- Rain Free
- Election Notes
- Valadao Montage
- Compton Case
- Sako Entertainment
- Allman v Aldrich
- Branscomb Colors
- Linegar Retires
- Squaw Rock
- UDJ Endorsements
- Martin Lewis
- Wine Road
- Yesterday's Catch
- Dalton Case
- LA 1900
- Cesspool City
- Anti Dairy
- Viral Outbreak
- Norwegian Visit
- Bee Lawns
- Tech Support
- PG&E Deregulation
- Moral Crisis
- Cheating Culture
- Rental Ordinance
- Bad Direction
- Democracy Died
- Catamount Meeting
- Dem Field
MILD AND VIRTUALLY RAIN FREE weather is expected for the remainder of this week. (NWS)
ELECTION NOTES: The Boonville ballot is pretty skimpy this time around. Of the twenty Democrats, I’m going for Bernie with Elizabeth Warren as my second choice. The rest are definite No Go zones. I think Trump would have the most difficulty with Bernie, especially considering that a lot of his voters were for Bern before he was jobbed out of the nomination by the She Beast. Bernie would make life a little easier for what’s left of the middleclass, which is how most Americans in the $35-$100,000 income range classify themselves. For most of us, the squeeze is on, and every other candidate represents the people doing the squeezing.
CONGRESS: Here’s where the AVA takes flight from most Californians, probably most of our fellow citizens everywhere: We don’t vote for professional officeholders, especially the ones foisted off on the Northcoast by Demo Central. So we’re going for Rachel Moniz, whoever the hell she is, over incumbent Jared Huffman, a conservative Democrat who gets his positions directly from the Pelosi wing of the party. Name a single major benefit conferred on the Northcoast by any Democrat in modern times, and if you say The Great Redwood Trail we would like to see you disenfranchised as too damn dumb to vote. $4.5 million so far for not quite three miles running from Ukiah’s sewage treatment plant to the south, nowhere to the north. Because of the way the state is gerrymandered for incumbents, mostly Democrats, means we’re stuck with these interchangeable empty suits for the foreseeable future. (The last real Demo for this office in this area was Clem Miller who died in a plane crash but still managed to beat his live Republican opponent.)
STATE ASSEMBLY: Charlotte Svolos. Ol’ Char, the ballot says, is a Republican who works as a special ed teacher, who may actually be a special ed student herself if she’s a Republican but she’s the only opposition to Jim Wood. Svolos? Hmmm. The old San Francisco Seals had a pitcher named Eli Grba, “the Serbian Slingshot.” I’m going for Svolos because she reminds me of Eli, which is as good a reason as any when the alternative is a guy who opposed single payer for California.
PATRICK PEKIN is unopposed for Superior Court Judge, but from his record as a private attorney he’s a smart, conscientious kinda guy unlikely to make crazy decisions. Not much to judging anymore since almost all the people being shuffled through the system ought to be locked up for their own safety, but it’s important that judges bring some basic humanity to that grim, nearly automated process.
PROP 13. No, not that Prop 13 that relieved corporations and the wealthy of their fair share of the tax burden, this Prop 13 is another of our state’s endless bond measures, so many already they’ll never be paid off before the entire economic Ponzi collapses like the unsupportable souffle it is. Basically, school construction because school districts seldom, if ever, put anything aside for deferred maintenance and classroom construction, shoveling about 90 percent of funding to staff and admin. We’re of two minds on this one: on the one hand you don’t want the little bas — er, kids at their grueling regimen of study and prayer if the rain is coming through the classroom ceilings. On the other hand, an attractive, functional school hasn’t been built in this country since World War One. No diff in school architecture between WalMart and, for handy example, the factory design of Ukiah High School.
MEASURES D & E would impose a 10% bed tax on private campgrounds in unincorporated areas of the County along with an advisory measure asking the Supervisors to allocate 75% of the proceeds directly to the county’s far-flung fire departments (presumably in equal shares, which works out to maybe $35k to $40k per department), and the remaining 25% to the Fire Chiefs Association to spend on county-wide fire fighting. This “advisory” approach is supposed to allow the Measure to pass with 50%+1 instead of two-thirds (if it was specifically earmarked for fire fighting). However, given their history, we’re concerned that since the revenues will still go into the general fund, the Supes and/or CEO can still spend it on whatever they feel like (e.g., themselves) and shortchange the fire services. We’re reluctantly in favor of the measures, but until the County Auditor sets up and tracks the revenues like he does with the Measure B funds, there’s still a chance the Supes can siphon off some of the funds if they choose to.
WE’RE of course following the three races for Supervisor. We’re inclined to go for Lindy Peters over Dan Gjerde in the 4th District because he advertises with us? No! How can you even suspect that we’d peddle our opinions that cheap. Up the ante some and, well, we’ll talk. Anyway, we think Gjerde has been a disappointment as Supervisor, although in his defense he’s sat on a board ranging from inert to certifiably nuts, with CEO Angelo running the show with five automatons signing off on whatever she shoves in front of them. Gjerde has only come alive lately because he’s opposed for re-election and, if re-elected is likely to resume his highly paid (certainly by Mendo standards) snooze. Too bad. He’s a smart guy who knows how it all works, but….This one is too close to call.
IN THE FIRST DISTRICT (basically Redwood and Potter valleys) we’re still on the fence and may stay there. Ironically, the best informed candidate re county business is John Sakowicz, but uh, well, gee, how to put it? On the upside he’s smart, articulate, puts severe fear into the portly ladies dominant in the county bureaucracy. (Jars of hard candy on their desks at all times!) But Sako is polarizing, like North and South poles with no one in-between. Not necessarily a bad thing, but in a non-partisan position maybe not so good. Whatever else you might say about the guy, he’s a fascinating study, and mos def Only In Mendo. We’re partial to Kennedy because he’s been a successful supervisor before, albeit in Plumas County, where he was highly regarded for all the good reasons. We like his candor, his answers to our over-long questionnaire. We’ve had differences with Glen McGourty over ag policies but think he’d be a responsible supervisor, and we don’t know Mr. Green who seems a bit gush-gush for our tastes, a guy looking to be loved is a fatal flaw in a politician. No idea how this election will go, but we know McGourty is running strong.
SECOND DISTRICT The two women running for the seat have both sat on the Ukiah City Council and, as we’ve said before, Ukiah isn’t what you’d call a Swiss watch of civic functioning. Anybody who has had some responsibility for Ukiah can’t plausibly cite it as a recommendation for higher office. It’s like Mayor London Breed exclaiming, “Look what I’ve done for San Francisco!” So far, we’re partial to Joel Soinila. And darned if a female visitor didn’t comment when I mentioned our election picks, “Of course you’d go for the man. You oinkers stick together, don’t you.” Excuse me, but Ms. Mulheren and Ms. Rodin sound like they’re running for chief pom-pom girl, not one of five persons responsible for wisely supervising of $313 million annual budget. Crimeny, Ms. Rodin hadn’t even heard of Measure V. But given the low bar of Mendo elected office…
JUDY VALADAO’S NORTHCOAST VIDEO PHOTO MONTAGE:
COLD CASE MENDOCINO: Lewis Compton Fled Police, Abandoned His Vehicle, And Disappeared Into The Lost Coast
Lewis…fled the scene when law enforcement attempted to arrest him. He sped north, a California Highway Patrolman pursued, and when Lewis lost sight of his pursuer, he abandoned his Jeep, escaped into the woods, and has not been seen or heard from since.
A READER WRITES:
Regarding Mr. Sakowicz’s KZYX interview and subsquent letters:
We find a candidate for County Supervisor whining about a radio interview, threatening legal action over the interview, and enlisting his girlfriend to come to his defense of his interview “treatment.” His protestations over these trivialities of politics in Mendocino County seem like a pretty telling indicator of the type of loose canon, sue-happy, knee-JERK style of “leadership” this candidate would be, should he somehow be elected to the Board of Supervisors. I am highly amused by his utter failure to grasp the subtleties of being a successful and electable political candidate. I have been chuckling about it all day. Thanks for publishing his letters.
FORMER SHERIFF TOM ALLMAN suffered a stalker when he was wearing the badge, and he seems to still be the object of Adam Aldrich's obsession, which has now morphed into lawyers and court appearances, with the former Sheriff taking out a temporary restraining order against Aldrich, and Aldrich postponing the restraining order hearing while he lawyers up. The back story? Read on:
March 19, 2019
SHERIFF ALLMAN has rightly complained about being the target of an anonymous campaign that has repeatedly accused him, for five years now, of drunk driving. The male person making the claim has called the AVA several times over this period asking us why we don't print the allegation. We keep saying we need evidence, and the anonymous guy keeps saying he'll send it to us but never does. Over the weekend, Allman's stalker, in the dead of night, presumably, so he wouldn't, couldn't be identified, glued his accusation against Allman in poster form all over Willits. Allman has responded by inviting his stalker to call him for a talk, not a beatdown which, in Allman's place, I'd be sorely tempted to do. This kind of thing endured by the Sheriff, or anybody, is very unfair and, it should go without saying even in these savage times, are hurtful to the Sheriff's family.
AS THE SHERIFF put it on his Facebook page, "Hello — Over the past four years, my family has experienced the presence of a stalker, who apparently loves to follow me. He/She has struck again, this time posting false stories about me. And when I say posting, they decided to glue posters to businesses throughout the county. To my stalker, if you would ever like to talk about these lies, my number is in the book and I will certainly find time to discuss your falsehoods."
SHERIFF ALLMAN has posted this video of his stalker in action (Apparently the stalker is wearing a wig): facebook.com/Sheriff.Tom.Allman/videos/2336698589676244/
March 15, 2017
THE FOLLOWING POST appeared last week on Sheriff Allman’s Facebook page: "Hello my Facebook Community. I thank you all for the support I receive around the county each day. I appreciate the openness of this venue, so please, allow me to do some minor venting. Apparently, someone out in Mendo land has enough time on their hands to be following my family and I, and writing letters to the Board of Supervisors about me. I swear folks, I'm not making this up. Some person has sent a letter to the BOS documenting my family activities, and making false allegations. They followed us to Ukiah, watched our car for 4 1/2 hours as we were playing cards with three other couples, and then followed us back to Willits. Really? “As your Sheriff, my life is somewhat public… However, I don't take kindly to stalkers. If you have a question for me, my phone number is in the book. I will speak with anyone. If you are lacking the intestinal fortitude to contact me, I will pray for you to grow up and act like an adult. It is really silly to document six hours of my life, make incorrect assumptions, and send an anonymous letter. If we were all in the second grade, I would expect this type of activity. Whoever you are, please find another hobby."
THE SHERIFF’S startling announcement, a front-pager any other place but Mendocino County, roused no local or outside media interest.
WE'VE RECEIVED several calls from a man, maybe two men who sounded alike, who didn't identify himself or selves but were Allman stalkers. They promised to send us a video of Allman allegedly driving under the influence. The video never appeared, but a lengthy letter purporting to have filmed Allman in the act of DUI-ing did arrive.
IT SAYS in prose what the perhaps mythical video allegedly shows, and refers to a CHP officer by name who, the letter claims, can verify that Allman was reported to the CHP and to the Willits PD for driving recklessly but neither agency acted to corral him.
I TWICE called the CHP officer named in the anonymous letter who didn't return my calls. But one officer did say that the CHP frequently gets calls alleging this or that County official is drunk driving. This officer said he was unaware of any Allman calls.
OF COURSE there's a big difference between calling the CHP or the Willits PD and either of those agencies acting on the allegation as if they are perpetually on red alert to drive out and catch someone in the act. (Over the years I've called in three people who left my office in no condition to drive. None of them were arrested, and two of them were headed for San Francisco from Boonville. Yes, I asked them to sober up before departing, but short of fighting them for their car keys, what's a snitch to do? There was also a strong disincentive to have them around while they got straight, a stance anyone who has ever had to babysit a drunk can assuredly sympathize with.)
I'M HARDLY a forensics guy, but whoever wrote the Allman letter went to some trouble to make sure it couldn't be traced. It's out of an old printer, signed in illegible initials, postmarked San Francisco. It names names and gives times and dates, plus Allman’s license plate number, as it cites a total of three alleged episodes. It says the reason it's anonymous is because the writer fears retaliation from the Sheriff. But the Sheriff, so far as I'm aware, is not known to be vindictive. (And we hear everything here at the mighty ava. Everything, I tell you!) Besides, using police authority to retaliate against critics usually backfires when it becomes known.
SHERIFF ALLMAN, by a very long distance, is the best known and most popular County official in recent history. Most County residents are barely aware of their Supervisor, and I'd bet 99 out of a hundred locals could not name any County official except Allman. He's a ubiquitous presence at public events. He even showed up at former Supervisor Norman de Vall's birthday party, and is omni-present at funeral services and community events from Gualala to Covelo. He's about as accessible a public official as there has been in Mendocino County.
OF COURSE Allman has enemies. Name a cop who doesn't. He was not supported for election by most of his deputies, not that any of them went public with their objections to him.
THESE DUI ALLEGATIONS against the Sheriff are not confirmed by actual arrests, and so they'll remain only allegations. If the Sheriff is having a few belts at social functions at least he now knows he'll need a designated driver. And he already knows he’s being watched.
VIEW SATURDAY NIGHT HEADED WEST ON BRANSCOMB ROAD
TONY LINEGAR TO RETIRE
by Mark Scaramella
Tony Linegar was hired as Mendo’s Assistant Ag Commissioner in 2001. He became Mendo’s Ag Commissioner in 2009 when long time Mendo Ag Commissioner Dave Bengston retired, and stayed until 2012 when he took a job to the south as Ag Commissioner in Sonoma County. (Coincidentally, Linegar left not long after Supervisor McCowen was elected and Carmel Angelo took over as County CEO.) We always kinda liked Linegar as Ag Commissioners go because, like his predecessor Dave Bengston, he was fair-minded and returned phone calls.
Upon retirement, Linegar is moving to Hawaii which was the occasion of an interview Linegar did with Press Democrat reporter Bill Swindell on Friday which we doubt many Mendolanders noticed. Linegar still maintains a home in Willits and the interview addressed several issues which are relevant to Mendo as well as Sonoma County. Among other things, Linegar developed Sonoma County’s cannabis regulation regime which, in Sonoma County, is administered out of his Ag Commissioner’s office.
Some excerpts (with annotations):
Linegar: “We came out of the gate with a pretty conservative [cannabis regulation] policy and fairly restrictive. I feel like now the pendulum has swung in the other direction. The permitting program for cannabis use permits has been slow. It’s a cumbersome process. I think the Board of Supervisors is interested in figuring out a way of expediting the permitting of cannabis projects. They are looking at ways to make permits ministerial similar to the vineyard permits we issue — what we call an over-the-counter permit.” … “I see properties in less residential areas that will be the ones we encourage for more cannabis production. I can see raising the cap — it’s currently at 1 acre per parcel [Mendo allows a max of only 10,000 square feet per parcel, less than a quarter of what Sonoma County allows; much more restrictive, and Linegar calls the one-acre limit in Sonoma County “conservative” and “fairly restrictive”] — that have less neighborhood compatibility issues. Also, we will make more permits over the counter.”
ms note: No one in Mendo has ever mentioned “over the counter” pot permits where an applicant simply comes in with his zoning approval and his state signoffs and gets his permit.)
Linegar: “We already have had some [growers] in conventional agriculture who have become interested in cannabis. It’s still a little bit taboo in the ag industry to support cannabis. A lot of folks in the ag industry are conservative in their values by nature. Now, with the wine grapes at the place they’re in [the current glut], I’m hearing a lot more interest. You could see vines come out for cannabis — absolutely.”
ms note: No grape grower in Mendo has ever (publicly) mentioned pulling out grapevines and planting cannabis. Nor would they, given Mendo’s cockamamie pot permitting program.
Linegar: “Everybody has made a huge deal out of water and how much cannabis uses. But look at the return on your investment for every gallon of water you use to produce that product.” (PD reporter Swindell: “Linegar’s office estimated last year the value of local cannabis yield equals about $5.9 million per acre, far outpacing the almost $13,000 average per-acre value of wine grapes.”)
Linegar: “…If you look at it from that perspective, you can have less land in production, and use so much less water, and produce exponentially greater gross value. I have to think we have to start looking at it that way. If you are looking at grape growers, they are looking at how do I keep my land in agriculture? I really think that over time we are going to start looking at cannabis as agriculture, as it should have been looked at from the beginning.”
ms note: Pot as a way to keep ag land in ag? And all this time the grape growers were saying they were the saviors of ag land.
Linegar: “I really feel Mendocino County has missed the boat. They are the Napa County of weed. They always have been. I still own a home in Willits. Nothing has changed in the town of Willits since I was there last. Mendocino County is ripe for cannabis tourism, and I feel the powers that be there [in Mendocino County] have failed to recognize and take advantage of that. I feel it could bring more jobs and tourism. I’m not saying blow it wide open. Some smart planning could really be a boon for Mendocino County.”
ms notes: “Some smart planning…”? Is Linegar saying Mendo’s pot planning is not smart?
Linegar on wine grape regulation: “I could see some limitations on new [vineyard] projects. It would be in relationship to our critical watersheds in the county and in relationship to tree removal for climate change. The [Sonoma County] board has made a commitment to do something about climate change.”
ms notes: What is the likelihood that Mendo’s new Climate Action Advisory Committee will even mention grapes? And, further, if they did, what would the Supes do? (Hint: Nil, and Nothing.) PS. At present grape growers can denude entire rangeland landscapes of all vegetation including woodlands without a single permit required; permitted cannabis growers are not allowed to remove a single tree without a permit.)
Linegar: “Also, something could be done in regards to steep slopes. We currently allow vineyards on hills up to a 50% slope [if a geologist signs off – ms]. Those could be areas where I could see dialing it back.”
ms notes: Mendo has no grading ordinance for ag land and hence no restriction on steepness of vineyard planting no matter how steep.
Linegar: “I think small growers are particularly vulnerable to these market fluctuations [a reference to the current price drop for grapes due to a glut]. Also, people who own large tracts of dairy land. They are the two most likely sectors that will move to cannabis first.”
ms notes: So Linegar is saying that small vineyards (in Sonoma County) may switch to pot. Not likely in Mendo as long as 1) pot remains illegal at the federal level and 2) Mendo’s permit process for cannabis is orders of magnitude more restrictive than for grapes.
Linegar: “Cannabis has the ability to subsidize some of these dairy operations. These are the people who own the large tracts that are the most appropriate for cannabis production. I know of situations where dairymen are leasing an acre to a cannabis grower for a lot of money. I have seen lease rates between $60,000 and $100,000 per year — if the land is eligible to grow cannabis. (Swindell: “Linegar wouldn’t reveal which local dairies have entered the cannabis business.”)
Linegar: “One of the reasons we don’t have more organic grape growers is weed control. We have sulfur, which is organic, to deal with powdery mildew. But in weed control, there is not a good organic herbicide. If you invent an organic herbicide that works really well, you will be a zillionaire. They really don’t exist. That is one of the main hurdles for grape growers becoming organic. It is having a reliable and affordable way of weed control in the vineyards. Particularly, when you have vineyards on steep slopes as we do.”
ms notes: Another benefit of cannabis! It’s already a “weed,” so no need for poisonous “weed control.”
The entire interview can be read on the Press Democrat’s website: pressdemocrat.com/business/10697266-181/retiring-sonoma-county-ag-leader
SQUAW ROCK, 1898
SQUAW ROCK TODAY
UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL ENDORSES...
MULHEREN, GREEN FOR SUPERVISOR
We are urging a vote for Maureen ‘Mo’ Mulheren for 2nd District supervisor.
Ms. Mulheren has been a Ukiah City Council member and city mayor but as a supervisor she will be able to effect change in areas that the Ukiah City Council can’t: specifically the human needs of local residents, from homelessness, to foster care to mental health programs. Ms. Mulheren is a dedicated public servant and she is the only candidate who announced her candidacy for supervisor long before the incumbent announced he would not run. You can find her at almost every community event, some of which she sponsors herself.
Ms. Mulheren is endorsed by a broad coalition, including organizations like the Mendocino Women’s Political Caucus, SEIU Local 1021, the Sierra Club, North Bay Labor Council, Teamsters Local 856, North Bay Realtors and a long list of local people including retired Sheriff Tom Allman. You can find her list of endorsements at mo4mendo.com/endorsements.
Ms. Mulheren is a good listener and she engages with the public on a daily basis. She has experience tackling some of the county’s biggest problems. As a city council member she has overseen the building of 143 new housing units within the city, housing of all types, from low income to market rate. She sees people stuck in subsidized housing who could be moving to modest home purchases if they were available, and opening subsidized housing for those now homeless. On homelessness she sees the need for a shift in the conversation to a more compassionate point of view, and has some good ideas on how to improve services while getting law enforcement out of the picture and sees improving services to the mentally ill as rethinking centralized services in some cases.
Ms. Mulheren has also pushed the city of Ukiah for more transparency on its web site, with easily read budget documents and detailed explanations of all city projects. Overall, we like Ms. Mulheren’s refreshing take on the issues that the county seems to be bogged down in. She is a leader, and we think she will make a difference at the county level.
Green for 1st District supervisor
We think James Green is the best of four candidates for supervisor in the 1st District.
With a solid business background, Mr. Green has good ideas on how the county can tackle housing, with an eye to doing more to make sure the zoning for housing is appropriate and up to date.
Mr. Green knows that long term planning for the county is lacking and in a county where the poverty rate is already higher than the state average, there’s lots of room for improvement in health and human services.
Mr. Green has actually read the whole county budget and sees a need for the county to do more to track the outcomes of projects and where long term expenses are going to come from.
He views the county’s cannabis program as full of obstacles and notes that revenues are never going to help the county budget as long as only 13 percent of local growers are participating.
We liked Mr. Green’s open-minded attitude and view him as a supervisor who will demand facts but also study them carefully.
He will be a fresh face on the board with no reason to accept the answer to good questions ‘because it’s always been done that way.’
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
DISCOVER THE ARTIST who mentored Edward Hopper and inspired “Night Hawks.”
WINE ROAD? We were not particularly surprised to see that Visit Mendocino refers to Highway 128 as “Wine Road,” listing 31 commercial tasting rooms from Yorkville Cellars on one end to Lula Cellars on the other right on the Wine Road, as if that’s all Anderson Valley is. “Stop in at any of the many friendly tasting rooms along the Highway 128 Wine Road to experience some of the finest wines of Mendocino County, along with exceptional hospitality.” … And that’s not all: “Of course, there are plenty of other wineries that you can visit by appointment only.” Followed by the alcohol industry’s standard disclaimer: “Enjoy the Wine Road and remember to drink responsibly.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 16, 2020
ANTHONY AGUILAR JR., Ukiah. Probation violation.
FOLEY AZBILL, Covelo. Stolen vehicle, vehicle obtained by theft etc., suspended license (for DUI), tampering with registration.
MANUEL CAMARGO, Albion. Vandalism, resisting.*
GARRIE HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ANGELA LEBERT, Willits. DUI.
JACQUELINE LINDELL, Ukiah. DUI, resisting.
ALFONSO MARCIAL-ROSALES, Sacramento/Laytonville. Assault weapon, loaded handgun-not registered owner, concealed weapon in vehicle, probation revocation.
SHAYNE MARTINI, Ukiah. DUI.
VIOLET MCALISTER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, false ID, probation revocation.
BRANDON MITCHELL, Laytonville. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
EDDIE MITCHELL, Laytonville. DUI.
CHRISTINA MORROW, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.
JESSICA NORTON, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
MARCO OCHOA-SANCHEZ, Ukiah. DUI, blood-alcohol greater than 0.15%
ANGEL OLIVA-ROMERO, Fort Worth, Texas/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
WESTON RILEY, Covelo. Under influence, parole violation.
ROLANDO RUIZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
STEPHEN SALVETTI, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
GAYTAN SANCHEZ, Sacramento/Laytonville. Assault weapon, loaded handgun-not registered owner, concealed weapon in vehicle.
KC STILLWELL, Covelo. Resisting, probation revocation.
DOUGLAS WHIPPLE III, Redwood Valley. Battery with serious injury, domestic abuse, probation revocation.
(*Note: Manuel Camargo was booked into the County jail back on February 8, but his booking photo was posted until Feb 16, more than a week later. We presume the delay had something to do with a mental health issue.)
NO GOOD DEED…
On Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 at approximately 8:41 a.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a radio call for service about a disturbance at a residence in the 31000 block of Albion Ridge Road in Albion. It was reported that Manuel Camargo, 31, of Albion, was having an emotionally related crisis and vandalizing property belonging to the 73 year-old property owner.
A Deputy arrived at the location contacting the 73 year-old male and Camargo. The Deputy learned Camargo was living on the property with the 73 year-old male's permission. Camargo became more agitated upon observing the Deputy's presence and his behavior demonstrated a clear and immediate propensity to be violent towards the Deputy. Due to the circumstances, the Deputy radioed for further law enforcement assistance while engaging Camargo verbally in an attempt to deescalate his aggressive behavior. During this time, Camargo armed himself with a hatchet and metal pole and began to vandalize the 73 year-old male's shop building and motor-home. The Deputy continued verbal deescalation tactics to resolve the situation peacefully with no success. The Deputy's deescalation tactics continued until a California Highway Patrol Officer arrived at the residence. Camargo then climbed onto the Deputy's patrol vehicle and kicked the windshield, resulting in damage estimated at $500 for repairs. The damage resulted in the patrol vehicle having to be taken out of service until repairs can be made which could take several weeks. Immediately after the act of vandalism, the Deputy and CHP Officer had to physically grab Camargo to arrest him and prevent further acts of vandalism. During the process, Camargo kicked the CHP Officer in resistance to the lawful arrest. The CHP Officer did not sustain any injuries. After the arrest, the Deputy observed the shop building and motor-home belonging to the 73 year-old male had been severely vandalized by Camargo. The damage to that property was estimated at $6,400 in total. Camargo was ultimately transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked and to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
Bizarre Incident Unfolding In Albion, Subject Taken Into Custody 10:11 Am
MSP has been hearing scanner traffic all [Saturday] morning indicating a male "off his meds" is creating a scene. Multiple Mendocino County Sheriff units, and the CHP, have been dispatched to a residence off Albion Ridge Road "near a gray gate with a large post.
The subject was on the roof of a trailer smashing it with an ax - and has stated he "will fight law enforcement."
Earlier, it was stated a reporting party was trying to get to subject to "self-commit" to mental health workers.
The scanner said, "One in custody" at 10:11 am. The situation was "Code 4" (Situation under control).
DRUG WAR OUT OF CONTROL: THE JOHN DALTON CASE
by Alexander Cockburn
(Ed note: After 22 years in a variety of federal prisons, John Dalton is at home in Laytonville picking up the pieces of his shattered life. First published in June 1999, and reprinted here is Alexander Cockburn’s summary of the worst example of egregious/outrageous government misconduct we know of. So far as we know, Dalton was held longer on marijuana-related charges than any other Mendocino County resident.)
All those present in a federal courtroom in San Francisco in mid-May were edified by the sight of a federal prosecutor getting off to a faltering start by having to admit that the government's prime witness and lead investigator — Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Mark Nelson — had committed perjury.
The object of special agent Nelson's probe has been John Dalton, brought to the courtroom from the federal detention center in Dublin, to hear his lawyer, Tony Serra, argue before federal district Judge Susan Illston that the DEA's case against Dalton be dismissed for “outrageous government conduct.” Among such outrageous conduct must undoubtedly be included the fact that special agent Nelson's perjury stemmed from his efforts to conceal the precise date on which he commenced an amorous relationship with Dalton's wife, Victoria Horstman.
Here, in other words, is a saga that gives us the government's war on drugs at its ripest malevolence, for which I'm indebted to Mark Heimann, who compiled the incredible tale from court documents for a series in the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
Let's return to 1985. Dalton is living with his first wife on an 80-acre parcel in Mendocino County, some four hours' drive up 101 from San Francisco. This is pot-growing country. About 4:00 in the afternoon, bullets start raining down on the cabin, and Dalton sneaks out to the ridge where the shots are coming from. At this point, he's bushwacked by five men in camouflage who beat him senseless.
He comes to, face in the dirt, to find his assailants are from the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, better known as CAMP. These are teams of federal, state and local cops. They ask him if he's a marijuana grower. Dalton says no and that he will sue. Sheriff's Deputy Charlie Bone, who's dislocated his finger in the encounter, tells Dalton that they know he's a pot grower and that his troubles are only beginning.
Within eight hours of the arrest, the charges against Dalton are dropped, and, though an attorney tells him he could collect big time, Dalton reckons the safe course is to do nothing.
In 1992, Dalton, a brilliant mechanic favored by the hot-rod set, embarks on a relationship with Victoria (Tori) Horstman. They are married a year later in Las Vegas.
The Dalton-Horstman menage is not tranquil. Dalton calls the police from time to time to restore order, and though Horstman claims her husband is a brute, her own 19-year-old son has testified, most recently in Judge Illston's courtroom, that John was “a very mellow man” and a good dad, and that his mother was a mean drunk.
Horstman is a wanna-be cop, consorts with cops and by 1994 was passing bank deposit slips from her husband's machine shop to DEA special agent Mark Nelson, who forthwith signs her up as a DEA source, SR3-94-0054. Horstman has also become romantically involved with agent Nelson, initial overtures having been made in a DEA safe house, where, according to a sworn statement by Horstman, “Agent Nelson gave me a beer, and later, we kissed and fondled each other. I do want to make it clear agent Nelson considered me at all times his personal possession and got angry if I ever talked with other DEA agents.” Among Nelson's other possessions are three children and a pregnant wife.
Nelson successfully presses Horstman to spy on her husband. On at least two occasions, she allows Nelson to search the house while Dalton is at work. Whenever she demurs, the DEA agent threatens to charge her with money laundering on Dalton's behalf.
The most vivid episode in this sequence comes in September 1994, during a big fed/state/local enforcement drive against marijuana gardens in the area of Mendocino County. Nelson and a colleague seek out Horstman with the request that she place a “special FBI tape recorder” behind the headboard of her marital bed. Dalton duly returns home and describes the raids to wife and tape recorder, with the latter instrument soon returned by Horstman to Nelson.
Despite the surveillance, the DEA never gets a shred of evidence linking Dalton to marijuana growing. Thus balked, they turn to the drug war's favored tool, a snitch. Two, in fact. Using the statements of these snitches — one with prior convictions for perjury and fraud — they seize all Dalton's property for forfeiture, on the grounds that such property is the fruit of illegal labor. After the raid, Nelson oversees Horstman's separation from Dalton; he and five feds load up a U-Haul with Horstman's stuff while Dalton is out. When Dalton finds out Horstman is in Blaine, Washington, and goes north to patch up their marriage, Horstman informs Nelson, who himself hurries north with eavesdropping equipment. Horstman rejects Dalton's overtures and ultimately divorces him at the urging of Nelson, who even drives her to the lawyer's office to sign the final divorce papers.
On Sept. 27, 1996, the Feds arrest Dalton, on the basis of a secret federal grand jury indictment, charging him with marijuana cultivation and witness tampering. Among the witnesses against him is the operator of a speed lab facing a life term but rewarded for his testimony with a 10-year sentence. Denied bail, Dalton has been in prison for nearly two years, awaiting trial. He's suing the feds for $44.8 million for outrageous conduct. The feds' last desperate throw in the dismissal suit was rich with effrontery, seeking to paint Dalton as an abusive husband. At the time of this writing, Judge Illston is considering whether to dismiss the case.
What this has to do with marijuana cultivation is unclear. Even if Illston doesn't dismiss, it's hard to imagine a jury failing to agree with Serra that in its war on drugs the government is running amok.
by Maria Goodwin
When I was little kid in the 1940s, in the early morning on New Year’s Day, my father would drive the empty streets to North Beach to pick up certain pastries for New Year’s Day dinner as requested by my Italian grandmother. We drove through what was then called the skid row of San Francisco, the Third and Howard Streets area. A few bums could be seen here and there and, at that time, police ran a paddy wagon taking drunks off the street for a sobering-up session in jail overnight.
Once, on one of these drives, my mother let out a yell in shock – “A woman! It’s a woman!” She couldn’t believe there would be, among those men, a woman alcoholic. Of the men she would murmur, “Just think, at one time they were somebody’s little boy.” I, in the back seat, kneeling to look out the window, holding my new Christmas doll, was entranced with the scene — nothing like it anywhere else in the City. This was a small area for people on their last legs, the dregs, the hopeless, the unmourned.
My children are fourth generation San Franciscans. We always felt – I was born here and I’ll die here. But as everyone now knows, everything changes. And our beloved San Francisco changed so drastically that if my parents could come back to life to see it, they’d drop dead again in sorrow and disbelief. I won’t belabor what most of us know – the huge problem of many urban cities, rapid (often thoughtless) expansion, homelessness, rampant petty crime, the obvious class rift between poor and rich, the decline if not death of consideration for others, and the rise of a proprietary self-aggrandizing attitude.
I remember growing up in times when the City had truant officers whose job it was to collect kids walking the streets when they should have been in school. I remember moving to Noe Valley from the Mission 50 years ago when the last of my three sons was born. NV then was a working-class neighborhood – you could walk down 24th Street and have a conversation with a friend who was on the other side of the street, so sparse was traffic. In summer my kids played outside all day, building forts in empty lots, riding bikes, playing ball – our front door wasn’t locked. Even now my sons say they grew up in the last best time in San Francisco and I think it’s true.
If I continue in this vein I’ll be weeping and you, dear reader, will be bored of my supposed sentimentality and reminiscence.
And today? Today San Francisco is a stinking (literally) disgusting, vile, filthy pustule, a canker, an open oozing running sore. To say the homeless are mainly downtown is not completely accurate – they are everywhere – believe me I know. Because I still have friends and family there, I am a frequent visitor. I also have close friends who are cops so I glean their inside perspective on law enforcement (or not) in SF.
My son who is a paramedic with over 18 years in the streets is writing a book about the scandalous condition of emergency medical services in San Francisco. Who do you think pays for the ambulance when he takes his fourth or fifth drug-overdosed street person of the day to the ER. Well, you do, SF taxpayer.
I can’t adequately address here the complex conditions that make my city what it is today; I have plenty to say, but even if I had all the solutions, how could they be implemented in the political, morally bereft, money-and-greed-only-matters climate in which we live?
When I drive through the tunnel going south into SF, the Golden Gate Bridge is framed like a photo or painting as I drive onto it — that evocative icon, known around the world. But that sight stings my gut, it’s like visiting someone you love who’s dying of cancer – you want to see them one last time and not go back. But I keep going back. I left my heart there.
THE ANTI-DAIRY PROTESTERS stormed the stage just as Sanders was beginning to address his supporters at the event on Sunday in Carson City. First, a fully clothed woman jumped on the stage and grabbed the mic away from the candidate to deliver their demands. Meanwhile, topless women mounted the stage and poured colored liquids over their bodies from containers marked 'milk.'
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I wonder how Americans will react when the rest of the NBA season is cancelled because people are too scared to go to the arenas? And then baseball is shut down. Imagine the drunk next to your luxury seat coughs, and next thing you know you’re in quarantine with 5,000 other fans. Quarantine isn’t the 4 Seasons.
I heard they just quarantined a village of 10,000 in Vietnam. This seems to be a slow motion train wreck. Drips every day.
When do shortages hit our hospitals because China can’t export the meds, the antibiotics? How can we manage a viral outbreak here when most of our meds come from China? The global supply chain, the JIT [Just In Time] system, is slowly imploding. Does anyone know what that really means? How long can China be shut down before serious effects happen here? We’re in a brand new world. Let’s hope it stabilizes by the end of march, and the speed bump isn’t too harsh.
LOST COAST OUTPOST: A Delegation of Norwegians is on a Whirlwind Tour of Humboldt, Scoping Green Economic Development Opportunities
COMMENT RE NORWEGIAN'S VISIT: "It must be a cultural shock for smart, well educated people speaking perfect English from a functional country to visit a narco-state. Hopefully, Humboldt County will learn something for a change.
MINNESOTA WILL PAY HOMEOWNERS to replace lawns with bee-friendly wildflowers, clover and native grasses
PG&E DEREGULATION: A COLOSSAL FAILURE
by Jim Shields
(This is a column I wrote back in 2001 on PG&E being bailed out by the State Legislature after it declared its first bankruptcy, that’s nearly 20 years ago. Interesting that not much has changed since then.)
I know, I know, you’ve heard this rant from these quarters before. Since all prior attempts to kill the messenger have failed, I’ll deliver the message one more time.
California is in a crisis. Your constituents are getting screwed. Our state’s economy is about to crash.
Still think deregulation is such a great idea?
While just about everybody is pointing fingers at the utilities and energy producers, and blaming them for doing what comes natural to monopolies — gouging the public — the real culprits are the politicians who brought us deregulation back in 1996. The entire state legislature, voted unanimously to unleash economic havoc on an unsuspecting public. Those elected leaders, colossal imbeciles each and every one, are responsible for the deregulation fiasco. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. Now a new posse of colossal imbeciles are trying to convince us that they will save the day with an energy bailout plan. Don’t you believe them either. They seem to think the solution to the problem is for consumers to conserve. Oh, really? Most folks I know have been conserving juice ever since the politician-created crisis started.
These are the same people who were crowing not too long ago about all the wonderful things deregulation would do for the consumer. They sold the public a bill of goods knowing that every experiment deregulating once-regulated industries has been a disaster. Let me count the ways: Airline, railroad, telephone, savings and loans, and the list goes on.
Truly great leaders like Teddy Roosevelt, a grand old Republican, figured out a century ago that certain sectors of our economy must be monitored and regulated because the typical forces of the free market could not control the resulting anti-competitive, monopolistic behavior inherent to such economic endeavors. Teddy used his big stick to bust the trusts, which is what folks called monopolies back then. He also brought the monopolies under their first public control.
While Teddy was bringing the monopolists to heel back East, Californians in the early 1900s were rounding up Southern Pacific Railroad and the gas and electric utilities which owned state and local government lock-stock-and-barrel. An aroused citizenry brought the railroad and utility giants to their knees, primarily through the creation of public commissions with broad regulatory authority over those industries.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for almost a hundred years, California’s utilities policy was pretty straight-forward. In return for allowing PG&E and Southern California Edison to continue to do business as legal monopolies, their rates and services would be subject to control through the Public Utilities Commission. That was the basic trade-off. Theoretically, and most of the time in practice, the PUC set rates charged to the public on a standard of cost-based pricing. Whatever it cost the utilities to actually produce energy was factored into the basic rate, plus a reasonable margin for profit.
A century ago, our political leaders understood that the electric and gas industries were the types of economic endeavors that just didn’t work in the free marketplace. Besides, given the evolving public investment in critical utility infrastructure, such as dams and related activities for hydroelectric power, it was good public policy to maintain these kinds of private-public partnerships growing out of a regulated environment.
The system was not perfect, but it sure beat the hell out of what we have now, which is a big nothing. The politicians are bailing themselves out of the cesspool they dug with our money and our children’s and grandchildren’s money. What a deal. We’re pumping in billions and billions of dollars to bail out the utilities, and we’re receiving absolutely zilch in return. For the money already spent on the bogus bailout, the public could own — should own — every transmission line and every piece of energy infrastructure in the state. But, the only thing the public owns is higher electrical bills.
Now Governor Gray Davis and the state legislature are in the process of propping up a system riddled with out-of-date, inefficient power plants, obsolete equipment and above-market rate energy contracts. Davis, as you probably know from recent reports, is keeping the details of his bailout plan hush-hush. No one, and I mean no one, knows where this deal is headed. We do know that this: The next generation will still be paying dearly for whatever shakes out of a deal crafted in back rooms and cloaked in secrecy.
We also know since the inception of deregulation, Californians have paid electrical bills 50 percent higher than the national average. We learned in January, thanks to a Public Utilities Commission — which is falsely advertised as being of and for the “Public” — that those already exorbitant rates were raised, on average, 10 percent. We found out this week, that rates will be jacked up another 9 to 36 percent on top of those rates. The state’s surplus is gone. There’s no doubt at all that basic public services, including funding for education, roads, and fire and police protection, are in for a world of hurt. The bailout price tag so far is estimated to be $28 billion — that’s almost one-third of the state’s total budget. And that’s just the first bill; wait until the others come due.
That’s the long and short of it. You can complain all you want about backroom deals between and among, the politicians, the utilities, out-of-state energy corporations, lobbyists, and the fat cats. It’s all true. They hatched the plot. They passed the money around. They cut the deal. They wrote the law that screwed each and every one of us.
And they’ll keep it up as long as you let them. They’ll keep it up as long as you don’t hold them accountable. They’ll keep it up as long as you keep re-electing them. They’ll keep breaking you until you decide to fix them. Keep that in mind when you pay your next PG&E bill.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
Whether in baseball, business or politics, cheaters often win, and even after being caught, hold on to their winnings. There is an art to it, avoiding detection and creating a firewall to protect yourself that includes fall guys. Our president has practically perfected the art, the Houston Astros’ management not quite so well.
Now only did its owner, Jim Crane, defelect the blame to his general manager and manager, taking zero responsibility and ignoring MLB’s contention that the cheating was player-drivien, but then he told us that it didn’t impact the game. MLB must agree with him on that one since the Astros are allowed to keep their World Series trophy. This isn’t over yet, but what is the lesson learned so far?
The money and glory is still yours, and time will heal all wounds. This is the way of the world, and it makes me wonder why people fear Senator Bernie Sanders’ socialism so much more than our President’s capitalism. Do we want our children to learn that there are advantages to lying and cheating, and especially for those who are rich?
JUST IN FROM THE FOG BELT
Short Term Vacation Rentals
Notice Of A Public Hearing
Notice Is Hereby Given that on February 25, 2020 at 6:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as possible, in the City Council Chambers at 451 School Street in Point Arena, the Point Arena City Council will hold a public hearing on the following proposed ordinance. A copy of the proposed ordinance is available for review at City Hall during normal business hours and on the City’s website.
Ordinance No. 235
Ordinance Of The City Of Point Arena, State Of California, Amending Chapter V, Business Licenses And Regulations, Providing Standards For Short Term Vacation Rentals
Summary: Ordinance No. 235 adds Section 5.30 to Chapter V of the Point Arena Municipal Code to provide requirements and standards for residential visitor serving short-term rentals of less than 30 days. These standards are intended to provide accountability and ensure that short term rentals are compatible with and do not adversely impact neighboring uses or housing availability.
Staff Report and Text of Ordinance
Residents of Point Arena are encouraged to attend the hearing where they will be given the opportunity to provide input on this proposed ordinance. All interested parties may appear and be heard at the public hearings described above or provide written correspondence to PO Box 67, Point Arena, CA 95468.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals needing special accommodations (including auxiliary communicative aids and services) during this hearing should notify the City Manager/City Clerk at (707) 882-2122 at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.
Deputy City Clerk
Dated: February 13, 2020
HARVEY READING WRITES (from Wyoming):
"You think it's bad in Mendo…" — Hanging on the Post Office bulletin board. (Signature cropped intentionally.)
FEBRUARY 17TH MEETING OF THE MENDOCINO COAST AUDUBON SOCIETY: Subject: Mountain Lions
The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society's next meeting will be Monday, February 17th, 7PM at the Caspar Community Center, 15051 Caspar Rd, Caspar, CA 95420.
The topic for Monday's meeting will be: The Mountain Lion - Myth, Mystery, and Natural History of Mendocino's Apex Predator
The Mountain lion, a secretive and predominantly solitary by nature, is a native species to the Americas. It is the most widespread of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. Due to its historical wide range, it has many names including puma, catamount, mountain lion, and cougar. It is an adaptable species occurring in most of California's habitat types. Sightings have recently been increasing throughout the State as more people visit parks, urban growth expands into undeveloped areas, and more people employ motion activated cameras and surveillance equipment. Even though these reports of mountain lion sightings are increasing, fatal attacks on humans remain rare.
"HOW DID WE GET THIS LUCKY": Cenk Uygur on the Democratic Field of Candidates