MCT: Monday, August 10, 2020

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HOT AND DRY conditions will persist over the interior today followed by a slight moderating trend during the middle of the week. Meanwhile, mild conditions along the coast may be interrupted by a southerly surge of stratus this afternoon. Elsewhere, a slight chance of thunderstorms will exist over northeast Mendocino and eastern Trinity counties this afternoon and evening. (NWS)

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19 MORE COVID CASES SUNDAY

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DARLENE POE

Entered into rest on August 4th 2020.

Darlene Poe was born on April 28th 1935 to her beloved parents David Poe and Jennie Poe. Darlene is the loving sister of surviving siblings Merle Cruz, Elvin Poe Sr and Clarence Poe. Preceding her in death are her siblings Ernestine Ibarra, Harold Poe, Wesley Poe, Darrell Poe and David Poe. Darlene’s surviving daughters are Sheryl Zavala, Marilyn Pinola, Karen Pinola, Glenda Pinola, Jaylene Pinola, Maureen Pinola, Adrene Pinola, Marla Pinola, Yolanda Armas and Amanda Garcia. Before entering into rest Darlene lived to see five generations with numerous great and great-great grandchildren and nieces and nephews. 

Darlene was a tribal member of Manchester/Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians and also a member of New Life United Pentecostal church. Darlene was known for her kindness, strong faith, being soft spoken, quietness and gentleness. She welcomed everyone she came across with love and care, always quick to help those who found themselves alone, broken hearted or without. All her life she was a homemaker who enjoyed gardening, going to bingo and gathering for holidays with family. She was a great listener who while listening often would hold her families hands with her soft gentle hands. She will be missed greatly by so many. 

A private viewing for intermediate family only will be held Friday 8/7/20 from 4pm-8pm. All friends of the family are welcome to join Monday 8/10/20 at the Russian River Cemetery located in Ukiah at 2pm where a burial service will be officiated by Pastor David Moore.

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HUFF’S CONFLICTED REVERSAL

by Malcolm Macdonald

On Sunday, August 9, this publication ran a quote from John Huff, until recently a member of the Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District (MCRPD). Huff's statement began, "Recently I made a rash decision to resign from the Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District Board of Directors due to the direction of ‘inaction’ a majority of the board was taking. After my resignation letter went public I received an unexpected outpouring of support from the community.”

He goes on to cite messages from Supervisor John McCowen, former MCRPD board chair Bill Hayes, and community member Keith Stiver as reasons for changing his mind. Mr. Huff goes on, “I have decided to run for a position on the MCRPD board again on the November 3rd 2020 election on two main fronts.”

Huff claims that some members of the current MCRPD board “just want to sell off the property.” Seemingly, this refers to the land off Highway 20, not too far east of Fort Bragg. Huff states, “I will work with the community, recreation user groups, walkers, hikers, runners, equestrians, school groups, and yes…..OHV riders, and regulatory agencies to make sure that we ALL have [a] place that will benefit the community foremost and bring revenue to the community and MCRPD.”

Secondly, Huff references the current Covid-19 pandemic. “[T]hat doesn’t mean we all have to sit in our houses doing nothing. Especially our kids. Its past time MCRPD got off the fence and started providing recreation opportunities for the residents of the district, the tax payers. ALL the residents, from Gualala to Westport. In the words or Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway, it’s time to 'Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.' MCRPD has a stellar recreation programming staff that need to be allowed to 'Improvise' new classes and programs, 'Adapt' existing programs to facilitate smaller group sizes, social distancing, stable groups, and 'Overcome' the barriers that COVID-19 has placed before us.”

In case you missed the 1980s, the Gunnery Sergeant comment refers to Clint Eastwood's film Heartbreak Ridge. Clint produced, directed, and starred as the gunnery sergeant. Being a fan of Eastwood film-making doesn't necessarily pigeonhole someone, due to the broad range of interpretation available in his better efforts, but choosing this particular character to quote in a public statement may lend a clue.

Now, we have to climb down off that movie screen and dig into MCRPD meeting minutes in order to get a glimpse at what is going on behind the Huff resignation and turnaround to run for the same office in November. Minutes are about all we have to go by in these covid times of Zoom and teleconferenced “public” meetings of duly elected local boards. 

June 17, 2020 MCRPD minutes: The board received a report of a meeting two days before with the State Parks Department. Part of that report states that State Parks believes MCRPD “had inappropriate conduct with the relationship between MCRPD and CRA [California Recreation Alliance]. They [State Parks] will not accept grant matches from CRA.”

Those June 17 minutes also note MCRPD Board member Barbara Burkey, of Point Arena, stating that the problem is bigger than the relationship with CRA. She cites Katherine Tobias of State Parks asking that the board members involved in the bidding process step down from MCRPD's board. The minutes conclude this with, “The appearance of impropriety is unacceptable.”

Why is there an appearance of impropriety? 

As of 2018, CRA has an agreement with MCRPD to use the Highway 20 land for Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) classes and training. Sarah Bradley Huff appears to be the executive director of the California Recreation Alliance. Her husband is John Huff. Apparently, Sarah Huff is also a grant writer for MCRPD. 

There are minutes for a February, 21, 2018 MCRPD meeting that highlight an action item authorizing a State of California OHV Planning Grant application. Ms. Bradley Huff presented information about this grant. The record does not reflect any recusal on the part of John Huff. The minutes also reflect that the grant application was approved unanimously by the MCRPD Board.

So, yes, Mrs. Potter, there is reason to wonder about what is going on at MCRPD. That's a second Counting Crows song reference for those playing along with the home version. Further investigation into possible inappropriate conduct, as State Parks put it, certainly seems warranted. 

Reportedly, Sarah Bradley Huff also serves as a contracted grant writer for the Noyo Harbor District. As legal representative for both districts, perhaps attorney Jim Jackson can shed some light on the matter.

* Hey, Mrs. Potter, you can count crows at malcolmmacdonaldoutlawford.com

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(photo by Larry Wagner)

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TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF ASSESSOR CLERK RECORDER’S OFFICE — COVID EXPOSURE

The Mendocino County Assessor-Clerk Recorder’s offices will be closed due to possible exposure to COVID-19. At this time, the offices are anticipated to re-open later this month. Please check the Assessor Clerk Recorder’s website for continuing updates at mendocinocounty.org/government/assessor-county-clerk-recorder-elections.

A small number of Elections staff will remain in the office to finish the extended candidate filing deadline (August 12) and prepare the ballot and sample ballots for production and mailing. These staff will continue to follow all Public Health Orders including social distancing and wearing facial coverings for the duration of their time in the office. 

Staff will contact those individuals who have made appointments with our office to cancel or reschedule their appointments for a later date. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at: 707-234-6804 to leave a message or email us at acr@mendocinocounty.org. 

Released by Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor, County Clerk, Recorder 

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REDWOOD CREDIT UNION COMES TO BOONVILLE!

by Anne Fashauer

Western Builders putting in the trench for the new RCU ATM last week. 

On Tuesday ground was broken on the new ATM project here in Boonville. I’ve been in meetings with Redwood Credit Union for the past year or so to bring an ATM associated with the credit union to the Live Oak property. We had a few discussions regarding location that had to encompass electrical and access and we finally narrowed that down. Then the whole thing had to be engineered and then presented to the County for their approval.

Laura Diamondstone is a big reason that this has happened. She has been working on this project for a long time. She stopped by my office shortly after I purchased the Live Oak and asked me if I would be interested in having an ATM on site. I said yes, I would. I knew the town needed one associated with an institution and not just one for getting funds out of. I knew that this machine would be a draw for folks and would benefit the businesses at the Live Oak. It seems like a win-win.

Last week there will be a lot of noise as the concrete was cut and the various cables placed in the new trench. The magnolias in the front of the property were removed and re-homed elsewhere. Then the new concrete was poured followed by a couple of weeks of curing time. After that the ATM machine itself will be installed. I will continue to update the community as things proceed. It’s an exciting time for sure!


Deeds of Reconveyance

As a title, that sounds very boring, right? However, in truth, these are symbols of the end of mortgage payments and something to be celebrated. On the other hand, if you don’t have one and you have finished paying off your mortgage, this lack can come back and bite you at the most importune time.

Let’s take a step back. You are buying a home or a piece of land. You have enough money for the down payment and enough to make the monthly mortgage payments going forward (for the sake of this article, I’m going to assume a rosy future). For a home, you likely have a 30 year mortgage at a set interest rate. Every month you make a payment of the same amount and this is divided between interest and principal. At first, you are mostly paying interest; then later in the cycle of payments, more money is put toward principal. This is the reason that making extra principal payments each year will lower the total amount you end of paying your lender - but that is for another article on another day. At the end of the 30 years, you will make your final payment. At this point, you will want to request that the lender file a deed of reconveyance that takes their name off of the title and leaves yours there alone.

If you have done everything right and the lender has taken that deed of reconveyance to the County Clerk and filed it, you can now have that celebration I mentioned. Of course, 30 years is a long time; so much can and does change in that amount of time. My own parents had more than one mortgage holder over the life of their loan - most banks sell their loans and they can be sold many times over. If this happens, it makes it even more difficult to get to the right person to get that deed of reconveyance. I cannot stress enough that this is something you need to stay on top of - at least in the sense that you have that contact information stored somewhere safe for when the time comes that you need it.

What happens if you have not done everything right? This is where it gets tricky. Let’s say that it has been 40 years and the mortgage has been paid off for the last ten. You decide to sell your home. The title company pulls a “preliminary title report” and it shows that there is still a lien on the property from ABC Bank. You know that you paid ABC in full, so why are they still on there? Because they didn’t file that deed of reconveyance. The good news is that most lenders are around and can be found and even if the loan is sold, there tends to be a paper trail to follow. The Title company can usually find the lender and get the deed of reconveyance filed before the sale of your home happens.

What is the worst case scenario? Well, I have had to go through this three times now in the past 12 months. Let’s say that for whatever reason you did not use a commercial lender. Let’s say that Aunt Martha, or the seller lends you the money to make the purchase and they are put on title as a lien holder. All is well at first. You make your payments to Aunt Martha or Mr. and Mrs. Seller; these types of loans tend to be of shorter duration - five to ten years or so. That’s good, it’s less time to lose track of things, right? Only, now 30 years has past, you long ago paid off Aunt Martha or Mr. and Mrs. Seller, and you want to sell. Now we get that preliminary title report and we see that Aunt Martha is still on the title as a lien holder. If Aunt Martha is still alive, great; you can ask her to do that deed of reconveyance and move on. What if she isn’t? Now you need to find her heirs and get them to do this for you. What if Mr. and Mrs. Seller have since died? Do you know their heirs names? Can you find them? 

In the past 12 months I have had a dead Aunt Martha, a dead Mr. Seller with no heirs and a dead Mr. Seller with heirs no one could track down. In no case were we able to find anyone who could certify that the lien on the property had been paid in full. One of these was from the 1970’s, one from the 1980’s and the last from the 1990’s. What happened and what should you do?

The first step is for the current seller of the property to record a surety bond. The bond is recorded and at least 30 days must elapse before the sale can move forward. California Civil Code 2941.7 provides more information on this process. There is a cost associated with this as well as the delay in the closing of the sale. Once the bond is in place and the time has passed, the lien can be removed and the sale can move forward.

My advice in writing this article is to stress to you now, before you are thinking about selling, to ask yourself have paid your mortgage in full? If yes, is my title clear of the loan(s)? You can ask the County Clerk/Recorders office for help in this. If there is still an old lien on the title, take action now to clear that up. In one of the instances I dealt with, the oldest one, the property had been gifted to another, non-relative, in a will, then to another in a will and finally sold by these heirs, none of whom had any idea that back in the 1970’s there was a $5,000 lien on the property that would end up holding the sale from closing for SIX months. Go get that deed of reconveyance!

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MENDO RAIL, a photo roundup

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ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - THIS IS HOW WE GET THINGS DONE

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Marijuana

Has a single promise made by marijuana advocates ever come true?

No.

Remember the medical breakthroughs all waiting to be unleashed on the sick and the dying once weed was decriminalized? But now it’s legal and we never hear a word about marijuana’s magical powers to cure cancer, prevent autism, lose weight, thwart alcoholism, whiten teeth and boost IQ. This is because the promises were all lies.

Another supposed benefit: a financial windfall for state and local governments once we began to “tax it like booze and cigarettes.” So we did, and let me know when the first nickel of profit rolls into Mendocino County’s coffers.

Instead we lose money every month. The county has cobbled together a clumsy, confusing and unworkable process to grow weed legally. Few growers comply.

The plans were crafted by our elected representatives and carried out by highly paid county administrators. They’ve made an absolute hash of it.

Regulations are a financial burden because there isn’t staffing to process applications and oversee gardens. Now we have the worst of both worlds. Legalizing marijuana means we spend more than we take in, while pot operations up north have become farms run by soldiers.

Homelessness

The solution was simple: “A Hand Up, Not a Handout.”

Translation: Let knowledgeable, highly paid professionals handle the homeless problem via expertise and coordinated planning. Giving a bum a buck only made things worse because the fool would squander the money on a sleeping bag and vodka.

They assured us that giving money to nonprofits would result in the homeless becoming self-sufficient, employable, with a secure place to live.

That was the promise. The real agenda was to fund, generously and forever, an ever-metastasizing network of government agencies that talk big about ending homelessness but run programs designed to do the opposite.

We’ve spent many millions of dollars, and Ukiah’s once-tiny homeless problem has turned into a nightmare. That was the plan all along.

Our nonprofits exacerbate problems, make things worse, then demand more funding to fix the messes they create. It is dawning on citizens that programs exist solely to provide cushy jobs for unemployable parasites who do little but meet with one another to A) devise new strategies for increasing the homeless population, and B) keep the money flowing in.

It’s done through the magic of free money, also known as grant funding. Useless, expensive programs can be depicted by a clever grant writer as furnishing vital services to a target population. Another infusion of tax dollars allows it to perpetuate its pointless mission. Pointless, that is, except to fund more jobs for more parasites.

No other explanation make sense.

Do people from Missouri and Ohio flock to Ukiah hoping someone might hand them 20 bucks outside Safeway? Or do you think elaborate programs that provide endless freebies are to blame?

Ukiah has been deteriorating for 30 years: nonprofits are a big reason why.

Mental illness

The sidewalks of Ukiah and the Police Log in the Daily Journal make obvious the reality of helpless, crazy, mentally disturbed people running amok.

Fifty years ago the Lanterman-Petris Short Act and the State of California stripped away the hospital system in a happy-face delusion the mentally ill would be better served via “community based” programs.

“No more dungeons!” and “They aren’t out of their mind, they’re out of your mind!” went the sloganeers. We’re left with broken pieces.

Measure B, passed by county vote three years ago, was meant to remedy it by raising a lot of money to be spent on a multi-bed psychiatric facility, most likely at the just-abandoned Howard Hospital in Willits, or a former nursing home on South State Street in Ukiah.

The money piles up hourly. The committee in charge of overseeing the operation holds meetings. More meetings will be held as soon as the Measure B committee is able to hold a meeting to schedule more meetings. At that meeting more meetings will be considered. The meeting will then be adjourned.

Consider this: If such towering ineptitude and incompetence goes on for three years in the relative transparency of Mendocino County, what do you think takes place in the small rooms and dark hallways in Oakland, Sacramento and Washington?

(Tom Hine with Example # 97: Mendo Co’s Alcohol & Other Drugs Program once had three employees, it quickly ballooned to 60. How much better did an extra 57 workers serve drunks and druggies by handing out pamphlets, hosting guest speakers and spending many millions over the years? Did a single thing improve? TWK knows the answer and so do you.)

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CALIFORNIA STREET, SAN FRANCISCO (1964)

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YOU GOT NOTHING TO LOSE, WHEN YOU GOT NOTHING TO LOSE

by Jim Shields 

I’m going to do all of us a favor and not discuss in any detail the decisions made this past Tuesday, August 4, by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) regarding whether to change direction and possibly create a new Cannabis Ordinance that actually works, instead of the one that is currently in effect but ignored by 90 percent of pot farmers.

The dilemma the County finds itself in, albeit of its own making, was best articulated recently by Planning and Building Services (PBS) Director Brent Schultz, who said, “These (state) 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.”

For two consecutive weeks in this space, I provided public record evidence in the form of two state resource agencies, CALFIRE and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) three years ago putting the County on notice at a BOS meeting that there were potential problems with the environmental review process required by CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) to enable and establish the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance.

Back then DFW specifically addressed Schultz’s concern about “site specific environmental review” when their representative warned the BOS, “the Department may not be able to rely on the County’s CEQA document for permitting projects under the Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement Program if the Department determines that projects are not conisistent with the environmental document because those are substantial unmitigated impacts to sensitive fish and wildlife populations or their habitat. So additional CEQA review may be required in order to go through our process if it’s not covered under the County’s (environmental) document.”

To the best of my knowledge, I’m unaware of any follow-up by County officials to the warnings by the resource agencies.

But at this point it serves no useful purpose to dwell on past acts of omission or commission by the County relative to the existing failed Cannabis Ordinance.

So what’s the best way to get from here to where local cannabis farmers — especially the moms and pops and the so-called heritage growers — can get licensed by the state.

For the past several years I’ve proposed what needs to be done is repeal in most parts, the existing non-workable cultivation Ordinance, thereby deferring to the state’s regulatory framework, rules and regulations. That would bring the county into line with the state on many levels, and the result would be an exceptionally lean and streamlined process that focuses locally on land use rules setting out where and how much pot can be grown in Mendocino County (most likely on Ag Land with a one-half acre cap, and Range Land with legacy growers grandfathered in with transferability rights, and also grandfathering mom and pop growers in neighborhood groups known as “overlay zones.”

Additionally, the new Ordinance, which I call the “State Option,” would incorporate by reference most, if not all, of the current Ordinance’s provisions dealing with code and environmental protections.

Recently, I had a discussion with a county official regarding my proposal, which is very similar to the proposed “change in direction” ordinance now favored by Supervisor John McCowen that he presented at Tuesday’s BOS meeting.

The official I spoke with asked me what I thought of getting the state option Ordinance approved by the BOS while leaving the current Ordinance on the books, as is.

I said I couldn’t think of an objection to it and I liked the idea of standing up the two Ordinances side-by-side because it would give everybody more options, especially the streamlined process found in the state option Ordinance that focuses locally on land use permits and rules. At the same time, those folks that defend the current Ordinance for different reasons, as they did at Tuesday’s Board session, are free to ride that option out to wherever it takes them.

In the final analysis, the way to look at this whole thing at this juncture, especially given that all five Supervisors now agree with the assessment long held by many of us that the current Ordinance is unworkable, you have nothing to lose by trying something else.

Sometimes in life that’s the only option you have, and it beats the hell out of doing nothing.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)

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QUARANTINED IN MENDO

Marcie Brendlen and her two toddlers were housed at a Ukiah hotel from July 10 to July 24 and were told to stay there “for 14 days and not leave the room.” Under the strict guidelines of quarantine, Brendlen said she “was not allowed to have visitors.” She described feeling as if the “front desk wouldn't deal with me” because “they have a contract with the county, so there are special circumstances.”

mendofever.com/2020/08/09/quarantined-with-kids-in-mendocino-one-residents-experience-of-county-provided-covid-19-quarantine-housing/

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TALKED HIM DOWN, BUT NOT BEFORE....

On Tuesday, August 04, 2020 at approximately 4:30 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a disturbance at a residence located in the 4500 block of Ridgewood Road in Willits.

A family member reported to Sheriff's Office dispatch that Jacob Everett McKey, 28, of Willits, was responsible for causing the disturbance at the residence.

McKey

Deputies made telephone contact with the family member during their scene response and learned McKey had made criminal threats against the family member.

When Deputies arrived at the residence, they met with the family member in the driveway. Once there, they were able to speak with McKey from a distance but he was agitated and demanded they leave the property.

The Deputies attempted verbal deescalation techniques in speaking with McKey but he refused to engage and only demanded they leave.

The Deputies offered to provide the family member a ride to a different location to allow McKey to remain at the residence alone, thus deescalating the situation.

The family member agreed and as the Deputies were backing out of the driveway to leave, McKey exited the residence and shined a flashlight at a Deputy's patrol car.

The flashlight then turned to a laser dot light that was illuminated on the side of the patrol car. At this time, the Deputy heard multiple gunshots coming from McKey's position at the front of the residence.

The Deputies believed both the flashlight and the laser dot light were mounted to a firearm. McKey then went back into the house.

The Deputies retreated in their patrol cars a short distance away, to get the family member and themselves to a safer location.

A radio call for additional law enforcement resources was made before deploying back to the residence using the surrounding terrain for protection as they made verbal attempts to get McKey to exit the house peacefully.

Additional Sheriff's Deputies as well as officers from the Ukiah Police Department, Willits Police Department and the California Highway Patrol arrived to assist.

Deputies engaged with McKey verbally, using deescalation techniques, for approximately 45 minutes before they were successful in getting McKey to exit the residence unarmed.

McKey was handcuffed and detained without further incident or injury and no persons were injured during the entire incident.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives took over the investigation at the residence and were able to locate a 9mm pistol that had a weapons mounted flashlight/laser light combination.

Sheriff's Detectives also found two rifles, one of which was determined to be an assault weapon under California law, thus illegal to possess.

McKey was subsequently arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Attempted Murder, Discharge Firearm in Grossly Negligent Manner, which can result in death, Threatening a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury, Possession of an assault weapon, and being Armed with a firearm in the commission of a felony, where he was to be held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

At this time the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the investigative reports to determine official criminal statue charging (if any) and the listed charges in this press release are related only to the probable cause arrest/booking of McKey in regards to the incident described.

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MEANWHILE, MR. AND MRS. LOPEZ......

On Friday, August 7, 2020, at about 12:52 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a domestic violence incident in the 2100 block of Primrose Drive in Willits, California.

Deputies arrived in the area and contacted Victor Lopez, 37, of Willits, outside of the residence. Deputies learned Lopez and his wife (36 year-old female) had been married for about a year.

Lopez

Deputies learned the adult female was looking through Lopez's cell phone and discovered he had been texting other woman, which made her angry. The couple got into an argument and Lopez decided to leave the residence.

As Lopez was walking out of the residence the adult female pulled his hair. Lopez exited the residence, at which time he realized that he forgot his cell phone and tried go back inside of the residence, but was prevented by the adult female.

Deputies spoke with the adult female and corroborated that an argument over some test messages found on Lopez's cell phone had occurred.

During the argument, Lopez decided to leave and started to push pass the adult female.

As Lopez was walking by the adult female, her finger caught his hair. Lopez pushed the adult female down onto the couch and then punched her on the right side of her face with a closed fist prior to leaving the residence.

The Deputies noted that there were items scattered on the floor which were consistent with a physical altercation. Deputies saw the adult female's right eye and face were swollen and was starting to bruise.

Deputies determined Lopez was the primary aggressor during this incident and had Sheriff's Office dispatch check Lopez for warrant, parole and probation status.

Deputies were notified Lopez was on active PRCS (Post Community release Supervision) through Mendocino County Probation.

Mendocino County Probation was contacted and a probation hold was issued for 3455 PC.

Lopez was placed under arrest for domestic violence battery and violation of county parole release.

Lopez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no bail status.

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ED NOTES

WHAT ELSE could go wrong? Covid testing results are so delayed it's nearly pointless as a means to slow the spread, and the Golden State's computers broke down so tabulation was by hand for a week, hence a sudden surge here and there. Trump appoints a pal to run the Post Office. Pal immediately fires the PO's leadership, further rattling confidence in the looming mail-in vote. (A mostly black county in Alabama has one walk-in voting precinct for about 800,000 voters.) Covid deaths are running about a thousand a day. Global warming has so warmed areas of the globe, including areas of the United States, warming them warmer than they've ever been warmed and for longer periods.

TRUMP'S dramatic, unilateral move to suspend payroll taxes and extend expired unemployment benefits doesn't mean much when the fine print is read. $400 instead of the prior $600 is better unemployment help than a kick in the teeth but why not stick with the $600? And suspending the payroll tax, out of which Social Security and MediCare are funded will weaken both programs, their destruction being a long-term Republican dream.

"IF DEMOCRATS continue to hold this critical relief hostage," Trump thundered, "I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need." 

AN ESTIMATED 23 million people are at risk of homelessness. Trump kinda extended the federal eviction moratorium—which barred evictions on government-backed residences to protect the millions of Americans who lost income due to COVID-19. Although some states have their own eviction moratoriums on a wider array of homes, those are often also slated to expire soon too, and Trump's alleged extension of the moratorium against evictions is more conditional than a true extension. 

RENT STRIKERS are aiming at shutting down the machinery of the eviction system: the nation’s housing courts and the lawyers who make it run. “Keep trying to evict tenants, and we’ll keep showing up and shutting down your office every day,” the group Housing Justice for All tweeted alongside video of one of its protests. “Other lawyers working for landlords: watch out, we’re coming for you next.”

SOME of us shut-ins are taking advantage of social distancing to catch up on the great stuff produced by Netflix and HBO. If this rolling catastrophe has an upside it's the opportunity to over-indulge in film product, and that product for me is documentary film, reality having long ago outstripped fictional attempts to explain it. I highly recommend two HBO docs: "What's My Name" brilliantly captures the splendor of Muhammed Ali, certainly one of the most vivid personalities of our time. This hugely entertaining biographical film brings much new footage absent from previous Ali films, including him chatting with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and his ambassadorial missions overseas where he accomplishes hostage releases our State Department is unable to bring off. Lots of boxing, of course, so the squeamish might want to fast forward past them.

SECOND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED doc is "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." This is Tyson solo (produced by Spike Lee) with a memorably vivid account of his life, a life, like Ali's, only possible in America, the editor said as he rose to salute the flag. Tyson is a truly gifted raconteur with one riff movingly sad, the next hilarious. Tyson is also a gifted mimic, and as a comic he's right up there with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. (Are there any funny white guys left?) The scenes Tyson re-enacts, all drawn from his unique life, are unforgettable, and what an amazing life he's had, emerging whole after trials that would have finished off a lesser man. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 9, 2020

Goodrow, Lopez, Marks

MICHAEL GOODROW, Covelo. Domestic abuse.

VICTOR LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, county parole violation.

JOHN MARKS, San Francisco/Ukiah. Domestic battery, county parole violation.

Miller, Perry, Pineda, Yanez

KAMERON MILLER, Soquel/Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft-firearm, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, attempted grand theft, vandalism.

MICHAEL PERRY, Ukiah. Criminal threats, contempt of court.

MIGUEL PINEDA, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, ammo possession by prohibited person, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

DOMINIC YANEZ, Willits. DUI. 

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EXACTLY FOUR YEARS AGO...

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I'd like to point out a few items of note to those who think the only reason our country is suffering from the pandemic is Trump's policies (or lack thereof). And just to clarify, I wear a mask every time I leave the house, avoid social gatherings, and have voluntarily worked from home since March. I'm proud to do my small part to help fight the pandemic. I also didn't vote for Trump in 2016 and won't do so in 2020. I also won't be voting for Biden.

California has the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths in the US. Governor Newsom was one of the first to institute a government mandated stay at home order. Many mayor's and BOS's throughout our state have implemented even stricter stay at home orders. California has instituted additional policies to provide unemployment, medical, and food assistance to those "non-essential" workers who have been hit the hardest. We do this so they can continue to stay home and do their part to help fight the pandemic. California has done an amazing job of creating new temporary hospitals to handle any surge in cases. California has also done an amazing job of creating new or temporary housing for those who would opt to leave the streets (yes, opt, we can't force them) and thereby slow the spread of the virus. Newsom, who's updates I regularly watch, has continually mentioned he bases these policies on the data and the science. I believe he does.

Yet, despite the above, California has the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths. If you take a look, you'll see that Texas, Florida, and NY aren't far behind. So, two states with conservative leadership and two states with liberal leadership have similar numbers. What gives? Is it possible there are other reasons, outside of who are president is or what party he belongs to, that may be responsible for the number of cases and deaths in the US? That's not a rhetorical question. It's a real question. I doubt I'll receive any non-partisan responses to this question. I do believe the answer is extremely complex and likely lies in the openess of our society (travel for biz and tourism, immigration) and the freedoms that many in our country hold above all else (that's not a criticism). It's possible a society based loosely on principles of limiting government power would struggle more to contain a pandemic than other societies more comfortable or supportive of government authority. The point, there is far more to this analysis than politics.

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WHEN THE ASTROS CAME TO OAKLAND

Flyover, banners, trolling cutouts: A’s fans plan to welcome sign-stealing Astros to Oakland

mercurynews.com/2020/08/06/flyover-chiding-banners-boos-from-afar-as-fans-plan-to-welcome-sign-stealing-astros-to-oakland/

A banner reading "Houston Asterisks" is pulled by a small plane as it flies around the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum before the start of the Oakland Athletics game against the Houston Astros in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

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MARY TRUMP'S BOOK 

by Helene Chalfin 

Fred Trump, taking advantage of government money and whatever connections he had in government, built an empire that his own family called a "cash cow.” But of all his five children, Fred Trump favored his son Donald and showered his millions on Donald's schemes, and even more when Donald's schemes failed.

The banks were owed so much money because of Donald Trump's failed schemes that they enabled him with a $450,000 a month allowance in the hopes of propping up the Trump domain and name so that they could recover a part of what was owed to them.

It is not clear if Fred Trump eventually realized that his faith in Donald was misplaced. His oldest son Freddy, the heir apparent, was destroyed by his father--with the mother and siblings going along. Anything Freddy excelled at outside of the Trump empire, they derided and opposed. In the end, Freddy became an alcoholic, lost his wife and children through divorce and wound up living in an austere bedroom at his parents' home, a sick and broken man. It is not clear to me if the parents actually let him die rather than getting him help over the three-week period before his death. Mary Trump's grandmother prevented Mary from saying goodbye to her Dad before she left for her college studies, telling her that he wasn't home.

Fred Trump Senior hoped that Donald, whom he chose to take Freddy's place as heir apparent, would preserve the Trump empire for many years.

After his death, it could have provided each of the four remaining children with over 410 million a year in profits.

But Donald, who controlled the whole family, insisted it be sold for several hundred million under its true value, so that there would be a bigger, one-time payoff. He desperately needed the immediate payoff to help him with his boundless debts. He squandered his inheritance, and each one of his family members lost on what they could have inherited.

Mary paints the patriarch, Fred Trump as the true cause of the destruction of both Donald's character and her father's life--the others--Robert, Elizabeth and Mary Anne were just pawns but they played along with the family dysfunction.

Mary Trump's book is based on the premise that the destruction caused by the pathological dysfunction and lack of love in the Trump family is now being unleashed on America and the world through Donald Trump. The lack of love, the greed, the "killer" approach to living so deeply ingrained in Donald's psyche is now destroying America, the same way that it destroyed her father. I couldn't agree more.

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ON LINE COMMENT 

They promised that small cannabis farmers and mom and pop growers would be able to get permitted before big business came in, but instead they are priced out of the game with ridiculous permitting fees. $65,000 to get a legal permit regardless of whether or not you’re selling it? And then forced to sell only to white market companies like Flow Kana who have tens of thousands of barrels of (perishable) weed sitting in warehouses while the farmers aren’t paid for 6-8 months...

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A BETTER POSSIBILITY is that the movement to preserve the environment will be seen to be, as I think it has to be, not a digression from the civil rights and peace movements, but the logical culmination of those movements. For I believe that the separation of these three problems is artificial. They have the same cause, and that is the mentality of greed and exploitation. The mentality that exploits and destroys the natural environment is the same that abuses racial and economic minorities, that imposes on young men the tyranny of the military draft, that makes war against peasants and women and children with the indifference of technology. The mentality that destroys a watershed and then panics at the threat of flood is the same mentality that gives institutionalized insult to black people and then panics at the prospect of race riots. It is the same mentality that can mount deliberate warfare against a civilian population and then express moral shock at the logical consequence of such warfare at My Lai. We would be fools to believe that we could solve any one of these problems without solving the others.

— Wendell Berry, "Think Little" (1969)

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EUROPEANS SAY COVID-19 REVEALED AMERICA AS 'FRAGILE,' INCONSIDERATE

Many Europeans are asking if Americans even care about their people's own health, as they have watched in astonishment at the world's most powerful country faltering in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Italians, Germans and residents of other European nations who were hit the hardest by the coronavirus outbreak in February said they are disappointed, saddened and even frightened by the United States' COVID-19 response. Public health experts and everyday residents said they "always saw America as a model" for the world, but the pandemic has exposed a country with horrendous infrastructure and no coherent public health system. 

Several European doctors agreed with their U.S. counterparts in saying Americans' individualist spirit has backfired and led the country to the top of both infection and death toll lists. 

newsweek.com/europeans-say-covid-19-revealed-america-fragile-inconsiderate-1523860

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FOUND OBJECT

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