MCT: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

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COOL AND CLOUDY CONDITIONS will continue on the coast today and for the foreseeable future, although afternoon breaks in the clouds may be more common later in the week. Warm conditions will continue in interior areas, with a few isolated thunderstorms once again possible this afternoon. Most areas will not receive precipitation. (NWS)

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MENDO COVID, JULY 21

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COVELO FIRE DESIGNATED AS ARSON

Sergeant Luis Espinoza of the Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that the fire that destroyed three buildings in downtown Covelo was intentionally set and a number of suspects seen in the vicinity at the time are being investigated, several of whom have already been ruled out. An arsonist is probably on the loose in Covelo and people there have been encouraged to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. (There’s a possibility that the arsonist is in jail; two were arrested just recently for other fires.)

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Mendocino County has appointed Andy Coren, MD, FAAFP, as full-time County Health Officer. Local, Board-Certified Family Physician (44 years), support of Dr. Doohan, clean record, history in leadership One-on-one, he satisfactorily instilled confidence in drive and competency.

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EARLY MENDOCINO (circa 1860)

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CO-OP OPENING WEDNESDAY, JULY 22!

The Co-op will be open tomorrow, Wednesday, July 22, 8am-7pm. 

The Espresso/Juice Bar will be closed.

Mendocino County Environmental Health Division gave the okay for reopening after an inspection took place on Tuesday, July 21st. 

We had three staff cases, all of whom are home quarantining.

We are so appreciative of the patience and support from our community during this time.

(Co-op Presser)

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COASTAL COVID RESPONSE

Dear Neighbors:

This is to share with you, a update report on coastal COVID

Our Junto group has been meeting with, amongst others, Sheriff Matt Kendall, County Supervisors Ted Williams and Dan Gjerde, and, today, with our hospital's chief medical director, Dr William Miller and Undersheriff Darren Brewster.

Sorry to say that I must report, from these interviews with County leaders, that we are in a very dangerous situation.

Recently Mendocino County went from 100 to 200 COVID cases in less than 2 weeks.

Mendocino County has been so severely defunded by the federal government that should there be a COVID surge we have neither adequate personnel or equipment.

Our health care workers do not have enough of the needed N95 masks or protective equipment and they are thus at risk of acquiring and/or spreading the virus.

For treatment we do not have adequate personnel for ICU beds and the coast has has 2 ventilators for 20,000 people.

We do not have enough tests to meet the needed 200-300/week standard and the test results take so long to obtain (7-10 days) that their value is severely limited.

The contact tracing, which is necessary for stopping outbreaks cannot be done because the test results take 7-10 days. In addition, we do not have sufficient personnel for tracing.

Our being short on everything needed to treat and prevent COVID (health care personnel, equipment, testing and tracing), makes it almost certain that we will have significantly more good neighbors wounded and dead than we would have if we were adequately funded and prepared.

We are even having difficulty getting total cooperation with the one prevention modality that is available to all and is cost effective: Facial masks. It is imperative that we all save lives and wear masks in public. Sadly our President has created a contingent of anti maskers some vocal and others violent.

We north coasters are a strong group and many of us fear not of death but in this case getting wounded can be worse than dying and we have young, and old, people to protect.

With neither adequate treatment or prevention what is left for us coastal neighbors is to band together, collaborate and help one another. It is worth our giving maximum effort to implementing a plan for HOW we will help one another until we get through this.

Jolee and I just added 30 chicks to produce even more eggs.

— Richard Louis Miller

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MENDOCINO BEACH

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IF YOU HAVE NOT HAD A CHANCE to check out the Boonville Farmers' Market, now is the best time! The season is in full swing with sweet strawberries and vine ripe tomatoes plus all the other wonderful foods our vendors bring: organic meat, eggs, mushrooms, olive oil and body care.

Every Friday from 4-6 at Disco Ranch.

I'd like to welcome Scott Miller of Miller Sharpening to the market. Let's take advantage of his service!

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ETHNIC DISPARITY IN MENDOCINO COVID REFLECTS NATIONAL TRENDS

by William Miller, MD, Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital

This week, Mendocino County broke 200 in the number of COVID positive test results since the pandemic began in March. Currently, there have been three COVID related deaths, two of whom were residents here in Sherwood Oaks nursing facility. Currently, there are 9 hospitalized persons, four in Ukiah, three in Willits and two here. The majority of these 200 cases are doing well and are expected to have only mild to moderate symptoms and recover without any need for hospitalization.

The demographic breakdown of these 200 cases shows that 10%, or about 20 people, have been on the Coast, while two thirds of the cases (144) are inland in the Ukiah Valley. A concerning statistic is that about 60% (122) are identified as Latinx/Hispanic. The Latinx population comprises 26% of the residents of Mendocino County according to the US Census estimate of 2019. We have seen similar disparities throughout the US in terms of Latinx and African-American populations making up a disproportionate number of COVID cases elsewhere. Additionally, the mortality rate in these populations may be higher if they get COVID because there is also a disproportionately higher rate of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. These three factors seem to be the highest risk factors for a poor outcome in COVID.

According to a NY Times article from May 7th, “Latinos may be more vulnerable to the virus as a result of the same factors that have put minorities at risk across the country. Many have low-paying service jobs that require them to work through the pandemic, interacting with the public. A large number also lack access to health care, which contributes to higher rates of diabetes and other conditions that can worsen infections.”

I feel that we must avoid being judgmental of any group when it comes to health. Instead, we should recognize where these disparities exist and explore them to find out why they are happening to better support our fellow community members. In reality, the dynamics of how any large health issue effects a particular group of people is often very complex. 

According to Lucresha Renteria, CEO of Mendocino Coast Clinics, “Many Hispanic people live in homes with multiple families, certainly multiple different generations. Much of the culture is based on large family interactions.” She also went on to point out that many of these same people work low income jobs where they get paid on a day to day basis. They simply cannot afford to take off 14 days to self-isolate. “It isn’t just that the person cannot afford the loss of two weeks of income, it is also that when they try to go back to that job they are likely to find that it has been filled by someone else in the interim,” she said. “So taking time off from work could mean losing the job all together.”

Lucresha and I are reaching out to the County Health Department to explore ways that our two organizations can work with health officials in developing more effective strategies to reach out to this population. Simply translating a flyer into Spanish isn’t likely to be enough.

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FIRST MILL, MENDOCINO

SECOND MILL, MENDOCINO

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:

The increasing calls for closing visitor services are heard. I’d like to broaden the discussion in hopes of brainstorming. I’m not looking to host a straw poll on whether to close or how much to close. I want to put that debate aside for a moment, because it leads to factions duking it out over comments. There is more we need to work out than the binary decision of "open or close".

Community spread has been rampant inland. Most of our visitor traffic is to the coast. On the coast, contact tracing has not identified tourism as the source of spread. Emotionally, I understand the desire to halt the crowds of tourists, many of which are not following the face covering order. On the other hand, if tourists are not causing the increase in cases, we won’t be tackling the actual problem. If a house is on fire, we put water on that house, not a cold hotel down the road. Social gatherings by locals have been our primary problem and no amount of halting tourism will improve this situation. The leading cause of infection could change and there is significant latency in data. The trend today represents behavior around the time of independence day, perhaps not even fully.

New Zealand locked down early and aimed for elimination. They were successful with only a case now and then. A county does not have the ability to follow the model of an island nation. We’re tied to our (arguably deficient) national and state approaches. We cannot become an island by closing the state highways and restricting travel. I raise this, because when we talk about shutting down, we must consider the intended duration. Shutting down for one month, we’ll open with exactly the problem we have today. Three months, same story. It’s likely that a year out, we’ll be fighting COVID-19. The initial shutdown was to allow healthcare time to ramp up. Healthcare overwhelm today would necessitate shutting down, but our hospitals claim we are not near the threshold of overwhelm.

During the first shutdown, businesses operated on reserves and many employees survived on unemployment. Business reserves are now depleted. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said an extension of the $600 federal payments wouldn’t be in the next coronavirus relief package that senators will consider starting next week. It’s been postulated that the county is looking after lodging owners, essentially selling out by placing economics above community health. The situation is actually more complicated and delicate. Many of our financially vulnerable residents work for lodging or lodging derivatives, businesses that cannot survive without a volume of visitors. Housing, food, medicine and other life essentials for these residents are an important consideration. These establishments will not necessarily last another pronounced shutdown. It’s not just a matter of pausing profits — many are leveraged and cannot sustain a shutdown. The ability for employees to eventually return to work is important. Counties do not have the resources to support wide scale employment losses. With the Paycheck Protection Program running out in December, if no vaccine or treatment develops, forced shutdown could lead to a Great Depression level crisis by March. This is not to say staying open is a solution. As infections spread to visitor serving businesses, will staff show up for work? The close may be inevitable, planned or as effect. No matter the catalyst, widespread employment losses without state and federal support are in fact a problem.

Unless we see ubiquitous adherence to the health order, with or without tourism, I can’t imagine suppressing the virus. The unwillingness by a handful to sacrifice in the form of inconvenience threatens our community. Insistence on conspiracies that government officials wish to destroy the economy for political gain are beyond vacuous. 

Your feedback on tourism is heard. Discussions about approach are continuous. If you believe we’re failing to execute the simple and obvious, zoom out. The potential outcomes are daunting. I believe a measured response to data remains our best path.

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SS SEAFOAM PASSENGER LOADING, MENDOCINO

GETTING ASHORE, MENDOCINO

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BURIED in this week’s CEO Report is a memo from Planning & Building Director Brent Schultz outlining just one particular difficulty among many that the County and pot permit applicants have in satisfying state Fish & Wildlife “Sensitive Species” review requirements (a mostly paper exercise, because Fish & Wildlife doesn’t care about “sensitive species” unless an unwitting applicant applies for a pot permit, nor do they care much about “sensitive species” destroyed by wine grapes or illegal cartel grows). 

As Mr. Schultz describes the problems, there is huge amount of County staff time, cost and delay — not to mention an unreasonable burden on the unsuspecting applicant — in meeting these requirements with no guarantee that a permit will be issued. This process alone (and there are many others) is a major disincentive for any pot grower to want to become legal. Nevertheless, a north county campaign (apparently organized by the Willits Environmental Center and/or the Black Tail Deer Association — which sued the County years ago to require an EIR and is politically opposed to pot growing — based on the similarity of the comments) is underway to not only maintain this requirement but all the other nearly impossible pot cultivation permit requirements as well. On the basis of unsubstantiated claims that the current pot cultivation ordinance is somehow protecting small growers and the environment, the pre-emptory WEC/BTDA campaign has begun delivering dozens of similar letters and public expression comments to the Supervisors opposing any changes in the pot cultivation permit program (calling for stepped up enforcement on the permittees, but not the outlaw grows) based on nothing more (on paper so far) than the below memo from Planning Director Shultz. It is not clear if any of commenters are pot growers themselves, but we didn’t see any we recognized. If they succeed, they may a) put the final nail in Mendo’s costly, complicated and nearly unworkable pot cultivation permit coffin, b) cause hundreds of “provisional” growers to become unpermitted in January of 2022, and c) effectively stymie any new pot permit applications. (Mark Scaramella)


Communications With California Department Of Fish And Wildlife (Cdfw) — Referral Process For Sensitive Species Review

by Brent Schultz, Director
Phone: 707-234-6650
Fax: 707-463-5709
Fb Phone: 707-964-5379
pbs@mendocinocounty.org
www.mendocinocounty.org/pbs

Over the course of the last 2+ years, County staff has been working with CDFW to develop a policy agreement pursuant to [County Cannabis Code Section] 10A.17.100(A)(2), which requires consultation with CDFW for each application related to a defined, objective set of criteria that applications can be reviewed against to avoid impacts to sensitive species and natural communities. The intent of this section of the ordinance allows for the development of a mutual policy between the County and CDFW, which if established, would not require CDFW consultation on all Phase 1 and Phase 2 applications. This would reduce the formal, lengthy referral consultation to CDFW, currently creating a significant bottleneck in issuing cultivation permits. 

Phase 3, as presently written, requires that CDFW is sent all referrals for Sensitive Species review.

In the past few weeks, County and CDFW staff have discussed developing a “Pilot Policy” agreement. County and CDFW staff are arranging a meeting for the end of July to continue discussions regarding the Draft Sensitive Species Pilot Policy. Staff is also working on prioritizing active applications and refining the referral process to maximize efficiency. Staff estimates that by late summer, the County and CDFW may be able to finalize a Pilot Policy allowing County staff to complete Sensitive Species review with the goal to not need to refer all applications to CDFW. This Pilot Policy, however, would not eliminate the considerable amount of work required to complete Sensitive Species review; it would simply allow the County to have control over when the review would be completed. There is no estimate presently of the time required to complete a Sensitive Species review. It may create a significant workload for which no cost recovery has been identified or considered.

Even if County staff conducted the Sensitive Species review, there will be cultivation sites that will not demonstrate a “less than a significant impact” to Sensitive Species which is required within 10A.17.100(A)(2). Without a way to condition the cultivation sites, applications will be denied.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Issues: Communications with California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) – Cal Cannabis Licensing Division

Background

Over one year ago, CDFA requested that Mendocino County provide site specific CEQA information, which would ultimately be in the form of a CEQA Checklist (referred to informally as “Appendix G”) to support each Mendocino County cannabis cultivator’s Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License application. This process was never anticipated when the Cannabis Ordinance was adopted by the County in 2017.

PBS has worked this last year with CDFA to develop the CEQA Checklist. CDFA requires that for every ministerial County Cannabis Cultivation Permit issued, a CEQA Checklist must be completed in order to document the evaluation of the site and activities to demonstrate that the environmental impact is within the scope of the Program’s Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), in accordance with Section 15168(c)(4) of the State CEQA Guidelines. The CEQA Checklist is required to be reviewed and approved by CDFA prior to the applicant receiving an Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License. Alternatively, without the County providing a CEQA Checklist the applicant will be responsible for the preparation of an environmental document in compliance with CEQA that can be approved or certified by CDFA. Many County Cannabis Cultivation permit holders have provisional licenses from CDFA/Cal Cannabis, which expire on January 1, 2022.

Current Efforts

County staff and CDFA representatives have a final CEQA Checklist template form, of which the County has provided two (2) completed samples to CDFA for review. In late June 2020, CDFA reviewed these sample CEQA Checklists and are requiring substantial additional information for the “Project Description” on each cultivation site.

The Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License application and the County issued Cannabis Cultivation Permit application materials have never required this level of detail for the project description that CDFA is now requesting; therefore, a site specific and unique project description would need to be created for each application and requires information that is not contained in County permit records. County staff has determined that completing a CEQA Checklist for each cultivation site, including the comprehensive project description—to the satisfaction of CDFA—is the functional equivalent (in regard to staff time) of a discretionary permit, but with no cost recovery.

County staff estimates that one completed CEQA Checklist, as required by CDFA, with a detailed project description will take County staff 16-40 hours to complete per application. This includes research, writing and review, prior to providing the checklist to the applicant so they can attach it to their Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License application. Mendocino County has issued approximately 275 permits. Staff estimates, writing and issuing 275 CEQA Checklists could require 11,000+ staff hours at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, without a mechanism for cost recovery nor would it guarantee approval for an Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License. This particular level of review was never contemplated when the original ordinance was adopted.

Summary

There is no quick solution for our current ministerial ordinance and process difficulties. Even with the Pilot Policy for the Sensitive Species review with CDFW, staff time and cost associated with the review is still not known. Over 800+ applications have yet to receive their Sensitive Species review, which is required per 10A.17.100(A)(2). Furthermore, PBS is unable to quantify how many applicants are actually capable of demonstrating a less than significant impact for each component of the checklist, given that mitigations cannot be applied to alter the determination.

CDFA will not issue an Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License, without site specific CEQA. The County’s CEQA Checklist solution, can only be written for permitted individuals within our Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Program, who have gone through all the reviews and referral processes outlined within our ordinance. Based on our discussions with CDFA, they require a comprehensive project description within each CEQA Checklist which PBS staff estimate will take 16-40 hours to complete per application. This is the functional equivalent (in regard to staff time) of completing site specific review as would be done under a discretionary permit, but with no cost recovery. The CDFW Sensitive Species review Pilot Policy and the CDFA CEQA Checklist solution both require significant staff time to complete. Presently, there is no identified cost recovery method under our current ministerial program. These processes will also be difficult for our permittees and applicants to navigate, with no guarantee that their cultivation sites will ultimately pass site specific environmental review. Furthermore, because Provisional State Licenses expire January 1, 2022, PBS staff has no confidence that sufficient time remains for active permittees and applicants in the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Program to obtain all necessary approvals for an Annual State Cannabis Cultivation License to be issued.

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SWIMMING HOLE, MENDOCINO

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ED NOTES

THE GREAT IRONY of the BLM demonstrations is that they are occurring against a social backdrop of the best ethnic relations we've ever had in our riven country, so much better than a mere sixty years ago it's almost startling to ancient mariners like me. Race relations is one area of American life where we've made real headway. No, I haven't been felled by Panglossian disorder. I bring it up because these rote calls for the elimination of "systemic racism" are starting to annoy me, and not only because they're meaningless without systemic application of tangible economic changes, without which the large majority of black people will continue to suffer, but because a lot of the incoherent demagogues we see shouting for an end to systemic racism have no plan beyond demonstrations of their own virtue. It's especially annoying to see elected Democrats out front in these demonstrations when they're ongoing co-sponsors of economic injustice. These phonies will take a knee if they think a camera is anywhere near, but except for a few young women like the hugely maligned AOC, the people at the power levers are all for an end to racism so long as it doesn't cost them and their sponsors anything. 

COVELO has been plagued by arson fires for years, but these have typically been confined to grass and brush. With the terribly destructive arson fire of last weekend that damaged an already empty hulk of a downtown, Covelo seems on the ropes as a coherent, functioning community. One large, ongoing negative for inland Mendocino County, and especially Covelo, is the high percentage of unreconstructed criminals in proportion to the non-criminal majority. Also, I think the theory expressed by one of our readers has contributed to Covelo's social woes. He says Humboldt County's more effective crackdown on cartel grows has driven organized crime gangs south into eastern Mendocino County's wild vastness. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Department doesn't have the manpower and is literally out-gunned by some of these gangs, and is at a loss in doing anything about them in any systematic, effective way. 

"THIS CANNABIS SEASON there has been an explosion of illegal cannabis cultivation in Covelo because: 1) Humboldt does a great job of enforcement and drives all the illegal grows to Covelo because Mendocino has no enforcement infrastructure like Humboldt (sophisticated satellite imaging and active pursuit of enforcement) to perform enforcement; 2) Mendocino County has no coherent cannabis permitting process. ALL REGULATIONS ARE A BLACK BOX. Nobody really knows what the rules are and the regulators have no management and thus ANYBODY and EVERYBODY grows in the black market _ small farmers as well as Cartel players from Santa Rosa and the surrounds. "THE BLACK MARKET is not a concern for the legal cultivators EXCEPT for 1) legal cultivators are paying a lot to the County and State so their costs are high and it is nearly impossible to make money at this juncture in the legal cultivation market except for large indoor cultivators who have vertically integrated businesses (cultivation distribution and retail that isn't supposed to happen but does because larger sophisticated operators with capital have good legal advice). I am concerned about the situation in Covelo because Mendocino County has created a public nuisance and health and safety hazard." 

A SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENT re a Covelo man arrested for burning up a vehicle the same weekend as the town's big blaze: "I am acquainted with the gentleman in the photo – he was “Farmer Sam”, and a really sweet, well spoken and clearly educated fellow. Loved growing vegetables, and sharing them with everyone. In talking with him, I could tell that there was obviously some history there – he would sometimes make reference to a darker period in his life that he was working on leaving behind – but I never thought him capable of criminal activity. So very sad."

ROBO DEMONSTRATOR, a huge Portland kid the cops beat on repeatedly, unable to move him or even phase him. He finally turned away when he was sprayed straight into his face with blinding chemicals.

WHOA! Robo-Demo is not a kid. He's a Navy veteran named Chris David, and he's 53. David told CNN that he had never been to a protest, but felt "enraged" when he saw federal officers on the scene and wanted to ask them what they were doing there. For asking, he took Rodney King-quality blows without visible reaction.

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TOWN OF MENDOCINO, AERIAL VIEW

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HERE ARE THE THREE PRIMARY ITEMS on the Wednesday, July 22, Measure B Mental Health Facilities Oversight Committee agenda:

Item 3d: Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Estimated Proceeds, Facility Operating Costs (including Construction of the Crisis Residential Treatment Facility), and Renovation/Construction of an Acute Psychiatric Hospital or PHF.

Item 3e: Discussion and Possible Action on Presentation by Nacht and Lewis on the Proposed Design, Site, and Floorplan of the Crisis Residential Treatment Facility, and Continuation of Construction/Project.

Item 3f: Discussion and Possible Action Regarding the Recommendation for Contracting with AECOM, Construction Management Services, for the CRT Project Concerning Pre-Construction and Contract Administration in the Amount of $62,162 and $269,676 Respectively

(Despite having a project manager and part-time assistant, and construction consultant, they not only want to farm out the construction management for the Orchard Avenue project, but they want to farm out the contract administration!)

BUT NOT A WORD about the crisis van proposal from the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee.

(Mark Scaramella)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 21, 2020

Hietala, luna, Martinez, Smith

JUSTIN HIETALA, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, parole violation.

MAURO MARTINEZ JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, protective order violation, failure to appear.

MICHAEL SMITH JR., Ukiah. DUI.

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WHAT’S REAL IN PORTLAND (forwarded by Chuck Dunbar)

To The Editor [of the New York Times]:

“I live in Portland, Ore. I am 68 years old, a retired psychologist, a mildly left-of-center boomer. I want to report that Portland is not at all convulsed by a ‘violent mob’ of anarchists, as the acting homeland security secretary, Chad F. Wolf, claims, or anything close.

A small number of protestors, generally far fewer than 100, gather each evening to protest peacefully. A few wrongheaded individuals paint graffiti or throw rocks, and that is certainly not OK. But two blocks away, in any direction, things are completely normal. In fact, I had not watched the news for a few days, and I thought the protests had stopped.

There is absolutely no justification for the intrusion of federal troops to engage in tactics like kidnapping people off the streets in unmarked cars, as was done under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. This is clearly a case of President Trump wanting to create drama for his right-wing base, ginning up a state of anarchy that does not exist, so he can look tough to his base, and so he can try to scare people into thinking there is some kind of threat to America posed by people who disagree with him and his party.”

Mark Tilson

Portland, Oregon

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BIG RIVER BRIDGE JUMPER, 1913

BIG RIVER MILL

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SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME (1990)

by Jim Gibbons 

All I can say in my defense is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. A bunch of arms-chair jocks getting together the Sunday afternoon before the Super Bowl for a little flag football. How could I resist? Sure, it had been decades since I last played football, but I'm an active kinda guy. I jog almost every day, I go to the weight room a few times a week, and occasionally ride my bike. I'm in better shape than your average middle-ager. Even my kids tell me I'm "well preserved for my age."

When I arrived at the high school field the game was already in progress, so I jumped in without warming up, and after a few plays up and down the field, Steve, the quarterback, threw me the ball. I had to stretch out a little to catch it but got my hands on it and ran into the end zone for a touchdown. Simple.

It was so simple it's hard to believe those pros get paid so much money to do this. If I had weighed another 100 pounds back when I was in my prime, who knows which NFL team I'd be associated with today? Or how many concussions I’d have?

Anyhow, as I was jogging back to the huddle, I felt something funny in my right leg, as if maybe I stretched my hamstring a bit too much. Oh well, can't stop now, I'm having too much fun. I had noticed I could out-run the secondary, so while in the huddle watching Steve draw complicated diagrams in the dirt, I finally said, sounding a bit too impatient, "Just throw it in the end zone and I'll catch it." 

Hey, I wonder if Jerry Rice ever said that to Joe Montana?

Steve stopped, looked at me and said, "Okay” ... but his eyes seemed to say, “Okay, asshole, but you better not miss.”

As soon as I sprinted away from the line of scrimmage, I felt my right hamstring knot up, but I had to catch the football, so I kept going. I got in the clear, turned around and there was the ball. I caught it and scored my second TD. No problem. Well, except for the now even tighter knot in my hamstring. Someone decided it was halftime, so I limped away. I thought it was a cramp and that the tightness would go away, but it didn't. 

The next morning, I could hardly get out of bed. I iced it, took some ibuprofen, and went to work. By Wednesday the sore muscles were gone, but the tight knot was still there. It still hurt when I walked, and no way could I run. I could barely bend over and touch my knee! I knew I had done some damage, but how much?

My running partner and Ukiah High School running coach Jerry Drew suggested I see Doug Howard, the trainer over at Mendocino College. Doug listened to my symptoms and said I had the classic sprinters injury--a pulled hamstring. Distance runners, he explained, push more with their leg muscles, which builds up the quads, whereas sprinters pull more because their legs are moving faster and their bodies have to catch up, which puts a greater strain on the hamstrings. 

He told me to rest it for a week, ice it three times a day, and stretch easy afterward. Then we got down on the gym floor and went through some basic stretches.

I told him I already started lap swimming but had occasional jolts of pain from kicking. Doug said the pool was a real good idea, "but don't lock your knee when you kick, it puts stress on your hamstring. And you can run in the pool, but you probably need three to six weeks before you can go back to running.”

"Three to six weeks?!" I repeated, as if it just dawned on me how serious this "cramp" was.

"You don't want to re-injure it and you go back to square one," Doug cautioned.

I knew he was right, and I told him that it really started from stretching my left Achilles tendon at the World Veteran Games last summer. Instead of resting after the Games, I proceeded to pile on more mileage to get ready for a series of fall races. Without realizing it I must have been favoring my left Achilles, which put a strain on my right leg. That same area tightened up when I tried to out-kick a teammate in the last two hundred yards of the Clarksburg 30K last November.

Doug agreed with my assessment and said that compensation injuries are often worse than the original ones. I thanked him for his help, and walked slowly all the way across the gym floor before he asked, with a hint of a smile in his voice, "How old are you now?"

I stopped and turned to look at him. The lights were off, and the gym's natural lighting was dim, shadowing his figure, but our voices carried almost as if we were standing next to each other. "I'll be 46 this year," I said, unable to see his reaction. Did he guess I was that old? Does he think I'm well preserved for my age? Obviously not, as my body is starting to self-destruct. 

I told him the more competitive runners like me probably race too much without backing off enough, but it's tough taking days off when you’re setting PRs (personal records) into your forties. Maybe I’m hooked like a heroin addict on that daily shot of endorphins?

I heard him chuckle, and I added, “I've noticed the fast-growing sport of triathlons is mainly supported by injured runners who started biking and swimming as substitutes for running. They call it "cross training."

He agreed, I said I’d be in touch, and left.

Doug was the right person to talk to, as he's probably seen more sports-related injuries than a clinic full of doctors, and no doubt his cure-and-prevention methods are state-of-the-art, but I felt I needed something besides ice and stretching to hurry the healing process.

Does this Hurt? 

It just so happens that my girlfriend, Susan Park, used to work for Dr. Grace Lui, the distinguished acupuncturist in Ukiah, when Dr. Lui worked out of The City of Ten Thousand Buddhists in Talmage. She reminded me what Dr. Lui always said when you hurt yourself, "Hurry, come in, get needles."

Most people get desperate when they get sick or injured, and I'm one of them. In fact, I actually got acupuncture once before back in '81 when I had a nagging sore knee. And it was from Dr. Lui in her Talmage office when Susan was working as her assistant. 

I remember the female assistant entering the room to remove the needles stuck in my exposed butt and down my right leg to the ankle. When she was done, she gently pulled my underpants over my exposed butt cheeks and told me in her soft voice to relax for a few minutes, and then I could go. I never saw her face, but only recently found out it was her who removed those needles. Isn't that romantic?

I stopped in after work for an appointment. Her secretary started leafing through the appointment calendar, making me realize I'd be half-way healed by the time there was an opening. Luckily, another customer overheard my dilemma and said she just came in to cancel her appointment.

Before I knew it, I was ushered into a little room and told to strip to my underwear, get in bed, and relax. As I was lying there, I heard the wail of a dentist's drill. Sure enough, Dr. Lui shared the building with a dentist, and the sound was coming through the ceiling vent. Did you ever try relaxing while waiting to be poked with needles while listening to the shrilling (not to be confused with thrilling) sound of a dentist's drill?

Dr. Lui came in and held my arm by the wrist, feeling my pulse for what seemed like a long time, while reading my medical history. Then she got up and walked to the other side of the bed and held my other wrist, as if my pulse might be different on that side. She finally said, "Forty-three. Heart very slow. Have much energy?"

"Yes, but I run, and that lowers my resting pulse," I said, wondering why I was explaining this to a doctor. But she replied, as if she did not understand what I said, "Most people seventy." She seemed concerned, as if something were wrong with me. 

"In the morning when I first wake up it's under forty," I told her, not to shock her, but I felt she should know. 

"How long you been running?" She wondered, as if I was the first patient, she ever had who was a runner.

"Twelve years," I admitted.

"How long heart so slow?" 

"Gee, at least ten years."

"Have had medical check-up?" She made "check-up" sound like hiccup.

"Not for years ... maybe five or closer to ten, I don't remember." I really could not remember how long it had been. Was I making the classic Jim Fixx mistake of believing that running was a cure-all? 

Remember Jim Fixx, author of the popular Complete Book of Running? As most runners know, and even non-runners who use it for an excuse to stay on the couch, Fixx died on his daily run, partly because he did not follow his own advice.

“Don't need medical check-up because you run, yes?" She asked, not as if she agreed with that philosophy, but wondered if maybe that is what I thought, misguided as I seemed to be.

“Well, I don't have health insurance," I admitted, hoping she would give me a cut-rate fee for her services. “I haven't been sick," I lied. I didn't mean to lie, it's just that when I'm feeling good, I tend to forget that I was sick.

She nodded, "Uh-huh," sounding like the psychiatrist to his patient stretched out on the couch whining about his pathetic life. "Uh-huh ... I see ... Uh-huh ... ."

She told me to rest and left the room. When she finally returned to insert the needles, she made me lie on my stomach. I was relaxed, considering that someone was sticking needles in my backside. At least the drilling next door had stopped. I wanted to believe the brochure I read in the lobby comparing the needle pricks to mosquito bites, although I really hate mosquito bites!

Just then she stuck one behind my right knee that felt more like a wasp sting! “AHHHHH!!!” I yelled, making us both laugh. She finally pulled it out because it hurt too much. Then, with my jockeys pulled down exposing my butt, and maybe ten needles sticking in from elbow to heel, she said, just before leaving the room, "Now we let your energy work for you."

I was lying there staring at a small needle sticking in the bend of my left elbow, wondering how the ancient Chinese could make such delicate instruments, and finally concluded that maybe the needles weren't all that delicate in the old days.

Dr. Lui returned twice to twirl each needle, asking with each twirl, "Feel this? Feel this? Feel this?"

When I would respond with a jolt, she would chuckle softly. It was a compassionate enough chuckle, yet it reminded me of that game kids play when they try to test your pain threshold, "Does this hurt? Does this hurt? Does this hurt?" 

Dr. Lui's assistant removed the needles, pulled up my jockeys, and covered me with a light blanket, saying, "Rest for ten minutes and then you may get dressed and go."

When I walked back into the waiting room and told the receptionist I had to go to my truck to get my checkbook, she looked at me shrewdly, wondering if I was really planning to return or just going to split without paying my bill. But I returned, wrote a forty-five-dollar check, and left feeling much better. In fact, there was hardly any pain, and I could almost touch my right toe for the first time since Sunday. 

Postscript: I was the sports editor for the Willits News in the early 90s, which included a weekly column. My column would run on Friday in the Willits News, and the following Wednesday it would appear in the Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA), a weekly out of Anderson Valley, proclaiming itself AMERICA’S LAST NEWSPAPER, which may end up being true, as it’s still going strong in 2020, and most people get their news on-line these days. 

Editor Bruce Anderson liked my sports articles and stole them every week, which I considered a compliment, but my editor, Lillian Brown, said to me one day, “Jim, we’re paying you and you’re also selling your work to the AVA. That must stop.”

I explained that he simply steals them on Friday and publishes them the following Wednesday. She apologized and found another reason not to like Bruce Anderson and his “Fanning the Flames of Discontent” weekly newspaper.

(This piece was first published in the Willits News on February 9, 1990 and in the AVA February 21, twelve days later.)

* * *

NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB’S BOOK “The Black Swan” introduced me to the idea of the “Turkey Exception” to Rationalist Philosophy. I had never given Rationalism much thought. Its basic tenet that the lessons of experience lead to an understanding of the world seemed self evident. Taleb’s “Turkey Exception” was a surprise. 

Consider our young turkey’s situation: They are always in the company of beneficient large monkeys who spend their time doting on our young turkey’s wellbeing. They provide heat, food and shelter. Everything a young turkey needs. No reason for a turkey to not think well of them. And then comes the day before Thanksgiving. 

Turkeys used to be a seasonal food available only during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. They were also quite expensive with $12 being enough to buy a small bird during the 1960s. $15 to $20 was more usual. Then one year—1969 if memory serves--they couldn’t give them away. If you bought a full tank of gas—you got a turkey. If you failed to win the main prize in a raffle—you got a turkey. They were $2 and $3 at the grocers. 

What had happened was that one of the members of the turkey farmers’ business association got a bright idea. Having a keen understanding of basic economics, he pitched to his group the notion that if they all held back production and only put on half as many turkeys this year as in the past, they would then reap twice the sales price at the counter (demand being equal and supply in half—economics doesn’t get more basic than that). Plus, with their overhead in feeding their flocks and all their other expenses being halved—they could all retire the next year on their profits. They were sold. His proposal was met with great enthusiasm by his peers and his proposal was adopted by his association. 

So, every one of them went home and said to himself: “Everyone else is only going to put on half as many turkeys. And the costs of production will all be halved while the sale price will be double. That being the case—why don’t I just put on a few extra?" 

I’m not sure if this is a fable with a moral. Just observing, though, that the economics guy of this tale is a lot like Zeno with his paradoxes—they work fine if you leave out the lessons of experience. 

— Alan Freberg

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(photo by Chris Calder)

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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ON PORTLAND

The Mess in Portland Progressives blame Trump for the disorder they’ve tolerated.

by The WSJ Editorial Board

Anarchists and rioters have wreaked havoc on Portland, Ore., for nearly two months. Democrats have excused and emboldened them, and they’re now claiming the real problem is that federal law enforcement has intervened to restore order. Maybe the feds should leave and let the city put out its own fires.

Peaceful protests broke out in Portland in late May in response to the killing of George Floyd, but they’ve quickly escalated to rioting and vandalism. Demonstrators have launched large fireworks at law enforcement, shone laser pointers at their eyes, thrown fecal matter, and assaulted at least one officer with a hammer.

The Department of Homeland Security reports that rioters are armed with rifles, tasers, slingshots and sledgehammers and have committed multiple acts of arson. On July 3 someone firebombed the Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, and scarcely a day passes without graffiti and property damage.

If radicals feel emboldened, that’s because Portland has long allowed political violence to occur with impunity. In recent years dueling marches by Antifa and far-right activists have descended into brawling, and too often police have done little to stop it. Assaults have gone unpunished, including a violent attack on journalist Andy Ngo. Portland Police admit that they sometimes simply walk away from protests—er, strategically disengage.

In early June Mayor Ted Wheeler told police to refrain from using tear gas unless there’s “violence that threatens life safety.” Federal Judge Marco Hernandez also issued an injunction prohibiting the use of tear gas “to disperse crowds where there is no or little risk of injury.” And on June 30, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation that bans tear gas unless police declare a riot.

Enter federal agents, who face no such restrictions on crowd-control tactics. After a June 26 executive order by President Trump, officers from Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Protective Service were dispatched to Portland to safeguard federal property.

“Mr. President, this is an attack on our democracy,” Mayor Wheeler tweeted on July 17, along with a New York Times headline claiming “federal agents unleash militarized crackdown on Portland.” Nonsense. Federal law clearly allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to dispatch agents to protect federal property and arrest those who threaten it.

Critics have complained that federal agents obscure their identity and operate out of unmarked cars. Officers legitimately fear being identified by name and harassed at home, and their superiors have sometimes allowed them to obscure nameplates while still displaying their patches and badge numbers.

Meanwhile, protesters routinely dress in identical “black bloc” attire and obscure their faces. They’ve made a habit of swarming officers who attempt an arrest, creating chaos, and helping the suspect disappear. Unmarked cars help federal agents surveil the scene without attracting unwanted attention, and they also enable law enforcement to complete arrests by choosing a safe and opportune moment to make their move. Those arrested are read their Miranda rights and booked as usual.

We understand Mr. Trump’s desire to restore order, but he’s also saving Democrats from themselves. State and local Democrats will blame federal intervention for any and all disorder, deflecting attention from their own failures. The media will echo whatever they say. Progressives run Portland, Chicago, New York and other cities now experiencing a surge of violence. If they want to indulge the mayhem, then let them live with the consequences.

* * *

CALTRANS ORDERED TO PAY $2 MILLION FOR DESTROYING BAY AREA HOMELESS CAMPS

The California Department of Transportation has agreed to pay $2 million for destroying belongings during sweeps of homeless encampments from 2014 to 2019.

sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Caltrans-ordered-to-reimburse-homeless-camp-15423611.php

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

“I really have to wonder why I spent all that money on her education and she can’t think for herself…. Why can’t most HS kids pass a simple math test? Write a coherent sentence?”

– I work in higher ed, which I think is mostly doomed in the next decade for a panoply of reasons, of which the most germane to this conversation is that you can’t have higher ed without “lower ed” first

– “Lower ed” (i.e., primary and secondary ed) is now about ensuring that there is someone to watch the young’uns while the folks are at work, that some kids get three square meals a day, and that violence is kept to a minimum, with only the occasional faculty injury or parental arrest. 

– Who needs to know how to read and write when your smart house or social worker will do all that for you? And math is hard, and therefore [insert absurdly inflammatory politicized adjective here].

– As to why your higher ed’ed kid does not think for herself: thinking for yourself, or thinking critically (or even thinking, period), has been replaced in most non-STEM curricula by Critical Theory, Marcuse, Foucault, and Derrida. These intellectual anti-intellectuals see certain forms of thinking for yourself (unsurprisingly, those that contradict today’s cultural marching orders, which usually subvert norms while always leaving the real owners in charge) as making us into “bad people.” Cancel culture doesn’t seek to change actions, it seeks to change hearts and minds, to bring them into conformity with the day’s orthodoxy. It is theology, and stoopid theology at that.

* * *

GOLD RUSH DAGUERROTYPES

California gold miner with tools, circa 1850

* * *

RESPONDING to the felling of eucalyptus grove in Mendocino, a reader writes:

My first awareness of a tree happened at my Grandparents where we picked Figs, Black Berries, Apples, Pears, and Walnuts, but none of those trees captivated our imaginations, like the Eucalyptus. This is where 17 of us kids went every Sunday for shade, play, to build pretend homes, and carry on deep conversations. None of us was ever injured by a branch. In the afternoon when the leaves fluttered, we knew time for play was ending, soon it would be time to go inside. Inside the house, the wood was stacked to the ceiling on both sides of the fireplace, where we stayed, and played, until we were all homeward bound. The Eucalyptuses ultimately became the giving tree to one of the 17 who cut them all down before the property was sold, and they live forever in the beautiful scultures he made.

Australian roots: In 1770, eucalyptus specimens made their way to Europe for the first time. European botanists gave the trees the name “eucalyptus” because of how the flowers are in hard, protective cup-like structures: The Greek root “eu” means “well” and “calyptos” means “covered.”

Soon, interest in the eucalyptus swelled in Europe. In the early 1800s, wealthy merchants and aristocrats were excited about rare or “exotic” plants and, together with people in the plant business, made cultivating eucalyptus trees popular. Horticulturists also wanted to better study such novelties, to understand them scientifically and see what their potential economic value might be. And of course, the new European settlers in Australia were eager to make some money selling the abundant eucalyptus. Promoters touted the trees as not only aesthetically pleasing, but as capable of satisfying many practical needs. The eucalyptus quickly spread in Europe.

Eucalyptus is a very large genus that consists of over 600 species, which natively live in Australia, Tasmania, and some surrounding islands.

The eucalyptus goes to California: Following its spread throughout Europe, northern Africa, India, and South America, settlers in California became increasingly interested in the eucalyptus. Not only was eucalyptus a fascinating novelty, but the California Gold Rush of the late 1840s and early 1850s created high demand for wood for constructing buildings and for fuel.

Ellwood Cooper’s role in spreading eucalyptus: Ellwood Cooper, educator, entrepreneur, and one of the key individuals who helped the eucalyptus take off in California, is a local legend here in Santa Barbara. After seeing eucalyptus in the San Francisco area, Cooper settled down in Santa Barbara in 1870. On his ranch, among many different types of produce trees (including olives, walnuts, and figs), he grew over 200 acres of eucalyptus. The eucalyptus forest he started lives on to this day at the Ellwood Bluffs. Cooper became a vocal advocate for the eucalyptus, emphasizing its unique, aesthetically pleasing appearance, as well as its useful qualities. He even wrote the first book in the U.S. on the trees. Eucalyptus became very appealing to foresters in the 1870s and 1880s as native hardwoods were being severely depleted.

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2

Bullshit. Believing everything your told joining the Marine Corps, see corruption and thievery, getting hazed, assaulted, shipped off to fight a bullshit war, seeing children’s dead faces under rubble, seeing video feeds of drones taking out whole families, seeing other Marines die, seeing your best friend killed right in front of you. Too proud warrior to seek help, get out try to fight in a society gone to shit, jobs shipped over seas, everyone is poor, generations of families destroyed by drugs, no jobs, country you swore your life and soul to, torn apart, see veterans come back killing themselves, constantly suicidal myself. See our country and people not giving a shit about each other, see our country abandon allies in the middle east, see constant mass shootings, police brutality, drugs, poverty, veterans dying from bullshit like agent orange tce poisonings defective equipment, have to fight to get compensated….THAT IS THE SHIT THAT FUCKING RUINS YOUR BRAIN AND SOUL!!!!!

Marijuana heals this! I was Marine not some slacking lazy ass. I get up in the morning 0500 jog/walk 6 miles, while high! I come home raise my 16 month old son, care for the house, while my amazing wife spends 12 hours a day busting her ass running an rv park, dealing with rude, entitled, inconsiderate, lazy, disgusting, visitors, that berate her and the staff daily for things out of her control, often bringing her to tears. THIS IS THE SHIT THAT RUINS YOUR BRAIN!!

Marijuana, has without a doubt been a healing medicine, and a life and soul saver for both me and my wife. Your statement only reflects the same ignorance I had, or YOUR own personal experience with it. People are lazy garbage with or without Marijuana. Grow up and stop blaming a fucking plant. It is medicine.

* * *

A READER WRITES: Is this the official campaign slogan? 

What morons paid which consultants thousands of dollars to come up with this b-b-boneheaded b-b-banner? Oh yeah, this is really going to fire people up.

* * *

NOTICE OF A PUBLIC HEARING

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Point Arena City Council will conduct a public hearing via Zoom teleconference on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 6:00 p.m., or as soon thereafter as possible, on the following:

Coastal Development Permit for a single-family residence and associated development as described below.

Public Hearing will be held Approving/Denying the Following Project:

CASE: CDP # 3-2020 

DATE FILED: April 3, 2020 

OWNER: Kai Hansen 

APPLICANTS: Elissa Levin and Kai Hansen AGENT: Paul J Pieri, MSSC Services ZONING: Suburban Residential ½ Acre (SR 1/2)

REQUEST: The applicants are requesting a Coastal Development Permit to allow for a new proposed ~1320 sf single family residence with ~112 sf of deck, a solar array on the south facing roof, and ~792 sf of carport. Associated development includes fencing, wind turbine, on-site septic system, well, driveway, water storage, propane tank, gardens, and connect to utilities. Temporary use of a travel trailer during construction is requested.

APN:  027-061-17 and 027-061-14 LOCATION: 125 West Lake Street

PUBLIC HEARING DATE: July 28, 2020

The Point Arena City Council is soliciting your input. All interested parties are invited to attend and be heard at this time. Applicants or their agents must appear for their hearings. If you challenge the above matter(s) in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the City Clerk at, or prior to, the public hearing. All documents are available for review in the City Clerk’s Office.

The City Council’s action regarding the item shall constitute final action by the City unless appealed to the Coastal Commission. Appeals to the Coastal Commission must be made in writing within 10 working days following Coastal Commission receipt of a Notice of Final Action on this project. Should you desire to request notification of the City Council’s decision you may do so in writing by providing a self-addressed stamped envelope to the City Clerk.

For further information contact the City of Point Arena:

Mailing Address:

PO Box 67, Point Arena, California 95468 City Hall Location: 

451 School Street, Point Arena, California 95468 Telephone: 

707 882-2122

* * *

* * *

VERY VICHY

Dear AVA:

To the Editor

Last night, I was at Vichy Springs last night with my wife. The property is pristine. It's gorgeous, like a well-maintained park.

In my opinion, Gilbert and Marjorie Ashoff, the long-time owners of Vichy Springs Resort, are the most responsible stewards of any legacy property in Mendocino County.

The Ashoffs saved Vichy Springs from Dan Hamburg. They saved Vichy Springs from Charles Mannon. They saved Vichy Springs from any number of slick operators who schemed to take over the resort, demolish it, and develop the property and make a quick buck.

Sadly, the Ashoffs must continue to fight other adversaries.

The Ashoffs fight the Ukiah Gun Club on quality of life and serious environmental issues.

Lead contaminated dust from spent ammo becomes surface dust in surrounding homes that contains leaded dust in excess of EPA standards.

The homes in Vichy Estates and Guideville are subject to this dust floating and landing on them. Children playing are breathing the lead dust from the 1,000's of rounds, sometimes fired daily, at this unpermitted (no use permit) and unregulated range.

The tons of lead on the surface at the Gun Club have been well-documented, and are are leaching into Sulfur Creek, and then into the drinking water source for Ukiah, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, and Santa Rosa that is the Russian River.

The homes in Vichy Estates and Guideville are subject to this dust floating and landing on them. Children playing are breathing the lead dust from the 1,000's of rounds sometimes fired daily at this unpermitted (no use permit) and unregulated range.

Lead contaminated soil is bare soil that contains lead at or in excess of the levels determined to be hazardous to human health. 

That describes the entire irresponsibly managed City of Ukiah-owned Ukiah property occupied by the un-regulated Ukiah Gun Club.

Besides lead pollution, the Ashoffs are fighting another important environmental battle.

The City of Ukiah's old garbage dump, closed in the early-2001 and never sealed, also remains a quality of life and environmental hazard for the Ashoffs, Vichy Springs Resort, and the surrounding neighborhoods, including the El Vichy Estates and Guidiville Rancheria.

Also, the really sad fact is the methane has contaminated El Dorado Estates every night since the dump shut down. El Dorado Estates is where my family lives. I can sometimes smell the methane. 

Finally, the Mendocino County Grand Jury found in favor for the Ashoffs and Vichy Springs in all their findings in several reports over the years -- I wrote some of those reports.

Our findings were compelling. But the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors did nothing. The City of Ukiah did nothing. 

Let's hope the Ashoffs litigate, and the courts come to the same findings, and issue strongly-worded orders to remedy these hazards. I'd be in favor of stiff fines and penalties, too.

John Sakowicz

former candidate, 1st District Supervisor 

El Dorado Road

Ukiah

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FOUND OBJECT

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