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MCT: Friday, January 31, 2020

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DRY AND MILD conditions are expected through early Saturday, although stratus may linger at the coast. Light rain and mountain snow are then forecast to return this weekend as another cold front moves across the area. A chilly airmass will settle over Northwest California in the wake of the front on Sunday. Dry weather is expected Monday and Tuesday. (NWS)

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Malcolm Macdonald writes: At Thursday’s Mendocino Coast Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting the board voted to move to a transfer and stabilization method for births by June 30. The vote was three in favor (Board President Grinberg, Vice President Lund, and Director Arnold), one opposed (Director McColley), one abstention (Director Redding).

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by Mark Scaramella

Let’s revisit the Board of Supervisors’ credibility problems and their long history of denying or reducing local fire service funding while citing their newfound interest in funding fire services via a campground bed tax proposal?

The Board has claimed that they did their part years ago by funding Calfire’s emergency dispatch services. But that, of course, didn’t provide any money for local fire services.

Our point in the earlier commentary was, not about the merits of what they have or have not done, or of the latest tax measures, but about the Board’s utter failure to properly manage the General fund budget in light of this latest proposed tax measure which purports to tax visitors for fire services.

The new fire service funding measure(s) (Measures D and E) are designed to avoid the tougher two-thirds majority requirement for a dedicated (to fire services) sales tax increment by presenting it as unearmarked general fund revenue, which only requires a 50% plus 1 vote; then adding an accompanying “advisory measure” which would “advise” the Board to spend the new revenue on fire services which is intended to sweeten the tax pill a bit.

But the Supes are not required to dedicate the new money to fire services.

For years, local fire departments argued that they should get a fair share of the Prop 172 revenues. They finally got some a couple years ago after a long, drawn out, confusing and frustrating series of lobbying which, if the Supes really wanted to fund fire services, would have generated an immediate re-allocation of the money. In the end some of the Prop 172 money was grudgingly allocated to the Fire Departments, but was it the right amount? No. Obviously not, or we wouldn’t be looking at Measures D and E. Anderson Valley got about $20k which doesn’t even cover half their insurance bill.

In addition, the fire departments are still left wondering if these minimal Prop 172 allocations are reliable; each year there’s some question about whether the Board will re-allocate the money and what allocation formula will be used. Will they continue the 172 allocations if Measures D and E pass? They don’t have to, and there’s nothing in the “advisory” measure about not reducing other funds, which would water down the value of the D&E money that goes into the General Fund.

Moreover, the fire departments have never received a nickel of the existing Bed Tax revenues, even though, as the promoters of D and E correctly note, tourists represent a significant demand on emergency services. Now, instead of offering the fire services some of the annual millions in Bed Tax money, the Supes want to ding the campgrounds and generously allow voters to “advise” them to spend it on fire services.

But does the County/Board properly manage and allocate the general fund revenues, approximately half of which go directly to the Sheriff’s department which, amazingly, hasn’t had a budget problem for the last few years? (Former Sheriff Tom Allman and current Sheriff Matt Kendall are on record heaping praise on CEO Carmel Angelo for, in essence, giving the Sheriff whatever funding he wants. Nevermind that the funding is secretly made available by maintaining high vacancy rates in other general fund departments without any analysis of the impact of those vacancy rates on the functioning of those departments.)

How good is the Board at overseeing County spending and staffing and budgets?

Let’s go back to last September when the subject of monthly budget tracking arose, albeit as an afterthough, during the discussion of Supervisor Ted Williams’ agenda item about “zero based budgeting.”

Supervisor John McCowen: “There are a few things that the Board has been asking for for some time. In the case of department metrics the board has been asking for that for several years for each department. We would like to have certain tasks and the timeframe they get accomplished with the numbers of things that get accomplished. Whenever we have this discussion the CEO says, You can't manage what you can't measure. We have an inconsistent process of measuring departmental tasks. We get some information for some things from some departments, but it could be more comprehensive and obviously it will be different items that are of greater importance to different departments. But supposedly the leadership group was working on that. So if we can actually get that activated and operating I think that would help us. The other thing the board has been asking for is budget tracking. I think it should be on a monthly basis. Here's the budgeted amount, here's the expenditure to date. Both the total budget for departments and net county cost. Whatever the appropriate breakdown is. We should get relatively real-time information on how the are departments performing against the budget. I think that would be beneficial as well. We have given these directions in the past. I know everyone's busy doing everything they're doing. These are the types of things that I think would put the county in a position to better evaluate everything that we are doing appropriate or could it be done better.”

CEO Angelo: “I agree with you Supervisor McCowen that the Board has been asking for metrics on the departments and budget tracking. And I believe we have it down to every other month.”

McCowen: “Um…”

Supervisor McCowen was probably going to say that they don’t have it down to anything like that. And that there’s nothing remotely like “metrics on the departments.” But the CEO didn’t want to hear that.

Angelo cut McCowen off: “Please let me finish Supervisor McCowen. I know that you in particular have asked for monthly. I can tell you that we are working on metrics and Deputy CEO Darcie Antle has been working on the departments. One of the first actions was educating the departments with more budget training within the department than we've had in the past…”

That “training” has been going on for a couple of years now. It hasn’t produced anything remotely related to monthly budget reporting or metrics. Apparently, either the departmental staff is resistant to such training, or the training’s no good, or most likely, the training has nothing to do with budget tracking or metrics.

Angelo continued: “I believe we will have metrics for this board. I realize it's taken some time to get there. But this is a large bureaucracy that moves very slow. As far as budget tracking, we do that quarterly…”

No, Mendo does not do budget tracking quarterly. What the CEO is referring to is the quarterly budget review which has nothing to do with departmental budget tracking. And, as we know, CEO Angelo’s “belief” that “we will have metrics” is akin to President Trump’s belief that everything he does is in the public interest.

Angelo continued: “I know you want that monthly. We are working on trying to get it to you every two months. We can try every month, we can give you figures, they will be approximate, they will not be exact.”

This is pure dithering. Nobody’s asking for “exact” information. And obviously they’re not “working on” anything or “trying to get it to you every two months” because they’ve been saying that for the years that McCowen was referring to and hasn’t produced a single tracking result. If CEO Angelo was worth the $200k-plus base salary and another $100k in perks and bennies the Supes give her every year she would not just “try to get it to you every two months,” but she’d do it.

Angelo continued: “At this point in time the IT [computer/info technology] ad hoc knows we are trying to develop efficiencies within our IT systems so we basically have helped our employees do their jobs. So we have a better product for the public and for the board. It's quite possible we will need to upgrade our software again as far as trying to track the budget.”

Now the problem is software? Just a few minutes earlier it was training. Before that it was, we are doing it quarterly, then we can do two months, but not one month.

Angelo continued: “Just as an example, for year-end closeout, year-end closeout is not till the end of August where June 30 is the last day of the year of the fiscal year. So when you look at two years to do close out, that means every department, has to get their claims in and everything done.”

Williams: “Not two years.”

Angelo: “Yes. Two months.”

In a matter of seconds it went from software to the time it takes to do close out. How many lame excuses is the CEO going to trot out? Close out has nothing to do with monthly budget tracking.

Angelo continued: “But to bring in a $300 million budget and manage it every month which is in essence what we do, not to the penny, but when we give information to this Board we want it to be accurate. So we are working on this. I have an inherent belief [sic] that we can get this information to this Board as well. We will continue with this. So thank you.”

Oh, the budget is too big to track? Enough with the lame excuses!

After more silly discussion about how to punt the budget discussion as far out into the future as possible, the Board then voted unanimously — repeat unanimously — to: “Create an agenda item for November 5 regarding zero-based budgeting, putting public priorities on the county budget; host a workshop at the second meeting in January regarding zero-based budgeting; have the IT ad hoc work with the executive office on budget tracking and department metrics; have each supervisor work in conjunction with the executive office for district meetings on budget priorities, including priorities for the county budget.”

That was last September.

We’re now into February and the Board’s directive to “Create an agenda item for November 5 regarding zero-based budgeting, putting public priorities on the county budget” is a distant memory and it never happened. Nobody cared, nobody followed up, nobody asked any questions. Which tells you how much the Board and the CEO care about budget oversight and follow-up.

January has come and gone too, and there was no “workshop at the second meeting in January regarding zero-based budgeting” or anything else.

As far as we know the IT ad hoc didn’t even meet, much less “work with the executive office on budget tracking and department metrics.”

And if “each supervisor [has] worked in conjunction with the executive office for district meetings on budget priorities, including priorities for the county budget,” it has been without any visible result.

So again, we ask: if this Board and CEO won’t manage their own budgets and continues to blithely put it further and further off, won’t follow-up on budget review directives, won’t follow-up on previous funding allocations or ask if they’re enough, and won’t allocate any more money to fire services until maybe next year — if then; the money won’t start rolling in until June of 2021 and won’t be available for fire services until it goes through a budgeting process that will take more months and that is, ahem, flawed — if the voters approve, why are we supposed to believe that this latest "advisory measure" will change anything?

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FROM THE LATEST CHIEF’S REPORT by AV Fire Chief Andres Avila: “At the MCAFD [Mendocino County Association of Fire Districts] Ad Hoc meeting with Supervisors John McCowen and Ted Williams, Ted [Williams] agreed to get two topics on the BOS agenda. The first item is to ensure county Planning and Building has a process in place that would allow fire departments to fulfill their required duties in the [fire prevention/inspection] process. The second item is to start a PT [part-time] county fire marshal position that would cover the areas outside of the noncontiguous fire districts and to assist implementation of the process. This would include conducting the required field fire inspections where districts don’t have the capacity to do so. I was told today [Wednesday, January 15] by Ted Williams that only the EMS items that we spoke on were on the agenda and this issue has been tabled. We will need to see if this is a typical deflection of an item that they ultimately know needs to be done but will avoid by burying it in process.”

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Chinese Opera Masks

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Retired AV Fire Chief Colin Wilson writes:

I'm sending this to all interested persons including key stakeholders and property owner who have expressed interest in attending the Board of Supervisors meeting where the issue of Road Naming will be heard.

We are on the agenda for the Feb. 4th meeting at 3 PM.

I'm suggesting that we meet in the hallway outside of the Board Room at 2:15 to organize ourselves and how we want to present the issue.

Please respond to this message to confirm you or your agency will be attending and can make the 2:15 pre-event hallway meeting.

This is principally an attempt to get the Board to give this issue the priority it deserves. Everyone seems to agree that the proposal to streamline the process of either naming unnamed roads or renaming roads with duplicate or confusing names is a good idea but Building and Planing has successfully deferred the issue by saying they are already understaffed and under budgeted so it becomes an issue of priorities. Our mission is to impress the Board with the importance of the issue and the need to give it a high enough priority that some movement towards mitigation can occur.

Please try to make time in your busy schedule to attend this meeting.

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THE TAI ABREU MATTER was up this week in Judge Moorman's court. Recent legislation, consistent with human experience going back ten thousand years, has belatedly recognized that human beings are not the same at age forty as they are at age 18. Mr. Abreu was age 19 when he was convicted 19 years ago of murder, and soon sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a one-day "trial." His two confederates pled out and got varying sentences of twenty to life. One of those confreres, Aaron Channel, has been out for almost five years, the other, August Stuckey, gets out some time this year.

THE FACTS, as known, are these: The three Fort Bragg amigos robbed an unwholesome 32-year-old Santa Ana man named Donald Perez, then duct-taped him to a tree on the north bank of the Noyo about a mile from the Fort Bragg Police Department. One of the three amigos may have stabbed the tree-bound Perez in the throat, but cause of death could not be determined because Perez's remains were not discovered for nearly a month and were too decomposed to for sure determine cause of death. All that time, Perez's corpse, still strapped to the tree, was clearly visible from both the logging road and the river. (In my several visits to the site, trucks passed often, as did canoeists on the river. One day I watched a dog walker smoke a cigarette about 15 feet from where Perez's remains had slumped from the river alder. He might be there yet if the most talkative of his killers hadn't told a friend who went to the police.

PEREZ, had been lured to Fort Bragg by August Stuckey, who went into prison as a man child but is emerging as a woman via a tax-funded prison gender "reassignment." Stuckey, prior to the murder, had had at least one prior sexual encounter with Perez, whose computer was subsequently found to be chock-full of child pornography. Which isn't to suggest that 19-year-old Fort Bragg stoners should decide who lives or dies, but it is to say that Perez's unhappy exit was not a great loss to the human community.

THE BASIC ISSUE here is simple equity: If three people commit one murder but two of them eventually get out of prison while they're still young while the third, on the same set of facts, gets buried alive for the rest of his life, well, most people would say that isn't fair, which is what the state legislature concluded when it voted to change the life-without law that previously held if you're present when a murder is committed you, too, are guilty whether or not you did the actual killing.

OF THE THREE youngsters involved in the dispatch of Perez, Aaron Channel had made it known that he regarded Perez as a "child molester" because August Stuckey was 17 when he and Perez first met; Stuckey, at the time of the murder, was sexually confused, leaving Abreu as the least likely of the three to have plunged a knife into Perez's throat — if that's how Perez died.

ENTER DA EYSTER who, like most prosecutors in the state, doesn't like the new law that gives certain lifers a second chance, lifers like Abreu. Eyster is resisting the reduction of Abreu's sentence to a robbery conviction and time already served. Ignoring the fact that Abreu's confederates are either out or getting out although they were also convicted of murder but were wise enough to plead guilty, Eyster apparently wants to re-try Abreu for murder, although there's no evidence there was a murder.

IF ABREU was one of these guys who gangs up in prison and manages to become worse for the experience, there would be no interest in seeing him get another shot at a life. But he's grown up. He's not the same person he was when, in a stoned fog, he helped kill Perez. He's managed to establish an almost unblemished record in a context where it isn't easy, doing so well he's essentially a trustee assigned to prison office work. Abreu is highly unlikely to re-offend. Eyster is wasting the court's time and taxpayer money trying to keep the guy locked up.

JESSICA HOAGLAND of the Public Defender's Office is representing Abreu. This is the same office that doomed Abreu the first time around, but Ms. Hoagland, unlike her delusional predecessor, seems to be doing an honest job for the defense. The case will really get going in March, March 26th when Judge Moorman will rule on whether the People (Eyster) are confined to the existing evidence and, at that time, a date will also be set for the evidentiary part of the show. At that time, Abreu will again be brought to town from the High Desert Prison at Susanville to fight for his life.

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UKIAH CITY COUNCIL ELECTION, 2004 (votes/percentage) — a look back with an eye toward March

  • Douglas Crane 2141 / 22.13%
  • Mari Rodin 1961 / 20.27%
  • John McCowen 1753 / 18.12%
  • Michael Whetzel 1253 / 12.95%
  • Ana M. Araiza 1166 / 12.05%
  • Bob Gragson 733 / 7.58%
  • Gordon Elton 635 / 6.56%
  • Write-in Votes 34 / 0.35%

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SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS: I was fortunate to be paired with local historian Malcolm Macdonald at 5am this morning to participate in the homeless point in time count. We returned 127 miles later with a count of six for Mendocino, Albion, Little River, Philo and Comptche. The collection methodology favors urban centers, the counts impacting funding allocations. I know there are folks living in vehicles tucked away down long dirt roads, but making way with flashlights and clipboards wasn’t going to happen. Thank you volunteers and organizers.

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On January 28, 2020, Corrections Deputies and a Registered Nurse (RN) were checking on inmates in the jail’s holding cells as part of their normal duties. When deputies entered one of the holding cells, they found a 26-year-old male arrestee who was in an altered state of consciousness. Deputies attempted to rouse the arrestee but were unsuccessful.

The deputies had the RN enter the cell. The RN took vital signs on the arrestee. While the nurse was evaluating the arrestee, one of the Corrections Deputies noted that there was a torn plastic baggie in the toilet.

After an evaluation, the RN determined that the arrestee might be overdosing. The RN asked for an ambulance to be called to the jail. As staff were calling for an ambulance, the nurse administered Narcan to the arrestee. The nurse checked the arrestee’s vital signs again and noted an improvement.

Staff noted that there were two more empty baggies on the floor next to the arrestee. The RN gave the arrestee a second dose of Narcan. A jail Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) arrived to assist and took vital signs on the arrestee. A third dose of Narcan was administered to the arrestee.

As jail medical staff continued to monitor the arrestee’s condition, the ambulance service arrived. The arrestee was transported to the hospital to receive further treatment and was later returned to the jail.

The jail contracts with Naphcare, a private medical provider, for the medical care of inmates in the facility.

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Mary Massey Writes:

The contrast between the two portions of Tuesday night's Candidates Forum, District One and District Two were like night and day. In the first part, four candidates for District One, were not permitted the use of electronic devices such as phones, or laptops. The four candidates were interactive with both audience and one another. The guys were clear, cogent, knowledgeable and spoke from the mind and heart. Contrast this with the District Two portion. The three candidates did not interact with one another or the audience. Why? Because they were reading from their notes on paper, or in the case of Ms Mulheren, reading from her laptop throughout the Forum. This tells me that Ms Mulheren hasn't internalized her own position to speak freely, confidently and with care about the issues she claims that matter to her or that she will address. One woman next to me said, "I can't understand her… She's talking so fast." I said, "She's not talking, she's reading." Very high school and very disappointing for someone who seeks a position to the tune of over $100,000 in salary and benefits. I have even heard Ms Mulheren has set her sights on a Senate seat.

The audio was poor and the first 15 minutes or so were a challenge to hear. I understand there's a paid person who is the audio operator for the Center. This has been on the books for some time. How did this guy not have it together for such an important event for the public and for that matter, to support the difficult task for the candidates to put their best foot forward? The Civic Center should look into why this happened.

Finally, I went to KZYX archives and the recorded forum is not posted as an archived event effective Wednesday night, January 29th.

Should such a recording be made available, I encourage every person in District One and Two to listen carefully as we near March 3, 2020.

And please, VOTE.

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To The Editor,

I have been trying to decide who I want to vote for in regards to Second District Supervisor and I have finally narrowed my choice down to Joel Soinila. Now, I have been warned by a Mari Rodin supporter that Mr. Soinila is a bad choice because he is young and an unknown quantity politically wise. I have spoken personally with Mr. Soinila and have determined for myself that he has something going for himself that neither of the other two candidates have and that something is called common sense and that is good enough for my vote. It is my opinion that Mo Mulhern is an over inflated egotist that cares only for herself and very little about the people she supposedly serves, and Mari Rodin, aka Wonder Woman, well she is another case altogether. I remember back when the city council was trying to stop Nix, Hull and Piffero from building housing and flying an American Flag on the hill above Ukiah. Wonder Woman and Phil Baldwin and others on the city council tried to stop the project, but thankfully were unsuccessful in their effort. So I guess Wonder Woman is back probably with belief (wrongfully, I hope) that Mendocino County is the one place where there are still a few people left who are actually gullible enough to vote for her for public office.

Thank you,

David Anderson


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Chinese Earthmovers

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Person Defined in MCCO:

Section 1 0A.17.020 - "Person" means an individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, corporation, limited liability company, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, syndicate, or any other group or combination acting as a unit and includes the plural as well as the singular number.

MCCO Permit Density:

Section 1 0A.17.070(D): Permit Density. A Person may apply for and obtain a maximum of two (2) Permits listed in section 10A.17.060 at any given time. Permits shall be granted at a maximum density of one (1) Permit per legal parcel: provided, however, that:

(1) A Person may obtain two (2) separate Permits of different Permit types on a single legal parcel if the total square footage of the two (2) Permits does not exceed the largest maximum square footage permitted on a parcel for the relevant zoning district. A Person who applies for and obtains a Type 4 Permit in combination with any other Permit, shall not exceed a total square footage of twenty-two thousand (22,000) square feet per legal parcel, of which not more than ten thousand (10,000) square feet may be grown to maturity and entered into the Track and Trace system for commercial use. Plants may be grown to maturity by a Type 4 Permit holder for seed production or genetic expression, where the mature flowers are destroyed, and not used for commercial purposes, shall not require a separate cultivation permit.

(2) A Person may apply for one (1) Permit of a single size (e.g. Type C, Type 1 or Type 2) that may include any combination of all three (3) cultivation types (e.g. indoor, outdoor, mixed-light), but if any cultivation would require the issuance of a permit pursuant to Chapter 20.242, the entire Permit shall be subject to review under Chapter 20.242.

(3) A Person may obtain one (1) Permit for multiple legal parcels, so long as the parcels are contiguous and under the same ownership. Should the Person sell any of the parcels subject to the Permit, subsequent permits shall be required to modify the cultivation site to adhere to required setbacks. What all this means: No Person can apply for more than 2 permits of any type in Mendocino County and 2 different persons cannot apply for a permit on the same legal parcel.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 30, 2020

Alcantar, Bean, Bouldin

CHRISTIAN ALCANTAR, Reno, Nevada/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

LELAND BEAN, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

BROC BOULDIN, Fort Bragg. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.

Couthren, French, Halvorsen

ZEBULON COUTHREN, Willits. Petty theft with priors, switchblade in vehicle, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

AMBER FRENCH, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, misdemeanor hit&run with property damage, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Ihli, McIntosh, McKee

RALPH IHLI, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.

DEAN MCINTOSH, Albion. Robbery, kidnappling, child neglect.

ROBERT MCKEE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Nickel, Sparkman, Vannucci

ALEX NICKEL, Middleton, Idaho/Fort Bragg. Forging or altering vehicle registration, false ID.

KRISTOPHER SPARKMAN, Ukiah. DUI-drugs, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

NIALL VANNUCCI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, false reporting of crime.

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by Jonah Raskin

When I arrived by bus, with just one suitcase, in Sonoma County at the end of 1975, I felt like an outsider, though my parents had settled there in 1970 and were homesteading near the town of Occidental. I liked being an outsider. I had been one when I lived in Manchester, England in the 1960s and again in Mexico City, the year before I arrived at the bus stop in Cotati. One of the advantages of the outsider, I learned from experience, is that he or she has a certain detachment by virtue of being unaffiliated with an organization or institution and even a nation. Affiliations don’t have to be negative, but they can exert pressures on reporters and writers and can lead to self-censorship. I have done some of that, though I'm not proud of it.

A few years after I arrived in Sonoma, I went to work for the federal government as a census taker, a job that provided credentials and enabled me to go places that were often invisible, and observe people who didn’t want to be observed. Once, for example, I drove down a long dirt road, came upon the ruins of a house and saw a group of farm workers who were camping there and who were heating beans and tortillas over an open fire. When they first saw me they picked up rocks and were about to toss them at me, but I explained that I meant them no harm and we parted amicably.

I saw the living conditions of migrants long before anyone did an expose about them. I also witnessed the collapse of the apple industry around Sebastopol before it was widely reported because it was “bad news” and local media including The Press Democrat didn’t want to report bad news about local citizens and the local economy. That would be bad for business. What also wasn’t reported in the media in the late 1970s was the whole clandestine world of marijuana, which I first learned about because my father was growing marijuana and keeping his patch a secret from my mother.

A neighbor showed me his patch and suggested that I write about marijuana, but most growers I met didn’t want to cooperate. They felt that an article about marijuana would lead to police raids and confiscation of their crops. Law enforcement officers, including the sheriff of Mendocino County — didn’t want me to write about it either, because they felt an article would show that at best they confiscated 10% of the total acreage in cannabis. When I wrote and published a story for The San Francisco Examiner about cannabis in and around Willits, local citizens were upset, though the chief of police had been helpful and so had the county sheriff Tom Jondahl. Indeed, Jondahl told me that he received phone calls from law enforcement officers in New York City who confiscated cannabis that was labeled “Made in Mendocino, California.” He had to save face, he told me, and go through the motions of enforcing the law, though he also explained that the people he arrested and sent to jail for cultivation would soon be out of jail, cultivating again and shipping cannabis to New York.

In those days, about the only Mendocino County official who wanted to tell the truth about cannabis was agricultural commissioner, Ted Erickson, who included the value of cannabis in the annual crop report and got into hot water with the county Board of Supervisors for doing so. I did a story called “California’s Dirty Little Secret,” but could find no publication to print it. In New York in 1980, when I tried to get a book contract to write about cannabis in California, editors at publishing companies told me that marijuana belonged to the 1960s, and was a thing of the past.

I was undeterred, though I soon discovered that in order to write accurately and fairly about the cannabis scene I had to become part of it. I couldn't trust anyone to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I had to see it for myself. Indeed, I had to become an insider. I turned myself into a marijuana grower and dealer. I grew in the hills east of Willits in an area in which almost everyone cultivated cannabis. More than 75 growers would show up for the annual harvest party, which was off limits to the media. I wrote about it for High Times magazine under the pseudonym, Joe Delicado, and changed the names of real growers and dealers to protect both the innocent and the guilty. Six years in the cannabis trade felt like a long time and I decided that I wanted to get out and go straight, in a manner of speaking. I wanted to go whole hog and become a genuine Sonoma County insider, though for a year or so I was afraid I’d be busted for cannabis before I could make the transition safely.

I wasn’t arrested. I joined the faculty at Sonoma State University and became a professor, and at the same time wrote for The Press Democrat. For years I even had a regular column about books and authors, which appeared in the Sunday section called “Forum.” As an insider at the university and at the newspaper I saw and heard what went on behind closed doors. I learned what stories the PD editorial board approved of and what stories they disapproved of. I saw, too, that the editorial board favored the old Santa Rosa families who had made money in banking, real estate and development. At Sonoma State I saw what passed for academia, teaching and scholarship and that the old boys network was often as powerful as the meritocracy. Recently, I’ve wanted to go back to being an outsider and to detach myself.

For a long time, I loved where I lived, and also loved the people who lived and worked here. Then I was bombarded with the message “Love Where You Live.” I saw it in newspaper headlines and read it in newspaper stories. I heard county officials tell me to love Sonoma and to be kind to my neighbors, and, while I'd rather be kind than unkind I know that kindness alone won't solve the problems of homelessness, hunger and environmental destruction. As soon as “Love Where You Live’ became a mantra, I wanted out. Any place that tells its citizens to love it, isn’t a place where I want to live. That kind of insider I don't want to be. I’d rather leave it than be compelled to love it. Indeed, I’m on my way out of Sonoma County, slowly but surely. I’m going someplace else, someplace where I can be an outsider again and look at it with fresh eyes.

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LATEST CA POLL: Bernie LEADS by huge margin in California!

⁦@BernieSanders⁩ breaking away from the pack in California in NEW Change Research / KQED Poll:

  • Sanders 30% (+4)
  • Warren 16% (-7)
  • Biden 15% (-4)
  • Buttigieg 8% (-4)
  • Yang 5% (+1)
  • Gabbard 4% (+1)
  • Bloomberg 4% (+1)
  • Klobuchar 3% (+2)
  • Steyer 2%

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Dear Editor:

In response to a recent letter by Jerry Philbrick, I want to draw attention to a remarkable document on climate change and national security. Sixty-four senior US military and security leaders have endorsed "A Climate Security Plan for America." It's signed by more than 20 admirals and generals, including Rear Admiral David Titley, former oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, and General Gordon Sullivan, former chief of staff of the Army.

This comprehensive report states that increases in extreme weather “can devastate essential energy, financial and agricultural centers that undergird U.S. and global economic viability and the well-being of our populations.” It calls for initiatives to improve the resilience of our critical infrastructure and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US and globally in order to avoid “catastrophic security consequences.”

It's important to look to independent organizations like the military when evaluating the threat posed by climate change. Because our armed services depend on scientific evidence to assess risk, they are less amenable to politicized science.

The US military has expressed concern about climate change since the George W. Bush Administration, and dozens of Defense Department documents on this issue can be accessed at

Urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and funding adaptation should be top priorities for every politician who is concerned about national security and global stability.

Terry Hansen

Hales Corners, Wisconsin

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Rose & Ornamental Pruning

February 8, from 10:00AM to 12:00PM at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Bring new life to your rose garden with a hard winter snip and clip! Join MCBG Gardener Mishele Stettenbenz for a hands-on training and learn basic techniques for pruning and shaping roses and other ornamental shrubs. Discover a variety of methods as Mishele discusses different types of roses and demonstrate how to prune each. Bring your leather gloves and a pair of pruners.

Payment Information: Class cost is $15 for members and Master Gardeners; $20 for non-members (includes Gardens admission for the day). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Please reserve space for your preferred date by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at MCBG.

Fruit Tree Grafting

March 28 from 10:00AM to 12:00PM at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Gain hands-on grafting experience and come away with an apple tree to start (or add to) your own orchard! Grafting is a more advanced gardening technique used to connect two different plants so they grow as one. By grafting fruit trees, you can combine positive attributes that don't naturally occur in a single plant, extend harvest season by adding a number of varieties, enhance disease resistance, and improve cold hardiness. The workshop will include information on grafting, planting, soil, light, irrigation, fencing, future pruning, and disease.

About the instructor: Russell Fieber moved to California in the 80's with little formal gardening experience. After working at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens for a couple years, Russell gained enough experience to venture into landscape gardening. His first job included several large apple trees which had been pruned with pollard cuts (a severe pruning technique that involves lopping off large branches) causing massive die off. In order to repair this ailing orchard, he decided to add to his knowledge base, attending workshops and the annual Seed & Scion Exchange in Boonville. Eventually, he was able to restore entire orchards (as many as 80 trees). Russell is now a seasoned landscaper with 30 years of experience in orchard restoration.

Payment Information: Class cost is $20 for members and Master Gardeners; $25 for non-members (includes Gardens admission for the day). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Class size is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. Sign up by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

Rhododendrons 101

May 23 from 10:00AM to 12:00PM at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Learn to grow more healthy and vibrant rhododendrons! Our cool coastal climate, acidic soils, and mild winters allow many beautiful cultivars and species to thrive. Dennis McKiver of the American Rhododendron Society €™s local chapter will teach proper planting and plant medium, fertilizing, pruning, as well as disease and pest control. Expand your collection by learning to choose the right hybrids and species for your area and what to plant for colorful blooms 12 months out of the year! The workshop will wrap up with a tour of the Rhododendron Collection at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

Payment Information: The workshop registration fee is $15 for MCBG members and Master Gardeners; $20 for non-members (includes Gardens admission for the day). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Class size is limited to 15 attendees, please reserve your space in advance by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

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They say Trump's a liar, a con-man, a cheat and a rapist. How do we know what's true?

Well, I went to the online Fact Check Database, at, that's now verified 16,241 lies of Trump in the past three years. Anyone can scroll through and clearly see all of Trump's crazy damn lies, nicely catalogued and verify for yourself that yes, he's in fact a psychopathic liar.


Then I read the book “Trump U,” that verified first-hand, that Trump's a con-man criminal, who paid $25 million in fines only two years ago, for his failed and fraudulent Trump University scam. True and very current and relevant.

The book “Trump Nation” by Tim O'Brien also based on first-hand account knowledge, shows clearly that Trump's a liar, con-man and cheat as well. Trump sued the author for $1 billion and lost!

Buried in the news, this past week. Trump's still fighting rape charges, working their way through court. He has 22 different charges of sexual crimes, including multiple rapes. True!

So when they accuse Trump of being a liar-con-man, a cheat and rapist, there's the truth — all easily verifiable, by anyone.

Also I got the dirt on Biden. That is, our "pal" Rudy Giuliani said he'd provide "compelling evidence" revealing the very bad dirt on the Bidens, a week ago. But so far the Ghoulster has failed to deliver anything other than unhinged, rambling debunked conspiracy theories and fuzzy assertions. He even got the bums rush off the Fux & Fiends" show, the other day so… Dirt? Maybe, but probably not.

Ok, so next week. The Trump administration, the most criminally corrupt in US history, with an unprecedented 2,310 conflicts of interest verified, so far!

All true, all verified.

Remember a trial with no witnesses or documents allowed is a Fraud and Scam!

Best Regards

Rob Mahon


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BERNIE SANDERS STANDS IN OPPOSITION to both parties including much of the Democratic Party as he steps through it (and on it) to try to capture its nomination, and in so doing further clarifies the sheer destructiveness of the Democratic Party (wildly misnamed) and its One Percent establishment and virulent economics. Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are predatory capitalist parties, One Percent corporations essentially, that it will take a political revolution to overcome and replace with something humane. The “Not me – Us” movement goes in that direction. So the One Percent establishment of both parties fears the great potential of a Bernie Blue-Out, as they should. “Not me – Us” is the specter that haunts the One Percent.

— Tony Christini

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"The goal is to limit negative impacts to the public whenever possible; however, due to the nature of this project, noise and accessibility impacts may exist."

[Mendocino County Treasurer-Tax Collector Office]

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Chamberlain played down the danger that the Nazis presented thinking that war could be averted, that Hitler could be dealt with via diplomatic deal-making.

A lot of European Jews thought the same. I mean, so many Jewish men fought bravely for Germany in WW1. How bad could it possibly get? Surely countervailing opinion would force reason and reasonableness. And Hitler’s former commanding officer (Hugo Gutmann) was himself a Jew and he even put Adolph up for the Iron Cross First Class for outstanding performance and bravery, a very rare award for someone of Hitler’s low rank. Didn’t help.

The lesson of WW1, the war to end all war, didn’t sink in. No matter the dire pre-1939 predictions, none of the catastrophizing was remotely equal to the post-1939 reality.

Not saying that Amerika is the necessary result, but nasty regimes aren’t beyond the realm of possibility. And what we’ve been seeing in certain societal groups, mostly among the allegedly educated and enlightened, and especially in the Deep State and governing elites with respect to Trump’s election, is not encouraging.

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The times are heavy on me. The convergence of aging and the dimming of my country and the surrounding world are a bad recipe. I know this: Whatever situation you're in, your capacity to change it, to live with it--to merely survive it--relies a lot on how well you keep your spirits up.

Even knowing that, I'm finding it hard to get up. "Dead of winter" doesn't help. It never does.

The Central Thing, the trial of the president, is dismal. He sneers before a hall full of supporters in New Jersey as the U.S. Senate sits silent in a trial that drones on from the throats of lawyers, impossibly dreary and impossible to turn away from at the same time. It is a "trial" in name only.

What a show.

I look around for something to hold to. My innate optimism, which I've railed against because it colors my judgment, no longer does, because it's gone.

So: What Now?

My friend Jay's sister said the ultimate encouraging words. Jay and I were dateless, and it was, like, New Year's Eve, I think, or a Valentine's Day weekend. We were at that age when "testosterone" is synonymous with "frustration" and "urgency," and we had no girls lined up to try--at least TRY--to seduce (or at least make out with, the usual fall-back position). Jay's sister, Muffy, older, married, said to us, "This, too will pass."

Ancient advice, but it actually did put a hair's-width gap between me and my misery.

So that's the thought for the day: This, too, will pass. However this malformed thing, this supposed "trial" ends, all of the weird beasts that late-stage Capitalism has unleashed on us, the capering, cackling beasts of folly and greed, cavorting at the spurred heels of the current ringmaster, will scuttle off to the shadowy corners again. Eventually.

And there's a fair chance of morning, a fair chance of spring. Joe Biden would be like exchanging Trump's red tie for a fading blue one, but all the other candidates for the job are people of some merit, and, except for the braying fools, of whom there are so bloody many, except for them, the American people, always miles ahead of their "representatives," are ready for a re-do, a bottom-to-top makeover, a new deal, an excellent reason to get out of bed.

(Mitch Clogg)

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As the Beat Generation ebbed and the counterculture of the 1960s rose, no other American author was more in tune with his time. His scintillating imagery, his outsider humor, and his absolutely unique flair for absurdist metaphor were delivered in a deceptively simple prose that struck lightning with his generation. Walden Pond Books is delighted that his works have been discovered and appreciated by a new generation of readers in the 21st century. His novels ("In Watermelon Sugar", "Trout Fishing in America", "A Confederate General from Big Sur"), his short stories ("Revenge of the Lawn"), and his poetry ("The Pill vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster") will always be on our shelves.

(Walden Pond Books, Oakland)

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I don’t know where the delusion starts and where it ends as it looks so all encompassing. But the denigration of fly-over Whites by the bi-coastal intelligentsia (so-called) in my view was matched by traditionalist Republicans laughing behind the backs of the same fly-over Whites.

But the Flake-Romney-McCain (RIP) Republicans sure as hell aren’t laughing now, having been bested by a blustering NYC liberal libertine for control of the party. And the voters that put Trump there showed what they think of Wall Street Republicanism.

The mystery is why Hispanics and Blacks still think that corporatist Democrats have their backs. They don’t and if traditionalist Republicans sneered at lower income White supporters, the Democrats laugh twice as hard at the hard-bitten Blacks and Hispanics that vote Democrat.

Which brings us to the Wall. This wouldn’t just help working-class Whites but working class people in general, Blacks and Hispanics especially. Rest assured, that if the Hispanics coming across the southern border had been English-speaking teachers and lawyers instead of semi-literate Spanish-speaking workers, that wall would be two miles high by now.

Once Blacks and Hispanics stop listening to Democrat bullshit and once working class Whites and Hispanics and Blacks see a commonality of interests and vote accordingly, the politics of the country will change. That wall will get built.

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  1. James Marmon January 31, 2020


    So, what’s at the foundation of this perpetual “crisis?” A homeless industrial complex. It’s a situation where “non-profit” organizations slurp up taxpayer dollars, ostensibly, to “fix” the homeless crisis.

    How the ‘Homeless Industrial Complex’ Creates More Homelessness

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon January 31, 2020

      “The collection methodology favors urban centers, the counts impacting funding allocations. I know there are folks living in vehicles tucked away down long dirt roads,..”

      -Ted Williams

      So why don’t your just falsify your count, jack it up, like everyone else is doing? We all know how much the local Homeless Industrial Complex wants those federal dollars (HUD). We need more 12 million dollar apartment complexes that only house a couple of dozen people.

      America’s Homeless Industrial Complex

      The alliance of special interests that constitutes what has now become the Homeless Industrial Complex are government bureaucracies, homeless advocacy groups operating through nonprofit entities, and large government contractors, especially construction companies and land development firms.

      Mendocino County Homeless Services
      Continuum Of Care (MCHSCoC)

      “The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC) is a collaborative of over thirty-one agencies throughout Mendocino County. The Collaborative Applicant for the MCHSCoC with monthly meetings at Mendocino County HHSA in Ukiah. Continuum activities include the Point in Time Census and Survey of individuals and families experiencing homelessness, Coordinated Entry, Permanent Housing, and collaboration toward securing and maintaining HUD funded housing projects for addressing homelessness in Mendocino County.”

      • Ted Williams January 31, 2020

        The truth will have to do.

  2. George Hollister January 31, 2020

    I have been doing my best to ignore the circus in Washington. It makes the PD, and WSJ much faster reads, and the mute button is on for most of what national television calls news. But I have noticed, Adam Schiff has a future making Geico Insurance ads. He should go for it while the opportunity is still there. No, not as a gecko. I am thinking Pinocchio.

  3. Bob Abeles January 31, 2020

    Re: “De-Evolution of the GOP”, the cartoon is missing a few true 20th century GOP greats: Warren G. Harding, who set the gold standard for executive branch corruption, the taciturn Calvin Coolidge, and, of course, the President who sent Gen. MacArthur to violently clear out the Bonus Army in 1932 while hoping the Great Depression would just go away on its own, Herbert Hoover.

  4. Lazarus January 31, 2020

    FOUND OBJECT revisited?

    Was not this used in the not so distant past?
    Or something very similar…

    As always,

  5. Eve January 31, 2020


    MCHDBoD votes to ‘move to a transfer and stabilization method for births by June 30’.

    The vote is three in favor, one opposed (the OB with first hand knowledge, experience, and license with authorization to opine), one abstention.

    The other heavy hitter MCC, who employs the only long term coastal OB/GYN is denied their recommendation for more time to stay until the end of the year.

  6. Harvey Reading January 31, 2020


    Sonoma County was a decent place to live…through the 70s. I wouldn’t even want to so much as see the area now. That pretty much sums up the whole gilded state from my point of view. Give humans a nice environment, and before long they destroy it. You can bet your life on that.

  7. Harvey Reading January 31, 2020


    “Portrait of Freedomlandia in the 21st Century”

    Shallow, dull-witted, thuggish, finished.

  8. Professor Cosmos January 31, 2020

    Dear 2nd District voter,

    Dont buy anybody’s branding of the candidates. Primaries often involve that and mild trash talk.

    A couple of friends know Mo pretty well and really regard her highly. I dont know her or havent met her. Her active social media presence is something likely off putting to some fuddie duddies.

    I have a little familiarity with Mari Rodin, having recently dog sat for her for about a week. (A mutual friend drafted me for this. Lol). She doesnt exhibit this wonder woman vibe at all, lol. I think people are confusing her with the wonder woman in her household, Ramona.

    • Stephen Rosenthal January 31, 2020

      Mo’s weekly reports consist of coffee klatches and ribbon cutting ceremonies. Nice work if you can get it. I don’t know Mari Rodin personally and, based on her past performance, don’t want to, especially in the position of Supervisor. Give me Soinila, the guy with no political baggage!

      Btw, communicated with any beings from outer space lately?

  9. Professor Cosmos January 31, 2020

    Stephen, as the Editorial Board astutely noted recently, this is not FB or twitter.

    Now, I feel the 2nd district race has 3 great candidates and I dont have to choose a supervisor candidate during the remainder of my life b/c i will settle with Ted W as my Supe for the limited time i have.

    Now, no aliens have visited me face to face. But, if you are interested in et interactions, i am currently preparing papers of notes from various credible and vetted close encounter databases. At the moment i am working on notes from the published letters Whitley and Anne Strieber received from ordinary and sane people. (Rice University has a collection also of thousands of letters written to Strieber.) Another good resource would be the 134 stories shared with retired Montana professor Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke.

    If you want to brand me as a nutcase, at a time when the us navy and others are basicly confirming this presence, go for it, lol!

    • Harvey Reading January 31, 2020

      Anything the military “confirms” is immediately suspect. The military tells more lies than CIA or FBI… or even politicians at all levels of government.

      Besides, ET would avoid earth at all costs. It’s a gutted planet with a “top” species on the verge of annihilating itself. Enjoy your interstellar fantasies.

  10. Eric Sunswheat January 31, 2020

    …fleeing the coronavirus outbreak.
    The quarantine will last 14 days — the incubation period for the virus — from when the plane left China, CDC officials said. The mandatory quarantine is the CDC’s first in more than 50 years. (LA Times)

    Could it be that China is using this virus as a huge social experiment in crowd control? Is this an effort to see how much how much control China’s communist party can generate through all the fear mongering?

    Consider also how the swine flu, avian flu, and SARS all drew widespread fear. The whole world was in deep fear that one or all of these diseases was going to kill many millions worldwide. These “pandemics,” the media warned, could even cause large parts of the world to be quarantined. Yet in the end for all of these, the number of deaths worldwide was far less than those for the normal flu.

    The media and certain corporations and individuals profit handsomely from all this fear. Pharmaceutical stocks soar during disease outbreaks that get huge publicity. Gilead Sciences made money hand over fist with its sales of Tamiflu during the avian and swine flu scares…

    If this information raises serious questions about how and why all of this is happening, remember that fear is used by many groups, corporations, and even governments to gain greater control and reap immense profits. (PEERS)

  11. Ted Williams January 31, 2020

    “We will need to see if this is a typical deflection of an item that they ultimately know needs to be done but will avoid by burying it in process.”

    I’m waiting for the check to arrive from Sacramento for the State’s new mandate.

    • Lazarus January 31, 2020

      Sir, for a simple person, like me, it would be easier to understand your comments if you put them in context…? What is this some kind of County insiders code?
      As always,

      • Ted Williams January 31, 2020

        The State has mandated that fire districts regularly inspect certain buildings. The State forgot to attach funding to the mandate. Sacramento brags about the $5.6 billion surplus making firefighting expansion easier to fund, but this looks like a taking from the poorest of local government.

        • Lazarus January 31, 2020

          Thank you, and have a nice weekend.

  12. George Dorner February 1, 2020

    I dislike taking this attitude, but with no guarantee that Measure E will go to firefighters, it basically proposes just another pool of money to be looted by the CAO or the Board of Stupes. Our firefighters deserve guaranteed ongoing support, and Measure E is not going to deliver it.

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