PERMITS FOR GREENHOUSES?
Dear Mendocino County Supervisors, Carre Brown, John McCowen, John Pinches, Kendall Smith, Dan Hamburg
Mendocino County is Behaving Badly.
Today, May 30, 2012 Chris Warrick at Mendocino Building and Planning arbitrarily decided to change the language in the Mendocino permit requirements to exclude item L. "Detached shade structures not more than 15 feet in height with no rigid roof covering."
This exclusion has been used by farmers over the last 20+ years to allow them to construct simple hoop houses,Shade covers and season extension row covers without having to ask the Building Department's permission every time their crops were in danger or they needed to propagate early in the season.
The Mendocino County Code Enforcement is now issuing Code violations for any and all perceived infractions.
I went to the Fort Bragg office yesterday with a friend that had gotten such a violation for two small PVC framed row crop structures that was worded thusly "Construction of two green houses without a building permit in violation of 2010 California Building Code Section 105 Permits. 105.1 Required." I went with him to see if we could clear up an obvious mistake.
After a relatively long discussion with the building official (Michael Oliphant), I was directed to take it up with Chris Warrick at the Ukiah office, as no one in the Fort Bragg office could make a determination as to whether or not the violation was accurate or not because the language in the code exemption seemed pretty straight forward. ("Detached shade structures not more than 15 feet in height with no rigid roof covering.")
This morning, after several attempts, I was able to reach Chris Warrick and open a discussion about the issue at hand. He declared, in no uncertain terms that "Any and all structures with a plastic sheathing were green houses and required a permit from the Building Department". I brought up the fact that the exemption in the code was very clear about this type of structure and I had been building such structures under that provision. He then declared that "the provision was wrong and he has removed it from the code". Then he said "it was never intended to include agricultural structures" . The conversation then stared to get a bit more heated at conversations can when agreement is not on the horizon.
So the big questions here are.
1. Can the Head Building official change the wording in the code without bringing it up to the Board of Supervisors? 2. If the Head Building Official can make such arbitrary decisions without any oversight, what can the farming community do to insure that they are not in violation when they are protecting their crops. 3. Since this is a brand new decision made to offset any potential problems with code enforcement claims and fines that may be due to the county by unsuspecting farmers because they thought they were in compliance with the law, can existing structures be exempt because of the abrupt nature of the change?
I look forward to your response and hope that you will assist the local community in this matter.
PS. Like a cat covering up S__t… To be fair, I had a conversation with Mike Oliphant after I wrote the above letter to the supervisors and he was very cooperative. In fact Mike is probably the most public-minded, community-oriented and even-handed Building Official I have ever encountered. That being said, it is not his place to change or interpret any policies that Mendocino County Building and Planning chooses to enact, whether through proper channels or arbitrarily such as the case here by Chris Warrick and the removal of temporary crop cover structures from the definitions and attempting to make all crop covers a greenhouse structure that require permits. This shortsighted attempt at criminalizing the farming community in Mendocino County obviously has its roots in revenue creation and in the other Elephant in the Room: “Marijuana growers.” After all, there's nothing better than an illegal greenhouse as an excuse to enter someone’s property and find out what else is going on. To be clear, I have little to no concern for Marijuana growers or the legality of it one way or another. I last used the stuff when I was 23 — 37 years ago. So this isn't a grower argument by any means. What I do find very disconcerting here is that building regulations that have been in effect since 1992 can be usurped by the whim of a building official “for our own good.”
Since I brought the issue to Mr. Warrick's attention a few days ago he has seen fit to remove the language completely from the FAQ section of the Mendocino Building and Planning website located here. Now there's a PDF flyer that doesn't mention the temporary shade structures at all. Removed for our own good? Fortunately I downloaded the “other” document so that I could go over it and have it to refer to in case it was removed.
Even though reference to temporary crop covers is no longer listed in the FAQ section of their site, he couldn't remove it here (Sec. 18.04.042 - Modifications to Uniform Building Code). I'm sure that it will be attempted soon though. It's also part of the State Code. Yes, the State of California has found it necessary to address the needs of farmers and the fact that they may need to protect their crops from time to time without having to get permits to do so. It can be found here: California Code, Title 24 Part 2, Chapter 1 – Scope and Administration, Section 105 Permits, subsection 2 Work exempt from permit: 10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
So are you willing to give away more of your property rights so that it can be easier for Federal and Local law enforcement to enter suspected “grow” properties?
Do you think that this is a legitimate use of our County resources to make criminals out of the farmers in this attempt to develop more revenue for the Building and Planning Department?
Do we need to "WAKE UP" and look and start speaking up about the erosion of our rights on a local level?
AN OPEN CHALLENGE TO MTA
As a long-time rider of Mendocino Transit Authority buses it was very interesting to read MTA's new five-year transit plan for Mendocino County.
The plan discusses each MTA route separately, describing performance over the past three years, some of the expressed needs from the public workshops last summer, alternatives that were considered, and the alternative MTA recommends for each route.
The language describing the challenges faced by the various routes is generally compassionate. For example, Fort Bragg's Route 5 has lost almost 27 percent of its ridership in the last three years and has only been able to comply with one of MCOG's four performance standards. In response to needs expressed at the Fort Bragg workshop, MTA will be monitoring ridership to see if an extra evening hour can be added, and considers restoring Fort Bragg's Saturday service to be the highest priority for the area in the next five years.
The tone of the language changes when it comes to describing the performance of the Willits Rider. For example: "It is a distance of only 1.7 miles between the ends of the key locations of Willits City Park and Evergreen Shopping Center. Most able-bodied individuals can and do walk this distance in 30 minutes, according to interviews with stakeholders and the driver in Willits. Most people are within a 10- to 15-minute walk of Main Street, where service currently exists on Route 20 and 21."
For those unfamiliar with MTA service, 20/21 is a commuter route between Ukiah and Willits, and does not make stops at grocery stores, shopping centers or doctors' offices.
MTA recommends the Willits Rider change from its current flex route to a fixed schedule route. This sounds fine to me. However, the recommendation goes on to say that if we can't increase our ridership after two years of "an aggressive program of community outreach and marketing" our in-town bus service (the Willits Rider) will be discontinued. In its place, MTA says it would increase the number of runs on route 20.
MTA feels it "has put significant effort into making the Willits Rider successful." This is stated three times in the plan. But the "significant effort" has not been obvious and has certainly not increased ridership.
I believe there are many segments of the Willits population that could make good use of the bus service if MTA would make a concerted effort to find and follow through with them.
For example, in the public workshops last summer in Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits, it was requested MTA have earlier scheduled runs to get high school students to classes on time. Detailed sections in the plan follow through with Ukiah and Fort Bragg, proposing how this improvement could take place in those two towns. The plan mentions no similar follow-through for Willits.
MTA has a contract with the Ukiah Boys and Girls Club. Willits has an after-school program, the Kids Club. Its director told me they usually have 200 kids a day attending from three sites, and she knows nothing about MTA.
There are two very important projects under way in Willits — our new hospital and the Willits campus of Mendocino College — both of which could benefit from a regular bus service while increasing ridership on the Willits Rider.
None of the above is going to have any meaning if the Willits Rider can't continue to survive. It started off in life with 11 runs, the same number Fort Bragg has now. The 5:30 p.m. run was discontinued two or three years ago. Then last June, the 10 remaining runs were cut to five, a schedule that serves almost no one (one run in the early morning, a long break with no bus service, and then four in the afternoon).
Is MTA going to withdraw the Willits Rider when its current inadequate schedule loses even more riders? I certainly hope not. Willits needs an in-town bus service, and I believe it deserves one. I challenge MTA to do much better than it has in the past to give the Willits Rider the kind of attention it needs to meet MCOG performance standards and become a productive part of the Mendocino transit system.
WE DID IT!
To our beloved and persevering community,
We have come a long way in the past year. From hearing our park was to be closed, to being on the brink of signing an agreement to keep it open. What a huge victory! Although we are not completely out of the woods yet, there is so much for which to be proud.
From Occupy to the Navarro Benefit, from letter writing to campaigning, this has truly been a community effort. I feel so grateful to share a place on this Earth with so many wonderful people.
To celebrate all this hard work, we are having a party! We will be meeting on June 10th 12-3pm at the Hendy Day Use Area for a potluck lunch, music from the Motherland Family Band and information sharing.
Thank you so much and hope to see you there!
Cyd Bernstein for HWC
A ROARING SUCCESS
The ElderHome Fundraiser, Sunday May 27 was a roaring success and great fun. We want to thank the many Valley people that came out to support us and have a good time.
We are grateful to the many individuals and businesses that provided for two interesting silent auction tables. There seemed to be no fights nor last minute battles, just happy faces.
A big thanks goes to the Lions Club for doing what they do so well – cook us all a big delicious meal! I am sure I am forgetting many but the crew was lead by Judy Long, Ollie Erickson, Christy and Justin Reilly, Kevin Lee, and Christine Clark.
Last, but certainly not least, are thanks to Dean Titus and the Cowboys. Their fabulous music made the afternoon swing. Thanks go to Susan Clark, Dean, Craig, Ed Walker, Guy Pronsolino, Alan Kendall, and young Ky.
We are so glad they kept playing while we had a good time, stopping to eat after we were all getting ready to leave. They went beyond the call of duty for sure.
From the AVEH Board and our Volunteers – THANK YOU!
And a little child shall lead them —
Our planet is in an upheaval mode. Its food, water, timber and other resources are slowly dwindling away. It's gotten so bad that some folks thinks funny things are happening to the climate or gosh even that the weather itself except in California is "off." Then there's all of that economic distress stuff going on too. And it almost seems like things are getting mugged up beyond easy repair and perhaps the world needs a ready (right at hand!) answer.
What will save our world? A local Mendocino County "semi-enlightened" (LSD) ex-philosophy professor contends that liquor store parking lot hordes of collegiate age frat members (especially the enthusiastic partier types) will provide a fine near future leadership pool since the world itself is in such a state of semi-confusion anyhow, that 20-something heavy beer imbibers and steady bong aficionados will be more than ready for the task, their frequent drives to inebriation and MOMA and Hennessy fueled concert attendance is making them (the hard partiers) the perfect lifeguards for an uncertain future.
My personal opinion differs somewhat: it's not malt-imbibing frat boys that will save our planet, but instead it will be the tiny innocents! It's due time to have a buncha babies! And myself (like any true genius) I know that people on the whole are already in sync with my legal philosophy, and the majority of conscious humans, it seems, are already supporting my publicized policies of totally pragmatic based babyism. Yes, babyism! The innocence of the baby will be the new cutting edge equivalent to petroleum product advancements or nuclear energy/science discoveries and many folks presently are following this new fetalosophy to fine form! My preaching in the streets, salons and coffeehouses that humanity will prevail and that babies are the fleshy firecracker of economic growth (and civil growth too) is being substantiated through time and the momentum of those who are listening will hopefully push our species (especially here in California) to not just a pallid "baby boom," but an awesomely fecund nuclear baby blast of unimagined birth numbers!
Thanks to the new baby mind/brain shaping technologies and modern programming methodologies (baby Einstein being just one of them), babies can be quickly and efficiently trained to engage in tasks, jobs and even careers that only "skilled" adults previously engaged in.
Picture this: countless millions of fresh faced, chubby, cherubic tots (in size fitted equipment) eagerly marching in the most perfect unison across our needy world! Their tiny, but helpful feet clad in size appropriate construction workboots, military footwear, security guard brogans, and the tasselled loafers of skilled Wall Street traders, etc. are at their arms swinging together in perfect cadence, much like Mao's red guards. It is perhaps true that the under-three years old employment pool, i.e., babies, are lacking some of the adult's upper body strength and will be unequal to the heavy lifting test. Not only can this be remedied at this tender age by the newest baby strengthening technologies (Baby Charles Atlas and Baby Jack LaLane come to mind here), but the obvious economic benefit is that babies eat less and consume much less than their adult counterparts. Therefore hiring more babies to do an "adult task" such as concrete work on a freeway overpass for example seems at first counterproductive, but the savings (minus diaper changes) are in the final tally greater down the line via this baby productivity paradigm than those burnt-out adult workers with frequent coffee breaks, calling in sick, hangovers, and marital discord events, as none of these stymie productivity in the three years-and-under crowd. Eventually a type of Softish Baby Socialism will emerge. Corruption in business and even in the financial sector will disappear as babies are not only cute but also innocent too! "One for all and all for one and then time for a nap!"
DON’T OUTLAW MY PITBULL
To the editor,
I am writing in response to "Time to Outlaw Pit Bulls" in the May 23 edition. As a pit bull owner I have something to say about outlawing this breed of dog. Why outlaw the pitbull? Why not outlaw German shepherds or Dalmatians? (Both those breeds also have high rates of attacking!) It is true that the pitbull gets a bad rap because of their aggressive nature, but is this the fault of the dog? Hell no! If you are a poor owner and don't train correctly and consistently, then it doesn't matter what kind of dog you own, it will be aggressive and uncontrollable. Don't blame the pitbulls for the fault of the owner. As a dog owner it is our responsibility to properly care for and train the dog. All pitbulls, just like any other breed of dog, are not the same. There are owners who train these animals to guard their pot crops and in well-known cases fight them. These are acts where the owner should be sent to jail, but do not blame the dog for what the owner failed to do. If you train the dog to be aggressive or allow them to be aggressive, then the dog will be aggressive. But if the dog is trained properly then they will be outstanding dogs. Pitbulls have individual personalities and will be loyal, fun and the best pet you ever own.
I am the owner of a blue pitbull and would I ever fear this animal? No! We did a lot of research about pitbulls, talked with other owners and spoke with a rescue center for pitbulls before we brought him home. We have made his training a priority and anyone who comes in contact with him absolutely adores him. He has never considered attacking anything other than the vacuum cleaner! We have trained this dog properly and at no point do we allow him to be aggressive.
It is a shame that you have had the experience of poor owners and poor trainers when it comes to the pitbull. There are so many great dogs out there. Even at our own Mendocino County animal shelter they have the "pit crew" that works with pitbulls. There are rescue centers in various areas that are committed to the pitbull and "rethinking" the public's view about pitbulls. It is a shame that the pitbull is the only one that makes the headlines when they attack. It has the public fearing these animals and because of poor owners and worse training, society views them as bad.
I invite you to spend some time with the "pit crew" at the animal shelter or even my pitbull before you decide that they all need to be shot or outlawed!
A FALSE ASSAULT?
Ah Editor and Fellow AVAers,
Virgo is a constellation in the northern sky of a young girl who holds a spike of wheat. Without wheat there is no commerce, without commerce there is no existence except in journals and survival novels. Chicory is a plant related to lettuce with blue flowers and lance-shaped leaves. Let us eat lettuce. I've gotten no chivalry except from Daddy and John Sadler; my basketball star boyfriend in high school. He is the only man I've had who cared about giving me orgasms. Mommy said, "He's too short for you, Diana. You need someone tall like your daddy." Daddy was 6-2 and John 5-8 with a metal plate in his head that he got when a truck sideswiped a street corner in Connecticut. I wonder where John is today and how many babies he's had with Barbara Frankenbury? Virgo is the sixth sign of the Zodiac. The Bible tells us, "The false accuser is the one who is guilty." And CDC Inspector Harold made numerous false accusations today, prior to his front door sexual assault. When he told me, "You are a failure," he grabbed both my breasts from behind as he engulfed my body and squeezed.
VERY BAD PAIN
To the Editor,
My name is Alberto Sandoval. I am 54 years old and an inmate at the Mendocino County Jail. I have very serious medical conditions such as anxiety, kidney stones, bleeding ulcers and chronic pain due to my age. I have tried to get proper medical treatment or even proper pain medication. I have even tried to get a simple ibuprofen or even an aspirin and medical staff has turned me down. If there is anything I can do about this problem please write me at 951 Low Gap Road. I just am not sure what to do. I'm in very bad pain. If this jail is state-funded, where does the money go?
Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah
FAREWELL RONALD DEL RAINE
As a close and personal friend of longtime contributor Ronald Del Raine it is with a sad and heavy heart that I must write of his passing on May 27, 2012. Ronald last saw freedom in June 1968. He served the last 44 years in various federal institutions across the country.
In all ways Ron was firm in his beliefs, forthright, honest and willing to fight for his principles.
He was 81 years old. He is survived by a sister in Washington State and a brother living out of United States in Mexico.
Ron was highly respected and cared about by all those who have known him through the years.
He is missed.
M. Mark Martin
HOOPERS ON LDO
Regarding variants of "hippie," a neighbor in West Virginia told me that at some point in the mid-60s he wandered into a remote Vermont hamlet where several old men were sitting around a pot-belly stove in the general store. One of the geezers squinted at him and asked, "Are you one o' them hoopers, whut smokes thet L.D.O.?"
DYLAN & AARP
Dear Mr. Anderson:
You don't have to renew your membership to the AARP to keep your AARP Medigap Insurance. United Health Care, AARP's insurance carrier, will renew your insurance year after year whether you are a member of AARP or not. AARP lost me with the first issue of their condescending magazine, with Bob Dylan on the cover. Dylan is over 70 and has never retired, he tours constantly.
Mr. Dylan also has turned into a slimeball in my opinion, with his photo in last Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle getting an award (for being Bob Dylan) from Barack "Hope" Obama. Ironically, the same issue of the Chronicle had a full-page story about how every Tuesday, Mr. Obama has a meeting with his enforcers to decide which suspected terrorists they'll murder this week. In the article, they were discussing murdering a 17-year old kid. No joke. Of course we'll still vote for Mr. Obama even though we are “very disappointed” that he has turned out to be a mass murdering corporate shill.
Mr. Dylan, in the photo with Mr. Obama, was wearing very dark sunglasses, indoors. I guess so Mr. Dylan will not have to look too closely and maybe remember the lyrics he wrote to his Masters of War: “I can see through your mask...”
HAIJIN V. HAIJIN
Haiku for Steve Heilig,
Thanks for being brief
And because you wrote for the Beat you should overstand Jamaican...
likkle fassy bwoy
put down yu pumps and yu pride
duppy fi frighten
Hey no worries chappy, I'll see you at the boogy-woogy reggae festival. Bring your haikus to the battlefield.
May the best haijin win.
RALEY’S TREE RUSTLERS
Oh my god! Did Raley's really just do that?! What on earth could have prompted that property owner to massacre virtually all the trees in their parking lot?! Everyone I have spoken to who has seen it is absolutely enraged!
What kind of anal-retentive, cubicle dwelling bean counter in some far off air conditioned office could have come up with such an insane idea?! Those little patches of shade were such a godsend to their customers; I would park far from the door any time I could find a little bit of shade, so that I did not have to return to a car that is like an oven.
I don't know what the problem is with the apparently dysfunctional management of that shopping center, but only a year or so ago they had just spent many thousands of dollars jackhammering out the pavement around all the trees, cutting out the surface roots that were breaking the blacktop, then re-curbing resurfacing.
Is that even legal for them to do? Weren't those trees specified in building and zoning permits, and wouldn't they have to go through some kind of process before taking such drastic, irreversible action? Shouldn’t there have been a chance for public input?
If there were ever a case that cried out for the full powers of all the regulating agencies to be brought to bear on this outrageous slap in the face of the public, this is it! I hope that every related commission, board and department goes after them with hammer and tong; perhaps having an arborist assess the value of each senselessly slaughtered tree, then fining them treble damages (as I believe the law allows in such cases), or better yet, force them to replant the same number of trees of the same height, regardless of the cost.
The loss of those precious trees, struggling to grow in that parking lot, is simply devastating!
SUBJECT TO DEBATE
There certainly are factors that are coming into play in the presidental race. However, I have not read nor seen much discussion about the affect the presidential debates will have on the election. Having watched some of the GOP debates, Romney did not come over as a skilled debater. He does best with a script and powder puff questions and is far too inclined to talk around a tough question and at times make insensate comments. There are large gaps in his knowledge of issues particularly in foreign affairs. Plus his flip-flopping on issues over the years raises questions as to his substance and character. Obama, of course, is a very skilled, knowledgeable speaker, quick on his feet and responsive to questions.
Probably the big issue will be the number of debates and the format as will as the quality of the moderators. Romney no doubt would prefer a limited number of debates and format while Obama probably would like a series of debates devoted to various issues with ample time allocated to each question and response. The public would be best served by the latter format and would have an opportunity to judge how well each can handle the complex issues that continually come to the President's desk.
James G. Updegraff
LOCAL REF GYPPED
I bought the AVA and was reading “There's Substantial and Then There's Substantial” and “Off the Record,” etc. It gave me the idea to seek help about a royal screwing I've got. I have been at wits end to get justice.
I have been a member of Redwood Empire Officials Association (REOA) for over 34 years, football, baseball, softball, volleyball and basketball, without ever missing a game. REOA assigns officials for eleven high schools, etc. Schools pay this association and they are supposed to pay us. The association commissioner from 1970-2003 was Paul Jack. From 2003-2012 Kirk Mason/Wayne Ouellette who was then replaced by Jim Franklin.
Starting in 2003 I have had numerous problems of nonpayment of games/mileage fees, unethical fines, double charging of insurance, double charging dues, etc. I was fired and I went to small claims court and won one of eight claims even though I had a paper trail proving everything. I even subpoenaed a document and REOA/Kirk didn't provide it. Judge David Nelson let him get away with it and Kirk lied over and over.
Included: May 1, 2009, softball games, Mendocino versus Covelo. Just one example of many claims. Pokie Dunlap and myself went to Mendocino on May 1, 2009.
Proof: 1. Debbie Oliver, Athletic Director, wrote a statement. Round Valley High School.
2. Assistant Round Valley High School coach Tracie Tillotson's statement.
3. Copy of arbiter showing games 8563.
4. Note: At least 35 eyewitnesses — fans, coaches, etc.
5. Pokie testified about May 1, 2009 game and was fired also. He hasn't been paid either. 36-years plus for the REOA. Numerous denials from Kirk that that game ever existed but he finally put it in writing twice: 1. 10/0309: "Arbiter lists no record # 8563." 2. "June 2010, REOA has no record # 8563."
One of my big headaches is Kirk is Mendocino Deputy Sheriff and was a former head of the Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff's Association. He has "arrogance of power" when he will not admit or correct many, many of his mistakes.
I will gladly bring my complete paper trail to Boonville anytime any day to talk to anyone who could help me or advise me.
My total claim dollars are small and no big deal to most people, but it truly is with me.
PS. I even mailed a note about this to Sheriff Allman about SCC to see Kirk lie and lie.
Attached: letter from Round Valley Unified School District, Round Valley High School, P.O. Box 276, Covelo CA 95428.
May 14, 2010 — This is to inform you that on May 1, 2009, Round Valley softball team traveled to Mendocino High school. On arrival it was raining and the field was flooded. After discussion with both team coaches and officials the game was called due to weather. The game was then rescheduled for a later date. — Debbie Oliver, former athletic director.
REOA Kirk, 3/10/10, Assistant Coach Tracy Tillotson. Umpires Pokie and Ray Whittaker were at Round Valley versus Mendo doubleheader 5/1/09. Game was called due to rain. (Official game schedule listing Raymond Whitaker and Pokie Dunlap, noting cancellation by Debbie Oliver via email.
Attachment 2 ((Kirk's letter, June 2010): Redwood Empire Officials Association P.O. Box 867, Ukiah CA 95482. October 30, 2009. On October 30, 2009, I received your letter that indicated you had not been paid for a softball doubleheader that had been played at Mendocino High School on 5/1/2009, game #8563. Upon reviewing the arbiter records I have come to the following conclusions:
1. The arbiter lists no records whatsoever for game 8563 at Mendocino HS on May 1, 2009. I double checked this with your game schedule from last year. In fact, I was not able to find any softball assignments for you at Mendocino High School in 2009. Therefore your request for one half the game fee and full mileage is denied. … 7. You note that you should receive payment for a game you worked with Pokie Dunlap on 5/1/2009 (#8563 & 8403). Besides that fact that this game occurred over one year ago, REOA has no record of game # 8563 ever being assigned or created. …"
(Attached copy of REOA Schedule listing game #8563, softball, Friendship Field, Mendocino-Round Valley, "0.00" — "accepted on 3/20/20 — "