- Mostly Dry
- Sheep-Killing Dogs
- Funding Threat
- Adventist Closures
- One Little Indian
- Incomplete Humans
- Ed Notes
- Niner Tower
- Gabbard v Clinton
- Quiz Night
- Yesterday's Catch
- Rampant Corruption
- Sanders Relieved
- Player Immunity
- Birthday Dolly
- Eucalyptus Removal
- Good Day
- Bone Ugly
- Feel Safer
- Hamburg Bust
- Found Object
A FEW LIGHT SHOWERS will be possible today. Otherwise, mostly dry weather will continue to prevail today. A trough will then move over the area tonight, providing another round of light to moderate rain. Mostly dry conditions are expected to redevelop on Friday in advance of another front that promises to bring widespread rain, possibly heavy, this weekend. (NWS)
SHEEP-KILLING DOGS [from facebook]:
"We just had 2 dogs, a german shepherd and a boxer, take down 2 sheep right next to the house here on the Prather ranch (right by the grange). They are torn up bad and will have to be put down. 2 other sheep are missing from our little herd of 9. I’ve been told these dogs are also taking down sheep across the road, and are coming back EVERY DAY now to do more killing.
If these are your dogs, know that they will be shot on sight next time they get onto these sheep pastures. They are killers and are not being controlled. If you know who they belong to, please let them know and make sure they are kept contained. Once dogs get a taste for blood, they are relentless.
These poor sheep are defenseless and I am personally furious that dogs are being allowed to roam and hurt them. Especially when it’s lambing time and so many babies are at risk. Please get the word out; there is actual video of these 2 dogs killing sheep and they will be destroyed if it doesn’t stop."
RED MUSTANG [a local facebooker wants to know who drives it]:
"Anybody have any information about a red mustang (late 90s/early 2000s) with a black hood stripe driving in Anderson Valley? He followed me the whole of 253 and was driving crazy. I tried to pull over twice and he pulled behind me and wouldn’t pass. Started getting even crazier on the Ukiah side of the hill. Turned off his headlights, driving in the oncoming lane and more. He continued following and harassing in Ukiah but I lost him when he was forced to turn on Talmage. First digits of the license plate 7FND. I didn’t recognize the guy."
AT TUESDAY’S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING CEO Carmel Angelo told the Supes that said she’s very worried that some Mental Health Services Act (MHSA/Prop 63, the 1% tax on millionaires) funds might be shifted to homeless services (because, of course, some homeless are mentally ill). According to Angelo, MHSA dollars are all “planned for” although they may not be “utilized.” Of course, nobody knows what “services” from the “services act” funding are provided for or planned for. But lately there’s been some pressure from Darrel Steinberg and the Governor’s office to shift MHSA money to “services” for youth and mentally ill who are homeless. Steinberg, former President of the State Senate and current mayor of Sacramento, has been appointed to a new “Statewide Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing.
ANGELO said she was “looking at more accountability” and “funding protections” for those MHSA dollars, adding that she wants “more flexibility to address local challenges.” Translation: We don’t want anybody messing with our money. “This is a very, very, very serious issue,” declared Angelo, using the word “very” three times for emphasis. “We stand to lose MHSA money and it will really impact our mental health services. … If we lose this it will make a tremendous difference for wrap around services.”
OBVIOUSLY, given this new initiative, it’s now a “challenge” to make sure the $30 mil or so the County spends on both private and public mental health “services” continues to go where Angelo wants it to go, not where it might actually do some visible good.
NOBODY ON THE BOARD dared contradict the CEO on the subject, but somebody should have pointed out that a good case can be made that the current mental health services are not effective much less managed or measured, especially for the people who Steinberg and the Governor are talking about — those in that special class of difficult mentally ill homeless who are not quite “severely mentally ill” or whose mental illness is drug-related, aka non-reimburseable. As far as we can tell, Steinberg’s idea is to actually try to address that problem, but CEO Angelo and her local pals and in the statewide County CEO community don’t like Steinberg-style meddling in their gravy train.
ADVENTIST (ST HELENA) AXES MENTAL HEALTH AFTER CUTTING OBSTETRICS
Adventist Health St. Helena to close inpatient mental health units
[But they don’t say WHY.]
Adventist Health St. Helena will shutter both its inpatient mental health unit and senior behavioral health unit on July 14, according to an Adventist Health press release dated Jan. 17. The units have a combined 34 beds: 21 in the mental health unit, and 13 in the behavioral health unit. Future plans for the space are in development.
The decision impacts 105 full-time, part-time and per-diem employees, Steven Herber, M.D., president, Adventist Health St. Helena, said in the announcement.
“We are eager to work with each staff member to place them in other positions within the hospital or in other Adventist Health facilities,” he said. “We are hopeful we can retain the staff.”
Herber said closing the units wasn’t an easy decision.
“Adventist Health spent considerable time and effort looking at multiple scenarios and it was determined that this was the best course of action,” he said. “Patients will have access to inpatient services at Adventist Health Vallejo. … This change better allocates specialized clinicians at a single location, which is ultimately more efficient.”
The news comes on the heels of the same facility closing its birthing unit on Jan. 11, a decision made because of low patient volume, Herber said in a Dec. 12 press release. The birthing unit’s shuttering affected 10 full-time and seven part-time employees, mostly in nursing.
Adventist Health Vallejo, a 61-bed mental health hospital, will absorb patients in need of mental health care going forward, according to the release. The facility offers adult, children and adolescent inpatient services, partial hospitalization and an intensive outpatient program.
Outpatient psychiatric services are available at Adventist Health’s clinic in Calistoga.
"We've moved from wisdom to knowledge, and now we're moving from knowledge to information, and that information is so partial – that we're creating incomplete human beings."
WHOLE LOTTA GOTCHA going on.
(1) Persons hostile to the Supe's candidacy of Ukiah's Mo Mulheren are circulating a 2018 suit against Mulheren brought by Dr. Marvin Trotter and his wife, Cassandra Tanning-Trotter, alleging that Mulheren had under-insured their Redwood Valley modular. When that home was lost to the big fires the Trotters bought a new modular, apparently only then discovering that the insurance on their former home was about two-thirds short of paying for the new one. The Trotter's suit also claimed that since Marvin Trotter was over the age of 65 he was specially protected as an insured person by California law, which would seem to suggest that Trotter was also claiming that it was his advanced age that perhaps made him unaware of how much his home was insured for. Trotter is among the listed supporters of one of Mulheren's opponent for 2nd District supervisor, Mari Rodin. I was unable to reach Ms. M to ask her how this suit came out, but off the top it seems implausible that the Trotters were unaware that modular structures are valued less than conventional stick houses.
(2) Zohar Zaid is a corrections officer at the Mendocino County Jail. He was recently in the news when an on-line entity called BadCop found that Zaid, then a sergeant, had been demoted for tazing a handcuffed inmate. It was due to fairly recent enabling legislation that media were allowed to see police disciplinary files, and this was the only gotcha BadCop found in the Mendo files. It was also to the credit of Zaid's fellow officers who complained about his excessive use of force. Before the taze episode and since the taze episode Zaid's record is unblemished. So we received a batch of legal papers from an anonymous person which included a civil suit against Zaid by the Redwood Credit Union for $21,821.69 owed on a credit card issued by Redwood Credit. And there's cover sheet from a case brought by Zaid against Realty World, Ukiah, which found for Realty World, Ukiah in "a motor vehicle accident." The County, incidentally, paid a hefty sum to the taze vic who sued for millions but settled for a mere 50k.
WE'D DEFEND Zaid, whom we don't know, by pointing out that one loss of control in reaction to the undoubtedly foul insults emanating from the tazed inmate, Zaid deserved to be demoted but not permanently doomed by losing his job. The Sheriff — Allman at the time — did the right thing in demoting him. Police behavior depends a lot on reputable leadership. If the top people wink and nod at bad behavior, we’d all get tazed. It's to the credit of the Mendo cops that BadCop could find only this single case of bad behavior. According to the anon-delivered court documents, Zaid also appears to be a poor money manager, and he contested and lost a traffic matter. Added up, not the worst record around, but somebody is going to a lot of trouble to Gotcha him.
To the Editor:
Dear Sheriff Kendall,
Welcome to your new job and a new type of controversy! I think that with the new law enforcement transparency laws, your agency will be under more scrutiny from the public who read news reports of the misdeeds or errors of law enforcement personnel.
I’m one of the readers of such reports, including the most recent one (and how much of a backlog is there?) in the article printed in the UDJ on January 9th. I discussed the piece with friends at breakfast the other day, and they were both quick on the draw (ha!) to write to you and the paper, but I too had a commitment to write of my concerns.
Several questions come to mind. I know you’re hampered by human resource laws in terms of giving a thorough response, but perhaps you can suggest some answers about the situation.
1) I wonder how the reassignment was chosen – it seems a little like the fox guarding the hen house to have a deputy accused of misconduct vetting the backgrounds of other potential deputies.
2) Not a question, but it seems as if there was little consequence for the misdeed, other than to taxpayers who are footing this bill of $180,000 in some form or another, and I would prefer the deputy contribute in some way, other than no lost salary.
3) Is there review of relevant certifications such as the taser cert, which was expired in this case.
4) Is there ongoing de-escalation training for staff, along with means of reducing undue reactivity? I know the jail and all the work of the agency is both crucial and stressful, and I hate to think that the stress encourages poor decision making.
Finally, I salute the other deputies and nurse who were present and were willing to acknowledge that unnecessary force was used – I imagine that took some courage.
And thank you to all the staff who work conscientiously to keep our community safe.
HILLARY, THE BEAST THAT WON'T DIE. Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for more than $50 million in damages following Clinton’s suggestion on a podcast that she was Russia’s favored candidate to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. The defamation lawsuit, which was made public Wednesday morning, claims the 2016 Democratic nominee permanently damaged the Hawaii congresswoman’s reputation by describing her as a “Russian asset.” Clinton made the controversial remarks on the podcast Campaign HQ With David Plouffe back in October, when she said: “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians.” In the key remarks to the lawsuit, Clinton added: “That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset—I mean, totally.” It’s not clear from the quotes whether Clinton was referring to Gabbard, Stein, or both. Although Clinton didn’t explicitly mention Gabbard during the remarks quoted in the lawsuit, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill clarified at the time, when asked if she was referencing Gabbard in the part about Russia favoring one of the existing candidates: “If the nesting doll fits.”
QUIZ TONIGHT! It’s the Fourth Thursday and so the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz will take place tonight, January 23, at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. Kick-off is at 7pm prompt. This Quiz will have a number of music-based rounds, plus a couple of the usual topics. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 22, 2020
AUGUSTINE FREASE, Hopland. Controlled substance, community supervision violation.
THOMAS GALINDO JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
KENNETH HANOVER, Covelo. Failure to appear.
SUZANNE LINKER, Branscomb. Failure to appear.
JOHN PALACIOS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
RAUL TELLEZ-SANTOS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, disobeying court order, failure to appear.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’ve never watched a so-called reality TV show. I’m not watching, or reading about, this one either. Don’t care. All that will matter is the outcome, and it really likely won’t matter one bit to our everyday lives.
Corruption is running rampant throught the system at every level and across the board. From small non-profits, to mega churches, to small government boards, to state, then federal governments, and up to multi-national corporations, corruption is a given. It has become so normalized it’s just considered business as usual and not even noticed by the masses during their daily hustle to stay afloat. What, if anything, does the impeachment matter within this context? Just one more day in the shitshow is all.
Now, the Fed dumping hundreds of billions of dollars into bailouts the past few months is an indicator of something that could have very serious consequences for peoples’ everyday life. I will pay attention to that situation. The impeachment? It’s a nothingburger aimed at diverting energy. For those who care: enjoy every detail that fits your confirmation bias and hate every detail that doesn’t. I’ll go for a hike instead.
SANDERS CAMPAIGN RELIEVED TO HAVE DODGED CLINTON ENDORSEMENT
Following revelations in a new documentary that Hillary Clinton does not support Bernie Sanders, the Sanders campaign office has responded with great relief that they have managed to avoid their greatest potential threat to securing the 2020 Democratic nomination.
MLB & MLBPA MADE A DEAL
Astros Players Cheated. Baseball Wanted Answers. So They Made a Deal. MLB struck an agreement with the MLBPA early in the investigation granting immunity for honest testimony
by Jared Diamond
In a scathing investigatory report released last week, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred repeatedly refers to the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme in 2017 and 2018 as “player-driven.” Yet Manfred also declared: “I will not assess discipline against individual Astros players.”
So while Manfred suspended Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager A.J. Hinch for the 2020 season — they were later fired — no active players were even named for their involvement. Manfred justified that decision by saying it would have been “difficult and impractical” to punish players, given that virtually all of them had knowledge of or were involved in the operation to use technology to illicitly obtain and relay opposing catchers’ signals.
But there is a simpler explanation for why no players were penalized: The league and the MLB Players Association struck an agreement early in the process that granted immunity in exchange for honest testimony, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The league was quick to make such an offer, these people said, in part because it did not believe it would win subsequent grievances with any players it attempted to discipline. That’s partly because of a bureaucratic shortcoming: The Astros’ front office never discussed with players the league’s admonitions against using electronic devices to steal signs, according to Manfred’s statement.
The deal is a sign of MLB’s desire for a speedy and conflict-free investigation, the continuing power of the baseball players’ union and the fragile state of the sport’s labor relations. The promise of amnesty allowed the league to interview 23 current and former Astros players during the two-month investigation.
The result is a situation that led to the harshest penalties in recent baseball history — none of them directed at the people Manfred said actually committed the offense. That has attracted public criticism even from some players who are members of the union.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch, left, and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended, and later fired, after an MLB investigation.
The nature of the Astros’ sign-stealing operation became public in a Nov. 12 story published by The Athletic, prompting MLB to launch a formal inquiry. But the genesis of the pact between the league and the MLBPA goes back to Sept. 15, 2017, when Manfred announced that he had fined the Boston Red Sox for transmitting signs from their replay review room to individuals in the dugout wearing smartwatches.
That same day, Manfred issued a memo to all teams reiterating that using electronic equipment to steal signs was a violation of league rules and that future transgressions would be met with severe discipline. He specifically said that GMs and managers would be held accountable for the conduct of their charges. Another memo sent out in March 2018, attributed to chief baseball officer Joe Torre, expanded on the prohibition.
Manfred said that despite receiving those memos, Luhnow never forwarded them to or addressed their contents with the players and field staff, nor did he “confirm that the players and field staff were in compliance with MLB rules and the memoranda.” Through a spokesman, Luhnow declined to comment.
This was an important fact for MLB if it had wanted to try to discipline players. Penalties would have been met with grievances by the MLBPA—grievances that the league believes it would have lost, people familiar with the matter said.
After all, Manfred said, Hinch knew the sign-stealing was going on and didn’t stop it. Bench coach Alex Cora was an active participant in the plots. So was outfielder Carlos Beltran a respected veteran. Therefore, the union could have successfully argued in a grievance hearing that the players didn’t know they were in the wrong, since their superiors never directly informed them and even appeared to condone their behavior. (Cora and Beltran both lost their jobs last week as the manager of the Red Sox and New York Mets, respectively.)
MLB wanted to avoid grievances altogether because of how they would have hindered the investigation. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the MLBPA couldn’t stop MLB from interviewing players in relation to the case. But the union could exert some influence on the scheduling of those interviews, potentially grounding the entire investigation to a halt.
Once the parties did talk, players might not have been forthright in their responses if they feared repercussions that would impact their earnings or playing status. Almost no active players, for instance, cooperated with the Mitchell Report, which looked into the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. That investigation took 20 months before its release in 2007. Because players spoke freely this time, MLB wrapped up its dive into the Astros and took decisive action in two months.
A person familiar with the matter said that MLB determined quickly that it didn’t intend to pursue suspensions for active players. One reason for that, this person said, was MLB’s belief that it would be inappropriate to punish teams who have since acquired players who played on the 2017 Astros. For example, the Minnesota Twins had nothing to do with what the Astros did, so why should their championship aspirations potentially be derailed because they signed Marwin Gonzalez last winter? (Limiting discipline only to players still on the Astros would’ve been a nonstarter in a grievance.)
With suspensions off the table, it became clear that it would benefit the investigation, the league and the union to simply focus on arriving at the truth. There were no intense negotiations; the league offered immunity essentially from the outset. The same rules will apply to the ongoing investigation into the Red Sox, who have been accused of illegally stealing signs during their run to a World Series title in 2018, with Cora as their manager.
By working with the MLBPA on this issue, MLB avoided sparking another fight in what has been a contentious period between the league and the union. The slow pace of the free-agent markets after the 2017 and 2018 seasons caused massive outcry by the players and their representatives, sinking baseball’s labor relations to their lowest point since the strike of 1994.
Though this off-season has seen a more robust employment market, tensions remain high as the two sides prepare for what is expected to be a tough CBA negotiation after the 2021 campaign.
It appears not every player agrees with that course of action. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood said on Twitter: “The fact that there hasn’t been any consequences to any players up to this point is wild.” Other players have expressed similar discontent.
Union officials recognize players are emotional about this issue, especially the Dodgers: They lost in the World Series to the Astros in 2017 and then to the Red Sox in 2018. Those who weren’t part of the investigation weren’t told that players were granted immunity.
That might not be the case if this form of cheating continues to be an issue moving forward. MLB expects to unveil a revised policy designed to combat technology-assisted sign-stealing before opening day, following negotiations with the MLBPA. It could include agreed-upon penalties for players in the future.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DOLLY PARTON [Jan 19, 1946]
CALTRANS REMOVING EUCALYPTUS ALONG HIGHWAY 101 SAFETY CORRIDOR
Soon motorists may notice tree crews working along southbound U.S. Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata. They’ll be there to improve the overall safety of the area. While there are over 500 eucalyptus trees along the corridor, a third-party arborist has determined a number of those trees are “high-risk,” meaning they are either unhealthy or have a potential for limbs to fall on motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. 38 eucalyptus trees are slated to be removed while 179 will be pruned.
As many know, eucalyptus trees do not grow naturally in this area. A number of factors have resulted in the deteriorating health of these trees, according to the arborist. They noted that although we cannot predict all failures, identifying those trees with observable defects is a critical component of enhancing public safety. Therefore the tree removal and pruning is being performed to maintain public safety.
With work beginning as early as Tuesday, January 21, a southbound lane closure will be in effect on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also southbound traffic may be stopped for a couple of minutes intermittently on occasion in order to safely work on the larger trees. Cyclists will still be able to travel along the route for the duration of the project and will be subject to the same intermittent traffic stoppages as motorized vehicles. Please proceed with caution through the work zone. (Caltrans presser)
BERNIE SANDERS SAID “On a good day, my wife likes me” in response to Hillary Clinton's statement that “nobody likes him.”
“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”
INSIDE THE HAMBURG POT BUST (from the Archive)
by Mark Scaramella (March 5, 2008)
At a dramatic preliminary hearing for self-described marijuana activist Laura Hamburg last Thursday, retired Superior Court Judge James Luther threw out all the evidence the Sheriff's Department obtained during the execution of a search warrant at the Hamburgs' Boonville Road property. The basis of the October raid, Luther said, was obtained via an "intentional omission" — i.e., it did not properly include Ms. Hamburg's claim that she was a caregiver grower for two (or three) other people.
Ms. Hamburg had been charged with possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana for sale and renting a building for the purposes of marijuana cultivation. The raid occurred on October 25th of last year.
According to a transcript of the tape-recorded conversation between lead raid team deputy, Raymond Hendry, and Ms. Hamburg, which was submitted to the court for last week's hearing, it is clear that neither the deputy nor Ms. Hamburg were able to come up with the right dope, so to speak.
Although the case concerned a rather modest grow with a relatively cooperative grower present as tour guide in Ms. Hamburg, some eleven (count 'em) law enforcement officers were on scene as well as the DA's two pot prosecutors, Lee Nerli and Matt Finnegan.
The cops were on property owned by a former Congressman, Laura's father, Dan Hamburg. If they'd been busting a gang of tweakers holed up in a Willits motel it is doubtful if a third of the county's law enforcement capacity would have been present. They certainly wouldn't have been as polite. Deputy Hendry had initially come out to the Hamburg place looking for Matt Hamburg who had apparently violated a restraining order. Hendry noted the presence of devil weed and, clearly, ran back to headquarters with the news that "Wowee Maui we've got Mr. Big! We've got Dan Hamburg!"
Why so many law enforcement people for a pot grow operated by an otherwise respectable family?
The big cop turnout seems to have been in response to (1) that a lot of dope appeared to be growing and processed at the home of a former Congressman and (2) the Hamburg family quickly arranged for the presence of former Assistant DA Keith Faulder who, having been fired from his job in the DA's office the day after his opponent, Meredith Lintott, took office last June after promising during the campaign she wouldn't fire him merely because he'd run against her, has become one of the County's most prominent marijuana defense specialists.
Faulder was summoned to the scene by Ms. Hamburg around the time Deputy Hendry began to question her about her marijuana garden.
According to two unusual interviews conducted by DA Investigator Kevin DeVries with Deputy DAs Finnegan and Nerli, the two DAs were summoned to the scene soon after Faulder arrived. By the time Finnegan and Nerli got to Hamburg's property, most of the Sheriff's Department's top brass was also on scene. Such a large cop turn out at a simple pot bust is unprecedented in Mendo's storied pot-raid history. Sheriff Tom Allman was there for awhile, as was Captain Kevin Broin, Captain Kurt Smallcomb, Lieutenant Rusty Noe, Sergeant Greg Van Patten, at least one other sergeant, and several other deputies besides the intrepid Deputy Hendry.
The interview of Ms. Hamburg conducted by Hendry and Captain Smallcomb opens with Hendry trying to find out how many people Ms. Hamburg was growing for. Ms. Hamburg explains she has three siblings, one of whom is her younger brother Matt — the person originally being sought by Deputy Hendry concerning violation of a court order.
Ms. Hamburg first claims to be growing for her sister and herself, but she does not have Prop 215 documentation on hand for her sister, Elizabeth, saying they had only recently applied for the cards. Ms. Hamburg then points out that she'd already harvested several dozen of the pot plants — the ones intended for Elizabeth.
Deputy Hendry: "Where's the process from this that's been topped?"
Ms. Hamburg replies, "Oh, I'm using it to make a tincture."
Hendry: "A what?"
Hamburg: "A tincture."
Hendry: "What's that?"
Hamburg: "Like a little, a little — the stuff that's been topped is my… is Lizzie's. The ones that are up are mine, but I'm going to use it to make a tincture for sleeping and for apnea which is, they are a little droplet thing."
So commences a dialogue of the deaf.
Hamburg then repeats that the cut plants are for her sister, adding, "The ones that still have to be cut down are mine and I'm just getting ready to harvest. That's why that gentlemen is here to help me." (Ms. Hamburg refers to an unidentified man standing in the garden during the interview.)
Hendry and Smallcomb then grill Ms. Hamburg about some pot plant leavings on her shirt and the fact that they saw her in her house with a tub of green leafy stuff through a window.
Ms. Hamburg says the tub was full of shake (leaves and trimmings). Hendry then asks how much trimmed or processed bud Ms. Hamburg has.
Hamburg: "I have about two pounds."
Hendry: "Which is trimmed or hanging?"
Hamburg: "Right. And I was just going through the, the keif part, which is the shake part."
Ms. Hamburg explains that there's one stalk hanging and the rest of it is dried but not trimmed.
When Hendry asks to see what's in the tub, Ms. Hamburg replies, "You're welcome to, to get a warrant and come out here and talk to me about it if you prefer, truly."
Hendry: "If you have a marijuana grow, you have to have your recommendations on site so when we show up, so that well, you can't go, 'Hey Jimmy, bring your recommendation because the cops are here'."
Hamburg: "We have been so good and so careful and not only getting this, but getting the state ID and the whole thing."
Hendry: "Do you know how much processed marijuana you can have?"
Hamburg: "No. … For this county? I don't know."
(Hamburg is a "marijuana activist" in Mendocino County and she doesn't know how much processed marijuana she can have?)
Hendry piles on more confusion by claiming that the two pound limit includes pot that's drying but not processed. Our understanding is that the two pounds allowed by Mendocino County Code only applies to processed or trimmed marijuana bud, not plants or parts of plants that are drying but not trimmed.
Ms. Hamburg explains that she had a "serious powdery mildew and bud rot problem," which caused her to "whack off tons and tons and tons of it, probably a third of this is just chucked." She tells Hendry that the chucked plants were put in the compost pile and the cops can see it there for themselves.
Ms. Hamburg tells the deputy she has "double cards and I've been so good about it."
But that doesn't convince a skeptical Hendry: "I can guarantee you have more than two pounds of processed marijuana on your property. … I do this every day and everybody lies to me. I have yet to find somebody who actually tells me the truth. … I just appreciate the truth like every other human being."
Then begins the attempt to count Hamburg's pot plants.
Smallcomb counts them. Ms. Hamburg counts them. Hendry counts them. You can hear them counting… counting… counting… Here's a single plant, there's one with "two angles…" Smallcomb at one point says, "I count seventy or eighty. And there's two missing, see. That's two that's in pots." Hendry asks about some others. Hamburg herself counts all the way up to 52.
Hendry: "Ma'am, what's growing under that little canopy there?
Hamburg: "There's nothing here."
Hendry: "What was there?"
Hamburg: "I had vegetables here."
Hendry: "Any marijuana in here?"
Hamburg: "I had some marijuana here, but this was from, this was from earlier in the year."
Ms. Hamburg claims some of the plants are not growing and should not count.
As they continue to find root balls and count them as plants (or former plants), Deputy Hendry insists, "We're trying to help you out."
Smallcomb finds some more plants or root balls but continues counting, root balls and all.
After admitting to some nervousness, Ms. Hamburg tells Hendry that the "excess" marijuana is used to make the tincture.
Hendry: "So you use all the extra marijuana to make little eye drops?"
Hamburg: "No no no no no no. It's something you drink. It's not eye drops."
Smallcomb then asks Ms. Hamburg if her father, former Congressman Dan Hamburg [later elected Fifth District Supervisor] and a well known marijuana activist in his own right, grows pot.
Hamburg: "You have to ask Dad."
More back and forth about Dad. Smallcomb says he remembers that Dan Hamburg used to grow pot.
Ms. Hamburg volunteers to pull a few plants if she's really over the limit.
Hendry then insists — again — that he knows she's got more than two pounds.
Ms. Hamburg replies that her sister may have a couple pounds of her own, but that the cops have to ask her sister about them. Hamburg also admits that her sister's documentation should have been on hand.
Hamburg also says her own two pounds is in the tub but she doesn't want to bring the tub out and she won't let the cops see it. Hendry says if he has to he can get a warrant to search the house. Ms. Hamburg asks, "Why do you guys want to do that to me?"
Hendry: "We're checking compliance ma'am."
Compliance requires eleven cops and two DAs?
Smallcomb adds, "…and you're already outside of compliance."
Faulder arrives and assesses the situation and confers with his client. He tells the cops that Ms. Hamburg is also growing for her neighbor, a Ms. Jean North. Faulder tells the cops that he can get the neighbor and the sister and have them appear to assert their own Prop 215 legitimacy.
What's not clear from the court documents is the timing of all this. The cops say that they only heard about the third Prop 215 claim (Ms. North's) after they had obtained the search warrant — but before they served it.
Faulder claims that they knew about the three recommendations before they wrote the affidavit in support of the warrant and they intentionally omitted this information to get Judge Henderson (a long time political opponent of Hamburg's) to sign the warrant.
Judge Luther ruled last Thursday that he believed that if the deputies had included what they should have known about the total number of recommendations in their affidavit, that Judge Henderson would not have signed the warrant.
Nevertheless, the full cop and DA crew arrived back on scene, having obtained their search warrant.
Faulder noticed that the address on the warrant is wrong. "This is an illegal warrant," declared Faulder. "It can not be executed."
Faulder also told Captain Smallcomb more than once that executing a warrant based on known omissions could make him personally liable for a lawsuit. Smallcomb gets worried and asks Nerli and Finnegan about his potential liability. Nerli and Finnegan aren't sure, so they call Chief Deputy DA Kitty Houston who opined that anybody can sue anybody, but the question is whether they can be "effectively" sued. Houston doesn't think such a suit would be successful.
But neither Houston, Nerli nor Finnegan are particularly experienced in civil rights litigation.
Smallcomb, for his part, probably remembers the successful — and very embarrassing to the Sheriff's Department — suit filed in the 1990s by Marc Tosca, a gay Ukiah man whose property was raided and searched on the basis of transparently bogus information from one James Mallo, a low-life snitch with a very long criminal rap sheet who just might be the least credible person on the Northcoast, if not the country. In that case, Tosca won, and the Sheriff's officers involved were forced to sign a formal apology to Tosca and the County was ordered to pave Tosca's road. (It's been years now and the road's still not paved.)
The large law enforcement response at the Hamburg Ranch seems to have been triggered by Faulder's arrival on the scene and Faulder's declarations that the warrant was illegal, that Smallcomb might be liable for a lawsuit, and that the warrant was obtained on false pretenses by leaving out the full Prop 215 claims of Ms. Hamburg, her sister and Ms. North.
In fact, during their pseudo self-depositions, the two deputy DAs say that they and their uniformed cohorts were "intimidated" by Faulder, so intimidated that they finally got tired of Faulder's declarations and told him he'd be arrested if he didn't leave.
Faulder left. Then the cops went about their search and found $10,000 in cash and more marijuana, of course. The cops first said they found about 60 pounds of processed bud. In court Hendry said Hamburg had "well over ten pounds." Faulder says Hamburg's alleged stash was mostly wet leaf, shake and trimmings — not "processed bud."
Judge Luther has now tossed out most of the evidence obtained with the flawed search warrant with a ruling that included the phrase "intentional omission."
The DA [Meredith Lintott at the time] is reconsidering the charges based on the remaining evidence, contradictory and unclear as it is, related to the plants in the pot garden prior to the warrant. And Ms. Hamburg and Mr. Faulder have a judge's ruling that they may be able to use as the basis of their own civil rights case against the County and the Sheriff's Department.
Ms. Hamburg was certainly acting suspiciously and may have been somewhat out of compliance. But, if there are going to be such specific rules — two pounds of processed bud and 25 mature flowering female plants — why not just issue her a fix-it ticket or fine her and be done with it? Then she could argue that case like an ordinary traffic ticket if she wanted to. Instead, the whole case was rushed for obviously petty (and probably political) reasons and has now escalated into another only-in-Mendoland fiasco that proves once again that Mendo can screw up even the simplest matter.
If a mere marijuana compliance check requires most of Mendo's top law enforcement horsepower — and it still gets screwed up — it's no wonder that ordinary beat cops are frustrated by the confusing state of Medical Marijuana law in Mendocino County as pot grows increase while arrests go down.