- Offshore Winds
- Widespread Outages
- Whetstone Murder
- Albion Vintage
- Bypass Fatality
- 1063 Cases
- Smith Sentencing
- Early Logging
- McCarthy Scholarship
- Caspar Mill
- Estate Sale
- Snapback Assistance
- U-Hauler Popped
- Gauntlet Running
- Old Bridges
- Ed Notes
- Mushroomy Things
- Water Trucks
- Big Boxing
- Early Rockport
- Phase 3
- Supports Expansion
- Don't Rush
- Pot Ag
- Redneck Republicans
- Yesterday's Catch
- Ulu Loa
- Coming Attractions
- Dear Justices
- Turning Blue
- Dory Dan
- Railroading Assange
- Found Object
DRY WEATHER is expected across the region during the next seven days due to a upper ridge persisting over the northeast Pacific and west coast. In addition, warm conditions will be likely over much of northwest California, including the coast, during the next several days as offshore winds continue.
RED FLAG WARNING + FIRE WEATHER WATCH: High pressure building over the Pacific and an inland thermal trough will yield strengthening offshore winds, warmer temperatures, and low humidity values across the ridges of NW California through Friday morning. Fast moving wildfires will be possible as a result over Trinity, eastern Mendocino and much of Lake County as gusts increase to 20 to 40 mph during the overnight hours. Meanwhile, fuel dryness is more uncertain farther north across Humboldt into interior Del Norte County. However, the dry airmass combined with ongoing long-term drought supports the potential for critical fire weather conditions despite wetting rainfall occurring during the last week.
(National Weather Service)
MISSING MAN FOUND MURDERED BY HIS SON
On Wednesday, October 14, 2020 the investigation into the disappearance of James Andrew Whetstone continued with investigators revisiting the family property located in the 1500 block of Valley Road in Willits.
While on the property, investigators developed information that led them to the discovery of a fresh grave that had been concealed with debris.
A search warrant was granted for an in-depth search of the property, prompting a further search by Sheriff's Detectives with the assistance of investigators with the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.
During this time, Sheriff's Detectives excavated the area of the fresh grave and recovered the remains of James Andrew Whetstone, 69, of Willits.
Sheriff's Detectives were able to link James Presley Whetstone, 29, of Willits to James Andrew Whetstone's death and arrested him based upon probable cause.
James Presley Whetstone was identified as being James Andrew Whetstone's biological son and the pair lived together on the family property.
James Presley Whetstone was to be booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a charge of Murder to be held in lieu of an undetermined amount of bail at the time of this press release.
A forensic autopsy of James Andrew Whetstone's body is pending at this time.
Sheriff's Detectives are continuing investigations into the incident.
Sheriff’s Office Original Facebook Post
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating the reported disappearance of James Andrew.
He was last seen on 10-09-20 @ 8:30 AM at the family residence located in the 1500 block of Valley Road in Willits.
He is believed to have either walked away or received a ride from someone in a vehicle, although that is not his usual behavior.
He is described as a 69 year-old male, standing 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds. He has blue eyes and shoulder length gray hair that he usually wears in a ponytail.
He was last seen wearing a gray jacket, blue jeans and black boots. He is reportedly in good physical health for his age.
Anyone with information about James Andrew Whetstone's current whereabouts is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office by calling 707-463-4086.
FATAL ACCIDENT ON WILLITS BYPASS
The Willits bypass was closed Wednesday evening a little before 6pm when a semi-truck collided with a private vehicle causing a fatality. Details pending.
EIGHT MORE COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Wednesday, another day of single digit increases. Total now 1063.
MENDOCINO COUNTY WOMAN WHO SHOT ’THUNDER THE WONDER DOG’ FACES UP TO 3 YEARS IN JAIL AFTER PLEA
by Mary Callahan
Katie Rhiannon Smith is set to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Dec. 2, in Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg
Community members may attend or weigh in respectfully in writing by Nov. 18 to:
Mendocino County Adult Probation Department,
Re: Thunder the Wonder Dog,
700 S. Franklin, Rm. 107, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
A Mendocino County woman who shot and injured her family’s German shepherd in what she initially claimed was a botched euthanasia attempt, leaving the dog wandering, wounded and near death in the forest outside Fort Bragg, has pleaded no contest to felony animal abuse.
Caspar resident Katie Rhiannon Smith faces a possible fine of $20,000 and a maximum sentence of three years in jail when she is sentenced Dec. 2.
She will avoid a potential state prison term due to the dismissal of a special allegation for her use of a firearm, a spokesman for the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office said.
Smith, 34, also is eligible for probation, said Mike Geniella, the office’s spokesman.
The December shooting gave rise to the celebrated case of Thunder the Wonder Dog, a name bestowed upon him by Davina Liberty, the Fort Bragg woman who fostered him for months after seeing to his rescue from Jackson Demonstration Forest and getting him help.
Thunder, almost 9, has since been nursed back to health and is living on 3 acres in Northern California with his new owner, Sheryl, a woman who wanted to use only her first name because of the notoriety of the case and the avid attention bestowed on her dog by fans across the country.
The pair are a perfect match, she said — Thunder, “a perfect gentleman” whose alleged faults and weaknesses, put forward by Smith in court, are simply not true.
“He is the happiest boy ever,” she said. “He doesn’t chew anything. He doesn’t beg. He doesn’t get into the trash. He is a happy-go-lucky, wonderful boy, and the only thing wrong with him is he loves me too much.”
He’s also having a ton of fun chasing balls and Frisbees on the wooded property where he now lives.
It was a far different story from Dec. 19, when Liberty came upon him and was able to coax him into accepting help after several other passersby attempted but were unable to subdue him.
He was emaciated, limping, seeping pus and carried the stench of death. He was 11 miles from the nearest home, and the microchip fitted under his skin led to a Nevada phone number no longer in use. When he realized she wouldn’t harm him, he just collapsed in the road.
Sheriff’s investigators nevertheless tracked down his owners and made a case, and the District Attorney’s Office agreed to prosecute.
In the meantime, Thunder recovered, living for a time at Liberty’s home, and with a trainer for a period.
Though animal lovers around the country, and even outside it, followed his story, and many wanted to adopt him, Liberty and Thunder’s other caretakers knew he needed someone with patience and sensitivity to the trauma he had endured.
That match was found in June after Sheryl, who had followed his story from the beginning, made several careful visits in the midst of the pandemic shutdown. The two “just completely clicked,” she said.
When she drove Thunder home, “I opened the gate and he pranced around like he was at Disneyland,” she said. “He was like, ’This is my home. I’m the bomb.’ ”
Days later, his former owner, Smith, had claimed at her preliminary hearing that she had tried to put the dog down because he would not gain weight and had a skin condition, which required him to wear a medical cone, as he continuously chewed himself.
But the veterinarian testified that he could find no evidence of a skin condition, said Geniella, the District Attorney’s Office spokesman.
Further, Thunder has continued to put on weight since the shooting, coming in at a respectable 100 pounds now, though he has scars and bumps, Sheryl said.
Smith might have faced up to 10 years in state prison for her use of a handgun in the case except that Judge Clayton Brennan signaled his intention to dismiss the firearm allegation, even if it was found true at jury trial, Geniella said. With the threat of a prison term erased, Smith agreed to plead guilty, though there is no promise she will avoid the possible 36-month jail term, he said.
Her sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 2 in Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg.
(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
THE PAUL McCARTHY SCHOLARSHIP
Shane McCarthy Writes:
If you didn't know already, my dad was a huge supporter of Club Cardinal and Mendocino Highschool athletics. He would volunteer to help pick candidates for the scholarships almost every year, if not every year.
Club cardinal has renamed their Cardinal Scholarship after my dad in dedication and honor of his support over the years, and I think its truly a great way to remember him.
My dad really found purpose in helping the youth on the coast, encouraging them and finding ways to support them in his own way, and I think this scholarship will help carry the spirit of that mission.
There are plenty of folks asking how you can help me. Personally. I think you can best do that just by supporting your communities. To continue the spirit of the work either by donating or showing up for your local community in some way you may not typically.
If you want details on how you can support the scholarship named after my father, please read the post below.
Thank you, and take care.
In memory of Paul McCarthy’s dedication and commitment to Mendocino High School Athletics, Club Cardinal will be renaming our scholarship in his honor. Club Cardinal awards a $2000 scholarship to a graduating senior of Mendocino High School to assist with expenses towards continued education. For the last two years we awarded four deserving students and our goal is to continue this as long as we are fiscally able. If you would like to contribute to our efforts you can send a check to Club Cardinal PO Box 1912, Mendocino 95460 or use the SHOP NOW button on this page and under the DONATE NOW button you will see the Paul McCarthy Scholarship Fund. Please email MendoClubCardinal@gmail.com with questions or more information. Remember Club Cardinal is a 501(c)(3) so all donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your support.
Mendocino Club Cardinal
BIG ESTATE SALE: IN BOONVILLE
Saturday October 17th
Where? Tom Town Parking Lot, 14125 HWY 128 - Downtown Boonville
When? 10 a.m. onward.
WEAR MASKS !
Furniture: tables, stools, nightstand,
Chest of drawers, folding chairs, office chair,
Kitchen stuff, pots and pans, microwave,
Small Fridge, bedding, books, CD’s,
inflatable mattress, golf clubs, paintings,
Fancy dog crate, cookbooks, shower chair,
suitcases, outdoor furniture, etc. etc.
Lots of Good quality women’s clothes sizes 14 -16 XL
(J. Jill, Eddy Bauer, Lands End, L. L. Bean)
Lots of Size 8 women’s shoes - many never worn
All Proceeds Go To Fire Dept. & Animal Rescue
‘LARGE QUANTITY OF MARIJUANA’ FOUND IN U-HAUL TRUCK STOPPED AT RIDGEWOOD SUMMIT
At approximately 10:05 this morning Marco Antonio Ochoa Sanchez, out of Stockton, was arrested at the California Highway Patrol Scales located at Mendocino County’s Ridgewood Summit off Hwy 101 for transportation of cannabis.
CHP Public Information Officer Olegario Marin told us Sanchez failed to enter the scales and was pulled over immediately afterward. Officer Marin explained that “all commercial trucks have to pull into a scale facility including U-Hauls.”
Marin said responding officers inspected the U-Haul and found Sanchez to be in possession of a large quantity of marijuana in the cargo area of the U-Haul truck. Officer Marin said Sanchez did not have the proper documentation to indicate the marijuana was part of the legal cannabis market.
Marin said Sanchez was booked into the Mendocino County jail where he faces charges associated with the possession and transportation of marijuana and conspiracy.
An on-line comment: "Watch out everybody they’re really poking around a lot. Saw three other people pulled over today in the 101 Willits corridor. By Fish and Game at one of 'em. Vehicles open, contents shifted about, folks out of the car. 2 trucks. 1 car. Anybody waiting on a call, a visitor or box that's overdue. Heads up."
A second comment: "Ah Laytonville through Ukiah, the good ol' gauntlet, drug profiling at its best."
A GUY called yesterday who was angry because I'd pronounced him an anti-Semite and threatened to off his contributions to our comment line. Yes, by golly, I've got a high horse and occasionally I have to mount it to ride down the more egregious bigotries. But that exchange was months ago. Yesterday the wrong-way obsessive seemed miffed because I didn't agree with him about the Mossad taking down the World Trade Center. "Bullshit," I said. "Everyone knows the Anderson Valley Unity Club pulled that one off. They might look like a bunch of harmless old ladies, but I know for a fact they also did Building 7."
AFTER YEARS of beating back fanatics I should know better than to try to fun them. Or jump down the rabbit hole with them for a tour of their paranoia. This guy said he had the facts. And, like a fool, I entered his twilight zone. "Your alleged facts are from thoroughly discredited lunatic websites," I said. "There is not even a whiff of credible evidence that the Mossad was involved in 911."
Since I don't read much crank lit (other than the Press Democrat) I didn't even know that International Nutdom was blaming them. He demanded to know where I get my facts. "By looking out the window. The sun is out." It went on for a while, me mentally kicking myself for arguing. "Well, you're wrong," he said, and hung up. I wondered if it was raining where he was.
YEARS AGO there was Dr. Ed Miller, an elderly Marin bigot whose letters-to-the-editor appeared regularly in newspapers from San Francisco to Crescent City. He wrote a bunch I published in Boonville's beloved weekly until it belatedly occurred to me the doctor's letters basically contained a single subject — Jews. Miller was a fairly clever writer in that he always managed to elude, but barely, saying anything that anybody could say was overtly anti-Semitic. But he never had any other subject, and he'd gotten onto the Boonville weekly because, at our International Affairs Desk we tried to speak up for the plight of the Palestinians, and often criticized the apartheid state of Israel, political stances uncommon in the US because the Israel Lobby owns our elected national officeholders and also many state officials, a fact of American life and not evidence of closet anti-Semitism, as fanatic Zionists claim whenever someone points it out. Anti-Semites, being stupid, nasty blood libeling bastards, thought the left ava and its left contributors, notably the late Alexander Cockburn, were allied with them. (Cockburn was a hero to Palestinians. I'll never forget walking into a little Palestinian market with him one afternoon where the owner and his wife immediately recognized him and tried to give us a free lunch.) Anyway, I finally cut Dr. Miller off when his monomaniacal anti-Semitism became so blatant he had to go. He called up to argue. I said I and everyone else was tired of him, that he was a one-note Johnny with one subject — Jews control everything, which is why everything is bad. My reply to him at the time was, "Well, Ed, if Jews are smarter than everyone else and secretly run the world, how do you account for the Jews of Mendocino County? Is this place some kind of set-aside for dumb Jews?" 'He chuckled and said, "Could be, but I'm not an anti-Semite and it's very wrong of you to censor me like this." By then, Miller had been 86ed by most papers, although I'd see his letters here and there, always on Israel, crimes of. He would have loved the internet.
HILLARY lost to Trump, Biden also might lose to Trump, making them the only two persons in political America who could manage it. But as we watch the Democrat senators getting serially bitch-slapped by Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, it's even more obvious why Biden is the party's nominee. Yesterday's embarrassing Democrat performance was lowlighted by a question from Hawaii senator, Mazie Hirono who asked Barrett if she'd ever sexually assaulted anyone. Barrett said she hadn't. But this cretinous inquiry is Hirono's main move at judicial nominee hearings. Her defenders say the question sounds crazy but it's really a cagey "perjury trap" that can lead to prosecution for perjury if the nominee lies. Of course it never has led anywhere but the crazy house, although it's objectively batshit, serving only as a metaphor for the present functioning of the entire party.
MARSHALL NEWMAN WRITES: Yes, there was an Anderson Valley Library before the one at the Fairgrounds. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was in a pretty cabin in what was then Indian Creek County Park, just south of Philo. I believe the Anderson Valley Unity Club ran it, as it does the one at the Fairgrounds. If I recall correctly, this library was open two afternoons each week. Not a big collection of books, but the “cabin in the woods” aspect made visiting the library and checking out books – for this then pre-teen – an adventure.
SHERIFF KENDALL ON POT GROWERS’ WATER TRUCKS
John Haschak, BOS Chairman Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
Re: Cannabis Grows & Water Truck Issues
Chair Haschak and members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:
I am sending this correspondence in regards the use of water trucks in permitted grow sites within Mendocino County. Currently, the practice is causing issues and concern for many residents within Mendocino County.
During the August Complex we have witnessed many unforeseen consequences of decisions which had been previously made regarding cannabis cultivations and permitting. One of the most glaring issues for me has been the water trucks. I routinely receive complaints and concerns regarding illegal water trucks working in Northern Mendocino County.
I realize much of this is due to the drought we are currently experiencing; however much is due to decisions which have been made on the part of Mendocino County. I realize the board has been working in good faith with many people who are moving into the emerging cannabis market. Often we don’t see the underlying issues until we are in the midst of emergency. I fear we must seize every opportunity to address issues as they arise or we will never get in front of them and will continue experience the same issues for decades to come.
During the August Complex fire, many roads were closed due to fears the fire would move at threatening speeds which could be devastating to life. Northern California has not had to deal with this caliber fire danger until recent years which was graphically illustrated during the recent fires we have experienced. As a result, this elevated our need and enhanced approach to Mendocino County Alert system, evacuations, and mandatory closures of areas has changed. We learned much from our previous fires and this education came at the cost of life. The 2017 fires which devastated much of Western California were only the beginning.
During the August Complex decisions were made based on terrain, roads, fire behaviors and weather conditions. These decisions were made in unison with CALFIRE as well as other experts in various fields of knowledge, including the Highway Patrol and United States Forest Service personnel. The decision to allow people back into their homes and properties on a case by case basis were also made in unison with our partners. The decision made to not allow water trucks into these areas were based on the safety of our residents as well as fire personnel who were battling the largest fire in the history of California. Any compromised vehicle could cause a road block at a time we simply don’t have time. A compromised water truck could be devastating as it could take heavy equipment such as a bulldozer to move.
Upon opening up the daily entry for residents, one of the first people to arrive for a permit was a person in a water truck. This vehicle was rapidly cited for violations by the Highway Patrol who were staffing the checkpoint. Violations on these vehicles are often based in the safe operations and performance of each vehicle.
I recently received a call at the office from a cannabis farmer who stated he needed over 10,000 gallons of water per day to be delivered to his permitted grow sites. The grower advised his properties had no water for cultivation at the time he had the sites permitted. I found this extremely concerning we would be permitting grow sites which were unsustainable on their own assets.
I am asking the Board of Supervisors to take into account all of the issues we are facing with the cultivation of cannabis. I am also asking the board to consider the impacts to the environment including the carbon footprint we are allowing when we make future decisions. Multiple trips per day in water truck which may or may not be legal and licensed will soon cause greater issues for us to deal with. When we allow business to begin in places which weren’t suited to sustain the business, we will see environmental impacts. Impacts to life safety, the safety of personnel as well as impacts to our environment and carbon footprint must be looked at in their entirety.
I understand many people have invested large amounts of capital into this endeavor and this could cause financial impacts. Therefore we should be looking at what is sustainable, this may help us to ensure the longevity of the cannabis industry in Mendocino County, while we take into full consideration the safety of life and the environment. Without sustainability I believe we are allowing people set themselves up for failure.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Sheriff Matt Kendall
CITY OF FORT BRAGG AND RESIDENTS OF THE AREA: WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR YOUR OPINION!
The City is considering adopting new regulations for the Formula Business (known as commercial chains) and we'd like to know your opinion!
MR. SANT WRITES: I am absolutely opposed to this. The decision to open the floodgates to big box and outlet stores destroyed the prosperity of the thriving small businesses in Bend Oregon in the 1990's. As a small business owner, I struggled through this madness once and would hate to see it infect another small tourism based economy. National chains do not give a sh*t about local businesses (in fact their entire model is based on undercutting local owned shops) and everything from the hardware store and nurseries, to the boutiques and art galleries will fall to the wayside in it's wake. We need to stand up and fight this tooth and nail before it is too late.
“At one point in Tuesday’s discussion, Chair/Supervisor Haschak turned the standard hole-digging cliché upside-down, saying, ‘the last thing you want to do when you’re in a hole is keep digging.’ But that’s basically what they’re doing.”(Mark Scaramella)
I have a different take. There are two basic requirements for cultivating cannabis: 1) county permit, 2) state annual license.
We have a solution to the county license: follow the ordinance, process permits. The pace is purely the result of organization and staffing, both of which are improving.
The state license is more problematic, but it’s not a county obligation. The state requires site specific CEQA. There has been an attempt to characterize elements of the county issued permit as meeting the discretionary review required by state regulation. We are unsure whether this will ultimately work. If it does, it’s a shortcut. If it does not, cultivators will need to perform site specific CEQA analysis, direct to CDFA, with the county playing no role.
No matter what happens with phase 1, the majority of cultivation is stuck in the illicit market. Phase 3 is about furthering the transition to legal market. Phase 3 is based on a model compatible with state licensing requirements. It’s where the county should have started. Doing nothing until the last applicant in phase 1 is fully resolved is not good policy. It would be like holding up all new construction county wide until fire recovery rebuild permits are finalized.
AT LEAST FLOW KANA LIKES IT
To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors,
This memo is in response to agenda item 3a: Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff Regarding the Mendocino Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance, Including Possible Changes to Phase Three.
Flow Cannabis Company, a licensed cannabis distributor and manufacturer based in Redwood Valley, is glad that the BOS is moving forward with the discussion of opening Phase 3. The pathway to licensure for farmers in the county has been difficult, and, for many farmers, off the table, until Phase 3 comes online. However, we do not support delaying the discussion about cultivation in RL zones and the issue of expansion beyond 10,000 SF. Developing the ordinance and then going back to these issues will not only upend the process but will reduce the likelihood of their inclusion. The Board of Supervisors has, on previous occasions, supported cultivation in RL zones and expansion, the only logical plan now, would be to incorporate these components into the ordinance as it is being developed. We also believe that the county should engage in a county wide EIR inclusive of cannabis cultivation in RL zones. This would allow use permits to be administered with a site specific EIR. Understanding that there is a cost associated with a county wide EIR, we hope the county will look for partnerships with the local regulated industry. We are in this together.
Flow Cannabis Company supports an expansion model tied to the land being considered for licensure. The amount of land that can be used for cannabis cultivation should be a % of overall parcel size. This approach is currently be used by other rural counties such as Lake and Sonoma. Regarding cultivation in RL zones, we strongly support allowing RL to a part of the Phase 3 zoning table. Not including RL for new applicants, who may have been cultivating for 3+ years on that land, is unequal protection under the law. People who are already growing on RL but cannot prove cultivation prior to 2016 should not be treated differently under the law than those who can. This opens the county up to a lawsuit that they will likely lose. The reality is that, right now, a lot, if not most of those currently cultivating and hoping to move into the legal program are cultivating on RL. People who need Phase 3 in order to come into the program. Additionally, the BOS just approved hemp cultivation on RL as a row crop. It is the same plant as cannabis, and actually, cannabis cultivation is a cleaner process because of the strict pesticide regulations, which do not exist for hemp. It is silly to think that a plant with less than .3% THC somehow has different environmental impacts than the same plant with more than .3% THC. Supervisor Williams said it eloquently in his Facebook post: “By approving a zoning chart which categorically excludes the bulk of the existing cultivation, local regulation will become the new prohibition, furthering an outlaw model and preventing the application of regulation. It leaves law enforcement with two possibilities: look the other way or bust small family farms. “
Thank you for your consideration,
Amanda Reiman PhD MSW
VP, Community Relations Flow Cannabis Company /Flow Kana
DON’T RUSH INTO PHASE 3 SUPES
I whole heartedly support all MCA comments and recommendations from their prior and October 11, 2020 Memos addressing item 3a and 3b on Tuesday’s agenda.
Although the Board of Supervisors has repeatedly professed to staff and the public that protecting small cannabis farmers and assisting Legacy permittees in securing Annual State Licenses is your highest priority, the past few months have proven otherwise. The Board has approved a Hemp Ordinance with many gaps of information and policy, requiring considerable staff time. Similarly, the current issue of debating Phase 3 and a discretionary use permit program and zoning/use chart revision have also monopolized staff's limited time.
The cannabis community expects the Board to honor your verbal and voted commitment to small farmers. Let me remind you that the Board has previously postponed commencement of Phase 3. There is nothing magical about April 1, 2021 to commence another permitting system, particularly because so many Phase 1 and 2 legacy permittees and provisionally licensed cultivators have no assurance they can continue legal operations in 2022. Staff recognizes that CEQA, as well as resource land policy issues are unresolved and recommends: "To be clear, a deferral from the Board of Supervisors on these items now for the sake of expediency will not preclude their potential addition to the cannabis cultivation program in the future." (Planning & Building Services/PBS 10/13/20 Memo to the Board of Supervisors, page 2, Paragraph 2)
It appears to me that only Supervisor McCowen is heavily invested in opening Phase 3 and expanding permit sizes. His insistence in pushing for staff to "explore" a land use based permit system and "develop an example" of a discretionary land use ordinance has morphed into, "this is the new permit system."
Even after the Cultivation Ad Hoc politely sidestepped Sup. McCowen's request to join their Committee, and the CEO and PBS Staff respectfully requested Sup. McCowen not push for a separate Ad Hoc to analyze a land use permit ordinance, he has persisted. It is not clear whose interests he serves, but certainly not the majority of licensed cultivators and environmentalists.
Repeatedly PBS staff has cautioned the Board that they have no confidence in available and anticipated new staff to organize and digitize existing cannabis program files (approved and directed by the Board), resolve CEQA Appendix G and SSHR and CDFW restrictions, process 800 applications still pending from Phase 1 and 2...and develop a new discretionary use permit system prior to the expiration of State Provisional Licenses on Dec. 31, 2021.
It is logical to step back from the push to open Phase 3, and concentrate County resources on overcoming lingering obstacles to Phase 1 and 2 permittees obtaining Annual Licenses. Only then is another ordinance structure deserving of attention.
Thank you for your consideration.
POT IS AG
Board of Supervisors Mendocino County 501 Low Gap Road Ukiah, CA 95482
RE: Agenda Item 3a for 10/13/20 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff Regarding the Mendocino Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance, Including Possible Changes to Phase Three
Dear Honorable Board of Supervisors:
Thank you for holding this important special meeting and for providing me the opportunity to comment. As most of you may already know, I am not a cannabis cultivator. My involvement in the industry mainly centers on building permit acquisition and guiding applicants through the regulatory system. As has been frequently discussed the current cultivation permitting system (Phase I) is broken. An industry that brings in approximately $5.8 million dollars in revenue annually needs to be recognized and treated as a major component of the Mendocino County economy.
Certainty of government regulation is a critical component for any business to thrive and grow. The certainty of regulation and fees is sorely lacking in Mendocino County’s approach to regulating cannabis cultivation. Metaphors such as “hitting a moving target” and “they keep moving the goal posts” come to mind whenever I try to explain to a client cannabis cultivation regulations or building permit requirements and fees. All too often the answer you get from staff varies depending on who you ask.
I am respectfully requesting that during your deliberations and giving staff direction that you consider the following suggestions.
Declare locally that cannabis is an agricultural crop.
This designation will assist cannabis cultivators with having some exceptions available for the Cal Fire 4290 road standards.
Use the Agricultural Exempt fee that is listed in the county building permit fee schedule for all Agricultural Exempt non-cannabis and cannabis cultivation structures.
Currently staff is charging commercial building permit fees for all Agricultural Exempt buildings including non-cannabis and cannabis cultivation Ag Exempt buildings instead of charging the Agricultural Building Exemption fee that is in the County fee table.
Revise the proposed zoning table to include resource zoned lands
Revise the proposed zoning table to include resource zoned lands. Rangeland (RL), Forestland (FL), and Timber Production Zones (TPZ) should be added to the table. Require that all new cultivation sites within resource lands require a Minor Use Permit (Minor UP) and that all existing sites (with expansion allowed up to 10,000 SF of canopy) require an Administrative Permit (AP).
There are board members that are reluctant to consider cultivation on resource zoned land because of a desire to protect the environment. This is a laudable goal, except that it is myopically focused on cannabis cultivation to the exclusion of concern for the other permitted agricultural uses on resource zoned parcels. If you are going to protest growing a cannabis crop on resource zoned parcels be consistent and protest all other agricultural permitted uses.
Cannabis cultivators must receive approval from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Water Resources Board and Cal Fire to receive a permit to cultivate. These State agencies sole focus is on environmental protection.
Currently the Inland Mendocino County Zoning Ordinance horticulture, row and field crops are permitted uses in Rangland (Mendocino County Code §20.060.10 (D), in Forest Land (Mendocino County Code §20.064.010 (D) and in Timber Production Zone (Mendocino County Code §20.068.005 (C). None of these permitted uses and the other permitted uses in these resource zones are subject to the intense environmental regulation and testing regimens as cannabis.
Thank you very much for your time and kind consideration of these suggestions. Sincerely,
Scott Ward, CBO
BETSY CAWN WRITES: Trying to square your description of the political swingers over your way with what we see from this dusty remove:
“Mendolib runs Mendocino County. They also of course control the innumerable non-profits fastened to the necks of the dependent like mountain tics on dying elk. The local officeholders they’ve foisted off on the unsuspecting Mendo public have, with no exceptions, ranged from the overtly criminal to the grasping incompetent, and the insane.” And, “With Mendolib — about fifty people — it’s solely a matter of getting “our” people into every paid public job in the county. The irony, and these fifty are big time irony-challenged, is that the Democrats haven’t stood for anything since Kennedy (and he was a wobbler), and local Democrats, in my memory, can’t point to a single in-county or NorCal triumph.”
On this side of the Cow, Mendo politics seems dominated by the conservative core represented by District 1 Supervisor Carrie Brown (she sits on our Area Agency on Aging Governing Board — which gives the Older Americans Act short shrift but is legally allowed to do so because our Joint Powers Authority votes to allow the absolute minimum services required (and then neglects its promises in state-approved local plans).
Darling Carrie endorsed Glen McGourty for her seat, and Glen’s voters are the whitey-tighty “leadership” of exploitative agriculture (e.g., the Mayfield enterprises) and water sellers. Brown herself is the patron saint of the new Mendocino Inland Power & Water Commission, which supports the removal of the Scott Dam at Lake Pillsbury — and demonstrates no cognitive capacity in allowing the Humboldt County officials and enviro-whiners to define the dam removal as a sane idea (when that is how the Russian River is continually replenished in the summer, the source of Inland Mendocino and southerly vineyard plantation supplies.
I guess I can agree that they’re all pretty cuckoo, one way or another, but politically powerful? Maybe at sneering and sniping at their emotional “enemies” — and to be sure putting their pet pals into lesser official positions (Richard Shoemaker comes to mind). Somewhere on the outskirts of Mendolib and Mendowrong politics, the misfits and community activists that regularly come to the aid of their neighbors (thinking of all the fire and medical service workers and volunteers) quietly get the work done.
Whereas, over here in flailing Lake County, at least our cannabis permitting process has been well accepted (with obvious renegades and nasty boys, of course). But the booze industry took over a long time ago, because it funds the Chamber of Commerce and dozens of promotional outfits; and our implacable Congressman from Napa humbly serves ravioli at his annual fundraising event.
Maybe I’m out of touch with the scene (as usual, not generally associated with clubs of any kind), but it seems to me that the Redneck Republicans and right-religious frontmen pretty much run this place on both sides of the hill, and they have both county Administrations feathering their beds at every turn.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 14, 2020
KELISHA ALVAREZ, Paraphernalia, fugitive from justice, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ANTONIO CALDERON-ROSAS, Willits. Felon-addict with firearm.
YECSON DELAHERRAN-RIVERA, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MICHELLE FERKLE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, evasion by reckless driving.
ANDRES FUENTES-LUCERO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JAMES HOCKENBERRY, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment.
VICTOR LANDA-PALACIOS, Ceres/Ukiah. Pot transportation, possession for sale, conspiracy.
HARVEY MCCARTY, Ukiah. Trespassing.
ELDON MILLER, Willits. Protective order violation.
BOBBY PARKS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Parole violation.
RANDY PIKE JR., Ukiah. Metal knuckles, controlled substance, parole violation.
CODY WIRT, Fort Bragg. Vandalism, probation revocation.
A BANQUET OF ABUNDANCE
Love in the Time of Covid
by Jake Rohrer
It is the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Laurie and I are sheltering in place at our home, Ulu Loa, in upcountry Maui. The name was gifted to us over 20 years ago by Lei`ohu Ryder, a friend, Hawaiian spiritualist, songwriter and recording artist. Laurie, aka Lolly, is my wife and has served as my anchor and rock for the last three and a half decades, a reciprocal arrangement that keeps us both on course. She has studied Hawaiian culture, language and music for many years. Just about all that I know of things Hawaiian come from my proximity to Laurie. In addition to our self-imposed quarantine-like sheltering, we also take time for an occasional picnic in our own backyard, a pa`ina for two. Ulu Loa interprets as “abundant growth” and pa`ina means “feast” or “banquet.” Hawaiian grammar and linguistics often have broad and multiple meanings. Ululoa (one word) is also the name of a navigation star used by ancient Hawaiian voyagers and pa`ina can also mean “brittle, easily torn.” It's important to pay attention to intention when speaking Hawaiian.
Lolly marked her 73rd orbit around the star that brings life to our planet in May and I greeted my 77th year of this lifetime in August, in annual orbit, of course, of the same radiant star. Nothing quite like this pandemic has ever occurred in our lifetimes. I will spare you the staggering numbers and comparisons, in America and world-wide, but if you're interested, Google will bring them to your computer screen, as it has to mine, in a moment's beckoning (651,000,000 results in 0.84 seconds). What a world we live in.
We will remain hunkered down here on the slopes of Haleakala so long as this is what it takes to fulfill our duty to our community, our families, and to each other. It's been this way for many months now, with us venturing into town only to restore food supplies and necessities, taking all due precautions against infection, giving or getting. Now and then we also venture into the nearby forest, Kahakapao. It is said that the ancient Hawaiians came here to find the largest trees for the construction of their voyaging canoes, a process that took years to complete for each tree harvested. After they were felled, the huge trunks were partially hollowed with stone axes called an adz and then buried to cure, maybe for a year, then unearthed, hollowed further, and dragged to the the next staging area where the process was repeated until they finally reached the ocean, a monumental task that could take several years for a single trunk to be ready for the construction stage. Kahakapao interprets, roughly, as “a scraping or hollowing out, as with an adz.” I am reminded of those ancient Polynesians on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) who quarried the mega-ton stone monoliths and somehow got them to the shore and stood them upright, a similar massive chore, aided only with stone tools. “How'd you like to set them chokers, Luke?” asks the muse.
It is to Kahakapao we go to immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of the landscape and the endless variety of things that grow there. Large trail-side boulders glow in various shades of green, provided by lichen, moss and fungal growth. A vast field of kupukupu ferns covers a whole hillside while fragrant flowering kahili ginger fills an entire gulch just below. Countless towering trees provide an umbrella-like canopy that shades visitors from a tropical sun. Laurie calls such exploration “forest bathing,” feeling cleansed from the experience.
Ulu Loa feels safe, our home and sanctuary. Peace, beauty, and shelter is what you get here. Several acres of (indeed) abundant growth, private and productive, produce a robust work schedule into which Laurie excels and from which I sometimes cringe. Absence of social interaction leaves plenty of time for remembrance and reflection, of our lives, our country, and of each other. What other events occurring in our lifetime vie with this? Only in terms of sorrow, a universal emotion applicable to a singular or all-encompassing event, do any come to mind; of these there are many. Along with the politics of an election year, the evening news features breadlines and food banks with miles of cars waiting in line. Similar lines of people are seen awaiting service at employment offices or a test for the covid virus, images of our country during this pandemic. I have a preference for the stark black & white photos of the Great Depression, dust-bowl refugees, and rampant poverty of other times. I find that they do a better job than the TV news of making it personal, of putting the viewer into the picture. As western states suffer the worst wildfires in recent history and the country suffers through social and racial division, much of it engineered by our would-be leader, I wonder: do we have enough sorrow to go around? Have we lived through any year at all that competes with 2020 in terms of social disarray, natural disasters, sickening political theater, and economic turmoil, all encompassed within a world-wide pandemic?
This is a poor time to be absent leadership and heroes. Where are the invincibles, the Roosevelts, Churchills or Kennedys, those with the strength of character of a Lincoln or Washington? Where is the bold legislation, the Five Year Plans and New Deals, designs for a future? To whom does this lonely nation now turn? To whomever, the search will likely include women. So many of the male politicians and others of their ilk are such terrific assholes. Haven't we had enough of pasty white men modeling their suits and neckties as they wallow in grandiosity and self- importance?
As we await the emergence of the noble character we long to see in our leaders, Laurie and I turn to one another and to Ulu Loa. We embrace all that we see and give thanks for our abundant good fortune, health, and all that we still feel for each other. Our bodies continue to age and feature all that that implies, but if there is an upside, a silver lining to this pandemic, then let it be these months of isolation with one another. To remember what it is like to simply be ourselves, together, without distraction. To reach back and remember that special time when, dumbstruck and amazed, I found myself walking on air, adrift and giddy, and a great revelation flooded my consciousness: love is a crazy thing, an unbidden intoxication that sneaks up on you and happens of its own volition, even when you're trying to avoid it. Recalling Laurie's confession in anticipation of a first date: “ ... good God, don't let me fall in love with him—maybe he smokes—I could never be with a smoker.” Then learning that love can extinguish bad habits at the drop of a hat. Taking the time to discover with awe-inspiring certainty that the light shining from our eyes today is that of the love we first seeded all those years ago, able yet to delight one another with who we were, with who we are. Who would've guessed a pandemic could bring such renewal of discovery and joy? With a nod of thanks to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it feels like this must be Love in the Time of Covid.
It came to me like a lightning bolt, a sudden disclosure of a great secret: that writing can be a joyful endeavor. What a surprise. Only those who write, I suppose, share this discovery. I was inspired by this joy to think that one day I would write a book, even if not a prize winner—the joy is in the journey. And I did. And it did, too (win a prize), though nothing close to those awards endorsed by lofty literary establishments. Nonetheless, together with the laurels of an award presentation, a thousand US dollars in grand prize money and a jubilant banquet (how appropriate) hosted by our good friend Ed Olson, it felt like validation. Somebody, other than my personal friends and supporters, found value in what I had to say, or maybe just in the way I said it. I call it Volume 1 of my “Banquet” series, a memoir largely about consequences. To some extent it deals with what can come of defective choices and decisions, reckless risk taking, drug taking, failure to see a picture in its entirety when the whole thing is right in front of you, and so forth. It also includes a lot of personal history so that a reader might gather a better understanding of the writer who is talking to them.
A memoir is a non-fiction account, as true as you can make it, of events or a period of time in your own life. It also serves as a personal confrontation and a form of therapy for the writer, a road map of the reality you have created. The important part becomes recognition of the responsibility for that reality. The therapy will only be as good as the honesty you bring to the writing. Be a forgiving soul, especially of yourself. Like the physician: heal thyself; or the writer: confront thyself.
A word about taking responsibility: some 40 years ago, on a dare (a challenge, really), wandering aimlessly in a particularly fragile period of my existence, I was talked into subjecting myself to Werner Erhard's “est” training, buying into the idea that I would not otherwise be a complete and confident human being until I “get it.” What I learned (“got”) from the training was the concept of taking responsibility for my own reality, that I and no one else was responsible for its existence. Avoid being a victim. Understand that hard work, application, and keen vision are sometimes required. And similar abstract ideals.
The training took place over several days and consumed consecutive weekends throughout which trainees were compelled to be viceless and watchless (no time pieces allowed during the training). Trainees were also required to adhere to notoriously infrequent bathroom breaks while the training was in session. As I recall, we even signed contracts agreeing to various rules and absolutely no intoxicants, booze or drugs and the like, and punctual, responsible attendance. The est training required serious attention to matters at hand.
As the training came to its end, reaching a grand finale and crescendo of enthusiasm by the two hundred or so attendees, the big secret that had been reserved for this moment was finally shared in the form of a question: “... did you get it?” Many seemed to reach a state of ecstasy as they assimilated this question into all they had learned, a crowning jewel to assist their elevation to a higher plane of existence, that of an est graduate. Some, however, were bewildered and wondered, “ … get what?” A few wanted their money back. I thought of Arlo Guthrie sitting on the Group W bench in his profound and hilarious anti-war master work, “Alice's Restaurant.” I said to myself, “I didn't get nothing. I had to pay four hundred dollars and hold back my pee 'til it hurt.” Arlo, too, didn't get nothing but had to pay only fifty dollars and pick up the garbage, able to pee freely, we assume, as need would arise.
It took me a couple of years and a Federal prison sentence to understand that, yes, I “got it.” I will be a stronger, happier, and more confident person when I take responsibility for my reality and understand that it comes from my own hand and creation. No whining. No assigning blame elsewhere, not even to rats, snitches and informants. Accept the responsibility handed you. This becomes especially significant when you can examine your circumstance and surroundings, and tell yourself with all honesty and understanding: “I put those prison walls there.” The est trainers, capable, convincing and confident, also wanted me to understand that my responsibility includes such events as carelessly stepping in dogshit, at which I was to smile and revel in my understanding of responsibility for the event and outcome.
As simple as it all might sound, the difficulty comes in integrating these beliefs into your life, like breathing, having it become an autonomous part of your nature. It's easier when you don't consciously try to do it. Some things like, say, an investment portfolio, perform best when simply left alone. The dividends will happen (or not) without your meddling. You applied your keen eye, experience and able judgment to the matter before purchase, did you not? If Mr. Erhard had something in mind beyond these concepts for me to “get” from his training, then I no doubt failed, although I do think my bullshit detectors came away with a sharper edge, honed to a higher sheen and polish.
Case in point: our president. So difficult to ignore this certified con man and journeyman fool. From the beginnings of his public onslaught, his character and behavior have been transparent to me. Though perhaps it validates my thinking, I don't think that I needed his niece's book and professional diagnoses to define his glaring deficits. He does a fine job of showcasing all of that on a daily basis, all by himself. My detectors scanned this man as a towering pinnacle of bullshit, incapable when it comes to truth, honor, empathy, or benevolence, lacking grace in all things, including his golf swing. How can anyone who pays the slightest attention to personal character or national affairs not know, for certain and beyond doubt, that we saddled ourselves and our country with a fatally malignant president, a commander in chief who desecrates the military under his command, in word and in deed, and steadfastly refuses to take responsibility for anything except a circumstance in which he can claim, distort and otherwise use to make himself look (to his toadies and believers) other than flaccid. His inability to formulate a response to the coronavirus and recognize the reality of its deadly, runaway-train nature has resulted in a national medical catastrophe, the trashing of the economy, and the deaths of tens of thousands. Why on earth would this sad and defective individual aspire to the office that requires acceptance of more responsibility, his personal anathema, than any other on the planet? His failure to take responsibility for his office and sworn duty paints him weak and feeble, a small man running from things that scare him.
It is a rare circumstance for me to be this critical of another human being, however, I believe he intentionally goes all out to create this sort of reaction from his detractorsbecause it serves to further divide us and provides a food-source for his base. Losers and suckers? You bet. Unfortunately, the country is full of them. They are the followers, believers and enablers of this walking nightmare of a man. Calling them deplorable is being kind.
Lolly is a term of endearment I've bestowed on my wife who also serves as my conduit to the outside world. Others have life-like new-age computer programs they converse with. The programs have seductive voices and answer to names like Siri or Alexa. Owners of these digital slaves can direct questions and demands, even rudeness, at them. You would be well advised not to direct any rudeness at Lolly.
She greets each day an hour or so before I am upright and scans the internet, including a few newspapers, for things that interest her, noting various items she thinks might be of interest to me. She might also look at the weather report in Athens, and on Crete, and check into places we or she have included in recent travels—Provence, Northern Greece and Portugal—so very thankful today for having done so just ahead of the pandemic. A year earlier, I stayed home while Lolly, a born traveler, visited some of the smaller Tahitian islands and Africa. She never fails to bring home a lasting piece of her travels, usually leaving something of value behind. She likes to travel with a companion ukulele, known as a “ little guitar” in Africa (donated to a girl's school in Kenya) and a “kamaka” in French Polynesia, even if it's a Martin. She knows what goes on in Hilo and Honolulu, whether or not strife continues in Nairobi or if the government still stands in Uganda, all places where she has personal history and connection. She knows which Hawaiian recording artist may have released a new CD, and the latest acts of buffoonery committed in our national capitol. She also knows that I might find too much information coming at me first thing in the morning confusing, if not an assault, and saves some items gleaned on my behalf for later. I go off to make my coffee secure in the knowledge that she would alert me to anything that needed my attention without the asking. Exceptionally bright and capable, I find great comfort in our marriage and a lasting beauty in her person, confident that no one could program a computer to compete with the real thing. Other than the cost to humanity, her biggest worry about this pandemic is that it will, for some unknown period of time, prevent her from traveling to places that call to her.
In the meantime there is Ulu Loa, plantings to be tended and bounty to be harvested. As we begin to remember who we are and what we're about, there is a country to be rehabilitated and a way of life to be preserved.
Volume 2 of the Banquet series, the Banquet of Abundance, will eventually take its form in a collection of bits and pieces, sewn together catch-as-catch-can, as best that I can, one can, toucan, beer-can, garbage can, pelican, his beak holds more than his belly can, and I kick the can down the road as Ella Fitzgerald sings “…she certainly can, can-can,” on my cerebral radio.
I seek your forgiveness for this little “can” exercise. The Banquet of Abundance is also meant to celebrate a little silliness, sometimes an effective balm against the hard and stark reality we currently encounter on a daily basis. Further thoughts and events that have transpired in this boy's life are forthcoming. I am of course a late term septuagenarian but one who also thinks of himself in terms of always being that boy he remembers so well.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Thank God the election is in three weeks. Nobody knows what will happen after that. Here are some possibilities:
1. The Dems win the White House and the Senate, thus controlling everything. Look for a lot of crazy Dem political shenanigans. The Supreme Court gets packed with Dem lawyers. The Barr-Durham (B-D) Investigations get shut down.
2. The Dems win either the White House or Congress, but not both. Bi-partisan fighting insures nothing gets done.
3. Trump wins and Republicans re-capture the House and keep the Senate. Finally, we’ll see the real Trump. The Supreme Court remains conservative. B-D investigations continue and the seditionists get what’s coming to them.
4. The Republicans win the presidency or Congress, but not both. The same results as #2.
5. A Black Swan event or events occur. Many possibilities. Use your imagination.
THOMAS & ALITO RAISE SAME SEX MARRIAGE DOUBTS
Letter to Editor of NY Times:
Dear Justices Thomas and Alito:
You are the ones stigmatizing people of faith. Since when does religious freedom apply only to a subset of Christians?
I am a religious Jew, but I don’t expect others to be prohibited from eating cheeseburgers or working on Jewish holidays. Likewise, no one is forcing Christians to have abortions or get married to someone of the same sex. They even have the benefit of Christmas being a national holiday.
The Supreme Court is responsible for protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans, even the ones who do not share the personal faith of its justices. Please don’t abandon the rest of us.
Dory Dan dead. Dory Dan est mort.
What I heard: Dory Dan's house burned down Sunday night with him in it.
He was a gruff gravelly shouter, because of near deafness, with a heart of gold. He'd help anybody. A woman who prefers to remain anonymous -- and I never understand that, but whatever -- told me about how when she fled here with her kids circa early 1970s after escaping her husband's attempt to kill her, she was constructing a shelter in the woods out of available detritus, like a scout, you know, and Dory Dan appeared out of the mist and suggested at top volume that she just use a tarp. "HOW MUCH MONEY YA GOT," he shouted. She said, "Fifty-two dollars." He shouted, "JUST GO GET A TARP."
He lived for a long time on a houseboat of his own construction on the Albion River, but don't get him confused for Houseboat Eric. Houseboat Eric lived on Big River.
One time in the lobby of the theater Dory Dan shouted to me instructions on how to make a welder out of leftover house wiring, jumper cables and an old clothes iron, in case you ever need to weld something and don't have welding apparatus. "THE IRON IS THE CURRENT LIMITING RESISTOR," he said. "BUT YA GOTTA BE CAREFUL 'CAUSE IT'S ONE-TEN VOLTS."
When Dreama Blankenbeckler's son Jonah was a little boy Dory Dan took him out to catch his first fish. Apparently that was a thing he did -- took small kids out to catch their first fish.
That's it. That's what I've got. If you have a Dory Dan story of your own, I'd like it for the radio Friday night, please. Start anywhere.
— Marco McClean
THE TORTURED TRIAL OF JULIAN ASSANGE
Most people might be excused for not knowing it, because the story is mainly ignored, or is shamelessly misreported in the corporate media when it does get any attention. A courageous Australian journalist, abandoned by his own country, is being railroaded by a British court towards extradition to the US where he could face life in prison in solitary confinement for the “crime of espionage”—exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.