A READER WRITES: I just noticed that DA Eyster has decided to charge Gina Bean, the woman who somehow hit and killed pedestrian Calum Hunnicutt in Mendocino last year not with vehicular manslaughter as recommended by the CHP but that Ms. Bean "...did willfully, unlawfully, and knowingly, being a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death to a person other than herself, fail, refuse, and neglect to give to the injured person and to a traffic and police officer at the scene of the accident her name and address...to render reasonable assistance to the injured person; and perform the duties specified in Vehicle Code Sections 23002 and 20004."
In other words, vehicle code violations for fleeing the scene, not the penal code violation (PC 192) for vehicular manslaughter.
I am not an attorney and I don’t know all the particulars of what happened that fatal night when Ms. Bean (allegedly) ran over Mr. Hunnicutt. But after a little on-line research I see where a prosecutor has to prove some level of reasonable negligence to justify a vehicular manslaughter charge and that one of the main defenses against a vehicular manslaughter charge is to essentially blame the victim for causing his own death by acting negligently himself.
So I’m guessing that the CHP report may not provide enough information to prove negligence on Ms. Bean’s part, and, knowing a little about the dangers of skateboarding or walking across the intersection where the incident occurred, that the DA may have calculated that the best course is the no-brainer fleeing the scene charge. This way he’s more likely to get a guilty plea and/or verdict and he can avoid the awkward defense tactic of having to publicly point out whatever the late Mr. Hunnicutt may have done to contribute to his own death. (Going too fast? Drugs? Hot dogging? Poor conditions at the intersection, etc.?)
Nevertheless, I think dropping the CHP’s vehicular manslaughter charge this early in the case is premature and unjustified and shouldn’t have been done until after the case was well down the road and at least not sooner than the preliminary hearing.
So far I have not seen any outrage on the part of Mr. Hunnicutt’s friends and family concerning the dropping of the vehicular manslaughter charge though. Maybe they know something I don’t know.
DAN GJERDE, 4th District Supervisor: “Let’s catch up. See you at my website,” but as an on-line commenter notes,
“His website says ‘Each week, year after year, Dan invests substantial time connecting you with County news and services…In addition, Dan routinely shares County news on his Dan Gjerde 4th District Supervisor page…’
His “Dan Gjerde 4th District Supervisor” facebook page that he provides a link to consists of some photographs he posted in September 2011, nothing until a new cover photo was added in March of 2012 and then nothing until October of this year. Who would consider that to be routinely sharing County news on his page? The flurry of recent activity, out of character for the 4th district supervisor, is only because he has competition for his seat. It’s the same m.o. used when he was on the Fort Bragg City Council.”
THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS have been sent out to all the candidates for Supervisor:
- “Why, specifically, are you running for Supervisor? Which countywide problems do you see as primary? What specific improvements do you want to make? And, if elected, how will the public be able to measure your success?
- How do you view the functioning of the present board?
- Do you think tourism promotion is among the best uses of bed tax revenue? (Roughly $5.5 million a year)
- Your ideas on how to create an effective cannabis program.
- Your views on regular (monthly) departmental reporting.
- Do you think the County’s Mobile Outreach program is working as funded? Are the walking wounded getting attention in proportion to the money spent on them?
- Why are the County’s social services programs understaffed?
- Do you think the County is doing enough to source contracts with local businesses? If not, what would you do to improve it?
- What is your opinion of effectiveness of the $20 million the County spends with the privatized Redwood Quality Management Company for mental health services?
- Do you think the County is doing enough to promote creative solutions to homelessness, i.e., trailer parks, tiny houses, FEMA trailers etc.?
MEET THE FOURTH DISTRICT CANDIDATES. The League of Women Voters will host a Fourth District Supervisor's Candidate forum at Fort Bragg City Hall, on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 6:30-8pm.
JUST IN FROM LAKE COUNTY where a Proud Boy is running for supervisor. KPFZ’s Ron Green, tried to interview the candidate but he walked out — proudly, presumably, after a few minutes during which he was asked questions he could not or would not answer. Kevin Ahajanian is the Proud Boy in question. He’s a candidate running for Supervisor in Lake County. Ahajanian is endorsed by the Lake County Republican Party where he is secretary. The candidate, prior to walking out, said on KPFZ that he is endorsed by the ‘local chapter of the Proud Boys,” probably meaning there’s at least one more. If you’ve come in late, the Proud Boys are a neo-fascist organization as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE, Ahajanian asks, "Why would anyone call an Armenian a white nationalist." I'll take a stab at that one, Kev: Because he's white? And real dumb?
PREDICTIONS, a preliminary take on the Mendocino County elections for Supervisor:
1ST DISTRICT: Glenn McCourty; John Sakowicz; Jon Kennedy; James Green.
IF I WERE BETTING, I'd bet McGourty and Kennedy in a run-off. The 1st District is the least lib-dominated district in the county, which isn't to say there aren't lots of them out there thinking their good thoughts. But the Farm Bureau, which is not in the least liberal, especially its Potter Valley presence, has dominated the 1st's Supe's seat for many years. McGourty and Kennedy are both more than acceptable to the FB, and both would seem to be in the Jim Eddie tradition, which is a good thing when we're talking supervisors because Eddie was, as a supervisor and maybe even elsewhere, a smart, principled guy who always at least seemed to view the issues dispassionately. Which is as it should be given that the Supervisor position is supposed to be non-partisan. Eddie, though, like Johnny Pinches in the wild North County of the 3rd District, enjoyed support from both libs and the more conservative sectors of the population. We think McGourty and Kennedy, both of whom are well-known, will split the traditional Potter and Redwood Valley Farm Bureau vote with, perhaps, the seemingly ubiquitous and, uh, splendidly divisive John Sakowicz picking up voters who consider themselves lib-pwogs, among whom Sako, as he's widely known, is also controversial. Candidate James Green, is a newcomer to county politics and thus a longshot, the longest shot of the three others in this race. (Pinches, btw, absolutely terrified the Farm Bureau types when he suggested Mendocino County re-visit inland water arrangements, especially Mendo's water deal with Sonoma County, via which SoCo owns almost all the diverted Eel water piled up in Lake Mendocino. Pinches couldn't even get a second to discuss it from his fellow supervisors, which gives you an idea of that body's cringing malfunction. Lately, though, with the 5th District's Ted Williams as catalyst, the supervisors have been marginally more engaged, a little bolder, a little smarter, a little more on-task.) Whoever wins the 1st will likely improve the overall functioning of the supe’s board.
2ND DISTRICT: Mari Rodin; Mo Mulheren; Joel Soinila.
The two female candidates are veterans of the Ukiah City Council, which seems from here fairly major handicaps given the civic dysfunction of our big-boxed County seat. But anybody who's paid attention over the past decade knows that Ukiah's leaders have engaged in a lot of pure wackiness and even purer incompetence, including their wild over-compensation of City Manager Sangiacomo, for whom they even created an assistant city manager, all this for a town of 16,000 people? (Easy to spend that dough when it isn't yours, right, Ukiah?) We won't even get into the Sewer District fiasco, but anybody who's had recent responsibility for Ukiah has some serious 'splaining to do. Anyway, and be this as it is, Mulheren enjoys a broad (sic) base of support, including that of freshly retired and wildly popular Sheriff Allman, who has already announced for Mulheren. The Embittered Women's Vote? Who gets that crucial twenty percent who vote for any woman over any man. Rodin and Mulheren will split the gender-fascist vote, while Soinila will probably get a 20 percent vote from the oinkers — men who don't think women should vote, let alone hold public office. Call the gender vote a wash, Mulheren will run strong but probably not quite strong enough to outright defeat newcomer, Joel Soinila, a newcomer only in the public sphere but scion of an old Mendo family and well-known inland. Rodin managed to annoy darn near everyone as a city council person, and a lot of people are wondering why she's in this race, but there she is, and we shall see what we shall see. It's wayyyyyy early, but it already looks like Mulheren and Soinila in a run-off, or Mulheren going over the top in the first round. She's the person to beat, for sure. (Retiring 2nd District Supervisor McCowen, voters might be interested to know, has carped about Mulheren for years, so he'll be working behind the scenes, wayyyyy behind knowing him, against Mulheren. We think McCowen weenied out of running against Mulheren because… Well, the guy does a commendable job cleaning up after the homeless in the Ukiah Valley.)
4TH DISTRICT: Incumbent Dan Gjerde vs. Lindy Peters.
So far, pure elementary school politics in this one as a straight-up popularity contest. "I like Dan because he smiles at me." Or, "I like Lindy because he's a Niner's fan." Gjerde's positively weird website is as vague as his incumbency. Two terms in office and, like, dude, this happy talk is all you can come up with? (Gjerde's web presence looks like it was devised by the usual Demo Party masterminds who run all Northcoast lib candidacies, and Gjerde is joined at the hip to the Huffman-Bosco-Wood-McGuire-Binah-Press Democrat Axis who brought us Trump in 2016) Over his two somnolent terms as Fort Bragg's (mostly Fort Bragg) representative to Mendocino County, Gjerde has simply signed off on whatever CEO Angelo has shoved in front of him. Only since Lindy Peters announced he'd oppose him for 4th District Supervisor has Gjerde come alive — half alive given his sad media presence. Lindy? No one that we know of has ever heard the guy on any issue beyond the Fort Bragg city limits. This one will be close, with the flab glabs (Lindy) battling the lib labs (Gjerde) to see who can out-trivialize the other. Uh, Lindy's the taller candidate if that helps.(Note: Known both these guys forever and like both of them but, jeez, let's pick up the pace here, boys.)
REMEMBER MARBUT? The guy Mendo County paid to assess and alleviate the County’s homeless prob? He’s been appointed as director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, a position that collaborates on homelessness policy with 19 key agencies. Marbut’s appointment was quickly condemned by housing advocates, including the national nonprofit Invisible People, which described Marbut’s past work as a “real life horror,” ignoring his real life success in El Paso as an elected official, and his common sense recommendations (ignored of course after being paid $50,000 tax dollars) here in Mendo that terrified the several hundred Mendo persons living off the homeless and poverty generally. Marbut scares the entrenched homeless advocates because he recommends mandatory strategies, and mandatory, to these self-interested, translates as “cruelty.”
MSP: “We heard from a viewer Friday morning who wrote, “I discovered the body that was found on Caspar Headlands on New Year's Day. You were the only one who reported - but nothing since? Unsettling for all of us who live here. The person was well dressed, not a transient, and was in an odd location. Any updates would be appreciated. It did not appear responders were interested in anything but removing the body. It seemed ‘suspicious’ to me. Thanks for being the only one reporting! Disturbing that there was no other mention of incident.” MSP has e-mailed the Sheriff for clarification, and so have we, discovering that the poor guy, Martin Greb, 74, suffered from stage 4 cancer. He shot himself with a handgun, leaving a letter explaining his exit.
A READER WRITES: “The creation of Uber, Lyft and Deliver has enabled many unemployed people to find work and income. Of course there is "little room in their jobs for creativity, change or innovation." Is that different from working in fast foods, laying bricks, or driving a taxi? How much room for creativity is there in a VP of a bank or a director of Human resources? More but damn little.
No one is required to take these jobs and with unemployment at its lowest in five decades it seems to me that a gig in the "gig economy" is more gratifying than sitting home all day waiting for Uncle Sam's unemployment check.
And like many industries that begin with capital taking all the value, we'll see workers in these companies increasingly gain better benefits.
The fact that you ignore the benefits that millions of people worldwide are gaining from the convenience, comfort and cost of getting to and from seems to weaken your case. One-sided opinions--those purposely ignoring counter arguments----lose their weight of reason.”
WHILE WE'RE WAITING for the apocalypse to commence in the Middle East, let's go to the movies! "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" is an elegiac take on The City from a person who laments what's happened to it. As the Last Black Man calmly informs a couple of Muni-riding trendo-groove-o's bad mouthing SF, "You can't hate it unless you've loved it." The last black man loved and loves it, especially the rambling witch's hat house he grew up in on Golden Gate near Fillmore occupied, as the film begins, by an unpleasant white woman who herself is eaten by the wolves of real estate, and symbolic of the extortionate gold rush that has since replaced thousands or working people with highly paid gizmo youth and their five thousand dollar bicycles and ten dollar cups of coffee, hold the radicchio. There's a ton of memorably good stuff in Last Black Man, beginning with the pure beauty of the film in the many seldom seen areas of the city, all of it with a running chorus — often very funny — from black people encountered en route, all the way to a rendition of the old hippie anthem — “If you’re going to San Francisco…” — that absolutely destroys every version you've ever heard of it before. I was also struck by how accurate the history is, right down to the displacement of the Japanese who'd occupied the Fillmore District before the war. A street preacher railing against the age-old pollution of Hunter's Point as workers in Hazmat suits labor on the dock of the bay, says the Bay's water "tastes like the devil's mouth" and better not eat any fish that come out of it. The city still looks good from a distance, but up close it's a sad place these days. Last Black Man sees it whole, and still loves it.
WHO KILLED LITTLE GREGORY? The audience for documentaries about the murder of a child in a furriner language (French) is probably limited, but this one is so well done that the viewer, at least this viewer, is borne along, as mystified as the police as to the perp. Or perps. Secondarily, we also get an interesting look at everyday life in a French village off, way off, the tourist track.
DON'T F--- WITH CATS. A depressing documentary about a young mega-creep so intent on fame he doesn't care or know the diff between fame and infamy that he tortures cats, which he films and posts on-line, thus bringing down on his psychotic head the implacable wrath of the International Cat Ladies, and their Cat Man Auxiliary. Understandably, the police, given the human mayhem they're tasked with sorting out every day, aren't overly concerned with tracking this nut down until he beheads a boyfriend, but it's the Cat People who do most of the investigatory heavy lifting for the cops. Not recommended viewing for Mary Poppins types.
A READER WRITES: “I do think there is a lot of well-deserved bad juju heading the United States' way soon. I just hope a great bulk of the impact somehow lands on the more-responsible bad actors, rather than the average citizen. It's past time to throw this rotten arrangement overboard. The most pleasant path forward, that I can imagine, would start with Bernie steamrolling through the early primaries. The propaganda industry has done all they can to prevent that from happening, so it will appear as a shock and surprise when the actual tone of the people comes through.”
THE SAGE of Boonville responds: “Bernie is the only for sure peace candidate among the unappealing people who've nominated themselves for president among the Democrats. Overall, the big picture looks grim as the globe waits for Iran's retaliation for the assassination of their lead thug. However they retaliate and, as the Chuckle Buddies at CNN and MSNBC put it over and over again, “the world will be a much more dangerous place.”
VIETNAM busted faith in government for millions, and the deluge of lies since from government bring US to where we are, a fragged and isolated people with a lunatic at the controls. I always think of a shirttail relative of mine, a B-25 pilot in World War Two, a solid guy who wouldn't allow me and my sibs in his house because we opposed the war on Vietnam too far ahead of the curve. But he did a 180 on Vietnam with Nixon, and Watergate and the Pentagon Papers "You guys were right," he said. "I was wrong." Millions of people felt like the old man. And the lies kept on coming with Bush's invasion of Iraq based on a transparently false pretext (which I'm proud to say the AVA accurately forecast at the time), igniting the entire Middle East, and here we are with the fates of millions in the sieve-like hands of the worst possible people.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 I just drove coast to coast across America and did I see the sites! Gas was on average a dollar cheaper everywhere outside of Kommiefornia. New cars everywhere and the Starbucks were universally packed! Texas is covered in windmills for power generation. It was weird driving at night with all the blinking red lights, blinking in unison like some huge alien ship was taking over. Tennessee had the worst drivers I have ever seen anywhere. Virginia the state I visited for a week is a buzz with Gun rights advocates standing up militias and my son in Law was open carrying everywhere we went. Dead squished Deer in every state, all over the roads and a black bear in Virginia, no one drives the speed limit anywhere in America and doing so got you tail gated and cursed at. Driving was a white knuckle experience which left my poor wife with ptsd. It was freezing everywhere thank god for my heated seats! The one standard thing I noticed was everywhere was busy and looked like life was pretty good except Mississippi and El Paso —God what shit holes.
 I manage acreage burned by the 2015 Valley fire. The broom is a huge problem. It is invasive and chokes out everything including tree seedlings. Grazers won't eradicate it. In my experience, hand removal (cutting or pulling depending on season) and judicious use of an herbicide are the cheapest, easiest ways to eradicate it. Broom is really bad news and crazy flammable -- we hoard cut broom and stuff it in burn piles to get the fire going.