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Letters To The Editor



Keep The Code, Inc., a non-profit Corporation of Mendocino County citizens, has hired legal representation in litigation, challenging the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors' certification of the Environmental Impact Report for the Harris Quarry Expansion Project (“EIR”), which allows tripling of the rate of aggregate extraction at the quarry and industrial zoning of the site with an asphalt plant.

On behalf of Keep The Code, Environmental Law firm- Remy, Moose, Manley, LLP will challenge the County approved project on multiple legal issues- governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Since the Harris Quarry Expansion Project includes a new 'Mineral Processing Combining District Overlay' (MPCD) industrial zoning. The complexity of the proposal increases accordingly; since the entire County is potentially affected. Keep The Code contends a “Programmatic Environmental Analysis” of this new zoning code is required to provide for, or anticipate these potentially unforeseen, adverse consequences across the county. This current EIR provides no such programmatic countywide analyses.

Keep The Code contends the proposed MPCD zoning ordinance is inconsistent with the General Plan. The MPCD ordinance would specifically allow heavy industrial/manufacturing uses on land designated in the General Plan as “RL-Range Lands” Currently such industrial uses are prohibited on parcels with a Range Land general plan and zoning designation.

Maximum 50 trucks loaded with aggregate rock per hour will create traffic safety hazards and congestion unlike anything we have seen.

Issues of conflict abound with existing residential development and the nearby church, and senior residences with significant adverse environmental impacts such as air pollution, traffic safety, wildfire risk and visual degradation of cultural resources — will all be contested.

This filing represents the culmination of a long, arduous, circuitous journey from that day- November 4, 2004 when, according to official minutes, then Planning Commissioners John McCowen and Greg Nelson voted unanimously, with other Commissioners to “ Deny DR 1- 2004- placement of a permanent asphalt-concrete plant, applied for by Northern Aggregate precursor (Hot Rocks Asphalt & Aggregates), finding that:” land use conflicts with existing residential development in the area are irreconcilable,” and further finding, “ the proposed project is inconsistent or potentially inconsistent with applicable goals and policies of the General Plan, with regard to noise, industry and air quality, and significant environmental impacts would result from the proposed project which can not be adequately mitigated through the conditions of approval” Another Commissioner, Mr Little, recused himself due to “conflict of interest.” Today Greg Nelson and John McCowen Chair the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, respectively.

The County Planning Department Staff Report of Feb 27, 2012 provides an accurate historic account of the process... The establishment of a permanent asphalt plant in a General Industrial(1-2) zoning district, was applied for by the operator, but denied by the Planning Commission on Nov 4, 2004, due to irreconcilable land use conflicts with existing residential development in the area. The applicant appealed the decision to the Board of Supervisors , but during the hearing withdrew the appeal after a discussion with the Board about locating the plant at the Harris Quarry. The Board directed Planning and Building Services to prepare an ordinance amendment that would allow the development of asphalt plants, in association with surface mining operations so that the applicant could apply for a permit at the Harris Quarry site.

According to former Third District Supervisor Hal Wagenet, in recent public hearing comments to the 2012- class of Board Supervisors: “The current Harris Quarry location was suggested (at that time), to the applicant as a viable alternative in January of 2005, and agreed to by the Supervisors, including myself.” Currently serving Supervisor Kendall Smith was also on that Board in 2005. In a Willits News article dated Feb 4th, 2009, then retired Supervisor Wagenet stated: “ He had agreed to help shepherd the Quarry expansion application through the County permit process”

Jack Magne', of Keep The Code, stated today, “ It probably serves no purpose to comment on the appropriateness of former Supervisors acting as guidance-counselors on behalf of Applicants, and perhaps active Board Supervisors should not be in the business of assisting Applicants locate a place to build an asphalt plant.” Magne' continued, “ Even the casual observer might see (built in bias)- That said, the real irony here is the fact that the previously stated reasons given for denial of the plant in 2004, are the very same objections voiced by the opponents of the current Harris Quarry proposal in 2012. The result, however, is quite the opposite” The Board Supervisors voted unanimously on April 10, 2012, in favor of certification, just as their appointees, the Commissioners had recommended- 7 to 0.

Magne' said: “Keep The Code, Inc members continue to be inspired and determined to do whatever is necessary to defeat this concerted push to change the zoning ordinance to 'industrial', to allow construction of a 300 ton per hour industrial asphalt complex, on unsteady soil, at the top of a ridge, proximate to a major seismic fault, adjacent to historical Ridgewood Ranch, which is home to senior citizens, LaVida Charter School and Christ Church of The Golden Rule, and resting place of world-famous racehorse Seabiscuit.” “A project which the current FEIR states will produce a total of ' 4 to 9 'additional jobs.” “A loss of tourism, declining property values, horrendous traffic, and jeopardizing the health of our citizens, makes no sense at all.” The complaint states that more appropriate alternatives were not considered.

Keep The Code is entering another chapter in its long battle to defend the air we breathe and the land we cherish.

Support is pouring in. Spirits are lifted. The process and the outcome will rest not on politics- but on the law.

Jack Magné, Keep The Code




To the editor,

How I love living in the utopian Ukiah dining alfresco under the majestic oak tree providing a wonderful canopy for my cottage. Watching the worms descend on silken threads from the limbs high above, leaving hundreds of fine lines of silk swaying in the wind resembling “la Circe de Solie.” I am as fit as Mitt “The Holy Trinity” Romney willing and ready to run the 100 yard dash if only to impress the ladies!

Clearing up my dry mouth with a cool crisp white wine I fill my ballot voting for John McCowen, a man who is dedicated to the protection and further preservation of the county and the people he loves to serve, not to mention his slick campaign signs. Were they bought at the “Sharper Image”?

The best is yet to come. On July 15, “free concerts in the park,” Mckenna Faith will be performing. This young lady is the up and coming superstar! I will be there sober and not smoking, wearing my American flag T-shirt and Nashville cap. Grand Ol' Opry. That's if I am not running the 100 yard dash impressing the ladies on the other side of the park. I bought a laser tape measure and stopwatch!

Life is good here in Mendocino County and I am blessed with a little inspiration that is bringing not only joy and good health with a love for life and prosperity.

The new courthouse would be well placed by the railroad.

Trent Foster



Memo Of The Week

Know Your Enemies


(Elections Code §7228, 7423 and 7772)



I, SUSAN M. RANOCHAK, ASSESSOR-COUNTY CLERK-RECORDER, do hereby certify that at 5:00 p.m. on March 9, 2012 the number of nominees did not exceed the number of offices to be filled in the following County Central Committees and that no petition requesting a special election was filed with the County Clerk. NOW, THEREORE, I hereby request that the Board of Supervisors declare the following candidates elected to such office, as a qualified person or persons who filed Declaration of Candidacy papers, to serve as Member, namely:

REPUBLICAN CENTRAL COMMITTEE: Carol E. Crosby, 2nd District — 171 Carolyn St., Ukiah 95482; Michael G. Carter, 3rd District — PO Box 1952, Willits 95490; Stanley E. Anderson, 4th District — 18751 Dwyer Ln, Fort Bragg 95437; B.B. Grace, 4th District — 201 Cypress St. #203, Fort Bragg 95437.

DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE: Irma Turner, 1st District — 8001 East Rd., Redwood Valley 95470; Joe Louis Wildman, 1st District — PO Box 1395, Ukiah 95482; Paul C. Holden, 2nd District — 5087 Jones St., Ukiah 95482; Virginia Pohlson, 3rd District — PO Box 1522, Fort Bragg 94327; Rachel Binah, 5th District — PO Box 353, Little River 95466; Val Muchowski, 5th District — PO Box 367, Philo 95466; Jefferson Evan Tyrrell, 5th District — 21000 Orr Springs Rd., Ukiah 95482; Steve Antler, 5th District — PO Box 1046, Mendocino, 95460

Witness my hand and official seal this 23rd day of April 2012.

Signed: Susan M. Ranochak, in and for the County of Mendocino, State of California.




Why is no one talking about the environmental advantages of the Harris Ranch Quarry? Producing 200,000 yards of material there would cut out 1,500,000 to 1,700,000 big rig miles now spent to import that material to central Mendocino County. Over 30 years that is 45,000,000 to 51,000,000 big rig miles. How many thousands of tons of greenhouse gases and other pollutants does that save?

We have some of the strictest environmental controls in the world which will be imposed on the quarry. The environmentally “green” way is to produce local materials for local use, create local jobs, keep sales tax local, all under local control.

Harris Ranch Quarry is the green choice for Mendocino County.

John Jeffers


ms notes: Actually, all of these points, and several more of similar nature, were made during the Supervisors meeting when the EIR was certified.




A dozen or so years ago a ranch that lies on the Garcia River between the two rancherias owned by Vernon Kendall had the river breach its banks during high water and start to erode Mr. Kendall's field.

Mr. Kendall hired a bulldozer to reopen the channel — maybe 100 yards of river.

About halfway through the project, Ed Ramos of the Department of Fish and Game came down to put a halt to the project.

Soon after rains came again and proceeded to wash hundreds if not thousands of yards of soil and gravel into the river.

This filled the entire lower river making it very shallow, also making it easy for prey to eat the young trout and warming water in summer which is also lethal to steelhead and salmon.

Attempts were made to plant willows on the Kendall Ranch probably after scientific studies and grant money which resulted in more pollution into the river in the form of giant balls of tangled plastic pie, far more than any pot grower has ever done.

The river has still not recovered.

So I wonder how many fish have died over this period of time. But you didn't hear a word about it. It wasn't plastered all over the papers from here to Los Angeles.

So does the Department of Fish and Game really care about fish or publicity? You would think if they really cared about fish there would be no way and they would allow a vineyard in the river that is also making a comeback — the Gualala River. And for the record, the Stornettas always impeccably maintained their portion of the Garcia River at no charge to anyone but themselves.

John Smith





I would like to respond to a number of erroneous statements made in Mr. Smith's letter.

Vern Kendall (deceased) owned a ranch on the Garcia River that developed some bank erosion problems that were caused by his sheep eating the riparian vegetation, leaving the banks unprotected.

As a consultant to the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, I worked with Vern to prepare and submit a Department of Fish and Game restoration grant to restore the failed bank site.

The grant was approved and Fish and Game, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the National Marine Fisheries Service issued necessary permits. All that remained was a needed Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit.

Vern and I participated in numerous site visits with Army Corps staff and still no permit was issued.

Despite repeated attempts and pressure, two winters went by and the erosion site grew from several hundred feet to over a thousand.

Vern used to say to me he was going to fix it before he died.

The second year in February Vern brought in heavy equipment and attempted to repair the site with no permits or adequate design. He redirected the river over as far from his land as possible and built gravel berms to keep it there.

While Vern was well-meaning and frustrated with the Army Corps of Engineers, the effort was doomed to end in complete failure with the first good storm leaving the site in even worse condition.

Not long after he died relatives of Vern's who inherited the ranch had to carry out a cleanup and abatement of the site.

This effort was not comprehensive enough to truly restore the damage. Those owners sold the ranch to Mike Boer.

I worked with Mike to prepare and submit a Department of Fish and Game grant application to carry out the extensive bank stabilization and revegetation.

I worked as project manager for the firm of Bioengineering Associates.

The project has been extremely successful in not only stopping further bank erosion but also creating deep pools and a healthy riparian vegetation zone that benefits many species.

Mr. John Smith in his letter infers that giant balls of plastic pipe polluted the river.

As part of the project we installed a very extensive irrigation system.

We had hoped to get a second year of irrigation of the plantings.

The Garcia River came up over 15 feet at winter and did dislodge some of the pipe.

I worked with crews to remove and dispose of the pipe the following summer and can assure that there was no harm done to the Garcia River in the form of pollution as the pipe only conveyed water to the plantings.

Mr. Smith, if you call me I would be happy to take you on a tour of the restoration site with before-project photos.

I also worked with Bioengineering Associates to carry out successful bank stabilization projects funded by the Department of Fish and Game on property owned by the Stornetta Brothers Farm, Henry Stornetta (deceased), Oz Farm and the Galiano family.

Each of those projects also created deep pool habitat and stopped the loss of farmland.

Walt and Lance Stornetta and I have also carried out a number of successful riparian projects at their own expense.

The Department of Fish and Game has real and well-placed concern about salmon and steelhead being killed on the Garcia River.

I have been conducting steelhead spawner surveys of the lower river from the Eureka Hill Road bridge to the Highway 1 bridge for seven years.

Due to the extensive upslope erosion control work in commercial and private timberland properties (mostly from Department of Fish and Game funding), the spawning gravels and habitats in the lower river are showing strong recovery and steelhead have begun to spawn in large numbers.

Seven years ago I counted 103 steelhead redds! The following year's totals were: 87, 62, 47, 25, 5, and this year only 3.

This lower river spawning population in particular and overall numbers have been severely impacted by illegal harvest of state and federal Endangered Species Act-listed fish.

Fish are being gill-netted, speared, snagged and even poisoned.

There are reports of Garcia River steelhead being sold in Santa Rosa and even downtown Point Arena out of cars.

There have been millions of dollars spent and countless volunteer hours by concerned locals and Garcia River watershed land owners. This is all being severely undermined.

Craig Bell

Point Arena



Dear Editor:

As your readers may know the U.S. is the only industrial country that does not have an universal health program. It is worth noting the US spends about 15% of GDP on healthcare and yet there are 50 million plus Americans without health insurance while the countries with plans spent about 7-9% of GDP on health costs. Further, the way the health insurance business (which is mainly for profit corporations) operate a goodly percentage of their customers are under-insured. Meanwhile in the rest of the world countries are moving toward healthcare for all their citizens. These include such countries as Rwanda, Ghana, Chile, Mexico and in Thailand only 1% of the population do not have health insurance. Incidentally, one of the important measures of a country's health is its infant mortality rate which in the US ranks about 35th in the world. Even Cuba has a lower infant mortality than the US.

Pax Americana spends more on the military industrial complex than the rest of the world combined yet it is unwilling to develop a system of healthcare that will provide for all of its citizens.

As we have seen with Obamacare the GOP which seems to be dominated by Tea Party nihilists who are intent on destroying what little healthcare safety net currently exists. This is clear when you look at Representative Ryan's budget as well as how they will fund the cut in interest rates for student loans. If these nihilists ever get full control of the government it will be the beginning of the end of the American Empire.

In peace,

James G. Updegraff




Dear Editor,

As a Republican there is one easy vote in the June 5th election for Congress.

Mike Halliwell is the only true conservative running for Congress in the new 2nd Congressional District.

If you believe in smaller government, less taxes and fewer regulations. If you believe in freedom and what our Constitution is suppose to stand for. If you believe it is a free market that allows businesses to grow, thrive and create jobs, then you should cast your vote for this true Republican who shares those beliefs.

Mike Halliwell is no RINO. He is a real Republican and he's running for Congress and he deservers your vote.

In the race for Congress you'll see a second Republican on the ballot, one who seems to agree with the Democrats on almost every issue. Mike Halliwell is the only Congressional candidate who has stayed true to our Republican ideals.

Join me and cast a vote of conscience on June 5th by voting for Mike Halliwell.

Mark Grimes





I agree that we should do everything possible to save our landmarks. However, “the unique, beautifully imposing triangular boulder that looms large across from the Black Board Road intersection” is not “The Black Bart Rock” of historical significance. The original Black Bart Rock was located south of the summit on the old stagecoach road that later became old 101, parts of which can still be seen occasionally on the west side of the new highway.

Unfortunately, that rock, which we have pictures of at the Mendocino County Historical Society Library, has State signage saying that it is Black Bart Rock. Unfortunately, it reportedly slid down the hill and was lost. The rock that Mr. Magné referred to last week was called Black Bart Rock by a PR person who I believe was working or writing for the Redwood Empire Association.

So this week I will research the files that we have and hopefully have the correct story ready for publication with pictures in a future article for local papers. We should still hold on to the monolith that Caltrans cut when putting in the new road.

Paul Poulos, Director

Held-Poage Home & Research Library

Mendocino County Historical Society




To Pebbles Trippet,

You are terribly uninformed. Chris made the decision to take the plea, which reduced the charge to a second degree felony. The range of punishment for a second degree is 2-20 years and Chris got only three years. He has already spent more than four months over the minimum parole eligibility and will be paroled very quickly. After the evidence presented to me by the DA that Chris was selling grams of hash for “40 a g,” all of the goodwill in the community that I had built disappeared (even though you and I know that he was going to sell a little medicine for gas money.)

I have been a long time advocate of legalization of cannabis. People like you are the old-time warriors who deserve the credit for taking the issue this far. But your time has come and gone. It will be people like me, in suits and ties, who take us the rest of the way. We can no longer call non-believers evil while alienating them from the truth. The all-out assault on Texas and Brown County was unproductive. The assault on me is ridiculous.


Rudy Taylor

Brownsville, Texas



Esteemed Editeur,

Robots are becoming increasingly clever and capable, leading some futurists to forecast the eventual displacement of all human labor, perhaps as soon as a few decades from now. On the other hand, many conservative pundits would not concur with such a scenario at any time in the future, so, what is it that they see that assures them that new jobs will proliferate forever and ever? Their rosy perspective on job security certainly isn't shared by all.

As robots evolve and improve much faster than human abilities, the future of human job prospects becomes increasingly tenuous. Now that a few years have passed since our economic melt-down, today's employment picture would surely have bounced back to at least Bush era levels if job prospects had really been so promising, but mired in the doldrums we seem to remain. Many economists note that productivity has been zooming skyward using the same number of workers, all because of the rapidly escalating introduction of cheaper labor saving devices. They warn that, as a trend, high tech will increasingly displace humans as opposed to creating more jobs. Given the exponential acceleration of tech progress, it isn't all that reckless to predict that, in another half-dozen years, smarter robots will make sufficient inroads into traditional jobs at the same time not so many new jobs get created, which will cause many more people to pay closer attention to this growing problem of humans struggling to survive, but with fewer opportunities to land a paycheck.

Think of what just plain old-fashioned 'more of the same' might mean for the future. If current employment trends don't change for the better, wages are doomed to remain stagnant, the rich are fated to get even richer, power and wealth are fated to concentrate in ever fewer hands, the government is fated to become even less useful to ordinary people as big money monopolizes political influence, all the while we are bombarded with media messages to enjoy whatever new gadgets find their way into our lives, with reassurances that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Meanwhile, bridges and roads continue to crumble, and those who can't afford flying cars might be doomed to weave from one pot hole to the next while praying that their vehicles don't soon fall apart.

The same pundits who insist that 7,000 years of civilization somehow prove that class divisions will never end also claim that labor's final liberation from toil will never arrive due to a never-ending proliferation of jobs. The pundits need to be asked: Is it also inevitable that the gap between the rich and poor must continue to widen? And that ever more people must sink into poverty? Please spare us from the future as prescribed by the upper classes, and instead let us insist that the machines liberate everyone from toil in a manner that ensures universal freedom from want.

The upper class politics of exclusion have long needed to be replaced with the working class politics of inclusion. A giant step in that direction would be to convert 'workers competing among themselves for scarce jobs' into 'bosses competing among themselves for scarce labor'. And that agenda can be fulfilled by using time-tested methods such as a shorter work week, mandatory month-long paid vacations, earlier well-paid retirement, higher overtime premiums to discourage overwork, etc., anything to get labor from glutting the labor market. As labor great Samuel Gompers stated a century ago: “As long as there is one man who seeks employment and cannot find it, the hours of work are too long.” Political will for a working class agenda will someday be generated as surely as smarter robots increasingly replace human labor. It's only a matter of time before more people catch on and create a movement to see to it that what little labor that remains for people to do gets equitably shared by everyone who could use a little work to get by.

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, Massachussetts




Mr. Ericsson is correct about the Saguaro not growing on the Pacific. However we were not on the Pacific when we took the enclosed picture. Highway 1, the only paved road down the length of Baja goes inland for many miles, thru an amazing desert, coming closer to the Sea of Cortez than the Pacific coast.

We did not confuse the saguaro with the boojum (cirio). As you can see in this picture that would be pretty hard to do. If we confused anything it would be the fat cacti on the left and in the background of this picture. I can't swear they are saguaro. There is also an ocotillo in this picture. The rest of the tall funny growths are boojum trees. Quite interesting characters aren't they?

Neva Dyer/Kent Rogers





Sorry, but I got another rant coming on!

I hear that Caltrans is contemplating raising the speed limit in Philo!

I want to go on record that I am violently opposed to this stupid idea. I live in Philo and I am routinely chased across the street by cars that plow through Philo completely ignoring the posted speed limit. I have had cars honk and drivers yell obscenities at me because I slowed down to pull into my driveway. And yes I do use my turn signal to indicate what's coming. I have more than once been by passed by cars that felt I was driving to slow in Philo.

Do I have to remind Caltrans how many tragic accidents we have had in Philo in the 11 years that I have lived here? More than once my former business sign was decimated and most recently a drunk, speeding driver flew through my gate and rolled his car in my front yard. Doesn't anybody remember the horrible accident where several Roederer workers wrapped themselves around the tree in front of the Pinoli residence and all of them died?

And while I am at it… I can understand that the Philo-Greenwood bridge being 50-plus years old needs some work, but why oh why does it have to be made a two lane bridge?! It has worked just fine as a one lane bridge for the longest time.

Bigger, wider isn't always better.

Monika Fuchs




Greetings AVA,

I am called to address Steve Heilig.

Steve, I will take your calling me crazy in the Letters to the Editor section last week as an unintentional compliment. Growing up in Chicago playing ice hockey one would seek to be sufficiently nutty. It was a matter of self-preservation really. Have you heard the cliché, “We’re all crazy in Chicago!”? Probably have, but I am shocked that you are unaware of the very famous quote of Ursula K. Leguin, “What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?” You were busy reading my rambling letter and missed this excellent quotation which appeared in the margins of the AVA quite recently, if my memory serves me correctly.

If you’re troubled by the letters of mine you’ve read thus far you should see the shit I write that the AVA doesn’t publish. Let me make this clear I have not read nor am I commenting on any of your articles. I routinely skip any article with your name on it and I don’t believe you belong in the same company with the excellent writers at the AVA. Just an opinion, don’t send hate mail Mr. liberal.

Somehow you remind me of every other middle-class, middle-aged white man who grooves to the reggae and live in San Francisco. Each one I know is a rabid sectarian Democrat who wears the coat of progressivism but gets extremely mad and worked up when their little worldviews get challenged. They tend to be overall crabby self-centered people despite the joyous and sharing nature of reggae music, go figure.

As far as you cheering for Obama, it’s entirely predictable, it's class based. The editorial staff of this paper seem to know the absolute futility of President Obama, so I’m not quite sure why your lukewarm liberal opinions matter.

If you’re perplexed by my letters maybe you should skip my letters and read the small excerpts of literary quotations in the margins. I will slightly amend a quote that recently appeared in the AVA by William Wrigley Jr. and say, “When two men in politics (he said business) always agree, one of them is unnecessary.” That would be your president and candidate Obama, who has proven himself to be entirely disposable, unremarkable and completely unnecessary.

I will follow a Nick Nolte quote that just appeared in the AVA saying, “The only people who ever called me a rebel were people who wanted me to do what they wanted” and say, the only people who ever called me crazy were people who wanted me to think exactly like them.

To your accusation that I am writing on behalf of unspecified people I take serious offense. Not an empty accusation in a hyper surveillance war on terror society. You’ve creeped me out sufficiently with that one Steve. Shows me where your instincts are, typical yuppie business, pick a fight and call the police. After all of your crying these past weeks about “dangerous people” who you are telling us are going to get you.

I guess in your world you are a hero if you get in a sufficient tizzy about those red state meanies. Problem is your religious (Democratic) fervor prevents you from seeing how silly you are. You are a sectarian extremist Democrat Steve, and that is the only way you see the world. You therefore try to place all things within your red state/blue state worldview, a boring thing to witness. In that light I will quote my constituency, an illiterate Afghani goat herder who said, “Your King Obama is like a homeless drunken Santa Claus,” and that about sums it up. As the Jamaicans say Steve, “Tek weh yuself.” Translation from the Jamaican is, “sulk away after you have sufficiently embarrassed yourself.”

Nate “2Red” Collins


PS. Let me guess, Steve, you are a financial supporter of KQED/NPR and were deeply hurt by my diatribe. Well Steve if you understood democracy you would just register your vote , as we were taking tally, that you support National Public Radio. But your party is up to something much more sinister than democracy, Steve. I am absolutely perplexed by your breed though, Steve. It was the subject of my review of the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Boonville last year. The apparent disconnect between the extreme hyperbole of black supremacy spoken by reggae artists and the absolute disconnect of the listeners. If you are bothered by my mild hyperbole you clearly have not been listening to the lyrics in the music. All the more perplexing because you wrote for a reggae/world music magazine called “The Beat” for many years. A bland and underwhelming magazine if there ever was one. The whole aesthetic reminds me of everything wrong about this “progressive” nor-cal culture that this fine paper so clearly elucidates.




Regarding Bruce McEwen's May 2 article about the “Bush Hippy.”

In Gold Rush Sierras these back-to-the-land lovely people with dreadlocks and tattoos and all were colloquially called Hippiebillies, though that is sort of what I thought I had signed onto all of 40 years ago.

Tim Moriarty





Laurel Krause's letter (May 9) “No More Kent States” about the murder of her sister Allison on May 4, 1970, by the Ohio National Guard prompts me to add a little footnote to what is one of the most despicable acts of government violence our country has ever seen.

In September of 1970 I was a student at the State University of NY at Buffalo (known as “UB”) living in a house with three other roommates. One roommate had moved out over the summer, and we needed a fourth to help pay the rent.

One roommate brought in an old friend from high school. He explained that his friend Barry had transferred to UB over the summer from Kent State University in Ohio, and needed a place to live. He seemed like a nice guy, kinda quiet, so we said of course, no problem, welcome to beautiful Buffalo!

Then we asked about the horrors of that past May 4 at Kent State, and asked if he had been around the tragedy.

He replied slowly and deliberately with just one word: “Yes.” We knew it was probably a sensitive subject, so we just left it at that and showed him his new room, and went over the kitchen chores list, etc.

A few days later we were talking about what it was like at UB, and we mentioned that although it was a very liberal university — it was nicknamed the “Berkeley of the East” — the local police had stormed the campus and tear-gassed hundreds during the peaceful demonstrations during the nationwide protests of May 4. So someone asked him again, forgetting the earlier interaction, what it was like at Kent State.

He said something like “Well, everyone was just peacefully protesting with some signs, and then all of a sudden someone thought they heard firecrackers, or something like that. Then people noticed that several people were now lying flat on the ground. Four of them were dead. One was my girlfriend, Allison Krause.”

We all sat stonefaced for a couple of minutes, not knowing what to say. After the usual “sorrys,” somebody perceptively said “Well, who's turn is it to make dinner?”

We never spoke about Kent State again, until Barry told us that the famous author James Michener might be calling, as he wanted to interview Barry for a new book he had been writing. “Wow,” I replied. “James Michener! He wrote all those South Pacific books, and some day I'm gonna go live down there because of him!”

After the book “Kent State” came out several months later, I asked Barry what he thought of it.

“A bunch of crap. Pure bullshit! Everything I said to him, well, he twisted it all around where it wasn't anything like I told him. He obviously had a certain agenda in what he wanted to say, and he didn't care about the truth.”

Michener, not telling the truth? One of my writing heroes being debunked? This was hopefully an aberration, this book on Kent State.

I lost track of Barry and many of my UB friends when I moved to California a few years later, but in fact many UB graduates also moved to the Bay Area, as UB got more conservative over the next few years.

As kind of a footnote, I eventually moved to the South Pacific in 1995, and lived for 12 years on one of those little islands Michener had so romantically described as “little paradises.”

Turns out his South Pacific books were all a bunch of crap as well. These island “paradises” aren't much different than Buffalo or Berkeley, except bananas and papayas are cheaper.

So, I for one won't ever forget Kent State, and hopefully we can keep an eagle eye on governments that don't give a crap about anything except the agenda of those in power. And on a much lesser note, one should read all of Michener's books as if they are pure fiction, rather than “based on fact.”

Elliot Smith

SF Bay Area




Northern California Congressional candidate and medical marijuana patient Andy Caffrey made history Saturday by whipping out a joint and smoking it as part of his speech at the Occupy Mendocino street fair in Fort Bragg, CA on Saturday afternoon May 12. This is part of an effort by three of the twelve candidates for the House seat representing the 2nd District to stand up to President Obama and the actions by the federal government which have already shut down 200 of California’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

The 2nd Congressional district is unique. It includes the entire coast of California north of San Francisco, including the three counties (Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity) referred to by the marijuana community as The Emerald Triangle. Caffrey is a southern Humboldt resident and lifelong community activist best known for his environmental activism as a co-founder of both US Green parties, the Citizens party in 1980 and the current Green party in 1985, as a veteran Earth First! organizer and action videographer who has helped save forests all over the world, as a BBC World Historic Figure for being the World’s First GMO Crop Thrasher, and as an activist who’s worked on the Climate Crisis for over 30 years. He coined the meme “Climate Crisis.”

Caffrey has built his campaign around a 7-item agenda called New Green America which places the Climate Crisis at the top of our nations list of priorities and he is calling for President Obama to declare a national climate emergency and announce a crash program similar to that of World War II to rebuild America’s infrastructures away from fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources as fast as humanly possible.

Last week in Ukiah, Caffrey also called on competitor Norman Solomon to leave the race so as not to prevent the election of the first Green to Congress in US history: Andy Caffrey. Solomon’s own polls reveal that after raising over a half million dollars to run his campaign, he has actually lost support during the last seven months, moving from 11% in October down to 10% in April.

“He has hit a plateau at around 40% of what he’ll need to make the top two in the new open primary,” said Caffrey. “I’ve got 8% in the most recent poll and with Solomon’s support would be in second place with 18%, five percent ahead of Susan Adams.”

“Solomon’s built his campaign around organizing only progressive Democrats. The problem is that all of his Democratic competitors are at least progressive Democrats, and my politics are Green,” said Caffrey. “Norman has been squirming for more than a year to find even one issue on which he stands out from the crowd, but I have over 100 of my issue positions up at my web site and from a progressive or Green point of view, Norman isn’t better than me on a single issue. So he’s fabricating his own reality, making bogus claims. Right now he’s spinning the illusion that he is the only one of us with any foreign policy experience. But all he’s done is jet set to Iraq and Afghanistan with celebrities a handful of times. Nothing was accomplished, but he’s flown to foreign countries, so that makes him an expert in his own eyes. I’ve been working with Green politicians all over the world since 1984, fought with the Penan people, the last migratory tribal people in the world, and have changed genetic engineering regulations around the world. Because of my work in 1987 against the genetically-engineered microbe Frostban, the company producing the GMO microbe went out of business a year later and there have been no more releases of gentically-engineered microbes by anybody else anywhere on Earth ever since.”

Caffrey also points out that Solomon doesn’t actually have any accomplishments which have solved the issues he’s worked on. “He hasn’t saved any forests, shut down any GMO tests, saved the homes of any tribal people, saved the lives of North Coast homeless people, or won healthcare for anybody. He’s started a couple of think tanks on the media and written some books about war and peace. Last time I checked, ten years after Norman’s flight to Kabul, we’re still in Afghanistan murdering thousands of people. He’s just another CEO, but for non-profit corporations.”

Caffrey’s run a tight “$10,000 campaign” to reach as many people with his own media, including the Internet and grassroots organizing, as a million dollar candidate reaches with their million dollars worth of TV ads. “I was also the first of the candidates to produce and air on broadcast TV campaign ads. ‘Destroying Democracy,’ ‘No Jobs On A Dead Planet,’ and a celebration of the 25th anniversary of my anti-GMO campaign against Frostban have been the themes of my ads. So far, I’ve run them in Humboldt and Del Norte counties during Late Show with David Letterman and CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, as well as the local NBC news and Fox TV’s Mornings On Two and 10 pm news.

On Thursday, the three “Emerald Triangle candidates. Caffrey, John Lewallen (I) and Dr. William Courtney (D) plan a joint press conference in Marin County to denounce President Obama’s raids on dispensaries. More details forthcoming but Caffrey promises to smoke his medicine again at that conference.

Our concern is no longer can we power our civilization entirely with renewable energy sources. It is that we must do so as fast as humanly possible.

You can help elect the first Green to Congress! Really! In 2012! Help today!

Andy Caffrey for Congress 2012 CA-2nd District

Send your contribution today! P.O. Box 324, Redway, CA 95560.
Please make a campaign contribution here.




Folks regularly ask me for voting recommendations, so here they are.

PRESIDENT: For registered Democrats, I suggest you write in Rocky Anderson, ex-mayor of Salt Lake City, who is in favor of single-payer healthcare, fair taxes, and an immediate end to our wars. Obama is sure to win this Democratic primary, so a protest vote for his selling out to Wall Street, health insurers & the war machine (who all gave his campaign million$) is needed. For registered Greens, vote for Jill Stein.

US SENATOR: Diane Feinstein is sure to win again, but instead of voting for this conservative Dem and true 1%er, I'm voted for retired teacher Marsha Feinland of the Peace & Freedom Party.

US REPRESENTATIVE: Definitely Norman Solomon for Congress.

STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER: Mainline Dem Wes Chesbro is a shoe-in; my protest vote goes to “father/small businessman” Tom Lynch.

PROP 28 (Term Limits): Yes, says the presidents of the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and Congress of Seniors state chapters. I agree.

PROP 29 (Cigarette Tax): Yes, says the presidents of the American Cancer Society, American Lung Assoc., and American Heart Assoc state chapters. The tobacco industry is blanketing TV and our mailboxes with No-on-29 messages. Will Big Money buy another victory? I hope not; vote Yes on Prop 29.

I hope this is helpful.

Tom Wodetzki,

Mendocino Coast Alliance for Democracy, Move To Amend, KZYX radio show Corporations & Democracy




May means Sheepdog Trials in Redwood country and this year it began at the Yorkville Hills on the Reyneri Ranch, part of the old Hulbert place, in what is colloquially known as Downtown Yorkville this year, featuring over 20 sheepdogs and a flock of rangy, white-faced Torgees, fresh off the Stanley Johnson Ranch in Yorkville.

Who won?

The sheep — by a long shot.

But five dogs took home ribbons and other awards, as well.

Two tied for first place and a run-off was held between Ross, who belongs to Jack Mathieson of Sebastopol; and Jasper, owned by Teri Tucker of Santa Rosa.

Jasper won.

Both dogs had 34 points out of a possible 50, but Jasper’s time was 5:32; Ross came in at 5:58.

Third Place went to Cali, Karen Kollgaard’s dog, with 26.5 points, and a time of 9:04.

Glen took Fourth. He’s owned by Sue Gustafson of Sebastapol. 12.5 points in ten minutes flat.

Bill Slavern of Zanora “retired” his dog, Chance II, and still got Fifth Place.

“Retired,” means he bowed out, as graciously as he could, considering how badly things were going with the clock running out.

The sheepdog trials in the Redwood Empire are done differently than elsewhere. For one thing, the dog handlers are not allowed to use canes, or hand signals, or body english. As opposed to the Drive-Away Style, or as it is sometimes called, the International Style.

The Redwood Empire Sheepdog Association (RESDA), formed locally in 1947, has its own particular rules. Contestants start with a maximum of 50 points; then points are deducted. The “outrun,” “lift” and “fetch” are worth a maximum of 15 points, five points for each sheep. Judges look for a wide outrun to get the dog in place behind the sheep, a calm lift, and a fetch which is controlled and in a straight line. The sheep must go around all four corners of the pen before the handler and sheep can proceed to the first set of panels. As soon as the sheep pass the pen and are headed for the first set of panels, they are being judged. The judge looks for a straight line — no zigzagging, no turning around, no darting off to the left or right, no stalling, no running at high speed. Five points are awarded at the first set of panels; five more at the second set. If the sheep miss the panels, without going through, it’s usually one point per miss.

The handler stands on a base, one-and-a-half foot square, five feet from the inside panel. No movement by the handler is allowed. No hand signals or waiving, no body english, the dogs must do it on their own.

The four basic commands are “left,” “right,” “lie down” (stop) and “walk on” (approach the sheep).

The chute is the most challenging obstacle. It is 10 feet wide at the mouth then narrows to 18 inches at the neck. Getting the sheep through the chute is akin to threading a needle. Ten points are awarded for the chute. Finally, the sheep are put in the pen. Fifteen points are awarded for the pen.

The chute is a harder obstacle than the pen. One might think it should be the other way round, points-wise. The chute is harder because the handlers might stay at the chute too long and run out of time before attempting the pen. There is a 10-minute time limit, with a warning at seven minutes. Usually, the handlers are at the chute when they hear this.

The dogs must not bite the sheep. Only rarely, in self-defense, and then only on the nose. Any biting or “gripping” is an immediate “thank you” from the judge (meaning you are disqualified).

All the judges are from RESDA and are dog handlers themselves. They have to have been competing for at least two full years in the Open Section, which is the Senior Class. The other section is the Pro/Novice Class, where either the dog, or the handler, or both, are new to the trials. There is no chute obstacle in this section. There are around 12 RESDA sheepdog trials each year, from April to October. Some are held on ranches, and the others at the county fairs in Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma and Marin Counties. For a schedule, go to

The Yorkville Hills trials were first held in 1987, and the event has continued every year, with a few exceptions. Ribbons and money are distributed to the winners, along with beautifully turned wooden bowls, which are made by Cesar Reyneri, a master woodworker. The perpetual first-place trophy was brought by myself from Wales. It’s a carved oak plaque depicting a sheep and sheepdog with a shield bearing the names of the winners since 1987.

On July 22nd the first trials on the Johnson Ranch, at the corner of Highways 128 and 253, will be held. This will be the Curt Beebe and Floyd Johnson Memorial Sheepdog Trials, with Eva Johnson hosting. Of the 20 dogs entering the elimination, the top eight will go on to the Mendocino County Fair in September, where I will be doing the announcing.

I would like to thank Cesar Reyneri for allowing me to hold the trials on his property and for donating the lovely wooden bowls as prizes.

Kevin Owens



The town was so full of cars. Theater from noon to 5 Saturday for Nic King's memorial. Color Slides organized by sons Julian and Silas on the theater screen shot by Nic and family. Overflow then spill'd over to Bill Golly and Andy Johnson's new bar at 215 Main where Nic's black and white slides were shown. Bill one of Nic's neighbor's on the land and one of the theater founders. Sweet to watch old girlfriends of Nic and folks from the land, slack jawed in front of the screen seeing themselves in the years they started their families. Saw so many people you don't always see in town.

Nic's first adopted son, Sam King, was found by his bio-dad a couple of years ago. It was something Sam couldn't ignore, because PA folks kept returning from Cabo, and Baja saying they ran into this guy who was asking about Sam King. He divulged that he was Sam's Dad. He'd been a friend of 5-10 years of Elro, our old PA Rx clerk who has a second home down by Cabo. He ran into so many folks from PA that knew Sam King, that he finally met Sam, too! They know each other now. I think Sam is happy with that.

One of Nic's kids asked (at the memorial) how many people had one of Nic's apple trees. Most in the room raised their hands. Nic was always giving them away if no one wanted to buy one. As it should be!

Silas, #3 out of 4 King kids, was very impressed and gratified that Tim Bates stood and said they have 500 of Nic's apple trees at the Apple Farm. Silas was so proud. He mentioned it a few times. He lives in Taiwan now.

Nic had me do bodywork on all his kids since I first moved to Point Arena in '93. Our kids were in Acorn school together. Nic used to bring me mother's day gifts after Ruby died. It was usually Ruby food - a favorite cupcake or something. Still makes me cry. He was good that way. Sentimental. So, Silas has been a client since he was about 12. He's in his 30's now living in Taiwan where he studies martial arts, meditation and lives full-time on part-time jobs.

About 15 years ago Nic started driving off the road unconscious in his various automobiles. He had Louie Body dementia. Don't know if I spelled it right. The carwrecks (3) had become too numerous to ignore. Finally, Sara, Nic's beautiful, bounciful, and bountiful adopted daughter of Black/Italian heritage, came home to check on Nick, and wound up returning here to live (from South Dakota — no brainer).

Since our kids (Julian and Ruby) were in Acorn School, we'd taken a few safety breaks together; sparked a few at the Smoothie Booth Nic ran for Acorn School at Reggae on the River each year. The year I went with Nic was one of his last running the Smoothie Booth. Nic would get all wound up before the event, hoping for HOT HOT weather. Two degrees meant more sales! He used to repeat over and over again, if the weather wasn't over 100, we might as well pack it in! True, Smoothies sell better at Reggae when it's over 100°, and we sold $24,000 in Smoothies that year in the 102° heat, compared to $14,000 the next cold overcast year at Reggae. Nic could be a lot of laughs even if he was a worrywart.

Debra Keipp
Point Arena

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