- Another Storm
- Candidate Forum
- Naulty Hire
- New Ambulance
- AutoZone Vote
- Sunday Best
- Panther Basketball
- Veterinarian Visit
- Ramblin' Jack
- Coast Healthcare
- Little River
- Ed Notes
- Politic Interest
- Curmudgeon Commentary
- Aspiring Writer
- Clean Slate
- Amnesty Comments
- Lee Trio
- Yesterday's Catch
- Social Battery
- Armistice Day
- Addressing Homelessness
- Kelly Audio
- Neoliberal Bunk
- CNN v Sanders
- Midweek Crisis
- Warmonging Incompetents
- Found Object
RAIN AND SNOW will gradually taper off later today and tonight. Another storm system will bring rain and high elevation snow on Saturday. Temperature will gradually warm through the weekend. (NWS)
TRAVELER'S ALERT: Snowing hard on the Boonville-Ukiah Road this morning, hard enough to cover the road. Drive carefully.
MEET THE FOURTH DISTRICT CANDIDATES
The League of Women Voters will host a Fourth District Supervisor's Candidate forum at Fort Bragg Town Hall, on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 6:30-8pm.
CITY OF FORT BRAGG HIRES INTERIM POLICE CHIEF
The City of Fort Bragg is pleased to announce that John Naulty has been offered and has accepted the position of Interim Police Chief. Fabian Lizarraga announced his retirement as Fort Bragg’s Police Chief at a City Council meeting in December. Chief Lizarraga served in the role for nearly 5 years and his distinguished career includes 37 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. Chief Lizarraga leaves the department in good form and fully staffed for the first time in his tenure.
John Naulty retired as Lieutenant with the Fort Bragg Police Department in April, 2015, after 35 years in law enforcement. Naulty began his law enforcement career in 1980 when he was hired as a Reserve Officer by the City of Fort Bragg. After graduating from the Police Academy, Naulty became a Police Officer with the Department. Over the next two decades, he held a number of positions in Fort Bragg and rose up through the ranks. He was the first Fort Bragg officer assigned to the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force and he was named the Fort Bragg Police Department Narcotics Officer of the Year. He was also a California Narcotics Officer Association (CNOA) Al Stewart nominee, a Detective, a K-9 officer, a Field Training Officer (FTO), and a Firearms Taser instructor. In 1996, Officer Naulty was promoted to the rank of Sergeant where he supervised patrol and managed the Department's field training officers, firearms, and K-9 programs.
Naulty moved to Brentwood, California in 2002, where he joined the Brentwood Police Department as a Corporal. While in Brentwood, Naulty completed Supervisory Leadership Training and obtained his Bachelor’sDegreeinCriminalJusticeManagement. NaultyreturnedtotheFortBraggPoliceDepartment in 2011 to serve as its Lieutenant.
Naulty received multiple commendations for his heroic actions in March 2014 in response to an incident involving an armed robbery and kidnapping suspect. Naulty was the first officer on the scene after Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino was shot and killed by the gunman just a few miles north of Fort Bragg. Lieutenant Naulty retired from the Fort Bragg Police Department in April, 2015.
“I am super excited to return to law enforcement, particularly here, where I began my career. It’s a real honor to be sought out to fill this position. I respect the fact that the City Manager looked locally to fill this key position. I have watched the changes happening in the City over the last few years and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to serve my community,” said John Naulty.
City Manager, Tabatha Miller, is grateful to have an experienced local hero willing to step in and help the Police Department during this transition.
ANDERSON VALLEY’S NEW AMBULANCE Will Arrive Soon!
Thanks to generous community donations and federal grants, the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service (AVAS) and the Anderson Valley Community Services District (AVCSD) announce that a new ambulance--a four-wheel drive vehicle to better access the far corners of our service area--will be delivered in March 2020.
Huge thanks go to United States Dept of Agriculture (USDA) representatives Justin Grey and Kim Dolbow Vann, both invaluable during the application process. They recently notified us that we were awarded two grants, totaling $107,455, from the USDA’s Rural Development Community Facility Grant. Because the AVCSD now operates the ambulance, the community is now able to enjoy the benefits of publicly funded grants, like the two received for this purpose, and we thank the AVCSD for their assistance.
The AVAS, through our recent fundraising drive and years of donation savings, has raised the remainder of the funds needed to purchase the new $197,300 ambulance. The AVAS board warmly thanks the community for its steady support through the years, which has enabled us to both keep our current ambulance rolling and slowly build a replacement fund. The old ambulance will be maintained and used as a back up vehicle.
Most importantly, the AVAS and the AVCSD want to give full recognition to the many volunteers who staff and run the ambulance. Warmest thanks for your dedication and service.
(Philip Thomas, AV Ambulance Service Foundation)
STORMY WEATHER in Fort Bragg
MONDAY’S FORT BRAGG COUNCIL VOTE ON ‘AUTOZONE’
by Rex Gressett
Winter in Fort Bragg. Driving up from Elk the fog, the ocean and the rain were one thing. The early evening City Council meeting convened in the warmth and brightness of the people's building, while the hardworking city splashed home in a night that fell without transition.
Not everybody went home and tuned in to the City council meeting online, but as the Mayor reminded us, thousands did. After the extended seasonal holiday, the Fort Bragg City Council were back in their chairs for a stumbling chaotic meeting that in the end did the right thing and made the case with astonishing emphasis that our parttime City Council has not a clue when they are not being told explicitly what to do by high-handed administrative bureaucrats.
On the table was an appeal of a planning commission decision to deny formula auto parts store Autozone a place on the coastal highway veritably at the noble entrance to our fair little city. Autozone is a 6,003-store generic auto parts dealer recently convicted and fined $11 million dollars for dumping toxic waste. It’s not as bad as it sounds - all they did was systematically toss their waste motor oil and lead-filled batteries into dumpsters. The court noted that it was a company-wide practice.
In a raucous and well-attended September 25th Planning Commission meeting, speaker after speaker hammered the planning commission about formula stores that bleed the local economy for the profit of distant corporations, defy environmental decency and multiply like identical mushrooms across the battered California landscape.
A few architectural bells and whistles on a generic design impressed nobody. It was every speaker against — and nobody FOR Autozone. The Planning Commission listened (they almost had to), and duly told the expansionist corporation to kick rocks. Autozone appealed to the city council.
The appeal should have been a slam dunk for Autozone. Steamrolling local governments is what they do.
After public rebuff at the hands of the lowly Planning Commission, Autozone found apparent consolation in behind-the-scenes conversations with City Hall, administrators - although Sarah McCormick's staff report rebuffed every contention of the appeal. I guess the down-dressing cosmopolitan sophisticates from Autozone were not paying attention. In the wide world over the hill, knee-jerk development approvals are the bureaucratic default setting.
Even in Fort Bragg they almost got their way.
Bernie Norvell, Lindy Peters and Will Lee are pretty much in the bag for any development whatsoever. That's a council Majority. Bernie told me as we equipped ourselves with coffee before the meeting that he would do the “right thing.” We both understood that to mean caving in with as much grace as possible to Autozone.
Growth, even ugly growth, and jobs — even minimum wage jobs — are what he says he believes in. But Bernie Norvell is too smart to buy his own line. He knows that a dollar spent in a local business circulates seven times — while a dollar spent in a corporate formula store disappears into Wall Street—neverland.
Formula stores are a drain on the local economy and the low-wage jobs are an insult to human decency. He contends that corporate enterprise is the only enterprise we have, which might be right. But more than that, he understands that big-box sales tax is crucial to the function of the city. The dirty secret is that you will never hear discussed at a city council meeting is that sales tax revenue from the parade of big boxes that march down highway one is what keeps the city afloat financially. Sales tax from formula store operations is the indispensable precondition for an improbable and expensive city infrastructure pumping and collecting and planting and maintaining quite happily (all by our lonesome) in the midst of vast rural semi-wilderness.
With the eagle eye of predatory formula store top guns, the Autozone team was absolutely sure, going in Monday night, they had a sure-fire majority for rubber-stamp approval of their appeal. You could hear it in their voices, see it in their condescension. Putting public outrage back in the box is a universal administrative function. That’s how its always been here, that’s how it is in most places. The property was zoned for Highway Commercial. Every city needs money. End of story.
If there had been a jackbooted Marie Jones (the now terminated ex-development director) to lead the councilfolk by the nose, there would not have been an issue. AutoZone would have got the go-ahead with no fuss. But times are changing in Fort Bragg, slowly perhaps, but with odd inevitability. Former Development Director Marie Jones is gone and all we have in her place is a City Manager who expects the council to think for themselves and Sarah McCormick who had written a strong staff report that blasted the appeal.
Apparently, the Council had either not read or preferred not to understand Ms. McCormick's excellent work. The Council spent a lengthy evening equivocating and chewing over the basics of local civic law as visions of sales tax revenue and visions of electoral catastrophe danced merrily in their heads.
It looked for a moment like the debate might never end. Until almost against her will — and certainly — against her instincts — strong city council leadership climbed out of the confusion like the first land animal in the person of novice Councilwoman Jessica Morsell-Hayes.
Her argument was very simple. A speaker said it and Morsell-Hayes took it up. It was right out of the book: "The mission of the Inland General Plan is to preserve and enhance the small-town character and natural beauty that make the city a place where people want to live and visit, and to improve the economic diversity of the city to ensure that it has a strong and resilient economy which supports its residents."
She persisted and she insisted and one-by-one the Council melted. It was simple and compelling and it was immensely right.
What our government has promised to do is what they actually should do. The General Plan was intended to be poetry, a kind of sop to the peasants. That’s what it has been for decades.
Jessica Morsell-Haye invoked the intention and purpose of the general plan as law. One by one, Bernie Norvell and then Lindy Peters (and easily Tess Albin-Smith) read the appeal a little more closely, actually considered the meaning of the appeal in the light of the general principle of public welfare and the secret science of sales tax money-grubbing melted in the warm light of a young principled woman.
In the end, all but one of the city council voted to uphold the appeal. No Autozone for Fort Bragg — although they can reapply.
Mayor Will Lee ended up stranded angrily by himself clinging to the shipwreck of authoritarian arrogance.
Although it was a long dark evening, curiously, it was a new dawn.
READY FOR SUNDAY SCHOOL, Milburn, Oklahoma, 1920.
Varsity Boys lost 37-54. Varsity Girls lost 30-44. JV boys won their game, but I don't have the score yet, but I can get it to you. We no longer have a JV girls team due to insufficient number of players.
QUIZ NEXT THURSDAY, not tonight. Relax your grey matter as there in no Quiz this week. We shall return next week, the 4th Thursday on January 23rd, for a special Quiz featuring a variety of Music rounds and sounds, plus a couple of the usual topics. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
MENDOCINO ANIMAL HOSPITAL @ THE ANDERSON VALLEY FARM SUPPLY
Dr. Burns from Mendocino Animal Hospital will be at the Anderson Valley Farm Supply seeing patients on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
She's there between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. People can always check the events section of our Facebook page for more information - it's always posted when we're going to be there.
Thanks so much,
Mendocino Animal Hospital
THE LAST FOLKSINGER
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott befriended Woody Guthrie, hung out with the Dead, and hit the road with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. At 88, this self-made cowboy is still on the move
MENDOCINO COAST DISTRICT HOSPITAL TO LAUNCH PATIENT & FAMILY ADVISORY COUNCIL (PFAC)
The Mendocino Coast District Hospital invites all interested patients, family members, and caregivers to attend a PFAC informational meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 5:00 PM in the Redwoods Room at the hospital. If you would like to help enhance the health care experience at MCDH for yourself, your family, and others, becoming a member of PFAC could be the first step.
Patient and Family Advisory Council is a formal group that meets monthly for active collaboration between clinicians, hospital staff, and patients, family, and caregivers to gain a greater understanding of the hospital experience through the eyes of the patient and family members. The ultimate goal is to improve the patient experience, hospital quality, and patient safety. PFAC members provide recommendations and guidance that aim to build a successful partnership and strengthen the collaboration between the Hospital and its patients and families.
We look forward to meeting with you on January 23, 2020, to share this opportunity and to talk about how your involvement can make a difference in our community.
For More Information Contact: Michelle Norvell at 707 961-4663 or email@example.com
Mendocino Coast District Hospital
700 River Drive
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
WEDNESDAYS are delivery day for the paper-paper version of the "mighty ava," as my late friend Alexander Cockburn always called it. It is, too, in its way, but I'm not here today to sing praises to Boonville's beloved weekly, I'm here to talk national politics. Traveling from Boonville to Navarro on my weekly route I asked eight citizens if they'd watched Tuesday's debate among Democrat candidates for president. Answers ranged from simple No's to an emphatic Hell No. Then I asked if they'd tuned in the impeachment hearings. Answers ranged from simple No's to one Who Cares?
EIGHT PEOPLE are hardly a statistically valid sample of our distracted population, but I'll bet I'd get the same answers in Arkansas, Maine or Los Angeles. Or maybe it's just me, groaning this morning when I tuned in National Government Radio to accompany me on my morning three-mile lurch down Anderson Valley Way. Then here comes Nancy Pelosi stumbling through endless intros of the unimpressive Democrats who will quiz the Trumpians in the Democrats’ endless quest to bring down the orange monster, which began the hour the election results were in, continued through the heralded Mueller Report, apparently unread by its author who seemed unfamiliar with it when he testified as to what it said, which anyway failed to nail Trump, and now a lengthy impeachment process with hours of repetitive, tiresome rhetoric from all the iron hairs, after which the process ends with Trump's acquittal by his fearful majority in the Senate. No wonder Pelosi was reluctant to bring all this forward, knowing it was an exercise in futility. Did Trump threaten to withhold aid to the Ukraine to get damning info on Biden, a guy who's almost as corrupt as Trump? Obviously. Is that an impeachable offense in the context of modern presidents of both parties who've done similar things? One wouldn't think so, but here we are. The whole show is a tedious process conducted by people so unappealing that if any of them showed up at your door you'd get out your pepper spray.
SPEAKING OF CORRUPTION of a sort, we received the pictured manila envelope containing this note: "Editor, If you accept for publication this submission more may follow. Curmudgeon. PS. If I'm reading the same tea leaves as you, your preferences might currently lean toward Sakowicz, Soinila and Peters with Kennedy the only other candidate with any interest in challenging the status quo."
WHOEVER WROTE the following analysis, and we have our suspicions — some of the phrasing is our very own tired prose — it does contain interesting information, so we're posting it for that reason alone. For the record, we're waiting for all the candidates to return a series of questions we addressed to them before we express any preferences.
ELECTION 2020: HANDICAPPING THE BOARD OF SUPES
Special to the AVA — commentary by curmudgeon (a lifelong resident of Mendocino County, and a jaundiced observer of local politics)
With three seats on the Board of Supervisors up for grabs in the March 3 election less than two months away, the local races have yet to galvanize public imagination. Maybe it's the general weariness with politics after years of Orangeman's pussy grabbing, pandering to white tribalism and fake news. Or squandering millions of public dollars to prove (surprise) Russia interfered with the 2016 election. Or because the Democratic National Committee rigged the nomination for Hilary. Or because the house Dems, by adopting articles of impeachment for nebulous offenses like "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress," have probably guaranteed the reelection of Orangeman. Whatever, most voters in the First, Second and Fourth Supervisorial districts will have only the foggiest notion of notions who they are voting for and why. The following candidate information, by alphabetical order in each district, will supplement the blandly false characterizations the candidates make on their own behalf.
James Green recently moved to Mendocino County with his wife who is a medical doctor at Adventist Hospital, Ukiah branch. Green, a computer consultant, has no previous involvement or interest in local politics. Which makes him a natch for the job here in amnesia land where history begins all over again every day and you are whoever you say you are. Green can occasionally be seen at Supes meetings where he periodically comes to the microphone to remind people that he’s running for supervisor. Green lives in Potter Valley where the children are baptized in water diverted from the Eel River through a nearly a century old tunnel through the mountains. The Farm Bureau has had a lock on the First District seat for 50 years. And for 50 years the primary mission of the First District supervisor has been to keep the purloined Eel River water flowing. Green comes across as a nice guy but seems light on policy. When the crop report was presented he wanted to know why the value of apples was down. Told that people weren't buying enough, Green pledged to buy more "because I like ’em." Will Green's love of apples secure the support of the Farm Bureau? Maybe not after Green came out against renewing the County trapper contract.
Jon Kennedy worked as a mortgage broker in Mendocino County until the last financial crisis put him out of business and he relocated to Plumas County. He was also a part-time executive director of the Employers Council, a mouthpiece for millionaire business owners like John Mayfield and Ross Liberty. Kennedy was elected to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors but after one term decided to move back to Mendoland to raise his family here instead of running for reelection. Kennedy lives in the Redwood Valley/Calpella area and works as a case manager helping survivors of the 2017 Redwood Valley fire navigate the financial and permitting hurdles to get their homes rebuilt. Not content to shuffle papers, Kennedy started his own nonprofit, “Rebuild Now,” to raise money for materials and labor to help people who couldn't afford to rebuild. In the Mendoland, where false progressivism is the new catechism, the First District remains the most conservative which means Kennedy’s anachronistic Republican registration probably won't hurt him too badly.
Glenn McGourty was a late entry into the race, probably at the urging of Farm Bureau types who are unimpressed with Green and are in a panic that the retirement of Carre Brown jeopardizes the Farm Bureau seat on the Board of Supervisors. McGourty, a career bureaucrat, is set to retire from the University of California farm advisor’s office where he spent his career pimping for local wine interests. McGourty, short on accomplishments, touts his prior service on the Ukiah school board where he was a reliable rubberstamp for whatever the administration wanted. Will the Farm Bureau go with the apple lover Green or wine guy McGourty?
John "Sako" Sakowicz endlessly touts his "FINRA file" in support of his pretentious claims of international hedge fund guru, abruptly segued from Wall Street to the Mendocino County Jail where he worked as a corrections officer until he was fired for undisclosed improprieties. Sako soon claimed he was being discriminated against as a gay man which was the first anyone in official Mendo knew about his sexual preferences. The lawsuit was tossed. Sako succeeded in getting appointed to the board of retirement and the grand jury but was removed from the latter for disclosing confidential information. Sako was elected to the KZYX board of directors but filed complaints against the station with the FCC and urged listeners to withhold funds during pledge drive. KZYX, which views dissent as favorably as the Soviet Politburo, made sure Sako was not reelected. Sako was not re-elected. Sako next got appointed to the Sanitation District Board of Directors but finished a distant last when he ran for reelection. Sako, a married man, ruined the career of a Colorado judge with whom he had an affair, claiming she was guilty of moral turpitude and unfit for office for having public sex in her car. How did he know? He was the other person in the car having sex with her. On the positive side, Sako has proven to be an astute interviewer on his radio show now housed at KMUD in southern Humboldt County and attracts top-tier guests. Sako is running on a platform of firing CEO Carmel Angelo (who would never give him a job) and returning to CAO system of government. Sako, clearly playing for the cannabis industry vote, claims to be a grower and frequently introduces himself as a "proud member of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association." Despite the odd turns and lengthy gaps in his resume and getting canned from the jail, the grand jury, the Board of Retirement, KZYX and the Sanitation District, Sako is the only First District candidate who appears capable of enunciating specific positions on the issues. Will it be enough to overcome Sako’s considerable baggage?
Maureen ‘Mo’ Mulheren, on the city Ukiah City Council for five years, is running at least in part to redeem the family honor. Her father, "Ever Pleasant Jim" Mulheren, ran for City Council and later Supervisor but his chances dimmed when it was revealed that he lived outside city limits and was not eligible for election. He gamely claimed to be living in his grimy shop building on the Waugh Lane (even inviting Glenda Anderson in to do a story for the Press Democrat) while his wife lived in a very nice house outside of town, but the voters didn't buy it. Mo, who has a strong presence on social media, is running a campaign based on likability and an absence of specific policy statements. During her time on the Council Mo has been a reliable rubberstamp for staff recommendations including the "road diet" which will shrink State Street from four lanes to two. This is somehow supposed to improve traffic flow. Mo’s for installing 400 parking meters in the downtown but voted for a $6 million giveaway to pay for Costco related road improvements. And Mo went along with appointing a receiver for the Palace hotel who ran up a nearly $1 million bill which must be paid on top of the cost to buy the property and either tear it down or fix it up. Which means the rundown Palace will continue to dominate the downtown for decades to come. Mo has been the leading advocate for the Rail Trail, aka the Hobo Highway. When funding for the trail came up short the council diverted $250,000 from gas tax money to pay for the trail instead of the roads it was intended for. Mo lead the charge to force the Sanitation District to drop their lawsuit, claiming it was frivolous and a waste of money. But after stonewalling the Sanitation District for four years, the City Council settled the lawsuit for $16 million with about half going for attorney's fees. Last month, the council voted to spend $750,000 to buy the old Bank of America building to house all the city employees that no longer fit in City Hall. Lavish spending by the City Council may explain why the state auditor ranks Ukiah #440k out of 511 cities and counties with a score of 73 out of 100 based on various indicators of financial health including pension costs, general fund expenditures, general fund balance and long-term obligations. Mendocino County ranks #347 with 88 out of 800 making it a paragon of fiscal stability by comparison.
Mari Rodin entered the race only a month ago and has quickly put together a campaign team after incumbent Supervisor John McCowen announced he would not seek reelection. Rodin preceded Mulheren as a member of the Ukiah City Council where she likewise functioned as a dependable rubberstamp before departing for a job with a Local Agency Formation Commission down south. The presence on the council of the recently deceased Phil Baldwin at least assured there would be lively discussion before the vote. Rodin claims to be responsible for writing grants that brought in over $100 million to local agencies and said she is currently working with HHSA to write a strategic plan for homelessness for Mendocino County. Up to now the plan has been to inflate the numbers of homeless people to attract more dollars from the state to spend on more programs to hire more helping professionals while ignoring the plight of chronic alkies like Charles Hensley. As the AVA has said, before America lost its way it was unacceptable to allow the severely impaired to commit slow-mo public suicide. Rodin is counting on strong support from the West side Ukiah to counteract Mo’s nearly year-long headstart.
Joel Soinila, descended from the founders of the Finnish colony in Redwood Valley, lives in Ukiah where he runs a modest real estate office and recently worked with Street Medicine which provided medical outreach to the growing homeless population in Ukiah and environs. Soinila says there's lots of money for homeless problems, which there is, but says it's not being spent right, which it isn't. The Marbut report on homelessness found that lots of money was being spent on duplication of services with no accountability, no agreed-upon plan and no way to measure outcomes. The Marbut report, correctly viewed by the helping professionals as a threat to business as usual, has been shelved in favor of ritual handwringing and appeals for more funding. Soinila appears to be the only Second District candidate willing to demand accountability for the tens of millions of dollars that disappear into the pockets of the helping professionals and their allies every year.
Dan Gjerde has deep roots on the Mendocino Coast and has served nearly his entire adult life as a member of the Fort Bragg City Council and County Board of Supervisors. Gjerde faces his first serious challenge for the Fourth District supervisor. Gjerde was preceded by Kendall Smith who was the target of three successive grand jury investigations and proved she'd signed falsified travel claims under penalty of perjury. She refused to pay the money back until District Attorney Eyster threatened her with arrest and prosecution. When Gjerde challenged her she retired instead of facing certain defeat in an election. The only challenge Gjerde faced in 2012 was a quixotic write-in from Fort Bragg gadfly Rex Gressett. Gjerde ran unopposed in 2016 but this time around faces a serious challenge from Lindy Peters. Gjerde might have kept sailing along more or less unscathed were it not for the 2018 election of supervisor Ted Williams in the neighboring Fifth District. "Do nothing Dan" as he is now called suffers in comparison to the fully engaged and seemingly omnipresent Williams. Problems at Coast hospital? Williams is there. Problems with rural fire and emergency medical services? Williams is there. Williams has brought forward more agenda items in his first year than Gjerde has in a career. Faced with his first serious challenge, Gjerde has been making more of an effort to be visible in his district, setting up various dog and pony shows to prove he is on the job. Will it be enough to get reelected? Will he keep it up once the election is over and the pressure is off?
Lindy Peters currently serves on the Fort Bragg City Council and is making his second run for Fourth District Supervisor having run back when Liz Henry first got elected. Peters also served a couple of terms on the Fort Bragg City Council prior to that. During his recent term as mayor, Peters addressed the importance of civility and led the Council in adopting a code of conduct, not for the council, but for the public. Peters, in contrast to Gjerde, has been earning a paycheck since he was in high school including a long career as a local radio personality. Will public dissatisfaction with Gjerde be enough to put Peters over the top? The First and Fourth district contests each have multiple candidates so they might go to a November runoff. But with only Peters and Gjerde on the ballot, the Fourth District race will be decided on March 3.
When Proposition 64 was passed by the voters in 2016, it contained provisions that not only prospectively reduced or eliminated many marijuana law violations, but it made those changes retroactive.
This meant people with felony or misdemeanor convictions for marijuana-related offenses that were changed by Proposition 64 became legally entitled to petition the courts to expunge (dismiss) or downgrade those prior convictions.
To participate in this new form of marijuana-related amnesty, all one had to do was file a simple written form request for Prop 64 treatment with the Superior Court in the county where the conviction had been entered.
From November 8, 2016 through December 31, 2019, 130 individuals with prior marijuana convictions entered in the Mendocino County courts have taken advantage of Prop 64 to have their prior conviction(s) expunged or reduced.
However, requiring an individual (or his or her attorney) to initiate the Prop 64 process as approved by the voters was deemed still “not good enough” by the California Legislature. “The majority of eligible individuals have not gone through the process of petitioning the courts,” complained one legislator.
To “fix” the apparent lack of interest, Assembly Bill 1793 was passed by both houses of the California Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in November 2018. AB 1793 required the California Department of Justice to sift through its criminal records database to determine which prior marijuana convictions still remained unchanged and which of those marijuana convictions may still be eligible to be expunged or reduced. Under AB 1793, the legislative analysts predicted that as many as 218,000 marijuana convictions could be revised.
The criminal records database information developed by the Department of Justice was provided to the local district attorneys on or about July 1, 2019. Without additional monies to fund the effort, each district attorney was required on or before July 1, 2020, to review each local marijuana conviction to decide on an individualized case and defendant basis whether a prior marijuana conviction was eligible for expungement, some kind of revision, or reduction. AB 1793 does not require that the person with a prior marijuana conviction be contacted for input and/or consent or, for that matter, that he or she even still be alive.
Locally, while understanding that he had a full year to review all of Mendocino County’s marijuana convictions pursuant to AB 1793, District Attorney Eyster put his local analysis on a fast track, using to his advantage his own in-house data management system, a system known as Justware.
In half the time allotted by law (from July 1, 2019 through December 26, 2019), the DA and his staff completed their multi-year review of all marijuana convictions entered in the Mendocino County courts from 1973 to present.
What does this mean? The DA has filed written AB 1793 motions with supporting spreadsheets with the Mendocino County Superior Court in 3,311 cases. Each of the DA’s written motions identify the cases in which the DA believes Prop 64 treatment is warranted and further recommends what that treatment should be, pursuant to the changes in the marijuana charging statutes and other guidelines originally established by Prop 64.
When and where those motions will be heard and whether or not the Prop 64 relief suggested by the DA for each case will be granted is still to be determined.
Designated by law as the de facto “attorney of record’ in all AB 1793 cases, the Mendocino County Public Defender has been granted more time by the court to review the work product served on the Public Defender on a weekly basis for the last six months by the prosecutor’s office.
The DA thanks his hard-working team for taking care of local business in more than a timely manner. He added, “When I was a young prosecutor there used to be a thing known as finality of judgments. That important legal concept seems now to be a thing of the past.”
Eyster said, “Let’s not forget that Prop 64 also granted the same reduction relief to defendants convicted at the felony-level of simple possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and other controlled substances. I wonder when those felony convictions are going to likewise be addressed by the Legislature, if only to treat people equally and in a fair manner.”
(District Attorney Presser)
A PAIR OF ON LINE COMMENTS
I’m definitely not for this, because the people were committing a felony at the time, in the moment, and got caught.
They are and should always be seen by society as lawbreakers involved in drug crimes.
It’s bad enough that California only allows a 7 year background check.
Allowing criminals to band together, change laws to fill a negative budget through taxation, and allowing them to have conversations overturned is way out of bounds.
Regardless of what will show up on a regular background check, Law Enforcement will always be be able to see their criminal record which is important to Law Enforcement Officers interacting with these criminals.
It’s ridiculous that an otherwise law abiding citizen should continue serving a sentence that is for a bad law that the rest of us will no longer suffer. In the case of Marijuana, prohibition should never have existed.
UCCA PRESENTS SISTER ACT: The Lee Trio--Feb. 2
Accomplished classical trio returns to Ukiah
by Roberta Werdinger
On Sunday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m., the Ukiah Community Concert Association will welcome The Lee Trio back to town at the Mendocino College Center Theatre. Composed of three sisters--Lisa, violin; Angela, cello; and Melinda, piano--The Lee Trio is one of the premier chamber ensembles on the international stage.
Since its formation in 2002, the Trio has been preserving the West's great tradition of classical music while moving it forward into the future. Their recital tours are international, their awards and accolades many. In 2010, they had the honor to perform for Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel during the head of state's official visit to New York City. In 2006, the three women each received the 2006 California State Assembly Recognition for Exemplary Service to the Community.
Firm believers in educating the next generation of musicians, Lisa, Angela, and Melinda have taught classes to youth from many walks of life all over the world, including Las Vegas, Nevada; Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and other cities in China; and the Ukraine.
The Oakland Tribune comments, "All three sisters are dazzling musicians." And the San Francisco Classical Voice was equally emphatic: "Their polish and expressive capacity … was amazing. Clearly, there was more at work than dexterity; there was brain power coupled with a keen integration of ensemble down to the smallest detail. I'd be hard put to remember any trio who played with such total commitment to the music."
This is the third time the Trio, San Francisco natives, has played for UCCA in Ukiah. The upcoming concert will continue the Trio's balance between the old and the new. The program consists of Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major; Dvorak's Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor; and Richard Pantcheff's Introduction and Allegro No. 3 ("Beethoven – Besinnung") for Piano Trio. Pantcheff is a contemporary British composer who dedicated this composition to the Lee Trio. The work was first performed by the Trio at the Kurt Masur Institut in Leipzig, Germany, in October of 2019.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door (adult) and $10 for youth (under 18). Advance tickets are available at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits, and online at www.ukiahconcerts.org. Free tickets are available at the door to high school and Mendocino College students with ID, space providing. Residents at Brookside Retirement Residence are also invited to attend free of charge as part of UCCA's educational and community outreach program. For more information, please call 707-463-2738, or visit UCCA on Facebook and at the website.
UCCA thanks Schat’s Bakery, Black Oak Coffee, and Rivino Winery for donating treats to be served pre-concert and during intermission. Special thanks to the Mendocino College Foundation, the Mendocino Arts Club and Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology, Arts Council of Mendocino, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, KWINE, KZYX&Z, Ukiah Daily Journal, and Ukiah Ridgewood Masonic Lodge #146 for their ongoing support and collaboration.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 15, 2020
JERRY BIVIN, Ukiah. Parole violation.
BRIDGJETTE CAMPBELL, Willits. Domestic battery.
JESSE DUGGER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
LUCIO ESCOBEDO-FERNANDEZ, Willits. Domestic battery.
WILLIAM LAMEBEAR, Hoopa/Redwood Valley. Domestic abuse.
JERRY RODGERS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
STEPHEN WALKENHORST, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
ARMISTICE DAY, MARKET STREET, 1918
POLITICAL WILL IS MISSING
Kate Haug’s solution to homelessness is to make the federal government responsible. She says that California has a housing shortage, and it is extremely expensive to build here (no kidding). How is that a federal problem?
California has more space than any state except Alaska and Texas and a mild climate. It has local sources of building materials like wood and cement. It has experienced builders and developers. There is enough food to feed every homeless person in the country.
State and local governments are responsible. Ridiculous zoning ordinances, incredibly complex building regulations — those are the culprits that prevent us from housing the homeless.
Haug says that one can buy a mobile home for under $50,000 in many states. In California, it is $142,000 (state data). Is there anyone who thinks that is reasonable? Homelessness will be resolved when local governments get rid of the artificial barriers that cause homelessness in the first place. Fat chance.
California has the resources it needs to fix homelessness, but not the political will.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
What neo-liberalism lacks besides compassion and charity is coherence and logic and plain ole horse sense. Too often what you get in defense of the current dispensation is something from the spread-sheet of talking-points such as “as an economist I believe in … ”
Then fill in the blanks ie free trade or unfettered markets or de-regulation or whatever.
Blind belief is blind which is what economists spout. And ideology that fails to take account of the real world is failure waiting to happen.
We saw this with a wide and broad neo-liberal agenda. And then the agenda was enacted by legislatures in the USA and other places – the EU a creature of neo-liberal thinking – with calamity the foreseeable and foreseen result. The thrust of neo-liberalism was to take economic affairs out of the hands of national legislatures and put them into corporate board rooms such that the economy was something the ordinary person experienced like weather. And you can’t do much about the weather.
The often cited justification was “there is no alternative”, not to open borders, nor to off-shoring industries to China, nor to any act by the business elite designed to fill their coffers and empty yours.
“There is no alternative” made the agenda sound like an implacable force of nature like plate tectonics. Can you alter the movement of continents, or stop a volcano from blowing its top or alter the course of a hurricane? Of course not and this is how economic affairs were portrayed. There are currents in the affairs of men that it is useless to oppose. You might as well curse the tides.
Of course this is nonsense, the claim having no basis in reality whatsoever. If the accounts of the process of enacting neo-liberalism was dismissed as conspiracy mongering, it is exactly that, the conspiracy hatched and openly discussed and put into effect by democratically elected law-makers with the ordinary person a bystander that by-and-large accepted the promises. We would be rich, there would be millions of jobs etc. All bunk.
The lessons? Don’t believe what your betters tell you, those mendacious and self-serving and incompetent shits. Trust your eyes and ears and powers of reason and your gut. If it sounds like bullshit, it is bullshit.
Hurray for those fuckin’ Brits, those guys doing that take-down, one of them with a narwhal tusk of all things, exemplifying what I so like about them. We should take a page from them.
They don’t abandon their posts unlike their feckless betters. And a tip o the hat to those Yellow Jackets. Vive la France.
AT THE IOWA DEBATE, BERNIE SANDERS’S MOST VOCIFEROUS OPPONENT WAS CNN
by Ryan Grim, Aida Chavez, Akela Lacy (The Intercept)
Ahead of the August 2015 Fox News debate, the company’s chair, Rupert Murdoch, issued a directive to debate moderator Megyn Kelly: The Donald Trump thing has gone on long enough, it’s time to take him down. Kelly took a bat to candidate Trump, listing off his most misogynistic remarks, asking how he could explain them to voters. But Trump ended up winning that war.
Democrats assembled in Iowa Tuesday night for the opportunity to take him on in the upcoming general election. This time, though, it was CNN moderators who brought out the bat and swung it hard at Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont independent had topped a major Iowa poll last week, compounding fears that have only recently emerged among the party establishment that he may be on course for the nomination.
In contrast to Sanders’s treatment, former Vice President Joe Biden, the national frontrunner, was barely touched — either by moderators or his rivals.
CNN moderator Abby Phillip opened a line of questioning on the recent feud between Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “CNN reported yesterday, and, Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren confirmed in a statement that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?”
The moderator’s use of Warren to confirm a version of the story that originally came from Warren’s account of the meeting at the time signaled which side CNN was taking in the “he said, she said,” but it was confirmed by the framing of the question — “Why did you say that?” — rather than asking whether he said it.
Sanders denied the accusation, noting that he had been ready to stand aside for Warren to run in 2016, though she declined to. Phillip pressed to be clear he was denying the charge, then pivoted to Warren, and waved away his denial with such force — “Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” — that Sanders and the audience laughed.
After the debate, the candidates shook hands — all except Warren and Sanders. Warren pulled her hand back, and the two had a tense exchange that couldn’t be heard as the mics had been cut off, but left both walking tersely off, Sanders turning his back on Warren.
The debate opened with a long discussion of war in Iran and Iraq, which included no mention of the costs of occupation. Yet CNN moderators did eventually ask Sanders how he would pay for Medicare for All, among other plans. Host Wolf Blitzer asked why the government should do anything to lower drug prices when nobody trusts the government. Philip later asked Sanders how he would keep his plans “from bankrupting the country.”
In another moment, moderators interrupted Sanders as he sought to link his opposition to Trump’s newly negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — setting himself apart from the rest of the field, particularly Warren — with calls for stronger labor protections and environmental provisions to address the climate emergency. “Aren’t moderate improvements better than no improvements?” asked Brianne Pfannenstiel, a Des Moines Register reporter and co-moderator. After Sanders explained his opposition, Pfannenstiel noted that the AFL-CIO supported the trade deal: “Are you unwilling to compromise?”
“The AFL-CIO does. The Machinists Union does not. And every environmental organization in this country, including the Sunrise organization, who are supporting my candidacy, opposes it,” Sanders said. That’s when the CNN hosts jumped in, telling Sanders to stay on the topic of trade because climate change would be addressed later. “They are the same in this issue,” he fired back.
One instance when Sanders did seem to triumph — and hit Biden — came at the outset of the debate, when moderators asked questions about the war in Iraq and the potential coming war with Iran. Sanders used the opportunity to hit Biden for his support of the Iraq War and to remind viewers that he opposed it, just as he opposed the Vietnam War. Biden, attempting to end weeks of rough press, ultimately acknowledged his vote for the war was a “mistake,” one he said he was hoodwinked into by the Bush administration’s claims that it did not intend to use the congressional authorization for the use of force to attack.
The Sanders moment, however, only came after Blitzer started a question to Sanders by saying, “Iran’s Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei has again called for all U.S. troops to be pulled out of the Middle East, something you’ve called for as well.”
Despite the pummeling by moderators, a staffer for the Sanders campaign said it had its best fundraising hour of any debate thus far, with more than 15,000 contributions. The campaign said the donations, which totaled $1.7 million by the end of the night, accounted for 43 percent of all money raised on the Democratic fundraising site ActBlue during that period of time.
"SO, TO SAY THAT SOLEIMANI, himself personally, was an imminent threat is, as I said before, laughable. And the fact that Esper and Pompeo, who have some manner of expertise in military affairs, are saying these things makes them even more egregious liars than otherwise. If John Kerry got up there and said something like that, or if Warren Christopher got up there and said something of that, Kerry even with his Vietnam experience, you could give them a little bit of leeway. But these guys are supposed to be experts in the very fields that they’re talking about. They’re anything but experts. They are warmongers. They are warmongers par excellence.
Mike Pompeo and Vice President Pence, they both long for the rapture, for the end times, for Jesus coming down to the Earth and killing all the unbelievers with his flaming sword. This is what they are all about. This is why they allowed the embassy to move to Jerusalem. Go back and check the remarks that were made at that time, the prayers that were given and so forth. This is, in a word, a very different U.S. administration, but in the same hands of the military-industrial complex, of the national security state, of all the people who want warfare to be the raison d’être of this empire at the same time.
So, you’re looking at an incompetent leadership, coupled with a leadership that’s ruthless and brutal and knows where it wants to go. And with Iran, it’s regime change, period. And if they have to go to war, that’s what they want. And now they’ve got it to the point where it’s going to be extremely difficult — I’d put the chances at 50-50 — for us to extricate ourselves from this march to war. And this war will put Iraq to shame in terms of its consequences in blood and treasure."
— Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, on Democracy Now!