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MCT: Monday, September 23, 2019

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WITH FORECASTS predicting hot, dry and windy weather early this week, PG&E advised Friday there is an increased possibility it may shut off power in parts of the North Bay to reduce wildfire risk. PG&E raised the risk of a shutdown to “elevated” for three regions in Northern California — which includes Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Napa counties — for Monday and Tuesday. That risk status is the lowest threshold level at which power shut-offs are possible, and does not necessarily mean that PG&E will turn off power in those areas.

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Two men guarding a property in the 900 block of McNab Ranch Road told deputies they were surprised around 1:45 a.m. Saturday by a group of six to eight masked and armed men, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

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by Perry Barlow (1892-1977)

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by Jim Shields

Those elitists over in Sacramento, i.e., State Legislature and Governor, are at it once again.

No matter what they say about how much they respect voters and how important it is for citizens to stay involved in the political and governing process, they believe and wish for just the opposite.

The less the public knows about what they are up to, the better off elected officials are.

Citizen ignorance is truly bliss, or so politicians think.

For years, politicians have attempted to chip away and erode the three most powerful political rights that citizens have: the initiative, referendum and recall. That trifecta of direct, participatory democracy has been a California constitutional set of citizen rights for over a century. They represent the most powerful rights that citizens possess to combat inept, dysfunctional, and corrupt office holders.

Sitting on the governor’s desk is Assembly Bill 1451, introduced by Asmemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, and passed by both houses of the Legislature. Gov. Newsom needs to deep-six this frontal assault on the initiative and referendum.

AB1451 establishes bars to initiative qualification by requiring that at least ten percent of the petition signatures come from unpaid sources and also by banning paid signature gathering on a per-signature basis.

AB 1451 appears to be unconstitutional since the United States Supreme Court has long upheld paid signature gathering as being constitutional. That fact should give Newsom an easy out to veto this greatly flawed bill. Under Jerry Brown’s watch as governor, he vetoed three similar bills sent to him by the Legislature. Newsom must do the same.

Here’s a quick history of how the initiative, recall, and referendum came about in California.

Hiram Johnson was a Republican who led the Progressive movement in early 20th century California. He served as California’s governor from 1911 to 1917, ran as vice-president with Teddy Roosevelt on the Bull Moose ticket in 1912, and was U.S. Senator for 30 years.

Hiram Johnson was the founding father of California’s referendum, initiative and recall. He knew that big corporations and special interests had the lion’s share of power in government because of their cash-and-carry influence over elected officials. Because the politicians literally were in the pockets of the influence peddlers, the people who were being gouged and ripped off by the railroads, electrical utilities, and other monopolies were defenseless in what was a rigged system. Johnson’s referendum, initiative and recall process reformed government and empowered the people.

Unfair or just plain bad laws could be repealed, vetoed if you will, by the referendum. As its name implies, the initiative entitled citizens to initiate their own laws if the politicians were reluctant or refused to do so. And the recall means exactly what it says: It allows folks to “recall” an elected official from office.

I consider Johnson’s reforms the Holy Trinity of direct, popular democracy. They are the fulcrum upon which citizens leverage government, tipping it over to serve the public’s interests as opposed to the special interests. In the past five years, politicians, special interests, and especially the media elite have foamed at the mouth clamoring for “reforming” the reforms of the referendum and the initiative. They say it’s democracy gone haywire; it’s a process that “usurps” elected officials authority; and, they sanctimoniously sneer that most people just aren’t sophisticated enough to figure out “complex” ballot propositions. What they really mean to say is these democratic reforms are just too damn democratic

I pulled out Johnson’s 1911 inaugural speech to the state legislature. It is over 5,000 words long. I culled out his remarks on the initiative, referendum and recall. I’m not going to embellish or interpret them for you, because you are smart enough to understand his words without any assistance. You’ll find that Johnson is a man who says what he means, and means what he says. It is one of the most eloquent affirmations of the right of the people to govern themselves that I have ever come across.

Hiram Johnson’s Inaugural, Jan. 3, 1911

When, with your assistance, California’s government shall be composed only of those who recognize one sovereign and master, the people, then is presented to us the question of, How best can we arm the people to protect themselves hereafter? If we can give to the people the means by which they may accomplish such other reforms as they desire, the means as well by which they may prevent the misuse of the power temporarily centralized in the Legislature, and an admonitory and precautionary measure which will ever be present before weak officials, and the existence of which will prevent the necessity for its use, then all that lies in our power will have been done in the direction of safeguarding the future and for the perpetuation of the theory upon which we ourselves shall conduct this government. This means for accomplishing other reforms has been designated the “initiative and the referendum,” and the precautionary measure by which a recalcitrant official can be removed is designated the “Recall.” And while I do not by any means believe the initiative, the referendum, and the recall are the panacea for all our political ills, yet they do give to the electorate the power of action when desired, and they do place in the hands of the people the means by which they may protect themselves. I recommend to you, therefore, and I most strongly urge, that the first step in our design to preserve and perpetuate popular government shall be the adoption of the initiative, the referendum, and the recall. I recognize that this must be accomplished, so far as the State is concerned, by constitutional amendment. But I hope that at the earliest possible date the amendments may be submitted to the people, and that you take the steps necessary for that purpose. I will not here go into detail as to the proposed measures. I have collected what I know many of your members have—the various constitutional amendments now in force in different states—and at a future time, if desired, the detail to be applied in this State may be taken up.

Suffice it to say, so far as the recall is concerned, did the solution of the matter rest with me, I would apply it to every official. I commend to you the proposition that, after all, the initiative and the referendum depend on our confidence in the people and in their ability to govern. The opponents of direct legislation and the recall, however they may phrase their opposition, in reality believe the people can not be trusted. On the other hand, those of us who espouse these measures do so because of our deep-rooted belief in popular government, and not only in the right of the people to govern, but in their ability to govern; and this leads us logically to the belief that if the people have the right, the ability, and the intelligence to elect, they have as well the right, ability, and intelligence to reject or to recall; and this applies with equal force to an administrative or a judicial officer. I suggest, therefore, that if you believe in the recall, and if in your wisdom you desire its adoption by the people, you make no exception in its application. It has been suggested that by immediate legislation you can make the recall applicable to counties without the necessity of constitutional amendment. If this be so, and if you believe in the adoption of this particular measure, there is no reason why the Legislature should not at once give to the counties of the State the right which we expect to accord to the whole State by virtue of constitutional amendment.

Were we to do nothing else during our terms of office than to require and compel an undivided allegiance to the State from all its servants, and then to place in the hands of the people the means by which they could continue that allegiance, with the power to legislate for themselves when they desired, we would have thus accomplished perhaps the greatest service that could be rendered our State. With public servants whose sole thought is the good of the State the prosperity of the State is assured, exaction and extortion from the people will be at an end, in every material aspect advancement will be ours, development and progress will follow as a matter of course, and popular government will be perpetuated.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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by David Wilson

The Stars in Motion and Thoughts on Geotagging—

A photograph can be worth many more than a thousand words. It’s an old expression, though, and maybe the number “one thousand” just isn’t what it used to be. But you’ll be happy to know that I’ll spare you the full count today and just touch on a couple thoughts about locations, both in the sky and here on Earth.

Do you expect to find the Milky Way in the sky when you go out to a dark place to star gaze? You’d find it stretching across the sky all summer, but in winter when Earth’s night side faces the opposite direction we can lose sight of its magnificence — the star field we see at night changes throughout the year. The stars all maintain their positions relative to each other, but our viewing angle of the cosmos changes a little each day as we orbit the sun; in half a year Earth’s night side will be facing the opposite direction from now, and in a full year we will again have the same view as tonight.

What’s never the same is the position of the planets in our solar system. They’re relatively near to us, and because they travel about the sun in their own orbits we see their positions change gradually against the fixed stars of the rest of the galaxy.

During the 2019 Milky Way season the Milky Way has been straddled by Jupiter and Saturn. I am writing this in late September, and since March the two planets have slid a bit to the right relative to the Milky Way; earlier in the year Jupiter was just inside of it Saturn was a little farther from it. In 2018 all summer Mars was near the Milky Way, and Saturn was deep inside it.

Photographing at night has made me more aware of the motion of objects in the night sky. The sky changes almost imperceptibly each night, and different parts change at different rates: the stars all move together, but the planets change their place against the stars gradually as they move in their own orbits around the Sun. The speedy Moon appears each night with a different shape and in a different position. All of this helps make the night interesting to photograph.

Meanwhile back on Earth, some thoughts on sharing precise location information on social media. When we share images online, how specific should we be about the locations where we took the photographs? As a photographer I pay attention to the interesting images of others. There are some places I’ve seen in photographs online so many times that I no longer have any interest in going there myself. Some locations I see photographed all the time. How unique would I feel to go make nearly the same photo I’ve seen a hundred other times? I dislike being part of a trend and would rather find less traveled places to photograph. I understand the draw to capture for yourself something beautiful that you have seen before; but I can reach a point where it pushes me away instead. Remember there is power in uniqueness. Find interesting light and you can make an interesting photo.

But there’s a larger issue about sharing locations too precisely, called geotagging: If your image is compelling, through the power of social media you can inadvertently send large numbers of people to the same location by geotagging it in your post. People see the pin on the map and can go directly to the spot. The problem isn’t that it leads to thousands of similar images, but that it can have a terrible physical impact on the location itself. Places have been ruined by crowds wanting their own “me, too” pictures of sites they’ve been seeing online.

An alternative to tagging a specific location is to tag an area, region, or park in general. A lot of areas, ours included, rely to some extent on tourism income. Parks are made for visitors. I do not know the perfect solution, but my thinking at the moment is that it is preferable to tag the park or region generally rather than tagging a specific spot in that area. Sharing beautiful photos tagged with the general area will still help bring tourism dollars into the parks and communities around them. It brings tourists to the area, and from there they can find their own special places.

I encourage all of us photographers to consider the impacts of our geotagging, and instead to tag more general areas, regions or parks when we post our special images. It can still bring tourist dollars into the area, while not focusing the crowds’ impact on specific spots.

Ramparts stand watch over the great Pacific Ocean at the edge of the continent. The lights of a pair of fishing boats glow in the marine layer’s gloom on the horizon. Patrick’s Point State Park, Humboldt County, California. September 2019.

Too numerous to label, stars, nebulae and planets abound in this image with some of the notable objects annotated. Not labeled is the Dark Horse Nebula; its foot is standing on Jupiter, can you spot it? Pacific Ocean, Humboldt County, California. September, 2019.

(To read previous entries of “Night Light of the North Coast,” click on my name above the article. To keep abreast of my most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact me at my website or follow me on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.)

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by Rex Gressett

Saturday morning, bright and early in sleepy Fort Bragg, while most people went to breakfast or cleaned up the beaches or had coffee with their families (unbeknownst to the innocent) downtown at Town Hall the new mill site property tycoons were appearing before the Planning Commission in joint session with the Fort Bragg City Council to make presentations on their various proposals for the development of the old GP Mill site.

It was a long meeting on a nice day and the high-pressure sales pitches on the wonderfulness of turning the greatest oceanfront open space in California into housing developments, high-density housing, supermarkets and hotels were so simultaneous, tedious and ludicrous that the low turnout of interested citizens could reasonably be chalked up to common sense.

Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde has been bicycling around town all week making himself visible, but he was not present. Neither was former mayor and current Fort Bragg councilman Lindy Peters, now a candidate for the Board of Supervisors. Apparently, neither of them saw any point in complicating their feel-good political campaigns with possible political dynamite.

That’s what the Saturday meeting was. But the public was not there to light the fuse. That will change.

The Saturday morning meeting was the last step in ex-Development Director Marie Jones long march around the public to slice and dice the 420-acre oceanfront property into a new industrial/high-density housing, etc. zone.

It was supposed to be a classic "Marie Jones bulldozes the public" event. Then Marie Jones got the ax. Minus the iron will of Marie Jones, the City Council and the Planning Commission had to do their best. The easiest thing to do was was to pretend it was all their own idea.

For the newly acquired property, jumping the gun on the glacial progress of mill site zoning is a major financial gamble. In theory, zoning the mill site is still a public process. The whole mill site could be zoned open space. Bye-bye supermarkets and hotels.

The low-attendance meeting was an opportunity for Harvest Market and the Skunk Train to make their pitches to the City Council (that matters) and slide it past the people of the city (that don't).

It was a wonderful chance to improve the odds of a profitable outcome. They jumped on it with both boots. It seemed to go well for them.

The City Council and the Planning Commission asked a few softball questions to prove they were paying attention and fulfilled their official responsibilities as good listeners. They listened politely as the Skunk pitched a restaurant that looked like a lighthouse overlooking the ancient Indian burial grounds and an extension of the railroad parallel to the northern part of the Coastal Trail.

Railroads are very good for wildlife they promised. Studies prove it. They promoted high-density housing and outlined their plans for a few hotels. The Skunk Train wants to give us Disneyland with housing projects.

The prospective developers had Powerpoint maps describing their various plans and batteries of paid consultants to fill the folding chairs. I estimated that about half the seats at town hall were taken by consultants.

The elephant in the room was the Coastal Commission. Disneyland is not on their agenda. Any plans for mega-development have to go first to them.

When Marie Jones made her initial proposal for the great zoning super plan (“Local Coastal Plan”) to the Coastal Commission she proposed developing 70% of the property and leaving 30% open space.

The Commission staff took one short look and flipped those percentages — requiring 70% of the 420-acre site to be open space.

All that was unspoken context, but no one mentioned it and no one cared.

Harvest Market pitched their supermarket with employee housing for their workers upstairs. Innovative. The Skunk Train pitched their lighthouse-restaurant-hotel collection and all the while the Council and the Planning Commission tweaked and tugged at the various plans as it if were all a forgone conclusion.

Nobody asked what would happen to the great open spaces of the spectacular property that must be left open space by the Coastal Commission mandate and which GP will still own.

The formal plan that no one talks about is to leave them as rubble-strewn wastelands. Probably fenced off from the public — which has, of course, been GP’s practice for decades.

Post zoning, they will be unsaleable to any developer. Maybe out of the generosity of their big beating corporate heart GP will chip in a few tens of millions to clean up their own industrial wasteland and turn it over to the people of the city. Maybe they will make it a park. Maybe not.

Developing the greatest open space on the California coast would provoke mass outrage and convulsions in any city government on the California coast.

It’s a different deal out here in the wilderness. The Fort Bragg City Council once more distinguished themselves as $300 a month amateurs with zero accountability to the people of the city, no vision and absolute confidence in Marie Jones’s fake public surveys. That’s the way we roll in Fort Bragg.

The Council and the Commission are the heirs of the Jones agenda. Now they are on their own.

They are out from under the iron boot of the ex-Development Director, but going along with her agenda was all they knew how to do.

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Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - August 2019

We've been so busy weighing, cleaning, chopping, peeling, sorting, cooking, grinding, prepping, slicing, dicing, de-pitting, de-stemming, de-seeding, and shelling the produce coming in: tomatoes, tomatillos, ten varieties of pears, at least ten varieties of apples, prickly pears, golden torch cactus fruit, goldenberries, eggplants, sweet peppers, hot peppers, shallots, nectarines, peaches, hazelnuts, walnuts, three varieties of figs, cucumbers, basil, fennel, coriander, dill, thyme, squash, rhubarb, string beans, and cabbage, then producing the over 200 labels for products made during the month which requires setting up, printing, cutting, matching to product then gluing, that I don't have time to write. And we're "retired"!

Happy fall to all.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Kreig

PS. Below is a photo of our most serious worker and granddaughter, Kellie.

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WE GET A KICK out of the noise some Supervisors make these days about getting “public input” on the County budget. Earth to Supes: Nobody cares about “the budget.” Least of all Official Mendocino County, judging by the absence of even the most basic budget reporting.

You don’t need “public input” to know that the public wants more money for roads, no cuts in law enforcement and for all other spending to be pertinent to the public welfare. (If elected officials like Supervisor Haschak want to go junketing they can pay for it themselves.)

There’s really very little fiscal room for discretion in the budget. Most of the millions the County spends goes for mandated services either via earmarked federal or state funds or for general fund services with very little opportunity for cash diversion.

First off, nobody’s going to cut anything from the Sheriff or the DA, or roads. Probation? Mandated except for juvenile hall which should be closed for budget reasons but outraged pushback from the judges and the “delinquency community” has so far been more than enough to keep it open for a couple of cool million annually to sequester a dozen or so feral youth.

Substantial cuts in departments funded out of the General Fund would be met with howls of pain and dire predictions from the affected departments that government will screech to a halt without them.

Departmental consolidation? Let’s see…

The Supes consolidated the Library, Museum and Parks into a Cultural Services Agency. That wasn’t a bad idea. But has it saved any money? We’ve haven’t seen any evidence that it has.

A few years ago the Supes combined the Clerk of the Board with the CEO’s office. It’s working ok, but it gives even more authority to the CEO who uses her role as Board Clerk to control the agenda. And we haven’t seen any analysis whatever that any money was saved.

Before that, the Supes consolidated Mental Health, Social Services and Public Health into Health and Human Services. It was supposed to reduce administrative overhead, but in practice all it did was add another layer. The admin staffs in the three “departments” were not cut and the Directors of the three consolidated director positions just had their titles changed without even a reduction of pay, while a whole new gaggle of overpaid admin women were piled on top. That alleged consolidation has clearly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for well over ten years.

There are several ways to re-allocate some of the discretionary funds, but as soon as anybody even raises the possibility of cutting anything the various stuck pigs rise in outraged oinks of indignation as happened last year when the Library and Museum boards complained about being folded into the Cultural Services Agency.

We’d like to see the Board reduce the subsidy to the local tourist and wine promotional organization and use the money for fire and ambulance services, services which are chronically underfunded and which the public obviously depends on and supports. The Supes could start by moving a modest $90k of the hundreds of thousands of bed tax dollars they hand over to “Visit Mendoicino” to local volunteer ambulance services to make up for the effective cut they made when they reallocated last year the Prop 172 money to include the city ambulance services. After all, tourists are a major burden on local fire and ambulance services. (The “public” has no idea how much money is wasted on tourist promotion.)

But what do you think would happen if someone put a simple and popular proposal like giving just $90k of the promotion money to ambulance services on the Board’s agenda?

Never mind, it’s just a rhetorical question. We all know exactly what would happen. Which tells you all you need to know about “public input” and why nobody bothers with general public input on the budget unless the subject is their own budget.

We could also try asking for public input about whatever general fund dollars are going into the black hole known as Mental Health, but that subject is so grotesquely opaque that nobody would even know where to begin.

The talk about getting “public input” does nothing more than rubberstamp the status quo and postpone any actual changes into the nebulous future when circumstances and issues will have changed and everybody now in authority is gone. It’s the local government equivalent of Big Timber’s effective old strategy of “Talk & Cut” where BT, looking and talking sincere as all heck, went to lots of meetings and soothed the enviros with empty talk about reform of timber practices. The talk went on for years while the outside timber corps cut and run, crippling the local timber industry to the remant work it is today.

(Mark Scaramella)

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SUNDAY MORNING'S Chuckle Buddy television shows rotated between Trump's and Biden's adventures in the Ukraine, and the Democratic Party candidates descending on Iowa, the latter news consisting of frenetic film clips looking like some kind of home movie about people you'd rather not know.

JOE BIDEN'S troubled son has always made his way by simply announcing himself as a Biden, sinecures that include appointment to a Ukrainian company's board of directors. Trump, it seems clear, has threatened the Ukrainian comedian recently elected president of that battered country, with cancellation of a lot of US dollars if he doesn't "investigate" the Bidens' involvement in a place far, far from home. The July 1st edition of The New Yorker contains an excellent piece on Hunter Biden, a screw-up of positively Lake County dimensions.

THE LATEST manufactured outrage at Trump from Democrats is what they do in-lieu of real politics, formerly aimed at improving the lives of everyday Americans. Poor old Bernie, the only true Democrat running for The Big Job is getting age-baited, as is Biden, but Biden really does seem to have lost it, not that he ever had it to begin with. It's clear that the Big Money is getting behind Warren, a much more flexible person — in the eyes of all the wrong people — than Bernie, although Bernie, if he were a Swede say, would rightly be considered a mainstream social democrat, not the Bolshevik the oligarchy paints him as.

TRUMP isn't wrong about everything, not that he's in any position to raise the issue of shady dealing with neo-czars far away in Eastern Europe. Of course Biden's son's placement in a highly compensated do-nothing position in the Ukraine is suspicious.

AND TRUMP certainly isn't wrong about the woeful spectacle of West Coast urban streets, a lamentation shared by most people. All last week the news out of the Bay Area focused on sad stories of small businesses being destroyed by the street pathology outside their doors. And inside their doors. One store owner showed the tv cameras the bruises he'd sustained fighting off berserk street people as they helped themselves to his goods.

AND TRUMP got my attention when he said that federal intervention might be needed to get the walking wounded up and off the sidewalks. Only federal funding could manage the re-introduction of mandatory hospitalization and the hospitals that would go with it to treat the many thousands of people whose public psychosis is destroying public and private space. But it's unlikely Republicans, holed up in their rural fastnesses and gated urban compounds, would fund such an enormous rehab, and on the great unraveling will go until… Well, major unpleasantness. At a minimum.

"…AND NOW ANOTHER San Francisco business joins that list [of closed businesses.] Mr. Smith’s, a Mid-Market nightclub and cocktail lounge, quietly closed its doors after 15 years. Last month, Max Young, owner of Mr. Smith’s, wrote an email to Mayor London Breed and District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney to express his frustration over widespread drug use and dealings just outside his business. The lack of action taken on this issue and other stressors ultimately led to the closure, according to Young. 'As of today I closed my business, Mr. Smith’s,' Young wrote in the email dated Aug. 31, according to the Examiner. 'Rampant open-air drug dealing and drug use has completely taken over my block. My employees quit, my customers disappeared, no one wants to be on my block, including me. As a native San Franciscan it makes me sick to say that’."

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Barkowski, Bautista-Maldonado, Beck

LAURA BARKOWSKI, Magalia/Redwood Valley. Forgery, under influence, use of access card account info without consent, bad check.

FAUSTINO BAUTISTA-MALDONADO, Santa Rosa/Willits. Probation revocation.

MELISSA BECK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Berg, Frank, Gallagher

ROBERT BERG, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, resisting.

BRIDGETTE FRANK, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats.

CHRISTINA (formerly Bradley) GALLAGHER, Fort Bragg. Vandalism, probation revocation. (Repost with updated booking photo.)

Gonzales, Guillory, Guzman, Hackelberg

MONIKA GONZALES, Citrus Heights/Willits. Trespassing.

STERLING GUILLORY, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Assault weapon, no evidence of current registration, resisting.

MANUEL GUZMAN, Redwood Valley. DUI.

ROBERT HACKELBERG, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol intoxication.

Jack, Pacheco, Rodriguez

RHONDA JACK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

BETHANY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.

ESTEBAN RODRIGUEZ, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-loitering on private property, ammo possession by prohibited person, probation revocation.

Shed, Short, Smith

KIERA SHED, Ukiah. False personation of another, failure to appear.

JOHNATHAN SHORT, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

LORRAINE SMITH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

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THE US GOVERNMENT has collected information about Americans since the first federal census in 1790. At every point in American history when the government has stepped up those efforts, clandestine or not, citizens have protested and resisted, some number of Americans greeting each new regime as marking the end of American freedom. As the gifted historian Sarah Igo argues in “The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America” (Harvard), within this long fight lie the origins of most modern ideas about both privacy and citizenship, including the idea of the “private citizen.” Americans complained in the 1870s when the federal government was found to be opening people’s mail. They complained in the 19-teens after the founding of the FBI which spied on socialists and African-American “subversives.” They complained about draft-registration cards, drivers’ licenses, and every other government-issued identification, as forms of tracking and surveillance, including, after 1935, Social Security cards, a punch card for every American. By 1966, as the Senate Judiciary Committee reported, the federal government held, in separate agencies, computer files containing “more than 3 billion records on individuals, including 27.2 billion names, 2.3 billion addresses, 264 million mental health records, 916 million profiles on alcoholism and drug addiction, and 1.2 billion financial records. That year, Americans debated a proposal for establishing a National Data Center, a peer to the Library of Congress (which holds books) and the National Archives (which holds manuscripts), to store all the data on a central computer. Congress convened hearings on “computers and the invasion of privacy.” “The citizen concerned about the erosion of his privacy has until now had some consolation in knowing that all these records about his life have been widely dispersed and often difficult to get at,” Vance Packard wrote in the New York Times. “But today, with the advent of giant sophisticated computers capable of storing and recalling vast amounts of information, this consolation is vanishing.” The proposed National Data Center died. But data surveillance endured.

In 1971, Senate hearings on federal data banks revealed the existence of a vast program of domestic surveillance conducted by the US military. By 1974, there had been so much documentation of government-run and computer-stored and processed surveillance of civilians that Congress passed the Privacy Act, which opened with this indictment: “Increasing use of computers and sophisticated information technology, while essential to the efficient operations of the Government, has greatly magnified the harm to individual privacy that can occur.” Passed when Americans’ distrust of government was at a high point, given the betrayals of Vietnam and Watergate, the Privacy Act failed to protect individuals’ private data from corporations. Concern about the capture of personal data seemed to be directed only at the government. (Bell Telephone Company, for instance, had been collecting bulk data about its customers to the best of its ability since its founding in 1877.) At Senate committee hearings in 1973, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense was asked whether ARPANET, the Pentagon-run precursor to the Internet, was secretly collecting information about American citizens. “It is a marvel in many ways,” he answered, but it “simply does not fit the Orwellian mold attributed to it.”

— Jill Lepore

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I often read of the desperate need for housing, which I certainly understand after the fires. What I can’t fathom is the proliferation of Airbnbs allowed when such a need exists.

There is a neighborhood nearby that appears to have as many vacation rentals as permanent homes, which is really affecting the quality of that neighborhood. The cost of becoming an exclusion zone in unincorporated areas (no new vacation rentals) is prohibitive. It seems as long as the Board of Supervisors allows the rampant use of homes as vacation rentals the need for housing will worsen.

Beth Leibbrandt


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San Francisco in the 1940s

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Was making my morning coffee reflecting on the beans’ packaging: various plastics for self-sealing and venting, and some combination of foil over plastic-coated paper, I assume. I was struck by the transitory “convenience” of all this material that will one way or the other re-enter the biosphere someday. It’s all from earth, so far as I can tell.

There was a time (prior to The Graduate) when we packaged everyday stuff in paper. We might transfer our paper-bound pound of coffee beans into a ceramic jar with a rubber gasket to keep it fresh. Not as convenient as the Trader Joe’s (owned by Aldi so I am told) re-sealable vented soon-to-be-in-waste-stream bag — after all one has to take the time to pour the beans into the ceramic jar and then handle the relatively heavy thing each morning. OMG!

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Hey you CARB and climate control lovers, how come with all these raging fires we’ve had in the last few years, where did the smoke go? Did it stay here? No! It went into the atmosphere, gone forever! You people don't realize what you are saying! You liberal Democrats are leading the American people on for yourself, money, and screwing everybody else at the same time. Al Gore started it. He made billions and everybody he touched made billions and the conservative people stood there looking amazed. The Democrats robbed the citizens of California and the United States. The atmosphere will swallow anything that we can stir up. Mother Nature will take care of whatever it needs to take care of with a big storm or a big wind. So quit putting people on the hook for climate change!

Bill Clinton was in office for eight years and gave the Liberals everything they wanted. Eight years of George Bush was almost as bad. Then we got Barack Obama who gave the liberals everything they wanted including climate change and global warming. So that's why we had the big rally around the world on climate change. They had 24 years to build on this. 24 years! It's the biggest hoax in the world ever! When the Republicans get 24 years to come back on them it's going to be a different story, believe me. You people out there who are rallying for climate change are so brainwashed and so undernourished that it's impossible to describe it. Mother Nature will take care of anything we have going on in the United States. Or maybe Mother Nature will make it go wrong. But human beings won’t. No. No! It's all a liberal hoax on the American people. I can just see Mother Nature floating around out there in space looking down on these crowds assembling to demonstrate against or for climate control for the Democrats and for the Democrats only. Mother Nature is saying, “You stupid sons of bitches. You will find out.”

Gavin Newsom and his administration is being rejected by the American people of California. He will be out of office within the next year. Petitions are going around all over the state to get him impeached. Donald Trump came to San Francisco for a couple days. He puked when he looked at San Francisco and LA. He said it was unacceptable. He is going to sic the EPA on everybody in California. The state of California was begging for federal money, he said no, no, no, no. No! He rejected or took away the CARB initiative emission controls that Barack Obama put on and now there will be federally ruled emission controls which will make it possible to drive cars and make it easier to drive cars and you won't smell that stink anymore when you get behind one. Oh boy.

You Democrats have screwed up everything you have touched when it comes to running the country. Why do we have to put up with liberal Democrats who hate the standard and way of law enforcement? They allow criminals to flow into our country and settle down in California and make themselves at home. Why do we have to have liberal Democrats who make laws where you have to do background checks to buy ammunition? Stupid laws like the Gavin Newsom administration makes. I would like to see every sheriff in every county get together and then go to the Capitol building in Sacramento and say, Hey enough is enough, and then I would like to see the government go out into the country and say no more anti-Americans. This is it. Enough is enough. I don't care what you believe in but if you’re an anti-American you're done.

God bless Donald Trump for four more years.

Jerry Philbrick


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COMING UP In The Anderson Valley Village

CLICK HERE to view the full calendar: The Anderson Valley Village Calendar of Events

Below is a link to all of the calendar events for the next two weeks that are hosted by The Anderson Valley Village as well as events in our community at large. Plenty to keep you busy! Note: We try to maintain this calendar as events change, especially our events. Other events listed here are subject to change without notice so contact the particular organization for more details. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us:

Anica Williams, 707-684-9829,

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  1. John Sakowicz September 23, 2019

    In California, nearly half (47.1%) of the revenue that the state’s 58 counties receive come from the state and federal governments, and local property taxes made up almost one-fifth (19.5%) of the total.

    Realignment is about 15 %.

    Smaller sources of revenue include sales taxes, other taxes, fines, licenses, and permits. Counties also receive revenue from business-type activities, like airports, hospitals, or golf courses. The sale of water from county-owned reservoirs or power from county-owned dams could be another source of revenue.

    More than half (54.6%) of these federal and state dollars goes to public protection or public assistance.

    And counties provide other municipal services to residents, besides law enforcement, of course. They include roads, parks, emergency response services and libraries.

    General funds/discretionary is usually in the range of 16-19 %.

    As a Supervisor, I will have to ask myself basic questions.

    Do I have an understanding of how the budget affects the operations for which the County is responsible? What do I know about the County Budget Act?

    Is the budget aligned with the Board’s strategic vision? Does the County have a strategic vision?

    What is the County’s policy for financial reserves?

    What is the County’s long-term and short-term debt, and bond rating?

    Is the budget balanced and sustainable for the long term? What underlying assumptions are being made regarding the revenue the County relies on; and the expenditures the County may or may not control?

    Is the County CEO making all the necessary budget requests from state and federal funding sources?

    What is County’s discretionary revenue? Is it growing or contracting? How will the Board spend that revenue? Will the Board spend that revenue on restoring filled positions? On restoring vacant positions? On new positions? On infrastructure? On maintenance? On other needs? What are those other needs? (My own initiative would be for cannabis economic development, especially a supply-chain owned and operated by a cannabis farmers co-op.)

    What kind of reporting is the Board getting from departments? Organizational charts? Staffing history?Program summaries? Program objectives? Performance measurements? Revenue sources? Accomplishments? Goals and key initiatives? Pending issues? Requests for additional funding?

    How does the County property tax allocation break out vis-a-vis the state averages? Schools 53 % Cities 17 %. RDA Successor Agencies 17 %. Counties 10 %. Special Districts 3 %.

    How does the sales tax dollar break out?

    Who, besides the County Treasurer, County Auditor, or County CEO, advises the Board on cash management and investments? On capital financing and debt management? On financial reporting? On audits? On purchasing and contracting? In other words, who are the Board’s outside advisors?

    These are the questions that keep me up at 3:30 am.

  2. Craig Stehr September 23, 2019

    Thought for the Day
    You are in a state of delusion, for your consciousness is in error, taking the temporary for the eternal, taking the appearance for the reality and taking a strange land – to which you are journeying – to be your real abode.

    – Swami Chidananda

    • Michael Koepf September 23, 2019

      A Swami offers explicit directions to Mendocino county.

  3. James Marmon September 23, 2019

    “In California, nearly half (47.1%) of the revenue that the state’s 58 counties receive come from the state and federal governments,…”

    “Realignment is about 15 %.”

    You’re talking about what George Hollister calls “other people’s money” which he claims that no one cares about how it is being spent. That’s why the BoS will not direct Angelo to order a independent financial audit on RQMC and BHS, its other people’s money, who cares? As long as it don’t effect the General Fund and being distributed locally, who cares?

    I do John, keep up the good work.


    Where’s the money Camille?

  4. Eric Sunswheat September 23, 2019

    Why The Future Marijuana Superpower Could Come From This Region

    Marijuana Stocks Fundamentals
    Earnings growth, or at least the prospect of strong earnings, is a hallmark of top stocks. But, broadly, the marijuana industry is losing money. The industry’s billion-dollar valuations dwarf million-dollar quarterly sales figures.

    Not surprisingly, marijuana stocks have poor Earnings Per Share Ratings. Innovative Industrial Properties leads with an 80 EPS Rating out of a best-possible 99. Canopy stock has an EPS rating of 1, the worst possible. Tilray stock also has an EPS Rating of 1.

    Marijuana Stocks Technicals
    The Composite Ratings for marijuana stocks listed on the major U.S. exchanges, as of September 2019, aren’t great. The best rating for a pure-play pot producer went to Cronos Group stock, which stood at 41 out of a best-possible 99. IBD research says investors should focus on stocks with Composite Ratings higher than 90. The Composite Rating is a broad measure of a stock’s performance, including earnings and various technical factors.

    • Harvey Reading September 23, 2019

      Dream on. The Clearcut Triangle is well known for its pipe dreaming.

  5. James Marmon September 23, 2019

    Antonio Brown says he’ll never play in the NFL again, finally Colin Kaepernick has found his wide receiver, have fun boys.

    James Marmon

  6. Richard Weinkle September 23, 2019

    Sako is correct. The BOS is responsible for setting the budget and then doing timely oversight. That is boardsmanship 101. It is not being practiced here. Yet.

  7. Will Lee September 23, 2019

    Once again Rex Gressett proves himself a decent fictional writer with alternate facts and delusional opinions. First of all, the Saturday Joint Meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council and Planning Commission had well over 50 community members participating with very good suggestions and appropriate input. True, there were consultants and architects presenting for the property owners, but certainly not amounting to half those in attendance. Mr. Gressett came late and left early, so he really missed much of the meeting. Not unusual for him.
    So, one week you describe the Mill Site as a toxic wasteland and the next week it’s the gem of the North Coast. Which is it this week? The people of Fort Bragg elected us to bring jobs and housing to this incredible City and that is just what we are doing. The Mill Site will provide 300 plus units of housing; hundreds of new jobs and will bring revenue to the City to grow and provide opportunities for our people. The Mill Site will also provide parks and lots of open space at the same time. And while the site gets developed, we will add infrastructure: water, sewer, streets, sidewalks, lighting and fiber optic cabling for high speed internet access for new high tech jobs and services. That’s how we roll in Fort Bragg.
    And, Marie Jones no longer serves the City of Fort Bragg, so you might go ahead and let that go.

  8. Harvey Reading September 23, 2019


    Sounds like my beloved home state has become (or remains) at least as fascist as it was during HUAC/McCarthy and Reagan eras. Not to mention the Pete Wilson days. How the state got away with pretending that it is liberal was always a puzzle to me. It was always racist, too, just fairly good at covering it up. Remember the flap about fair housing? If this bill becomes law, y’all could rename the state Wyoming Lite. Fortunately overpopulation and catastrophic climate change will settle things down, and sooner than you think.

  9. Harvey Reading September 23, 2019

    You could have a new motto, too: “As dumb as Wyoming, but wealthier!”

  10. Harvey Reading September 23, 2019

    Philbrick needs an emission-control device installed on his mouth.

  11. Marshall Newman September 23, 2019

    Re: Jerry Philbrick: May God bless Donald Trump with an unproductive last 16 months as President and a miserable life thereafter.

  12. Alma de Paredes September 23, 2019

    Dear Mr. Philbrick – I am not anti-American but I am against any superbly ignorant writings like yours.

  13. James Marmon September 23, 2019

    Great J.P. piece today, love it.

  14. Lazarus September 23, 2019

    Mr. AVA,
    I just heard that the Police Officer mentioned in the DA vs WPD dustup has posted his side of the story on the facebook. Hearing his side would be interesting.
    As always,

    • Bruce Anderson September 23, 2019

      We can’t find it, Laz. Can you, and send it to us? I think the original error Jones apparently made is no big deal at all, and certainly not enough to doom the guy forever.

      • Lazarus September 23, 2019

        Mr. AVA,
        Check your “Inbox”
        As always,

  15. James Marmon September 23, 2019

    Eyster has no problem with bad cops in the past, what about Pete Hoyle?

    I should have never testified for him and his civil service appeal hearing in 1996. I was managing some apartments for Mike Shapiro on Leslie Street and was the witness that cleared his name. I watched the whole thing. An idiot fell when he tried to resist arrest and hit his head on my door stoop, inches from where I was standing. Hoyle never touched him, he instead pulled his gun on all us, telling everyone not to move. Three other residents witnessed the incident as well, and he was re-instated. My brother Steve Marmon still gets mad at me when he thinks of what I did, all 3 of my brothers hated him, Hoyle spent years and years harassing us.


    “In March 1995, after returning to patrol duties, Hoyle was dispatched to a loud party call. While at the apartment, the officer backing him up was threatened by one of the occupants and forced to initiate an arrest.

    After Hoyle helped handcuff the subject all the occupants of the apartment, including the suspect’s two brothers, came out and challenged the officers. Hoyle turned his attention to the crowd while the other officer attempted, without success, to remove the arrestee from the scene.

    The arrestee resisted and the other officer was compelled to use his OC spray and take the subject to the ground. The subject was injured in the takedown.”

    • James Marmon September 23, 2019

      he didn’t just turn his attention at us, he held us at gunpoint, the whole complex.

    • Lazarus September 23, 2019

      This is a different deal, James. If the AVA prints his accounts of what went on and assuming he’s telling the truth, there could be something else working here. The minutiae of the Law is tricky, and obviously, I’m no lawyer, but I like to believe I know a little about the distinctive ring of truth…
      As always,

  16. Pat Kittle September 23, 2019


    Dave Wilson asks:

    “Do you expect to find the Milky Way in the sky when you go out to a dark place to star gaze?”

    Actually, I expect to find the Milky Way whenever my eyes are open. You are looking at the Milky Way RIGHT NOW.

    Anyway Dave, your photography is dazzling, and your storytelling is refreshing.

    Thank you.

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