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MCT: Friday, December 13, 2019

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A FRONT WILL GENERATE another round of light to moderate rain through this evening, followed by showers and lower snow levels Saturday afternoon. Drier weather is expected for Sunday and Monday. (National Weather Service)

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A FAST MOVING HOUSE FIRE destroyed a large residence on the Vista Ranch Road not far from Boonville Thursday morning. The destruction was so complete that the Fire Department called for an excavator after the fire was out. The Vista Ranch is a small sub-division east of Highway 128 opposite the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way. The fire was called in a little after 9:00 am Thursday morning. There were no injuries. The name of the property owner is not yet known and no cause has been established so far. Ammunition popping off during the blaze inspired wild rumors of an accompanying shootout with possible immigration agents in a white truck (which happened to be the Fire Chief’s white first-response vehicle). There was no shooting, no immigration agents, no injuries associated with the fire that totally consumed the home.

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As I'm sure you are all aware, our sweet community suffered a terrible loss in last week's fire in downtown Boonville. Many people are wondering how to help all of those who have been affected by the fire. Listed below are a couple of ways that you can help with immediate, pressing needs. Thank you for doing what you can to help our community. Continued gratitude and support for our local fire department is also so important! They are AMAZING!

1) Help these families find housing

If you or someone you know can offer short or longer term housing options, please follow this link to provide more information. If you know someone who has temporary rentals or empty buildings on their property, please encourage them to help out.

You can provide us with information to relay to the families through this form:

2) Donate money and ask others to do so

Cash and check donations can be made to Sueño Latino and dropped off at the AV Fire Dept (in Boonville)

Electronic donations can be made online via this webpage:

The group of community members and families impacted by the fire will be meeting regularly at the Adult School. If you have other information or other relevant resources that might be helpful, please feel free to contact the Adult School at 895-2953 or

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The Grange/Foodshed Holiday dinner was big fun! The hall was full of community good cheer and bellies full of some of the finest potluck chow around. Tons of volunteers decorated, set up, ran the kitchen, organized the buffet service, served everyone. There was a kids zone and piano music too. A whole bunch of folk hung around to help clean up, doing dishes and putting all the gear away. WHEW! And folks who came brought their own fixings to add to it all. Lordy that feels good. Many thanks to all who participated. We all made it happen. This year, so soon after that fire in downtown Boonville, different organizations collecting money, clothing, and hopefully a place to live joined up to ask for donations and we just about stuffed that jar full of cash. A few first timers at the dinner were amazed at the generosity of this place, not only for the donations but the way we all pitch in to make things happen. Lets do it again next year and meantime help out those guys who lost so much in that fire!

(AV Foodshed Newsletter)

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The filing deadline for the March 3 ballot has passed and the following candidates are running.

Judge, Dept 2: Jeanine Nadel (incumbent, unopposed)

Judge, Dept 3: Patrick Pekin (replacing incumbent Behnke, unopposed)

District 1 (Incumbent Carre Brown is retiring): James Green, Glenn McGourty, Jon Kennedy, John Sakowicz.

District 2 (Incumbent John McCowen is retiring): Maureen ‘Mo’ Mulheren, Joel Soinila, Mari Rodin.

District 4: Incumbent Dan Gjerde, Lindy Peters.

Also on the ballot will be the Coast Hospital Affiliation question (for the Hospital’s NorthCoast District) and the Countywide application of Transient Occupancy Taxes to private campgrounds.

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by Bruce Anderson

(Notes, because my friend KC Meadows beat me to the announcement this morning, Thursday, as I was still transcribing my jumble of impressions and direct quotes, which I now relay a day after the fact but which, I’m sure, includes information not yet otherwise available.)

KNOWN informally throughout the County as ‘Tom,’ the popular lawman announced Thursday he would retire in two weeks. “If it was up to me,” he said, “I’d be Sheriff until I was 80, but there comes a time when the reins have to be handed over, and that time is now.”

‘NOW’ will be Monday, December 28th, the Sheriff’s last day in office.

THE SHERIFF said he hoped the Supervisors would appoint 30-year veteran Under-Sheriff Matt Kendall as his replacement at Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting. “He’s ready,” Allman said. “If I thought he wasn’t I’d stay on.”

A VOLUBLE, friendly man, Allman, perhaps unique among California’s Sheriffs, is known and admired in every community in the County where he has sometimes seemed ubiquitous, appearing at events ranging from the community meetings he has frequently convened to funerals and even birthday parties. In years past the Sheriff was less of a presence in the life of sprawling Mendocino County, but from the day he took office Allman seemed to be everywhere, and quickly became the most popular public figure in the vastness lying between the Pacific to the west, the Yolly Bollys to the east. The Sheriff’s unique popularity has been reflected by the solid community relations enjoyed by his deputies.

ALLMAN will be difficult to succeed — a truly hard act to follow in the cliche — but Matt Kendall, his anointed successor, whose modest cowboy affect disguises a keen, shrewd intelligence is, like Allman, well-liked in the Sheriff’s Department and, in his 30-year career in the County, is also well known from Gualala to Covelo where Kendall grew up. (The Under-Sheriff’s roots go deep in the County, so deep that his pioneer ancestors settled Boonville, which they called Kendall City.)

THE SHERIFF emphasized “accessibility and accountability” as crucial to the success of the man in the County’s top cop job.

“I FIRST MET Matt when I was a 24-year-old deputy in Covelo,” Allman remembers with a chuckle. “Matt was 16. I made Matt and his buddy pour out the case of beer I caught them with.”

ELECTED SHERIFF after a close and bitter election which, like his unprecedented rise to become the County’s best known public figure, Allman’s election was unusual in that he was unanimously opposed by the department’s deputies who supported then-Captain Kevin Broin for Sheriff. But Allman managed to overcome that initial hostility to win not only support from his department, but the internal support necessary to achieve a number of innovative department programs, including a certificated baking class that teaches County Jail inmates a marketable skill, not to mention production of a superior loaf of bread. The Sheriff also began elementary computer instruction for County Jail inmates, renewed the emphasis on GED classes at the Jail, began an inmate garden, and has always made a general effort to convince the incarcerated young to get marketable skills. “Vocational training is very important to keep them from coming back,” Allman says. “Recidivism is a big deal. Parents come to me asking how to keep their kid from going back to jail, and these programs help to keep him from coming back. I hope some day we can close a whole wing of the jail. You know, the Sheriff in a rural county is in a unique position because he knows a lot of the people he deals with.”

“THERE was an average daily count of 325 persons in the County Jail when I came on, there’s 290 now, so a few people aren’t coming back.”

“IT’S not an easy job. We’ve had huge fires, floods, officer involved shootings, suicides at the jail I get lots of 3am phone calls. We’re always on duty.”

THE MENTION of Covelo, prompted this observation from Allman: “It isn’t fair that Covelo has a bad reputation. That comes mainly from the Press Democrat. If there’s a shooting in Santa Rosa it goes on page two of Empire News, but if there’s one in Covelo it goes on the front page. 95 percent of Covelo are fine people, but this reputation as the wild west is untrue and unfair.”

THE SHERIFF emphasized that he “won’t be sitting back,” but will remain involved with Measure B, the County ordinance he almost singlehandedly got passed into local law. “We didn’t have an in-County psychiatric facility, which we badly needed since the old Puff unit closed. I hope to be the Sheriff’s rep on the Measure B advisory board.”

THE PRIMACY of mental health among the Sheriff’s concerns clearly stems from the loss of his brother to suicide. Some Measure B money has helped establish a combined Sheriff’s substation and mental health training center at the former Redwood Valley Elementary School. Early in 2020 all Sheriff’s inland patrols, now headquartered on Low Gap Road, Ukiah, will re-locate to the old Redwood Valley church, allowing quicker access to both highways 101 and 20. Admin and the jail will remain at Low Gap.

ASKED if he didn’t sometimes feel like the little Dutch boy holding back a social breakdown deluge with a tiny finger in the dam, Allman paused, thought a minute, and said, “Our quality of life has got to improve. Before Kosovo I wouldn’t have said that.”

THE REFERENCE to Kosovo is to Allman’s year abroad with the United Nation’s Peacekeeping Force, a literal world a way for a rural boy born and raised in Garberville.

“ONE OF MY DEPUTIES said my time in Kosovo made me a liberal. Maybe. Over there you don’t arrest people for dope and prostitution, but for AK’s and rocket launchers. A translator’s mom told me the police station in her town had been wiped out by a cruise missile strike. I said that must have been terrible. ‘No,’ she said, ‘it was the best day of my life!’ My year there I worked under a police commissioner from Northern Ireland. The whole experience made me appreciate the democracy we have here. I did body digs, people thrown down wells, people who all looked the same murdering each other. You will be changed. I don’t know about becoming a liberal, but it gives you a prioritized sense of crimes, with murder and assaults at the top of the list.”

ASKED about relations with the famously truculent District Attorney, David Eyster, Allman replied, “It’s important for law enforcement to be on the same page as the District Attorney. We argue but not a lot. Lots of places the Sheriff is hostile to the DA and vice versa. Not here. I meet regularly with Eyster, especially when we’re aware that this or that person is out of control or especially dangerous to the community.”

“ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I’ve had to do was in 2009 [during the economic downturn and budget problem] when I had to lay off five deputies that I’d hired. Fortunately, I was able to hire three of them back, and the other two found jobs in Idaho and Montana.

AS HE TICKS OFF the range of disasters he’s walked point on, the Sheriff is visibly saddened as he recalls the shocking 2014 murder of Fort Bragg’s enormously popular deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino by a berserk Oregon man. Prior, there was the 2011 Bassler interlude as the young Fort Bragg man, seemingly possessed, murdered Jere Melo, mayor of Fort Bragg, and Matthew Coleman, a land manager from Albion, tragedies that reverberate today. “It was doubly hard to face the deputy’s wife,” Allman remembers, “to confirm social media rumors that were two hours ahead of me. Social media complicates my life, but also in ways makes it better because it helps us get information out quicker.” (Allman added that retired department Captain Kurt Smallcomb was central to the complicated coordination of the month-long Bassler event.)

AS FOR THE BUREAUCRATIC end of the job, “Carmel [Angelo, County CEO] gets an A plus from me. I don’t know if the unions would agree, but she has done what she was hired to do. Always been able to work with her. We meet every week either by phone or in person. I’ve had a good relationship with Governor Brown; that certainly helped get us the $25 million for our new jail wing, and Congressman Mike Thompson has always been helpful, too.”

THE SHERIFF remains hugely disappointed that he hasn’t been able to solve the disappearance of Khadijah Britton, a young Covelo woman last seen being forced into the vehicle of her former boyfriend, a career criminal named Negie Fallis. “We’ve got 4,000 hours into the search for Khadijah and we’re still looking. We meet all the time to talk about unsolved cases.”

A LESS SANGUINARY disappointment? “We’re still unable to fill resident deputy positions despite fliers sent out all over the country. These are great jobs, and I don’t get why there’s no interest.”

ASKED specifically about Anderson Valley’s very own Mendo lawman, Luis Espinoza, the Sheriff was effusive. “He’s a rock star cop, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he some day became the County’s first Hispanic Sheriff.” Allman said there are presently two female deputies and a female sergeant. “We don’t get enough female and Hispanic applicants, but we do have 12 women working in the jail. We don’t want people who throw a lot of f-bombs and we don’t want to hire people who just want to beat people up.”

CONCLUDING, the Sheriff said that the county averages nine homicides a year now but violent crime is down. “If you take marijuana crimes out of the equation, crime is lower in Mendocino County than many places,” Allman said. Citing the Nixle alert system and reverse 911 now in place, he said, “it has worked well informing local residents of things they need to know.”

“I HOPE I’m not going to regret retiring,” the 58-year-old Sheriff said. “There is nothing better than being Sheriff of a rural county.”



Sheriff Allman announces his retirement

December 12, 2019 — Today is the day that several newspapers have reported my retirement effective 12/28/2019. It’s true. This is a decision that I have made based on many things, but one of the the most important is the fact that we have a very good undersheriff, Matt Kendall, who is ready to take the helm. It has been my honor to work for Mendocino County as a lawman since 1985. I have been lucky enough to be your Sheriff for the past 13 years and there are no words which would adequately describe how proud I am to have been Sheriff of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. As the transition takes place, I have to thank the men and women who work very hard to keep our county safe. I’m leaving at a time when things are very good and I’m not taking this for granted.

I’m not moving from the area and I intend to spend a lot of time focused on improving the mental health services throughout our county. Together, we’ve accomplished a lot, yet the hardest work is still ahead of us. The current ambulance crisis is another project which I will be working on.

I am very lucky to have so many people who have supported me in my time as your Sheriff and I will never forget how fortunate I have been. Together, we have faced fires, floods, droughts, a tsunami and several other incidents which have gone down in our county history as major. In 2008, we had 134 lightning fires in one night and in 2011, we had the most expensive and extensive manhunt in our county history. In 2017, we experienced the most tragic disaster in our history, where 9 citizens perished. The sadness and pain of that tragedy which we all experienced will always linger. Throughout all of these disasters, we have had First Responders step up and do the necessary work which had to be done. Many of these first responders are volunteers and they have my heartfelt appreciation. Our volunteer firefighters and our search and rescue volunteers are citizens who strive to work very hard to make our county a better place, for little or no pay. Thank you very much.

To the men and women of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office: Thank you. You are appreciated for what you do and how you conduct yourself. I know each of you and I am very proud of you. Continue wearing your uniform with the rich pride that has been established by the past employees who have built our good reputation.

I’m going to sum it up in very few words: Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being your Sheriff for the past 13 years. I have made many friends throughout my tenure as your Sheriff and will never forget the kindness which has been shown to me.

Tom Allman, Sheriff

Mendocino County

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Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolution Accepting the Retirement/Resignation of Sheriff-Coroner Thomas D. Allman (Effective December 28, 2019) and Appointing Undersheriff Matthew C. Kendall to the Position of Sheriff-Coroner (Effective December 29, 2019) for the Remainder of the Unexpired Term

(Sponsor: Sheriff-Coroner)

Recommended Action/Motion:

Adopt Resolution accepting the resignation/retirement of Sheriff-Coroner Thomas D. Allman as Sheriff-Coroner of Mendocino County, effective December 28, 2019, and appointing Undersheriff Matthew C. Kendall to the office of Sheriff-Coroner, effective December 29, 2019, for the remainder of the unexpired term of office; and authorize Chair to sign same.

Summary of Request:

Sheriff-Coroner Thomas D. Allman has announced that he will be retiring from his office effective December 28, 2019. Sheriff Allman was elected June 5, 2018, to a term beginning January 7, 2019, and expiring on January 2, 2023. Under Government Code section 1770(c), Sheriff Allman’s retirement creates a vacancy, which the Board of Supervisors is charged with filling pursuant to Government Code section 25304.

Sheriff Thomas D. Allman has requested the Board of Supervisors to consider the appointment of Undersheriff Matthew C. Kendall as the new Sheriff-Coroner of Mendocino County. Should the Board fail to act at this time, Undersheriff Kendall will be responsible discharging the duties of the office of Sheriff-Coroner under Government Code section 24105, until such time as Sheriff Allman’s successor takes office. Sheriff Allman requests that the Board of Supervisors determine that Undersheriff Kendall is the most appropriate appointee for this position based on his qualifications for the position and his admirable track record as Undersheriff.

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by Katy M. Tahja

Did you ever look at a building along the side of the road and think, “Boy, there’s got to be an interesting story there.” That’s the way I was about the structure standing a 722 S. State Street in Ukiah and delving into historical resources told me some of its story.

In 2019 we see a Hispanic clothing store on the site but a lot of people remember when it was the Ukiah Saw Shop in the 1990’s. If you’re an old timer you can remember a variety of enterprises within its walls going back to the 1920’s. Most of the rock came from Feliz Creek in Hopland and some came from Talmadge’s Mill Creek delivered on a Model T Ford truck.

Built as a low rectangular milk processing building by George Thomas in 1924 the creator had fun using rocks of all sizes and embedding abalone shells and fragments in with the rock. The boiler for the chimney still stands. Then in the early 1940’s a rounded front addition allowed the family to sell milk products directly to the public. A lunch counter was added with fried chicken and apple pie topped with ice cream made right there.

When the two buildings were joined together with concrete imbedded in the ceiling were milk shake glasses to let the sun in. Solar lighting ahead of its time! By 1933 the business, the Ukiah Dairy, outgrew the Rock House and moved down the street to 109 S. State Street where an ice cream machine was placed in the window. Milk and cream were still sold at the Rock House and the back was a warehouse. In 1941 the warehouse, lunch counter and a small cabin was offered for sale for $5,000.

By 1950 a realtor had offices in the Rock House and insurance was sold there. Then in 1981 the saw shop took the space and many other businesses used the space before today’s clothing shop occupants. I like to think the building has lasted so long with so many businesses because it was so solidly built. The next time you’re in Ukiah stop and take a look at the structure. It’s bigger than it appears because it stretches far back from State Street. If you know any rockhounds or geologists tell them to take a look at it too. There are strange surprises imbedded all over the building.

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LAST TUESDAY the Board of Supervisors considered some proposed zoning changes related to marijuana growing which would permit more and bigger pot gardens in land currently zoned rangeland. Several members of the public complained that the proposal was inadequately noticed with not enough time for people to absorb and comment on the proposal. The highlight of the discussion was the following exchange between Sheriff Tom Allman and Supervisor Ted Williams.

Allman: One of the things about cannabis, marijuana, whatever you want to call it, every year the questions are the same; every year the answers are different. Here we are again. This is the second time this year we talked about rangeland. With all due respect to the last two speakers (who had said that most marijuana growers were very fine stewards of the land), I wish they were correct. I wish the vast majority of growers were responsible and respected our land. But as Sheriff I can tell you that's not true. The vast majority of locals who understand the importance of living and growing up and raising your children in Mendocino County are responsible people. But I hate to inform people that the dirty truth is that this is about greed and not about cannabis. That's what this is about. Rangeland versus greed. I was raised in Humboldt County and I am not very proud of where Humboldt County is now. In Humboldt County certainly rangeland is on the table for growing cannabis. Google Earth Humboldt County and see if that is the county you want to become, because that is where we are going. Let's talk about the crisis now. Prices of cannabis change. The price of organic cannabis with no pesticides is between around $1000-$1200 a pound. Illicit is between $700 and $900 a pound. It sounds like the clean stuff is better because organic costs more because on non-organic you can get a lot more product. On non-organic cannabis plants you can get 10 or 15 pounds per plant. But that's not organic that they are talking about. The price of illicit marijuana is what's driving this conversation. No one says there's a shortage of cannabis in this county. No one is saying there's a shortage of land to grow cannabis in this county. So why are we having this conversation? I am looking forward to hearing what the two supervisors in the First (Potter Valley) and Third District (Willits to Laytonville to Covelo) have to say about this because they have the vast majority of rangeland. This will affect your districts and your constituents more than anybody else. For people who don't know, the Sheriff’s office is the enforcement agency and the Planning Department is the legislative and licensing agency. There's not as clear communication as there could be. How is the Williamson Act going to play on this? Will people get a tax break to grow cannabis? I think the voters should decide. This is such an emotional decision that it needs to go in front of the voters. Do you want rangeland in this county to be turned over to cannabis?

Board Chair Carre Brown (First District): I think the Third and the Fifth District have more rangeland than the First.

Allman: Okay, then my clock has been reset. Thank you.

Williams: How many cultivation sites do we have countywide? I have heard a number as great as 9000. Is that roughly —

Allman: If you include, if there is such a thing as mom and pop, then you are probably in the right category. If you exclude backyard grows then I think we are more in the area of 5000-6000.

Williams: By the letter of the law then, how many are on rangeland?

Allman: I have two people who work cannabis, the same number we've had for the last 20 years. So I don't have the staffing to get to those specifics.

Williams: This is why I brought up the satellite imagery option. I know this isn't popular with everyone. I would like to have an accurate count. We need to know how many we are talking about. I don't care who they are, I just want a third party to tell us how many we are talking about. I want to know from an independent source that we have x-number and y-number in rangeland.

Allman: I think Fish and wildlife would be the best person to ask because they have been keeping track of Humboldt County.

Williams: I have seen estimates that they are in the thousands as well. I have a problem with creating all these outlaws. We have thousands of people who can't get a permit who are going to live in the black market. So we either bring them into the system and get the tax revenue and we have a way to go out to their property and inspect and have some environmental oversight, or we force them into the illicit market. If we force them into the illicit market then law enforcement could shut them down theoretically. But it's a lot of resources you would need. What do we as a county do with all these people who don't have any other marketable skills? We don't have a great economy here. This is what they may have been doing generationally. They don't have the resources to suddenly go and buy ag land. So realistically do we ignore them and pretend that it's not going on and not give a permit, or do we enforce the law and deal with the consequences which will really hurt our environment losing cash flow.

Allman: Those are two different questions. Hurting our environment and cash flow are apples and oranges, Supervisor. If you're talking about our Earth's environment that has nothing to do with our cash flow.

Williams: If we have a regulated system, with oversight, if we force these people into the illicit market we have no oversight.

Allman: We certainly have oversight. I will say a fact I'm not proud of. Only 4% of our inmates are in there for marijuana. I don't throw people into the jail for just growing marijuana. I was raised in Humboldt and I am the sheriff in Mendocino and I know marijuana is part of the cultural fabric that I believe in. But with the staffing I have, and I have never come to you and ask for more staffing, we estimate that we eradicate approximately — and this is very important — we eradicate 10% of the illegal grows that we know about. Think about that. 90% of the grows we know about we don't eradicate because we don't have the staffing.

Williams: That's precisely my concern. We are leaving all these unregulated grows with no oversight and no tax base.

Allman: I have a suggestion. Once we get caught up in permitting, once all these permits and applications have been approved, then let's have this conversation. But what we're doing is, I would guess 75% of the applications are still going through the process, but now let's get some more applications in. And we are losing money every day because this is not something that Mendocino County's business plan is working on. We are losing money every time. And now we're saying let's grow more to lose more money. To be honest, that's exactly what I'm hearing. We need to at least catch up to where we are. I'm not here saying let's not grow marijuana. I'm saying let's catch our breath. Let's figure out the questions and make sure the answers are known to all instead of in the middle of December with four or five days notice on this very important topic changing the general plan, it's almost an end run around the general plan. The general plan needs to be evaluated regarding some of these things that are rangeland, certainly I'm not going to disapprove of people growing on some of it. Maybe the overzealous zoning we had 20 years ago has put us in a position where we are having this conversation today.

Williams: I think we mostly agree. My concern is that 90% of cultivation is illicit today. But the measure of success is having 100% compliance. Cartel grows: gone, eradicated. Small farms in a regulated system — how do we get there? And if we don't allow them in rangeland and we have people growing on rangeland today, we are creating a situation where we are turning our backs on a whole lot of outlawry.

Allman: There are two reasons people comply with the law. First they don't want to get caught, or they just want to make a whole lot of money and get away with it one time. That's who we are going after, the greedy people who are screwing up the land and that you and I as first responders protect. But we won't win this battle until we get all the rules set. If we piecemeal this going against our general plan, sir, that puts the rest of the county into a quandary saying, maybe we are the County of Marijuana and not the County of Mendocino. We are different. I don't want the state of California to drive this decision. I heard a conversation earlier that the state wants us to go along with this. I don't give a damn about what the state of California wants because they don't run this county. You and I and the voters run this county. We don't see the state of California coming in here and saying what can we do to help people get in compliance with marijuana rules. They are saying that they will listen to the Water Board and the Fish and Wildlife and all the other bureaucratic hoops and we are left holding the bag and at the end of the year when the rain clouds come in we are the ones who live here and they are happy in Sacramento.

Williams: If we have people cultivating on rangeland today and they have been doing it for years and we don't have a pathway to give them to issue them a permit where does that leave us? We want to grandfather them in. How do we do that if they are categorically not able to apply for a permit?

Allman: If you allow a permit where it can be approved on a one to one basis after we go out there — but to blanketly say rangeland is approved is not helping the problem. That's turning our head and saying we don't have to worry about that anymore, let's think about something else. But we do have to worry about it.

Williams: Would you agree with a compromise, grandfathering in the ones that can show they've been doing it for years and we just want to bring them into regulation? But not allow more?

I would agree with that if their application had been inspected, their land has been inspected and they are actually going through a legitimate process. This will make people behind me very uncomfortable, but there are people in this very room who are thumbing their nose because their application has been in and they are growing cannabis and their application has not been approved and I know where the vast majority of the cannabis is going, it's not going where Proposition 64 wants it to go; it's going into the illicit market. And they are in the same room right now breathing the same air as us and are residents of our county and they are hoping that this is going to go — we dodged that bullet, we can keep doing what we're doing. We can hinder our application process to keep making the money we are making. I certainly wouldn't want to build a house like that. I wouldn't be able to build a house until a permit is approved. But that's not the way that cannabis is being run right now. I think there is room in the middle, but not to blanketly approve.

Mark Scaramella notes: This was an interesting exchange but it left out several aspects.

Why would any ordinary small pot grower apply for a permit for an existing grow on rangeland when the process remains as onerous as it obviously is? Even under amnesty or grandfathering?

Allman’s estimate that 75% of the permit applications are still going through the process, ignored the high number of (non-rangeland) applicants who have given up because they couldn’t afford to proceed or because it was taking too long or they simply couldn’t or wouldn’t comply with all the rules. To say that all the existing outlaw growers are in it for greed is too simplistic. As Williams said, many of them have no other source of income or no other way to supplement a meager income.

Designing an amnesty program that is fair to the few people who have tried to comply with the process would require that those people get some kind of benefit or break that the grandfathered outlaw grows don’t get. Because penalizing the existing outlaw grows on rangeland would only further discourage them from applying.

And what will they do if they take a case-by-case approach? What if the applicant is denied for failure to comply with all the rules or pay all the fees? Won’t they revert right back to the black market? Unless the process itself is simplified, there’s no way to bring the small existing rangeland growers into the regulated market — unless there was a categorical limit on the size of rangeland grows. But that’s going to be hard to enforce too.

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AT THE BOARD’S NOVEMBER 12 meeting they decided to put a measure on the March 3 ballot to apply the 10% transient occupany (i.e., Bed Tax) to private campgrounds with an accompanying advisory measure instructing the County to use the money for emergency services — Measure D and E. At that time County Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Schapmire said she estimated that the tax would generate about $1 million in annual revenues based on research her staff did two years ago when a similar proposal was voted down. When asked by the Board if she stood behind the earlier estimate now Ms. Schapmire said she did. We were curious about how her office arrived at the $1 million estimate and asked Ms. Schapmire about her math.

Ms. Schapmire replied that they counted 1110 RV sites and 354 campsites at 24 campgrounds in the County (for an average of about 60 campsites per campground). For the estimated total of 1464 sites they said the average overnight stay was $46 per night at that time because the private campgrounds offer valuable “amenities” such as utilities and central services. They further estimated that of the 365 days per year there would be a 58.4% occupancy. This number assumes RV sites are more occupied than campsites, Ms. Schapmire said, which may not be open in winter.

So with a 10% tax on a $46 nightly stay, that’s $4.60 per occupied night in revenue. 1460 sites x 365 days x .584 occupancy x $4.60 per night = $1.43 Million.

Therefore, according to Ms. Schapmire they should see at least $1 million in revenue. Ms. Schapmire noted that several of the 24 campgrounds already pay some bed tax for the permanent building rentals they have.

WE DISCUSSED MS. SCHAPMIRE’s ESTIMATE at AVA Headquarters on Thursday morning with the Editor saying that the numbers sound plausible and yours truly saying they sound high — 60 campsites per campground? Yes, said the editor, because there are some big ones in Covelo; Lake Mendocino has a big one. McKerricher has a big campground. There are several in the Fort Bragg area… But yours truly thinks some of those are government operated and not subject to the tax — only private campgrounds will be taxed. The KOA campgrounds I’ve been to on the Coast do not have upwards of 60 taxable sites.

(Mark Scaramella)


In the March election, we have the opportunity to help our volunteer fire departments. If we vote into law Measures D and E, we will close a ridiculous tax loophole and pass an advisory measure that directs the new funding to fire departments, as unanimously endorsed by all fire departments and all five county supervisors.

Fire chiefs, working with Supervisor Ted Williams and myself, today submitted ballot statements urging you to vote in favor of Measures D and E. Please join us.

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Saturday at 4:30 PM – 5 PM

Mendocino Hotel

45080 Main St, Mendocino, California 95460

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Board Clerk Lindsey Dunham is full of dedication. The public doesn't realize how much our board clerks perform -- heavy loads, tight time constraints, chaos from people like me. She's an outstanding fit for the role.

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On 12/10/2019, at approximately 6:50 am, CHP officers were dispatched to a vehicle vs pedestrian collision. During the investigation of the collision, it was determined that Larry Lassiter drove his Dodge van into a parking lot on the corner of Redway Drive and Empire Ave. where he intentionally struck the female victim as she was walking from a vehicle.

Lassiter then fled the scene and was located a short time later in the involved vehicle on Redwood Drive north of Willow Ave in Humboldt County. Lassiter was ultimately arrested for driving while under the influence of a drug and assault with a deadly weapon. Lassiter was in possession of approximately 295 lbs of marijuana leaves at the time he was contacted. Lassiter was taken to the Humboldt County Jail where he was booked for the aforementioned charges.

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The day that there is no more AVA newspaper my withdrawals will be severe. I am grateful and thankful each week that I receive your newspaper.

I hope that you and the staff do not get the sicknesses passing through Northern California. I am currently in Tuolomne County where it seems everyone is ill. At least in my family, my siblings and my mom.

Mark Scaramella’s County Notes and reports are sounding more and more like satire and I laugh, even though the truth about Mendocino County is truly sad. Thank the universe for Ted Williams; he may be the only one in County government who is a sane, clear thinker with real questions and valid solutions. He is not go along/get along. He is like a breath of fresh air.

Although I live in Humboldt County, I think that the County employees here in Humboldt are better focused and not ruled by the CAO.

Enough of the ramble. Stay well, happy and healthy. Your readers are devoted to your paper.

Take care, sincerely,

Allyson Provisor


* * *

* * *


MSP saw this posted to coast social media Wednesday:

"Hey, Point Arena,

So a 'Registered Environmental Health Specialist' just confronted my husband on the street & informed him that he can’t filet the fish anymore - even though as you all know he sells them whole and it’s completely legal per fish and game regulations. He has a few fish left, if anyone wants some send us a message - he’s packing up now. We are livid and worry that we will lose most of our customers now.

I’m super curious why this guy doesn’t have better things to do than harass someone selling a few fish a month on the street to feed his family?"

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, December 12, 2019

Barajas, Ellison, Hodgson

LUCIA BARAJAS, Calpella. Probation revocation.

TERRY ELLISON II, Covelo. Felon with firearm, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

GEORGE HODGSON, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

Hoplock, Nordahl, Nunez

MELISSA HOPLOCK, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, assault on peace officer, probation revocation.

JOHN NORDAHL, Fort Bragg. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run.

JOSE NUNEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

* * *


Reeking shepherds move

Grudgingly giving way to

Elbowing wise men.

* * *


During an interview with Axios, former Vice President and Democratic candidate Joe Biden still couldn’t explain why his son Hunter was hired by Ukraine’s largest energy company. Hunter, who had recently been discharged from the Navy for drug use, was hired by Burisma and paid more than $80,000 a month despite the fact that Hunter had no relevant experience whatsoever. When Hunter was hired by Burisma, the company was mired in a corruption scandal and Hunter’s father just so happened to be the point man on Ukraine for the United States. Hmmm.

It gets worse. Biden forced Ukraine into firing the prosecutor investigating the company that was paying his son’s lucrative salary by threatening to cancel a billion-dollar loan guarantee from the United States. Basically, all the accusations of “bribery,” “quid pro quo” and “abuse of office for personal enrichment” that you hear Democrats accusing Donald Trump of doing, Joe Biden actually did. It’s a problem.

“There’s one thing that a lot of Democrats even do wonder about, and that is Hunter Biden, your son, was getting paid a lot of money to serve on the board of a Ukrainian energy company facing serious corruption charges,” the interviewer began. “You were the vice president running point on Ukraine. The average joe hears that and says ‘that sounds fishy.’ What’s your understanding of what your son was doing for an extraordinary amount of money?”

“I don’t know what he was doing,” Biden responded indignantly. “I know he was on the board. I found out he was on the board after he was on the board. And that was it.”

“Well, you’ve had a lot of time,” the interviewer pointed out. “Isn’t this something you want to get to the bottom of?”

“No, because I trust my son,” Biden alleged.

“That doesn’t pass the smell test,” the interviewer followed up. “Like when you’re vice president, isn’t there a higher standard? Don’t you need to know what’s happening with your family? Don’t you need to put down some guard rails?”

“No, unless there was something on its face that was wrong,” Biden inexplicably asserted. “There’s nothing on its face that was wrong.”

When it comes to the Bidens, everything appears wrong on its face. Biden then tried changing the subject.

“If you want to talk about problems, you know, let’s talk about Trump’s family,” Biden said. “I mean c’mon.”

Biden then began to laugh nervously while adding, “you guys are amazing.”

“So you think that everything that happened is Kosher?” asked the interviewer.

“You know there’s not one single bit of evidence, not one little tiny bit, to suggest that anything done was wrong,” Biden protested. “You know that, but you keep asking me these questions.” “

(Bronson Stocking,

* * *

* * *


So what happens next?

1) The House votes to impeach the Bad Orange Man

2) The Senate shrugs and refuses to convict the Golden Golem

3) A day or two later, Ruth Bader Ginsburg lays down for her dirt nap

4) The Swamp goes full Hieronymus Bosch

5) Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi lead their pustulous troops onward into the final battle of the Zombie Apocalypse, cheered on by Rachel Maddow, John Brennan and the shrieking demon queen HRC.

* * *


To the Editor:

Thanks for your service, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman. You have more than earned your retirement.

Here are my prayers for today:

I pray that your successor, Undersheriff Matt Kendall, doesn't go out of his way to bust small cannabis farmers just trying to support their families in the depressed local economy.

I pray that Matt Kendall never forget that the Emerald Counties are the "Appalachia of the West". We are poor. We are very poor. There are no jobs. No economic development. More than half our resident are Food Stamp-eligible. More than a third of us are eligible for Medi-Cal. Many kids are in foster care. Homelessness is a county-wide problem.

So who should be targeted by COMET?

Trespass grows. Those who steal water. Those who pollute and create environmental hazards. Those who have connections to gangs or organized crime.

I also pray that Matt Kendall clearly sees Prop 64 for what it is -- a fatally flawed law with a pro-corporate, pro-commercial bias that creates so many impediments to getting permitted that the vast majority of small, family farmers do better growing for the black market.

I pray that Matt Kendall see outsiders, like Flow Kana, for who they are. They are carpetbaggers. They are here to export value out of their value chains back to their investors on Wall Street. Guys like Jason Adler, who invested $175 million Flow Kana, want their money back. They want their money back plus an ROI of 10X.

Flow Kana made a deal with the Devil.

I pray, too, that Matt Kendall will oppose satellite surveillance on Mendocino County's farmers, as Humboldt County has done, even in Humboldt's most remote areas, with a company called Planet Labs.

What Planet Labs calls "satellite imagery and insights" is nothing more than the government spying on its own people.

Finally, I pray that Matt Kendall also clearly see the DEA for what it is. It is the government waging war on its own people.

Cannabis never should have been classified as a Schedule 1 drug. Cannabis is medicine. It is an herb. A sacred herb.

Its earliest recorded use was in the 3rd millennium BC. It has, however, been discovered in archaeological sites from as long as 12,000 years ago. It has been used as an entheogen, in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context, in India and Nepal since the Vedic period, since at least 1500 BC.

Again, thank you, Sheriff Allman, for walking that fine line between upholding the law and feeling, with your heart, the spirit of the law.

John Sakowicz, Candidate, Mendocino County 1st District Supervisor

* * *

“So how did you get into the spy game?”

* * *


If you've never gotten a flu shot before, why start now?? It's not going to protect you. There is only one Gold Standard study on vaccines on PubMed (the repository of all studies done in modern times). It was done in Senegal(!), on 1,600-some children. Only 2 of the vaccinated died, so it was deemed well tolerated …. None of the unvaccinated children died. Efficacy: "0.0%." I'll be glad to give you the link if you're interested. Why do you think there are no proper studies (besides this one)? The flu shot has the highest payouts in the federal Vaccine Court; side effects are oh so common. Surely you have heard how sick many people are afterwards? It gave my mother a massive stroke, her first flu vaccine ever. Last year, a New York state senator died after the flu shot, and a California politician got Guillain-Barre syndrome afterwards, which is paralysis; it is so common after vaccines that the Vaccine Court doesn't even contest it. You'd be better off stocking up on elderberry extract and essential oils; there are also some excellent homeopathic remedies for flu that many swear by.

Inger Grape

Microcurrent therapy

Bowen soft-tissue therapy

ReboundAIR teacher/distributor

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  1. Randy Burke December 13, 2019


  2. George Hollister December 13, 2019

    Interesting that the passing of Paul Volker was buried as the lead to the business section of the 12/10 PD. Who was he? Volker, a Jimmie Carter appointed Fed Chairman, was the most significant US government figure in the last half of the 20th Century.

    • Harvey Reading December 13, 2019

      A bit of a reach, George. Too bad there’s no hell for him to burn in.

      • George Hollister December 13, 2019

        OK, so Harry Truman gets # one, Paul Volcker gets #2.

        • Harvey Reading December 13, 2019

          Why would Truman get #1? The most you can say for Truman was that he was elected. He also was a war criminal of the highest order for his nuclear attacks against Japan.

          Volker was nothing but an appointed puppet of the wealthy whom he served well, as he oversaw the final crushing of the Working Class. Carter was a puppet of Brzezinski on foreign policy, and a neoliberal on domestic, in between sermons, and providing a half-assed pardon for U.S. war refugees who escaped to Canada during the holocaust we inflicted on Southeast Asia. His useless administration paved the way for the Reagan landslide, which paved the way for the trash that followed as bosses of the executive branch. It’s a very sad commentary and an ugly heritage.

          • Pam Partee December 13, 2019

            I am tired of your ranting on this message board, Harvey Reading, whoever you are. Volker prevented inflation from overtaking the middle and working class in the 1980’s when he was the Federal Reserve chair and he has been a competent advisor since that time. Besides that, I have a personal relation to this story and am personally offended by your over-the-top remarks.

            • Louis Bedrock December 13, 2019

              Well, Pam Partee, whoever the Hell you are, some of us believe Volker was a vicious jerk:

              —I joked this week that Paul Volker lived long enough to witness the execution of his famous Rule, which is a weird kind of justice, I suppose. But it’s probably the world’s poor who are cheering that they outlived Volker. Greg Grandin neatly capsulized Volker’s legacy of economic tyranny: “He destroyed Mexico. For the every point Volker raised the rate, $2.5 billion was added to third world debt. For every 20% $ appreciated, 20 % was added to balance of what the 3rd world owed.”

              Jeffrey St. Clair

              “In developing countries carrying heavy debt loads, the Volcker Shock was like a giant Taser gun fired from Washington, sending the developing world into convulsions. Soaring interest rates meant higher interest payments on foreign debts, and often the higher payments could only be met by taking on more loans… It was after the Volcker Shock that Brazil’s debt exploded, doubling from $50 billion to $100 billion in six years. Many African countries, having borrowed heavily in the seventies, found themselves in similar straits: Nigeria’s debt in the same short time period went from $9 billion to $29 billion.”

              —Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine,

            • Harvey Reading December 13, 2019

              If it makes you tired, drink some coffee. You apparently live in a dream world, along with lots of other gullible folks. Either that or you’re part of the problem, i.e. a member of the ruling class. If the former, it was folks like you whose ignorance and gullibility allowed working people (themselves) to be destroyed in the U.S. Grow up and learn to deal with reality: the ruling class of this country has been waging war on common people since the end of the 1960s, actually throughout the history of exceptional land.

              Enjoy that coffee!

  3. Benj Levine December 13, 2019

    Our very own Dr. Trotter responded to a young man’s concern about getting the flu from the flu shot, a few weeks ago on air.

    Dr. Trotter’s response was if a person gets the flu from the flu shot twice, then stop getting it.

    I got the flu after the flu shot, twice. I have resisted getting it, since.

    To offer people incentives to get it, is in my opinion unethical.

    • Lazarus December 13, 2019

      Ethics are just that, your ethics, my ethics, their ethics…

      I will say this, I too get a little sicky after a flu shot, but the last thing I want to do is spread that stuff to my wife and family. So unless the side effects of the shot get worse as I age or whatever, I will continue to suck it up and take one for the family and anyone else I might contaminate.
      As always,

      • Benj Levine December 13, 2019

        “It gave my mother a massive stroke, her first flu vaccine ever.
        > Last year, a New York state senator died after the flu shot, and a
        > California politician got Guillain-Barré syndrome afterwards, which is
        > paralysis; it is so common after vaccines that the Vaccine Court doesn’t
        > even contest it.”

        I got so sick, I sat on my bed (couldn’t lay down) for three weeks. Ditto the second time.

        Stick to your Found Object captions.

        • Lazarus December 13, 2019

          No need to be an asshole…
          As always,

    • George Hollister December 13, 2019

      If you tell your doctor you get sick every time you drinking milk, his/her advice will be to not drink milk.

      • Harvey Reading December 13, 2019

        Or maybe the doctor will investigate to discover the cause of the malady, especially if it is something the patient has not experienced before after decades of drinking milk with no ill effects.

  4. Craig Stehr December 13, 2019

    This just in from Honolulu…

    Even moonlit dewdrops,
    If you’re lured to watch,
    Are a wall before the Truth.
    – Sogyo (1667-1731)

    • Benj Levine December 13, 2019

      A lulu.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal December 13, 2019

    First off, I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I don’t treat my doctor’s opinion as gospel and do thorough research before subjecting my body to any medical procedure or pharmaceutical. As a pre-med major in college and a librarian during part of my working life, I feel quite confident in my ability to research medical issues.

    I got my one and only flu shot in my early 20s and developed the worst case of the flu in my life. Temperature spiked to almost 104 and I was in bed for more than a week, literally too weak to move. Coincidence? Who knows? But I haven’t had a flu shot since and I can count on one finger how many times I’ve had the flu in the subsequent 40+ years, a very mild case at that. In my opinion the flu shot is one of the biggest and most profitable scams for Big Pharma, the medical profession and health insurance companies. It’s nothing more than roulette, theoretically effective against no more than a few strains (there are dozens if not more than a hundred flu viruses), and subject to guesses by so-called experts as to which strains will be prevalent in any given year. I’m not advising anyone else what to do, but I’ll stick to a daily glass of orange juice, healthy nutrition, physical activity, mental stimulation and pass on the flu shot.

    • Benj Levine December 13, 2019

      Plus sunshine, and Vitamin D

      • Stephen Rosenthal December 13, 2019


    • Louis Bedrock December 13, 2019

      I could not agree more strongly with Mr. Rosenthal’s comment.

      • Louis Bedrock December 13, 2019

        On the ensuing decade-long journey of discovery, she (Janine Roberts) learnt it is not just the added mercury that we have to worry about. She discovered that the top government scientists admit to colleagues that vaccines are contaminated with viruses from chickens, humans and monkeys, with
        RNA and DNA fragments, with ‘cellular degradation products’, and possibly ‘oncogenes and prions.’ They report alarmingly that it is impossible to commercially purify vaccines. They express great
        concerns, but the public is not told despite the possible consequences for long-term public health.

        A recent US court decision has linked autism with vaccine contamination. The author cites her sources by name – and gives references and Internet links where they are available. She reveals evidence that the World Health Organisation has discovered the MMR vaccine is contaminated with chicken leukosis virus, but has decided not to tell the public of this, and to continue to make the vaccine with eggs from contaminated chickens

  6. Harvey Reading December 13, 2019

    It’s happened here. Just as Sinclair Lewis feared, and despite his warning of how easy it could happen here.

    “+ For four years, Jeremy Corbyn was smeared in a relentless and savage campaign of vilification and outrageous slander by the British press, much of it orchestrated by liberal outlets like The Guardian (and the New York Times), using a kind of berserker Zionism as truncheon. And so, the dreadful result was predictable: the worst showing of Labour since 1935. But it’s the poor and the immigrant communities that will bear the brunt of what they have wrought.”

    The limeys are as stupid as we are.

    “+ I joked this week that Paul Volker lived long enough to witness the execution of his famous Rule, which is a weird kind of justice, I suppose. But it’s probably the world’s poor who are cheering that they outlived Volker. Greg Grandin neatly capsulized Volker’s legacy of economic tyranny: “He destroyed Mexico. For the every point Volker raised the rate, $2.5 billion was added to third world debt. For every 20% $ appreciated, 20 % was added to balance of what the 3rd world owed.”

    “+ The State of Colorado has signed a contracted with Wildlife Services to slaughter black bears and mountain lions in the name of restoring mule deer populations. There’s just one problem: it’s widespread fracking that’s depleting mule deer populations, not predation by bears and cougars.”

    Exterminate Wildlife Services

    “+ Brazil’s neo-fascist strongman Jair Bolsonaro lashed out at climate activist Greta Thunburg this week, calling her “a brat.” My money’s on the Kid against this creep…”

    Mine, too.

  7. Louis Bedrock December 13, 2019

    The disturbing phenomenon of Little Apple Head:

    Throughout the Western world the authority of adulthood is in crisis. Adulthood is increasingly associated with negative attributes and grown ups feel less and less able to provide guidance to young people. The flip side of the erosion of adult authority is the tendency to look to young people for solutions and answers. That is why Western society’s depreciation of adulthood coexists with adulation of the supposed wisdom of children.

    Arguably the most grotesque manifestation of this trend is the spectacle of politicians and dignitaries intently listening to Greta at high profile international meetings. A thunderous standing ovation is guaranteed by the mere appearance of this symbol of an infantilised political culture.

  8. Louis Bedrock December 13, 2019

    “An autistic obsessive teenage girl leading an army of climate hongweibings towards a new world order… There is no doubt that Greta is a project. Her first sponsors were Scandinavian left-wing globalists. Until some time the project was supervised by the Swedish businessman Ingmar Rentzhog (who, btw, used her name to raise millions of dollars for his environmental startup We Don’t Have Time) and the owner of the Stockholm PR firm Helena Iles (by the way, an old friend of the girl’s mother). Since the winter of 2018/2019, several transnational organizations like the Club of Rome have been engaged in the promotion of the project (on March 14, the Club of Rome released a special statement in support of Greta). Direct leadership has been carried out by the Soros Foundation and the organization ” The Global Marshall Plan “(headed by former Vice President of the United States Albert Gore) whose experts formed a coaching group to consult and inspire the girl, write texts for her, provide protection, cut off unwanted people, etc. In many photos and videos, next to Greta, you can see a young German political scientist Louise-Maria Neubauer, a functionary of Soros’s “Open society” and the globalist Foundation ONE run by Bill and Melinda Gates.”

    Comment 480 by “Garbuz

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