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A RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE will lead to warm and dry weather through the rest of the week, with milder conditions along the coast. (NWS)
6 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is seeking community assistance in identifying the subject depicted in this photograph.
This subject is a person of interest in several burglary investigations in multiple areas within Mendocino County since January of this year. The subject was last observed in the area of Elk, Ca. and currently may be on the Mendocino Coast.
The subject is described as a white male adult, about 5'10” in height and 180-pounds, with a red beard. The subject was last seen wearing dark clothing, a knit hat, and carrying a dark backpack. It is presumed the subject is transient and travels on foot.
If you have any information pertaining to the present whereabouts of this individual or information which may lead to the individual's identity, please call the Sheriff's Office immediately at 707-961-2421 and request to speak to an on-duty coast deputy.
SUPER MOON SHINES ON MENDO
LIKELY WILLITS KILLER ARRESTED
UPDATED PRESS RELEASE 04-27-2021:
On Tuesday, April 27, 2021 Sheriff's Detectives located the deceased bodies of two unidentified persons in connection with this ongoing active missing persons investigation.
On Tuesday, April 27, 2021 Detectives arrested Christopher Wayne Gamble, at the Mendocino County Jail, on the following charges in connection with the discovery:
- Use of firearm during serious felony
Gamble was previously arrested on April 25, 2021 and booked into the Mendocino County Jail by Sheriff's Detectives during this investigation on the following charges:
- Misdemeanor Arrest Warrant for court order violation
- Misdemeanor Arrest Warrant for failure to appear in court
- Unlawful cultivation of marijuana
- Unlawful possession of marijuana for sale
- Criminal conspiracy
Gamble is currently being held at the Mendocino County Jail on a No Bail status.
Further information is not available for public release at this time because this remains an active ongoing investigation.
Sheriff's Detectives are continuing investigations in the 20000 block of Timber Road and will continue to do so overnight and tomorrow.
When further information becomes available for release it will be disseminated by a subsequent Sheriff's Office press release.
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE:
Since Monday the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been investigating a suspicious double missing persons case associated with a marijuana/cannabis growing operation in the 20000 block of Timber Road in Willits, California.
Sheriff's Office personnel have been in the 20000 block of Timber Road since yesterday and are expected to be in the area for several days in connection with the active ongoing investigation.
Further information for public release is not expected for several days because of the complexity of this active ongoing investigation.
When information becomes available for release it will be disseminated by a subsequent Sheriff's Office press release.
JACKSON STATE FOREST: A Forester’s View
by Chris Calder
California has nine demonstration forests, mostly in the coast range and lower reaches of the Sierra Nevada. Jackson Demonstration State Forest on the Mendocino Coast is by far the biggest. At 50,000 acres, JDSF is more than twice the size of the other eight demonstration forests combined.
The demonstration forests were founded after World War II, even as the state's timber industry — large companies like Georgia-Pacific and Louisiana-Pacific that are mostly gone now — were being allowed to liquidate the state's higher-value forests and nearly all of its remaining old growth trees. Still, efforts were made at “progressive” forestry. The demonstration forests were founded to work mostly with university forestry departments, not neccesarily the public directly, to test new logging methods and show what sustainable forestry did, and did not, look like.
The tree-sit currently underway in the Caspar Creek watershed of JDSF could, broadly speaking, come under that category of promoting progressive forestry and engaging with the public's interest. It certainly wouldn't be happening on private timberland, where industrial-scale logging continues apace, though not at 20th-century speed, out of the public's view.
Mike Powers has been chief forester at Jackson Demonstration State Forest for two years. He graduated from UC Berkeley's forestry school and moved to Fort Bragg in 1995. He's worked for JDSF for the past seven years. Powers has some experience trying to make the workings government fit the much faster-moving demands of the public. He's been an elected member of the Elk Community Services District, so he knows a thing or two about working with people as well as trees.
Powers' response to the current protest is pretty nuts-and-bolts. The logging that has raised people's ire is part of that 50-year project, he says. A series of plots along Caspar Creek were logged differently. Sensors placed in the creek are supposed to show changes in water temperature and flow, depending on the type and extent of logging. Powers said data from one phase of the decades-long experiment was collected this year and sent along to researchers. The effect on the stream of recent logging that has been the focus of protests is just now starting to be measured.
“It's a complex management scheme,” Powers said last week. “but the focus is on stream flows and canopy protection.”
Controversies over logging a couple of decades ago prompted changes in the JDSF citizens' advisory committee, which is supposed to allow for public input beyond the ongoing communication with universities, industry and regulators.
Amy Wynn, an environmental consultant in Fort Bragg, currently fills the advisory committee's public seat. She did not return a call requesting comment.
Kevin Conway manages all nine demonstration forests in California. He did an internship at JDSF when he was a sophomore at Humboldt State in 2000. Conway responded last week to whether JDSF old growth trees are being needlessly logged. There is actually a three-fold definition of what “old growth” is, he said, taking into account a tree's size, location and importance to habitats, as well as age. Conway didn't deny that there some bigger, older trees scheduled to be cut down. But, he said, building up the old growth stands that remain is the overall goal.
“We're very proud of that big tree component in our forests,” he said.
The more immediate threat to big trees on the demonstration forests is fire, Conway said. The Castle Fire last summer threatened a grove of ancient sequoias at Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest near Yosemite, Conway said. But the grove was saved and reforestation around it begun.
Fire has visited JDSF, too, mostly when it was owned by the Caspar Lumber Company before WW2, which typically burned before, during and after logging jobs, Powers said. The fire scars on big old stumps in the forest are clear evidence. The thick brush that grows in sunny spots throughout JDSF is evidence that burning hasn't happened there in a long time.
A wildfire just north of Willits last summer came within a dozen miles of JDSF's eastern edge. Powers said fire is on their mind a lot these days. Calfire’s Mendocino battalion chief George Gonzalez wasn't able to join week's interview because he was fighting the 200-acre “turnout” wildfire, in April, in the hills between Boonville and Ukiah.
“We feel like we're taking concrete steps to prepare the forest for wildfire,” Powers said. “Whether it's leaving a little more space between trees or next to roads — almost every project we have is really focused on those things now.”
LOCAL REALTOR ANNE FASHAUER of Signal Ridge reports that her hand surgery was successful and she’s recovering well and thanks everyone who wrote and offered their concern and advice.
SAVING HEADWATERS, a look back. Which is probably a look forward to what will happen at Jackson State Forest, albeit on a much smaller scale. In 1996, representatives of eight local enviro entities, from Earth First! to the Sierra Club, turned over negotiations for Headwaters to Dianne Feinstein and John Garamendi, leaving the tree huggers hugging thin air, and out of the negotiations completely. DiFi and Garamendi of course worked out a deal for a fraction of Headwaters' trees in exchange for maximum public money — an agreement so disproportionately in corporate raider Charles Hurwitz’s favor that even his usual allies in Congress balked at forking over three quarters of a billion dollars for 9,000 acres of Humboldt County's old growth redwoods, which Hurwitz had come to own via a junk bond deal that gave him all of Pacific Lumber, previously a privately owned company.
REALIZING they’d been hustled, but never apologizing for or even explaining their huge tactical errors, Earth First! — Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney — the deal was protested in an arrest-fest at Carlotta, a sedate affair complete with march and rally monitors with instructions not to do or say anything that would upset Pacific Lumber, disrupt traffic or inconvenience the police. A couple of famous singers showed up to get their PC tickets punched and nothing critical of the Clinton Administration or its toadies was said from the platform, not that many people could hear what was being said and sung because the idealist who’d rented his sound gear to the rally for $400 couldn’t get it to work.
THE RALLY had been shoved onto the margins of Highway 36 because PL wouldn’t allow the 8,000 people who showed up the use of a nearby field, as if 8,000 people could have been stopped from simply occupying whatever rally site they chose, including highway 36 itself.
PRIOR to all the capitulations by Northcoast enviros, former Congressman Dan Hamburg was tossed off the enviro team for saying in public that Headwaters wouldn’t be preserved if negotiations for it were turned over to Democrats like Feinstein and Garamendi. Hamburg was right but the so-called radicals of Earth First! badmouthed him for simply pointing out the reality of a very bad deal, and then it was on to Carlotta.
IN 1996, if my memory is working today, the demo at Carlotta was to rally support for the preservation of Headwaters Forest, which had already been sold out. Darryl Cherney, taking full advantage of the occasion, released an album of enviro songs by famous singers called “If A Tree Falls,” a title amended by cynics to “If A Tree Falls, Two Bucks Fall Into My Pocket.”
ABOUT THIS TIME, and I still have the fax, came this presser called, “Who Bombed Judi Bari? featuring twenty-three selections of her greatest speeches, plus assorted newsclips and songs comprise this 72 minute treasure trove of cutting edge wisdom and with, available on CD, vinyl and cassette.”
THE JUDI BARI record hype came with a nearly complete re-write of the truth about who she was, what she did and what she accomplished. “Judi didn’t preach from the ivory tower of intellectualism; she talked the language of the streets, the woods, and the working class from which she came.” In fact, Judi was an intellectual who became an anti-intellectual, succumbing to the New Age rituals, time capsule hippie-ism and the pseudo-mysticism of many of her constituents, who she privately ridiculed. JB’s gifts as a speaker and writer inspired Redwood Summer, but she wasn’t enough of an intellectual to get past the adulation of toadies, and not enough of an intellectual to make the movement grow. She was not an environmental Lenin.
NOR DID JUDI Bari come from the working class, loosely defined here as people who work for wages. She was a daughter of securely upper middleclass parents who had been communists in their youth. Nor was she a union organizer. Judi helped organize one wildcat strike among post office workers in opposition to the existing postal union. Most condescending of all to the memory of the old girl is this fatuous statement: “She introduced many to the notion (notion?) that it was the industry owners and not the workers who were responsible for forest destruction. She built bridges to the loggers and millworkers, helping injured sawmill workers start an IWW labor union at a nearby Georgia Pacific mill.”
EVEN THE DIMMEST enviro understood that loggers aren’t responsible for corporate policy. Judi did try to get past the class snobbery infecting many of the more privileged environmentalists, but bridge-building from unemployed hippies to conventional 8-5 people (5am until the afternoon winds come up for loggers) was much over-rated because it’s impossible to “organize” people from outside the work place.
JUDI DID WRITE a fine account of an L-P mill worker — George Alexander — who was nearly killed at L-P’s Cloverdale mill when a piece of debris flew off the huge, unscreened sawlog blade at his work site, almost decapitating him. Alexander, a young Hopland guy with a strong sense of himself, refused L-P’s attempts to take him on the road as a professional victim of environmental terrorism. L-P wound up fighting Alexander for injury benefits after they’d loudly put it falsely out everywhere that the debris that had nearly killed him was actually an Earth First! spike.
WHOEVER wrote the record promo hadn’t even taken the time to get Judi Bari’s best efforts down correctly. Her legacy, for the media mesmerized who think in terms of legacies, is mixed, to put it gently. A serious political person, after all, would have set up her foundation to carry on political struggle, but Judi Bari’s foundation collects money to benefit her daughters, both of them are well protected by the wealthy families of both their parents.
THE BASIC FACT of the Bari decade is that corporate timber made more money than it had ever made on the Northcoast, and then they ran away. Judi Bari’s real accomplishments were always wildly inflated by people trying to make a posthumous buck off the old girl. There are still a few groupie websites out there mythologizing the Bari interlude and lying about the car bomb that nearly killed her in Oakland thirty-two years ago. Check that; “lying” is a little too strong. Let's say deliberately refusing to consider the known facts and leave it at that.
COVELO MAN SENTENCED IN ARSON ATTACK
UKIAH - Derek Steven McCormack, 31, of Covelo, was sentenced Tuesday to state prison for an arson on the home of a Potter Valley family in August 2019.
McCormack in August of last year was convicted by plea in Mendocino County Superior Court of having committed arson of an inhabited residence, a felony. The defendant also admitted as true a sentencing enhancement that the arson was perpetrated during a declared fire state of emergency.
Judge Keith Faulder denied McCormack’s bid for a sentenced of supervised probation after having reviewed the Probation Department’s background study and sentencing recommendation which recommended a state prison commitment be imposed. The court also received a state prison recommendation following a diagnostic review by the staff at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The focus was on whether the defendant posed an unreasonable threat and danger to the community, an evaluation.
McCormack was sentenced to 108 months in the state penitentiary, the maximum allowed by law.
Because arson of an inhabited dwelling is characterized as a violent felony in the California Penal Code, the early release credits that the defendant may attempt to earn while incarcerated are limited by law to no more than 15% of the overall sentence.
When McCormack eventually completes his time and is released on parole supervision, he will be required to register annually for life with local law enforcement as a convicted arson offender.
The investigating law enforcement agencies that investigated and gathered the incriminating evidence against the defendant were the fire investigators from CALFIRE and the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and the District Attorney’s own investigators.
The prosecutor was District Attorney David Eyster.
LEW CHICHESTER WRITES: "The 'Mendocino Huntress' is a photo of Hattie Clarke of Covelo. She has a fairly well documented personal history and I can recall a few of the highlights: delivered mail by horseback from Laytonville to Covelo when she was no more than twelve years old, was a renowned horse person and hunter and was once credited with somehow shooting three deer with one shot. Yes, I think I have that right. That’s the story anyway. Hattie lived around the corner from me and continued to be active well into the late twentieth century. Her grandchildren now have the ranch."
by Mark Scaramella
THERE’S NO WAY we could possibly cover the Board’s nine and a half hour pot marathon meeting on Tuesday. Our overall impression is that the Board is simply replacing the Bad Old Unwieldy, Unworkable McCowen Pot Permit Ordinance (BOUUMPPO) with a Bad New Unwieldy, Unworkable McGourty Pot Permit Ordinance (BNUUMPPO). The BNUUMPPO is the long-awaited, long-delayed use permit process that is supposed to mollify the critics who say the BNUUMPPO’s “expansion” is going to ruin the county’s woodlands and deplete the remaining water supply, etc. As far as we can tell the BNUUMPPO will be as unenforceable as the BOUUMPPO but will micromanage the pot permits in a few new and different ways and make little difference on the ground.
Tuesday’s pot water discussion was so far into fantasyland that it made us laugh. Mendo has never even tried to regulate water for anything and has no systems in place to monitor or review any water usage. (At one point Supervisor Glenn McGourty even pretended that the fact that Russian River water users, mostly grape growers, “have to report their usage” is some kind of regulation.) Mendo and its water districts have issued “will serve” letters to the most outrageous development projects without objection or question for years. The Environmental Health Department’s water/well administrator told the Board that they’ve issued a record number of well permits this year (knowing there was a drought, knowing that neighbors complain about water tables dropping and wells going dry).
WE ALSO got a kick out of the Board’s naive assumption that the new hyper detailed permit conditions to be imposed on prospective new pot growers will magically be complied with and enforced. We’ve been following permit violation complaints for decades and we know of only two that were brought to the County, one for a small winery on Holmes Ranch filed by a small group of neighbors and their attorney, and the other for the Willits Asphalt Plant, also filed by neighbors with enough money to hire an attorney. To our knowledge, Mendo itself has never on its own checked, much less enforced, permit condition compliance. For years it’s been a running joke when minor things like required landscaping or road improvements don’t appear even though an applicant had had to pay into a “mitigation fund” to do it. Major use permit conditions that are not part of the original application itself are not monitored, much less enforced. There’s no evidence that even the allegedly stepped up enforcement will change that. (Although it might help with some of the outlaw grows.)
EARLY IN THE MEETING, County Counsel Christian Curtis tried to summarize his legal opinion on the subject by pulling what we like to think of as a “Full Zotter” — a 25 minute indeciferable equivocal halting ramble through the confusing and complicated pot permit legal thicket similar to the useless “opinions” of former Deputy County Counsel Frank Zotter, concluding, essentially, that the Board doesn’t have much time left to decide on what they’re going to do and that they can’t legally tell new growers they can’t grow or how much they can grow.
WE ASSUME our better informed pot permit contributors will provide a more comprehensive report of the new permit regime in upcoming days. But for now we’ll simply comment on a couple of dubious lowlights:
• Supervisor Haschak said he’d support a two-year phase out for new pot grows which require trucked in water. See? You can grow pot with trucked in water during a drought, but somehow, magically, that will have to stop after the arbitrary two year phase-out time period.
• At one point, Supervisor Williams said in passing that if the County is going to require a hydrologic study for new pot grows, then they have to require them for new vineyards. Oh sure, the wine mob is going to love that one. (No action taken on that one, anyway.)
• When Supervisor John Haschak said he opposed the BNUUMPPO because no matter how his colleagues slice it, it’s still expansion that will be bad, he faced a barrage of antagonistic questions from his colleagues who badgered him with questions like, Did he really disapprove of the use-permt approach. Haschak calmly stood his ground.
• Supervisor McGourty said he very much disliked the idea of removing oak woodlands for pot “or vineyards.” But, of course, nobody in Official Mendo has ever even said word one, much less proposed, restricting new vineyard woodland scrapings that continue unchecked.
• McGourty also claimed that vineyard owners who negatively affect a neighbor’s water supply must “mitigate” that affect somehow. There is absolutely no evidence that any vineyard owner has ever been required to “mitigate” anything they do with water or anything else which affects neighbors, be it water, pesticide drift, or sleep-depriving wind fan audio invasions.
• Supervisor Williams once casually observed, “I shouldn’t live near ag land if I don’t like ag activity.” As if people can just up and move “away” willy nilly when vineyards or pot grows present a nuisance.
The Board indicated they’d like to somehow discourage or regulate water hauling. Never mind that much of it is legit, especially in a drought, not just for pot. Supervisor Dan Gjerde said the Board/County has generally allowed the State water board(s) to manage water issues. Chief Planner Julia Acker-Krog said previous pot permit applications only required that an applicant have an agreement in place for water hauling as a permit condition, never mind where or how or what kind of water truck or its source. Williams thought they should require all water haulers to submit their logs of pickups and deliveries. Williams asked staff to prepare some kind of enforcement plan and his colleagues and staff agreed to take a whack at it — someday.
Tuesday’s marathon BNUUMPPO session went on into the early evening before they finally took a vote on the tweaked version of the Planning Department’s draft ordinance.
To get a feel for what it involves, download the nearly 28 page draft of BNUUMPPO at the Board’s agenda website:
The draft ordinance is attachment number 7 of 462. (Yes, that’s not a typo, there were 462 attachments — mostly letters to the Board about the pending new ordinance — to Tuesday’s pot agenda item.)
Just before the late-in-the-day vote, Supervisor Williams declared that putting any kind of size limits on cannabis grows would “just instill poverty” and “reeks of a communist cannabis model.”
In the end the Board voted 4-1 to refer the tinkered-with version of BNUUMPPO back to the Planning Commission for yet another level of final review and processing but with a very tight schedule. Then in a few weeks they’ll hold another session to finalize it.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS STAYS THE (CANNABIS) COURSE
by John McCowen
Following another marathon meeting devoted to resolving the current cannabis permitting bottleneck, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to support Chapter 22.18, the proposed land use cultivation ordinance. On advice of County Counsel the Board referred the ordinance back to the Planning Commission for additional review. The referral was necessary because of changes the Board directed that were not in the original draft considered by the Planning Commission.
Among the changes requiring Planning Commission review are additional restrictions on Rangeland cultivation and adjustments to the Zoning Table further restricting the permit types that are allowed in specific Zoning Districts. That said, maybe now is a good time to say that it is 100% false to compare Chapter 22.18 to Measure AF, the Grower's Dream Initiative, which was defeated in 2016. Measure AF literally allowed “cannabis in every corner of the County” with very little review or oversight. Current law prohibits commercial cultivation in residentially zoned districts. Chapter 22.18 won't change that. Chapter 22.18 will allow new permits in Rangeland, which is further away from residential neighbors. Chapter 22.18 will also further restrict the permit types that may be applied for in other Zoning Districts.
Opponents of Chapter 22.18, led by Supervisor John Haschak, continue to falsely claim that any new cultivation in Rangeland will destroy oak woodlands, decimate wildlife and suck the rivers dry. Haschak and his allies refuse to acknowledge that under Chapter 22.18 no cannabis will be grown until the applicant has obtained both a County Use Permit and a State Annual License. Even then, permits in Rangeland will only be allowed in areas where the land was cleared prior to 2015, the land has been tilled and there is previous history of crop production, including irrigated pasture. Haschak has yet to explain how replacing one legal crop, such as grapes, with another legal crop, such as cannabis will result in “destruction of our way of life” – unless he is referring to the way of life of the illegal cannabis growers with whom he is aligned.
The current ordinance allowed existing growers to continue as long as they filed an application and paid a fee. The current ordinance, whatever its merits, suffered from poor administration from the start. Many incomplete applications were accepted and there was no clear process for processing or evaluating the permits. These problems were compounded when the State later required that all permits be subject to site specific environmental review.
Staff and Supervisor Ted Williams, who have extensively reviewed all options, believe that as few as 5% or 10% of the current applicants will qualify for a State Annual license. Among his many false claims, Supervisor Haschak has said the current ordinance will work if only staff will allow it to work. In a sharp exchange, Supervisor Williams asked Haschak if he believed that staff has been obstructing implementation of the current ordinance. Haschak refused to answer directly but said he does think the current ordinance will work. The other Supervisors agreed with Williams that staff had not been obstructing the ordinance, that it was simply unworkable. Haschak has never offered anything more than magical thinking in support of the current ordinance.
The proposed Chapter 22.18 will require a Use Permit process which will require site specific environmental review pursuant to CEQA of 18 categories of potential environmental impact. The Use Permit process will also provide notice to about two dozen State and local agencies including fire and water districts and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who will be requested to review and comment on the proposed project. Notice will be provided to neighbors and there will be a Public Hearing where anyone may voice their concerns. At the conclusion of the Public Hearing the application can be approved, denied outright or approved with additional conditions to address neighborhood and environmental concerns. Anyone dissatisfied with the outcome has a right of appeal. Anyone still not satisfied may challenge the outcome in court. None of these protections exist in the current ordinance.
Haschak, seemingly oblivious to previous Board direction that there will be no new permits issued this year, as well as the rigors of the Use Permit process, which is not fast or easy, repeatedly stressed the concerns about allowing expansion during a drought. Ironically, or perhaps hypocritically, Haschak's concern about water did not extend to current applicants, 90% of whom are not able to obtain State Annual Licenses, and many of whom rely on trucked water.
Despite numerous complaints about use of trucked water and the impact to public and private roads and bridges, Haschak strongly advocated for a two year continuance for trucked water for current applicants who can't succeed in Phase 1. When questioned he stated that use of trucked water was legal, that the growers were buying it from the Laytonville Water District and it was a source of income to the District. I guess that trumps the damage to roads and bridges.
As the meeting wound down, and with a motion on the floor, Haschak continued to bring up exceptions to benefit current growers who are unable to get legal. In addition to a two year continuation of trucked water, and despite numerous complaints about noise and the environmental impacts of waste oil and diesel spills, Haschak also advocated for the continued use of generators.
Chapter 22.18 only allows cultivation on slopes of 15% or less. Haschak noted that the State allows up to 30% which he guessed the State thought was acceptable. Haschak wondered if maybe the County shouldn't align with the State and allow 30%.
When his colleagues expressed frustration that Haschak kept bringing up issues that had been discussed, re-discussed and re-hashed ad infinitum, Haschak responded that he was getting text messages from constituents. Supervisor Williams asked “Which constituents?” Haschak replied they weren't constituents, they were groups. Williams asked “What Groups?” Haschak replied “The Covelo Cannabis Advocacy Group and MCA” [Mendocino Cannabis Alliance].
It's no surprise that Haschak takes his marching orders from the growers who can't or won't get legal. In addition to the 1,100 applicants stuck in “Haschak Hell” (the current ordinance) he also advocates for what he says are 8,000 illegal growers who failed to apply to be legal when they had the chance to do so. On April 19th he advocated allowing all 8,000 to apply for permits. After four years, only Haschak thinks any significant number of the current illegal growers have any intention of applying.
Supervisor Haschak proclaimed repeatedly that the Third District does not want expansion. Many of the comments that have been generated have been driven by the hysteria that Haschak and others have stirred up with false and misleading statements. But many of the comments are driven by growers who cannot get legal. The 1,000 current applicants and 8,000 (claimed by Haschak) illegal growers form a powerful constituency (concentrated in the Third District) that sees a functional ordinance, oversight and enforcement as a threat to their way of life.
Despite the best of intentions on the part of many small growers, the cost and complexity of legalization and price drops in the legal market mean that very few growers can succeed in the legal market on 10,000 square feet of cannabis. Without expansion the cannabis industry in Mendocino County will remain underground, it will remain environmentally damaging, and it will remain dangerous as the recent double murder in Supervisor Haschak's District tragically confirms.
Four members of the Board of Supervisors understand that it is way overdue to move away from coddling non-compliant and illegal growers who can't or won't get legal and open the process up to new applicants on new sites that do not negatively impact neighbors or the environment. Only Haschak wants to stick with the Haschak Plan (the current unworkable ordinance). Ironically, for the 90% of current applicants who cannot succeed in Phase One, the land use permits allowed by Chapter 22.18 will be their only hope of obtaining a State Annual License.
On April 12th the Board made a strong commitment to effective oversight and enforcement, including adequate staffing for Planning and Building Services, Code Enforcement and the Sheriff's Office, aided by the use of satellite imagery. Only Haschak voiced opposition to the use of satellite imagery. And only Haschak is adamantly opposed to a workable ordinance that will draw a bright line between who is legal and who is not.
Hanging over the discussion was the threat of a referendum if the Board supports the proposed ordinance, especially expansion. Having been in their shoes I know it is very difficult for the Board to be caught in between making good public policy decisions and pleasing the people who voted them into office. As this issue goes back to the Planning Commission and then back again to the Board I ask that everyone please take the time to get the facts and understand what is really at stake.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 27, 2021
WARREN BECK II, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, concealed dirk-dagger, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHR GAMBLE, Willits. Murder, pot cultivation/processing & possession for sale, use of firearm in felony, prior misdemeanor in last ten years, disobeying court order, conspiracy, failure to appear.
JEREMY HAWS, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
WILLIAM MOON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance, resisting.
FRANKLIN PATTY, Willits. Controlled substance, suspended license, county parole violation.
LUIS PINEDA, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, falsifying evidence, probation revocation.
JON RICKEL, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
CASSANDRA STEELE, Willits. Domestic battery.
JULIAN WADE, Novato/Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
ALEC WHYBURN, Ukiah. Battery with serious bodily injury, domestic abuse.
TOBIAS WOOD, Ukiah. Resisting.
REPORTING FROM AROUND THE WORLD, REESE ERLICH WAS A BEACON OF INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
by Norman Solomon
When Reese Erlich died in early April, we lost a global reporter who led by example. During five decades as a progressive journalist, Reese created and traveled an independent path while avoiding the comfortable ruts dug by corporate media. When people in the United States read or heard his reporting from more than 50 countries, he offered windows on the world that were not tinted red-white-and-blue. Often, he illuminated grim consequences of U.S. foreign policy.
The first memorable conversation I had with Reese was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on the way to Iraq in September 2002 -- as it turned out, six months before the U.S. invasion. He was one of the few journalists covering a small delegation, including Congressman Nick Rahall and former Senator James Abourezk, which the Institute for Public Accuracy sponsored in an attempt to establish U.S.-Iraqi dialogue and avert the looming invasion.
As the organizer of the trip, I was on edge, and I asked Reese for his assessment. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the Middle East, he provided cogent insights and talked about what was at stake.
After filing stories from various parts of Iraq, Reese returned home to California and we worked together to write alternating chapters of a book that came out two months before the invasion -- “Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You.” (The book is posted online.) Reese’s eyewitness reporting and analysis were crucial to the book.
Reese critiqued the basic flaws in U.S. media coverage then beating the war drums, and he also wrote about the “professional” atmosphere that led U.S. journalists to conform.
As President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair methodically lied the U.S. and Britain into a war on Iraq, Reese pointed out: “The Bush and Blair administrations are fighting a two-front war: one against Iraq, another for public opinion at home. The major media are as much a battleground as the fortifications in Baghdad. And, for the most part, Bush and Blair have stalwart media soldiers manning the barricades at home.”
In a chapter titled “Media Coverage: A View from the Ground,” Reese wrote: “The U.S. is supposed to have the best and freest media in the world, but in my experience, having reported from dozens of countries, the higher up you go in the journalistic feeding chain, the less free the reporting. . . . The journalist’s best education is on the job. In addition to journalistic skills, young reporters also learn about acceptable parameters of reporting. There’s little formal censorship in the U.S. media. But you learn who are acceptable or unacceptable sources. Most corporate officials and politicians are acceptable, the higher up the better.”
Reese summed up: “Money, prestige, career options, ideological predilections -- combined with the down sides of filing stories unpopular with the government -- all cast their influence on foreign correspondents. You don’t win a Pulitzer for challenging the basic assumptions of empire.”
While Reese won prizes, including a Peabody Award, he did something far more important -- skillfully and consistently challenging “the basic assumptions of empire.”
Reese did so with balance and accuracy as a freelancer reporting for such outlets as the *Christian Science Monitor*, *San Francisco Chronicle*, New York Times Syndicate, *Dallas Morning News* and *Chicago Tribune*.
I saw Reese at work in Iran in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2009. He was meticulous and good-natured even when the journey became exhausting and stressful. Unusual stories were usual for him. It was all in a day’s work when Reese lined up an interview with a grandson of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini or got us to a women’s rights protest at Tehran University, or when he located an out-of-the-way refugee camp in Kabul where we could interview victims of the war.
Along with his radio reports and articles, Reese went in-depth as the author of “Inside Syria,” “The Iran Agenda Today,” “Dateline Havana” and “Conversations with Terrorists.” Reese’s firsthand reporting, multilayered knowledge and wry humor enrich those books. Meanwhile, he reached many people via interviews and public appearances, even when he was fighting cancer in his last months (as when he spoke about U.S.-Iranian relations and the Iran nuclear deal in February).
During recent years, Reese’s “Foreign Correspondent” column for *The Progressive* magazine appeared in kindred online outlets like *Common Dreams* and the San Francisco-based *48 Hills*. His last article -- “My Final Column? -- embodies the honesty and deep humanity that made Reese such a wonderful journalist.
Reese Erlich’s work and spirit live on.
UNWANTED WEEDS IN SIDEWALKS? [Coast Listserve]
Alan Gaack wrote: Here is more proof that the EPA is being run by the very industrial groups it claims to regulate.
Marco McClean responds:
Alan, it's proof only if your reading comprehension is poor, and your mind is already angrily made up on every potential subject. The man who was harmed by Roundup, who brought the court case, was soaking in it all day every day for years at work as part of his school district job, and he didn't stop, even after he developed skin and other health problems, and eventually he got cancer, and a sympathetic jury was persuaded that somehow he would have been fine if Monsanto had made more of an effort to, I dunno, broadcast not to do that. But the reason he didn't stop is, he would have lost his job. The system worked, after a fashion: employers now are on alert that they can be liable if they make someone's job contingent on poisoning himself. It's a step in the right direction for labor. No-one disputes that in sustained ridiculous quantities Roundup is poison.
The science consistently shows that Roundup, diluted properly and used in accordance with the instructions on the label, is safe to use. Like a million other things in the world it's not safe if you overwhelm your system with massive quantities of it. Even weed, for example, or paint, or pencils, or carrots, or dish soap, or vitamin pills, or essential oils, or incense, or aspirin, or lovely sunshine from the sun. The dose makes the poison.
With very sensitive tests they found pesticides in wine, and everyone went, Oh, my God! There's toxic pesticides in wine! even though it turned out that you'd have to drink something like a hundred gallons of wine every day for years to get a toxic dose. You know what else there is in wine that will kill you in those quantities in much less time? Water and alcohol and grape dreck, the same amount of water and alcohol and grape dreck there is in wine from grapes grown absolutely organically by one-legged monks in Tibet.
There's a lesson here: Slow down a little bit. Eat and drink and drive and paint a little slower, use sunscreen and/or a wide-brim hat, and read articles and labels all the way through before you spray anything full-strength up your nose or soak your head in it, and we'll probably be fine.
On the other hand, last week I saw a video of a bunch of young women happy at a birthday party, where the birthday girl leaned in to blow out the candles and a candle set her eye makeup on fire. It was huge PHOOMPH of flame, and they're all screaming and she's slapping at her face, and oh jeez, what a thing, huh? The cosmetics company had put that stuff in hundreds of rabbits eyes, testing and testing, each time modifying the product, until they came up with version that only chemically blinded some acceptably small percentage of the rabbits in a test group. They did every due diligence they could be expected to diligently do, but it never occurred to anyone to also try to set the rabbits' eyeballs on fire. Now, when that girl sues the cosmetics company and shows up in court in a turban of bandages with just one eye visible, imagine the effect on the jury's eventual decision. When she voluntarily painted the shit on and glued on caterpillars of false eyelashes, and literally stuck her face in a cake of fire.
WE ARE ALL ALONE, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I agree that Trump could have won easily if he had just put down the phone and shut up. Insulting people who might otherwise agree with your policies, or at least think you were better than the other guy is not the way to garner their votes. His ego got the better of him and he pushed away many many moderates. There aren’t enough hard core republicans or democrats to win national elections. It is the moderates that decide national elections. These are the people that sometimes vote R and sometimes vote D, and Trump’s boorish behavior pushed many of them away.