- Coast Cool
- Nine Deaths
- Peter Wells
- Online School
- Candidate Filing
- Chipper Tour
- Boonville 1956
- Local Produce
- Mask Up
- Muzzling Williams
- Ten-Mile River
- Permit Reform
- Old Coast
- Ed Notes
- Poetic Vision
- Sprinkle Testimony
- Pepper Sprayer
- Narcan Save
- Bicycle Arrest
- Yesterday's Catch
- DA Boudin
- Midnight Needle
- DNC Revolt
- Divided Nation
- Exercise Wear
- Permit Extortion
- Elon's Lithium
- Vulgar Perception
- Israel Lobby
- Writers' Conference
- Angry Oldster
- Adventist Coast
- Klamath Dams
- Found Object
COOL, CLOUDY CONDITIONS will persist along the coast, with a few hours of sunlight during the afternoons. Warm and sunny conditions will also persist throughout the interior. Low probabilities for mountain thunderstorms exist toward the middle and end of next week. (NWS)
SIX NEW COVID CASES, total now at 299 in Mendocino County.
Note: The County was notified at 6:45 pm of an additional death at Sherwood Oaks, bringing the new total of deaths to 9 as of Thursday, July 30, 2020.
We are celebrating the beautiful life & eternal soul of my beloved father & friend Peter Wells who flew free of physicality yesterday morning. We’ve done our best to contact his many friends directly. thank you all for sending so much love & support to the family. There are no words that touch the amount of love this man gave us all & that we feel for him. may his passion for life & a peaceful harmonious world live on in us all. I am eternally grateful to have had such a wonderful caring father. It’s hard to believe that such a strong man could ever pass away. truly his spirit lives on along with his legacy & melodies. Congratulations dad to living such a special life. I’m honored to be your son. We all love you forevermore.
VAL MUCHOWSKI REPORTS: Anderson Valley Unified will start school online August 25. The district’s administrative assistant Wanda Johnson verified that instruction would continue online until further notice. On the July 22 board meeting, Superintendent Michael Warych recommended that the schools follow online learning, with the possibility of partial reopening later in the school year. The Superintendent was not available for comment about applying for a waiver to reopen the district in-person. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday August 11.
MENDO CANDIDATE FILING
Mendocino County’s candidate filing is in full swing for the November 3, 2020 Statewide Election for our local Special Districts and School/College Districts. The filing period began Monday July 13 and will continue through August 7, 2020 according to Assessor-County Clerk Recorder Katrina Bartolomie. If an incumbent fails to file for their seat, the filing deadline for that race will be extended through August 12, 2020. Due to COVID, we are trying to do as much of the candidate forms via email and the USPS as possible to reduce the in-person visits to our office. Appointments can be made for those who would prefer to come into our office.
If you are interested in serving on a local board, please call our office, we will be happy to email you the application. Once we receive the completed application we will be able to email out the other forms that are required to be completed. Please don’t wait until the last minute, get this done as soon as possible Please call or email our office for additional information or to receive an Application for Declaration of Candidacy at 707 234-6819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Mendocino County Elections Office presser)
AVFD is partnering with Mendocino Fire Safe Council to bring a free roadside chipper service to Anderson Valley from August 17th through 21st.
Stay posted for info on how to apply and program guidelines.
To make most effective use of this resource, we’ll use these criteria to decide where to bring the chipper:
- Fire hazards: dead end road, heavy fuels, topographical considerations, etc.
- Neighborhood readiness: the more people on your road who are ready to go, the better.
Options for extended work on your property may be available at a rate TBD.
Roadside fuel reduction may also be available, depending on preparedness and resident participation.
Don't miss this opportunity for fuel-reduction assistance!
AV Fire Department, 895-2020 / email@example.com
BOONVILLE POSTCARD, circa 1956 (via Marshal Newman)
VELMA’S farm stand on Anderson Valley Way in Boonville is open Friday 1pm-5pm and Saturday 8:30am-1pm. We will be offering an array of vegetables and fruit including tomatoes (early girls, heirlooms, sun golds), blueberries, Maiden's Blush and Red Gravenstein apples, potatoes, lettuce, arugula/salad mix, melons, onions, herbs, carrots, chard, beets, celery, cucumbers, hot peppers, eggplant (limited) and more. There will be fresh flower bouquets and 2019 olive oil for sale as well (available in half gallon, 1 liter, and 500 ml). All products are certified biodynamic and grown by Filigreen Farm.
Please email Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or more information. We can accept cash/card/EBT/check. Please respect social distance rules (maximum 3 customers in the stand) and wear a mask at all times.
BOONVILLE BARN COLLECTIVE still has strawberries! Strawberries are picked on Friday and Monday mornings. The strawberries are Renegade certified and are not sprayed with any harmful pesticides or chemicals. Flats are $35 and 1/2 flats are $20. Berries can be picked up at the Boonville Farmers Market on Fridays or picked up at the farm (on AV way) on Mondays. Email email@example.com to reserve a flat!
MASK UP FORT BRAGG
The 'Miller Report' - Part 2
From Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller:
At the same time I am writing this week’s Miller Report, I am drafting the Emergency Order reiterating the Mendocino County Health Officer’s Facial Covering Order and establishing higher penalties for violations.
City Council directed me to issue the order during the July 27, 2020 meeting. Council’s direction follows similar action by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on July 8, 2020, Point Arena on July 14, 2020, Ukiah on July 15, 2020, and Willits on July 21, 2020. The County, Willits, Ukiah, Point Arena and Fort Bragg have all established penalties of $100 to $500 for failing to comply with the masking requirement.
All individuals will be asked to put on the mask and will only be cited if they fail to comply or provide support for an exemption to the order.
I clearly remember the backlash the City (and I) received on social media in early April, when I brought forward the Administrative Penalties Urgency Ordinance to Council for possible approval.
That ordinance would have allowed the City to issue administrative fines to individuals and businesses that violated the COVID-19 pandemic health orders. A slightly modified version of it was approved by City Council on May 11, 2020. However, that was before the hotels reopened and the tourists really returned. It also happened before we had 31 confirmed cases in Fort Bragg, 274 cases in the County, and before six persons died of the virus in Mendocino County (these are the numbers on 7-27-20).
Council has little or no influence over the availability of testing or control over contact tracing here in Fort Bragg, both tools to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But the City does have a little influence over two other tools: mask-wearing and social distancing.
What Fort Bragg, Willits, Ukiah and Mendocino County are trying to do is use those tools to fight the spread of COVID-19. Medical and health experts continue to stress the importance of facial coverings in decreasing the spread of the virus, and even reluctant politicians have recently revised their comments.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who dismissed masks early on because of the shortage facing medical workers, now advocates for facial coverings.
We, the public, have increased our acceptance of masking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who surveyed 500 individuals, found in April that 61.9% left their homes wearing a facial covering. One month later, 76.4% left home wearing a mask.
The graphics that show how far droplets spread when we are wearing facial coverings versus when we are not, illustrate the point that facial coverings are effective.
According to a recent research study, an uncovered mouth and nose will allow airborne droplets to travel approximately 96 inches or six feet. A bandana made of elastic T-shirt material will cut that distance in half to about 45 inches. A folded cotton handkerchief will get that down to about 15 inches and a stitched mask of quilted cotton reduces the distance to a few inches.
When one coughs without a facial covering the droplets can travel up to 8 feet and when projecting, during singing or shouting, those can travel up to 12 feet.
One of the challenges in enforcing the Mendocino County Health Officer’s Facial Covering Order is that like the state order, there isn’t a mandate that one wear a face covering at all times once you leave your residence.
It requires individuals to wear a face-covering before entering and at all times while inside an indoor facility or any enclosed space, and outdoors when unable to maintain a six-foot distance from other persons outside of their own household or non-distancing Stable Group.
This makes it difficult to identify those who absolutely are violating the order, as unmasked individuals outside on the Coastal Trail or downtown could be with family or close friends.
Additionally, the reference in the Facial Covering Order to putting on a mask when you pass within six feet of another is only a 'recommendation.'
Many of the complaints that the County and local law enforcement agencies receive regarding violations of the Facial Covering Order are not violations – even though they may not be recommended practices.
Be patient as we educate with the carrot and hope not to need the enforcement 'stick.'
Please join Dr. Miller and me for the rescheduled Miller Report Live on August 5, 2020, via Zoom at 5:30 pm. A Spanish language version will be held on August 6, 2020, at 5:30 pm."
Re: “The Williams Problem”:
If you don’t have the data, you cannot govern. The keepers of the data are County Staff in various departments. It seems to me that all Supervisor Williams is doing, is trying to do the job we elected him to.
County CEO should not try to impede this; should rather encourage it.
Supervisors are elected to govern. They cannot do so without essential information from County Staff. Limiting their access to 1 hour per week makes a sad joke of an already not funny joke.
Supervisor Williams is merely trying to do the job we elected him to do, CEO should pave the way for him to obtain whatever information he needs to do his job to the fullest of his ability and capacity.
To be honest, other Supervisors would be earning their keep if they were to follow suit. Ask the uncomfortable questions, dig down for the hard data. It’s not that he should be doing less, it’s that the other 4 should be doing more.
Asking more pertinent questions of Staff, e.g.: does it really take over 30 hours to process a marijuana grow permit? If so, how? What is eating up the time? Does a project in the Town of Mendocino really require a 146 page Staff report? How? Why?
The County Government / bureaucracy gravitates to the same-old-same-old way of doing things. Efficiencies can be had, but not without current data. Williams’ service offers the County a way out of its bad-old-ways.
More Supervisors would better serve the interests of the entire people if they took a more active interest in actual governance. Put something on the Agenda that’s important to you and your constituents. Stop waiting for the CEO to lead.
You have to lead. As uncomfortable as it may seem.
This “Williams” rule is an insult to representative government. Folks ought to speak out about it, loudly.
TEN MILE RIVER
POT PERMIT REFORM, OR THE END OF POT PERMITS?
Board of Supervisors Meeting, 8/4/20, Item 5b: Agenda Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to Staff Regarding the Potential Re-direction of the Cannabis Cultivation Permitting Program to a Land Use Ordinance and Direction to Staff Regarding Prioritizing Phase 1 and 2 Existing Permit Holders who Require a CEQA Checklist with a Cost Recovery System Identified in Response to Board Direction Received on June 16, 2020
(Sponsor: Planning and Building Services)
Direct staff to initiate the steps needed to create a land use ordinance for commercial cannabis discretionary permits including the sunset of portions of 10A.17 and 20.242 within three years of adoption (or other determined date). Direct staff to close Phase 2 and transition Phase 1 and Phase 2 permittees and applicants to the new land use discretionary permitting process. Provide direction to staff on zoning, size and density allowances of cannabis cultivation. Direct Cannabis Program staff to prioritize responsibilities to focus on existing permit holders in Phase 1 and 2 who require an issued CEQA Checklist prior to the January 1, 2022 provisional end date with a cost recovery system identified.
Excerpts from the Intro by Planning Director Brent Schultz:
Board of Supervisor Previous Direction
On June 16, 2020, the Board of Supervisors provided direction to the Department of Planning and Building Services, to continue exploring options with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The Board’s direction was to make the current system more functional, to continue processing permits through the current system, and also to produce specifics on what a land use based permitting system would be like, as opposed to the current cultivation permit system.
Communications with California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) — Referral Process for Sensitive Species Review
Over the course of the last 2+ years, County staff has been working with CDFW to develop a policy agreement pursuant to 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 had a meeting in late July continuing discussions regarding the Draft Sensitive Species Pilot Policy (See Attachment A). County staff is currently waiting for feedback on the County’s proposed Pilot Policy documents. However, at our last meeting, CDFW staff stated they believe all Phase 1 permittees and applicants would require changes to their cultivation activities in order to achieve a less than significant impact to sensitive species. 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.
. . .
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.
Item 4f: Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Community Services, Inc. in the Amount of $186,150 to Provide Specialty Mental Health Services at Haven House or Other Redwood Community Services Supportive Housing Unit, Effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021
. . .
That the Board direct Planning and Building staff to combine some aspects of Chapters 10A.17 and 20.242 into one ordinance under Title 22 of the Mendocino County Code and return such ordinance to the Board for consideration as soon as possible. Any new ordinance shall be based on a discretionary permit approach for all future cannabis cultivation and related activities in the County. Furthermore, such ordinance should include sunset provisions for Phase 1 and Phase 2 applicants/permittees under Chapters 10A.17 and 20.242 and a process to transfer them into the new discretionary permit process under Title 22.
That the Board give direction on zoning and size allowances of Cannabis Cultivation using the Cultivation Ad Hoc’s zoning table recommendations, Attachment D, as a starting point for the discussion.
During the Transition Period, the Board directs Planning staff on prioritization regarding processing existing permit holders and active applications.
That the Board give Planning staff direction on how to complete CEQA Checklist documents for CDFA. The following are options:
Option 1: Direct staff to subcontract CEQA Checklist completion services with an established fee adopted by the Board of Supervisors and paid by the applicant. The County’s subcontractor would be responsible for preparing the full CEQA Checklist which includes the required comprehensive project description. The cost of preparation of the completed CEQA Checklist would be paid by the applicant.
Option 2: Direct PBS staff to create a process which would require the applicant to be responsible for hiring a qualified planning consultant to write a comprehensive project description and to submit it to the County to review and include in the County’s preparation of a completed CEQA Checklist. Direct staff to establish a fee to pay for the time needed to review the applicant submitted project description and the preparation of the CEQA Checklist.
Option 3: The Board of Supervisors direct staff to prepare the CEQA Checklist (including the comprehensive project description), for current County permit holders (about 275) and allocate sufficient funding to pay for 11,000+ staff hours.
EARLY MENDOCINO COAST
A SCULPTURE representing Sir Francis Drake no longer stands by the bay at Larkspur Landing, and Drake High School will soon be renamed as will, presumably, everything else related to the 16th century pirate. The city of Larkspur, in a 3am Wednesday take-down of the splendid 30-foot-tall replica, explained its removal: “The removal is in response to planned demonstrations to tear down or demolish the statue this Thursday in a way that is potentially unsafe. Removing the statue is intended to promote public safety while preserving the statue so that dialogue about its future can continue.”
WE HAD to do it to save you. I'm sorry to see it go. I've enjoyed trudging out to the thing on occasion and always thought it a welcome departure from Marin Art — seagulls and pelicans, largely. And unless I knew the sculpture was supposed to be Drake, I'd have guessed Don Quixote or a generic conquistador. Anyway, it was real art by a real artist for an artless time and, natch, it had to go.
APPLYING contemporary standards to historical figures seems a fool's game to me, and lazy too. Curious about Drake? Read up on him. No, he wasn't a Shakespeare-era Fred Rogers, but his stay in Marin, from the only account that exists — his — he was a big hit with the Indians, who helped him repair his boat. Unlike Columbus, Drake didn't murder his hosts and seemed genuinely fond of them, marveling at their strength and the beauty of their women. Knowing Marin, the Drake sculpture will probably be replaced with a decaf latte in a giant pink cup.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING, the Frontline documentary on Info Wars and its lunatic star, Alex Jones. More alarming yet are his millions of followers, including Trump.
Jones comes off as clinically hysterical, but he's no dummy, having parlayed totally unfounded grand conspiracies, underlain by his opinion that America is governed by Satan-worshipping pedophiles, with Hillary Clinton as master puppeteer, into a multi-million dollar fortune marketing camo gear and "male enhancement" pills. 9-11, Jones says, was an inside job because government is an inside job via which the pedos are trying to take over. (You have to wonder at people obsessed with the sexual violation of children, as we saw locally in the Fort Bragg Satanist hysteria of the early 1980s.)
WHEN I first saw Jones on Youtube, I thought he was a comedian, but as one of the talking heads in the film points out, used to be that people talking crazy were isolated, that every town had a couple of them but they were avoidable and without influence. (Mendo seems to have a nut surplus, beginning with the anti-vaxxers on through any number of crackpot therapies and unsupported world views. Our loons are mostly liberals, more or less, but I know that Jones appeals especially to young men, a number of them right here in the Anderson Valley.) But with the internet, the Info Wars lunatics are in the millions and on the march. Basically fascists, the loons are in touch via people like Jones and now constitute a movement with Trump, a Jones ally, at the head of it. But even Jones was forced to admit that his adamantly evil insistence that the Sandy Hook child-slaughter was not only wrong but had been caused by what he described as one of his periodic psychotic breaks. Not that his confessions, forced out of him by the courts, seemed to shake his dumbkopf legions.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY has its own little government in what is called the Community Services District. Locals are elected to its board of directors to oversee a fire department, the Boonville air strip, the ambulance, a tiny recreation program, and a few light standards. There is seldom controversy, but there's a little one brewing because of a planned water and sewer project which, when it goes to a vote of the affected property owners, will be rejected largely, I would suppose, on the grounds that property owners already feel burdened by bad government. The sewer plan is stymied by no available site for its processing plant and de-perfuming, and the water plan is probably doomed as the entire American economy implodes, and clean water for Boonville is not likely going to be any kind of government priority in the foreseeable future as Boonvlle disappears among larger, much more urgent state and national priorities.
THE LATEST GOVERNMENT stats report that the economy shrank at a frightening 33% annual rate in the April-June quarter - by far the worst quarterly plunge ever as coronavirus has shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment soaring. I get the impression that my fellow citizens generally don't get how serious the entire Trumpian nexus is. He didn't bring on the plague but he's made it worse, and he's also exacerbated existing divisions in our student body to the point where civil war doesn't seem like dark fantasy anymore. Fascist movements like the Proud Boys are growing, gun and ammo sales are way, way up, and I see speculative articles here and there wondering how loyal the armed services will be in the crunch.
AND EVERY DAY Trump adds to the tension. Just this morning he suggested delaying the November election until "people can properly, securely and safely vote," as if he cares about anything other than holding on to power. Trump tied his suggestion to delay the election to his complaints about mail-in voting, which he has repeatedly complained will lead to vote fraud. But only Congress can delay elections, and there's an abundance of studies showing very little voter fraud in the United States via mail-in voting.
POETRY AND EMPATHY
by Roberta Werdinger
As Poet Laureate for Ukiah, a position I took up in 2018, I sometimes attended public or semi-private occasions, to read or talk about my own or others’ poetry. I noted with satisfaction how quickly poetry could make a bond between a roomful of people, some of whom had barely known each other before stepping over the threshold.
Since early spring, though, we haven’t been stepping over that many thresholds — except for Zoom Rooms, that is. The need to gather is essential to people’s well-being — and yet, just when we seem to need human connection the most, we are asked to remain at home. The tragic, recent death of George Floyd has also unearthed divisions in our society, reopening new wounds that won’t be healed until we see where the wound is.
We live in perilous times that call for commemoration, questioning, longing, and mourning. Although poetry can end up being shared in the most public of places, even at presidential inaugurations, it all starts out with someone laboring with a paper and a pen, or over a computer, in a quiet room. Poets are some of the original ones to “shelter in place.”
Thus my idea to share, in this occasional column, some thoughts about what poetry can do for us now. Although some public spaces have reopened, we remain in a liminal space, uncertain whether to move backwards or forwards. Students of all ages remain in limbo. Workers don’t know when, and if, they will be rehired. Many seem uncertain whether to continue social distancing, and what the rules — spoken and unspoken — are when gatherings occur.
Although many theories have arisen to explain the strangeness of recent occurrences, it is possible to remain in a state of not-knowing — to acknowledge that we don’t know when things will go back to normal, if we or a loved one will get ill, or what the new normal will be when everyday activities resume. We walk the dark.
Poetry is tailor-made for these times.
The mixed-race Jean Toomer (1894-1967) grew up mostly in Washington, D.C. Having lived in both Black and white neighborhoods and absorbed both influences, he liked to call himself an American. Like most highly creative people — or maybe just like most people — he was a living contradiction: his creative opus “Cane” was eagerly embraced by the Black community and seen as one of the keystone texts of the Harlem Renaissance; and yet after finishing the work, in 1923, Toomer abjured all issues of race and became a mystic and a practicing Quaker.
Regardless of how he is regarded or how he regarded others, “Cane” is clearly a masterpiece of American literature. The highly innovative work incorporates poetry and prose to tell stories of Black people both in the rural South and the urban North.
The writing is impressionistic, incorporating poetic images in the prose that make this almost century-old work startlingly modern. And yet each image is written not for clever effect but to hold and highlight each character’s special story. It is the author’s eye that renders the person special, for otherwise they are the forgotten people — the poor, the single mothers, the farmworkers in the fields.
like streams of stars,
quivered by the ripples blown by pain,
Her eyes —
mist of tears
condensing on the flesh below
And her channeled muscles
are cluster grapes of sorrow
purple in the evening sun
nearly ripe for worms.
Employing stripped-down language — we don’t even know the subject’s gender until halfway through the poem — Toomer quickly sketches a portrait of someone whose burdened life clearly shows in her face. “Look,” Toomer seems to be saying; “look at what this woman has endured, before you go on your way.” Poetry is made up of these moments, which can be lyrical and sorrowful all at once.
The injunction in poetry is always to stop in order to see something that has not been seen before. Given that injunction, the title, with its one simple word, could be read as a verb as well as a noun.
What is it that we won’t face? Once we have seen it, what would we or could we do differently? What keeps us from seeing the other in our full humanity? These are the topics I will consider in this column, and more. There is no one simple answer — we are too large and diverse a place for that. Yet in the beginning of turning to face one another, perhaps some more naming could occur. And naming is the first step toward healing.
To further the conversation, you are invited to contact me at RWerdinger@Pacific.net.
FAIR PLAY FOR SPRINKLE
Dear AVA editor,
My name is Donald Edward Dellett. Since March of 2013 I have been an inmate at Chino state prison. Since June of that year I have been in prison for a crime against an individual and society as a whole. I pled no contest then came to prison as a confused and psychologically damaged man who hurt the most those I claimed to love.
Guilty and lost within myself with no sense of self-worth or self-knowledge, I met men here at Chino who helped me through my cognitive tempest. These good men saw a broken man despite the crimes committed, a fellow broken human being hurting and alone. One of these good men was Mark Sprinkle, the topic of the July 8, 2020 Off the Record column in the AVA.
I am moved to write in support of Mark as a person I've lived beside for over five years. I knew him first as a positive influence in our dorm of over 140 men in search of my own recovery, insight and meaning of life. I signed up for a peer-to-peer program sponsored by Chino prison. I was told of this program that fellow inmates who were trained and certified by the National Alliance on Mental Illness out of Chino taught by Dr. Kondo, to counsel and mentor other inmates seeking understanding into their own life's crimes and all levels of victim impact.
In this one-on-one group program I was assigned to Mark as his Mentee. This was a confident program where not only does the mentor confront the mentee in cognitive distortions and life crime denials, but is there for emotional and psychological support in recovery. Mark was among the few included in the training by Dr. Kondo, currently head of the crisis beds at Chino.
In my time with him I learned of Mark that he had successfully completed training in both the Criminal Gang Anonymous program and the Alternatives to Violence P. With these, Mark help me through many ethical and troubling distortions of thinking and behaviors of my past. He has supported all his mentees with advocacy and encouragement into the other recovery programs that would have otherwise been missed. I have come to know him as a knowledgeable, compassionate, accepting and insightful person.
The article written by Mr. Anderson was in response to the denial of Mark’s petition to the court to consider unfairness of sentencing. Mark was first offered 3-5 years for his crimes in 1996. However, in his decision to battle for his freedom he took his case to trial. Mark was ultimately sentenced to 16 years to life times two. Quite an unfair dissimilarity in sentencing, wouldn't you say? From 3-5 years to life times two? If this was because of the heinousness of the crime it would be understandable. But the initial offer by the District Attorney of 3-5 years suggested the opposite! Mr. Anderson's article speaks more on this injustice of sentencing. I only want to share with you the man I know today. Mark not only helped me when I was down but showed me the love and compassion of God.
I am near the end of my 11 year sentence. I will be given a final chance to make something positive of my life. Something, I admit, I failed to do many times before. Because of much effort on my part and the support of people like Mark I have finally come far from that broken and psychologically damaged man who was lost within himself, not seeing a way out.
This time I have let go of those old lies, those old cognitive distortions I believed in my past. With help from good and honest people like Mark, I have faced them and let them go and developed positive social skills and coping mechanisms. I know I will face many challenges -- jobs, housing, registration, treatment programs, and building a social support team in my new life. I have one sister and my Sexual Additions Anonymous sponsor. bBut I will need others to assist in my success. Mark has been a critical member of my pro-social support team here at Chino. I know I am not the first to say this, but Mark deserves his chance to do the same for himself as I have. He has served 24 years. 24! On what would have been a 3-5 year sentence if he had not chosen to be an advocate for his own freedom. He has not been stationary in this 24 year period in prison but has been working hard on his own recovery while graciously assisting others including myself in theirs.
It is well past time that he be given the help, support and acceptance he has given and shown to so many others. I am no legal eagle and I don't know what can be done for Mark. However I want to put a face to who he has become and share my mentor, my friend, with you all.
Thank you for your time.
Donald Edward Dellett AS-9872
Chino Institute for Men (CIM) B-2-236-L.
P.O. Box 441
Chino CA 91708
PEPPER SPRAY WRIGHT
On Monday, July 27, 2020 at around 4:34 PM, Mendocino County Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to an in-progress physical fight occurring behind a business in the 17000 block of North Highway 1 in Fort Bragg.
While Deputies were responding, they were advised that the involved parties had stopped fighting, one of them had been pepper sprayed and was leaving the area.
Deputies arrived and contacted a 30 year-old male who is an employee of the business. Deputies learned Jeffrey Thomas Wright, 62, of Fort Bragg, had been causing a disturbance at the business and he accosted the adult male as he moving trucks.
The adult male yelled for Wright to leave him alone and Wright continued to scream at him. Wright got onto his bicycle and started to leave when he then pulled out a canister of pepper spray and began spraying the exterior of the adult male's work truck.
Wright moved to the driver's door and pulled it open and sprayed pepper spray at the interior of the vehicle and the adult male's face. The adult male was able to take away the pepper spray canister from Wright and sprayed Wright with it.
A Fort Bragg Police Sergeant arrived and began checking the area for Wright. The Sergeant located Wright in the back yard of a residence in the 32000 block of Boice Lane.
Deputies arrived and Wright was arrested without incident for Unlawful Use of Tear Gas Weapon. Wright was provided first aid for the pepper spray exposure and subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars and Wright was released after the jail booking process.
Please visit the following link to hear Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall provide a Public Safety Message on the current COVID-19 emergency order related to zero bail:
ANOTHER NARCAN SAVE
On Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at approximately 10:07 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were advised by Sheriff's Office Dispatch that a person was in respiratory arrest and possibly suffering from an overdose at a residence in the 16000 block of Boice Lane in Fort Bragg.
Deputies arrived within five minutes to find a 34 year-old male in a comatose state with shallow and sporadic breathing. Deputies observed items suggesting the adult male was, in fact, suffering from an illicit drug overdose.
Deputies administered two dosage units of NARCAN, which after approximately five minutes, caused the adult male to regain consciousness and become alert.
The adult male was transported via ambulance to the hospital for further evaluation/treatment.
In April 2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) began to issue NARCAN® (Naloxone HCI) nasal spray dosage units to its employees as part of their assigned personal protective equipment. MCSO's goal is in protecting the public and officers from opioid overdoses. Access to naloxone is now considered vital in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control. The California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard reports Mendocino County ranking, per capita, 3rd in all opioid overdose deaths.
Narcan nasal spray units are widely known to reverse opioid overdose situations in adults and children. Each nasal spray device contains a four milligram dose, according to the manufacturer. Naloxone
Hydrochloride, more commonly known by the brand name NARCAN®, blocks the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose (both medications and narcotics) including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.
The antidote can reverse the effects of an overdose for up to an hour, but anyone who administers the overdose reversal medication in a non-medical setting is advised to seek emergency medical help right away. The spray units can also be used by Public Safety Professionals who are unknowingly or accidentally exposed to potentially fatal amounts of fentanyl from skin absorption or inhalation.
The issuance of the Narcan nasal units, thus far, have been to employees assigned to the Field Services Division and the Mendocino County Jail medical staff. Employees are required to attend user training prior to being issued the medication.
Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall would like to thank the Mendocino County HHSA Public Health for providing the Narcan nasal units to the Sheriff's Office free of charge as part of the Free Narcan Grant from the California Department of Public Health.
Since the April 2019 issuance, there have been five separate situations wherein Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Deputies have administered Narcan and saved the lives of five people in need of the life saving antidote medication.
CATCH & RELEASE
On Wednesday, July 29, at approximately 1:31 pm, an officer in training riding with his Field Training Officer (FTO) were conducting a routine patrol in the area of East Perkins St. and North Orchard Ave.
The FTO recognized a male subject, who he knew from prior law enforcement contacts as Abel Aguado, age 25, riding his bicycle on the sidewalk. Additionally, the FTO knew Aguado to be on active felony probation out of Mendocino County for vandalism.
The FTO instructed his trainee to initiate a traffic stop for a traffic violation in the 100 block of North Orchard Avenue. Aguado immediately disobeyed lawful commands to stop and lead UPD officers on a bicycle pursuit through the Pear Tree Shopping Center and the surrounding area going in locations were patrol vehicles could not pursue.
The FTO provided crucial information regarding Aguado’s direction of travel to responding units. After an approximately four-minute bicycle pursuit, UPD officers along with assistance from the general public were able to detain Aguado and he was subsequently placed under arrest. UPD officers searched Aguado and located a glass pipe that is commonly used for smoking methamphetamine.
Aguado was transported to jail where he was booked and lodged for the above violations. While at jail, UPD officers learned that Aguado had a felony warrant for his arrest for a failure to appear in court issued earlier this month. Aguado’s bail was set to $0 due to COVID19 and was later cited and released.
The Ukiah Police Department would like to remind the great citizens of Ukiah that during the current COVID-19 pandemic we are still out in the city enforcing the law and keeping the public safe. As always, our mission at the Ukiah Police Department is to make Ukiah as safe as possible.
The Ukiah Police Department is extremely grateful for the support from the community and we are all in this together. Additionally, the Ukiah Police Department would like to thank the general public for their assistance with this incident.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 30, 2020
ABEL AGUADO, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
JOHN DOYLE, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
LILLIAN EVIND, Redwood Valley. Robbery.
JOHN HILL, Mendocino, Stolen vehicle, probation revocation.
RACHEL MOLINET, New Braunfels, Texas/Willits. DUI.
JOHN VANNOTE, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, vandalism, killing, maiming or abusing animals, tampering with vehicle, probation revocation.
CHESA BOUDIN: NEW KID IN THE DA’S OFFICE IN SAN FRANCISCO
by Jonah Raskin
Only time will tell whether Chesa Boudin, the current San Francisco DA, walks in the footsteps of S.F. DA Terence Hallinan, whose life and times Fred Gardner has so ably chronicled. But after six months in office—he took over in January 2020—Boudin is off to a good start. Hallinan, who died on January 17, 2020, would probably approve of him.
After all, Boudin is aiming to reform what’s called the “criminal justice system” but that might better be termed the “criminal injustice system. Boudin has eliminated the system of “cash bail,” which favored those with money and penalized those who didn’t have it, and led to jails full of poor people and rarely if ever a wealthy person. Fred Gardner knows about that reality as well as anyone else around these days.
Like Terence Hallinan, Chesa Boudin comes from a storied American lefty family. His grandfather, Leonard, belonged more or less to the same generation as Vincent Hallinan. Leonard argued frequently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Unlike Vincent, Leonard never entered political life. Chesa’s parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, belonged to a series of left wing groups that devolved from coherence to crime.
They both took part in a botched attempt in New York State to rob a Brink's armored vehicle that led to fatalities. Kathy Boudin served a long prison term and now teaches at Columbia University in New York. David Gilbert is still in prison, and after 40 years behind bars and several books to his name, isn’t clamoring for his release. Chesa visits his father frequently. San Francisco cops tried to smear him with the criminal record of his parents and argued that he would bring chaos to the city. Voters didn’t buy that line, though the police spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince them.
At a recent virtual town hall meeting, Chesa insisted that he “respected the courage” of SF cops, but that he didn’t like "dishonest and lazy" law enforcement officers, and that while he was “pro-labor” he was against police unions because they are “part of the problem.” He added that he would not accept donations from any police union and that he would do his best to see to it that cops who had records of misconduct would not be rehired.
Boudin noted that on the whole crime had decreased dramatically (50%) in San Francisco over the past three-and-a-half months, though he didn’t take credit for the stats. Covid-19 and the shut down of businesses in the city had led to a decline in crimes against property, he said. He added that the theft of automobiles – always a big SF issue—had increased by 28%.
Perhaps the most dramatic stat that he offered was that 75% of the people in jail in the city were mentally ill, addicted to drugs or both. “I’m not a drug warrior,” Boudin said. “We can't arrest our way out of drug addiction.” But he also noted that 24% of the felony cases his office handled derived from cases that involved the sale of drugs. There was, he explained, a steady rise of overdose-deaths from Fentanyl in the city.
What would his office do if the federal government sent troops to San Francisco? Boudin was asked. “We don’t need, or want and won’t tolerate the kind of behavior seen in Portland,” he insisted. “If Trump sends troops we’ll protect First Amendment rights.”
Terence Hallinan would be of the same mind. So would Vincent Hallinan and Chesa’s grandfather, Leonard, who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that it was unconstitutional to require the post office to “detain and deliver…foreign mailings of communist political propaganda” only if and when the addressee consented to receive the material. One law journal called it “the Freedom of the Mails” case.
Boudin said that he had participated in peaceful protests after the murder of George Floyd, and that while his office prosecuted cases involving violence and commercial burglary, it did not prosecute cases involving civil disobedience. Given today’s political climate, it’s not difficult to imagine that one day San Francisco’s young, energetic and idealistic DA will find himself in jail along with dozens if not hundreds of other protestors.
BERNIE DELEGATES REVOLT AGAINST DNC
The DNC Rules Committee just overwhelmingly rejected a measure to ban corporate PAC money in the party and bar corporate lobbyists from sitting on the DNC.
Earlier this week, the DNC Platform Committee also overwhelmingly rejected Medicare for all and marijuana legalization, prompting Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors to stand up at the hearing and say, "The Democratic Party of today will be remembered as the party of complicity."
Bernie's national delegates are not having it. More than 700 out of Bernie's 1,073 delegates are refusing to vote for the platform unless it includes Medicare for all. They are also fighting to permanently eliminate superdelegates. The party is responding by threatening to bring superdelegates back on the first round of voting at the convention in 2024 unless Bernie delegates surrender their rules demands.
Perhaps worst of all, the Bernie campaign is telling Bernie delegates to give in to the party's rules demands and accept a deal it struck with the Biden campaign for a one-cycle temporary extension of superdelegates on the second ballot. It is impossible to express just how far this conversation is from the lived reality of millions of people losing their health insurance, facing eviction, and standing in breadlines miles-long in the middle of a pandemic.
Child hunger is at record levels while billionaire wealth has exploded and the DNC is voting to stuff their party with more corporate money and lobbyists. It's immoral. It's disgraceful. And it must be the end of this corporate party.
Join the National Call at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT tonight to recap on our Rally for a People's Stimulus actions. From July 11 to July 25, we took more than 50 actions across the country, going to the homes of members of Congress and holding car caravans through cities to demand that the final coronavirus bailout be a People's Stimulus.
Tonight we will focus on turning our momentum from the actions into state and local hubs. We will also give a preview of the digital People's Convention on August 30.
In heart and struggle,
Movement for a People's Party
THE US IS MORE STRATIFIED economically than ever since the Age of the Robber Barons, and that’s well before the pandemic. We have 4% of the world’s population but something like a quarter of the world’s prisoners, most of them people of color, even though the country overall has a white majority. We’re experiencing an out-of-control pandemic with health care systems collapsing under the strain from New York to Louisiana, which is also overwhelmingly impacting people of color. As this is all happening, a veto-proof super-majority made up of both ruling parties has just passed an even bigger military budget than the record military budget of last year, nearly as big as the rest of the world’s military budgets put together. They could agree on that, but whether they can agree on a strategy to prevent the 28 million evictions all the business press is predicting will be coming in the next two or three months is an open question. And most of the country’s cities are too busy spending close to half of a typical budget on their police force, while increasing numbers of their populations move into their cars and tents.
— David Rovics
GROWING POT IN HUMCO: "I crossed my fingers last year and grew with my county permit and no state license. I hired AgDynamix to help with the permitting process. They dropped the ball and my state provisional expired in April. After a last minute scramble for me to study and get the remaining application paperwork submitted, it took the state 4.5 months to process it and reinstate my provisional license mid September. I have a small permit and a very tidy property with no environmental damage, so I felt like a very small target and went for it. Now I’m back on track with county, state, and CDFW. The whole process is a FUCKING SHIT SHOW! With all the red tape, I have to pay over $8,000 to replace a $300 rusty culvert on my driveway and replace a newer and functional culvert, without a road over it, and “upgrade from 12″ to 18”. Feels a bit like extortion. The only reason I’m still in the game is because I’m stubborn, found a clean qualified property, and had a few family members to take a loan from. A few years back Estelle or John Ford (Humco Supervisors) were at those public meetings telling everyone to sign up and get permitted. “It’s not that hard… you can fill it all out yourself.”
CARRY SOME EGGS FOR THE NEXT TESLA YOU SEE
’We Will Coup Whoever We Want’: Elon Musk and the Overthrow of Democracy in Bolivia
by Vijay Prashad & Alejandro Bejarano
On July 24, 2020, Tesla’s Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that a second U.S. “government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people.” Someone responded to Musk soon after, “You know what wasn’t in the best interest of people? The U.S. government organizing a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so you could obtain the lithium there.” Musk then wrote: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”
Musk refers here to the coup against President Evo Morales Ayma, who was removed illegally from his office in November 2019. Morales had just won an election for a term that was to have begun in January 2020. Even if there was a challenge against that election, Morales’ term should rightfully have continued through November and December of 2019. Instead, the Bolivian military, at the behest of Bolivia’s far right and the United States government, threatened Morales; Morales went into exile in Mexico and is now in Argentina.
At that time, the “evidence” of fraud was offered by the far right and by a “preliminary report” by the Organization of American States; only after Morales was removed from office was there grudging acknowledgment by the liberal media that there was in fact no evidence of fraud. It was too late for Bolivia, which has been condemned to a dangerous government that has suspended democracy in the country.
OUR VULGAR PERCEPTION is not concerned with anything other than vulgar phenomena.
— Samuel Beckett
THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE of Bari Weiss’s resignation from the New York Times
Change is in the air and the Israel lobby can no longer stamp it out by using its gatekeepers to censor and malign opposing voices.
WRITERS' CONFERENCE ONLINE READINGS, MERCH, AND MORE
This year's pivot to online opened the door for better inclusion and accessibility within MCWC. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, our 2020 conference will be host to more scholarship recipients than ever before. This tremendous support combined with the online programming has significantly shifted the demographics of the conference.
The MCWC board has gone to great lengths to create a conference experience that will be welcoming, enjoyable, and safe for all participants, with a new Code of Conduct in place that highlights MCWC’s commitment to social justice. We are particularly grateful to our 2019 faculty, especially Myriam Gurba, for their insights and reflection on the MCWC experience, which led to the creation of our Code of Conduct.
This month, I spoke to Executive Director Lisa Locascio to get a better idea of what made these big changes possible, and to hear what she’s most excited about at this year’s extraordinary conference. What do you believe made the amount of diversity at this year’s conference possible?
Since joining MCWC as as Executive Director in 2018, my priority has been to make the conference more diverse, prestigious, and accessible. We saw some of the fruits of that strategy with our 2019 conference, which brought many new writers into our community. In 2020, we had a number of intersecting circumstances that coalesced to make the conference more diverse than ever before. Keep reading.
Norma Watkinsm Exec. Dir. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mendocino Coast Writers' Conference
P. O. Box 2087
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Letter to the Editor:
Friends and flamers, let me give you a bone to chew on, a chicken bone perhaps. Oh my! Swallow hard!
A black gentleman named Christopher O’Neal authored a book titled "Thank God for slavery/domesticating my ancestors."
In his book Mr. O'Neal stated if the black race had not been forced into slavery, relocating here in this country, they could very well be standing on their shores looking west.
You don't like these "tidbits" of fact? Don't buy the book!
Reality is sometimes very hard to swallow. Take another slug of that cheap wine. Do a line or two or three. It's not going to solve your ongoing problems but you won't give a “burl.” Just another perfect day here in Lala land. Take a nap! A long nap, I'll wake you.
On the other hand if you don't get accidentally choked or shot by the police you may live long enough for you and the other wobblies to poke that righteous stick into another ethnic hornets nest. What? Who? You say. Look in the mirror. It be? Open your eyes! Wider!
God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick.
Getting older and angrier
MENDOCINO COAST UNVEILS NEW CHAPTER IN COMMUNITY CARE
Fort Bragg’s Mendocino Coast District Hospital is now officially Adventist Health Mendocino Coast. The lease agreement was activated earlier this month, signaling the start of a 30-year partnership to increase access and deliver high-quality health care on the coast.
“This transition begins a new chapter in healthcare,” said Judy Leach, hospital executive. “We are grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received from our community. There has definitely been an increase in utilization of health and wellness care through our clinics, emergency department and other hospital services in recent months, signaling a bright future for the wellbeing of this community.”
With 90 percent voter approval from Mendocino Coast residents in March, the journey began, inviting Adventist Health to the community. The healthcare system has been managing the 25-bed hospital and its services since May while lease provisions were finalized.
“We’re thrilled to have Mendocino Coast join our family,” said Scott Reiner, CEO of Adventist Health, which is based in Roseville. “It’s a beautiful region of our country and a wonderful community, and we’re honored that you chose us as your partners in healthcare.”
Through this relationship, community members are able to keep their care close to home while gaining the expertise and resources of a large healthcare system, says Jason Wells, president of Adventist Health Mendocino County which also includes Adventist Health Howard Memorial and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. “I’m excited to continue to learn and grow together as we share the best ways to care for our community and coordinate that care to the benefit of all.”
Nearly 300 local employees now wear Adventist Health name badges as they join a family of 23 hospitals, comprised of more than 35,000 employees in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
Anita West, a registered nurse and emergency room manager who has served at the Mendocino Coast hospital for 25 years, spoke highly of Adventist Health’s focus on health care excellence.
“Having lived in this community most of my life, the most important thing is to provide excellent care to our community, which are my friends and my family. Adventist Health supports that.”
Physicians also are grateful for the system’s support, said Dr. William Miller, the hospital’s chief of medical staff. “We’re faced with a significant national challenge with this pandemic, and already we’ve seen many of the benefits of this affiliation. In the past several months, we’ve received a number of shipments of personal protective equipment from Adventist Health, even before we were affiliated with them.”
Miller also sees other benefits for the community, including the long-term survivability of the hospital, additional specialties and leadership expertise. “One of the reasons that I have supported this affiliation from the very beginning is the advantage of having three hospitals in this county under one umbrella. It’s going to produce an important network of care for our patients.”
In addition to the three hospitals, Adventist Health’s services in Mendocino County include 26 outpatient medical offices, a new family medicine residency program, oncology care, joint replacement surgery and many additional specialty care services. The combined Mendocino County team includes more than 1,300 associates and 400 physicians and providers.
More information is available at AdventistHealth.org/Mendocino-Coast.
WITH KLAMATH DAM REMOVAL Plan Going Sideways, Gov. Newsom Pleads With Warren Buffett to Salvage Deal
by Ryan Burns
In an impassioned letter sent Wednesday, Newsom said the dams have devastated salmon runs, sickened the river and caused suffering among Native American tribes in the Klamath basin. “The Klamath River dam removal project is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we act according to our values,” his letter reads.
The four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath are owned by Oregon-based utility company PacifiCorp, which is a subsidiary of Buffett’s multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. Like many energy companies in the United States, PacifiCorp wants to divest itself from the expense and liability of managing aging dams.
In 2016, the company and other stakeholders entered into an agreement to transfer ownership to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), a nonprofit set up explicitly to take over the federal license and oversee the dams’ removal. The $450 million endeavor would constitute the largest river restoration project in American history. As the Sacramento Bee reported, “PacifiCorp customers in Oregon and Northern California have contributed $200 million to the project, through surcharges on their bills, while the state of California pledged $250 million in funds from Proposition 1, a voter-approved 2014 water bond.”
On July 16, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delivered a curveball, agreeing only to only a partial license transfer. In its ruling, the commission reasoned that KRRC “has limited finances and no experience with hydropower dam operation or dam removal [while] PacifiCorp has additional resources as well as experience.
“Accordingly,” the ruling continued, “we believe that the public interest requires that PacifiCorp remain a co-licensee, and we condition our approval of the transfer upon it doing so.”
The array of environmental, tribal and fisheries entities that have been fighting for dam removal reacted to the ruling with cautious optimism. Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery, for example, said, “We can work with this.” And S. Craig Tucker, a natural resources consultant with the Karuk Tribe, said, “FERC just showed us the path to dam removal.”
PacifiCorp’s reaction was more muted. It released a statement following the FERC ruling saying the company would “fully examine the order and will consult with our settlement partners to assess its impact on continued implementation of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement [KHSA].”
A week ago, PacifiCorp’s chief legal officer sent a letter notifying fellow signatories to that agreement that it plans to take advantage of section 8.11, which is the agreement’s “termination” clause.
Speaking to the Outpost today, PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely said this doesn’t necessarily mean that the deal is null and void.
“We’re committed to finding a way to fix the agreement,” he said. But he acknowledged that FERC’s refusal to transfer the license cleanly threw a wrench in the works. “The protections for PacifiCorp’s electricity customers were based on the license transferring to a third party,” Gravely said.
He described the company’s invocation of the termination clause not as an attempt to get out of the agreement but rather as “triggering the ‘meet and confer’ provisions.”
Tucker, the Karuk consultant and a key negotiator in the agreement, is frustrated by this turn of events. “We can’t just keep talking,” he said. “We actually have to get to dam removal. This has been going on for years. We worked with PacifiCorp to get legislation and California water bond money to make this possible. It’s time that we removed the dams.”
Newsom’s letter, addressed to Buffett and other executives from Berkshire Hathaway and Pacific Power, makes the same argument.
“PacifiCorp and its ratepayers will benefit from this publicly funded dam removal when compared with a lengthy and costly process to relicense these outmoded dams under complex federal regulations,” it states.
In an apparent reference to the ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd and corporate responses to that movement, Newsom’s letter describes dam removal as a matter of social justice:
Your personal leadership on behalf of this remarkable environmental and cultural restoration is essential at a moment when other investor-owned corporations are standing up to redress historical inequities.
If we are serious about addressing the needs of the historically dispossessed, it is up to us to listen, respond and make meaningful sacrifices to create a more equitable California. Tribal communities have been advocating for these changes for decades. Now, we must take this opportunity to respond by expediting the process to remove these dams.
Earlier today, PacifiCorp President and CEO Sefan A. Bird sent a response letter to Gov. Newsom. (It’s unclear whether the letter ever reached Buffett.) The statement says the company is committed to solving cultural and community impacts but stops short of committing to dam removal:
While FERC’s ruling contemplates a path forward for dam removal, it does so at the expense of the amended KHSA’s customer protection framework. And while much progress has been made to date, FERC’s order and the negotiated amended KHSA cannot be easily reconciled.
The target date for dam removal has been 2022. But with PacifiCorp balking at FERC’s demand that it remain a co-licensee, that prospect now seems unlikely, and the two sides appear to be at an impasse.