A READER WRITES: “I am compelled to correct the false information published last week about the 9.31 permit program. First, without a permit the total number of plants of any size is 25 per parcel, period. With a permit, the limit is 99 mature flowering females, with an understanding that an applicant might plant more seeds or starts and then winnow them down. The program administrator works with the applicants and the third party inspectors to determine the final cut down date. Second, applicants are being accepted into the program whether or not they already have plants in the ground. The program administrator has a reputation for working with the applicants on a case by case basis to do what it takes to make the program work for everyone. Finally, yes, the applicant is either supposed to be growing on behalf of a collective, or if they grow more than their medical needs, then they need a letter from another collective, which could be a dispensary, saying the applicant is a member of their collective and growing on their behalf. Remember, all this stuff is supposed to be legit medical marijuana, not for diversion to the black market. But the best way to find out about the program is to talk to the program administrator or one of the third party inspectors. Instead of going on flawed assumptions, talk to the people who run the program. My experience is they 'get it' that this is a transition for most people to go from being an outlaw guerilla grower to Sheriff inspected and approved and they are willing to work with people as long as the people are willing to work with them.”
IN FACT, the point of the item to magically become 'false information,' was merely the opinion that DA Eyster's sensible policy of pleading out people arrested for minor marijuana offenses to misdemeanors and fining them modest amounts could mean that small scale growers would avoid the expense and bureaucratic bushwah of 9.31 registration to take their chances with the DA. Why go through the time and expense of 9.31 if you can get a better deal from the DA on the off chance you even get raided?
JOHN D. JONES, aka Texas Jon, sends along a collection of his songs called 'Highway 1 Visited — Story Songs of Mendocino County” nicely sung by their talented author accompanying himself on guitar. I liked them very much, and you will, too. Texas Jon can be reached at Box 734, PA 95468-0734.
THE NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA) met in Healdsburg Monday where they approved a final EIR to reopen the line for freight rail from Lombard (Napa County near American Canyon) north to Windsor. The EIR also covers the eventual reopening as far north as Willits, which seems at least remotely possible within the next twenty or thirty years. NCRA has been steadfastly opposed by the Friends of the Eel River (FOER) who live in perpetual fear that the line could be opened all the way from Willits to Humboldt Bay, a possibility so remote it isn't even a possibility. The track in the sixty miles of the Eel River Canyon would require an estimated three quarters of a billion dollars to accomplish, money that is unlikely to ever be made available for a minor rail line serving few businesses and people. Friends of the Eel has fought NCRA every step of the way hoping they can drive the rail line into bankruptcy. But the likely result would be that a private operator would buy the line out of bankruptcy. For instance, the current operator for NCRA, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWP Co), to which NCRA is indebted for millions of dollars.
NWP HAS FUNDED the track repairs and operating expenses for NCRA for the last five years while the little train that couldn't has struggled to overcome one regulatory, financial and legal challenge after another. With NCRA's debts and contractual obligations extinguished in bankruptcy and subject to less public scrutiny than NCRA, NWP Co arguably stands a better chance than NCRA of getting the trains back on track.
FRIENDS OF THE EEL previously announced they would sue to overturn the EIR, principally because the project analyzed in the EIR stops at Willits and does not consider the impacts of re-building the line through the Eel River Canyon. An EIR must study the total project and not “segment” a project into smaller pieces that are each considered less than significant. But someone would have to be smoking bales of devil weed to believe it is in any way feasible to re-build the rail line through the Eel River Canyon. For one thing, to do so would require its very own expensive EIR which would certainly be subject to a determined legal challenge. And there is the small matter of the Eel's status as “Wild and Scenic,” and the presence of endangered anadromous fish species. And it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more. And there is no hope for an economic return and therefore no economic justification to take on the project.
NADANANDA, lead spokesperson for Friends of the Eel was present at Monday's meeting to rattle the legal sabers, but towards the end of the meeting, and apparently pleased by several strong statements that it was impossible to re-build the line through the Eel River Canyon, Nadananda surprised the NCRA board by suggesting Friends of the Eel would have to re-evaluate their threats of a lawsuit. The trains may run again, but only from East Napa County to Windsor.
NOT TRYING to start trouble here, and maybe it's just me, but I think Nadananda ought to consider reverting to her given name, however prosaic, because these hippo-dippo-sounding handles are a distraction. Whenever someone introduces himself to me as Deeply Spiritual Person in the East Indian translation or implication thereof, I say to myself, “If this person isn't nuts he's going to have to prove it before I hear anything he has to say.” I've met Nadananda and she isn't nuts. But it took me a while before I stopped saying, “Hells bells and cockle shells, here we go.”
WHILE I'M THROWING out gratuitous opinions here, take this one about the constant strife at KPFA over the past three decades and underway again, I understand. In the beginning, and as a kid I was a faithful listener because it was the only place where you could hear a range of interesting talk on a range of topics the schools wouldn't dare provide forums for, KPFA was run by volunteers. It went wrong, then wronger, when people started getting paid, and even wronger when a lot of the people getting paid were these, these, these dwarf fascists who of all things described themselves as “left” when by any objective standard they were mostly mean, low-down, sneaky little PC bastards hiding behind fat, unhappy female harridans who've since managed to destroy feminism for all women under the age of forty who run the other way at the mere mention of their names. Larry Bensky was the last civilized person at the place although I do try to catch Doug Henwood every week. But when scholarly people who worked day jobs did it all free out of true commitment to all the right things, KPFA was an oasis of humane intelligence in the reactionary din prevailing every other place. I'd fire every paid person associated with KPFA and Pacifica and start all over again with the good and the pure. They're the only ones who ever show up when there's no money involved.
THE PROPOSED California congressional, state senate and assembly redistricting just might redistrict Congressman, Mike Thompson off our Northcoast backs. Thompson's Napa County home in the town of St. Helena would be redistricted to the east, which would mean at least the opportunity that the Northcoast might elected a much more progressive federal rep. The wine industry, of course, will stoutly resist the loss of Thompson, their devoted errand boy for twenty years now. On other issues Thompson's a middle-of-the-road extremist of the Obama type. Unfortunately for us, the wine juggernaut probably has the means and the influence to monkeywrench the voter-mandated reorganization, and even if the booze lobby doesn't have the juice to derail fair and honest redistricting, we'll probably get Wes Chesbro, certainly a lateral political move. But this time around, unlike the Democrat-rigged gerrymandering of 1990, an independent panel of citizens is in charge of drawing state voting districts which, and we live in hope, could mean the end of Thompson.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES, Ukiah branch. According to a Sheriff's Department press release, on Father's Day Sunday, a 44-year-old single Ukiah mother said her 15-year-old son had doused her coffee with Drano, had taken her car without her consent, and “had created a fake web account on an adult website.” The kid was hauled off to juvenile hall where his bail was set at a preposterous quarter of a million dollars and his life enfolded in the cold, cold embrace of Mendocino County's “helping professionals.”
THE POLICE REPORT says mom was unhappy that not only had her son tried to kill her, he'd done some joy riding in her car and had gone on-line for sexual instruction. She had “disciplined the suspect by taking away certain privileges, such as no computer and no more playing sports at school.”
SO, YOU'VE got a frazzled mother with limited resources, financial and emotional, trying to raise a male child with no man in the equation. Now lots of NPR-type people will say you don't need the man in the child-raising equation, but a preponderance of scholarly opinion says boys and girls tend to do better with a mother and a father.
BUT TAKING A KID who likes sports out of sports is a huge mistake. You want your demon spawn at that age up on his feet and moving around, and even if he occasionally looks in on Debbie doing Dallas he won't be visiting Debbie if he's at the ballpark or in the gym.
EXCEPT FOR THE DRANO, which mom immediately realized wasn't Coffee Mate, and the typically teen death threats, the lad doesn't seem unlike millions of adolescent American boys who grow up without a father to advise them as to who and what lurks in the erotic thickets of our sex-drenched land, not to mention a nearby dad who might help get the kid more or less steel himself for everything else sure to come at him in an imploding society. Of course this kid will be a complete mental case when official Mendocino County is finished with him, and Mendocino County will emphatically be finished with him a minute after midnight on his 18th birthday when the funding for him ends.
JUVENILE MATTERS are heard by Superior Court judge Cindee Mayfield. She's a smart, sensible person but, like all juvenile court judges, is pretty much a captive of the helping pros she works with every day. Maybe she can get the boy into a stable, male-dominated foster home, but it's much more likely the kid will get the usual — a three year shunt from serial foster homes until the magic birthday and out onto the streets to fend for himself, angry and without skills. It's a bad system, but there's so much money involved in “caring” for dependent children — seems like half of Ukiah is paid to just love the kids to pieces — that the system resists all reform and just keeps on failing, much like the larger system that includes it.
NEITHER HERE nor there, but when Supervisor Smith was caught four times by successive grand juries charging the County for travel untraveled, she was staying for free in Ukiah on a property owned by Dr. Marvin Trotter's mother. Trotter is the former Public Health officer of our fine county. He and his ex-wife, also an MD, not long ago paid out a large civil judgment because the opiate patches they'd heedlessly kept in their home were sold by their troubled son to a Ukiah High School kid who o-deed on them.
IN OTHER NEWS from the healing professions, a caller wanted to know “Why the other media around here haven't said anything about your report last week that a task force had raided Dr. Keegan's house?” Because there aren't other media in Mendocino County, and the big one based in Santa Rosa known as the Santa Rosa Press Democrat doesn't do news anymore. Any place else a search of a doctor's home would be news. Not here. That raid on Doc Keegan's home, by the way, had a forensics emphasis. The doctor said his wife Susan was drunk, fell down and hit her head in her bathroom, the blow from some inanimate object killing her. Clearly, DA David Eyster and his investigators don't believe Mrs. Keegan died the way Mr. Keegan said she died. If the DA believed the doctor's version of his wife's death the DA wouldn't (and perhaps couldn't) have obtained a warrant to search the death scene again seven months after the poor woman died. By the way, soon after his wife's fatal “accident,” the doctor was taking dance lessons, had himself a new girl friend, and had hired crack Ukiah criminal defense attorney, Keith Faulder, which is not the usual postmortem trajectory of a man suddenly widowed after three decades of marriage.
THE HEADLINE in the Ukiah paper read, “Taste of Redwood Valley this weekend.” Ah, yes. A taste of Redwood Valley, maybe a bite of Calpella, certainly a nibble of The Forks, perhaps a sip of summertime Lake Mendocino as aperitif and it's, “The last thing I remember, doctor, I'd just remarked to my wife that no place in all God's creation is more glorious on a hundred degree day than North Ukiah, but you tell me I'm in ER?”
RICHARD F KRUSE, 68, of Albion, founder and sole coach of an all-girls water ski team for the last decade, goes to trial on Monday the 25th of July, accused of sexually molesting at least one of his pupils, a child now 9 but 6 when her waterborne instruction began. Kruse had been declared ineligible for a court-appointed defense attorney, but prosecutor Heidi Larson of the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office said last week that Kruse has now been assigned to the capable Public Defender, Carly Dolan. Kruse is looking at three to eight years in state prison if he is convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14, and 15 years to life if he is convicted of “performing sexual acts on a child younger than 10.” Kruse has pleaded not guilty. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office detective Andy Porter testified during Kruse's preliminary hearing that he interviewed the alleged victim, who said she spent the night some twenty times at Kruse's home in Albion. A young friend of the child was with her during these visits, and Mrs. Kruse's wife was also present. Porter testified that Kruse touched the girl inappropriately on several occasions during these visits. Porter also testified that he'd interviewed Kruse, who described the child as “very sexual.” Kruse, who worked in Albion as a self-employed car mechanic, told Porter he had been “brought into the girl's life by her parents because she was a heavily molested girl.” Porter said Kruse, on more than one occasion, had picked the girl up from her school in a limousine and had taken her swimming at a Fort Bragg pool. A search of Kruse's home revealed “a large number of photographs of children” although Kruse and his wife have no children. None of these photos were at all suggestive, according to testimony at Kruse's preliminary hearing.
RECOMMENDED READING, and I haven't read it yet but I know she's a very good writer so you can take it from uncredentialed me that Carolyn Cooke's latest, “Daughters of the Revolution” will be a read worth your while. Oprah thinks so too, but don't let that put you off Ms. Cooke who, incidentally, lives full-time in Point Arena. I'm going to buy it, I'm going to read it and I'm going to report back to you on it.
ANOTHER LOCAL WRITER whose book I will buy, read and report back to you on is Norma Watkins' “The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure.” To say that Ms. Watkins, who now teaches at the College of the Redwoods' Fort Bragg campus, has come a very long way from her Jackson, Mississippi roots indeed, and it's her hegira that got her from Jackson to Mendocino County got me immediately interested in her memoir. “Raised at an eccentric 66-room hotel and spa owned by my mother's family” just as the civil rights movement was cranking up, well, how could one not be interested? The author will speak next Wednesday evening, 7pm, at the Abalone Room of the Little River Inn. I mentioned in an e-mail exchange with Ms. Watkins that two very close friends of mine went south with SNCC in '64 but, I said, I'd never met a Southerner I disliked on a personal level. To which she replied, “Oh, we learned to be likeable all right. It's how we kept ourselves from murdering each other.” I like this lady's book already.
YOURS TRULY is scheduled to speak on the general subject of creative lit in the middle of August at the Willits Library. Not being a creative lit guy myself, and no cracks please about my work here at your beloved community newspaper, I will of course speak from the consumer perspective — a guy wed unto death to books. (Catch me with a Kindle, kill me.) But I don't read much fiction anymore because, well, that's what I'll talk about. Boiled down, my opinion is that American fiction pretty much ended with Hemingway, and I never could get into the furriners much, at least the furriners of the second half of the 20th century. Which isn't to say there aren't a lot of good fiction writers out there — Ms. Cooke, for instance — but my talk is tentatively called “The Color Shmurple.” I'll beat you over the head with my alienated opinions for a half hour then open it up to the floored. Or whoever who hasn't fled. Warning: People who un-ironically deploy the verb 'appropriate' in any context, are advised to stay away.
THIS JUST IN: The DA has dismissed all charges against the Wuerfels, the Laytonville couple growing medical marijuana on Spy Rock northeast of Laytonville to raise money for potable water for Mendocino County's Indians. Wuerfel being an attorney, and I'm just speculating here while I recover from the pure moral splendor of the Laytonville Lone Ranger's commitment to clean water for Tonto, that Wuerfel was able to so enmire his several cases in legal swamps that it was simpler to just throw the whole mess out, a mess DA Eyster inherited from the Mud Pie Queen, his predecessor Meredith Lintott.
TO ME, the best thing about Cal baseball, apart from the program rescue and apart from Cal's improbable rise all the way to the national college championships, is the two guys from this area who were crucial to Cal's success this season — Mitch Delfino of Cloverdale and Chad Bunting of Ukiah.
MAN BEATERS OF THE WEEK: I'll just bet Ms. Cortinas was defending herself from Mr. Cortinas's provocations, but she's obviously mortified at finding herself in jail for smacking the big baby, a respectable person entwined somehow with a man who calls the cops when she'd provoked into smacking him one. Not guilty, your honor.
NEXT CASE. Ms. Crystal Lilly of Willits has appeared for man beating before, but she keeps going back to the same man and hitting him again, and he keeps on calling the cops on her. Crystal! Get a grip! And not on him! A man who won't take a punch from the woman who loves him is not the man for you!