- The Broiler Fire
- Pon Says Farewell
- Gobbledygook Skate Park
- Letters After The Name
- Wells Going Dry
- What Are We Waiting For?
- Report From San Quentin
- Such A Deal!
- Clear Direction
- No On Both
- Fake Girls
- The Broiler Fire & Flow Cannabis
- Extraneous Paragraphs
THE BROILER FIRE
To my community and Flow Cannabis Company (Flow Kana),
My name is Adam Gaska. I am a husband, father of two young children, farmer, volunteer firefighter for RVCFD, and a lifelong resident of Redwood Valley. Most of the 42 years of my life have been spent living on Lennix Drive where I was raised and where I am now raising my own children in the same house I grew up in. On July 7th, that house came close to being destroyed by the Broiler Fire which was caused by a Flow Kana employee mowing in the worst possible conditions-high heat, extremely low relative humidity, late afternoon as the wind starts to pick up.
I was one of the first responders to the fire after being toned out at 2:45 for a fire near the Broiler steakhouse described as “1/2 acre in the grass.” I was at home working and spending time with my family. I told them I was responding to a fire on Uva Drive, that it didn’t sound big but be ready. I was in my truck and on my way to the fire station within 2 minutes. As I drove over the Forsythe Creek bridge, I realized the fire was much larger and had already grown to 5-10 acres. I called my wife to prepare to evacuate. Since before the October 2017 fire, we have been prepared to go-bags packed with clothes for a few days, paperwork in a fire safe box, a checklist of things to grab, pet carriers/leashes, etc. After arriving back to the fire to fight it, I called my wife to tell her to leave which she already had. The engine I was on, we positioned ourselves to defend Oak Park trailer park. The fire came in fast, driven by the late afternoon wind. While I am crouched down attacking the fire, spot fires were popping up across the road behind me. Luckily, I was able to put them out and hold my line. Unfortunately, within minutes, I saw the house on Uva and School Way burst into flames. In all, I spent 18 hours on the fire line defending my neighborhood. The fire burned to Smith Lane, which is only a few houses away from my own. Fortunately, due to the efforts of all our first responders, my family was able to return home and sleep soundly in their beds while I continued to extinguish the remaining embers from the fire in Forsythe Creek where I played and swam as a child.
I have a lot of words to describe my feelings. Anxiety. Sadness. Disappointment. Anger.
Since Flow Kana came to my quiet neighborhood, I have had trepidation. Having any kind of industrial processing facility in a small neighborhood is going to have a large impact. I remember the impacts of traffic and noise when it was the Fetzer family winery. I wasn’t over joyed to learn that again my neighborhood would be impacted. We were told over and over again that Flow Kana wanted to be a good neighbor, that they wanted to have a positive impact on our community. All that was shattered on July 7th.
It is incredulous that a company whose Vice President of Community Development is a board member of the Mendocino Fire Safe Council, a company that seemingly didn’t have an employee fire safety plan or training. The acts of their employee border on criminal stupidity. As the person who runs the fire safety trainings on the farm I help manage, I can’t wrap my head around how they could have been directed to be mowing during the conditions present. I also find it very disappointing that Flow Kana had canceled their grazing contract with my friend, local grazier Ruthie King who is also a local firefighter for Ridgewood Ranch. We know the importance of fuel load abatement. As a company that hangs their hat on sustainability and “The California Way,” one would think they would know the importance of grazing animals in managing our fuel loads because California becomes a tinder box waiting to explode during the summer.
I applaud the public statements made, admitting responsibility and claiming they will accept liability. It remains to be seen if they will actually follow through with reparations. I wait with bated breath.
Because of this, I am asking that Flow Kana’s Vice President step down, relinquish her seat on the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council board of directors. After the incident a few days ago, it is obvious that the purpose and mission of the Fire Safe Council isn’t carried through into the culture of the company that she works for. As financial amends are made for the damages due to the fire, it is a conflict of interest to continue to use her position as an attempt to portray Flow Kana in a positive light, “at the forefront of wildfire prevention.” They should step back and take this moment to learn from and atone for their mistake. Let those with more experience continue to educate the importance of wildfire safety and how that is achieved. It is also clear that Flow Kana should have more onsite equipment, infrastructure, employee training for fire prevention/suppression, especially in these severe drought situations.
PON SAYS FAREWELL
Dear neighbors, colleagues and friends of Anderson Valley,
I am writing this farewell letter with mixed emotions. This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make. It has been over a decade since I first moved to Mendocino County. I was drawn by the nature and beauty of Anderson Valley but more importantly by the kindness and stories of the people. I have learned so much from everyone that I have encountered through the short conversations in the halls and with those who have sat in the dental chair sharing their stories with me. You have taught me so much. I have learned to listen and by listening I have become a more compassionate clinician. Thank you for entrusting me with your care. It has truly been an honor and pleasure to serve. Even though I am excited to be with my growing family I still have great sadness that I am leaving the valley and the people. But part of me is relieved to know that Anderson Valley Health Center is in great hands and care under the leadership team that makes the Health Center such a great place.
Thank you for the fond memories. I will truly miss everyone of you.
GOBBLEDYGOOK SKATE PARK
Gobbledygook means obscure, verbose bureaucratic language characterized by circumlocution and jargon and usually refers to the meaningless officialese turned out by government agencies.
One example: Monte Rio Skate Park. How can nothing be done for six or seven years!? My daughter does not speak gobbledygook. She speaks plain English. “Chill vibes, relaxing.” Locals are nice. They taught her and her brother to skate. “Cooler than Sebastopol and it is pretty.”
So I initiated the (gobbledygook): “Monte Rio Creekside Skate Park Improvement Community Community Association.” This is a creative desperate plea for help from the skate park community — yes, a skate park community exists — to the powers that be. We have boldly taken a survey of most of the skaters of Monte Rio including 10-12 children and made a map and a top-five improvements list! Then we gave it to Leslie, the park superintendent. She said, This is a great; let me see what I can do!
Now we have a meeting with the Monte Rio City Council or board members or some people of great importance to see if they will cough up some money for the park improvements.
The meeting is at the Monte Rio Community Center across from the theater at 6 PM on July 12.
A pro skater named Kenny Reed will be there to show his support!
I will keep up-to-date on this and let everyone know what happens on the 12th.
Oaky Joe Munson
Oh! Tony Trujillo should be there also! Join us if you are so inclined.
LETTERS AFTER THE NAME
Dear AVA & Company,
It has been a long while since I've written. However, I think about you all quite often. Of course, always when I'm reading the AVA which I share with several guys here. I'm grateful for the continued subscription. My friend the late Jim Houle (a frequent AVA contributor) paid for my subscription for many years. He was a good man and human being. So I doubly appreciate your gift.
I recently graduated the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) which is a highly selective, intensive program funded by the Department of Rehabilitative Programs (DRT) to train inmates to become substance use disorder counselors. On June 9, I and others took our certification test through the national certifying body, the NAADAC, which I passed. I am now officially a Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor (SUDCC), which is my job in prison. So when I get to the streets (hopefully) someday, I now have a career. This is the highest accomplishment of that order that I've ever achieved. So that's pretty cool.
Other than that, not much to tell. I will be shipping off to California Men's Colony near San Luis Obispo soon to start working in the substance use treatment program there. It's part of the contract we sign that when we complete our training we can be sent to various institutions throughout the state as needed.
The other news is Valley State Prison is going to be the flagship for the “Norwegian model” that CDCR intends to adopt in the coming years. This place received an extra $14 million on top of the usual annual budget to start implementing it. Of course Norwegian corrections staff has the equivalent of a bachelor’s college degree in social work unlike the correctional officers here. It's going to take a lot to change the corrupt criminal culture of the California prison system and I'm not talking about the inmates. However, it's a great place to start and I'm glad it's happening.
Prison for the most part is a lot better than it used to be when I started my time almost 30 years ago. Back then they were really bad, especially the level 4s which were war zone bloodbaths.
I'm going to file another commutation application shortly. Hopefully Governor Gavin Newsom will see fit to commute my life-without sentenced to life so I can go to the Board of Parole Hearings. That or perhaps some of these proposed laws concerning LWOP will go into effect. Either way things are looking hopeful.
Thanks for everything. Keep up the good work.
Leif Berkson, SUDCC-1 (Letters by my name are pretty cool!
Valley State Prison, Chowchilla
WELLS GOING DRY
My name is Jason and I’m a water technician in Laytonville. I sounded my 16th dry well in Laytonville so far this year. This one is different. Well depth = 200 feet. Location in the bottom of the valley. Uphill I can see 15 greenhouses clear as day. Two old ladies live at location with very low usage. Now they have to pay for and find (good luck) a tank and booster system so they can get a city water delivery. It will cost $4000 for install with water costs for delivery $350-400. Hard for older ladies on a fixed income to produce, and I will be forced to work out a payment plan so they can have life’s most precious necessity. And we want to draw more? How? From where? This is truly a mess that will take 3-5 years of 60 inches of rain to mitigate. As far as the county’s direction for wrapping Phase 1 into Phase 3, the Supervisors should eat cake for not listening to the state…. But it will penalize Phase 1 applicants if the Willits referendum succeeds. I strongly suggest voting for the Small is Beautiful referendum. It’s the best way forward, especially in this long-term drought.
WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?
I see our Measure B funds are being used to build a state-of-the-art residential crisis treatment facility on Orchard Street in Ukiah. Once again, as in the nearby new Ukiah Unified Administration Building built not long ago on Orchard Street, both lack a renewable energy generator, i.e. solar. Here we are with accelerating climate catastrophe upon us with no more time to wait or kick the can down the road, and our public funds are constructing an entirely new building without any regard to climate change.
I hear a lot of rhetoric about mitigating climate change, but I don’t see a lot of action behind the rhetoric. When will Mendocino County mandate that every new construction must be fitted for a source of renewable energy? What are we waiting for?
REPORT FROM SAN QUENTIN
There has been a lot of monkey business with our mail here of late. The covid outbreak here at San Quentin was bad, 29 deaths! Numerous lawsuits are underway. Lots of mail is confiscated and/or censored or seized. I hope this makes its way to you. I continue to fight for a just ending to my now 13+ years of incarceration for a crime I did not commit. If I only had known how crooked the system really was back when I was charged. Oh well. God had a different plan for me?
I sure appreciate reading about how my former home is faring in light of all the changes in the world. I finally succumbed to the taking the vaccine. I was reluctant due to the fact that I had covid, got sick as hell from it, and my doctor told me that likely my own antibodies were still at 100%. Here however, there are restrictions imposed on men who refuse vaccination. I got the Johnson & Johnson rather than the Moderna. I actually had the choice believe it or not. I ran a high fever, lost taste and smell for several days but I'm fine now.
I am presently awaiting an interview for resentencing via the Governor and the Innocence Project continues to dig up new stuff. But everything takes time. Time sure goes by here. Anyway I will continue to make the best of things while in this chapter in life.
Some members of my family are still pissed off at my stubbornness for not taking prosecutor Tim Stoen's original plea deal of one year. Me too! Oh well. Stoen got what he wanted: the conviction of a Christian heterosexual white gun toting Republican. Wow! Sure hurts when I write it!
Keep doing what you do. I always look forward to getting your paper and reading honest truth. Believe.
God bless. Sincerely, your friend
Kenny Rogers #AC8841
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin CA 94974
PS. Since I’m now divorced, if you know of any ladies in the age range of 30-60 who are interested in corresponding with me it would sure be nice. I could sure use some interactions. Thanks, just a thought. I don't have Internet like most people.
ED NOTE: Still known around the County Courthouse as "the miraculous conviction," Mr. Rogers got packed off to the state pen on zero evidence that he either ordered or in any way encouraged shots fired at the front door of a person Mr. Rogers didn't care for. I agree that the vehemence of his prosecution by Tim Stoen was largely inspired because Mr. Rogers isn't Mendo Mellow. And the whole way, Mr. Rogers was jobbed by so-called defense attorneys and idiot rulings by local judges.
SUCH A DEAL!
Dear AVA Readers,
The Anderson Valley Advertiser is probably one of the last real papers. The paper previously published an article about my invention, the Buckle Handle Retainer.
My name is James A. Lee Jr.. You can google "the bucket handle retainer."
Or youtube videos: The bucket nut channel.
Google Earth: 275-A Cherry St., Ukiah, California.
Check out the patent office website for number 10173808.
There are 200 million five-gallon buckets and manufactured each year. Leak-Tite Corporation located in Massachusetts is one of the largest manufacturers of buckets. Leak-Tite also sells 5 gallon buckets to Ace Hardware, True Value hardware and many other hardware stores.
I am in the Mendocino County Jail.
Here is my challenge to all the great AVA readers:
My bail is $12,500 at 10%. The bail bond company is All Pro Bail Bonds in Santa Rosa. You can pay my bail with your credit card. To accomplish this you do not need to leave your home. Just call the co-owner of the patent, Wendy Lee at 707-391-5911. Call or text.
Another source is my son Aidan Lee at 707-510-9896. Call or text.
There can only be one winner. The first person to bail me out will receive 10% of all net sales from the remainder of the patent over the next 18 more years.
Kelly Moore Paints wants my product. Dunn-Edwards Paints wants my product. Sherwin-Williams paint company wants my product.
So in summary, the first person to step up to the plate with $12,500 for my bail with no risk involved will eventually become a millionaire.
For example, $1 million in sales will net you $100,000. When I get into Home Depot there will be at least $1 million in sales per week. That would be $10,000 to the winner.
The winner will receive a legally binding contract drawn up and signed by Wendy Lee. You will never have to work again.
James A. Lee Jr. (inventor) A#84310
951 Low Gap Road
Ukiah CA 95482-3797
ED NOTE: Mr. Lee was booked into the Mendocino County Jail in October of 2020 on charges of Assault with Caustic Chemical, battery with serious injury and probation revocation. In January of 2018, he was booked on charges of Domestic Abuse, and assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
* * *
JAMES & THE GIANT ACID BOTTLE
On Monday, October 5, 2020 at approx. 2218 hours, Ukiah Police Officers were dispatched to the area of 200 Cherry Street for a report of a disturbance between neighbors. While responding to the call, UPD Officers learned that one of the involved parties may have been doused with a chemical agent.
Once on scene, Ukiah Police Officers began their investigation and learned that during the course of the neighbor argument, James Lee, 53, of Ukiah, became angry and doused his two neighbors with a gallon bottle of muriatic acid.
The acid was poured in the face and neck area of both victims.
UPD requested the assistance of Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and medical personnel. Medical personnel arrived on scene and began treating the victims for their injuries. Ukiah Firefighters began hazmat procedures to contain the acid which had been spilled on the sidewalk and concrete.
One of the victim’s injuries were so severe that she was transported to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley by ambulance and then transported by air ambulance to an out of county hospital for more specialized medical treatment.
Ukiah Police Officers contacted Lee and placed him under arrest for two counts of Using Caustic Chemical on Another and Assault Causing Great Bodily Injury. Lee was transported to Mendocino County Jail where he was booked for the above offenses. Due to the severity of the crimes Lee had been alleged to have committed, Ukiah Police Officers contacted the on-call Superior Court Judge and requested a bail enhancement on Lee. A bail enhancement was granted and Lee’s bail was raised to $125,000.
Letter to the Editor,
Mendocino County cannabis farmers finally have clear direction and rigorous environmental standards to comply with, thanks to the new Phase 3 ordinance, Chapter 22.18. Opponents of this ordinance and their referenda want you to believe that this new legislation is worse for our environment than what currently exists, and that it will open the doors for big business. The reality is, practically no environmental protections existed with the previous ordinance, and illicit grows currently operate more acreage than 22.18 could ever allow. No policy makes no sense and has no enforcement. Phase 3 is the only path for legal, local, conscious cannabis farmers. Please do not sign a referendum against it.
Cannabis Compliance Consultant
* * *
A READER COMMENTS: Something you cannabis consultants (and your clients) seem to forget, is that often the land you are setting up shop on is in a long-established community of people. People that have built and maintain the infrastructure you depend upon for your business, like the roads. And these same people understand the availability of water, the stability of the hillsides, etc. Yet you all act as if it is some business-zoned parcel completely abstracted from the beauty and solitude of these hills. Our streams and wells are running dry, our insect populations are crashing, as are the birds (swallows, etc. ) and bats due to night illumination. And the roads, never meant for more than homeowner ingress and egress, are being torn to shreds by the heavy traffic of workers, water and soil trucks. And our gorgeous views, now interrupted by popsicle fences and hoop houses. How does ‘good farming’ methods equate to hoop houses, imported starts and soil (and their accompanying pests and diseases) and mixed or full artificial lighting? I would be ashamed to be a consultant representing these so called ‘farmers’. No, it is simply pure greed. So consultant, add to your client advisement the aspect of getting to know the neighborhood the ‘farmers’ are coming to, to ensure the roads are sustained, that your property frontages are maintained, and that you are conscious of your intrusion into other’s lives that know these hills…
NO ON BOTH
Don’t sign either cannabis referendum
If the proponents of the proposed cannabis referendums are to be believed, enacting the new ordinance will result in untold environmental devastation. In truth, the dysfunctional system of little to no regulation is the cause of actual environmental damage.
The new ordinance actually provides greater protections to the environment and is a huge step to reducing the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation in our county. The county has spent countless hours hearing from the broad spectrum of stakeholders and has crafted an ordinance that creates a path forward for compliance, while enacting strict environmental protections and water use regulation. In addition, enacting the new ordinance will create a clear distinction between those in compliance and those flaunting oversight, enabling effective enforcement against bad actors.
Should either of the referendums qualify, we’ll be stuck with the current dysfunctional system for months, and should they pass, for years. It is time for us to begin to repair our broken cannabis system and allow the process of thoughtful representative democracy to move ahead.
I urge voters to decline signing either referendum.
First District Planning Commissioner
I played girls’ sports with girls, not against boys pretending to be girls. One was either or. We knew what we were and which restroom to use. We used pronouns associated with our sex.
Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere. That allowed trans-women to compete in women’s sports. I believe it is wrong to allow biological boys who want to be girls to compete in girls’ athletics, to use the girls’ restrooms, locker rooms and showers. Caitlyn Jenner said if she returned to sports, she would beat any biological girl against whom she competed. Yes, she would. She retains male bone density, blood-oxygen level and lung capacity.
Trans-women who compete against women take top honors, eliminating female record holders (who presumably would win). Female athletes and their parents are understandably upset. These girls, who have trained for years in their chosen sport, are losing to boys.
I understand the DNA sequence of codes remains largely the same throughout a human’s life. Long hair, breast enhancements and fingernail polish do not make a man a woman. Let real girls compete against real girls, real boys against real boys.
THE BROILER FIRE & FLOW CANNABIS
To the Editor:
To My Neighbors in Redwood Valley:
According to Cal Fire, the Broiler Fire broke out Wednesday, July 7, at 2:44 p.m. in the area of Uva Drive and Finne Road southwest of Redwood Valley at the company campus of Flow Cannabis (Flow Kana).
Within two hours, it had burned about 50 acres with no containment.
An evacuation order was issued south of Uva Place from Highway 101 to Linnex Drive and south on Uva Drive and Uva Drive south to Central Avenue to the Highway 101 off-ramp. An evacuation shelter was initially set up at the Mendocino College Gymnasium at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, but was later moved to the dance studio on the college campus.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter was also evacuated.
Ultimately, several structures were destroyed, as the fire burned at least 80 acres.
Flow Cannabis admitted to causing the fire. But here's the thing: Was the fire outright negligence? Who mows the lawn of a corporate campus at 2 pm during fire season and a drought.
To those who suffered damages, and who are thinking about suing, call a lawyer. Do it now.
I'm not a lawyer, but here's what I've found in public sources.
In tort law, negligence is a distinct cause of action. The Restatement (Second) of Torts defines negligence as “conduct that falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”
Negligence generally consists of five elements, including the following: (1) a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) an actual causal connection between the defendant’s conduct and the resulting harm; (4) proximate cause, which relates to whether the harm was foreseeable; and (5) damages resulting from the defendant’s conduct.
Who do you sue? Start with the company's officers:
Michael Steinmetz, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer,
Jarom Fawson, President,
Mitch Wortzman, Chief Financial Officer,
John Striff, Co-Chief Operating Officer,
Kevin Haslebacher, Co-Chief Operating Officer, and
Brooke Carpenter, Chief Revenue Officer & Vice President, Sales
The company's lead outside director?
Michael Henderson-Cohen, Board Member, representing Gotham Green Partners.
If you're planning to sue, do it now. The company raised tons of cash in its early years, but not so much recently.
On 14-Feb-2019, Flow Kana closed on $125 million (Series B) Early Stage VC.
This followed $22.5 million Early Stage VC (Series A) on 01-May-2018.
However, investors are getting wise to the company's negative cash flow and burn rate of cash.
Later Stage VC for $175M was canceled on 13-Mar-2020.
As I said, if you're going to sue, do it now. If your lawsuit doesn't settle and Flow Cannabis (Flow Kana) is sold in an M&A deal, your lawsuit may be carried as an existing liability on the books of the acquiring company.
A final word about premises liability. One of the more complex areas of law related to negligence focuses on the standard of care that a landowner owes to other property owners. In some jurisdictions, the law requires the possessor of the land to act reasonably in the maintenance of his or her land.
Call a lawyer. Flow Cannabis (Flow Kana) is trying desperately to get ahead of the story by reaching out to victims, but you won't know your rights until you speak to a lawyer.
WTF?! Leafing through my newly arrived AVA today, I was delighted to see that you had printed something that I had submitted recently about the Palestinian/Israeli situation. Soon, however, my joy turned to consternation and befuddlement when my wife asked me about the last paragraph, something about a Chinese dynasty and mercury pills.
Reading it, I soon realized that not only had I not written that paragraph, but that it and the previous four paragraphs were about those ancient Chinese clay soldiers; I don't know who wrote it, but it is utterly unrelated to the subject of my article. Hopefully my friends who read this article in your paper will not conclude that I am entering my senescence and simply blabbering on incoherently about this and that, in a free association manner.
What happened? Were you just a half-dozen column inches short of finishing the paper and so you cut and pasted the first thing you came across at the bottom of my article? Sheesh!
On a different subject, I was surprised and disappointed to read your recent suggestion regarding the Palace Hotel. After all these years of watching the municipal cancer that is the Palace Hotel ruins, which has removed from any possible public utility almost an entire central city block for decades, one would think that anyone who takes any interest in the matter would have long ago realized that the building is NOT ever going to be remodeled, seismic retrofitted or anything else besides being razed to make room for something of public utility, even if it is merely a much needed downtown parking lot, until someone comes up with a better plan.
The editor's suggestion that it be given to someone with the means to remodel it shows a woeful lack of understanding about the basic economics of this building.
I have seen seismic retrofitting done on much beefier brick structures in SF, and believe me, it's never going to happen in Ukiah; the cost of a seismic retrofit alone would be far more than simply razing the structure and building a new, modern, steel framed building. If one were so enamored with the look of the building, you could even recycle the bricks and reproduce the façade to look exactly the way it looks today, but with a brick veneer rather than a lot of unreinforced brick walls which would be a death trap in any kind of decent quake.
The thought that anyone would take up such an offer for this tar baby is pure fantasy; there are so many preservationists who will fight tooth and nail to keep it from ever being torn down, that it guarantees that no productive work can be done there until it is. Far from making an offer to 'remodel' it for simply the worthless building itself, I would assert that if the city offered to pay someone $1 million to take it off their hands and start work on it, they would get no offers for that either. The property has, at this point, prove conclusively that without a demolition permit in hand, its value is a negative one of several million dollars at least. That's why I was so blown away when the highly touted 'public receiver' squandered even more sucker money on coming up with a seismic retrofit plan for it that has as much chance of happening as a pig taking wing!
ED NOTE: Sorry, John: The busy layout process these electronic days can be chaotic. We should have caught the error. The correct version of the article without the extraneous paragraphs is availabe on the ava’s website.