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Mendocino County Today: February 28, 2012

STOP THE PRESSES! From Monday's Press Democrat: “Lady Gaga spotted in Sonoma, Geyserville.” Ho hum. I see Gagas of both sexes every day right here in Boonville.

THE YUROK TRIBE’S Forestry Director and two Eureka biologists are suspected of embezzling $900,000 for spotted owl research, according to a story in Sunday's Eureka Times-Standard. The scheme allegedly had then tribal Forestry Director Roland Raymond's submitting false invoices to the Yurok Tribe on behalf of Sean McAllister and Ron LeValley, of Mad River Biologists. The Tribe complained to the Del Norte District Attorney's Office in October that equipment Raymond had supposedly purchased for McAllister and LeValley could not be found. “At least $870,000 of the embezzled funds are specifically related to the spotted owl project,” stated Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander. The DA's search warrant, filed last Thursday, indicates there are Yurok Tribe checks cashed by McAllister, receipts of large cash withdrawals, transfers to LeValley's personal account and checks sent from LeValley to Raymond. The biologists were to do survey work on the northern spotted owl on tribal land, but the work was never done, the DA said. He also said the case caught the attention of the US Attorney's Office, as it involves the theft of federal funds. McAllister was arrested Thursday afternoon while LeValley turned himself in Thursday night. Raymond is being sought. He was named the Yurok Tribe's “Director of the Year” in 2009.

A READER WRITES: “15-20 years ago the average American made the choice to drive huge vehicles that got very low mileage instead of smaller, fuel efficient vehicles like a Pious, I mean Prius. For example, when I still lived in NorCal, I drove a Honda Civic that got 35+ mpg, and only filled up the tank every two weeks. OK, I had a very short in-town commute. But I was talking with a F-250 owner at the gas station one time and he filled his truck twice a week, and bitched about the cost. When I asked him if he actually needed or used the huge truck in his line of work, the answer was ‘No,’ he just drove it because ‘it was comfortable and he liked that he could “look down” on the other cars.’ When I suggested he try a Civic, he looked at me like I had suddenly developed Tourette’s Syndrome, or had threatened to emasculate him. Yes, it's the Choices we Made. And we can't un-make them now; it’s too late. So now, many of the choices we could have made that would have left us with some control over our lives are instead being made by forces outside our control. So I say tough shit to all those driving huge, fuel-inefficient vehicles, you made that choice, you are just going to have to live with it. If you had been smart, and made a different choice, perhaps you wouldn't be making the choice of filling the tank and eating dog food, or having steak for dinner and waiting till next week to put some gas in the Pious.”

STATE SENATOR Noreen Evans has endorsed Stacey Lawson for Congress. If you came in late, or tend not to pay attention to Northcoast politics, candidate Lawson is a multi-millionaire, complete with her own guru, who has decided she should represent the 2nd Congressional District, which extends from Marin County north to the Oregon border. Lawson moved to San Rafael from San Francisco three years ago. She made a lot of dough fiddling with computer programs or something and, like a lot of rich people, soon concluded that because she's rich she should be running everything. Congressman Corktop, by the way, is running next door in another reconfigured district now called the 1st Congressional District, heavy on the wine business, which is Corktop's primary funder. What's interesting about Ms. Lawson’s belated entry into the race is that prominent Democrats are clearly unhappy with the perceived Demo frontrunner, Jared Huffman, presently sitting as a State Assemblyman out of Marin. Former Congressman Bosco and now Evans have jumped on the Lawson bandwagon. Congressman Corktop and career officeholder Wes Chesbro have announced for Huffman as Northcoast progs line up behind Norman Solomon. Senator Evans says of Ms. Lawson, “Stacey Lawson’s real-world experience as an educator and small business advocate is exactly what we need to help create good jobs on the North Coast and throughout America. I have been very impressed with her understanding of how to create jobs, respect for the environment and willingness to fight for middle-class families. Please join me in supporting Stacey Lawson for Congress.”

NOTHING PERSONAL, NOREEN, but going from Corktop to Lawson wouldn't even be a lateral political move. Even Corktop came out last week for some FDR-like federal spending projects that would truly employ people on the scale and rates of pay that people need to be employed at. The destruction of the Northcoast's timber-based economy, and the living wage jobs that went with it, was destroyed by cash and carry corporations as Democrat officeholders looked benignly on. What we have now is a straight-up oligarchy with one-party sponsorship, and a forthcoming election between two heads of one bought-off coin. Lawson will get the comfortable lady vote, the women who think it's really, really important to staff the Titanic with women, but outside the comfort zone there's no enthusiasm for any candidate anywhere except maybe the mean and stupid people who think Gingrich or Santorum is the way forward.

CONGRESSIONAL Candidate John Lewallen Meets Shelter Cove Residents March 3. Contact: John Lewallen (707)895-2996. “Congressional candidate John Lewallen invites the public to meet with him in Shelter Cove in a series of informal meetings and chats on Saturday, March 3. “I’ll be meeting the Mosquito Fleet of hook-and-line fishermen who are in danger of losing fishing rights in the government-corporate drive to eliminate local ocean food providers. Shelter Cove public officials and residents are scheduled to inform and question me on government funding for all local services. I’ll bring the information I get in this small rural community into shaping congressional policy,” states Lewallen. To schedule a meeting with John Lewallen in Shelter Cove on March 3, contact Sue Sack at (707)986-1639.”

THE INTERNATIONAL Film Festival’s post-Festival Tour continues in Ukiah this Friday, March 2 with a showing of the “Best of Festival” winner, “Echo: An Unforgettable Elephant,” along with the short film, “My Pantanal.” The films take place at the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Ave. The evening begins with live music at 6:20, followed by the films at 7. “Echo: An Unforgettable Elephant” is a celebration of the life and legacy of Echo, the world’s most famous elephant, who was born in 1945 and died in 2009, and whom the BBC’s “Natural World” production crew followed for the last 20 years of her life. This is a film for all elephant lovers that shares the deep bonds within a family of elephants and those people privileged to know them. The film begins as we witness Echo’s death from old age and then reflects upon Echo’s skill over the years as the leader of her band of relatives and descendants. This wise old matriarch had guided her family for half a century. Her 38-strong band must now use Echo’s life’s lessons to continue to face Africa’s challenges. Also playing: “My Pantanal.” “My Pantanal” is a short film about a boy named Aerenilso, who lives on a ranch in the Pantanal, the world's largest and wildest wetland, in Brazil. Aerenilso shows us what it is like to be a pantanero (a cowboy) and raise cattle in an incredible landscape that is teeming with wildlife, including the beautiful and mysterious jaguar. Jaguars have typically been hunted by people who are trying to protect their cows, but Aerenilso's ranch is different. He lives on a conservation ranch where the scientists and pantaneros are working together to show that ranching and jaguars can coexist in this magical place. Tickets are available at the Mendocino Book Company or at the door. Suggested donations are $50 for a series ticket, or $10/adults and $5/children for individual tickets. Proceeds benefit the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP), a community-supported program of the Ukiah Unified School District providing outdoor environmental education to over 2,000 students each year. For more information about the RVOEP and a full film festival schedule please visit

THE FIRST FRIDAY of every month MCTV (Mendocino Coast TV) sets up our studio for non-profits and community groups to make a short (30 sec to 2 min) video announcement that will be aired on MCTV and will be available to the group making the announcement to put on their web page, facebook, etc. You can see samples of some of these at Contact us at, or 961-1127 to make an appointment for March 2. The appointments are 30 minutes long- giving enough time to each person/group if people come prepared.

A YOUNG VENTRILOQUIST was touring Sweden and, one night, doing a show in a small fishing town. With his dummy on his knee, he started going through some of his standard dumb blonde jokes. Suddenly, a blonde woman in the fourth row stood on her chair and started shouting: “I've heard enough of your stupid blonde jokes. What makes you think you can stereotype Swedish blonde women that way? What does the color of a woman's hair have to do with her worth as a human being? It's men like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in the community, and from reaching our full potential as people. It's people like you who make others think that all blondes are dumb! You and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against, not only blondes, but women in general; pathetically, all in the name of humor!” The stunned ventriloquist started to apologize, but the blonde interrupted and screamed: “You stay out of this! I'm talking to that little shit on your lap.”

ARE YOU AS NOSTALGIC as I am for the days when job meant work? A specific task you got paid to do? Anything from, say, coal mining to convenience store clerk, that particular job being the most dangerous job in America, statistically considered. Even writing for a newspaper or editing one is generally considered labor. After all, you gotta come up with a work product every week and a certain number of people have to buy it to keep the newspaper limping along. So, we're sitting around the other day trying to figure out how many Mendo people draw attractive money doing nothing at all. There's a small army of them. Put work hour video cameras on MCOE's Paul Tichinin at $120,000 a year, or Bruce Richard at the Mendocino Transit Authority, $90,000, or Anne Molgaard at First Five, another $90,000, the three most egregious cases we can think of, and you'd find Tichinin and Richard doing absolutely nothing while Ms. Molgaard would be sitting in a circle with a dozen other Nice Ladies chatting about their “visions" of this, that and the other thing, their primary “vision” being how to rake off a nice hunk of the cigarette tax money for themselves to administer programs that allegedly do nice things for the children of the poor. But, but… But why not set aside the cig money in an educational trust for these children who, against all the odds, make it all the way to 18 and want to go to college? Because you'd throw a bunch of Nice People out of work, that's why. And you've got those other non-profit rake-off artists at Redwood Children's Services and Tapestry, taking their annual whacks at funding for that special category of doomed American child, the one being raised by the government, with the Nice People fastened on that kid's funding like a Kalimantan leech until he's 18 when he gets a Safeway shopping cart, a big huggsie wuggsie and a gentle but final shove out the door. Where would Mendocino County be without all these Nice People doing all this good? Which reminds me, whatever happened to Mendo Futures? Did it ever get past its Vision Statement?

IT’S NICE if the work you can swing

requires that you only bring

miscellaneous moochers

to Mendo Futures.

Then sit and do absolutely nothing.


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