Meeting Rescheduled/Harleys Collide (June 26, 2002)

AN ANNOYED Community Services Board canceled its meeting last Wednesday night when Eugenia Herr opened the meeting by asking the board what they were going to do about their “illegal” meeting. Herr said that the required pre-meeting notice had not been posted at The Valley's three official meeting notice venues — the Philo Post Office, the Boonville Post Office and on  the Boonville Firehouse door. 

NO MEETING NOTICE had been posted on the Firehouse door. Chief Colin Wilson drove down the street to the Boonville Post Office to see if a meeting notice had been posted there while the board waited for the chief to report back to them. Mrs. Herr said that she’d checked with the clerk at the Philo Post Office earlier in the day and that no CSD meeting notice could be found there.

AS BOARD CHAIR Judy Long rolled her eyes in frustrated disbelief at what she and her fellow trustees felt was Mrs. Herr's hyper-punctiliousness, Chief Wilson said that CSD General Manager Jan Wasson-Smith — who was not present because she had had to fill in yet again on a prolonged ambulance call to the Ukiah hospital — had assured him that the notices had been posted and that he believed her.

AFTER CONSULTING her calendar and checking with her fellow board members, Long decided the simplest thing to do would be to reschedule the meeting for Monday, June 24 at 6:30pm. After the meeting cancelation, I encountered Ms. Wasson-Smith as the ambulance was pulling into its Boonville garage. Wasson-Smith said that she had posted the notices on the inside of the front glass doors at both post offices, but that she’d heard that someone had  complained about the notices being on the door and that they had apparently been moved and re-posted, but Wasson-Smith didn’t know to where. As for the Firehouse posting, Wasson-Smith said that she’d been too busy to post it.

FOR MORE THAN A YEAR NOW the board meetings have not been attended by anyone other than members of the CSD or its subcommittees, Ms. Herr and me. Posted or not posted, nobody shows up unless there's scandal and everyone shows up and the meeting has to be moved to the Apple Hall. 

AFTER LAST WEDNESDAY evening's meeting adjourned amidst mutters and sighs, there was a brief, informal discussion about the “illegality” of the meeting and  the specific provisions of the Brown Act. If the board had gone ahead with the meeting and a complaint had been filed by Ms. Herr, an investigation, of sorts, would ensue. A tired attorney from the DA's office or Zotter The Inevitable of the County Counsel's office would have written a stern letter warning the CSD Board not to do it again or Deputy Squires would take them one at a time out in back of the Firehouse and slap them into compliant contrition.

IN THE PAST, Brown Act violation complaints have only been acted on by the DA if there’s a determination that there has been clear intent to plot against the public interest in secret, which is how it's done by school boards, and government at state and federal levels. And even then, the first offense is a letter from the DA notifying the offending government entity not to do it again. If there’s no intent, and the complaint is valid, complaints are usually dealt with by the board itself by working out any kinks in its procedures.

MEANWHILE, locals have not followed, much less complained about, the many allegations of Brown Act violations, end-arounds and closed session meeting abuses by the local school board as it merrily sanctions poison sandwiches and allows its members and the present administration of the schools to put its relatives, friends, sex partners, and old drug buddies from the hippie days on the public payroll outside lawful personnel practices.

SINCE I COULDN'T attend the rescheduled Monday CSD meeting due to newspaper production schedule conflicts, Ms. Herr says will do the honors for those few of you who cares what the CSD does. Most of time no one does, as long as it doesn't raise your benefit assessment or burn The Valley down in a training exercise.

CSD CHAIR JUDY LONG, clearly a closet anarchist, later told me the next time something like this happens she’s going to proceed with the meeting. “We can’t bird dog every notice once they’re put up,” Long said. “Let ’em file a complaint.”


WHEN HARLEYS COLLIDE it’s usually the riders and not the bikes that suffer. Such was the case last Saturday about noon when a pair of Harleys ridden by a middle-aged man and woman in tandem came in contact with each other outside Philo. According to on-scene reports, the woman was following the man as they approached the Greenwood Road bridge over the Navarro heading east. Apparently the man slowed down as he approached the bridge. The woman following close behind made the mistake of glancing at the beguiling scenery at the entrance to Hendy Woods State Park. She didn’t slow down as fast as Mr. Buddy Biker in front of her and she bumped her riding partner’s machine, somehow spilling herself onto the road. The next thing she knew her bike was laying on the side of the road and she was on the pavement, immobilized by the fall. Her partner immediately went into damage control assessment mode. The woman had sustained a serious shoulder injury and scrapes and bruises, but her helmet and leathers had prevented life-threatening injury. Neither of the big black bikes with lots of shiny chrome on them seemed to have suffered any damage whatsoever. Traffic stopped in both directions and people started milling around trying to help or at least offer consoling words while the injured woman lay on her back on the pavement in obvious pain. Within a few minutes two Hendy Woods Park rangers arrived and the woman ranger began administering medical assistance, primarily in the form of a blue-plastic air-splint to the injured woman’s shoulder. Soon CDF and Anderson Valley Fire firefighters arrived, and the number of emergency personnel on scene was sufficient to treat a minor battlefield skirmish. By 12:20 the Calstar medevac helicopter was hovering overhead looking for a place to land. The pilot soon picked a field across from Hendy Woods state park as its landing zone. A young CDF firefighter realized that the barbed wire fence along the road would have to be cut to allow paramedics to get to the accident and carry the woman back to the chopper. He tried to cut the barbed wire with a small pair of dykes but wasn’t making much headway until four Mexican farmworkers, passing by in an odd vehicle caravan consisting of a Jeep-tied-to-pickup-followed-by-windowless-van, ran up with a couple of industrial strength bolt cutters and made quick work of the barbed wire and the metal poles anchoring the fencing. One of the farmworkers grabbed the barbed wire fencing bare-handed and energetically pulled it back and to the side, making sure it was well out of the way of the entrance/exit path. A large crowd of onlookers arrived from inside Hendy Woods Park to enjoy the spectacle. Children ran through the crowd shrieking with delight. AV volunteer firefighters took over traffic control, assisted by  a few civilian volunteers. After a while the CDF crew and the CalStar paramedics had the woman stabilized on a back-board and carried her safely into the chopper. It gently rose from the field and disappeared over the hills, east towards Ukiah. As the traffic cleared, a CHP officer arrived and was seen approaching the uninjured male rider with his ticket book out.

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