MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY is selling 1,138 acres of timberland in three parcels for $3.7 million. One parcel is 589 up the Noyo River Valley east of Fort Bragg. The other two are near Montgomery Woods. Mendocino Redwood, owned by the Fisher family of San Francisco and GAP clothing, maintains 229,000 acres in Sonoma and Mendocino counties and another 208,000 acres in Humboldt County, much of it battered land purchased from Louisiana-Pacific after L-P’s short-term profit-taking of the 1990s. The irony here is that private families, who log sustainably, are again the owners of vast tracts of Northcoast land, just as they did in the 19th century in smaller acreages before the rape and run policies of the timber conglomerates.
AFTER LIBELING ANGELA PINCHES as under the influence of methamphetamine when Ms. Pinches’ 2-year-old was found wandering half-clad near her Redwood Valley home three weeks ago, the DA said, “Oops. No meth.” But the damage was done. All the papers, including this one, assumed the police report was accurate and published stories repeating what has now turned out to be a false charge. When the DA got the lab test results on Ms. Pinches those results pronounced her clean, but her reputation was irreparably sullied. Meanwhile, John Pinches, 3rd District supervisor, and Angela’s father, is furious.
SUPERVISOR PINCHES makes the point: “They never even would have taken my daughter's kids if they had known she was not on drugs. Little kids wander away from their house all the time and they don't take them.”
PINCHES also spoke to the second libel associated with the wandering child affair. The police report quoted Ms. Pinches as saying she’d turned the oven on to warm her house in when she left to run an errand, instructing her 9-year-old to keep an eye on the 2-year-old. Not true, the Supervisor says. “I'll tell you what happened there,” he said, “and the cops know this. When she got back home and the cops were there, the house was a little bit cold so she turned on the oven. They were all there, her and the cops and everyone. She did not leave the kids alone with an oven on. Anyway, an oven is a lot safer than having a wood stove going. But she never let the kids alone with the oven on. She turned the oven on when she came back when the cops were there. It's pretty devastating when they accuse you of methamphetamine use and then go to court a week or so later and say, Oh, by the way, that was a mistake. The tests were clean….. I don't know how they'll pass it off. But when you make a mistake like that it devastates people’s lives. It's like accusing somebody of being a rapist. Once it's out there everybody thinks the worst.”
ONCE CHILDREN are taken by Children’s Protective Services, it’s not easy to get them back. Supervisor Pinches said his daughter “has to go through the whole bureaucratic drill, all of it. She's been going there every day to get tested. She told them she was not on methamphetamine but she now has to go through this daily testing process to prove it because of this accusation.”
FOR YEARS NOW law enforcement has gossiped about Pinches being a big time pot grower on his ranch in the remote Eel River Canyon, but also for all these years the ranch has not been raided. The Supervisor’s suspicions that his family is getting a lot more attention from law enforcement than other citizens seem well founded. Of course the police would not have been at his daughter’s home three weeks ago if they hadn’t received the call about the lost child. Nevertheless, as Pinches says, “The other day I was in a restaurant and the waitress told me, ‘You know what the cop's were talking about? What a big pot grower you are.’ And I have to deal with that on a daily basis. I guess it's if you accuse someone for something long enough then okay, it must be true. I know a lot of people who have ranches and property out in the hills and they are not pot growers. After a while it gets to a point where now all of a sudden they are accusing my family of being involved in methamphetamine. I am not going to take it. I know my daughter. She is not perfect by any means. But I knew she was not on methamphetamine. Then you read that in the paper and you say, Well, you know, I guess she was. There was something I overlooked. I just didn't see it. And then they did the test. Completely negative. But because her last name is Pinches…”.
ON MAY 1ST, Robert Jason Smith 32, of Mckinleyville, was stopped in Utah for a traffic violation. The Ute cop said he could smell marijuana in Smith’s vehicle, but found none. He said the distinctive odor of devil weed turned out to be wafting up from $215,000 dollars in cash he found in Smith’s SUV. The Utah police called Humboldt County’s narcos and soon a warrant was issued for Smith’s home in Mckinleyville where “officers located a commercial indoor marijuana growing operation” where they “seized 233 growing marijuana plants that ranged in size from 2 feet to 3 feet along with dried processed marijuana from inside of the residence.” They also seized Smith’s love interest, Ms. Tara Diva Fulgenzi, 31. This episode would seem to confirm that if local growers can get their product to buyers in the less marijuana rich areas of the country they can return to the Northcoast with a quarter million cash. But, as experienced dope mules have pointed out, it’s wise to transport the stuff in a rented vehicle, especially on the return trip.
THE SONOMA-MARIN Area Rail Transit District has sold $199 million in bonds to finance construction of the perhaps mythical rail line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael. Optimistic signs along 101 already announce that the train, which is planned to run from the Marin Civic Center to Railroad Square in Santa Rosa, will soon be chugging up and down the tracks no later than early 2016.
A READER writes to correct my comment that the SF Examiner is owned by rightwing nuts based in Colorado: “The Examiner was bought a few months back by some locals, maybe even ‘liberals,’ same folks buying the Guardian, as you noted. So, no more right-wing billionaire guys.” So far, though, the Examiner seems the same as when the crazy guy owned and the Guardian seems, ah, anemic.
HERE’S A STAT that’ll make taxpayers smile
One that’ll get them to Larkspur in style
You can take a choo-choo
If you someday accrue
At least five million dollars a mile