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Mendocino County Today: January 29, 2012

FOOTNOTE to the County’s elimination of the permit and fee portions of the 9.31 program under threats from US attorney’s office to County Counsel Jeanine Nadel. When members of the public asked what the rush was to scrap 9.31, County Counsel Nadel confirmed that the California Supreme Court had decided to review the “Pack” decision. The Pack decision says that  local jurisdictions can't “permit” a federally illegal substance, but the High State Court’s decision to review it nullifies it until the review. Although Ms. Nadel has refused to describe exactly what kind of threat the feds made the threat was made in person from the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco via a letter in which it was clear by Nadel’s answer that whatever the feds said, the County had to remove the permit and fee portions of the Mendo ordinance in a hurry or suffer some kind of serious action by the feds. We think the big hurry-up occurred because the feds either threatened to arrest the Sheriff and the Supervisors or threatened to sue Mendocino County to get the more than half a million dollars the County made selling pot permits last year.

ANGELA PINCHES, the daughter of 3rd District supervisor Johnny Pinches has been charged with "possessing marijuana for sale and maintaining a place for cultivation." Ms. Pinches’ bust occurred in September when first the Sheriff's Department, then the Drug Task Force raided her Redwood Valley home. She was not arrested on either occasion. The two raids got gleeful attention on the front pages of the two area dailies out of Santa Rosa and Ukiah, as has the announcement that the DA will now play Let's Make A Deal with Ms. Pinches, meaning he will settle her case in a plea deal for “eradication fees.” Under this approach to pot cases the defendant gets the charges reduced to a misdemeanor and the DA gets the fine. Under the previous DA, lots of these cases were going before juries and the DA was losing them and, in the process, the DA was losing large amounts of public money pursuing them. DA Eyster's strategy of keeping pot cases out of court as he settles for fines is a win-win all round, although the bustee probably grumbles at the amount of cash he or she is out. But he or she would grumble even more if he or she got state prison time, not that many have out of Mendocino County lately. Supervisor Pinches is for marijuana legalization. His public stance for legalization, and law enforcement's long-time suspicion that Pinches himself grows the love drug at his Laytonville ranch, has gotten him and his family extraordinary attention from law enforcement. The supervisor told the AVA recently that he has also been subjected to numerous IRS audits which found nothing of suspicion but cost the supervisor a large amount of money in accountant and legal fees. The county's cultivation ordinance at the time of Ms. Pinches' two visits from the forces of law and order, permitted marijuana collectives and cooperatives to buy permits from the Sheriff's Office to grow up to 99 plants per parcel. Angela Pinches told the police she'd intended to join a collective but hadn't gotten around to it. She's due in court the 22nd of February, but don't expect to see her there; she'll pay the restitution pay and take a misdemeanor.

WE WERE STARTLED to hear that "the following cases were heard in Ten Mile Court. Monday, Jan. 23 Presiding: Visiting Judge, The Honorable Galen Hathaway.” Hathaway's 80 if he's a day and goes back to the Little Lake Judicial District, Willits, not that age should disqualify him. But Mendocino County has eight superior court judges and a magistrate. Six of the superior court judges are active while two seats remain vacant. Yet here's Hathaway picking up a fat supplement to an already fat retirement check by sitting in as a “visiting judge” in Fort Bragg. And over in Ukiah we've got Leonard LaCasse sitting as a visiting judge. So where are our six judges at a time where there are fewer court cases being filed because Eyster is setting a lot of pot cases before they get to court? Mendocino County has a small army of retired judges serving as visiting judges all over the state, working as they choose for the big bucks.

NEXT WEEK, it will be announced that an Anderson Valley woman has been arrested for embezzling some $27,000 from the local PTA, which is all the money the PTA had in its account.

A PRESS RELEASE from the Green Party says Joe Louis Hoffman, lately known as Joe Louis Wildman, “is hosting a training for all activists who want to help us register 100,000 new Green Party members in California in 24 months. Green Party leaders from across Northern Ca plan to attend. We hope you will join us.”

ANYBODY WHO THINKS Hoffman-Wildman is working for the Green Party either suffers from amnesia or doesn't know his first allegiance is to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. This guy lives in Potter Valley. A few years ago, he sabbed John Lewallen's run for Governor as a Green just as David Cobb was selling out Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader via the “safe state” strategy promoted by Democrats who wanted to keep any challenge from the left out of states where Kerry could be harmed in his run against Bush. Hoffman-Wildman wants 100,000 dupes to register to vote as Greens or whatevers so they can vote to re-elect the disastrous Obama. The Greens are pathetic anyway and might as well simply rejoin the Democrats, but Hoffman-Wildman is no Green. He also got us the two worst supervisors in Mendocino County history by working overtime to twice elect David Colfax and Kendall Smith to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Anybody who signs up for this so-called registration training is a SAP.

THE LAWS are a Gordian Knot

Contradictions: There are a lot.

What’s legal today

If you comply and pay

Tomorrow’s just more outlaw pot


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