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MCT: Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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A GRADUAL COOLING TREND is expected across interior areas today through the end of the week, while mild and cloudy conditions will continue along the coast. Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms are expected in many areas between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. (National Weather Service)

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FINALLY! AFTER MORE THAN TWO YEARS! A RESPONSE FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE on the enforcement of Mendo’s Measure V declaring standing dead trees to be a nuisance.

by Mark Scaramella

Back in June of 2016, over 63% of Mendocino County voters approved County ballot Measure V which declared trees intentionally killed and left standing to be a public nuisance. "This Ordinance shall take effect and be in full force immediately upon adoption by the voters of Mendocino County."

However, there was no specific enforcement mechanism provided in the measure. Mendocino Redwood Co. was seen as the primary target of the measure stemming from their use of "hack and squirt" to apply the dangerous pesticide “Imazapyr” to tens of thousands of non-commercial trees, mostly tanoak, on thousands of acres of their industrial timberlands.

No sooner had the measure passed when MRC said that they were exempt from nuisance declarations under the California’s "right to farm" law which says that agricultural land including timberland is exempt from nuisance complaints related to "accepted and standard farming practices."

The legal question is whether MRC was really exempt and whether use of Imazapyr was “accepted and standard practice.”

So, enforcement of Measure V was suspended while the County asked the California Attorney General for an opinion on the legality and enforceability of the measure in light of MRC's objection. Months and then years passed as various county officials pestered the Attorney General’s office for a response. Time and again, the Attorney General’s staff replied oh-so earnestly that they were working on it and an opinion on the measure would be forthcoming any day now.

On Tuesday morning several outspoken and frustrated supporters of Measure V appeared before the supervisors during public expression to inquire about the status of the Attorney General's response, the most articulate of whom was Willits City Council member Madge Strong.

Strong: “The public in our county is very justifiably and understandably freaked out about fire hazard. I know you share that concern. It appears to the public that leaving dead vegetation whether it's standing or not is increasing the fire hazard. I want you to begin, two and a half years later, to enforce Measure V. It would address that very thing, the fire hazard and the public nuisance of dead vegetation. It directly affects everyone in the county. It is for the police powers of the County to address nuisances and protect the public. It's long overdue to begin enforcing that measure."

(Ms. Strong went on to address PG&E’s use of pesticides to clear their right-of-way also. We will address that subject later.)

Returning to Measure V, Strong continued, “Everybody has an obligation to protect us from the fire hazard that threatens all of us and I think the public passed Measure V by an overwhelming majority and it's been over two and a half years. I don't understand why we can't get that enforced. I ask you to please, long overdue, address that right away.”

Supervisor Dan Gjerde reverted again to his increasingly common snippy tone asking, as if the formidable Ms. Strong was some kind of idiot: “You are still on the Willits City Council, correct?”

Strong: “That's correct.”

"Do you advocate for positions that your city attorney advises against?”

“When there is a legal question on a law, yes, we listen to our attorney.”

“Have you ever seen an attorney where they say wait a second, we are looking for some more legal —”

“We have been waiting for more than two and a half years! It is the responsibility of the City Council and in your case the Board of Supervisors to enforce laws that are legitimately passed by yourselves or the public.”

“We have had two different Attorney Generals in California, one ran for US Senate and almost no legal opinions were coming out of her office during that time. And we have a new Attorney General and we have been waiting for an opinion from the Attorney General for — you are aware of that, right?”


“Thank you.” (Gjerde apparently thought this puerile grilling had made some kind of point so he proudly declared, “Thank you,” sparing us a final harrumph, to indicate he was finished insulting Ms. Strong.)

Supervisor Ted Williams: “I agree with Ms. Strong. I think it's outrageous that the voters passed this measure and more than two years later we are still in limbo. The concern I have is if we begin taking action we will never see that Attorney General opinion and while that opinion is not binding, it does carry a lot of weight. If it's two months away, I want to wait for it because I think it will make a difference. If it is indefinitely delayed then we shouldn't wait, we should begin. But if this board doesn't have a majority in support of funding a legal battle that inevitably will come out of beginning enforcement then I think for me the weight is on waiting a little bit longer because I think having that opinion may shift the balance.”

Strong: “My understanding is that the Attorney General has been saying 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and it's going on and been going on for a year and a half or two and —”

Supervisor/Board Chair Carre Brown: “Madge — I don't want to go further with the state but I do want to remind everyone that on one topic for public expression we have a limit of 10 minutes, so thank you.”

Much later in the afternoon during “supervisors reports” when only the most diehard masochists were still watching the show, Supervisor Williams interrupted his supervisor’s report to invite County Counsel Katharine Elliott for a Big Announcement about Measure V and the long awaited Attorney General’s opinion.

Elliott: “After hearing the discussion this morning I emailed Susan Lee who is the head of the Opinions Department in the Attorney General's office and said, Please be responding to me and not to anybody else. She then sent me a voicemail which is why I left just a moment ago to make sure I heard it correctly and I also called her back to confirm. She is a little, I think, broken up over this, they were close to releasing the opinion and as you are aware, politics change and so someone has reviewed this item and has decided that — ”

Wait for it… Wait for it… Oh, the suspense is killing us!

Elliott: “— the Attorney General's office is declaring a conflict. So we will not be receiving that opinion. So I called her just to clarify. I will be receiving a letter from the Attorney General's office stating that fact.”

Supervisor John McCowen: “Are you able to state the nature of the conflict that they have cited?”

Elliott: “She did not give that to me. Usually in terms of a conflict, usually as an attorney I would not state the nature of the conflict, so — actually, she and I had a discussion and I think I understand what the nature might be but I don't want to hazard a guess.”

Gjerde: “Maybe you could report back at a future meeting on what the scenarios might be if the Attorney General declares a conflict. Is there some other entity within the state of California that would step in and provide an opinion? Or does that mean that because there is a conflict declared by the Attorney General there is no recourse? Usually it seems like there is a backup entity on most issues.”

Elliott: “I will have to look into that. I don't think that there is a particular backup entity, however there are other ways to obtain opinions, say, from the court etc. Even the depending… [?] So I will research that and get back to you.”

Brown: “We can reach out to the Board of Forestry.”

Elliott: “I can tell you that when we started this process I did speak directly to them. I spoke to a number of entities in this state when I was writing my request for an opinion. I also did extensive research myself. Again, some of the entities -- and I think that's where some of the conflict probably lies -- some of the entities -- things are changing because of fire danger and so there are some of the other entities that are changing their policies that are state agencies that would be a client of the Attorney General.”

Williams: “I think our next steps -- I have had those on my supervisor report and I have had a lot of constituents reaching out asking about the state of enforcement and the 17202 [legality] opinion. Now that we know that it is not forthcoming… I don't think the Board of Forestry would be an unbiased party in this matter. I think they may actually have a conflict. I think that we need to devise a plan for bringing enforcement action forward. I could use some guidance on whether you want me to bring that forward or if there is another procedure.”

Brown: “I think it would be best to go through counsel at the moment."

Williams: “Go through counsel and bring the enforcement forward because I know it was paused for this opinion but now that it's been two years and that process is completed, we are not getting an opinion, but it is complete— what is the logical next step?”

Brown: “County Counsel?”

Everyone's eyes turned to County Counsel Elliott.

Silence. Seconds pass, more seconds pass, papers flip, pages turn…

Elliott: “So again, we have a law on our books. The county is not mandated to enforce its laws and if the Board wants some action taken then that would be an item brought forward by a Supervisor to have an agenda, uh, uh, something on a future agenda for a discussion of that item.”

Williams: “When a new law is put on the books, does it take the Supervisors asking for the county to enforce it? I thought laws were presumed to be enforceable just by their nature.”

Elliott: “This board regularly gives direction in terms of what we are doing. We have come before this board regularly on our code enforcement actions having discussions with this board in terms of the needs of this county and what we want to do and there is a financial component to all of this that needs to be discussed that I don't believe is in any part of the budget. When you are directing staff time in a new or different direction, that of course is a pretty intensive conversation, it's not just go out and enforce this action.”

Williams: “If a member of the public at this point were to file a complaint with code enforcement that a law is on the books, will the county follow-up with abatement?”

Elliott: “We will look into that and you should address this directly to the code enforcement manager, I would talk to Trent [Taylor] on that, but I know he follows up on most complaints and so that would be a question again of what kind of staff — I can certainly tell you that we have more code enforcement complaints then we probably have people to respond to, but that's not my field.”

McCowen: “I appreciate the comments of County Counsel and I also think that the chair has given appropriate direction for Supervisor Williams. I think he'd be the most logical to work with County counsels to bring forward the item to present the options to the board. One reason, you just can't go out and say enforce it. As I recall, and I might not have the operative phrase, but there was no way of enforcement, there was no enforcement officer identified in the measure. There is that. There is the fiscal implications. So again, I think working with County Counsel to present the range of options available to the Board would probably be the most appropriate way to proceed. I think it's appropriate that ultimately it be a Board decision."

Williams: "That puts a lot of us in the hot seat.”

Brown: “Only five.” [Laughs.]

Clerk of the Board: “Was direction given?”

Brown: "It was a suggestion. I believe that Supervisor McCowen is also interested. So it will be up to the — no directive — it's up to the supervisor or supervisors to go forward in whatever direction, so not a directive.”

Williams wimped out: “I think we should send a letter to the Attorney General, thanking them for the effort even though the opinion will not be released. It was two and a half years of work and considerable—”

Brown: “And you are absolutely correct!” [Laughs]

McCowen: “A month of work and two years and five months of sitting on their hands.”

Elliott: “I have already verbally thanked Susan Lee for her efforts. Once I receive their letter I would be sending a notice back in terms of thanking them for their efforts.”

And that was the end of that.

Unlikely that anyone would bring it up, but there is a state "entity" which should have been asked for an opinion, and it is not the Attorney General, but the Legislative Counsel's Office (where, ahem, my late brother worked for five years out of law school) whose sole purpose is to give opinions on the legality and enforceability of laws proposed by the legislature. This office thoroughly investigates proposed or pending legislation. (“Founded in 1913, the Office of Legislative Counsel is a nonpartisan public agency that drafts legislative proposals, prepares legal opinions, and provides other confidential legal services to the Legislature and others.”) If the County was interested in an independent legal opinion before they proceed toward enforcement against big, bad MRC they should at least try contacting Assembly Member Wood or State Senator McGuire and ask one of them to refer to the question to the Legislative Counsel's Office.

Meanwhile, the vast tinderbox known as Mendocino Redwood Company Timberland sits there in all its ominous glory waiting for a spark to send up their acres of hacked-and-squirted dead trees.

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by Richard Lea & Sian Cain

In novels including Beloved and The Bluest Eye, acclaimed author dramatised African-American experience with fierce passion

Toni Morrison, who chronicled the African American experience in fiction over five decades, has died aged 88.

In a statement on Tuesday, her family and publisher Knopf confirmed that the author died in Montefiore Medical Center in New York on Monday night after a short illness.

Born in an Ohio steel town in the depths of the Great Depression, Morrison carved out a literary home for the voices of African Americans, first as an acclaimed editor and then with novels such as The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved. Over the course of a career that garnered honors including the Pulitzer prize, the Nobel prize, the Légion d’Honneur and a Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to her in 2012 by her friend Barack Obama, her work became part of the fabric of American life as it was woven into high school syllabuses up and down the country.

Describing her as “our adored mother and grandmother”, Morrison’s family said in a statement: “Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life. While we would like to thank everyone who knew and loved her, personally or through her work, for their support at this difficult time, we ask for privacy as we mourn this loss to our family.”

On Tuesday, writers, politicians and actors paid tribute. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter: “Today we lost an American legend. May she rest in peace,” while Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar wrote: “Holding all those touched by Toni Morrison in my heart today.”

Television producer Shonda Rhimes recalled: “She made me understand ‘writer’ was a fine profession. I grew up wanting to be only her. Dinner with her was a night I will never forget. Rest, Queen.” And writer Roxane Gay wrote: “This is a devastating loss to the world of words, to our understanding of power and its reach, to the cultivation of empathy, to rich, nuanced, elegant storytelling. Her work was a gift to every one who had the pleasure of reading her.”

Margaret Atwood called Morrison a “giant of her times and ours … That her strong voice will now be missing in this age of the renewed targeting of minorities in the United States and elsewhere is a tragedy for the rest of us.”

The house where Morrison was born in 1931 stands about a mile from the gates of the Lorain steel factory in Ohio – the first of a series of apartments the family lived in while her father added odd jobs to his shifts at the plant to make the rent. He defied his supervisor and took a second unionised job so he could send his daughter to college. After studying English at Howard University and Cornell, she returned to Washington DC to teach, marrying the architect Howard Morrison and giving birth to two sons.

In 1965, her marriage over after six years, she moved to upstate New York and began working as an editor. It was in Syracuse that she realized the novel she wanted to read didn’t exist, and started writing it herself.

“I had two small children in a small place,” she told the New York Times in 1979, “and I was very lonely. Writing was something for me to do in the evenings, after the children were asleep.”

The book she was missing took Morrison back to Lorain and a conversation she had had at elementary school. Writing in 1993, she remembered how she “got mad” when her friend told her she wanted blue eyes.

“Implicit in her desire was racial self-loathing,” Morrison wrote. “And 20 years later I was still wondering how one learns that. Who told her? Who made her feel that it was better to be a freak than what she was? Who had looked at her and found her so wanting, so small a weight on the beauty scale? The novel pecks away at the gaze that condemned her.

During the five years it took her to write The Bluest Eye she moved to New York City and started publishing books by Angela Davis, Henry Dumas and Muhammad Ali, but she didn’t tell her colleagues about her own fiction. Speaking to the Paris Review in 1993, Morrison explained that writing was a “private thing”.

“I wanted to own it myself,” she said. “Because once you say it, then other people become involved.”

Published in 1970 with an initial run of 2,000 copies, The Bluest Eye made no bones about its difficult material, wrapping the novel’s hard-hitting opening around the cover: “Quiet as it’s kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father’s baby that the marigolds did not grow.”

The New York Times hailed how Morrison charted the workings of “a cultural engine that seems to have been designed specifically to murder possibilities” in prose “so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry” – a description that dogged the writer for the rest of her career.

Speaking to the New Republic in 1981 , she explained she wanted to write books that were “not … only, even merely, literary” or she would “defeat [her] purposes, defeat [her] audience”.

“That’s why I don’t like to have someone call my books ‘poetic’,” she said, “because it has the connotation of luxuriating richness. I wanted to restore the language that black people spoke to its original power. That calls for a language that is rich but not ornate.”

Morrison’s reputation gradually built as she forged the language of her family and neighbours into three more novels, resigning from Random House in 1983 to devote herself to writing full-time. The publication in 1987 of Beloved, a powerful story set in the middle of the 19th century of a slave who kills her own baby, cemented her status as a national figure. When the novel failed to improve on its shortlisting for the National Book Award, 48 writers signed a letter of protest accusing the publishing industry of “oversight and harmful whimsy”.

“Despite the international stature of Toni Morrison, she has yet to receive the national recognition that her five major works of fiction entirely deserve,” they wrote. “She has yet to receive the keystone honors of the National Book Award or the Pulitzer prize.”

Five months later Beloved won the Pulitzer, unleashing a tide of awards. Morrison would become the first black woman to win the Nobel prize in literature in 1993. She also won the National Book Foundation medal in 1996 and a National Humanities medal four years later.

Morrison continued exploring the African American experience – a project she described to the New York Times in 2015 as “writing without the white gaze” – in novels stretching from the 17th century to the present day. She was never afraid to speak up on issues confronting the US, defending president Bill Clinton from criticism in 1998 by calling him the nation’s “first black president”, or reacting to the shooting of Travyon Martin by outlining the “two things I want to see in life. One is a white kid shot in the back by a cop. Never happened. The second thing I want to see: a record of any white man in the entire history of the world who has been convicted of raping a black woman. Just one.” Her final book, the essay collection Mouth Full of Blood, was published in 2019.

Speaking after winning her Nobel win in 1993, Morrison spelled out the dangers of “oppressive language [that] does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge” and offered instead a positive vision of “word-work” which “makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life”.

“We die,” she said. “That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

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HIGHWAY 128 was closed for a couple of hours Tuesday late morning. A local contractor pulling a back hoe managed to over turn the trailer carrying the tractor on Haehl Grade, which is on the far side of Yorkville. The road was closed to southbound traffic at the junction of 128 and 253, although the accident was miles down the pike. A hopeful rumor went quickly around that a bloody home invasion had caused the road closure but, alas, the event was exciting only to the man whose rig had spilled.

I'VE BEEN FOLLOWING what I can of an on-line dispute raging on the MCN chatline. From what I can gather, two bellicose gents, posting under pseudonyms, are accused of threatening other posters with violence. One of the alleged victims of the threats, Mr. Gurney, apparently worried for the safety of himself and his wife, complained to the Fort Bragg police. As a veteran threat-catcher, serious threats don't come in writing or crank calls. Someone seriously intent on doing harm, does it, or tries to do it, without prior notification.

LOTS OF COMPLAINTS from non-dopers that Ukiah's Sundays in the Park is no longer a family event because of all the weed-eaters puffing away. It is, ahem, unusual that a City-sponsored event in a City-owned park would sponsor a musical smoke-in, but how about the trauma inflicted on little Bobby and Debbie when they see gramps and gran shaking their ancient booties to the sounds? I wonder why parents take their kids to these grisly spectacles in the first place, unless it's to accustom them to the aberrant behavior that now comes with the civic experience.

WHAT THIS COUNTRY needs is some serious industrial sabotage. I read an account by a 74-year-old man, like many Americans in their golden years forced to work, this old boy at a vast Amazon plant on the East Coast. He said his duties required him to walk 14 miles a day! So he quit and got on with a fast food outlet, your basic lateral employment option. Objectively considered, Amazon is evil, forcing thousands of people into the worst kind of rote dehumanization. There are thousands of creative sabs out there, and here's hoping Amazon experiences some serious monkey wrenching.

SUDDENLY, the federal government announces it's going to execute six men off the fed's death row, where they've languished for years. Do they have it coming? Absolutely, but their executions should be public, not via midnight needles. The rationale for capital punishment is its alleged deterrent value which, as we all know as citizens of one of the most violent countries in the world, is of no value. Short of doing away with capital punishment altogether, the rational strategy, executions by government should be carried out with the blessings of the victim's family and, preferably, by a family member. Failing that kind of personal involvement, a masked executioner, in full view of the interested public — half-time at a Super Bowl would be perfect — should do the vengeance in lieu of The Lord, who famously said He had the exclusive franchise. If executions are being done in the public's name, the public has the right and the obligation to see what's being done in our name.

WHITE NATIONALISM. I have a hard time taking it seriously, although the boys in the back of the classroom, the remedial readers, seem to feel imperiled by darker people. And in Europe there's a strong push-back against immigration from the Moslem countries. And in any population you find a large number of lowdown, mean, stupid bastards more or less organized as Republicans. Here in Boonville, there are a couple of uninstructed characters who drive around with confederate flags flying, the infamous symbol for treason and slavery. Ask them about their allegiance and they sputter about "heritage" and "our way of life." Dudes! Fewer than ten percent of Southerners owned other people, and I seriously doubt your ancestors were among the planter aristocracy. But in the U.S. are we talking a real movement capable of more than an occasional mass shooting? Call me Mr. Pangloss, but unless my eyes are as treacherous as the rest of my failing body parts, there are millions of genuinely affectionate loyal, inter-ethnic relationships in this country where there were virtually none prior to, say, 1965. Most white Americans aren't about to sign up for "white nationalism."

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QUIZ THURSDAY NIGHT! Thursday, the 8th, is the second Thursday of the month, so we shall be having the Quiz at Lauren’s, starting at 7pm prompt. You know makes sense, Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master

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by Anne Fashauer

Last week I contemplated whether or not summer was ”over.” After spending a weekend in north-central California, I am pretty sure it’s still summer! For the past 30 years my husband’s family has been gathering at Lake Siskiyou outside of Mt. Shasta City for an annual family reunion. Over the past nine years we have attended most of them. Last year it was cancelled due to all of the fires, including the Carr Fire, that raged around the State. The size of the gathering ebbs and swells; this year felt a little like an ebb year. Over the winter one of the then four remaining Van Nes “kids” died, leaving just my mother-in-law and her two brothers of that oldest generation.

In each year of attendance we have never stayed in the same place twice. Our first year we rented one of the on-site trailers; that was OK except for the sewer smell emanating from the bathroom; if we kept the bathroom door closed it was OK and we spent most of our time elsewhere anyway. The following year we purchased an older trailer and stayed in that; my husband traded that for a fishing boat over the following winter. Next we rented a house in town, which was OK except for the train passing through at all hours and the worst beds I have ever slept in (ever); he then found another used trailer that we towed up there. When that one gave out (the floor quite literally), we started staying in local hotels. This year our brother-in-law booked the rooms up in Weed. Being in Weed was fine; the rooms were not. Clean, yes, bed ok, yes, but cheap in ways that just make it sad - no tissues, shampoo in little tiny plastic bags, stuff like that. My in-laws were across the street and they paid the same amount and had much nicer rooms. Let’s just say that the BIL won’t be making our reservations in the future.

In addition to the family reunions, it was my husband’s 40th high school reunion. We arrived in Weed late on Thursday, spent Friday with the family then cleaned up and drove down to Redding that night for the casual gathering at a local sports bar. I honestly do not know how people live in Redding; it was 100 degrees at 7:30 PM. The gathering was actually a lot of fun, even for someone who knew very few of the folks there. Perhaps it is because by the 40th reunion people don’t feel like they have anything to prove and can just enjoy seeing their old friends? In any case, I did know a couple of people and met a couple more and found that my husband’s classmates were a fun, genuine and cordial group.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to the family; we did find time for a few bike rides around the lake - there is a beautiful trail for hiking and biking - but mainly we hung out and got caught up. It was warm - nice mornings but in the 90’s during the hottest part of the day - and we swam, boated and just enjoyed being with family.

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ON JULY 21, 2019 at approximately 12:50 PM, Mendocino County Deputies were detailed to a domestic disturbance in the 31000 block of Camp 1 Ten Mile Road in Fort Bragg. Deputies arrived and made contact with a 45 year-old male and Crystal Adele Bucher, 35, of Fort Bragg, who were a married couple.

Deputies learned that an argument had taken place over a cordless telephone and during this event, Bucher had struck the the 45 year-old male with her fists. Deputies observed visible injuries on the 45 year-old male's body consistent with the reported assault. Bucher was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Felony Domestic Battery where she was to be held on $25,000 bail.

ON JULY 25, 2019 at approximately 4:38 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence dispute at an address in the 7600 block of North State Street in Redwood Valley. Upon arrival, Deputies contacted a 37 year-old male. Deputies learned the male and his wife of approximately five years (Tashina Ray, 36, of Redwood Valley) were involved in a physical fight.

During the fight, Ray punched the male in the face two times with a closed fist, causing bleeding and visible swelling. During the investigation, Deputies located Ray and placed her under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Ray was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.


ON JULY 26, 2019 at approximately 8:29 P. M. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence dispute which occurred in the 5700 block of Ridgewood Road in Willits. Upon arrival, Deputies contacted a 54 year-old female. Deputies learned that the female has been in a relationship with Anthony Robert McCoy, 48, of Willits, for approximately five years.

McCoy and the female became involved in a verbal argument. During the argument, McCoy approached the female and "head butted" her on the nose, causing her nose to bleed. McCoy then pushed the female to the ground, causing bruising to her arm. McCoy was located a short time later and placed under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. McCoy was found to be on summary probation out of Mendocino County, with terms including, but not limited to, obey all laws. McCoy was additionally charged with Violation of Probation. McCoy was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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a tribute by Jerry Ferraz

On Sunday, July 28th, San Francisco lost one of its greats, an artist, poet & translator and also promoter of the arts, especially in North Beach where the Beat legacy hangs by a thread, but a golden thread. And Ron was a great part of that work to keep bohemia alive sans politics, sans “career,” and sans celebrity. He will be remembered not only for his masterful painting and collage work, but also for his surreal but deeply human writing and laser-sharp criticism of everything from lame liberalism to fascist communism, and especially as far and away the best and funkiest translator of Baudelaire, bar none; also for his unmerciful humorous family portraits, inventing new forms of modern disfunction for the professional psychologist and lay reader alike.

Together with his partner Rebecca Peters, another master collagist in her own right, worker of magic champaign cork wiring and editor of Off the Cuff Press. At least three or four times a year, they produced group exhibits of local artists by their Fly By Night Productions at Live Worms Gallery, and once a year just before Christmas they put on their fabulous Optigon Show, showing more than 70 artists for one night only — a Herculean task and joyous celebration of the whole community.

Ron was a world traveler, but like so many dissatisfied searching souls settled in San Francisco with its lively enclave of seminal arts to flourish, as Ron would say, like perfect weather despite the government. Originally from New York, he never quite lost that edge of sarcastic criminal disposition and sharp humor. His conversation was like setting out on an expedition to get deliberately lost in literature, history and classic dirty jokes.

He had been ill for more than a year and produced his greatest creations during that time. He will be dearly missed in North Beach but his true legacy lives on in our hearts, his fearless and ceaseless curiosity about human nature and the world, for he was a man searching for the truth in everyone and sometimes he was difficult, for all genius is difficult. But he was a deeply compassionate soul and demanded from himself as well as others complete honesty and love. Rest in peace. See you soon.

(via Bird&Beckett Books)

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FRANK HARTZELL: How wrong I can be! When I saw the decline of newspapers in the 1990s I figured there would be a bottom. Through cost cutting, salary cutting and generally killing off everything that made the CRUCIAL to communities, the majority of local newspapers lost their futures in the 90s. When the internet hit, I thought a happy funeral was on. Newspapers would start losing money for the chains. Unable to mismanage and cut any more, they would turn newspapers loose. Communities would get their papers back. WAS I WRONG. This article shows how low they can go. First they kill the newspapers then they continue these dreadful ghost papers described here with virtually no staffs. They are still making money, providing no news, paying hardly anybody and doing a murderous disservice to American communities and American Democracy. It’s the total destruction of a critically important trade and component of American life. The papers might take in 1/10th what they once did, but these turds find ways to bleed the last dollar from them. Media News, exposed as the robbers they are in fine national investigations was undeterred, trying to spend billions not to fix the papers they broke, but to buy Gannett and break even more. Thankfully they didn’t succeed with that.

Worst of all are the billionaires who have made a fortune totally robbing news and creating news feed services, which steal news from the few journalists left and fires it about in circles to the cheers of even the likes of Colbert on a recent episode. More and more "news" sites are non-existent, just part of a reflecting mirror that makes huge profits for rich jerks like at the Maven, providing no services, little or no employment and nothing original. AND PEOPLE LOVE IT.

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Re: KZYX's $100,000 windfall. A modest proposal.

Re: Jerry Karp's press release about how KZYX has received a $100K gift from the Dean Witter Foundation, where he says, “We thought folks would be interested to know about the major contribution, and to learn what we're considering to be the best ways to make use of those funds. Please check in with station manager Marty Durlin if you have questions.”

I don't have questions. Just Marty and her program director, two people in the office at KZYX, will be sucking that $100,000 out of the station for themselves over the course of the fiscal year. They won't be paying the local airpeople for their shows. They won't be making better radio, nor making the transmitter available to people who can. They will be changing nothing. I'd love to be wrong about that, but it's been going on for thirty years, and every time they get a new manager they're all, "Things are gonna be different!" and it never is. I dunno; maybe it's something in the water supply there, or the office was built on an ancient Indian burial ground, or there's some kinda conspiracy-theory thing going on that I'm not paranoid enough to really peer deeply enough into to grasp.

In fact, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Corporation will be pissing six hundred thousand dollars into the void regarding KZYX this year, next year and the year after, just as they have every one of the last 30 years (in 2020-corrected dollars), even though the crux of the biscuit, all the phone systems and computers and lights and the main transmitter and Fort Bragg and Willits transmitters all pumping at once cost less than a dollar an hour in electricity. Radio is practically free. $600,000 is an insane amount of money. It's enough money to fully fund forty or fifty radio stations like KNYO or KMEC. The only real difference is the amount of power KZYX is allowed to turn its main transmitter up to, by federal decree.

KNYO has all the responsibilities and needs and FCC accountability that KZYX has. It has more remote studios than KZYX does. It has a downtown performance space and studio in a storefront in the middle of the community it serves, and must pay rent and communications costs and maintain FCC paperwork and keep the transmitter up, just like KZYX, and even so it only costs between 10,000 and 12,000 dollars a year. Because unlike NPR-colonized stations KNYO is operated by people who are in it for the right reason: to give radio people a chance to do radio, not to run a money pump. I don't mind not being paid for my long hours preparing and doing my show on KNYO and KMEC, because everyone else involved in KNYO, including the manager, is also volunteering. And when I'm on the air, when I'm doing the show from Fort Bragg and not via remote, anyone can walk in off the street and be on the air. That's community radio. At KMFB, a commercial station, that was possible, but not at KZYX.

KZYX is not community radio. Mendocino County Public Broadcasting calls KZYX and Z listener supported community radio I don't know how many times a day, and that is such a lie. Without the rich hill-muffins' big donations and the annual CPB grant of like 150,000 tax-derived dollars, KZYX would have failed utterly every year of its existence, going back to 1989. That's how not listener supported they are, and that's how bad MCPB is at managing a radio station unless it's, as I have pointed out many times before, the point: the constant flow of controlling money. There's an old saying: Whose bread he eats, his song he sings. Hesiod, it might be.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that no-one who points this out in public or private will ever be allowed to do a show there, much less be paid fairly for it, and by fairly, I mean the same money per hour as the handful of people in the office are paid. If that's not possible, cut back on the largesse to the people in the office until it is.

Again, KZYX has a program director to watch the automation lights blink and say hi and bye to the airpeople, a business underwriting coordinator to coordinate the business underwriting, an operations manager to manage the operations, and a bookkeeper with a computerized bookkeeping program to keep the computerized books. And when the rock-reliable transmitter fails, as they do ever fifteen or twenty years, there's a real engineer a phone call away. So what does the station need Manager Marty for at $60,000 more than all the airpeople preparing for and showing up all on their own and putting on all their shows all year long all put together? When a radio station basically runs itself. The airpeople do their shows. The automation computer plays the canned crap all by itself. What's left? It's a simple, honest question.

I know KZYX management has always known that radio work deserves to be paid for. How do I know this? They pay [other people's money] into the system that, with a thousand other NPR satellite stations, pays tremendous amounts for canned national shows made by people whose source of information and culture is the same internet available to any local radio person with a computer or a phone. A few years ago I read that just Ira Glass and the two producers of his one-hour-a-week show get paid $500,000 a year. And yet somehow, to the management of KZYX, local airpeople have never been worth anything at all.

This latest windfall of $100,000 could be distributed to all 80 regular KZYX airpeople. That would mean $1250 each for just the last year of their work. That's $12 an hour for 52 two-hour weekly shows. Of course, if you think of it as paying for an airperson's last twelve-and-a-half years, it's only a dollar an hour, but imagine, Marty: You tell the bookeeper to mail all the airpeople a check for $1250, how many of them do you think will get all incensed and tear it up and spit at you and curse your name, and how many will pay a month of rent with it, or fix the brakes on their car, or buy food for a whole family for a whole year instead, and just keep coming in and doing their shows as though nothing had happened except they got at least a fraction of what they deserve for a change. Who knows? Maybe they'd even do better prep and better work, and the general chirpy genially-stoned cheerfulness would sound a little less forced.

Keep in mind, regardless of what Manager Marty does, or whether there's a windfall or not, she takes home for herself $1250 every week-- that is how much she is paid by the week. I'm sure you can think of a few historical words for the kind of community where the people who do all the real work the organization is there for in the first place get nothing but the opportunity to work, as long as they keep their head down and their mouth shut, and the bosses get every penny the workers' work brings in. It's not piracy, because pirate ships divided the loot fairly among the workers. It's not a whorehouse, because a pimp or a madame (madam?), as I understand it, does aggressively take all the money but gives a little back to the workers so a girl or boy can buy a new brassiere every once in awhile, or drugs, or a hotdog, whatever they need. Ice cream. So KZYX is not even as honorable as sea piracy or a whorehouse. A feudal fiefdom, maybe. An antebellum cotton plantation.

The noncommercial band at the low end of the FM dial was set aside for education and innovative projects and creative experimentation and weirdness that the creative constraints on commercial radio make difficult or impossible. Radio is dirt cheap to do when the owners aren't running things to maximize the return on the owners' investment, and when the management is not incompetent or venal.

But Mendocino County Public Broadcasting is hogging three frequencies, one of them licensed for county-spanning high power, and they're monopolizing public radio and public radio money here. And when they do the rock-bottom bare minimum required of them to keep their high-power license --cooperate with fire and rescue services, say-- they crow for years after about how valuable to the community they are and beg for more and ever more money and keep an even tighter rein on talent, such as it is, than I experienced for 14 years at commercial KMFB. It's galling. The sense of fairness is offended.

I know the world isn't fair, but when it could be turned just a little bit toward fairness by the stroke of a pen, and the person with that pen instead cackles and spins around gleefully in her fancy leather chair, it's funny, yeah, but it's also seriously fucked up.

Chuck out a few slackers. Make public the complete financial records of MCPB; let the light in. Let some new people in who want to and have demonstrated they can do things differently. (Me, for example. You've had my ongoing application and resume since late February of 2012, and every week since then I've been emailing the manager and program director and board of directors of KZYX a link to my excellent fresh eight-hour weekly written-word show, and yez never acknowledge it. I have been waiting for more than seven years. If you know anyone who puts in longer hours to do better radio than I do, and has the experience and list of accomplishments in radio and teevee and publishing that I have, I wish you'd say who that is so I can learn from them.) Oh, and pay the real workers, the local airpeople. Whenever I've said it, the manager or somebody on the board or one of MCPB's elderly cheerleaders in the back of the room always growls, "There's no money for that." That's the biggest baldest-faced lie of all. KZYX is and has always been swimming in money. And now look: $100,000 more, out of the blue. And Jerry Karp says you'll be "spending it judiciously", when we all know that means you'll be putting it in your own bank account. Make me wrong about that, Marty. Pick up the pen, or call the bookkeeper in, and make me wrong. But I know how it is: another month goes by, and that's another $5000 for you, and the universe whispers, "Do you want the money or don't you?" And of course you want it, so. And then another month. And another. And that's how it starts, and that's how it goes.

Marco McClean

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* * *


Subject: Monday Memo

Hello! What a busy week! Just like your own household the City of Ukiah has many moving pieces. Often times I say "You don't stop mowing the lawn while you are waiting for the parts to fix the dishwasher."

Things may not always run perfectly but the show must go on and there is always something happening in the background that you might not know about. I wanted to make sure that you heard the City of Ukiah announced that it was updating both Housing Element Update and 20-year General Plan.

From the official city website "Section 65302(c) of the California Government Code requires that the City of Ukiah adopt a Housing Element as part of the General Plan to analyze issues of housing availability, affordability, and needs within the community. In addition, the Housing Element seeks to set goals, policies, programs and implementation strategies to address those issues. " There were several community meetings where people gave input in both English and Spanish. The Draft Element can be found here:

The public meeting with the Planning Commission is scheduled for August 14th at 6p at City Hall 300 Seminary Avenue in Ukiah. During the first workshop many of the comments were around the needs of affordability and availability of a variety of types of housing. The comments from the second workshop highlighted a need for review of zoning ordinances and building regulations to insure the ability to add to and improve existing housing stocks. As much as the diversity of housing types was highlighted the discussion also focused on the people that need the housing to include support housing opportunities for all economic segments of the community, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or national origin. Through community engagement the City can deliver a well developed plan that will serve our community for the next eight years. I hope you take the time to look over the links and provide feedback.

Believe it or not the last General Plan was created when I was in high school! As you can guess I am a big advocate for updating this document to provide feedback from those of us that were born and raised here, raise families and own businesses and work in our community. The City is trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone to provide feedback. The consultants have a special website where you can go to read the current General Plan documents and to sign up to receive the newsletter and meeting notices. This update process will actually continue for about two years and wrap up in 2021. In order to have a solid document that will give us a road map to our future its important that you get engaged and comment on the needs of yourself, your family and your businesses.

We can put some big goals on the table for the future of our valley for economic development, sustainability and community involvement. Please engage!

Happy Monday!

Mo the Mayor / The Mo You Know

Maureen Mulheren

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“I think you may have miscalculated the length of the modern attention span.”

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To the Editor:

I can only hope that this will be my last letter to the editor regarding the Palace Hotel.

Sure, we can blame the original investors. They bought in cheap but were not willing to back up their investment. Then, they protracted any process or procedure to address this decrepit eyesore.

This eventually led to the incredible decline in the property value, the property values of those businesses in close proximity, and it is smack dab in the middle of town.

Now, there is blame all around for this travesty. But, how long has this been a problem? A year? 10 years. 20 years. More?

Who is to blame now?

This money pit has been enabled. Enabled by those who are empowered to protect us from this kind of decay and decline.

Come on, please. Enough is enough. At what point does a brick have to fall off of the Palace Hotel and kill someone for action to be taken?

Look, we need to pay more immediate to the things that surround us.

I would ask those in authority to take action. NOW!

My immediate neighbor told me that a local politician was stopped in traffic, due to a fallen brick from the Palace Hotel.

He was stopped as well right behind. What does it take. A brick to fall on your head?

Until we see a plan to immediately address the problem of the Palace Hotel, then it is difficult for me to take any downtown “improvement ideas” seriously.

Dear “powers that be”. Please do your job. Please take care of business. There is no excuse for tolerating this vile albatross for one more nanosecond.

The clock is ticking, and this travesty is on your watch. Not anyone else’s. No more excuses please.

The Palace Hotel should be condemned, or it should have been condemned. With that said, I now condemn our politicians for their lack of addressing this problem for decades. Not months, or years. FOR DECADES!!

What will it take? A brick falling on your head? Well, this letter is my brick.

Johnny Keyes


* * *


Acosta, Benavi, Depree, Fine

SOLOMON ACOSTA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

GILBERT BENAVIDEZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, community supervision violation.

JOSHUA DEPREE, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

EMMY FINE, Fort Bragg. Vandalism.

Hoplock, Lamun, Lopez-Martinez

MELISSA HOPLOCK, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

STEVEN LAMUN, Talmage. Protective order violation.

MARIA LOPEZ-MARTINEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. False personation of another.

McConnell, Pardini, Perdue

DEAN MCCONNELL, Willits. DUI, suspended license.

WENDY PARDINI, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance where prisoners are kept, probation revocation.

JOSHUA PERDUE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Perry-Pereira, Rickel, Sanchez

ALEXANDREA PERRY-PEREIRA, Willits. DUI, controlled substance.

JON RICKEL, Ukiah. County parole violation.

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)

* * *


by Ted Rall


I’m from Dayton so I’m thinking about this today: Why hasn’t Congress done anything to address our national epidemic of mass shootings, namely reviving the assault weapons ban? People—Democrats and not a few Republicans—ask me that all the time. I bet all left-leaning pundits get that question.

The answer is simple. But it’s not something most people want to hear. It’s the same answer I give to another question I get a lot: why hasn’t Trump been impeached?

Congress hasn’t gotten off its collective pasty lobbyist-fattened ass because the streets of every major city are not currently filled with millions of pissed-off people throwing rocks at store windows and who refuse to go home until Congress passes real gun control.

Democratic voters want Trump impeached. They want it—lackadaisically. They don’t want him impeached so badly that millions of demonstrators are willing to fill the streets of every major city day after day, night after night, turning over police cars and setting stuff on fire, until Nancy Pelosi begins impeachment hearings.

This is a fun game! You name an issue lots of people care about. I’ll explain why the political class is ignoring it.

For example: What with experts predicting imminent human extinction, 98% of Americans are worried about climate change. (Who are the 2%? Happy to die but too lazy to commit suicide?) So why isn’t the U.S. government doing anything about it? Because—yes, you’ve got it now—the streets of America’s major cities are not choked by millions of citizens up for breaking things and fighting back the cops 24-7 until the politicians do something to increase humanity’s odds of survival.

You may disagree with my answers on the grounds that breaking windows is mean to store owners, that burning things generates toxic gases, that cops are scary or that it’s more fun to sit home watching TV or playing video games than to run around in the streets dodging tear gas. You can rightly point out that the United States has no organized left-wing political group, much less one on the grassroots level, capable of organizing a mass street movement. You can, even more rightly, point out that we shouldn’t have to take to the streets because it’s Congress’ goddamn job to fix the environment and get rid of our insane president and ban the sale of military-grade guns to inbred derps.

What you cannot argue is that I am wrong.

It is an irrefutable incontrovertible fact that, when the nation’s cities are clogged with millions of angry Americans demanding radical change day after night after day after night, who break stuff and refuse to disperse and fight back against the cops and are willing to get beaten up and sometimes killed for their cause, and it’s impossible to carry on business as usual, our worthless public officials will yield to their demands and do what’s right.

Until then, mass shooters will continue to terrorize our public spaces, SUVs will belch greenhouse gases and Trump will tweet crazy racist BS. Bad things happen because good people don’t force them to stop.

Wishing out loud for other people, like Congress, to do something is worse than worthless. It’s damaging. You’re abdicating your responsibility to act. If you trust in “leaders” whose history shows they can’t be trusted, you’re committing political suicide.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower. Courtesy,

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* * *


These recent mass killings are another major sign that the country is in deep deep decay on the deepest existential-cultural level.

No worries of course, I’m sure most of the media and the ‘American public’ will attribute this all to being just “some evil lunatics”, and fail to recognize the horror of the societal conditions that are incubating and hatching these lunatics.

Example: The Liberal media have already and automatically taken this and spinned it into their Biblical Good vs Evil story around gun control… A grand narrative where the professional, prosperous, technocratic elite once for all succeed in regulating gun control with their algorithms against the heathen horde that are the ‘conservatives’! Of course, Lets just ignore the fact the even if it’s made so that people can’t get guns anymore (practically impossible) there are other means like gasoline and semi-trucks and home made explosives (you can actually but the chemicals and components at your local hardware store for a few hundred bucks) to do a “mass killing”.

“When inward life dries up, when feeling decreases and apathy increases, when one cannot affect or even genuinely touch another person, violence flares up as a daimonic necessity for contact, a mad drive forcing touch in the most direct way possible.” – Rollo May

That description seems accurate for the majority of America. Frightening stuff, just drive around town and experience the fury people express when you take more than a second to get moving at a green light. So what are we to do when faced with the seemingly unchangeble reality of this country?

* * *


* * *

* * *

US MEDICINE’S MESSAGE TO BLACK MEN: We Won’t Spend a Dime to Find Your Cancer!


Black men in the US have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world, twice the rate of White men. It is a leading cause of death for all men and Black men die from this cancer at over twice the rate of White men. The cancer in Blacks often spreads more quickly if not aggressively treated. Over the last forty years, at least 30,000 Black men have died yearly from prostate cancer. Screening with the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test can find this cancer early.

The 2018 US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) report stated: “Screening offers a small potential benefit of reducing the chance of death from prostate cancer in some men.” “More aggressive screening strategies particularly those that use a lower PSA threshold …., provide the greatest potential reduction in death from prostate cancer.”

While acknowledge that PSA screening saves lives the USPSTF does NOT call for universal screening of Black men for prostate cancer. The National Cancer Institute, 4/10/19, The American Cancer Society 3/11/16, and the American College of Physicians, 4/9/13, none of these organizations call for universal prostate cancer screening for Black men.

Why? They screen women for breast cancer, why not men for prostate cancer? Screening mammography for breast cancer has been universal for decades despite knowing that the test misses many cancers. More than 40,000 women still die yearly from breast cancer.

Black men do NOT get universal prostate screening because of priorities and money.

The PSA test is “a hugely expensive public health disaster”. “As Congress searches for ways to cut costs in our health care system, a significant savings could come from changing the way the antigen is used to screen for prostate cancer.”

“…universal counseling which may impose significant opportunity costs by diverting time from higher priority preventative services.”

“Controlling health care costs is the only way to ensure appropriate investment in other areas…”

Black men are not a priority. The political priorities are obvious-Trillions of dollars in tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and trillions in dollars to the military –war machine.

Clearly Black lives don’t matter, but it seems that White lives don’t matter much either.

(Dr. Nayvin Gordon, Oakland; a California physician, who has written many articles on health and politics. He may be reached at

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* * *

THE 'WHITE REPLACEMENT THEORY' motivates alt-right killers the world over

"This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Those were the words that appeared in a manifesto published shortly before the deadly shooting in El Paso on Saturday. More than half of so-called “alt-right killers” are motivated by the “white replacement” theory, which refers to the belief that white people will be systematically replaced by black and brown migrants. The killer in El Paso, who law enforcement believes authored the memo, is apparently no exception.

* * *

THE WORLD RESOURCES Institute's Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas today released a report ranking water stress, drought risk and riverine flood risk around the world.

A total of 17 countries face extreme water stress and taps in these regions could soon run dry. Counties most at risk include India, Israel, Iran, Jordan and Pakistan.

* * *



Woodstock 50th Anniversary Dance Party at Crown Hall

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation…

MARK YOUR CALENDARS now for the next great dance party brought to you by the Kelley House Museum! On the heels of our successful Hard Times and Blue Moon dances, this year's event celebrates the Music of 1969. My Generation: Woodstock 50th Anniversary Dance Party will begin Saturday night, August 17th at 7:30 and rock until 10:30 at our historic dance venue, Crown Hall, 45285 Ukiah Street Mendocino, CA. Boogie to classic tunes like Judy Blue Eyes, Bad Moon Rising, Somebody to Love, and all the anthems of Our Beloved Past. This evening's spin-mistress will be DJ CHRISTINA from Mendo Blendo. Period attire is encouraged! So get on your flowing skirts, bell bottoms and tie-dyes! No host bar. Munchies will be available. For local historians, we'll project a loop of John Loomis' Super-8 SILENT film of a Mendocino Woodlands boogie from the summer of 1978. Digitized in 2006 by Bruce Levene, you'll see Cat Mother, Colonel Wingnuts (Walt McKeown), Skyhook, The Gonzo Bandits, and the Pennebaker Band, including Gary Evangelista, Paul Graves, Mark Lanero, Dennis Lundsford, Mo Munn, Karl Schoen, and a crowd of groovy people dancing in the sunshine. Please bring YOUR Memorabilia to share…. photo albums, posters, cool stuff … display tables will be available.

Tickets on sale NOW! at $20 Advance, $25 at the Door. Also available at the Kelley House Museum and Out of This World in Mendocino. In Fort Bragg you can pick them up at Harvest Market. Sponsored by KOZT, The Coast.

We hope you will come and support this important fund-raiser. It's sure to be a lot of fun!

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THE AUGUST 15, 2019 PLANNING COMMISSION agenda has been posted to the department website at the below link:


  1. John Sakowicz August 7, 2019

    California’s AG took two and a half years to come to the conclusion they have to conflict out over giving an opinion on Measure V?


    And the AG won’t even elaborate on the conflict?


    Sort of tells you what the state thinks of our county. We’re pissants. Redneck hippies. The state shrugs us off. Just like they did when the state developed cannabis laws that had a clear bias in favor of large commercial farmer growing Walmart Weed.

    Mendocino County’s small family farmers growing heirloom medicine are being run out of business. But what the heck. We’re just Mendocino County, population 87,628 (2016).

    — John Sakowicz

  2. Eric Sunswheat August 7, 2019

    In the first month of petition signature drive to place what became Measure V on the ballot, the campaign organizers were informed of controversy in a published letter.

    Campaign point person Eels Cooperider responded in the same issue of the AVA, to the claim that the proposed Ordinance had no legal teeth.

    Suggestion was made to withdraw and revise the text, but the advice was declined, apparently in an effort to show solidarity and make a positive statement.

    Ms. Cooperider eventually ran for County Supervisor, and lost.

  3. George Hollister August 7, 2019

    “Meanwhile, the vast tinderbox known as Mendocino Redwood Company Timberland sits there in all its ominous glory waiting for a spark.”

    One of the fundamental problems with Measure V is that the case for significant increased fire risk due to dead standing trees has never been credibly made. It is a case that exists purely in the imagination. Mendocino County has seen the practice of controlling hardwoods by killing standing trees over the last 50 years. Where is the evidence of there being a significant increase in fire risk?

    • Mike Kalantarian August 7, 2019

      I’ve responded to this challenge before:

      “Actually, we have the experience of the 2008 Mendocino Lightning Complex fires to draw upon. During that event, MRC-managed forests proved to be much more flammable than the rest of the county.

      A quick look at a lightning map from that time shows the great preponderance of strikes in Mendocino County were inland, particularly in the NE corner of the county. Conversely, MRC holdings are exclusively in the western coastal region of this county.

      MRC owns 10% of Mendocino County but they hosted an astonishing 42% of all the acreage that burned during that 2008 event. That is over four times what the odds would indicate (which would have been true if the lightning strikes had been evenly distributed throughout the county — the fact that the lightning mostly struck where MRC wasn’t makes the reality even more odds defying).

      Here’s one more clue: more than a quarter of MRC’s burnt acreage took place in their poisoned-tree zones; that is, over 6,000 acres of hack-and-squirt burned (representing well over one million poisoned trees going up in flames).”

      • George Hollister August 7, 2019

        The most combustable vegetation in the Mendocino Lightning Complex fires was grass, and brush, including young conifer saplings, not dead standing trees. I have heard zero reports from firefighters that dead standing trees were a significant problem. But I have heard the opposite.

        • Mike Kalantarian August 7, 2019

          I provide evidence, and you respond with “imagination” and hearsay.

          Ask firefighters why they moved heaven and earth to keep the more recent Flynn Fire (Oct 2012) from getting into a vast dead zone (just south of Comptche/Ukiah Road) of tanoaks poisoned by MRC earlier that year.

          • George Hollister August 7, 2019

            The Flynn Fire did burn a dead tan oak area, and there were no reports of an increase in fire intensity as a result. I was told the opposite was actually the case. The fire was cut off at a ridge, that served as a very good fire break partly because the ridge road had just been graded. That is why the focus was on stopping the fire here, not the dead tan oaks beyond. There were dead tan oaks on both sides of the ridge that was used to successfully stop the fire. There were ones on one side were burned, and ones on the other that weren’t. There are things that we could learn from both the Flynn Fire and the Redwood Complex fire.

          • George Hollister August 7, 2019

            “I provide evidence, and you respond with “imagination” and hearsay.”

            Mike, evidence is not fact. Evidence is the basis for a hypothesis. That hypothesis then needs to be tested. Remember the old saying, correlation does not mean causation? We can find correlations for just about anything we are compelled to imagine we view as fact. It is a part of human condition. We all do it. Science is supposed to take us to a higher level.

          • Kirk Vodopals August 7, 2019

            I was on the ground at multiple fires during the 2008 lightning complex (mostly in Albion and Elk/Greenwood). From my perspective, everything caught fire depending on wind, humidity and temperature. Didn’t matter if it was dead standing trees, piles of dead trees or live trees. Probably obvious to most, but it’s easier to deal with fire in a mature stand of trees with minimal undergrowth than a brushy, grassy or immature stand of any type of tree.

            It is noteworthy that the fire off of Table Mountain started in an old clearcut with dense, young trees.

            • Mike Kalantarian August 7, 2019

              “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
              —Upton Sinclair

              • Kirk Vodopals August 7, 2019

                Mike, I’ve changed jobs. I don’t work for the evil timber barons anymore.

              • George Hollister August 7, 2019

                The biggest conflicts we all deal with are our conflicts resulting from faith in political and philosophical narratives, and not money. Even if the money is all gone, the steadfast adherents to faith remains. In this case, my observation has been if herbicides were not used,and the Fisher Family/MRC not involved no one would give a twit about dead tan oak trees. Just like the current crop of dead tan oaks along Flynn Creek Road. Have these dead tan oaks significantly increased fire risk? Does anyone care? It doesn’t look like it to me.

                • Mark Scaramella August 7, 2019

                  George, your arguments are irrelevant. You are arguing against a Measure that already passed. Unless, of course, you’re saying it shouldn’t be enforced at all because you still don’t agree with it. Which is quite undemocratic of you, but not surprising. There are plenty of laws that I don’t like, most of them passed in some kind of democratic process or other, but you don’t hear me arguing for non-enforcement. However, I do get Supervisor Williams point that they shouldn’t go up against MRC and their Sierra-Pacific connected legal hit men unless they’re at least armed with an independent legal opinion and an attorney who’s smarter than the current County Counsel.

                  • George Hollister August 7, 2019

                    Measure V is in violation of another law, The State Right To Farm Ordinance. That’s pretty clear, too. The AG is “conflicted”? That is likely why.

            • Bruce McEwen August 7, 2019

              Back in the 1980-90s I planted trees for the USFS, under the vaunted reforestation program, from Coo’s Bay in Oregon, up to Coeur d’Alene in Washington, and all the way out to the boundaries of the Bob Marshall WIlderness and Glacier National Park in Montana — 20-30 years later I revisited those sites, and the “reprod” is nothing but brush, brush with a few fir or spruce here ad there, the ones we planted on clearcuts the public never sees, clearcuts a strong hiker couldn’t cross in a long summer day, trees planted under government supervision, and to gov. specs. (what a failure, a failure in vision, a short-sighted grab and go run with a pretense to reclamation) — all of it, now, as you say, highly flamable, no over-storey, no success, nothing but a stupid waste to build a wasteland of trac houses for suburban cowboys — Christ what a long, stupid goddamn project it all turned into — in the winter, with snow three-feet deep on the clearcuts I went out on crews to burn slash piles — slash piles as big and high as the buildings on a city block in downtown Oakland — burned all the slash in the winter, came back in a year or two and planted in the spring, all of it a waste, a stupid waste, and now it’s all — again, like you say — covered in brush, the most likely spot for forest fires to start.

      • Aaron Sawyer August 7, 2019

        How much of that acreage burned on MRC’s land was a result of CalFire telling MRC that the fires burning on their property that weren’t threatening life or structures were the company’s problem to deal with until CalFire got a handle on the most urgent threats to public safety? It stands to reason that without resources devoted to them, except maybe where they threatened homes, the fires would spread unabated. This would allow them to almost certainly consume more acres than they would have had there been resources present.

        Given the above, I would conclude that a significant portion of the total acreage burned on MRC lands in those fires is a more a reflection of CalFire’s strategic decision to put a lower priority on losses incurred by a large private landowner than public safety, as it should be. The acres of burned land you reference above can just as easily be argued to be the result of a lack of resources devoted to controlling the fires’ spread than they were a result of the fuel types that were consumed by them. CalFire simply had too much to do protecting public safety than to bother with a bunch of private timberland going up in flames. Maybe, as unpopular as it sounds, that large proportion of the total acreage burned in 2008 that was owned by MRC had more to do with just letting the fires burn uncontrolled into the timberlands while protecting the structures and houses on the periphery ?

        • George Hollister August 7, 2019

          The big problem at the time was these fires burned early in the year, June, before CalFire was fully staffed for fire season. So you are likely correct. Volunteer firefighters did a lot of the work.

          On the flip side, since the fires were in June, they did not burn with the intensity they would have later on in the fire season, let’s say in September or October. Also, the lightning was not predicted by any of the weather services. Everyone was caught unprepared, and needed to scramble to react.

          • Randy Burke August 7, 2019

            Not so quick. A thousand lightning strikes were forecast that dreadful night to land in Northern Sonoma, and Southern Mendo county…I know as I stood watch at one of the local volunteer fire departments in the area as a firefighter. The miracle of fog snuck into the area overnight and with it southerly winds that kicked the lightning fires north to where they made ultimate landfall. It was an eerie feeling all night knowing that all resources were tied up and we may have well been on our own. So, as I recall, the forecast was made.

        • Mike Kalantarian August 7, 2019

          Interesting theory, but with a couple problems:

          1) MRC did not sit passively by and watch their holdings burn, in fact they threw tremendous resources at their fires:

          2) MRC holdings, in the western half of this county, abut many homes and populated areas (not in some remote hinterland). I happen to live in one such area, and saw Calfire, AVFD, and CVFD personnel, along with local residents, working together to stop one of those MRC fires.

          • George Hollister August 8, 2019

            Mike, the basic problem with your premise is that no one has remotely connected whatever was going on with that fire, and why in a significant way with standing dead tan oak trees. There is simply no connection.

            It is believable that most of the area had a tan oak herbicide treatment of some kind at some point. I don’t know. The first treatment in this area, that I am aware of, was done 50 years ago in Tank Four Gulch and the gulch to the south. But dead tan oak leaves drop and the wood rots quickly. Unless the tree is perfectly straight, they fall over in 5 to ten years, and are mostly rotted away in 15. If a treatment is done on young tan oak saplings, the rotting process is much quicker. A good example is the Larson Grade dead tan oak view shed off Comptche Ukiah Road. A famous photo was taken there about 5 years ago. Look at it today. All that can be seen is young green forest. And if a fire got into that area today, it would be burning young forest saplings. The dead tan oak is mostly rotten, and in a short while will be mostly gone.

            • Mike Kalantarian August 8, 2019

              My premise is that an awful lot of MRC land burned in that series of lightning fires, and I wonder why. It could have been dumb luck, or it could have something to do with the way they are managing those lands.

              MRC told me that over 6,000 of their total 23,196 acres burned during that event were in poisoned-tree zones.

              • George Hollister August 8, 2019

                The purpose for most forest landowners who use an herbicide treatment, that results in a standing dead tree, is to enhance or create regeneration of conifer trees. (I use it to increase growth of the existing stand, and for stand maintenance.) Conifer regeneration, like all young trees, can be flammable, particularly if it is dense and over stocked. But the fire problem with regeneration is not unique to using herbicides. It is a long recognized problem everywhere. Pre-commercial thinning can help, and is something that is needed more than we know. Pruning has benefits as well. But then there is the same misconception that thinning these overstocked stands increases fire risk. It might, in some cases, for a short time, but in the long run it decreases fire risk.

                Another part of the discussion that has been lost here are the benefits of forest humus. Rotting tan oak, and rotting slash from logging are a part of that humus that benefits the forest. Yes, this humus burns so it needs to be managed. But any humus created should be viewed as a potential benefit. One man’s fuel for a fire is another man’s forest humus for a healthy forest.

                • Mike Kalantarian August 8, 2019

                  I get the reasoning and justification for tree poisoning, George, as I suppose many people in this county do, especially after the wonderful series of color brochures MRC mailed to everyone a few years ago, trying to defeat Measure V. But in spite of that effort, and all that explaining, your neighbors still voted to request that y’all clean up your poisoned-tree mess, rather than just leave them standing dead, to slowly decompose on the trunk. Industry chose to ignore the will of the people and, thus far, the county has been afraid to enact the Measure, and that’s where we stand.

                  • George Hollister August 9, 2019

                    Speaking for myself, if I did what I do on the basis of the will, and whims, of the people I would have never gotten anywhere. Aesop wrote a fable about that.

                  • Mike Kalantarian August 9, 2019

                    The Boy Who Cried Government Regulation

          • Aaron Sawyer August 8, 2019

            I feel like that situation you described sounds a lot like what I was saying about how the available resources were prioritized, at least in the first week or so, for the portions of the fires that threatened life, structures or other resources.

            I’m aware that they hired Grayback Forestry Inc. to fight fires on their property. An interested party could call Grayback’s Merlin OR base and track down Nick Lean, Ryan Watkins or a mustachioed fellow called Wild Bill and ask them about the fire behavior they witnessed fighting those fires for MRC. It would be interesting to hear their take on fuel types, weather and the subsequent fire behavior.

            Thank you for the response.

  4. Randy Burke August 7, 2019

    Thanks for the Bodkins fix.

  5. Harvey Reading August 7, 2019

    “That description seems accurate for the majority of America. Frightening stuff, just drive around town and experience the fury people express when you take more than a second to get moving at a green light.”

    That’s been happening since traffic lights were invented. Before that, people got upset when some dullard took forever at a stop sign. It’s human nature. I love it when conservatives act all-knowing and wise and full of condescension. It gives me a good laugh.

  6. Harvey Reading August 7, 2019

    U.S. leaders racist? My, my whadda shock!

    Not to mention the coup against Franklin Roosevelt, planned by businessmen, that was thwarted by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the guy they wanted to command the military … Instead, he went to congress and exposed them. This country has always been borderline fascist, even before the term was invented. Conservatives like it that way. It makes it easier for them to exploit their employees.

    Sign of a species on its way to extinction.

  7. Shitbird August 7, 2019

    Regarding that white replacement theory: many alt right folks who are also ufo fans (according to what i saw posted before leaving facebook and then also twitter when the delirium got wild) are true believers in the hypothesis promoted by retired Temple University historian David Jacobs. There is a Change coming and human/alien hybrids will assume control. These folks are already manning their battle stations!!

    For all sorts of reasons, including what the close encounters of the 3rd and 4th case data actually suggests, the Jacobs’ theory has very weak legs.

    But, people have fused with the chaotic whisperings of their minds and are tripping big time.

    Bernie Sanders aint laughing at ufos anymore. He was on Joe Rogan yesterday:

    Rogan: “If you got into the office and you found out something about aliens, if you found out something about UFOs, would you let us know?”
    Sanders: “Well I tell you, my wife would demand I let you know.”
    Rogan: “Is your wife a UFO nut?”
    Sanders: “No, she’s not a UFO nut. She goes, Bernie, ‘What is going on do you know? Do you have any access?’”
    Rogan: “You don’t have any access? You’ll let us know though?”
    Sanders: “Alright, we’ll announce it on the show. How’s that?”

  8. Craig Stehr August 7, 2019

    It’s been a big big day in Garberville. Went to the Southern Humboldt social services office early and chose a PIN number for my new EBT card. (The phone interview is August 12th to get CalFresh, and possibly MediCal.) And then, stopped at Flavors for a blueberry scone and a red eye, before ambling across the road to purchase a MegaMillions lottery ticket. Walked the 2 miles to the Redway post office, ignoring the faint appearance of an ego persona, and instead let the Brahmakara vrittis be in full command of the body-mind complex. There wasn’t any mail, so I pushed on to the market next door for a tuna on croissant and a Hard Jun Kombucha. Started walking back, and a car of native Americans who recognized me pulled over and offered me a ride back to Mr. Garber’s town. Am at the Garberville Public Library on my Microsoft computer now, about to go on YouTube for an evening of sitar music. Looking forward to a night of deep sleep on Andy Caffrey’s living room couch, before arising tomorrow without a care. I think that I am beginning to get accustomed to this Humboldt county way of life. It’s not too bad, really. Maybe I should try the local wine. ;-)))

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