RUSSIAN RIVER grape growers are supposed to have their water management plans approved by February 4, according to the state Water Resource Control Board’s new frost protection rules enacted late last year. Mendo’s Russian River grape growers are preparing to sue the state over what they see as onerous rules, while the more reasonable Sonoma County Russian River growers Growers are working on compliance since the rules aren't really that onerous. Although some of the Sonoma County growers still think they can meet the deadline, Mendo growers are becoming more frustrated than they were before the hated regs kicked in because the Water Board has provided nothing in the way of guidelines for what “compliance” would look like. The Mendo growers insist that their previous efforts to build lots of ponds and install a real-time stream flow gage ought to be enough. They also were hoping that the Russian River Flood Control District or the Upper Russian Conservation Association would pick up the ball and file an umbrella-style application for all of them. But nothing has happened. The Flood Control District and the “Conservation” Association say they don’t have any money to prepare a plan. And individual growers are hesitant to spend money on expensive consultants without at least some guidelines. Technically, after February 4 no one will have approval to pump any water for anything from the Russian River if they don’t have any approved plans in place. Some other (non-Russian River) Mendo grape growers have been waiting for years to get their ordinary water appropriation permits approved, so the Water Board is unlikely to approve anything by February 4. But since there’s no enforcement of these things anyway, it’s unlikely that the “deadline” will matter to anyone. Meanwhile, you can bet that if Russian River grape growers really think they need frost protection water they’re not going to pay much attention to the Water Board or the fish.
MENDOCINO COUNTY has a 9.5 month inventory of properties in foreclosure as of December 2011, according to a report by Linda Williams in last week’s Willits News. This represents 271 Mendocino County properties now in the foreclosure pipeline with either a notice of default or a notice of trustee sale pending. Countywide there were 345 county foreclosure sales in 2011 and 335 in 2010.
SHERIFF ALLMAN has been hedging his bets on what the end of Mendo’s zip-tie/cultivation ordinance might mean to his budget (assuming the Board of Supervisors does as predicted and ends the "permit" part of the ordinance on Tuesday). The County (i.e., the Sheriff’s Department) has received something like $500-$600k last year from the pot permits and associated pot payments, and the pending end of the program in the wake of serious Federal threats might translate into a $500k hit to the Sheriff's budget. Allman told the Ukiah Daily Journal last week that he doesn't yet know what the budget impact of suspending the permit program would be. “Through June 30, we're OK,” Allman said. But there are obvious questions about the next fiscal year’s budget which the County will begin to formulate next month. Allman added that no layoffs are planned for the near future.
NINERS LOST BY 3 in overtime Sunday at Candlestick. Unable to convert a third down for the whole game, questionable play-calling, plus two crucial bad plays by the same guy, were responsible for the loss. The Giants played better, all-in-all, winning 20-17 on a sudden death field goal.
INEXPLICABLE TRAFFIC jams in the southern areas of the city caused fans to sit for hours in unmoving lines of vehicles. Some passengers jumped out of cars on the main offramp to the ‘Stick and walked to the stadium. A Muni "playoff express" bus reportedly left Van Ness and California at 11:30am but took more than three hours to reach the park. On the offramp, about a half a dozen people on that bus flipped open an emergency window and hopped out.
GIANTS FANS fans entering Candlestick were handed cards on how to contact police if they felt threatened; undercover cops dressed in Giants gear patrolled the crowd.
THE MENDOCINO BOOK COMPANY presents a reading and booksigning by writer and scholar Tony Platt, author of "Grave Matters: Excavating California's Buried Past," on Friday, January 27, from 6 to 8 pm. "Grave Matters" is the history of the treatment of native remains in California and the story of the complicated relationship between researcher and researched. Tony Platt begins his journey with his son’s funeral at Big Lagoon, a seaside village in pastoral Humboldt County in Northern California, once O-pyúweg, a bustling center for the Yurok and now the site of a plundered native cemetery. Platt travels the globe in search of the answer to the question of how do we reconcile a place of extraordinary beauty with its horrific past? Grave Matters centers around the Yurok people and the movement to repatriate remains and reclaim ancient rights, but it is also a universal story of coming to terms with the painful legacy of a sorrowful past. Tony Platt is the author of ten books and more than 150 essays and articles on race, inequality, and social justice in American history. Tony Platt, now a professor emeritus, taught at the University of Chicago, the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, Sacramento, where he received awards for teaching and scholarship. He has been a visiting professor at Chuo University, Tokyo, and at Queen’s University, Belfast, and was a visiting researcher at the Huntington Library and the National Museum of American History. Platt lives in Berkeley and Big Lagoon, California. The Mendocino Book Company is at 102 S. School Street in downtown Ukiah. For more information, call 468-5940.