon Charge – April 20, 2011”

  1. anon.r.mous

    My guess is it has to do with too many “quote”

  2. Thanks Shannon.

    Yes, well, that was a factual error, no doubt. We’ll run corrections etc. Newspapers make mistakes; we don’t like it, but, and as much as folks who don’t like their news reported want to make us out as “The Media,” we are humans and goof-ups are going to happen. However, I don’t think that it is that substantial of an error; basically it is just about location. The underlying facts of the charges remain unchanged, do they not?

    “However, is it unreasonable to ask a “news story” be covered in a professional manner, regardless of personal history? ”

    No, that’s not unreasonable at all. In fact, it’s what we attempt to do around here, with varying success. I’ve been reporting about all kinds of colorful characters in Arcata for 20 years now, ranging from people I personally could easily live out my days never seeing again to those I deeply love and respect (there are far more of the latter). It’s virtually impossible for for a reporter in Arcata to write about anything in our small town that there isn’t some history with. At this point, people know I am going to write about their DUI, their employee that embezzled their money, or the toxic waste on their grounds, or whatever. They know it isn’t personal.

    So I would challenge one assumption you seem to be making, Shannon, with regard to the “bad blood.” Our friend Jason comes nowhere near being any kind of big-league annoyance to me. His ill-conceived boycott, borne of ignorance, only brought forth abundant expressions of love and support, and more ads and subscriptions from the readers with whom we have developed a very strong bond over the years. They’re very protective of their small-town newspaper.

    I don’t dislike Jason at all. Why would I? To me just seems like one more humorless ideologue, albeit one who adds a little more color to the town. It’s easy to forget that when, for example, we’ve had City Council candidate fora, Jason has tabled with his causes, etc. It’s good to have a local rep for the 9/11 Truth movement, etc. Lets the folks see that up close and personal. It is my impression that the personal enmity comes from Jason. Me, I’m just not feeling it.

    If I spent my time managing ire against people in Arcata for their silly escapades, it would be a full-time job, and I already have one of those. I’m far more pissed at the self-centered people who let their dogs poop on the Plaza where kids play.

  3. kevpod,
    In response to, “I don’t think that it is that substantial of an error; basically it is just about location. The underlying facts of the charges remain unchanged, do they not?”;
    I got the impression that Jason had called the police, over some unknown calamity, and was, incoherently, drunk, when the officer responded to arrest him for having a concealed weapon – which provides the negative image of someone who gets too drunk and, recklessly, carries a large concealed knife, while yelling at officers (threat to society).
    It seems like more than location, to me; though, I, admittedly, do not have all the facts.
    So what about the Arcata Eye, has is been bought, recently? Who bought it? Come on, tell me. I’ll be your best friend!! Oh, come on! We are going to find out, eventually. Tell me!!!

  4. Robert, having just spoken to another intrepid newspaper reporter about the Eye’s ownership, I think I’ll wait for that factual presentation to come out – it should explain everything. BTW, thanks for the nice things you said earlier.

  5. Well now I am curious.

  6. Bob

    Once again I find myself needing to defend myself against the clear violation of my 21st Amendment rights. I would like the two alleged news sources and the alleged law enforcement agency that is being debated to cease-and-desist in their outrageous lies.

    I am not your uncle and I have never deliberately been in McKinleyville.

  7. Robert Benson

    You are welcome. The link, above, raises my more questions, than it answers. Who would delay a Bat N Rogue prize (party) for 7+ months? I am perplexed.

  8. You’re perplexed because you don’t do basic fact-finding, then you plug what measly shards of knowledge you’ve randomly observed into your ever-percolating hostility machine and out comes more pointless suspicion. Try getting out from behind the computer and DOING something for a change.

  9. Robert Benson

    Thank you for the suggestion, however, I am enjoying my new bodhilinux kernal – especially, since I have, finally, gotten a linux distro to work with my Atheros wireless card – so much, that I must delay it’s implementation. As to my failure to “do basic fact-finding”, considering the negligent reporting of the instant article, above, George Orwell would be impressed. Please, try to answer questions, with answers, not accusations; and, maybe, just, maybe, you will submit a report for public consideration, instead of, mere politically biased propaganda; and, maybe, just, maybe, the public will, then, consider the Arcata Eye to be a “newspaper” and not, just a colorful “tabloid”.

  10. David Lawlor

    Oh Kevin Hoover, where did you go to journalism school? Instead of removing the incorrect information in your story and replacing it with the correct information as any newspaper would do, you chose to just put a line through the lies you published and leave them for everyone to view. I guess slander doesn’t count when you put a line through the slanderous statement. Dude you would be awesome as the editor of a vitriolic, whining, immature high school newspa…oh, you already are.

  11. Hi David.

    That’s our system for correcting error while leaving a record that there had been one. It lets people who read the comments and are curious go back and see the original error(s) in the story; erasing the error would invalidate the comments and frankly, it would feel kind of cheesy wiping away mistakes as though they had never happened.

    This method seems to be an emerging convention for online news corrections. We ran the traditional style of correction in a box in the physical paper.

    So in a way this method makes the online version more like the physical paper, in that the errors aren’t retroactively expunged. Maximum disclosure. I like it.

    I remember once during J-Ro’s Eye boycott, someone on one of his online anti-Eye forums called me a “punk ass snitch” and other things, then deleted the comments as though they had never happened. I thought at the time that was a sneaky way of evading responsibility for the nasty blurtage.

    Fortunately, in newspaper world, we have both standards and mechanisms for handling errors. We have to, as we know full well they are going to happen. The mistakes don’t necessarily signify lying, libel, or as you put it, slander. Most of them are simple typos regarding dates, or bad punctuation. In this case, it was a minor factual error – the fairly mundane detail of the location of JR’s arrest (erroneously reported as being at home vs. on the freeway shoulder). It’s not clear to me why one would be more dishonorable than the other; it doesn’t seem like a particularly effective way of smearing someone.

  12. David Lawlor

    A few points:

    Glad you ran a regular correction box in the newspaper. I have seen news websites update factually incorrect stories and then put an editor’s note atop the story indicating that the old incorrect version has been updated. I see very few newspapers running corrections with strike through lines. I have seen some blogs do it, so maybe that’s where it started.

    I disagree with you that we are discussing simple typos here. The factual errors in the story that I am referring to as slanderous are not the location of the incident but rather the allegation that Jason answered the door drunk and slurred something about his knife. That paints him in a very poor light and the problem with the statement is that it never happened! See what I’m getting at?

    Yes, in a forum I did say mean things about you and call you names. I later deleted the posts because I felt they were disrespectful and inappropriate. I let my anger get the best of me for a moment and I exercised bad judgment. I do not like you as a person, but I should respect you just as I would respect all people. So, since you still have it in your memory bank, I apologize for my mean comments about you, they were inappropriate.

    Kevin, I do not know you well, but I feel like you are a mean spirited person. On Jason’s website there is a recording of your phone conversation with him; you sound so arrogant, flippant and jerkish. What’s the deal? Is it just your personality or do you really hate Jason and the homeless and growers and etc.? A lot of people dislike you and I do not think it is solely because you are an investigative journalist uncovering everyone’s dirty laundry and just doing your job of exposing evil and corruption. So, what gives, why the smug attitude?

  13. David,

    According to the HCSO, JR spoke with slurred speech, had trouble standing and was deemed incapable of caring for his own safety, especially in the dangerous area alongside the freeway. That’s just what they tell me; I wasn’t there, and Jason hasn’t been convicted of anything.

    Jason has made a name for himself with his hyper-activism near and far, and made startling claims about various issues and people. When a guy so stridently positioning himself with the angels of truth and casting himself as a perpetual victim of so many sinister oppressors gets arrested on a concealed weapon charge, it’s the stuff of news.

    Years back, one of the first things I experienced in writing stories about political zealots, particularly conspiracy theorists, is that as much as bankers and politicians, they do not like their negative news covered. So they try and disqualify the journalist by bringing that reporter into it personally and making it about them. It threw me for a loop the first or second time. Then, like all reporters, I became kind if inured to it and other unpleasant aspects of the job. It’s not just me; the True Believers project treachery on good reporters, like Hank Sims for example, all the time. I just read yesterday that he isn’t a journalist in any way, shape or form. He denies the aspersions on his shape and form.

    The always-humorless zealots’ accompanying tactic is to weigh you down by making you answer at length to their weird theories about you, which they can make up at a rate faster than you could ever effectively process. Now Jason wants to debate me; if I don’t take him up on it, well then clearly I’m afraid of being exposed by Captain Truth.

    Your perceptions of my character are real for you, but they seem based on flimsy fragments pieced together from the monster-making Internet. (Frankly it does seem to me that there is some of the usual blog-driven Internet poisoning going on here.) As for any audio of me Jason is using, I’m sure it’s as fair and balanced as the rest of his oeuvre.

    Your pattern, David, is to denounce me for rather contrived ethical lapses (one withering jeremiad of which I published, you’ll recall) while calling me meanie-pants names on various online fora. Now the charges have morphed and receded into character deficits. Now I am smug and jerkish, plus there are these armies of Kevin-dislkers whose actions I must explain to you.

    If it’s any comfort, the people who gush about my great work seem just as ill-advised. I don’t agree with them most of the time either, or at least I can’t take their praise to heart. But at least they’re friendly. One time someone brought me an apple pie. Maybe the Kev-likers could counsel their Hoover-hating counterparts, because I have so much work to do. If you could all sort this out amongst yourselves, I’d be mighty appreciative.

    Should you ever feel like dropping the crap and talking to me, I’ll do the same – give me a call at (707) 826-7000. I bet you will find that we have more in common than you know. But you would really have to be willing to loosen your grip on a lot of bizarre assumptions about me, and I don’t see any trends indicating that you are ready to do so.

    David, I am just trying to put out a small, quirky community newspaper every week while keeping body and soul together. I am simply not ambitious or diabolical enough to fulfill your bogeyman projections.

  14. David Lawlor

    Kevin, I’m sure we do have a lot in common. We both have worked as journalists, we both lived in Arcata, we both like to spark a doobie on occasion, and we’re probably both baseball fans (Go Giants!). That said, we’ll have to agree to disagree about your competence or ethical nature as a journalist. I will not call you to converse, but if I see you around I will definitely make a point to apologize to you face-to-face about saying mean things online and maybe we can have a chat about journalism, Arcata, grow houses, etc.

  15. David, no apologies are necessary. Let’s just move on and all try and do the right thing for ourselves and those around us, at the same time not shying away from frank discussion.

    BTW, here’s a fresh example of that strikethrough technique:

  16. David Lawlor

    The NY Times displays their corrections in the manner I described above. You can click on any of the stories mentioned in the following link and see what I am referring to:

  17. Jonathan

    Prolly because kevin unspamed you so it keeps that record for future posts. “truth” … interesting use of quotes kevin.

  18. Shannon

    FYI – after repeatedly refusing numerous plea deals in favor of a jury trial, ALL charges against Jason Robo were DISMISSED today.

  19. Did you report this in your paper and on your radio broadcasts? I would appreciate a legitimate apology in person for this slanderous and libelous coverage you provided under the guise of serving the community. What a joke that you retort to my super-late published response you’d rather publish content that contains “pictures of kids restoring creeks, or basically anything to do with people making positive contributions in the real world.” You went out of your way to print a bunch of garbage, it is no wonder you are folding your paper.

    Is that in some way a victory of the Boycott efforts, however trivial you try to portray them? It is just one layer I suppose in your continual history of disseminating you own personal “self-serving misapprehensions and Internet-flavored bile” which you accuse me of when I am just attempting to defend my name.

    Your farticle (aka an article full of crap under the guise of news) is far shy of the appropriate corrections, just like you are a few hotels short of a Monopoly set.

    A comeback jabbing back at me for my LinkedIn profile is a pathetic attempt at justifying your malevolent intentional lies. I’ve got better things to do than rant here all day long, but I will have to tailor an op-ed if you would have the nerve to print it. I noticed each time your paper comes my way it is full of people ragging on you for your far below sub-par abuse of the press. It wouldn’t necessarily break from op-eds about youth do-gooders.

  20. Oh, Jason. We do the best we can with the information that we have.

    Speaking of which, I heard your charges were dismissed, but am awaiting your reply to my e-mail asking for your info. Maybe you didn’t get it. Please call or write for a chat! Thanks.

  21. Mark Sailors

    Just another example of why you should NEVER take the plea. It seems like they only offer a plea if they know they can not win at trial, or that a judge would dismiss the charges.


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