- Mixed Weather
- Boontling Classic
- Yorkville Market
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- Hire Al
- Chihuahua Day
- B Resolve
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- 1906 Earthquake
- Rick's Cafe
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- Crime Syndicate
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WHILE WARM INTERIOR TEMPERATURES are expected again today, cooler and cloudier conditions are expected along the coast. Isolated weak thunderstorms will be possible this afternoon and Saturday across interior mountains. Warm and dry conditions are expected Sunday through at least Tuesday, with a gradual cooling trend to close out the week. (National Weather Service)
JUST IN FROM THE YORKVILLE MARKET:
A reminder that tonight there will be live music from our local favorites Kevin Owens and Sarah Farber. We will be serving delicious homemade enchiladas.
Also, tomorrow (Saturday) is our annual Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt! We will be serving gourmet breakfast dishes from 8:30am until 12:30pm with the egg hunt at 11:00am.
We will be closed on Easter Sunday.
Happy Spring and enjoy these beautiful, warm days!
CONFIRMED! Michael Jones from the UC Cooperative Extension, Mary Mayeda from the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and Imil Ferarra representing the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council will be joining us, one for each night of the series. It's great to have them bringing their expertise to our community.
RSVP to join us - 707 895-2020 or email@example.com
GOOD SHIP MENDO HEADS FOR THE FISCAL ROCKS
(Full steam ahead, Captain Angelo!)
by Mark Scaramella
Last Tuesday, after wasting hours on the climate committee dog and pony show featuring a self-ratified group of climate "activists" headquartered at Supervisor McCowen's donated building at 106 West Standley, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors didn’t have much time left to sort out the County’s looming financial crisis.
After giggling through a salary survey consultant’s mathematical gaffe, the County's leadership ignored the much bigger gaffes accompanying the truncated budget discussion, which ended prematurely when Board Chair Carre Brown said she had “an important conference call” and had to adjourn the meeting.
In what was supposed to pass as budget discussion, the Board asked their “general government” committee to look at sales tax proposals aimed at extending the current library 1/8 cent tax, and extending the Measure B tax beyond its five year life for roads and/or emergency services. But even if the Supes could convince voters to keep on paying current sales tax rates, these proposals wouldn’t provide any new revenue for several years.
The Supervisors also talked about “full cost recovery.” This is code for “Our fees have not kept up with our self-granted raises and our inefficient time allotments” for the full range of “services” that the County allegedly provides, mostly in the form of already very costly permits. The pot permit program, somewhere between $800k and $2.5 million in the hole, depending on who you ask, is going to see substantial fee increases. Supervisor Williams had the good grace to say he was tired of seeing the County trying to “subsidize this one particular industry.”
Planning and Building is going to see fee increases too because, as CEO Carmel Angelo inartfully put it, “There has been a belief that if the fees are high in the Planning Department, Environmental Health, whatever — when it comes to building and development that actually works against the economic development. We have not had fees at full cost recovery. And we still don't have economic development. I'm not certain what the connection is there.”
Translation: “Let’s jack up the fees to cover our own unjustified raises and time allotments because I can’t see where they do any harm.”
The Board also spent a good deal of time denouncing the courts, saying they’re too generous in waiving fees for the public defender and alternative public defender. (No apparent awareness that the courts largely deal with paupers.) They also think that they shouldn’t have to pay for the recent $200k settlement in the case where a woman injured herself on the courthouse’s internal staircases. And, they blame the courts and judges for having to keep their grotesquely expensive Juvenile Hall open where a dozen or so delinquents hone their criminal skills.
The closest the Board got to examining their own operations was when Supervisor Ted Williams, alone among his colleagues in realizing the seriousness of the problem, made a couple of observations and suggestions to cut costs.
Williams first suggested a hiring freeze. “We have about twice as many county employees as Sonoma County per capita. And you look at the other counties in the state and that trend seems to follow. I don't want to lay anybody off, but I think if we keep hiring eventually we will box ourselves in and we will have no option and at the same time we won't be paying market rates. This is the pivotal decision we need to make with this budget cycle.”
Supervisor John McCowen, however, didn’t like that idea saying that he and his colleagues don’t have enough information — they never seem to have enough information — so Williams’ hiring freeze suggestion quickly died.
Williams also asked, “At what point do we go through those [the services the County offers] item by item and decide, We are not going to do this. We have a smaller staff so we cannot ask fewer people to do the same workload we have today. Let's cross out some of our functions.”
That suggestion also died on the spot without the slightest response from anyone else in the room.
CEO Angelo told the Board, “We balanced last year's budget with a 10% vacancy rate. It's quite possible as we go through this year that that 10% vacancy rate did create a structural imbalance and that was almost a false balancing of the budget. It gave us the false sense that we have the money. As we move forward for next year we have to really deal with a realistic budget.”
The leadership has yet to “deal with a realistic budget.”
Toward the end of the day, a budget staffer presented a simplistic chart that said the departments want about $10 million more than is available.
CEO Angelo commented, “We are talking millions of dollars of money we don't have for priorities.”
Later CEO Angelo noted, “It would be good to have direction from this board as we move forward on what your priorities really are. When you look at not having an additional $10 million or so for additional programs. We are looking at cost-cutting measures.”
The departments have asked for $10 million more than the allocation CEO gave them. But so far the departments have not itemized their requests.
And the “measures” CEO Angelo referred to are unspecified and invisible.
Add to that the employees’ long awaited salary survey which shows that Mendo is something like 20-25% “below market” in salaries overall and that all eight bargaining units are due for substantial raises this next year.
Chief among the “departments” which have asked for $10 million in non-existent funds will be the Sheriff and the District Attorney who together spend more than half of the County’s general fund. If history is any guide the Sheriff and District Attorney will come to the Board during the upcoming, long-delayed day of budget reckoning and say that Public Safety comes first and the Board cannot cut their budgets.
And the Supervisors will cave. Count on it. So somebody is going to get cut.
And then came CEO Angelo’s neat little trick of responsibility-shifting.
Angelo: “At this point we are still in the process of working with the departments. I have said No to all departments. You will have an opportunity to know who is asking for what and still needs what because eventually they will come to you since I have said no. That will happen probably soon.”
So the CEO mismanages the budget, does essentially no real department by department reporting, let’s things get completely out of hand, doesn’t even say (yet) which departments want what, and then when crunch time arrives she tells the Board that it will be up to the Board to tell the departments that there’s no money left — especially law enforcement.
(Oh, and by the way, the $10 million does not factor in the pay raises the employees are expecting soon.)
Angelo concluded, “Possibly [sic] by May 7 we can have additional information to share [sic]. The budget process happens all year, we start in January developing the budget for the next year. It is not uncommon for the departments to come in and ask for $10 million over net County cost. This is absolutely the standard process. We usually work with those departments and get to some number that we both can agree on. But this year will be different because for the past few years of course we had a little bit more money [sic, they had millions in reserves they no longer have] and the departments did get additional revenue. This year, we don't have it and we are not planning on giving them additional revenue.”
Over to you, Board. And don’t expect fee increases or future sales taxes or vacancies to solve this problem. The Board let the CEO dig this hole but now she’s telling them it’s their problem.
PS. AT FIRST we were confused about how Mendo’s newly formed Mendocino County Climate Action Advisory Committee (MCCAAC) was going to work. But, luckily, we ran across this chart drawn by the inimitable, inevitable Ellen Drell of the Willits Environenmental Center which explains it all:
AL GETS IT DONE!
Hi my name is AL and i'm available to do some carpentry work in and around Fort Bragg and Casper and Little River area. I do good work having reference to back me on that. I have my own basic tools and truck. I had worked along with contractors as a carpenter helper and i can read plans and layouts. I can install new doors and windows and floors. I can sheetrock tape and mud to a smooth finish and paint, cutting edges and rolling the rest out. I can install most anything in a house, cabinets sinks vanity's wall heaters lights fans toilets linoleum, etc. I can also do dump runs, medium size truck with a 5 X 6 foot bed. 707-409-4147 AL
Alfred Nunez firstname.lastname@example.org
Very Highly Recommend Al Nunez
Al worked at my home yesterday for 3 hours. He mowed and trimmed, and the yard has literally never looked this good. (Understatement). He arrived early, unloaded his super heavy-duty riding mower, and had very professional weed trimming equipment and gear. I found Al to be a really awesome person - professional, diligent, fast, and precise. In addition to that, he is a really very nice person - good personality and good sense of humor. If Al is as good at all the skills he advertises (and I am certain he is), then our community has a real gem. Everyone deserves respect and a chance to prove themselves.
Vanna K. Freeberg
Vanna Freeberg email@example.com
B NEEDS A PARADIGM SHIFT
Open Letter to fellow members of the Measure B Committee:
I would like to thank you for serving our county on the Measure B Committee. We are all on a team that is like none other in California. We have been given an enormous task by the voters to look into the future and advise the Board of Supervisors on spending the tax dollars which have been given a very specific purpose. We will be overseeing the expenditure of almost $40,000,000 in the next 5 years.
We will soon approach our one and a half year benchmark, yet our accomplishments have been limited. I do not have any doubt that all eleven of us have a sincere concern and goal of improving the hundreds of lives that mental health has victimized. Our rural county is now in a position that no other county in the State has experienced. We are in the position of having the financial resources to start the process of improving the overall foundation of Mental Health Services but for some reason, I believe we are stymied.
The question of putting the cart before the horse exists and is on everyone’s mind during our meetings. The question of who has the authority to start discussions with property owners exists and we must have this question answered. The Board of Supervisors is waiting direction for our committee to make decisions, and we apparently have had members approach the Board of Supervisors for direction. The paradigm must be changed. We, the Measure B Committee, must be willing to make very strong decisions and vigorously encourage the Board of Supervisors to follow our direction. The voters were very direct in supporting Measure B, with the caveat that our committee oversee the expenditures. If we make strong recommendations based on fact and fiscal responsibility, it is my belief that the majority of the Board of Supervisors will support our plan.
Let us not allow others to do our hard work, and let us not accept the responsibility of doing other committees' and boards' duties. We can not shirk our mission and we only weaken other committees and boards' responsiblities by spending our precious time with academic questions relating to things that are not on our list of duties.
I am pleading with our committee to make some strong and uncomfortable decisions:
Should we spend time and money on the old Howard Hospital building?
Should we fully fund the Orchard Street Project?
What can we do on the Coast to improve services?
Let’s cooperate in the name of improving the quality of lives in our county, and at the same time, assist in reducing Public Safety’s massive time involvement with so many mental health contacts. Let’s work with our hospitals and reduce bed space currently allocated to long term mental health cases. If you have ever wondered if you can make a difference in Mendocino County, I assure you that now is your time. Let’s strive to make a positive difference that in the future will allow the mission and purpose of Measure B to be recognized and appreciated.
Very simply, in the words of George W. Romney, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?"
Thank you for your service; your dedication is sincerely appreciated.
Tom Allman, Mendocino County Sheriff
CONGRESSMAN JARED HUFFMAN in Ukiah for Potter Valley Project meeting — Talks about Democratic efforts in the Trump era
by K.C. Meadows
Congressman Jared Huffman says the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee, which he chairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, is finally getting to do things “we weren’t allowed to do” for the past six years when Republicans controlled the House. Things like protecting public lands, making climate change part of all environmental programs, trying to prevent offshore drilling and looking at the state of the nation’s wildlife and fisheries.
Acknowledging that much of the committee’s work will run into a brick wall in the Republican-controlled Senate, Huffman maintains that building a legislative record on the needs of the environment is still important. And, he says, “We’d never show up for work if we’re acting only on what (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell will bless.”
Huffman was in Ukiah Wednesday for a meeting with stakeholders in the Potter Valley Project, which stands at a crossroads now that PG&E has said it will no longer operate it. The project provides water diverted from the Eel River to thousands of users in Mendocino County and south. Eel River advocates want the project discontinued permanently while water users say they need the flow to continue. Huffman believes there is a way to continue to provide the water, but it may still mean the end of Lake Pillsbury, which was created by Scott Dam. Huffman says they are still working on a solution and he believes there’s a “common core of realities here that should bring people together.”
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
UKIAH CHP TO THE RESCUE!
While on routine patrol, Officer Holzhauer observed an animal blocking the northbound lane of US-101 at the Willits Bypass. As he slowed, he observed the animal raise its’ head and saw the repeated rise of its’ chest.
He pulled to the shoulder and watched as the coyote repeatedly tried to stand up. Its legs seemed solid but it returned to the seated position each time.
He cautiously approached and [i]t didn’t show alarm or sudden movement, so [he] was able to move the coyote to the right shoulder of the roadway and started making phone calls.
Since it was only 7:30AM on a Saturday, most of the numbers he tried for veterinarians and wildlife rescues didn’t answer. He then called Erin, who has extensive wildlife rehab experience. She was able to get a hold of the Mendocino Wildlife Rescue.
Cathy of Mendocino Wildlife Rescue and Erin both responded to the scene to help capture the coyote. Erin then drove the coyote to the Sonoma Wildlife Rescue where it could be treated for whatever injuries it had.
FORT BRAGG AFTER THE BIG ONE
(Oakshott (1972) provided the following account of the 1906 earthquake on the city of Fort Bragg from the Noyo Chief newspaper)
On the morning of April 18, 1906, the earth rocked so violently that it seemed as if some giant had taken it in his hands and was shaking it relentlessly. When it was all over, the mill was off its foundations and badly wrecked; and a large part of Ft. Bragg was destroyed. As in San Francisco, the quake itself was bad--but the fire which followed was vastly worse and did the most damage.
C.R. Johnson, founder of the city and the Union Lumber Company, wrote the following account in his memoirs:
The quake awakened me… I hastily threw on some clothes and went down to the mill--- which was a good deal of a wreck. The mill building had an angle of twenty degrees. The smokestacks had fallen down; the furnaces were down too… and fire was imminent. The firemen at the Power House reported that the pipe connections were all broken and there was no chance to get water.
Luckily there was a locomotive under steam….and got the locomotive close to the Power House…they connected the locomotive boiler with the fire pump which could get water from the mill pond. We…put out the fires and removed all danger from the mill.
The town's water pipes were broken and no water was available. The hotel and several other business buildings were already on fire. Captain Hammer of the steamer National City, which was lying along side the wharf at the time, came up to the mill with some sailors and gathered all the hose he could find and got water on the burning buildings.
It was a matter of record that through Captain Hammer's action that the fire was put out and part of Ft. Bragg was saved. But again, like San Francisco, much of it burned down and many people were left homeless and with only the clothes on their backs. However, the people of Ft. Bragg helped one another--- those who had food and clothing shared them with those that did not. From the Union Lumber Company store, "C.R." (Johnson) gave out food, clothing and blankets as long as stock lasted. And those who needed lumber for rebuilding, he supplied it with the understanding that they could pay for it when they were able. He rushed repairs to the mill so that it could begin providing employment as soon as possible.
"C.R." encouraged his fellow townsmen to rebuild their stricken city--- he even instructed several wholesale supply houses to restock a competing merchant and charged it against Union Lumber's account! Demand from San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa and the smaller cities kept Union Lumber Company operating at full capacity. The employment this provided materially helped hasten Ft. Bragg's own recovery.
(Photos Courtesy, Mendocino Coast Model Railroad and Historical Society)
THE BIG ONE: A FAMILY HISTORY
by Mark Scaramella
My grandfather arrived in Northern California in 1900. He'd left Delebio, his home town in northern Italy, primarily, he said, because he didn't like to be told when to farm by the Pope, who prohibited farming on Sunday. He left his wife and two children in Italy, telling them he'd send for them when he had saved enough money to bring them over.
For several years Carlo Scaramella worked the woods outside Cleone and loaded lumber boats with railroad ties at several north coast towns. Once, while loading lumber off Little River, a storm blew up and the lumber boat captain decided that he better get out of there. The captain put out to sea; he said he didn't have time to put anybody ashore. Carlo was headed to San Francisco on an involuntary trip. But he didn't make it. The captain lent Carlo a rowboat somewhere near Stewart's Point and bid him bon voyage. He walked all the way back to Cleone.
It took him a couple of weeks to get back. He worked his way north, doing odd jobs. On the way he stopped and visited other Italian immigrants, and probably had a few of sips of wine. By 1906 Carlo had finally saved enough money to arrange for his wife and sons, Joe and John, ages 7 and 8, to come to California. (My father, Gene Scaramella, was born on the family homestead near Gualala.) My grandmother wasn't too happy about leaving her extended family in Italy and her hometown but she was a dutiful peasant wife. They took a train from their hometown to Milan, then to Genoa. From Genoa they took a boat across the Mediterranean, through the Straits of Gibralter and around the Iberian peninsula to Northern France where they embarked on the journey of their lives by steamship — steerage class, sleeping in hammocks, eating from the hampers of food they'd brought with them. The three Scaramellas arrived in New York two weeks after they'd left Delebio.
During the voyage they were crowded down in the ship's hold in conditions Carlo’s son Joe later described as "pretty miserable." After arriving at Ellis Island and being processed through the demeaning entry process where they were examined like livestock, they managed to find a friend of Carlo’s who spoke English. (Carlo had written ahead to his friend about his wife and sons pending arrival.) They then took the transcontinental train to San Francisco, arriving on the 17th of April, 1906.
My grandfather had made arrangements to meet his wife and sons the next day and accompany them back to Mendocino County on the steamer "Pomo," which was scheduled to leave San Francisco at 10am on the 18th.
But Carlo’s plans were memorably disrupted.
A little after 5am on the morning of April 18th, the 1906 earthquake sundered San Francisco from its previous reality.
The ground heaved and buildings shook. The quake lasted for less than a minute, sheering facades off buildings, ripping houses from their foundations, and opening a rift in the ground some 270 miles long and up to 21 feet deep in some places.
There was a fire in the hotel where my grandmother and her two boys had put in the night before. Screaming hotel staffers ordered everybody to get out! Now!
My grandmother lost all her belongings, including her fine laces and other prized family heirlooms she'd brought from Italy and had carefully stored in a shipping chest which she had no time to get out of the building before it was destroyed.
When Anna got into the street she saw utter chaos. People were running everywhere in every direction. She heard hysterical stories of people being crushed by falling masonry, people being burned alive in buildings. The city was burning.
At the turn of the 20th century, San Francisco had roughly the same population as New Orleans did before Katrina. In both cities, news reports had offered eerily prescient warnings of impending disaster. Just as the New Orleans papers foretold of the tragedy that awaited New Orleans should its levees be breached, newspaper reports more than 100 years ago compared San Francisco to a tinderbox awaiting a match.
In both cities it wasn't the actual event, but the series of ensuing catastrophes that caused the greatest physical damage.
In New Orleans it wasn't the hurricane itself, but the rupture of the levees that left 80% of that city under water.
Similarly, in San Francisco, firestorms triggered by broken gas mains reduced more than a third of the City by the Bay to ashes, causing more damage than the earthquake itself. Water main breaks led to water shortages. Desperate to put out the flames, firefighters used dynamite to try to blast firebreaks, often inadvertently setting the city ablaze anew.
The fires raged for three days and charred more than 500 square blocks — nearly a quarter of the city. By the time rescuers were able to sift through the cinders, more than 250,000 people were left homeless — the same order of magnitude as the people displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
As the fires gained momentum and the city's water system collapsed, survivors gathered wherever they could find water. All through the night after the earthquake victims huddled together in the open air as flames lit the sky.
A huge relief effort — which would put the pathetic response to Katrina to shame even by today's standards — was begun. Many refugees, including my grandmother and my two uncles, made their way to the East Bay via ferry where they were taken in by Oakland residents whose houses were still standing. Others were living in tent camps.
Then my grandmother faced another problem.
Joe and John got the measles. (This was pre-vaccine.) The family was quarantined in a literal chicken coop in the East Bay harbor area for several days. After they recovered somewhat the boys were taken in by another Oakland family.
Carlo kept track of bulletin boards, but had no idea of the fate of his young family. He finally tracked them down after a month of desperate searching. He hadn't seen his family for six years. They arranged travel to Point Arena, first by train to Cloverdale, and then by horse-drawn stage to Elk and then another horse-drawn wagon to Point Arena where Carlo, the patriarch, lived at the time.
Soon, the reconstruction of San Francisco began. By the time the last tent camp closed in 1909, developers had moved more than 5,000 families out of the camps and into cottages. Remarkably, some of these cottages are still in use today. Perhaps most important, by providing housing for the working class who became the backbone of their own recovery efforts, San Francisco paved the way for its speedy recovery.
As we observe the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, we can look back on the big 1906 quake as more than an isolated historical event. Since another Northern California earthquake is the only remaining catastrophe (after 911, Katrina and the huge wildfires) predicted by the feds which has not (yet) happened this century, the first Big One is more than just history. It is a lesson, particularly about unexpected secondary effects — if this generation is capable of learning any.
Postscript: Marc Reisner's must-read little book, contains both a thorough history of quake country but a chilling account of what is likely to happen in the Bay Area when the next Big One strikes. Reisner makes the ominous point that if earthquakes were again to re-occur at the rate they did 500 years ago in California, neither LA nor San Francisco would be habitable to the overcrowded extent they are today.
DEPARTMENT of unintentional hilarity, and from the fount of hilarity, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: "Chris Coursey, the former Santa Rosa mayor, plans to run for the seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors held by Supervisor Shirlee Zane, setting up a battle of political heavyweights that is likely to be the most expensive and intriguing local race on the March 3 ballot."
COURSEY was for years a Press Democrat writer and columnist whose prose, as Tommy Wayne Kramer once described, "If oatmeal could write…" With an unerring instinct for failed projects, he subsequently became spokesman for the SMART train and then mayor of Santa Rosa. Zane is a member of long standing in the Northcoast's oppressive Democratic Party apparatus who of course support her re-election as a SoCo supervisor. Even if Coursey was able to beat his former girlfriend it would be a political lateral move, tat for tit so to speak.
AS THE DEMOCRATS spend all their time in futile attempts to bring down The Orange Monster, out in the country where the rest of us live, homelessness and a general despair grow, roads and bridges crumble, people die because they can't afford their insulin, and the ultra-rich get more and more tax breaks, here's our Congressman talking to KC Meadows of the Ukiah Daily Journal:
"To that end, he [Huffman] says there’s probably no one better positioned to help Democrats reach out than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who he believes is 're-proving why she’s one of the most important figures in US history.' He says contrary to some interpretations, he does not believe Pelosi has taken impeachment off the table for Trump, but has only said that unless there are clear facts, she doesn’t recommend it. But she is not 'pulling her punches and going soft on Trump,' and Huffman says that shows she is more than ready to fight his administration. Personally, he said it would take him seconds to vote for impeachment."
A READER ASKS: "Are John McCowen and Alica Littletree Bales romantically involved? At the last two BOS meetings, it seemed obvious with this CAAC business. I know that for years John was pursuing Blank de Blank (without success). Now suddenly John is creating a cushy job for Alicia. Because it's not a Civil Service job, just a contractor's position, Alicia won't have to endure a competitive hiring process. John can just put his new girlfriend in the job."
SO FAR as we are aware, and as per the most recent Supe's meeting, this purely symbolic advisory committee remains in the planning stages. We'd be surprised if McCowen dared appoint any of the Littletree Brigade to a publicly-funded position, but as we often note, It's Mendo, Jake, where history starts all over again every day and you are what you say you are.
McCOWEN, a Ukiah rentier in addition to his lushly compensated Supervisor's job, donates free space to the County's somnolent "activists" at the Mendocino Environment Center at 106 Standley across the street from the County Courthouse. McCowen was once an Earth First!er and 106 was home to an array of dubious persons and activities during the Redwood Summer period, among them Mike Sweeney and the late Judi Bari, and among the dubious activities, imo, at least one pipe bomb and, as fact, one replica pipe bomb Sweeney (!) had built to emulate the original he blew up his ex-wife with. Interested readers, on the off chance there are any, can read Steve Talbot's revelations on the adventures hatched at 106 West Standley on the ava's website.
SHERIFF ALLMAN SEZ, SEE COVELO!
Southern Inland Mendocino County has the beauty of the Russian River and the gorgeous vineyards which welcome tourists to our county. Our coast has 92 miles of rugged Coastline, which has history of the Spaniards settling in with the Native Americans, who have 1,000’s of years of history on the North Coast. The Northern Inland has the majestic redwoods which captivate locals and visitors and are a sight to behold but…
Springtime in the Round Valley has beauty which is like none other. The golden poppies, the purple lupine and green grass are framed by the snow capped mountains . I spent most of yesterday in Covelo at a couple meetings. The support for good, fair law enforcement was genuinely displayed, and very appreciated. Tribal police were at the meeting, as was CHP and our traveling Mental Health team (MOPS, Mobile Outreach Preventative Services). The Tribal Council was represented as well. The meeting was also attended by 25 citizens. Great meeting.
If you don’t have plans for this weekend, I think that you should travel up Hwy 162 along the Mighty Eel River. You might see eagles 🦅 swooping down and you might see the deer welcoming you into the Valley. These sights are daily and normal. Its an hour and a half from Ukiah and an hour from Willits. If there is construction and you get stopped, just turn off your engine and roll your windows down. You can start soaking up the feeling before you even get there!
You can find a great burger at Mina Burgers and coffee & baked goods at the coffee shop in the beautifully citizen built (and funded) library.
Yea, I think you should discover a part of our county which people often speak ill about. You will find the people friendly, the streets clean and the views are picture perfect.
Thanks Covelo, you are an important part of Mendocino County.
(Photo by Judy Valadao)
COUNTY VS. STATE VS. FEDERALLY FUNDED POSITIONS
I found it interesting reading the AVA accounts of Tuesday's BoS meeting, I have to watch the video later. I was SEIU 1021 President back in 2009 shortly before everyone's wages was cut by 10 %. It's funny that the new Rep has finally brought a my thoughts back then. I was against non-general fund employees, which was about 75% of all county employees at time, taking pay cuts because most of our positions were State and/or Federal funded. The stance taken by Angelo and the negotiation team was that if the general fund folks took cuts then the rest of us should too, solidarity. It never made sense to me. I did go along with the Voluntary Time Off (VTO) plan because folks kept their hourly wages intact and they were only losing hours. During the VTO time period many folks were able to find part time jobs to supplant the missing hours. After I resigned Angelo and the SEIU's brilliant negotiation team agreed to the pay cuts and made the workers come back full time for lower wages. Since then, nearly 10 years now, employees have never got their 10% back. That 5% COLA paid over a 3 year time period does not count. They should have got that anyway.
James Marmon MSW
Former SEIU 1021 President
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 18, 2019
KIRK DAY, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JOSEPH FITCH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
MARK GABRIEL, San Francisco/Ukiah. Grand theft auto, obtaining a vehicle by theft, extortion, etc., prison prior.
GRADY GRAHAM, Ukiah. County parole violation.
CHASE HEDRICK, Palermo, California/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
BRICE MCKINNON, Ukiah. Arson, county parole violation.
JESSANN MCLEAN JR., Covelo. Mayhem, battery with serious injury, domestic abuse.
JAIME MELOHALL. Ukiah. Domestic battery.
KEVIN MOORE, Stockton/Ukiah. Under influence, disobeying court order.
MARIAH ROSALES, Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon.
OLIVIA ROSALES, Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon.
SHAREEN ROSALES, Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon.
MARK SPITSEN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, obtaining credit with someone else’s ID, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
If anyone had doubts about so-called higher education, they were amply confirmed by the admissions bribery scam, crotch-fruit of Hollywood degenerates getting preference from eyes wide-shut universities, themselves blind to the most ludicrous misrepresentations, and not just any universities but the world’s most – cough – illustrious.
Day-by-day, week-by-week, with favored treatment for the addled, coddled, unqualified offspring of the donor class, with openly racist admissions policies disqualifying high-achieving Asians with the excuse of inadequately formed personalities, these institutions disqualify themselves.
Dishonesty is nothing new, it’s well-established in the human repertoire of behaviors. But there comes a point where dishonesty becomes the default societal mode, where to survive you have to be underhanded in your everyday dealings because everyone else is trying to chisel you, and you can’t trust anybody outside your own clan or family, if then.
The rot starts at the top, lies as the stock-in-trade of the governing class, fraud the default setting of Wall Street, lawlessness the way of law enforcement, deception and self-deception the accepted mode of educators, casuistry rampant in a politicized judiciary, aggressive disregard for fact among the press, academics making shit up, peer-review a joke, replication a distant dream, scholarly journals nothing of the sort.
The Democrats made themselves a laughing-stock by managing to lose an election against a laughing-stock. Unfortunately for the Democrats that laughingstock opponent had the one idea that the Democrats had no answer to, that Washington and Wall Street sold out the American worker and ruined America. In 2016 that one truth won the day.
There’s no way to measure the depth and breadth of the full-of-shitness of Democrats still clawing to dethrone Trump. They lost the fucking election, that’s it, no more to say, they fucked it up. And they’re on course to fuck it up again in 2020.
We can bow down and give thanks to the gods in this fold of the cosmos that killed Republicans as a credible party and we devoutly pray that those same deities chew up and spit out the twitching corpse of the Democrats.
LAWMAKERS AND LANDLORDS: More than a quarter of California legislators are both
By Matt Levin and Elizabeth Castillo
NOW THAT MUELLER’S $40 million Humpty Trumpty investigation is over and found wanting of its original purpose (to retire Trump), perhaps the ruling class can return without interruption to the business of destroying the world with ordnance, greenhouse gases, and regime changes. A few more CIA-organized blackouts in Venezuela (it’s a simple trick if one follows the Agency’s “Freedom Fighter’s Manual”), and the US will come to the rescue, Grenada style, and set up yet another neoliberal regime. There is a small solace that with Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton, there is at least a semblance of transparency in their reckless interventions. The assessed value of Guaido and Salman, they forthrightly admit, is in their countries’ oil reserves. And Russians better respect the Monroe Doctrine and manifest destiny if they know what’s good for them. Crude as they may be, Trump’s men tell it like it is. And when Bolton speaks of “the Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law,” he is of course referring to US-backed coups, military juntas, debt bondage, invasions, embargoes, assassinations, and other forms of gunboat diplomacy.
— Gerald Sussman
FROM WIKIPEDIA: On his deathbed, unable to speak owing to advanced laryngeal cancer, Huxley made a written request to his wife Laura for "LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular." According to her account of his death in This Timeless Moment, she obliged with an injection at 11:20 a.m. and a second dose an hour later; Huxley died aged 69, at 5:20 p.m. (Los Angeles time), on 22 November 1963. Media coverage of Huxley's death, along with that of the author C. S. Lewis, was overshadowed by the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy on the same day.
THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS Meeting Agenda for the April 23, 2019, meeting is now available on the County website:
THE ASSESSMENT APPEALS BOARD Meeting Agenda for the April 22, 2019, meeting is now available on the County website:
FRANCE DECLARES WAR
Dear Mr. Editor,
I send my respects to Tai Abreu. As it stands DA Eyster has declared war on you and SB 1437 which by the Constitution and power of the people was voted into law. So Eyster is at war with the Constitution. He's using the only thin thread he can find, a ruling in Orange County by some fat drunk judge who was a prosecutor prior to being a judge in the most corrupt sleazy county in California.
Mendocino is pretty sleazy as well. Soon the appeals court may have to open a whole new district just to deal with Mendocino County. “Publius Flavius Vegitius Renatus.” (If you want peace prepare for war.) So I hope you are prepared and have been hitting the legal specs hard because this is your whole life at stake my friend.
I have spent about 10 years on level 4 main lines and learned fast that you are your own best attorney. That advice always stuck with me. Best of luck to you Tai. You did your time. Come home!
Now to comment on the recent letter by Jon Spitz titled "Prosecutorial Misconduct." Thank you for your service, sir. You have no idea how hard it is to actually find intelligent individuals on the jury pool. I was not surprised at all about your experience with Mr. Eyster, and I must say your assessment is more spot on than you realize. But I fear you are beating a dead horse. No one will put Eyster in his place, nor hold him accountable.
The man manufactured evidence in my case and attempted to forge my signature, had officers commit perjury and withheld evidence. He is still withholding evidence. I have completely analyzed him. He is of low character, has no integrity nor self-esteem, he is unprofessional and a lying scumbag who blames everyone else for his BS. Don't worry, I will strip him of his license upon conclusion of my case.
Mr. Spitz, our justice system is broken and it is falling apart. It never worked to begin with; it is flawed and destined to fail. Part of the sickness in our local system is the prosecutors, judges and public defenders (most, but not all) who have long since reached professional boundaries that maintain walls to protect individual objectivity. No doubt at this moment Eyster and a judge are having coffee together and both are in complete denial. Your public defender and Eyster play golf on the weekend and discuss trading defendants out like playing cards.
Oh, sorry, Mr. Eyster. I didn't hear your response. I lose complete interest when people make excuses or ramble on uselessly. Mr. Spitz, everyone understands your point clearly.
[Ed intervention: What follows is a creative, and prolonged skein of insults aimed at the DA, the gist of which is that Mr. France condemns Eyster to eternal execration and infamy.]
It is obvious Mr. Spitz that you believe the same as I, that a prosecutor should conduct himself honorably, professionally, should be forthright, honest and stay above the belt. Instead we have a man who browbeats jurors, badgers witnesses, manipulates judges, lies endlessly without shame, violates defendants constitutional rights, withholds evidence, manufactures evidence, commits perjury in lieu of witnesses (blatantly), prosecutes ridiculous cases, does dirty low tricks in court, and takes advantage of handicapped people (Mr. Jimmy Norton).
In short the District Attorney is ….. He knowingly prosecutes/bullies innocent men/women and stops at nothing to win no matter what he has to do to accomplish this. This fact is apparent by his conduct that he is a disgrace to the judicial system and the foundational principles the system was originally built upon. If anything he prosecuted was "just," then the evidence would speak for itself, period.
As always, my respects extended to our editor and Mr. McEwen. I enjoy the weekly issue here. I sheath my sword and rest my case.
The one and only
PS. My love out there to my kids who visit every week; I love the support.
MUELLER REPORT: THE KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
The special counsel found 11 instances in which Trump and his campaign’s actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice
by Sabrina Siddiqui
The special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was made public on Thursday, examining potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow and whether Donald Trump obstructed justice.
The special counsel found 10 episodes in which Trump’s own actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice, detailing several instances in which the president’s demands to interfere with the investigation were blocked by his aides. And in a separate instance, it was found there were additional efforts by the Trump campaign before the election to obscure its contacts with Russian figures.
The report separately examined the repeated contacts between the Trump campaign and individuals with ties to the Russian government. While Mueller did not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy, investigators made clear the Trump campaign was “receptive” to offers of assistance from the Russians.
Here are the key takeaways:
Obstruction inquiry finds numerous ‘episodes’ involving Trump
Mueller investigated 10 instances in which Trump sought to use the power of the presidency to obstruct justice by either personally interfering with the Russia investigation or directing his aides to do so.
They included Trump’s request that the then FBI director, James Comey, drop the investigation of the former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Trump’s attempts to stop the then attorney general Jeff Sessions’ recusal from overseeing the Russia investigation; Trump’s demand that the special counsel’s investigation be limited to election meddling only; and Trump’s efforts behind the scenes to fire Mueller.
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” the report states, “but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
In other words, Mueller ultimately did not definitively conclude that Trump obstructed justice, but it was not for a lack of trying.
Mueller made clear he was not exonerating Trump of obstruction, writing:
“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards however we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Mueller separately noted that as a candidate, Trump repeatedly denied any connections to Russia even as his business was pursuing a potential real estate deal in Moscow. Trump also voiced skepticism that Russia had hacked Democratic party emails “at the same time as he and other Campaign advisors privately sought information … about any future planned WikiLeaks releases”, the report states.
Trump campaign was ‘receptive’ to help from the Russians
Although Mueller did not find evidence amounting to a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow, the report makes clear that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election “in a sweeping and systematic fashion”.
It also notes that Russia was keen for Trump to win the 2016 election, beating Hillary Clinton. “The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.”
Investigators found multiple ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which were described as follows:
“The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations.”
Some of the earliest contacts dated back to 2015 and were in connection to a potential real estate project, known as Trump Tower Moscow and negotiated by the Trump Organization. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen was convicted in part for lying to Congress about the timeline and nature of those discussions, which reportedly entailed gifting Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a $50m penthouse. The project ultimately did not come to fruition.
Among the most notable early contacts with the Russians was through the Trump campaign’s foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, who learned that the Kremlin had “dirt” on Clinton “in the form of thousands of emails”.
Although Mueller did not prove that the contacts resulted in collusion, the report states that the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”.
“The investigation established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government. Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the Campaign. In some instances , the Campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the Campaign officials shied away. Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities.”
Trump believed Mueller’s appointment would end his presidency
One of the most damning revelations in the 400-plus-page report is how Trump reacted to the appointment of a special counsel. Mueller was appointed by the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, on 17 May 2017, following the recusal of Sessions and the firing of Comey.
Trump was informed of Mueller’s appointment by Sessions while in the midst of conducting interviews for a new FBI director. According to notes written by Jody Hunt, who served at the time as Sessions’ chief of staff, Trump did not take the news well:
“When Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked’.”
Trump then “became angry” and lambasted his attorney general for recusing himself from the investigation after it was revealed Sessions misled Congress about his own contacts with the Russians.
“How could you let this happen, Jeff?” Trump asked Sessions. According to Sessions’ recollection, Trump then told him: “You were supposed to protect me,” or words to that effect.
Mueller could not prove Donald Trump Jr ‘willfully’ violated the law
Much was made of Donald Trump Jr’s role in arranging the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York with the prospect of receiving incriminating information about Clinton. (According to emails released by the president’s eldest son, when informed of an effort by the Russian government to help elect his father, Trump Jr said: “If it’s what you say I love it.”)
Participants included Trump Jr; the president’s son-in-law and senior campaign adviser Jared Kushner; the then campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Mueller report states that Trump Jr had informed top campaign officials and Trump family members in advance that “he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation”.
The 9 June 2016 meeting, according to the report, raised “difficult statutory and constitutional questions” relating to “schemes involving the solicitation or receipt of assistance from foreign sources”. But the special counsel ultimately concluded that they could not prove Trump Jr or other participants were knowingly in violation of the law:
“The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law.”
Sarah Sanders admitted she lied to press about Comey’s firing
The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has long come under fire for making public statements that are untruthful or misleading.
But her role in covering up Trump’s motivations for firing Comey were laid bare in the report, which cited how her statements at a press briefing days after the FBI’s firing were at odds with the facts. Sanders insisted at the briefing that Trump fired Comey at the justice department’s recommendation and repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that rank-and-file members of the FBI had lost confidence in Comey.
Sanders acknowledged to the special counsel’s office that her assertion “was not founded on anything”.
According to the Mueller report, Trump actually decided to fire Comey before hearing the recommendation of the justice department and further pointed to the Russia investigation in his rationale:
“The day after firing Comey, the President told Russian officials that he had ‘faced great pressure because of Russia’, which had been ‘taken off’ by Comey’s firing.”
Mueller lays out case for Congress to investigate Trump on obstruction
The attorney general, William Barr, made his own determination that the special counsel lacked sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. He also said he did not know if Mueller intended for Congress to be the arbiter of the matter.
Mueller, in fact, left little room for interpretation on Congress’s authority to evaluate the evidence and reach its own decision on obstruction:
“We concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” the report states, adding:
“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
Are Americans simply the biggest collection of gullible saps ever to people the earth? I mean, no matter what kind of laughable stories they are fed to stoke fear and panic, and to justify the latest Imperial campaign the elites and corporations want to pursue, they can count on a good percentage to respond as a panicked, sheeplike herd, falling into line to surrender their most important rights in unreasoning fear of the latest bogeyman.
I have friends who, incredibly, still believe the fairytale official explanation of the Kennedy assassinations, even after the publication several years ago, of James Douglass's masterwork tome on the subject, JFK and the Unspeakable, which lays out in exhaustive detail, based on only recently released (finally) files on the subject, the treasonous hysteria about communism that was widespread at the time. The various security agencies, the military and most police were largely united in their murderous enmity for JFK, considering him 'soft on communism'.
Never mind that we probably owe all of our existences today to the backbone that JFK showed in pushing back against the insistence of the joint Chiefs etc. that he take advantage of our numerical superiority and launch a massive nuclear first strike against Russia. Unelected madmen like the Dulles brothers held positions of the highest authority, and were so obsessed with the overhyped global communist threat (which was never much of a threat at all, given the obvious lameness of its Russian practitioners), that they were not only willing, but eager, to annihilate hundreds of millions or perhaps a billion innocent human lives; people who had never done us any harm, for the glory of their diety, the golden calf of Pure Capitalism.
It's truly amazing how so many people are willing to ignore the evidence of their own eyes to swallow the official explanation; to the point where they can watch the Zapruder film footage, where it could hardly be more clear that a bullet enters JFK's head from the front and blows the back of his head out onto the car's trunk lid, but who will then buy the rent-a-scientist explanation of how the bullet actually came from the back (where Oswald was).
In a rare testament of the common sense of most folks, even after more than a half century of unrelenting propaganda on the matter, a solid majority doesn't buy the 'lone nut' explanation. Even congress, quite a number of years after the fact, had to admit that the Kennedy brothers’ deaths were part of a conspiracy, though it was too late to stop the evil that flowed from the assassinations; the descent into the (hugely profitable to some) hell of Vietnam and the never-ending war on self-rule anywhere on the globe where it might interfere with the profits of the corporations that underwrite the campaigns of their captive political ‘leaders’.
Let’s look at the glory of some of our country’s more recent blunders into other nations; how about Libya, where Muammar Ghaddafi undoubtedly ruled with an iron fist, but at least he ruled there, providing some organization to the fractious nation. In the wake of our invading ‘coalition’ (basically the US with a little support from those other first world capitalist nations too cowed to resist our ‘leadership’ of the invasion), Libya has now become one of the latest in a long line of formerly modern countries to have become desperate, lawless, starving hellholes where the rule of any kind of law is long gone. They have been bombed back centuries to the law of the jungle, where the most ruthless have their way with the rest of society with no fear of legal consequences.
Syria is now in the process of this kind of forced reversion to a society where life is nasty, brutish and short. Why should we care enough about Syria to expend billions of dollars on air mailed high explosives to destroy everything of value there? Israel! The Republican’s political paymasters have hit real pay dirt with the Trump administration. Is there anything that Trump will not do to satisfy the Sheldon Adelsons and Hiam Sabans and their multimillion dollar contributions to those politicians willing to grovel the most shamelessly to Benjamin Netanyahu and his genocidal regime?
Just today Trump was in Vegas or somewhere genuflecting to some extremist Republican Israel-first organization, which was showering accolades on him, calling him the most pro-Israel US president ever, after he declared that Israel could keep the Golan Heights; land that they had seized during their ‘67 war. Never mind that it is not our land to give and that every other nation in the world regards that land as Syrian, to be returned to Syrian sovereignty if and when Israel should ever decide to live in peace with its neighbors, a day that has been forestalled these many long decades by lavish US military subsidies to the apartheid state. If one were trying to think of a move that would create the most bitterness and resentment in the Islamic world toward the United States, one would be hard-pressed to have come up with something better (or worse) than this foolish move by Trump.
Whenever you see the Gaza border lined with enormous Abrams tanks, keep in mind that those are all US military welfare for Israel’s brutal occupations. All those tanks and so much more are provided gratis from the US taxpayer, without so much as a bill ever having to be debated in Congress. It seems like each successive president has to outdo the previous one in dedicating funding to Israel, regardless how outrageous their actions.
The Washington Post in formed me a few minutes ago that the long-awaited Mueller (sp?) report comes out in about three hours, so I expect the event will saturate news coverage until somebody blows up a church using a drone. For a while there goes listening much to a ballgame. Or rereading Emily Brady's Humboldt, her work of a few years ago. It's about the Emerald Triangle, and Emily finally gets at least some of the story right. It rings true. So today shapes up to up to involve marijuana journalism and politics. It has already been fed with Eggos and a bowl of Carol's tasty and nourishing curry soup. Grounding. Indeed.
For now, though, as I munch on yogurt raisins and look out out at the river, I see my dad's red and white 1953 Studebaker Champion. He took me with him when he bought it. My mother was in the hospital, having produced my little sister, so tiny that you could hold her in your palm. She broke the record then for the most premature baby ever born at St. Vincent's hospital. The hospital is still there, lost among the business parks along side of I-5 at almost the exact spot when you get your first postcard view of downtown Portland.
Back to the Studebaker. Dad proudly slid behind the wheel and we drove it all the way into the shop, where dad had them mount a little chrome propeller on the front. Although I didn't know the word yet, I thought it was cool. The damned thing spun so easily that the slower speed humming transitioned to buzzing, and dad took the damned thing off one Sunday afternoon. But the day we picked up the car, we used it to pick up my mom. And I met my sister. About the size of my fist. She now works for the State in downtown Sacramento. Pay attention here. This is the stuff of our lives.
PLAYING WITH WILLIE
Relaxing with Willie and Waylon after a bit in the company of American politics and the news from Paris. A couple of times with Treme, another fine internet page turner movie. New Orleans. The music makes me wish I could get Bluetooth working and turn up the brass bands to eleven. Time for some great curry.
The leftover curry is predictably great. In amongst all of it I listened to all of Carmine Burana. High spring outside. A sudden glitch on my wrist. I'll show it to doc on Thursday. But I am assuming it will just go away on it's own. Kate Wolf is singing Leggett Serenade on Amazon Prime. Time for a walk in the sun. Fred the Buddha is still smiling. Making everything right by letting go. Carl's curry was. Just. Exactly. Right. And her dog is named Willy.