LEONARD CIRINO has died. Leonard, the well-known Albion poet, had suffered from cancer, and passed away two weeks ago in Springfield, Oregon where he'd lived for the past ten years.
THE FATAL 2010 shooting of Shane Michael Hutchins by Deputy Jason Cox was “objectively reasonable,” District Attorney David Eyster announced Monday. Hutchins, 32, was being sought for a six-month crime spree that included rape, assault, kidnapping, burglary, and auto theft in Mendocino, Lake and Kern counties. Hutchins had spent most of his adult life in prison. He was shot by Cox in Fort Bragg when, trapped at the back door of the home where he'd been hiding, Hutchins, according to Cox, had reached into his waistband as if for a weapon, at which point Cox shot him. Hutchins turned out not to be armed, but police had been advised that he'd told family and friends that he would not be returned to prison and probably was armed.
A USEFUL PROTEST convened at the Mendocino County Administration Building Monday morning reminded homeowners to scrutinize their deeds of trust for “ falsified and fraudulent filings by banks,” in the words of Susan Nutter, one of the demonstrators quoted in a Ukiah Daily Journal story on the protest. It isn't as well known as it should be, but many foreclosures have been based on flawed or falsified documents.
GOLDILOCKS, the update. And not a particularly encouraging update, truth be told as it always must. Several callers said they'd seen Miss Audet in the Fort Bragg-Cleone area and in Mendocino. Informed that the Boonville newspaper was both curious and concerned about her, Miss Audet declined the offer of a loaned cell phone to ring us up. Which doesn't surprise us because her affairs are absolutely none of our business, and only the public's business when she is arrested. And she's been arrested for varieties of drunk in public an awful lot for a person her age, which is only 22. She was jailed in Mendocino County for the first time when she was 19. She's living awfully hard for a kid. One caller said Miss Audet was now living with a “dirtbag” on Babcock Lane, Fort Bragg, which at least gets her out of the rain but is unlikely to help her in any other way, and may further imperil her. The dirtbag certainly looks like a dirtbag, but who can tell anymore what a person is really like from appearances, what with the whole country looking like a costume ball of the joyless type. Maybe Mr. Bag, even if he looks like a cannibal, took the girl in out of some residual humanitarian instinct, but my advice to you Miss Audet is run don't walk from Babcock Lane. From the many calls we've received about Miss Audet it's encouraging that we aren't the only people uneasy about her well-being.
A PHOTO OF SHERIFF ALLMAN appeared on the cover of the Sunday Chron's Insight section. A wanted poster of the late Aaron Bassler was prominent in the photo's forefront. Inside, was a lengthy discussion of Laura's Law, which would provide community-based, assisted outpatient treatment for the most volatile individuals loose at any one time in a county jurisdiction. Agitation for Mendocino County to adopt Laura's Law began with the Bassler affair, and has since spread to the Bay Area where a schizophrenic young man recently beat a senior citizen to death with garden planter in the senior's driveway. The kid had been dangerously off for years but, like Bassler, there was nothing for him in the way of help. But the problem with Laura's Law, as we see it, is that it leaves out the basic reality that seriously disturbed persons, as we used to understand in this country, have to first be sequestered in lock-up facilities before they can even begin to be re-tooled. If, they can be re-tooled. Simply making it the law that a crazy person must report for therapy will not work. Which is why Sheriff Allman, and sheriffs everywhere in the land, must devote a good part of their jails to caring for the mentally ill, and the cops will be the first to say that jails are not a good place for disturbed people. At some point, this state will have to revive the state hospital system. The old state hospital at Talmage was always available to local patients, and what a boon it would be to Mendocino County today if it still existed. The old assumption was that persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves were compelled to a state hospital facility. What happened to that one?
SPEAKING OF MENTAL ILLNESS, the Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet next Wednesday, March 21st, 7-9pm at the Moura Senior Complex, 400 South Street, Fort Bragg. Info at 707 321-2592.
FORT BRAGG'S CV Starr Aquatic Center has been saved. The lavish $24 million swimming pool and exercise facility was established out of a bequest by a wealthy benefactor but had proved to be more expensive to operate than its subsequent income could cover. The Center had been closed for a month pending Tuesday's special election that saw Fort Bragg voters approve, by a large margin, to raise the town's sales tax by a half cent to support the Center. Two-thirds of the vote is required to pass any tax measure, and this one came in at around 75% with 1,272 in favor, 437 opposed. The half-cent will provide an estimated $700,000 annually for the Center which, along with its ordinary income from admissions and memberships, should put Starr well into the annual black.
BILLY NORBURY was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday, but the prelim has been put over while Norbury's freshly appointed attorney, Al Kubanis, familiarizes himself with the case. Norbury, 33, is charged with murder with a special allegation that he used a gun in the January 28th shooting death of his neighbor, Jamal Andrews, 30. A popular reggae musician raised in Laytonville, Andrews was black, Norbury is white. Andrews' many friends claim that Norbury shot Andrews because Andrews was black, a claim DA David Eyster says the evidence does not support. The two men had been neighbors in Redwood Valley.
THE AVA RECENTLY asked that the DA's office give us access to the files on the Fort Bragg Fires of 1987. DA spokesman Mike Geniella replied that the files are not where they should be, stored in the DA's office. But some of us will recall that the feds turned over all their work on the case to then-DA Susan Massini who let the statute run so no charges were ever brought. If Massini took those files when she left office because they contained information embarrassing to her, she is guilty of a crime. If she took them just to take them, she's still guilty of a crime and should be indicted. We think there was more than enough evidence to charge the persons responsible for torching the old Fort Bragg Library, the Piedmont Hotel and the Ten Mile Justice Court all in one brazen night, but Massini, for whatever reason, never brought the charges. We're determined to find out exactly why the evidence is gone. We've also approached the FBI and the ATF for their records on the case. As a first step, we will be making a formal request for the missing records from DA David Eyster. Stay tuned.
SPEAKING of the DA, we got a chuckle out of his recent recommendation that despite the fed's zero tolerance marijuana policy, and a federal warning to Mendocino County that it better get out of the dope biz, local growers should continue to buy zip ties from the County because, if they do get raided, their zip ties will win them at least the possibility of lenient treatment. Which kinda smacks of a protection racket, but.....
BUT WHEN'S THE LAST TIME you heard of a District Attorney anywhere who personally devoted an afternoon to scouring an empty lot for a robbery victim's house and car keys? Eyster did that and he didn't get out a press release announcing it either. Most public officials buy a box of Girl Scout cookies and here comes the press release complete with a photo commemorating the grand purchase. We heard about Eyster's key search when it came up in court the other day. We also fully support the DA's cash and carry pot policies. If dope is our largest cash crop, and it obviously is, at least Eyster is getting Mendocino County a tiny cut of the millions the industry generates. Too bad he can't shake down all of them.
LOTS OF LOCAL FISHERMEN oppose “offshore marine parks” or, as they are also called, “marine protected areas,” but a just released environmental impact report says the fisheries, allowed to rest, will return to full productivity if the set asides become actual. A public hearing for the EIR, commissioned by the Fish and Game Commission, will be held Tuesday, March 20, from 6:30 to 8pm at Fort Bragg Town Hall. The monster document is on-line at Fish and Game’s website and at the Fort Bragg library for up-close viewing. Other public comment meetings for the EIR will take place in Crescent City: Wednesday, March 21 from 6:30 to 8pm at the Del Norte County Board Chamber Building, 981 H Street, Crescent City; and on Wednesday, April 11 at the Red Lion Hotel, Eureka.
IN A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT on Wednesday, biologists said that there are more salmon out there right now than there have been since 2005. The fisheries experts announced their findings at February meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The improved run is attributed to the two-year ban on fishing that ended last year, improved ocean conditions, the big rains of 2011, and limits on water diversions. With big rains expected this week, conditions for fish are better than they have been in some time.
THAT LONG ANTICIPATED SUIT against the Elk Volunteer Fire Department is expected to be filed soon for some $40 mil. The suit will allege that the fire at a posh home near Elk was not fully extinguished by the volunteers, that it re-ignited and burned most of the house down, which was somehow the fault of the volunteers. Also named will be a plumber from Point Arena and a Fort Bragg electrician who have also been magically declared culpable. The fire was at first rumored to have started in a “grow room,” but it now seems somebody on the property was incubating hundreds of turkey and chicken eggs in a different kind of grow room. The volunteers, of course, did the best they could. Only the ingrate plaintiffs want the phony suit to succeed.
LAST FRIDAY'S Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that former Sonoma County Fifth District Supervisor Ernie Carpenter will run for his old job. Carpenter says he’s concerned about recent decisions by incumbent Efren Carrillo that led to the approvals of an asphalt plant and a winery with a tasting room. Carpenter also said he “questioned Carrillo’s stance on Preservation Ranch, the forest-to-vineyard conversion project on nearly 20,000 acres outside Annapolis.”
MORE PRECISELY, Annapolis is the nearest small town to “Preservation Ranch,” and don't you just know if the thing is called Preservation Ranch its cynical developers know it will be just the opposite? Most people would get to the property some thirty miles west of Healdsburg by driving from 101 towards the Mendocino Coast. The project is located in the Gualala River watershed,
ACCORDING TO THE PD’s WILKISON, Carpenter is “a strong environmental advocate” … “who since his retirement from the board has worked as a consultant for local waste hauler North Bay Corp.”
BUT BACK in the late 1990s, Carpenter, the “strong environmental advocate,” worked for Willits timber broker, Rich Padula, the former owner of the Preservation Ranch property hyping the project, or versions thereof.
PRESERVATION RANCH is the current name of the controversial forest-to-vineyard conversion, but back in 1999 Carpenter was hustling his enviro credentials for Coastal Forest Lands (CFL) owner Rich Padula who was trying to sell the logged over tract — since renamed “Preservation Ranch” by wine financier William Hill — to a now-defunct scam-a-rama called “Strategic Timber Trust,” which turned out to be a real estate scheme based on falsely exaggerated assessments of the amount of timber remaining on Padula’s property. Carpenter, leveraging his “environmental” credentials as a former Supervisor, told Sonoma enviros in 1999 that “the timber industry is dead anyway on the North Coast and CFL’s vineyard project was preferable to the only other alternative — rural subdivisions for rich people.”
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT’S Chris Coursey quoted Carpenter on his “lesser-of-two-evils” offer from CFL. “If you don’t like grapes, you’d better like houses — that’s the choice here. The question isn’t whether this is coming. The question is, ‘What will it look like? How can we make it better?’” Coursey went on to present Carpenter’s argument that “historic subdivisions [i.e., certificates of compliance dating back to the 19th century] on the vast tracts of timberland create the potential for 362 ‘estate homes,’ each one with a potential vineyard surrounding it. One big vineyard, managed with sensitivity to habitat and waterways and soil, is a much better option, Carpenter argues.”
TRUE, the “Preservation Ranch” proposal is indeed for a bunch of pricy winery estate homes. But there’s not much difference between that and what Carpenter was lobbying for back in 1999 at the behest of Padula – the whole show pegged to the myth that vineyard and wine people are environmentally sensitive.
FROM THE COMING WEEK’S Supe’s agenda: “Supervisors McCowen and Brown are requesting that the Board discuss the concept of reducing or waiving building fees for projects that meet defined job creation criteria and direct staff to research similar programs that may have been implemented in other jurisdictions and return to the Board as soon as possible with recommendations for implementing such a program for Mendocino County. Conceptually, fees could be reduced a certain percentage for each job created. For example, a 25% reduction in fees for each job created would result in a waiver of fees for projects that create four or more jobs. Mendocino County continues to experience reduced economic activity and a high rate of unemployment. The unemployment rate is slightly better than the statewide average, but still exceeds 11%. According to US Census statistics Mendocino County median household income is only 70% of the statewide average and 20% of Mendocino County residents are at or below the federal poverty level. There may be people with projects ready to move forward who are holding back given the continued uncertainty regarding the economic outlook. A reduction or waiver of fees may encourage some projects to come forward which would help stimulate the local economy at a time when it is needed most.”
ROSS LIBERTY of Ukiah owns and operates a successful manufacturing business making exhaust systems for recreational vehicles. Liberty announced last week that he intends to buy ten acres at the abandoned Masonite site north of Ukiah to expand his business. He currently employs about 40 people. The Masonite property is a 79-acre, post-industrial wasteland owned by an outside development company which had hoped to install a grand shopping mall on the 79 acres but ran into a wall of local opposition and financial difficulties.
A MARC HANSEN MEMORIAL BENEFIT will be held on March 25th from 1-4pm at Milano Winery in Hopland. This will be a memorial service followed by music and a potluck. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com.
SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED? A Cornell University study finds, “incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas.” He's talking about US, brothers and sisters. “Very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” which seems to translate as we're too stupid to know how stupid we are. Well, gee, I thought God made the Republican Party to get all the dummies under one roof, but Dr. Cornell says we're all pretty much unfit to govern.
THE SIGN UP DEADLINE for the Supervisor elections coming up in November has come and gone. Incumbent First District Supervisor Carre Brown was unopposed for re-election. Fort Bragg City Councilman Dan Gjerde was the only candidate seeking the 4th District seat presently occupied by lame duck Kendall Smith, while incumbent Supervisor McCowen is opposed by Andrea Longoria, a County worker specializing in drug addictions. Having been relentless critical of McCowen for several years prior to his election — we supported Estelle Clifton over McCowen for the Ukiah-area seat —we think McCowen has proved to be a conscientious and effective Supervisor. It would be a big mistake to un-elect McCowen. He brings a much needed clarity to even the most obscure issues and really does keep both his gimlet eyes focused on County expenditures.
FITCH RATINGS has upgraded Mendocino County's financial status from “negative to stable.” The upgrade has been achieved by pay cuts, attrition and hiring freezes, none of it pleasant, all of it necessary. Mendo currently operates on a budget of about $214 million as property tax income declines, debts stretch out and pension costs remain ruinously high.
THE GREAT Japanese earthquake and tsunami occurred a year ago Sunday. Ever since, the more excitable residents of the Mendocino Coast have claimed that they've detected measurable radiation from the nuclear reactors destroyed in the dual catastrophes. They may be correct but we haven't seen independent, scientific corroboration. The tsunami also produced an estimated 25 million tons of debris that washed out into the Pacific from the Japanese shoreline. The people who watch and measure ocean debris, of which there is already a depressing amount as testified to most dramatically in 2008 when a dead sperm whale washed up near Tomales Point with 450 pounds of fishing net and plastic bags in its stomach, have said that they don't expect much Japanese tsunami debris to wash up on California beaches. When the Japanese sea borne litter does appear, most of is predicted for the shores of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia.
ROSS LIBERTY of Ukiah owns and operates a successful manufacturing business making exhaust systems for recreational vehicles. Liberty announced last week that he intends to buy 10 acres at the abandoned Masonite site north of Ukiah to expand his business. He employs about 40 people. The Masonite property is a 79 acre, post-industrial wasteland owned by an outside development company which had hoped to install a grand shopping mall on the 79 acres but ran into a wall of local opposition and funding difficulties.
SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED?A Cornell University study finds, “incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas.” He's talking about US, brothers and sisters. “Very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an
idea is,” meaning that we're even too stupid to know how stupid we are. Well, gee, I thought God made the Republican Party to get all the dummies under roof, but Dr. Cornell says we're all pretty much unfit to govern ourselves regardless of political affiliation.
THE SIGN UP DEADLINE has come and gone. Incumbent Supervisor Carre Brown was unopposed for re-election in the 1st District. Fort Bragg City Councilman Dan Gjerde was the only candidate seeking the 4th District seat presently occupied by Kendall Smith, while incumbent Supervisor McCowen is opposed by Andrea Longoria, a County worker specializing in drug addictions.
FITCH RATINGS has upgraded the County's financial status from “negative to stable.” The upgrade has been achieved by pay cuts, attrition and hiring freezes. Mendo currently operates on a budget of about $214 million as property tax income declines and pension costs remain ruinously high.
A MARC HANSEN Memorial Benefit will be held on March 25th from 1-4pm at Milano Winery in Hopland. This will be a memorial service followed by music and a potluck.
A READER WRITES: “Supervisor Hamburg's comments about the failed 'War on Drugs' were right on the money, but he showed a lack of sensitivity. Sure, Madeline Melo could choose to focus the forum on mental illness, but Jere Melo, at no small risk to himself, did spend a lot of time trying to reclaim the forest from trespass marijuana grows. We are not talking medicine for the sick and dying, but pure greed with no regard for the rights of people who legitimately work or play in the forest. Unfortunately, Supervisor Pinches managed to get caught up in the anti-federale rhetoric and went along with Hamburg. When the Supervisors went to Covelo a couple of years ago and got an earful from the locals about the atrocities committed by the trespass pot growers in the Mendocino National Forest, including being shot at, Pinches pushed the Board to adopt an emergency declaration. County Counsel shot that down, but the Sheriff came back with 'Operation Full Court Press' involving everyone from the Willits Environmental Center to all the state and federal narco agencies. Pinches called for checkpoints at every main entrance to the forest to stop the inflow of black plastic irrigation pipe and was indignant when the Forest Service gave him the brush off. The failure of the war on drugs is self evident, but deciding to do nothing on the local level is not much of an option either. In the year 2000 Mendocino County became the first, and only, County in the nation to 'legalize' personal use of marijuana, with the allowance for anyone to grow 25 plants whether or not they had a so-called medical condition. Pot growers from everywhere in the world — you guys even reported on some Bulgarian growers — immediately began migrating to Mendocino County. With the pro-pot Craver and Vroman installed as Sheriff and District Attorney, the growers were soon 'card stacking' dozens of physician recommendations to justify grows of hundreds and even thousands of plants. The neighborhood and environmental impacts eventually led to the Measure B backlash to repeal Measure G and put Mendocino County back in line with state law. But the genie was already out of the bottle with wannabe marijuana millionaires continuing to flock to Mendocino County. The Supes, Pinches included, unanimously supported Operation Full Court Press (before Hamburg joined the Board). Sheriff Allman said at the time he hoped to repeat the program and extend it to private lands that were also plagued with trespass grows. The forum sponsored by the Jere Melo Foundation is an effort to raise awareness of the extent of the problem, always a challenge here in Mendoland, where most people view the world through glasses tinted with one shade or another. Jere Melo's widow, Madeline, has chosen the Foundation and the forum as a way to honor Jere Melo. The fact that Melo (and Matt Coleman) was murdered by a deranged personal use opium farmer does not lessen the very real problems caused by trespass marijuana grows. We agree with everything Hamburg had to say about the so-called 'War on Drugs.' Ten editions of this paper would not be enough to chronicle the failings of this ruinously expensive federal boondoggle, and we also suspect the forum will be an echo chamber of like minded people saying that something has to be done. Melo had evolved into a genuine community leader who sought to bring all sides together, for instance trying to mediate the bad feelings between the Coast Humane Society and the Coast Animal Shelter volunteers. And he quietly led efforts to build the new high school football stadium and firehouse, showing up early and staying late to do the work of a man half his age. Same for the annual salmon BBQ and lots of other events. By all accounts, Melo matured in his approach to community issues, while his adversaries are stuck firmly in the past. Instead of using the pot forum to score debating points on the war on drugs, Hamburg could have shown some real moxie, and avoided the perceived slight to the Melos, by showing up at the forum and engaging in some good old fashioned debate. Tommy LaNier, head of the White House funded National Marijuana Initiative, is advertised as one of the main speakers. Instead of voting against the forum, Hamburg should have offered to debate Mr. LaNier, who likely played a role in the federal takedown of the County's successful 9.31 marijuana permitting program. LaNier was quoted in an interview by PBS reporter Michael Montgomery as saying that Mendocino County was 'on the list' to do in early January, and sure enough, Mendocino County got the federal threat, delivered personally by US Attorney Melinda Haag in early January. Instead of voting against the forum, why not show up and hold Mr. LaNier accountable for his role in the failed war on drugs?”
THE LOCAL BRANCH of the National Women's Political Caucus held their 30th annual event in honor of Women's History Month at the Saturday Afternoon Club in Ukiah last Saturday. The event was well attended with SoCo Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey on hand to receive a well deserved award for being a woman of courage and conviction. Unlike Congressman Corktop, who seldom takes a strong stand on anything, Woolsey has always been willing to buck the powers that be, including her own party leadership, once convening an unsanctioned meeting on the Iraq war when she was unable to get it assigned to a committee for a hearing.
ANDERSON VALLEY'S VAL MUCHOWSKI was honored as one of the founder's of NWPC, Mendo branch. Muchowski and Joe Louis Wildman, of course, run the NWPC as an adjunct of the local Democratic Party apparat. They decide which women are worthy of endorsement and which are not. Most flagrantly, the two of them, speaking for the entire NWPC, endorsed Green Party candidate Dan Hamburg for Supervisor over Wendy Roberts, a woman and a Democrat.
THE BROOKTRAILS BOARD OF DIRECTORS has approved a fire tax increase for the June 5, ballot. The tax will go from $65 to $100 for single family homes and from $40 to $100 for unimproved lots. With only about 1,500. occupied dwelling units and over 4,000 vacant lots in the subdivision northwest of Willits, it is easy to see that the costs of running Brooktrails are born disproportionately by people who do not live there and who will never be able to build houses on lots which will never have water and sewer available to serve them.
LISTED ON THE BOARD OF SUPES CONSENT CALENDAR for this week is an item to approve selling tax-defaulted properties at auction. Supervisor McCowen, who first called attention to the ongoing Brooktrails scam a year or so ago, can be expected to pull the item for discussion. And why does the County Treasurer think this is still a non-controversial item of the type suited for the consent calendar? Probably because Linda Williams, the excellent reporter for the Willits News, has revealed that the scam is far worse than anyone, McCowen included, could have imagined. And just like the so-called Teeter Plan, which now plays into the Brooktrails ripoff, the people who should have been safeguarding the financial interests of the County were either complicit in the scam, or did nothing as it unfolded.
ALSO ON THE CONSENT calendar this week is the Fort Bragg leachate issue. The City of Fort Bragg and the County are jointly responsible for the Caspar transfer station and post closure costs of the capped landfill. Back in the day everyone dumped their trash, including toxic wastes, into shallow, unlined pits in the pygmy soil at Caspar. After buying a couple of neighboring properties whose wells had been polluted by the nearby unregulated dump, the County installed a collection system to intercept the subsurface water and trucked it to the Fort Bragg Sewer Plant for disposal. Last year Fort Bragg made the unilateral decision to charge the County for disposal of what amounts to rainwater and sent the County a post dated bill for some $150,000. When it was presented to the Board, on consent, natch, Supervisor Pinches pulled it for discussion. It turned out Fort Bragg hadn't bothered to adopt a valid fee schedule until 2011, so they voided the earlier invoices. After a lot of back and forth a compromise has apparently been reached that will have the County pay about $50,000., a savings of $100,000. over the original bill. The Supes previously directed staff to begin work on a long-range solution to get out from under the ongoing disposal costs. How this stuff winds up on the consent calendar remains a mystery.
ON THE SUPES REGULAR CALENDAR was the annual report and renewal of the “Business Improvement District,” or “BID,” to have the lodging owners continue to assess themselves 1% of the room rate to be used to promote the County, but in reality to create a few jobs that are reserved for themselves and their friends. The BID raises about $600,000 annually which receives a 50% match from the County. If the County was serious about a balanced budget they could start by reclaiming the $300,000 that is handed over to the lodging boys and girls.
THE MENDOCINO COUNTY PROMOTIONAL ALLIANCE (MCLA), which has some sort of ill-defined, suspiciously incestuous relationship with the old Mendocino County Promotional Alliance (MCPA), was supposed to spend no more than 10% of the BID funds on administration, but when that proved inconvenient, MCLA and MCPA formed another organization, made up of themselves, called Visit Mendocino County, Inc. (VMC). Now MCLA can truthfully say they spend less than 10% on administrative costs because the admin costs have nearly all been shifted to VMC. Continuing objections to MCLA/MCPA/VMC surfaced last year in what is referred to as “the Allegation document.”
THE ANNUAL REPORT CRYPTICALLY SAYS “The Board has found that the majority of the claims are false. Therefore, the committee recommends that these allegations be deemed unfounded. A full outline of the committee's findings is available by contacting any MCLA Board Member or VMC staff. The MCLA Board of Directors strongly rejects these allegations and the method in which they were collected and communicated to lodging members, government officials and the public. The Board regrets any inconvenience that document may have caused to any of the named individuals.” If a majority, but not all, of the claims are false, then at least some are true, so why not put them in the report? Instead, people have to chase down anonymous Board members and VMC employees, who are nowhere listed in the report.
THE CITY OF UKIAH IS MOVING FORWARD with a plastic bag ban. Garbage czar Mike Sweeney, Mendocino County's most interesting man, has prepared bag ban EIRs for Ukiah, Fort Bragg and the County, Sweeney was present to introduce the EIR and hear public comment. The only negative comments were from an industry front group called the “Save the Plastic Bag Coalition” who have conceded that plastic bag bans are legal as long as they go through the CEQA process, hence the need for an EIR. Normally, an EIR would cost $50,000 to $100,000 each, so the public is clearly getting its money's worth out of Sweeney, who remains the primary suspect in the bombing of his ex-wife Judi Bari in 1990.
THE UKIAH CITY COUNCIL has pulled the plug on the last of four controversial projects being put forward by Honeywell corporation. The Council, despite the obvious shortcomings of the deal, only decided to kill it after City Manager Jane Chambers signaled she was not in support. The company originally said they would guarantee that switching out all the water meters for smart meters would yield enough new revenue (from more accurate metering of water actually consumed) to pay for the project over 13 years. But last week Honeywell said they were only willing to guarantee the meters would be accurate. So Honeywell would take all the profit, the City would take all the risk and the ratepayers would pay all the bills.