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CONDITIONS TODAY will consist of widespread moderate to heavier rain and high mountain snow, with continued gusty southerly winds. Showers will taper off Tuesday, followed by another chance for light rain and some light higher elevation snow accumulations. A drier and quieter weather pattern is setting up late week into next weekend. (NWS)
Typically, for this area, most rain falls during the three months of December, January, and February. In rough and round terms, we expect about 10 inches each of those months, which accounts for 3/4 of the total rainfall (about 40 inches per year). But normal and typical are gone, and what we get now is more chaotic. The planet gets hotter by the year and our area is getting drier, with an occasional deluge thrown in for fun.
We're off to another slow start this rain season (measured October 1 through September 30 the following year). The monthly figures for the 2020-21 wet season:
Boonville (10.3" total)
- 0.1" Oct
- 1.9" Nov
- 3.5" Dec
- 4.8" Jan
Yorkville (13.5" total)
- 0.0" Oct
- 2.2" Nov
- 5.4" Dec
- 5.9" Jan
42 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Saturday and Sunday bringing total 3434. One more death, bringing total to 38.
PERC UP YOUR EARS
Supervisors Discuss Boonville Water & Sewer Systems
by Mark Scaramella
Last Tuesday the following item appeared on the Mendocino supervisors consent calendar:
“Item 8a) Authorize staff to Coordinate Anderson Valley Community Services District’s Access to Perform Preliminary Tests at County-Owned Fairgrounds in Boonville for Purpose of Determining Wastewater Alternative Project Location Feasibility.”
Translation: Perform a “perc,” or percolation test on the back lot at the Fairgrounds to see if the soil is suitable as an “injection site” for treated wastewater.
The Boonville Fair Board, preferring to call the treated wastewater “sewage,” had objected to the testing at two previous Fair Board meetings, so the AV CSD Board decided to ask the Fairgrounds’ “landlord,” the County of Mendocino, to authorize the perc testing to determine if the Fairgrounds back lot could be an alternative site for the District’s proposed wastewater treatment facility.
Supervisor Glenn McGourty pulled the item for discussion apparently because Anderson Valley vintner Deborah Cahn had filed a written objection to the item, and her lawyer had piled on with a Brown Act Complaint that the item had not been adequately noticed and was misnumbered in the Board’s agenda.
What had at first appeared to be a minor, innocuous-seeming item then blossomed into a full discussion by the Supervisors of the Boonville drinking water and wastewater treatment projects.
Supervisor Williams offered some background: “Anderson Valley was skipped over back when the state implemented wastewater and water systems.” There are state funds available, Williams said, thanks to the voters and “we don't want to miss this opportunity to bring modern amenities to Boonville.”
Williams said that there has been verified contamination in Boonville water since 1963. The leach fields at various residences and businesses in Boonville that would be no longer necessary under this plan “could be repurposed for accessory dwelling units.” “We desperately need housing stock,” said Williams. “The request today is not to approve the CSD using the site, simply to allow the CSD to perform soil samples to see if it would even be an appropriate site. Talking to staff, it's become clear to me that this project is appropriately zoned for public service projects. If we were to identify another parcel in the neighborhood, rangeland or ag, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) would require us to describe why it's appropriate to use ag land for this type of wastewater facility. If the board were to approve this at a future date, the actual site I understand would be a 50 x 100 foot self-contained vessel. We are not talking about a wastewater pond. You might think wastewater or sewer and a pond and smell and the land is unusable. That does not seem to be the case here.”
McGourty: “We've got an e-mail from Deborah Cahn saying the Fair Board wanted to pass on having this as a site. I understand this is merely testing which is different. It's not approval of the actual project. I just wanted to be sure we had a discussion so that in the event -- there probably should be more community discourse on this. I think testing makes sense. What Supervisor Williams described does not sound onerous. But I think the community should have a voice and I feel a little uncomfortable moving things forward without being sure that the people involved are okay with it.”
Williams: “There have been community meetings by the CSD. It's their project, not a county project. There will be a democratic process that will actually be up for the parcels in the affected region to vote and that gives me some relief even if the county is willing to entertain the concept and find that it's an appropriate location and it will be up to the people of Boonville to decide whether or not they want this installed.”
McGourty: “I think that answers all the questions I have. We don't need to spend any more time on it. As long as people know what is happening I think we are okay. Ms. Cahn did say that she sees a need for the sewer system, she's not disagreeing with the concept. She's just concerned about having it on the grounds of the Fairgrounds. What you describe, Supervisor Williams, is so small that it could get lost in that property pretty easily. It sounds like people wouldn't even be aware of it. I just want to be sure that we are transparent as we go forward with this.”
Wiliams: “No matter where it's placed, there will be some controversy. It may be that the soil samples show that this is not even an appropriate location, and then we are done with the discussion. Or it could show the soil is perfect. We need to at least allow the CSD to do the soil testing, given that we've gone this far into the discussion. But we can have them [the CSD reps] comment to make sure I have the facts correct.”
AV CSD Board Chair Valerie Hanelt then described the project which uses an ”MBR” (“Membrane Bio-Reactor”) allowing the facility to be “shoehorned” into small towns. Hanelt said the system would treat the effluent to “tertiary” levels. This “clean water” is then injected back into the ground. “Solids would be trucked away,” said Hanelt. “It’s being used in several other places in Northern California. There's no odor associated with these. We looked at two other similar plants, one at Francis Ford Coppola and another at Silver Oaks winery. When you go up to these facilities you realize there is absolutely no odor. The state will pay 100% of the infrastructure and all laterals going to nonprofits and residential homes, for both drinking water and waste systems. Part of the problem we have is that we are proposing technology people are not aware of and they have the impression that it's an old 1980s style sewer pond. That's far from the truth. This is just one of the facilities we are looking at so we have data for the environmental process. We will answer the questions and concerns that the letter writers have as part of that process.”
Hanelt said the CSD has looked at eight or nine sites. “One of the problems in Boonville is that the soil has a high water table level and ground can be swampy in places.”
Supervisor McGourty: “The more I hear about this the better it sounds. Situating it in the right place will be the key. This is a very advanced water treatment system. It's not an above grade or open-air treatment system. I suspect this will be environmentally friendly and pretty workable. The Community Services District just needs to get a little bit ahead of this with the community so they know what's going on.”
Hanelt added that the state will finance both projects to the tune of about $35 million which includes fire prevention capacity for water hydrants in Boonville.
Supervisor McGourty, formerly the County’s Farm Advisor wine expert added, “A lot of wineries have small scale treatment plants to deal with their effluent. There are a lot of different approaches and I'd be happy to look at this one.”
The District’s Consulting Engineer Dave Coleman clarified: “The 50 x 100 foot footprint cited earlier is the projected size of the building that would house the wastewater treatment plant. There would also be a disposal field underground that would be a couple of acres in size and another couple acres set aside for future replacement area. Those disposal fields would not have any above-ground facilities. Above ground activities such as parking and camping that the fairgrounds is using the property for currently could continue on top of those disposal fields.”
Ms. Cahn, whose (daughter’s) winery abuts the Fairgrounds site where the plant would be located, reminded the Supervisors that “the Fair Board and the local community have rejected this as a potential site twice. That does not lend itself to acceptance by the community in the long run.”
Ms. Cahn is correct that the Fair Board is opposed to the testing and the project. But “the local community,” whatever she may mean by that, has not been heard from.
The Fairgrounds representatives then went on at length about the wonderful benefits the Fairgrounds provides to the community, including the Fair itself and other events. They prefer “a site farther away from downtown,” and insist that using Fairgrounds for a “sewage” site is “unprecedented and would set an unfortunate precedent for the whole state fair system.”
Fair manager James Brown thought the project would present “health issues” which would undermine the Fair's ability to attract visitors and provide the services they provide.
Fair Board member Morgan Baynham noted that “sewage” is not processed by wineries, adding that, “Nobody knows what they're talking about. Nobody has visited a like for like system that treats over 500 people with one of these systems. I don't know if the figures the Fair board got from the CSD were accurate.”
CSD Manager Joy Andrews: “Since the fair would be incorporated in this system, that would benefit them directly and at no cost. The system cannot be designed for future expansion by state requirements. The area of the injection field could continue to be used as is as the engineer said for camping and parking. We have done lots of community outreach. This is just a request for a soil test to move the project forward. There have been many meetings and outreach and door-to-door contacts and expert panels and postcards and monthly meetings.”
County Counsel Christian Curtis told the Supervisors that the County is the Fairgrounds landlord and the landholder. “The Fair board is allowed to use the land for certain Fair purposes or certain types of activities like camping under certain terms and for specific events.”
Supervisor Dan Gjerde: ”The project is desperately needed. Boonville is one of the most significant unincorporated communities in the county. It's too big to just pass away.”
McGourty: ”This needs to keep moving. Taking soil samples doesn't mean the project will be located there. All options should be on the table. I did some quick calculations assuming the effluent is about 40 gallons per day [per person] which is a little on the high side times 500 people times 365 days a year uses for about 22 acre feet of water which is about the amount used to for 20 acres of pasture in a typical year. It's not a huge amount of water as opposed to agriculture. The amount of tertiary treated water would be nominal and might actually be a resource that could be used by agriculture in that area for pasture.”
Interim County Planning Director Nash Gonzalez: “Focusing on core downtown is important because that’s exactly how you keep the project from growing much. Putting the project in ag or rangeland means there would be much more opportunity for expansion.”
Williams: “We owe it to local government to allow them to consider this site.”
Supervisor Maureen Mulheren: “I’ve been following this project for several years. I suggest that everybody get a subscription to the Anderson Valley Advertiser where they’ve had an ongoing conversation. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. We all know the worth and importance of the Fairgrounds and the wonderful things they provide. Nobody discounts that. This is just to see if it should move forward.”
The Board then voted unanimously to proceed with the perc test at the Fairgrounds. So, as CSD Board member Larry Mailliard famously said way back in August of 2019 at a joint meeting of the Fair Board and the CSD Board, paraphrasing the famous statement from the OJ trial, “If it won’t perc, it won’t work.”
Field Notes From Francis Coppola’s Winery Sanitary Treatment Plant
by Yoriko Kishimoto
A small sanitary treatment plant is being proposed for Boonville and there have been many meetings and much time and money spent on scoping out how large it needs to be, how much it will cost, who will pay for it, and most challengingly, where to site it. Boonville is evidently one of the last small downtowns of California without a community sanitary plan. The good news is that state grants will pay for just about 100% of the installation costs. There are usually requirements for local matching funds, but not for Boonville due to the economic needs here.
The hardest part is finding a site, largely due to fears of odors and impacts. This is a natural fear, especially for people who might have memories of older sanitary plants.
I was curious myself and last November made a field trip with my husband to the Frances Coppola Winery in Geyserville with an introduction from Val Hanelt. The plant operator gave us a very enthusiastic short tour. The plant handles sanitary (human) wastes from their office and field staff and their restaurant and tasting room. The restaurant was closed due to COVID-19, but their other operations were on-going so the sanitary plant was still running all the time.
First impression was “no smells” although he walked us on top of one of the tanks where water was flowing, inside the control rooms and next to the storage tanks. We didn’t have to raise our voices either.
Their system is designed to treat and dispose of up to 20,000 gallons per day (gpd) of wastewater flows via a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) package wastewater treatment plant and effluent drip irrigation disposal system. In comparison, Anderson Valley Community Service District (CSD) is proposing a plant sized for 60,000 or up to 90,000 gallons/day, I believe, so it was quite a bit smaller in scale.
According to the files at the water board (https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/public_notices/notice_of_intent/pdf/2008/081216_RB.pdf), the MBR treatment plant includes an anoxic treatment zone for denitrification, an aeration zone for aerobic digestion of BOD5 (Biological Oxygen Demand) and a membrane micro filtration zone for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) removal.
Following MBR treatment, the wastewater is pumped to an effluent storage tank where it is dosed with a sodium hypochlorite solution for chlorine disinfection. The 200,000 gallon effluent storage tank will allow for approximately 10 days of storage capacity at peak summer time wastewater flow volumes and 28.6 days at average winter flow volumes.
Disposal takes place via surface drip irrigation on 2.48 acres of existing vineyard located west of the facility and 3.31 acres of undeveloped native oak habitat north of the facility. The vineyard disposal area will be preferentially irrigated throughout the year to minimize disposal on the undeveloped parcel. Both disposal areas will be fenced off from public access and signs identifying the use of recycled water will be posted along the fencing.
Bottom line: there’s nothing like seeing it in person. The Coppola plant was operating at a low rate due to the restaurant closure, but I think it was still representative. I hope other people have a chance to visit. The plant is not open for public tours, but I believe Joy Andrews of the Community Service District will organize tours as COVID safety allows. Email water.av.csd@gmail to get on their notifications list for meetings.
STARTING VEGGIES FROM SEED - FREE ONLINE WORKSHOP
Date: Sunday, February 7, 2021
Time: 4-5 pm
Please RSVP to help us anticipate who’s coming, ask any questions you have, and receive other details! https://tinyurl.com/RSVPVeggieStarts
The AV Village, AV Foodshed and AV Unity Garden Section are jointly hosting a Zoom Workshop on starting vegetables from seed. This one-hour workshop will begin with two short videos of local seed starters that demonstrate starting seeds in the ground.
ACCOLADES! Thank you from a doddering 75 year old to the Anderson Valley Health Center, the Anderson Valley Fire Department, The EMT workers, volunteers, and all others who wrested order and clarity from the jaws of chaos to provide the mass covid-19 vaccination event on January 21: A JOB WELL DONE!
With some background in event planning, I know when an event comes off looking simple and easy, some very good planning went into it. When I read between the lines, I noted that California paused the use of the Moderna vaccine on Sunday, January 24, then resumed its use on Wednesday, January 27. There is little doubt that this impacted the execution of the event, and put extra strain on everybody. I received the call from Leah at AVHC, late Wednesday, informing me that they were vaccinating on Thursday. She had been calling eligible recipients all day, and still was gracious and patient with this occasionally grumpy 75 year old. Nicely done Leah! To organize and mobilize not only the providers, but also the recipients is a testament to everyone involved. THANK YOU ALL!
Dave Williams, Philo
AN UNHEALTHY START TO THE NEW YEAR
by Anne Fashauer
It has been a few weeks since I last sat down to write. It has been a tough couple of weeks, mostly due to health concerns. We are all healthy now, or at least on the mend. It has been a journey from the first hint of illness to finally getting things sorted.
It started with my husband coming down with a fever, chills, stomach upset, etc. We all thought the same thing - Covid. He was able to get to the Health Center and get seen and tested - both for the flu and for Covid. Both of the tests came back negative, but because of the chance of a false negative, we were all ordered to quarantine until the results were confirmed. This was a very different feeling than even the previous staying at home. This time we really couldn’t do anything. We had groceries picked up for us and brought to the door. We kept well away from the friends and family here on the property. After about five days the results were confirmed, but by that time we kind of figured that — the fever was gone and the illness had all the signs of a stomach bug.
On the 18th he felt terrible but well enough to go to the ER in Fort Bragg. There they did some tests and gave him fluids for dehydration. They sent him home with medication and we waited for the results. Nothing came. Finally, this past Monday he made an appointment to see his doctor in Fort Bragg. They couldn’t see him for two days; when they finally did, they told him that the tests from the hospital had been messed up and he had to take new tests. They again sent him home with medication. The following day he was worse and I made him an appointment with the doctor at the Health Center. At one point he considered another trip to the ER, but felt better after a bit and we didn’t have to make that drive.
He was given a thorough exam and, for the first time, felt seen and heard by someone (thank you AVHC!). More tests were ordered, more medicines prescribed, but at last we felt we might be getting somewhere. Then, two hours later, the phone rang and it was the doctor from the Health Center - he had actually gotten the reports from the Fort Bragg hospital from the 18th and actually read them and it turned out that my husband’s problem has been diagnosed on the 18th but no one told him. Fortunately, we had the right medication and he is now on the mend, able to eat and keep food down and gain back his energy.
We are incredibly fortunate to have such a great resource as our Health Center here in the community. When I call in for something the receptionists know me and I feel like everyone there cares and wants me to feel better. My husband has now had the same experience and has changed his primary care accordingly. I feel for the folks on the Coast who aren’t so lucky; another reason to love living in this great Valley.
WRONG WAY ANDERSON DIES IN CUSTODY
Synopsis: On January 31, 2021 at 5:53 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was notified that Ransome Anderson, 53, of Covelo passed away while being treated at an area hospital.
Anderson was arrested on January 7, 2019 and was in custody awaiting sentencing on three cases including charges for felony driving under the influence of alcohol with injury or death, assault with a deadly weapon, felony failure to appear, and committing a felony while out on bail or own recognizance.
Anderson had been transferred to the hospital on January 11, 2021 after being evaluated by jail medical staff for breathing issues. While at the hospital, he was found to have an advanced preexisting medical condition that was likely terminal. Anderson remained at the hospital for treatment until his death.
Previously: "Wrong Way Dope" (by Bruce McEwen, July 10, 2019)
THE MENDO-LAKE FOOD HUB
We are open for orders and the store is full of fresh, delicious greens, carrots, beets and much more.
The Local Farm Box is back! We only have a small handful of these beauties so order early! This week's box includes the following...
- Cauliflower - County Line Farm
- Bunched Carrots - Big Mesa Farm
- Lettuce - Big Mesa Farm
- Celery - Big Mesa Farm
- Collard Greens - Big Mesa Farm
- Red Radish - New Agrarian Collective
- Cilantro - Fortunate Farm
- Mustard Greens - Big Mesa Farm
- Navel Oranges - Spreadwing Farm
- Satsuma Tangerines - Heath Ranch
Skip the store, order online today to have the freshest, local food delivered to your door. Order today (1/24) from the Food Hub for delivery to your door Tuesday (2/2) -> https://mendolake.localfoodmarketplace.com/Products
SICK OF POT TALK
by Jim Shields
I’m sure most of you are as weary reading or listening to anything dealing with pot in this county as I am writing or talking about it. This past week, the Anderson Valley Advertiser carried this item:
Former Supervisor John McCowen writes:
In what amounts to a bait and switch, Supervisors Haschak and Williams recommend opening up every neighborhood to dramatically expanded cannabis cultivation.
On Monday January 25, in line with previous direction, the Board will consider a proposed land use based permitting system for cannabis cultivation.
Unfortunately, Supervisor Williams and Haschak are taking the opportunity to overturn previous Board direction and eliminate every meaningful protection for neighborhoods.
If this passes in it’s current form it will throw every residential neighborhood under the bus by allowing 12 outdoor plants without setbacks.
The original version posted with the agenda (the “bait”) kept the current exemptions and setbacks in place. These restrictions were hammered out over the last 10+ years and were intended to allow for the legal cultivation of cannabis without tearing neighborhoods apart.
The “Final Draft” (the “switch”) was posted last night and eviscerated the restrictions in the exemptions and threw out the setbacks, substantially eliminating protections for residential neighborhoods.
In place of 100 square feet grown indoors with setbacks from property lines and residences, anyone who can claim 2 exemptions will now be able to grow 12 plants of any size (some “plants” exceed 15 in height and 150 square feet of canopy) outdoors right under someone’s bedroom window.
It’s baffling to me why Supervisors Williams and Haschak are proposing to throw out these carefully crafted neighborhood protections and open the door to renewed neighborhood conflict.
I was initially very impressed by how faithfully the proposed ordinance follows Board direction to craft a land use based permit system that allows for expansion as well as permits in Rangeland, subject to a land use permit.
I know the issues of expansion and new permits in Rangeland are controversial but that is where the discussion should take place.
Without Board direction Supervisors Williams and Haschak have opened up issues that have been debated and decided multiple times with the same result every time.
I’m concerned that this backdoor attempt to undermine existing neighborhood protections will distract from and possibly jeopardize the need to enact critical reforms needed to put the industry on a sustainable footing in Mendocino County.
This ploy may succeed but at the cost of residential quality of life and a sustainable cannabis industry.
The expressed goal of the board was to move scaled commercial cultivation into ag appropriate zones. The Phase 3 ordinance does that thoughtfully, and with discretionary review. The goal was not to violate personal rights, or contradict state law.
Mark Scaramella comments:
This subject has become tiresome and the legalization problems seem intractable. This looks like yet another attempt to fix the problem by tweaking the current local rules. Mendo continues to thrash around trying to find some way through the pot reg maze, much of which McCowen created. I think Williams and Haschak probably mean well and have no intention of creating some kind of neo-green rush (over the one already in place). McCowen is kinda paranoid on this subject, always has been. It has driven his approach to hyper regulation for years and is largely the reason we are where we are. McCowen, like Ellen Drell and Dennis Slota, et al, objects to any relaxation of the rules which are his (and their) baby. At the moment almost all growers are illegal for pot cultivation rule violations or other site-related permit violations. Look at Rays Road in Philo. Does anyone think that anything Mendo proposes for pot regs will make any difference there — or in Covelo for that matter? The Sheriff has made it clear that minor unpermitted grows which don’t do much environmental damage and don’t bother the neighbors much are such low priority as to be equivalent to legal. To be legal, growers still have to comply with a mind-numbing array of state regs and requirements no matter what Mendo does. My guess is that Williams and Haschak are trying to make it easier for small growers, which McCowen & Co. see as a large “opening up.” Who knows if it will? Small growers will still have a hard time getting legal, even if McCowen’s precious rules are weakened. But it’s hard to tell from the proposed new regs themselves because nobody really knows how any of this will play out. I’d like to hear Jim Shields’ opinion on this rather than trying to analyze the particulars of this latest proposal, which may or may not even materialize.
This is an easy one to referee. Scaramella pierces the veil thinly covering what is mostly a minor issue submerged under what McCowen describes as “critical reforms needed to put the industry on a sustainable footing in Mendocino County.”
What is McCowen referring to?
I’ve writen about it previously but here’s a summary.
At a meeting this past October, the Board of Supervisors gave the provisional go-ahead to expand pot cultivation in Mendocino County despite opposition from the Sheriff, environmentalists, and ranchers.
By a 4-to-1 vote, the Board conditionally OK’d numerous new provisions for a proposed Ordinance that will allow cultivation to occur on a minimum parcel size of 10 acres or larger up to 10 percent of the total parcel area. For example, a 600-acre parcel could have up to 60 acres of cultivated weed, or 100 acres of pot could be grown on a 1,000 acre parcel.
To his credit, Third District Supervisor John Haschak was the lone dissenter, explaining he had “serious concerns about” the expansion because “that’s going to really devastate the small growers. The range land, you know, we heard from the Sheriff, environmental groups, ranchers that are against it. There’s not a work plan to move this (forward) so I’m going to vote no.”
Sheriff Matt Kendall told the Supes there’s an abundance of marijuana in the county already and it was a mistake to open up new growing areas, especially on range land, when “we can’t control the areas” now under cultivation. However, Supes John McCowen, Ted Williams, Dan Gjerde, and Carre Brown favored the “bigger-is-better-for-the- county’s-economy” pot cultivation model.
McCowen argued that unless pot cultivation was allowed to expand, the County’s economic viability was threatened.
Kendall is the second Sheriff to object to opening up range land to pot farming. In 2018, then-Sheriff Tom Allman urged the Board to allow voters to decide the controversial issue of introducing pot cultivation on range land.
“I hate to inform people that the dirty truth is this is about greed and not about cannabis … I think the voters should decide … It’s almost an end-run around the General Plan, and the General Plan needs to be evaluated.”
Speaking of Allman’s reference to greed, weed industry heavyweights such as Henry’s Original and Flow Kana argue in favor of the “10 percent rule,” using nearly the identical language that was approved by the Supes. Must be great minds do think alike.
Seriously, isn’t there enough pot being grown in this county already?
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
2 ARRESTS IN ATTACK ON FAMED SAN FRANCISCO PRIVATE EYE
Two men have been arrested in connection with an attempted robbery that left famed San Francisco private investigator Jack Palladino on life support, police said Sunday.
OUR COVID FIASCO
To the Editor:
What a fiasco. On January 12, we called our health department for info on getting a covid shot. We were told that Wednesday, January 13 we could go to Carl Purdy Hall from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people over 75.
We arrived before 7 a.m. No one there. Other people were told 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. We got in line, in a light rain. Soon health people plus two security people came. At 11:15 our line started to move but there was another line - first responders. They had appointments at 9, 10, 11 a.m. etc. We found out later, Thursday, that’s only the ones the clinic was for. By 2 p.m. we had our shots and headed home.
So disorganized and the health department gave out wrong information. They also said we could go to our own health provider, the hospital or a clinic. Some people called them. None of them had the shots and wondered where our info was coming from.
It took us 7 hours. Why? Very disorganized and confusing for many. Shame on our health department. Also, no bathrooms were open.
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - HOUSES WHERE NOBODY LIVES
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Many things puzzle me about Ukiah and someday I’ll write a 25,000 word column listing them. For today, let’s limit ourselves to asking why so many houses stand empty around town.
Not far from my house is a block with seven houses on it, and until fairly recently six of them had been standing empty for years. Now two are still unoccupied and one of them, a cute little gem of a Victorian, hasn’t had a resident in nearly a decade. Over on Maple Avenue there’s a house falling apart from ongoing neglect, and if you know Maple Avenue the real estate ain’t cheap.
Near the Methodist Church is a house I’ve been walking and driving past for many years. What seems like a long time ago there was a family with all the usual muss and clutter and other signs of life any house generates. It had a sad black ’58 Chevy Delray in the carport that I quietly, mildly lusted for.
One day the Chevy disappeared and so did everything else. The odd thing is that all these many years later the house continues to be well cared for. The lawn is mowed regularly, the curtains stay drawn but it’s as empty as county offices at 4 o’clock on a Friday.
There are others sprinkled around town; one at Pine & Walnut was bought by a team of house flippers who bulldozed it and now it’s a vacant lot.
Now I don’t know what a house on Ukiah’s west side is worth in today’s real estate market, but I have a pretty good idea what a house on Ukiah’s west side is worth when it stands empty: Nothing. Or worse.
Because even an empty house soaks up taxes, requires maintenance, a property management team, along with the ongoing guilt over why you’re letting a good house sit vacant when there are people wanting nothing more than a roof over their heads. And a bathroom, if it’s not a big inconvenience. Maybe a kitchen with a stove and fridge? You get the idea.
An empty house is rather an embarrassment, and an expensive one. There seem to be two options: Sell it and make some new homeowner happy, or else move into it yourself, even it means you have to live in Ukiah. There are worse options. All of Lake County for instance.
I was thinking of putting these questions to the Daily Journal’s resident real estate expert, but Dick Selzer might take the idea, use it for his own column and I’d have to come up with something else.
Inside the walls of the Ukiah Daily Journal the competition is fierce.
Traveling on State Street offers stark contrasts these days. Some intersections have only blinking stop lights, while the corner of South State and Gobbi Streets has 29 lights and 17 lanes monitoring and regulating the traffic. You sail through some intersections as if upon clear, calm blue waters on a warm sunny day, but waiting to go through another means you’ll miss lunch.
It might be a fun experiment to keep stop signs on State Street for a month and tally up the stats. Better traffic flow or worse? More accidents or fewer? Happier motorists or dramatic spike in road rage incidents?
If you write lousy rhyming semi-poetic poems like I do you eventually realize words like Rough, Cough, Through and Though don’t rhyme, but Bologna and Pony do.
Also, the letter ‘W’ starts with a ‘D’ but the letter ‘Y’ starts with a ‘W.’
Humans and other beasts
Within a few seconds every human heart on the planet beats.
Also and mostly unrelated, do you think you’ve ever twice bought milk that came from the same cow? Eggs from the same chicken? Does a package of dismembered chicken parts, like drumsticks, thighs, breasts, come from the same unlucky fowl?
When you think about it, and I try hard not to, doesn’t it seem weird or primitive or at least hypocritical to keep animals in cages all their lives, then kill and eat them, especially since we all love animals? And with that, we hurry along to the next topic.
I purchased a 32 oz box of “organic” vegetable broth at Safeway the other day. The first three ingredients listed are Water, Salt and Sugar.
Other domestic news:
1) I am personally acquainted with parents right here in Ukiah who believe their children will be smarter and better adjusted because they played with wooden toys.
2) If you are constantly having to explain and defend your kid’s behavior eventually you’ll have to hire a lawyer to do it for you
3) Whatever happened to all the shrieking hysteria about kids playing video games and how they were all going to grow up to be sociopaths because Grand Theft Auto told them to? That was a dozen years ago.
File that scary prediction with similar stories about murder hornets, killer bees, ice caps melting by 2010, Trump refusing to leave the White House and the Cleveland Browns playing in Super Bowl (insert Roman Numerals here).
Tom Hine notes that with Democrats in charge, why Just Like That! the writings of George Orwell are no longer required reading, and in fact ‘Animal Farm’ is strictly forbidden. Repeat: You must not read ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘1984’ or anything other than Barack Obama’s third great important book about his heroic self. TWK is reading a classic collection of Donald Duck comics, 1955-64.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 31, 2021
JOSEPH ANDERSON, Ukiah. County parole violation.
LEONARD CAMPBELL, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MICHAEL FREEMAN JR., Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, protective order violation.
JONATHAN MIRANDA, Rancho Cucamonga/Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol, controlled substance.
LINDA REYNOLDS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MATTHEW SUSMILCH, Eureka/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s permission, stolen property.
SILVER PRICES HIT HIGHEST SINCE 2013 AS REDDIT ARMY TURNS TO COMMODITIES
The price of silver rocketed more than 10% to its highest since February 2013 on Monday, briefly trading over the $30 per ounce mark, as retail investors piled in on the commodity. It became the latest target after a retail frenzy last week saw the likes of heavily-shorted GameStop and AMC Entertainment surge in revolt to large institutional investors.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’m 64, and I believe, from what you’ve stated elsewhere, that you’re older. We’ve both, then, experienced hundreds, and probably thousands, of encounters with elderly people, their fears, their desires, their defenses. Many times, we have, also, to read between the lines. Brave, self-flattering fronts. “Hey, I just want to be happy and slide into my grave sideways instead of fading away!” Then you find out that they freak out about non-organic food or (currently) shoppers without masks.
Actions speak louder than words. I referenced TV ad execs who get paid big bucks by instilling fear into viewers that they need to buy x product to avoid y disease, or to look younger, which, symbolically transparent, is just a wish to avoid aging (death). 97% of North American households have at least one TV. They aren’t sitting in the living room corner, unused, because they’re aesthetically beautiful. Despite the invention and — 20 or so years ago — widespread use of the internet, TV watching has increased from the late 1980s to the present from 3.5 hours per day to 4 hours per day. (I include netflix and related sites in the mix.) Without going into chicken and egg questions — do ads initiate viewers’ behaviour, or do they just tune into already existing fears? (I believe the latter) — there’s no dispute that they work.
There’s also no dispute that our ontological assessments and conclusions, as a species, have been transformed drastically over the past few centuries, so much so that it’s altered our basic concept of death. As already stated, death was simply acknowledged as a reality to take in, like any other. There wasn’t the fear, distaste, wishing to alter its arrival. If I were to indulge in filling in more space, I could’ve provided many more examples. Then there’s the even-now holdover attitudes towards death we see in non-Western countries that accept death on its own terms: burning ghats, rituals of death meditation, and so on.
But I’m talking about spiritual attitudes. What does it matter if we live to be 150, if we do so in defiance and, yes, fear of our collective fate?
(Or if cremated, a smudge of ash.)
INDIA SHOWS THE WAY
Per a recent report in The Press Democrat, India, a former British colony once notorious for poverty, famine, starvation, stench, disease, bizarre religious traditions and the black hole of Calcutta, is sending its extra COVID-19 vaccine supplies abroad to less advanced nations as a gesture of good will.
Critically short of vaccine and confronting our own mounting death toll, perhaps Sonoma County could send a delegation to New Dehli bearing gifts of wine in hopes of scoring a few desperately needed doses to replace the supply our own government has apparently misplaced somewhere in the warren of warehouses that store our space ships, nuclear missiles, tanks, aircraft carriers and other really important things needed to protect our freedoms.
If India runs short of vaccine before our delegation arrives, the Pakistanis might share some of theirs now that we’re no longer bombing them (as far as anyone knows).
FROM AN MD (via a Reader): Natural Medicine for Guys — Go up to a tree and take a leak. If your pee attracts ants, you got diabetes. If it dries too fast, your sodium is high. If it smells like meat, your cholesterol is high. If you forgot to unzip, it's Alzheimer's. If you missed the tree, it's Parkinson's. If you peed on your shoes, enlarged prostate. If you can't smell it, COVID-19.
“TO CALL THE TAMING OF AN ANIMAL its “improvement” is in our ears almost a joke. Whoever knows what goes on in menageries is doubtful whether the beasts in them are “improved.” They are weakened, they are made less harmful, they become sickly beasts through the depressive emotion of fear, through pain, through injuries, through hunger. – It is no different with the tamed human being…”
THE ONLY PEOPLE FOR ME are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes Awww!
― Jack Kerouac, On The Road
IT IS NOW 25 DAYS since the attack on the Capitol and NOT ONE piece of security camera footage showing who the Republican members of Congress were who gave the terrorist leaders a reconnaissance tour has been released.
The police & FBI know who. Stop the cover-up. RELEASE IT NOW.
— Michael Moore
“...FEW WRITERS like other writers’ works. The only time they like them is when they are dead or if they have been for a long time. Writers only like to sniff their own turds. I am one of those.
I don’t even like to talk to writers, look at them or worse, listen to them. And the worst is to drink with them, they slobber all over themselves, really look piteous, look like they are searching for the wing of the mother. I’d rather think about death than about other writers. Far more pleasant.”
— Charles Bukowski
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
Say it aint so, please....say it aint so, not Lake County! If someone poses the question, “Where or which county would a stolen house be found?” DUH. On the next occasion a house is missing or damn near anything is missing, I dare say, start the search in Lake County.
POLICE REVIEW BOARD?
To the Editor:
I suspect the recent misconduct violations of former UPD Sergeant Kevin Murray is only the tip of the iceberg.
From all accounts, Murray wasn't just a sex offender. He was a meth addict. He was arrested with meth in his possession.
So how did Murray's problems escape notice at the Ukiah Police Department? Hmm. I wonder.
And how, for heaven's sake, did Murray get promoted to sergeant? Hmm. I wonder about that, too.
I am also aware that there is at least one other officer at the UPD who has a case pending that also involves horrific conduct. It involves domestic battery in front of his children.
There's more bad news about bad cops. Much more.
There is the March 20 incident this year involving a Mendocino County sheriff’s deputy overdosing on narcotics at his home in Fort Bragg. He needed life-saving intervention by EMS personnel, including NARCAN. He was transported to a local hospital.
Illegal narcotics and paraphernalia were later found at his home by investigators.
Another case, in 2017, involved Mendocino County correctional sergeant, Zohar Zaied, using a taser on a handcuffed, mentally-ill jail inmate, who witnesses said was not a threat. The tasing caused the man to stop breathing and go into cardiac arrest.
And get this!
Zaied wasn't fired from his job and wasn’t charged with a crime, according to records released under the state’s law-enforcement transparency law.
Instead, Zaied cut a deal with the Sheriff’s Office to accept a demotion to correctional deputy, documents show. The inmate, Travis Benevich, whose lawyer said almost died in the attack, accepted a settlement of $180,000 from the county instead of suing.
In 2014, Steven Neuroth, 55, of Ukiah died after his June 11 arrest when he was held facedown on the ground and suffocated by four corrections deputies with his hands handcuffed and ankles shackled in a "safety cell" at the Mendocino County Jail. The duty sergeant and a nurse watched and did nothing.
Minutes before Neuroth's death, the arresting officer from the Willits Police Department, Kevin Leef, is shown in a jail video joking with a nurse in the jail's sally port about Neuroth -- described by his family’s lawyer as a schizophrenic in psychiatric crisis -- laughing about Neuroth's fear of snakes.
“Walk up there and say ‘Ah, snakes!’ Funniest thing you’ve ever seen,” said Officer Leef, who is now a sergeant.
Corrections deputy Frank Masterson is heard replying, "One and done."
It was expensive mistake all the way around.
To settle the case, Mendocino County and its insurer paid $3 million to the Neuroth family. The California Forensic Medical Group, the private contractor that provided medical services at the county jail at that time, paid $1.5 million. And the City of Willits paid $500,000.
And, of course, James Neuroth died a terrible death.
There are good cops. And there a bad cops. And there is management -- police chiefs and sheriffs.
Chiefs and sheriffs are politicians. They are politically astute about their own careers. And they are astute about budget appropriations and how public relations affect their budgets.
Moreover, they can manufacture evidence or make evidence disappear. They can cover up.
Bottom line: Cops can't be trusted to police their own. To say Mendocino County has a reciprocal deal with Sonoma County to investigate police misconduct simply isn't good enough.
Which is why Mendocino County needs a Civilian Review Board comprised of appointed civilians to investigate police misconduct independently of outside influence.
When I was with the MCSO twenty years ago, there was a zero tolerance policy for both professional and personal misconduct. On duty or off duty, you were always a cop. On duty or off duty, you always represented your department. And you were always held to the highest standards. I remember getting written up for a coffee stain on my shirt.
So what happened over the last twenty years?
Therefore, I'll make the following recommendations:
That the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors create the "Mendocino County Law Enforcement Citizen Review Board" which shall have the authority to exercise its duties and responsibilities as outlined in a "Citizen Oversight Model", with regard to county and municipal law enforcement and police activities or personnel operating in Mendocino County.
Members of the Review Board will work to increase the public’s confidence in policing services by:
Reviewing, recommending and monitoring the implementation of changes to police policies, procedures & practices
Receiving citizen allegations of on-duty police misconduct
Advising Board of Supervisors, County CEO, Independent Police Auditors, and Sheriff and Police Chiefs
Participating in recommending appropriate disciplinary action
Meeting periodically with representatives of the Deputy Sheriff and Police Associations
Participating in community outreach
CONTACTING THE REVIEW BOARD
The best way for the public to contact the Review Board will be to come to a monthly meeting; information about these meetings will be posted per the Brown Act. The public will also be able to contact the Review Board through the Review Board's own ombudsman.
FILING A COMPLAINT OR A COMMENDATION
If a member of the public has a complaint against a member of local law enforcement, or would like to make a commendation, he or she may use BPD Forms on the Review Board's website to submit it. Forms will be in English and Spanish.
MEETING THE MEMBERS OF THE REVIEW BOARD
The members of the Review Board will have posted office hours.
John Sakowicz, Ukiah
MCSO, 2000-2004, badge # 2526
ED NOTE: Given the paltry number of incidents listed here, incidents reported by the police themselves, and the deputy described therein himself the vic of his own overdose, plus at least two other cases being debateable, the only possible conclusion a reasonable person must draw is that Mendo law enforcement is doing an outstanding job. Anyway, three of our police departments are already supervised by the city councils of the cities they serve, and the Sheriff's Department doesn't seem to me to need another level of supervision beyond the county supervisors, especially oversight by the kind of axe grinders likely to volunteer for any kind of oversight body. Additionally, Sako old boy, you might include the information that probably inspired this letter — your apparently unhappy tenure as a corrections officer in the County Jail, a position you vacated to register a claim against the County for “sexual harassment.” And the county, always quick to pay out a quick five grand rather than contest bogus claims, paid off! Big guy like you? Sexually harassed? Were there blind pervs in the jail? Specifics, please. You seem to have a great big axe to grind with Mendo's forces of law and order.
NAME THAT FUNGUS