Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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Ruano
Ruano

THE LOCAL ANGLE: Jeffrey Ruano, 50, of San Francisco, was arrested in San Jose after a manhunt that closed down streets in Daly City and a high-speed car chase that spanned four counties. He is accused of shooting a San Francisco police officer Saturday afternoon in San Francisco's Mission District. It has since developed that Ruano was not armed and that the officer was apparently accidentally shot by another officer. Ruano was booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon — a reference to his car — as well as illegal possession of ammunition as a convicted felon and evading officers. Ruano had active warrants out for his arrest in San Mateo and Mendocino counties. He was on probation in Mendocino County after pleading guilty in 2011 to dealing cocaine and methamphetamine. As part of the plea deal, Ruano enrolled in San Francisco's chapter of the Delancey Street Foundation, an organization that helps drug addicts and ex-convicts. In Mendocino County, he wrote a long letter to the District Attorney asking for a chance to “turn his life around,” Mendo DA spokesman Mike Geniella told the SF Chronicle. “The bottom line here was that we decided to give him one last chance,” Geniella said. “The bottom line now is that he's a man who has had his last chance.”

BRUCE McEWEN mentioned Ruano in a 2011 AVA story “…A similar situation involves Jeffery Ruano. Ruano saw what happened to Seymour and wrote a similar letter directly to DA Eyster. Again, Eyster was convinced. The DA went to Ruano’s lawyer, Public Defender Carly Dolan, and made a similar offer. Ms. Dolan ran it past her client and they stipulated to it.

Ruano was facing a charge of violating section 11378 of the Health & Safety Code, peddling meth, with three prior convictions for the same thing. The charge carries a four-year term in prison, the three priors would add three years each; then there would be another eight months for violating Section 11370.2 and another count of violating Section 11351, for a grand total of 16 years and eight months.

The lawyers and Judge William Lamb went over the math twice to make sure they had it right. Then Judge Lamb explained the terms and conditions to Ruano.

“You have to be accepted by Delancey Street or this sentence will go into effect. Do you understand?”

“Don’t worry, judge, they’ll accept me.”

“Chances are good they will, but if they don’t — through no fault of your own — this sentence will go into effect,” Lamb said. “I just want to make that clear.”

Dolan added, “Judge, we want him to stay in jail until he gets accepted. Just so he can’t be tempted on the way.”

“This is creating a problem,” said the judge. “He already has 695 days in the county jail. I can’t sentence him to more than a year in jail without a Johnson waiver. If you’ll just waive the right to be released on probation I’ll impose the sentence which is justified by your extensive record.”

The waiver was entered, the sentence imposed and then suspended.

When it was over, the DA said, “It was a non-traditional approach, but I don’t think I’ve offended anyone’s concept of justice.”

As it turns out, both Francis Seymour and Jeffery Ruano are 47 years old [in 2011]. They both started using drugs when they were 16, 30 years ago. A scientist could hardly ask for a more propitious coincidence.

Eyster said, “These two are quite similar, and this is a final step for both these gentlemen. It’s certainly the last opportunity I’d be willing to give either of them!”

With the prison populations bourgeoning exponentially, something new has to be tried somewhere along the line.

“It’s certainly an experiment. But were putting no one at risk. If they fail, they go to prison. On the other hand, if they succeed, we all win,” Eyster concluded.

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TichininPAUL TICHININ, Superintendent of County Schools, has announced he is retiring. Tichinin immediately recommended the County voters elect his assistant, a hyphenate calling himself Paul Joens-Poulton, the first public service Tichinin is known to have performed in that we now know who definitely not to vote for.

SPEAKING THROUGH a press release probably written by his secretary, Tichinin delivered the good news, which we have annotated to bring it within at least shouting distance of reality:

“On Friday March 7th, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools, Paul Tichinin announced to his staff and the County Board of Education, one in the same for all practical purposes, that he would not file to run for another four-year term in office. He will retire in January 2015, at the end of his current term and after a 40 year career in education, 20 years as the Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools. Tichinin is currently the longest serving county-wide elected official in Mendocino County, a sad commentary on the perspicacity of local voters.

Joens-Poulton
Joens-Poulton

“I was hesitant to retire without a qualified candidate running, but when MCOE’s Associate Superintendent Paul Joens-Poulton came forward, I was excited to endorse him and throw my support behind his candidacy, knowing I would leave MCOE in capable hands.” Any so-called educator who excites Tichinin is to be avoided, of course, as are, as a general rule, hyphenated males.

“Paul Joens-Poulton has the expertise and experience at the level to successfully lead the Mendocino County Office of Education and he has a strong vision for the future of our schools. He is the only candidate with first-hand knowledge of what services a quality County Office of Education needs to perform and how to deliver them effectively.” In fact, since the office does absolutely nothing that couldn't be done better and cheaper by the individual school districts of Mendocino County, and because Tichinin thinks the guy's not only boffo but “exciting,” vote no on The Hyphenate.

“Superintendent Paul Tichinin shared with his staff that during the next nine months he will focus on the continuing work, initiatives, and projects of MCOE. The new Local Control Funding Formula legislation changes and redefines the core functions of county offices of education. The implementation of Common Core and national standards also alters the duties of school districts in the education of students and the accountability for their successes.” Notice the utter absence of specificity here. “The implementation of the pro-active whack-a-do is one of our primary duties because we love the kids so long as they keep paying us to rip them off.”

“There is much work still to be done,” said Superintendent Tichinin as he expressed his pride in all of the County Office staff and the services they provide to ensure the possibility of educational success for all of the 13,000 plus students in Mendocino County.” Huh? Possibility? Most of the young people of this county are absolutely screwed by a tenth-rate system of education overseen by crews of low academic achievers.

“It has been an honor to serve the diverse communities of Mendocino County. I am looking forward to finally having the time to completely fill my abalone diving card and enjoy the beaches, forests, vineyards and natural surroundings of our beautiful Mendocino County. I want to thank all the voters for their support and the trust they placed in me to lead our educational community over the last 20 years.” Go, already.

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STATEMENT OF THE DAY

Theories abound about what drives this crisis in the Ukraine and all the credible stories revolve around the question of natural gas. I go a little further, actually, and say that the specter of declining energy sources worldwide is behind this particular eruption of disorder in one sad corner of the globe and that we’re sure to see more symptoms of that same basic problem in one country after another from here on, moving from the political margins to the centers. The world is out of cheap oil and gas and, at the same time, out of capital to produce the non-cheap oil and gas. So what’s going on is a scramble between desperate producers and populations worried about shivering in the dark. The Ukraine is just a threadbare carpet-runner between them. The playbook of great nations is going obsolete in this new era of great nations having, by necessity, to become smaller broken-up nations. It could easily happen in the USA too as our grandiose Deep State descends further into incompetence, irrelevance, buffoonery, and practical bankruptcy. (—James Kunstler)

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ON MARCH 6, 2014 at about 10:25 am Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office contacted suspect Summer Abreu, 34, of Ukiah, walking in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah, California. Deputies recognized Abreu from prior contacts and knew she had outstanding warrants for her arrest. Deputies asked Abreu if she had any secreted drugs on her person and she told the Deputies he had some methamphetamine and a glass methamphetamine pipe in hidden in her bra. Abreu removed the items from her bra which consisted of over two grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine. Deputies subsequently arrested Abreu for two misdemeanor warrants, possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Abreu was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and incarcerated on the listed charges, (including two misdemeanor warrants) and was to be held in lieu of $20,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release.)

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Preuss
Preuss

ON JANUARY 27, 2014, at about 4am Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the Mendocino Hotel in Mendocino regarding an unidentified suspect who entered an occupied hotel room through a window. The suspect was confronted by the occupants of the room and immediately fled outside through the same window. After Deputies arrived and initiated their investigation, they recovered a cellular phone at the scene that was believed to belong to, and was accidentally dropped by, the suspect. Deputies also spoke to an employee at the Mendocino Hotel who identified Joseph Preuss, 35, as a subject who was present at the Mendocino Hotel just before the incident took place. At about 2:12pm, Deputies contacted Preuss for follow up investigation. Preuss told Deputies that he had been robbed at knifepoint by an unknown transient at about 2:30am that day near the Mendocino Hotel. Preuss provided several details about the incident, including that his cellular phone was stolen during the encounter. Deputies subsequently took a crime report and initiated a separate investigation into the robbery reported by Preuss. During contact with Preuss, Deputies observed that the tread pattern on Preuss’s shoes were similar to a muddy shoe print pattern left inside the hotel room by the unidentified suspect. This led to the Deputies to suspect that Preuss was the perpetrator of the hotel room entry and that Preuss’s claim of being robbed was fabricated in order to account for his found cellular phone. On January 30, 2014, Deputies served a search warrant at Preuss’s residence and seized potential evidence relating to the hotel room entry. Additional information has been developed and the Mendocino County District Attorney is prosecuting Preuss for Trespass in an Occupied Residence filing a false report of a crime.

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MANY LOCALS will remember Michael Equine, a well-known drummer with the equally well-known band, Cat Mother, once based on the Mendocino Coast. Equine, as described in a nice piece by Chris Smith for the Press Democrat, "warmed up major-venue audiences for Jimi Hendrix or set out from Mendocino for gigs at honkytonks up and down the coast." Now,73, Equine has fallen on hard times, complicated by a couple of jail terms on drug convictions. The guy's broke and living out of his car in Santa Rosa.

CAT MOTHER played at the County Fair in Boonville, among many venues from Berkeley north while Equine, in between engagements, worked on the Mendocino Coast as a cook and whatever else he could find to do. According to Smith, Equine, "through his quarter-century in Mendocino, was married three times, though only once officially. He has two daughters, ages 51 and 26. He said he left Mendocino for Sonoma County after his third wife fell ill and died in his arms. 'I came down here because everything up there reminded me of her.'"

SMITH'S story closes, "For him (Equine), one of the worst parts of living in a car is that it limits him musically to listening to the radio and maybe tapping on the steering wheel. But at least, he said,'“I still have music in my head, and in my heart.'”

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THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS voted 4-1 last week (McCowen dissenting) to authorize staff to proceed on an “Exclusive Operating Area” (EOA) for “inland zone” ambulance services. Which includes us in Anderson Valley. McCowen said he thought it was premature to proceed until the funding picture became clearer. Although everyone agreed that the primary problem with Mendo ambulance services in the outback areas is that they are dependent on volunteers and generally lack funding.

SOME PEOPLE say a small fraction of the revenue from Proposition 172, the Public Safety Sales Tax Measure from the 1990s, could logically be applied to ambulance services. But local law enforcement gets all that money with specific Board approval, and is unwilling to part with so much as a dime for any emergency services except for the ones they provide.

THE “INLAND ZONE” includes Anderson Valley which, at present, doesn’t have a funding or coverage problem, but doesn’t have the Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic on staff that some people think we should have. Ambulance insiders fear that if the County puts the inland zone out to bid, the world’s largest ambulance company, Norway-based Veri-Health, which is currently competing for calls in Willits and Ukiah, would underbid the local competition and quickly push out the smaller local operations, then figure out a way to up their rates, which is what monopolies do.

WHOEVER could imagine that we would come to fear a Norwegian ambulance company? But they gobble up outback ambulance services and somehow make money doing it.

NOTHING WILL HAPPEN any time soon because as County Health and Human Services Director Stacy Cryer told the Board, “The entire process would take two years. First we have to hire a contractor which would require us to put out an RFP to hire a contractor, then they will start to work on development of the RFP which will take some time, as we saw with the privatization of mental health services — that took well over a year — it will be similar to that. It will take some time to put the RFP together and do it right and then manage the process and bidders need time to respond. Our estimation based on other county experience is about two years.”

Little
Little

LAYTONVILLE FIRE CHIEF and ambulance owner/operator, the redoubtable Jim Little, had the most interesting, if unlikely, proposal: “If in the future marijuana is legalized I believe it would be prudent for the county to be ahead of the bandwagon in terms of establishing a tax on marijuana. So, without going into detail about how I developed the numbers, but you will recognize them if you have read newspaper articles and understand the business in the county, if you narrowly look at being able to tax 250,000 plants in the county, which is a small percentage of what people claim is being grown in the county, and if you felt that the net value of the plant, the taxable value of the plant, was $800, which is very conservative based on information I have received, and you apply a 15% yield tax on those plants, that would generate $30 million in this county of tax revenue. So if we look at projects like supporting the fire service and supporting the ambulances in the county there is a tremendous business that occurs in his county that the county receives a very limited benefit from. And since the direction we seem to be going is to legalize marijuana, I think it's important for the county to look ahead and position themselves to receive some revenue from that business.”

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FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE 2014 KZYX BOARD CAMPAIGN

by Doug McKenty

For the record I would like to state that I never publicly advocated for the firing of any member of KZYX staff, nor did I ever advocate for the writing of letters of complaint to the FCC. I have always believed that MCPB's internal problems will be solved through the implementation of a sound election process, a series of contested elections, and better communication. Working together, our community can figure out solutions to our own problems.

Also, I have never advocated for the elimination of NPR. I do believe the board should implement the already approved Programming Advisory Committee designed to help make programing decisions ensuring representation from a variety of sources and creating a transparent mechanism for programming choice that is available to all members.

I was upset as a former board member after witnessing what I describe as a period of stagnation of the MCPB's Board of Directors which nearly resulted in a lapse of the board's responsibility of due diligence. Typical Board meeting protocols were not followed and bylaw and policy paper requirements were not met. Some of these protocols were designed to protect minority voices and keep the pulse of our communities needs. Also, I realized, some of these issues could lead to problems with the FCC and CPB as well as expose MCPB to other legal liabilities. Looking back, I wish I had done more when I was on the board a year ago, and am running now to help the current board rectify these issues in a timely fashion.

The current board has become aware of the problem and taken big steps toward a more sound and democratic form of governance at MCPB. Last Monday's board meeting was a great success and marked a good beginning but there is still work to be done. The stations documentation has gotten old and needs to be revisited. I advocate for the reinstatement of the committee system, with a Strategic Planning committee on the top of the list.

Legal issues aside, we all know that despite the letter of the law it is personality that runs any local business. KZYX needs to develop a system of conflict resolution that creates more positive results where both sides feel their differences have been aired and a positive working relationship established after the process is completed. It is my feeling that any Grievance should be heard in public committee, either a Personnel Committee or as another possible use for the Programmer Advisory Committee, with a subsequent update at a public board meeting. I believe that transparency in this process will better serve the station.

I would also like to revisit some issues which have caused consternation in the past, leading to the loss of some high quality volunteer labor. First, why did the first incarnation of the PAC fail? I would like to hear the details of the volunteer grievance into this issue to better understand the ideas and personalities involved. Second, can we build a bridge with KMEC in Ukiah? I received an email this morning from board member at the MEC offering use of their studio for $350 a month, including the cable connection to our studio in Philo. The creation of KMEC a decade ago created a rift among KZYX volunteers and we lost many voices as a result. We need to find a way to get those public radio enthusiasts back at KZYX.

Let me take a moment to talk about KMUD. There has been talk that a group of dissidents seek to create a KMUD south. I do not know where these ideas come from. To me, comparing ourselves to KMUD simply makes good business sense. Currently, KMUD is kicking our butt in our own market. They have taken talent from our area such as Christina Aanastad and David Brookshire, among others. They have taken a large portion of our marketshare as over 400 members of our listening audience are KMUD members while less than 30 people from Humbolt county are members of KZYX. KMUD weathered the storm of the financial crisis while maintaining an award winning news department which it has recently expanded. It also recently expanded to HD radio. What is the secret to KMUD's success? I hope the current board considers creating a committee to look into this.

What are the most important issues for KZYX right now? I have said the corporate documents need to be revisited. We need to start with the Mission Statement, it is too long. Non-profits typically keep the statement down to one or two sentences and often accompany it with a longer vision statement. A long mission statement gets passed up by grantors reviewing large piles of grant applications. We lose money by having one that is two paragraphs long. My suggestion for a new one? “MCPB is a community radio station where the membership controls the stations programming and operational philosophy and gives access to all points of view.” I think this captures the spirit of the Mission Statement we have now.

As Jane Futcher wrote, it is the boards prerogative to maintain allegiance to the mission. We need to have an open debate about what the mission means and how we follow it. What is meant when it says “the programming and operational philosophy are controlled by the membership?” How does the board of MCPB ensure that the station is giving “access to all points of view?” These questions need to be part of the debate.

I believe there should also be a debate about the implementation of the Programmers Advisory Committee and the degree of influence it has over actual programming choice. It is my feeling there are many advantages to the creation of a stronger PAC, not the least of which is to relieve the burden of this responsibility from an already overstressed staff. There will always be individuals upset with any programming change. Wouldn't it be nice to redirect their anxiety to a committee which would air the grievance at a public hearing? Rather than place the blame on staff, this energy would be neutralized. Maybe the disgruntled member would run/apply for the PAC. Let's give these people options that could result in real change.

At the end of the day, KZYX needs to learn how to communicate better with the membership, and we need to develop a method of communication that makes minority voices feel comfortable and listened to. I believe my listening skills and my experience level are my strong points in this election. As the host of Open Lines for seven years, I can tell you that I have heard just about every perspective imaginable. As a recent board member, I am intimately aware of the issues facing the current board including the often confusing and complex corporate documentation that demands revision. Over the years, but especially in the last six months, I have personally spoken with scores of present and former MCPB volunteers and board members giving me a unique knowledge of the stations institutional history as well as an opportunity to develop personal relationships that can help propel MCPB to a healthier more sustainable future.

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ENVIRONMENTAL WATER CAUCUS UNVEILS REAL-TIME DROUGHT RESPONSE

by Dan Bacher

As the drought continues, Governor Jerry Brown and other politicians continue to promote the Bay Day Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels as the "solution" to California's water problems.

Others in Congress, such as Representatives David Valadao and Devin Nunes and House Majority Leader John Boehner, are using the drought as an opportunity to promote legislation that will eviscerate protections for Central Valley salmon, in order to ship Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests and oil companies, and to build more dams throughout the state.

On the other hand, the Environmental Water Caucus, a broad coalition of fishing groups, Indian Tribes, conservation groups and environmental justice organizations, has released a response to the drought pointing to ways that permanently use less water and better manage the hundreds of existing dams and reservoirs that already exist.

"With a history of recurring drought in California - 40% of recent years have been drought level years - California ought to be well prepared for these conditions. Instead we have another of the usual 'emergency drought proclamations' from the Governor," said Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus.

Di Croce cited the kinds of actions that are "really needed to get us out of this recurring cycle," as recommended by the member organizations of the Environmental Water Caucus. These include:

• Provide funding of mandatory programs for urban and agricultural efficiencies and conservation. This would include measures such as incentives to purchase high efficiency toilets, clothes washers and dishwashers, storm water capture, urban landscape replacement, groundwater cleanup, waste water treatment and recycling, green water infrastructure, and higher technology farm irrigation practices and equipment. All of these actions have proven successful in the recent past, especially compared to the costs of water from new dams.

• Develop water pricing guidelines to incentivize reduced use of urban and agricultural water with local baselines and steep upward price escalation for usage above the baselines.

• Develop enforceable regional per capita water usage targets based on the efficiency and conservation measures adopted.

• Report and monitor groundwater usage in order to minimize groundwater overdraft. California is the only major state that does not monitor or control its groundwater.

• Retire impaired farmlands in the San Joaquin Valley which now pollute our groundwater and rivers and use excessive amounts of irrigation water; these lands could be repurposed as solar farms.

• Develop water pricing incentives for planting crops which directly contribute to the nation’s food supply. As we reach the limits of our water supply, we need to question the use of that valuable resource in order to ensure the best use of our water.

• Reduce exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta to a sustainable level aimed at protecting our water supplies as well as fish and habitat.

• Operate major dams with a larger reserve held back for the 40% of low water years that can be anticipated. The major orientation of dam operations should be to protect water quality, drinking water, fisheries, and habitats.

• Reduce water district contract amounts to a more reasonable level in keeping with future reduced water supplies and to eliminate the current “paper water. ”The state has promised 5-1/2 times more water rights than the water that actually exists," said Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), a member organization of the Environmental Water Caucus.

• Restrict the use of water for fracking oil and natural gas. The limitations of our water supply require that we not use that resource for a completely new water polluting industry.

• Assure that adequate water supplies are provided to disadvantaged communities and that the water quality for poorer communities meets healthy standards.

"These are the kinds of actions that will be a real and permanent drought response," emphasized Di Croce.

I agree. There is no need to build the twin tunnels or new dams when all of these much better options for restoring the Bay Delta Estuary, California rivers and coastal waters while providing water for the needs of Californians are available.

Likewise, we must ban the environmentally destructive practice of hydraulic fracturing that uses precious water needed for drinking water supplies, family farmers and fish at at a time when California reels from the impacts of a record drought. We cannot allow one single drop of water to be used to expand fracking in California.

The member organizations of the Environmental Water Caucus include the AquAlliance, Butte Environmental Council, California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Save Our Streams Council, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Striped Bass Association, California Water Impact Network, Clean Water Action, Citizens Water Watch, Desal Response Group, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Environmental Protection Information Center, Earth Law Center, Fish Sniffer Magazine, Foothill Conservancy, Friends of the River, Food & Water Watch, Granite Bay Flycasters, Institute for Fisheries Resources, The Karuk Tribe, North Coast Environmental Center, Northern California Council, Federation of Fly Fishers, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Planning & Conservation League, Restore the Delta, Sacramento River Preservation Trust, Sierra Club California, Sierra Nevada Alliance, Southern California Watershed Alliance and Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

For more information, go to: www.ewccalifornia.org

Contacts:

Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator, Environmental Water Caucus, troutnk@aol.com, (805) 688-7813

Conner Everts, Southern California Watershed Alliance, connere@west.net, (310) 804-6615

Eric Wesselman, Executive Director, Friends of the River, eric@friendsoftheriver.org, (510) 775-3797

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POLICE CALLS AS OF TUESDAY MORNING

SHOPLIFTER -- Caller at Safeway on South State Street reported at 5:14 a.m. Friday that a shoplifter had fled. An officer responded and arrested a man for vandalism.

MAN FOLLOWING GIRL TO SCHOOL -- Caller in the 600 block of East Perkins Street reported at 8:20 a.m. Friday that a man was following a girl to school. An officer checked the area but did not find the man and gave the girl a ride to school.

TRANSIENT SLEEPING BY PORCH -- Caller in the 400 block of North State Street reported at 1:53 p.m. Friday that a transient was sleeping by the back porch. An officer checked the area but the person was gone.

VEHICLE BURGLARIZED -- Caller in the 700 block of South State Stret reported at 4:02 p.m. Friday that a vehicle had been burglarized after its window was broken.

SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 6:46 p.m. Friday and arrested a woman for shoplifting. She was cited and released.

TRANSIENT IN SLEEPING BAG -- Caller in the 1200 block of Airport Park Boulevard reported at 7:58 p.m. Friday that a transient in a sleeping bag was refusing to leave. An officer responded but the person had left. At 9:52 p.m., the caller reported the person was back. An officer responded and gave the person a citation for camping.

TRANSIENTS UNDER BRIDGE -- Caller near South Orchard Avenue and Kings Court reported at 11:48 p.m. Friday that transients were under the bridge. An officer responded and the group left upon request.

SHERIFF'S REPORTS [the following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office]:

ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON -- Corey D. Holston, 23, of San Diego, was arrested at 9:16 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, public intoxication and giving false identification to a police officer, and booked at the county jail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested him.

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