Monsoonal Moisture | Fire Watch | Rust Pile | River Stop | Future Farmers | Referendum Short | Calder's Peak | Mo Disappointed | Wino Run | Skunk Claims | Redwood Journalists | Acting Trick | Orr's | Bragg Fort | Ed Notes | Pioneer Inn | Waterful Ukiah | Last Case | Yesterday's Catch | Brotherly Love | Civics | Greed Rush | Horse Intro | Chaotic Climate | Joe Cannabis | Civil Rights | Struggling People | Fraud Investigation | Found Object
A SURGE OF MONSOONAL MOISTURE will bring the chance for some scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms later today through Tuesday. Increased clouds across the interior will aid in keeping high temperatures milder. Inland heat will return mid to late week, while coastal areas remain seasonably cool. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Yorkville 101°, Ukiah 101°, Boonville 97°, Fort Bragg 58°
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE has issued a fire weather watch for Mendocino and Lake counties beginning Monday.
“We have put out the fire weather watch before some of our neighboring offices just to give our counties and fire agencies an extra heads up before the weekend that there is some potential for thunderstorms,” said Alex Dodd, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Office in Eureka.
The watch is in effect from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, but if forecasts shift there’s a chance the watch will be extended through most of Tuesday. There’s also a chance areas further south such as Napa or Sonoma counties may also issue a fire weather watch as the forecast becomes clearer, Dodd said.
The potential lightning is due to a surge of moisture from a southwest monsoon system that is moving north and may reach Northern California by the end of the weekend or early in the week, Dodd said.
The Weather Service expects high-based clouds, which means little rainfall and higher chances of cloud-to-ground lightning, Dodd said.
Even though the chances of significant lightning are still rather low, the Weather Service wanted to give fire agencies, the emergency management community and the general public a heads up for potential fire weather, especially because the potential impact of lightning is so high with how dried-out vegetation is during the drought, Dodd said.
“As we go through weekend, hopefully our forecast guidance will become clearer and we’ll be able to say more confidently whether or not storms will come and give details of exactly when and where,” Dodd said.
WORSE AND WORSE — AND WORSE
MARSHALL NEWMAN WRITES: “Today (Sunday 7/25) Navarro River flow is 0.06 cubic feet per second, essentially nothing. The previous minimum for this date, in 2014, was 0.62 cfs. This for a watershed that drains 315 square miles. I will stop sending these to you for a while. The numbers and implications are too depressing."
AV FFA, PRESENTE!
Hello Everyone! My name is Noah Sanchez and I'm a member of the Anderson Valley FFA. I am 16 years old and this is my third year in FFA. I am taking a market swine project to this year's fair. My pig is a purebred Poland China born right here in Mendocino County. I named her Clover. I have spent a lot of time with Clover this summer, I have walked her, gave her baths, and fed her. The profits I will receive from this year's auction will be deposited right into my college savings. I will be showing and selling Clover in the Mendocino Jumior Livestock Auction. This year the auction is online. You can register to bid at https://www.redwoodempirefair.com/.
I would like to invite you to bid on my pig, Friday August 6th though Saturday August 7th. I hope you have a chance to view the animals and also see my pig.
Thank you for your support! Sincerely, Noah Sanchez
* * *
My name is Jack Spacek and I live in Yorkville, Ca, on our family ranch. We raise cattle, sheep, and grow our own hay. I attend Anderson Valley High School. I am representing Anderson Valley FFA.
I enjoy riding my dirt bike, hunting, fishing and working on the ranch with my Dad and Grandfather. I am raising a market lamb for my FFA project this year. My lambs name is Joe. I started my project when I got my lamb on March 22. I monitor feed, water and exercise my lamb daily.
I will be selling my lamb at the Mendocino County Junior Livestock auction at the Redwood Empire Fair. The Auction will be online. The sale opens Friday August 6th at 3:00pm. The sale closes August 7th at 6pm. Please log on to https://Redwood.fairwire.com to register to bid. Follow the prompts to the auction site. The auction preview will begin in August 2nd. Please help support the Junior Livestock Auction.
I hope to use the funds from my project to help pay for my college education.
Thank you for your support,
* * *
Hi my name is August Spacek. I am 15 years old and I live in Yorkville, California. I live with my parents and three brothers on our family ranch. We raise sheep, cows and hay. I am a fourth generation rancher. I attend Anderson Valley High School. I belong to Anderson Valley FFA. I love living on our family ranch in Yorkville. My hobbies include motorcycle riding, hunting, fishing and restoring vintage chainsaws with my great grandfather, Ralf.
My market lambs name is Jorge. I got my market lamb in March and have worked to get him ready for the 2021 Mendocino County Junior Livestock Show and Auction. During this time I have monitored his feed and water intake. Exercised him daily. I have also groomed / sheared and trimmed his feet on a regular basis.
I will be selling my lamb at the Mendocino County Junior Livestock auction at the Redwood Empire Fair. The Auction will be online. The sale opens Friday August 6th at 3:00pm. The sale closes August 7th at 6pm. Please log on to https://Redwood.fairwire.com to register to bid. Follow the prompts to the auction site. The auction preview will begin in August 2nd. Please support the Junior Livestock Auction.
I plan on saving the money I make from my market lamb for my education, so that I can pursue a career in ranching and agriculture.
Thank you for your support,
* * *
My name is Kellie Crisman and I'm 15 years old. This is my second year raising a meat pen of rabbits for the Redwood Empire Fair Junior Livestock Auction. I've been part of the Anderson Valley FFA for two years and have been showing rabbits for a year and a half. I've also been given opportunities to show the Ag Department's rabbits. The breeds I've worked with are Mini Rex, Dutch, and New Zealand. In the future I'd like to be raising Dwarf Hotots.
Come Join me at the Redwood Empire Fair virtual Junior Livestock Auction. Sales open on August 6th at 3:00 pm and close at 6:00 pm August 7th. Register to bid at http://redwood.fairwire.com
For more information visit http://www.redwoodempirefair.com
Thank you for your support
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
by Jim Shields
I thought the best way to bring you up-to-date on the status of the two referendums seeking an election to overturn, in part or in whole, the so-called Phase 3 Cannabis Ordinance approved lst month by the Board of Supervisors, would be to share with you this email chronology.
Hi Friends and Referendum Volunteers,
Late this afternoon (July 22), after I spoke with Katrina Bartolomie, Mendocino County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, Registrar of Voters, I sent her this email confirming our discussion:
This is to confirm our conservation earlier today where I informed you the proponents of the “10% Expansion Rule” Referendum, aka “Small Is Beautiful Mendocino” Referendum, will not be submitting our petitions to the Elections Office because we did not meet the minimum signature threshold.
I want to thank you and Skylar for your assistance during this process, it’s truly appreciated.
Co-Chair SIBM Coalition
Even though we didn’t qualify to file our referendum petitions so an election could be held on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors’ inexplicable and ill-advised decision to expand cannabis cultivation that only further exacerbates the depletion of water resources during a drought, we nevertheless were a driving force in a process that may result in an election anyway.
It may not be our referendum petition, but it’s a petition that challenges the very same Cannabis Ordinance that ours did. The proponents of the referendum to repeal the entire Phse 3 Ordinance filed their petitions this week with the Elections Office.
By participating in a process that gives people a say in the laws and policies that affect our community and county, we have taken the steps to ensure everyone’s voice can be heard. That is a success.
Volunteering in politics isn’t about the time you put in and give up for a cause, it’s about commitment, hard work, heart, and seeing it through to the finish — win or lose. What makes your time important is that you’re giving of yourself to a cause to make things better or solve problems for other people who may feel overwhelmed and defeated because elected officials are ignoring and not listening to them. By your example of exercising your rights to challenge bad decisions made by politicians, you are showing people that by standing together, united in a cause, there’s real opportunity to correct wrongs, that in itself is a victory.
I thank each and every one of you who worked — yes it was damn hard work — with us collecting signatures for our petitions. I really had fun doing this whole process with you. I really enjoyed the time together we all spent on this special cause. It’s something I’ll never, ever, forget.
And remember it’s not over yet.
Once things get settled down a bit, we’ll get together and talk about what we should do if the other referendum makes the ballot.
We’ll probably have so much fun talking about that, we’ll realize there’s no such thing as having too much fun so let’s do it again!
Thanks For Everything,
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
CALDER’S PEAK, Cummings (a few miles south of Leggett on Highway 101)
So disappointing to see years of work and compromises challenged by misinformation. I heard that many of the people that signed the petition did not fully understand what they were signing. The Board added many more environmental protections in the new CCAO ordinance. What the article doesn’t talk about is that Phase 3 of the original 10A.17 has been on hold and that it will need to move forward. From my perspective Phase 1 (10A.17) was meant to give existing operators a chance to get through the system, while the CCAO would add new operators it would have been in only a few zones and with even more strict environmental regulations than the State and 10A.17 required (no trucked water, no slope over 15%, existing areas used for agriculture only). This in the end may be better for people that were in zones that were not allowed in the CCAO but doesn’t meet the community goal of moving cultivation out of the hills and in to ag land and we don’t know what their ability to get through the environmental regulations will be. In many conversations I have talked about the possibility of having to put this ordinance on the ballot. After seeing the referendums divide our community in only six short weeks and having been active in the Measure A campaign where misinformation nearly tore our community apart I’m not enthusiastic about the idea of subjecting our community to that again. It’s so sad because local long time cultivators were villanized for wanting to support their families and their communities. Stigma around cannabis cultivation is very real and very sad, there are a lot of upstanding farmers in our community that are penalized because of illegal operations. Sad times indeed. More information will follow in the upcoming weeks and months.
SKUNK TRAIN CLAIMS
Subject: Skunk Train, Current Status
Well, here we go again with Robert Pinoli and the Skunk Train. Of course Robert will save the day and deliver water to the parched coast. Of course he will.
There is no way the trestles down here can hold those cars -- no work has been done on them and they are collapsing.
I have a photo (taken yesterday) from the Trout Unlimited culvert project near mile 26. No tracks for 1/4 mile. It's been this way for nearly 2 years now. I'm pretty sure you need tracks to get a train through. You just have to wonder what Robert's angle is this time? Or perhaps he just wants to play the hero, but he ought to know damn well he almost certainly cannot deliver in time to help anyone with the water shortage in Ft. Bragg.
Somebody really ought to investigate all of his claims and business dealings! Or reach out to Mike Hart, Sierra Railroads CEO. You just have to wonder about his relationship with Robert...
Art Phelan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MENDO’S ‘ACTING’ CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
by Mark Scaramella
Local County Employee Rep Patrick Hickey complained to the County’s moribund Civil Service Commission last Wednesday about the abuse of “acting” assignments, saying that “acting” should only be used for short terms like when someone’s out sick or in school. Hickey said that calling someone the "acting" this or that denies job candidates a fair opportunity for openings when the “acting” person is kept in the job for a year or more. “It undermines the spirit of the civil service rules,” said Hickey, continuing that the hiring and promotion process should be “open, free of discrimination, free of any sort of nepotism or favoritism…” Hickey asked the Commission to ask the Board of Supervisors to address this issue so that all citizens and employees have a fair shot at getting county jobs “and not doled out to individuals without any kind of process or review or fair hearing.”
The Commission, aping the Supervisors, simply thanked Hickey for his remarks and went on to their usual mindless rubberstampings of various job classifications.
Later in the meeting Ms. Donna Schuler, a senior public health department employee, attempted virtually to appeal a decision made by the Health and Human Services Agency.
The County’s Human Resources honcho, Mr. William Schurtz, going full Zen, had denied Ms. Schuler’s appeal on the grounds that that there were no grounds for her appeal.
Ms. Schuler said she has been employed since August 2018 as a Senior Public Health Department Analyst to do some kind of quality improvement project and covid accreditation work for which she has received praise from her Supervisors. Ms. Schuler noted that Public Health has had six Directors since the “loss” of the Public Health Director back in 2019. (A reference to CEO Angelo’s unceremonious firing of Barbara Howe who has a wrongful termination case pending against the County.) Schuler said she was asked to accept an Acting Administrator assignment in late 2019. She has also been Acting Contact Tracing Chief since then as well. Ms. Schuler said she’s had several supervisors “many of whom are not familiar with public health work, so it’s been a bit chaotic.” She said the “acting director” classification has been bad for her department and that they just lost two more key people this week “at a time when we are getting money for public health and should be doing more of it.”
“It is unfortunate that you have skilled staff departing because they have been repeatedly put in acting assignments because we can’t fill the assignments because people leave for whatever reason and then they don’t get an opportunity for the permanent position,” said Schuler, conceding that Public Health for the moment Public Health has an “interim director” and a “transitional director” which has “added some stability.”
“The overuse and some would say abuse of the acting title is harming the public health department,” said Schuler.
Schuler’s specific complaint had to do with being denied the Accreditation Administrator position because of the extended use of acting assignments for such positions. She suggested that “provisional” be used more so that otherwise qualified people’s qualifications can be straightened out until they get the permanent position title.
HR Director Schurtz admitted there was “overuse” of the Acting assignments. He said he’s working on the policy to make it more temporary. “There have been a number of employees in acting positions for quite some time,” conceded Schurtz. He said they’re doing “more monitoring” [i.e., they weren’t doing any] of “acting” and “out of class” assignments. He agreed the policy needs to be more specific and that it leaves things “open to subjectivity” and that he’s “looking to do more regulating” of the practice.
One Commissioner requested a “timeline” for a report of HR’s conclusions and proposed changes, but wistfully concluded, “There’s not much we can do but monitor the situation.”
Basically, in Ms. Schuler’s case the person doing the “acting” job for months was denied the position she was doing just fine in because a nebulous HHSA hiring process picked someone else after some interviews and reviews of qualifications.
Mr. Schurtz said his department didn’t dictate hiring processes to departments.
Commissioner Sherrie Ebyam (Willits) said it didn’t seem like the HHSA selection committee was composed of people familiar with public health but only with the “qualifications.”
But Commissioner Ginny Feth Michel said that questioning the department’s decision is way, way out of scope of the Civil Service Commission.
In the end Commission Chair Terry Poplawski thanked Ms. Schuler for “educating” the Commission and moved on to the next subject. Nobody made any motions or set any dates for any follow-up. Nobody suggested raising the issue with the Supervisors.
* * *
Some staff “chaos” might be attributable to covid. But the union rep and the Human Resources Director and the Commission itself all agree that Mendo is “overusing” (i.e., abusing) the “acting” position trick, moving their loyal pals here and there as they see fit, disrupting ordinary departmental activities, causing people to quit after being denied promotions or raises, and implying that in Mendo jobs and promotions are based more on nepotism and favoritism than on ability. It’s yet another sign of mismanagement at the top.
The Civil Service Commission is useless, a complete betrayal of the purpose my uncle, the late great Supervisor Joe Scaramella, outlined when he created it as part of his reform agenda when he was elected back in the 1950s to correct the palsy-walsyism that pervaded Official Mendo even back then (when there were fewer employees). We’ve watched this Commission’s activities off and on for years and have never seen them question a single thing management does.
FORT BRAGG, ETYMOLOGY OF
To the Editor:
I’m going to keep my opinion to myself, my face expressionless, my fidgeting to a minimum here at this historical poker table, but I want you to know that I have this line, this ace to bring out when I need to: “rounding them up and driving them like cattle.”
Now to my neutral stance on the subject of the renaming of Fort Bragg to something, anything, less Fort Braggish.
Fort Bragg, CA, is not named after Braxton Bragg, North Carolina born and both United States Army officer and Confederate general. Fort Bragg, CA is named after the fort that was named after Braxton Bragg, who at the time of the founding of the fort – 1857, four years before the start of the Civil War – had not yet turned to fighting to preserve slavery.
Fort Bragg the fort is there to be seen in Fort Bragg the place, or a partial recreation of it is.
Fort Bragg the fort was built more or less in the center of the Mendocino Indian Reservation to (I don’t want to put down my ace yet)…. To assist in protecting the Pomo from the settlers and the settlers from the Pomo.
Oh, the heck with it.
What Fort Bragg the fort did was serve as a center for punishing and “rounding up” the Pomo and “driving” them onto the Round Valley Reservation, opened the year before. Early Military Posts of Mendocino County says “All troops stationed at the fort…operated against hostile Indians to the north as far as Shelter Cove and northeast to the South Fork of the Eel River and Long Valley.”
In 1861, Lieutenant Edward Dillon wrote from the fort that settlers familiar with the terrain and who had signed up to assist the soldiers as “90-Day Guides,” were stealing children.
When Bragg joined the Confederacy, there was a “period of agitation” among the soldiers garrisoned at the fort about the name. The commander of the 2nd Infantry California Volunteers wrote the fort “has long enough borne the name of a traitor,” but the name was not changed during the Civil War.
It should be said that Braxton Bragg was not in the United States Army when he joined the Army of the Confederacy. Bragg served the Confederacy as Commander of the Army of Mississippi, later the Army of Tennessee.
Fort Bragg the fort was abandoned in 1864. The Steamer Panama picked up the Fort Bragg garrison on Oct. 18 and arrived at the Presidio in San Francisco on Oct. 20. “Thus was completed the permanent evacuation and abandonment of the post.” (Early Military Posts of Mendocino County)
Fort Bragg the place became a town 25 years later, in 1889.
Fort Bragg the fort from it’s founding in 1857 to it’s closing in 1864 was the green zone for the one-sided fight going on in the woods and closer down on the Noyo River, the profitable mill site snatched out of Pomo hands. The 25,000 acres that was to be turned over to the Indians when the Mendocino Indian Reservation was disbanded. It went the way of all land in such cases, including the land on the Round Valley Reservation; it gets “acquired.”
The land on the coast atop the headlands and east to the dark woods went to settlers for $1.25 an acre.
A few minutes on the internet reveals Braxton Bragg fought against the Seminoles in the Second Seminole Wars, the Mexicans in the Mexican-American war, and the Union in the Civil War.
He was at the battle of Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Bentonville. He was routed by Grant at Chattanooga, and pushed back into Georgia. He was considered one of the worst Confederate generals, his losses principle factors in the ultimate defeat of the Confederacy.
I don’t know enough to say he owned slaves, but his wife did. She was an heiress to a sugar plantation in Louisiana. He resigned from the Army in 1856 to become a sugar cane plantation owner.
I’m going to say that again: he owned a sugar cane plantation; in Louisiana. In 1856.
Braxton Bragg never visited Northern California or ever saw Fort Bragg, town or fort.
Two paintings of Fort Bragg the fort were painted in 1858, and one of them was sent to Bragg. His wife reported it destroyed in the house fire when Grant and the Union Army came through in 1864.
The naming of towns after military installations that were there first, is not new. Some may be glad that a local area near Ukiah was not named after a fort that for just under a year was there in 1859 on the eastern side of the Russian River; that Redwood Valley was not named Fort Weller.
The concern was the Indians, and Fort Bragg and Fort Weller both anchored down for their areas the means for the “rounding up,” the herding, the “driving” of human beings that we call if not friends, then at least fellow citizens. And if we do not call them friends, places like Fort Bragg the fort and place are parts of the pieces of why.
So, together here, let’s update temporarily, the town bio for Fort Bragg the City: Fort Bragg is a city on California’s Mendocino Coast incorporated in 1889. It’s known for Glass Beach…part of sprawling MacKerricher State Park, which supports varied bird life, harbor seals, and whale watching. The Skunk Train is a steam locomotive that weaves through the redwood forests of the Noyo River Canyon. Named for an army officer who fought for the confederacy in the civil war, against the Mexicans in 1848, and against the Seminoles in 1840, the fort was pivotal in the forced removal of native Americans from their Mendocino County homeland.
THE KQED DOCUMENTARY FILM, ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari’ by Frontline producer Steve Talbot is now posted on YouTube.
THE BARI CULT has always been terrified by this film, and doubly terrified by Talbot's appearance on Belva Davis's KQED program, This Week In California, where Talbot states forthrightly that Bari told him that she thought her ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, had car-bombed her in 1990. That interview is appended to the film. The Bari Cult, whose principals have profited mightily from the Bari tragedy via fundraising on false pretenses, and a bogus but winning federal lawsuit, have also made a film called Who Bombed Judi Bari in the obvious hopes that people will confuse Talbot's honest film with their crudely hagiographic cut and paste job which ignores Bari's ex-husband. Sweeney, incidentally, has left the United States for New Zealand, abandoning his many local enablers who tacitly assisted him in getting away with murder.
THE BAY AREA NEWS led off all weekend with a shooting on San Rafael's main drag, 4th Street. A rapper called Drank God was performing “in concert.” In concert. I love that. You'd think it was a Mozart string quartet, and not some no talent sociopath chanting mayhem recommendations to a packed house of remedial readers. Four young men were killed outside the venue by another presumably young man firing a high powered rifle that damaged windows and buildings up and down the street. George's Nightclub proprietor absolved herself of responsibility, pointing out that the murdering had occurred outside her establishment, not inside.
LYRICS to “Freestyle” Drank God’s 2020 Hit Single:
Boyz in this bitch, nigga, you know what the fuck goin’ on
Free the whole Ghetto
On gang, uh
Eleven thousand cash on me, feelin’ very important
Dropped a freestyle playin’ around and they know every word
Just chased a nigga down Garland, he jumped every curb
Started shootin’ when we got, no, I ain’t gon’ say that, fuck it
Started shootin’ when we got to Fifth, that bitch crashed on Third
Scared to close my eyes, I might die, I drunk a lot of syrup
I’m tired of shittin’ on niggas, I dropped a lot of turds
Today I’m spending fifteen racks on lean ‘cause that’s what I deserve
Ain’t nobody give me shit, I got it by myself
Crazy part about it, I did all this shit on house arrest
Go shoot somebody with that gun, give that house a rest
Hit him in his face with an AR, it’s comin’ out his neck
Fuck a bitch for free, I ain’t never comin’ out a check
You think your nigga fuckin’ with me? Smoke an ounce of meth
We the reason it’s one-fifty for an ounce of red
Nigga shot at me, and two weeks later, they pronounced him dead
Nigga shot at me, and two weeks later, he pronounced deceased
How they lookin’ for me and I’m chillin’ somewhere out to eat?
I run a stupid bag up on the South with C
The hardest shit I ever tried was in the house with E
One night we drunk a whole pint and smoked an ounce of weed
One day I sold a zip in rocks, I met a crowd of fiends
Thirty on the Glock and the AK from down the street
But I’ma drop the 31st like it’s Halloween
45, thirties on 30, these are not fifteens
I don’t smoke, but I’ll do a verse for a pound of weed
Scared to serve unc’, I ain’t gon’ lie, he look like Harlem Green
Dropped an ounce of Cook’, some straight drop that look like garlic cheese
I bought some dog and left it raw, it look like concrete mix
Popped a lil’ nigga, he died young, he look like Roddy Ricch
If brody pop out with the 23, I guess I’m Scottie Pippen
I bought a gun straight out the store and caught a body with it
I poured a muddy ass cup, put an Oxy’ in it
Knock a nigga head off his body and play hockey with it
The last time I had a dream, I seen Kwanny in it
Was finna shoot this nigga car up, but I seen Charlie in it
LETHAL STUPIDITY is hardly confined to rappers, so how can it be that the basic principles of immunology are suddenly a matter of opinion? No sooner had Dr. Fauci said that the US is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring Covid-19 cases fuelled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent Delta variant, than Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, where infections are among the highest in the country, says on national television that masks should remain optional, that covid is a matter of opinion.
HERE in “progressive” Mendocino County, vaccinations remain confined to about half the population. Putting one's fellow citizens at risk of death because you reject Dr. Fauci for Fox News as your go-to source for medical information…is one more indication that we've totally lost our way as anything resembling a nation.
HUMCO OLD TIMER ERNIE BRANSCOMB comments on firefighting on the HumCo-Mendo county line via Redheaded Blackbelt: “Piercy Fire and Leggett Fire are two of the most important first responders in the South Fork Canyon, yet they are treated like unwanted step-children.
Measure Z in Humboldt County has helped the most rural of first responders in Humboldt County immensely. Measure Z money has provided new fire stations, fire trucks, breathing apparatus, personal protection clothing, and other critically important equipment.
Fire departments spend most of the Measure Z money on equipment that will last a long time. Little money is spent on labor because the smaller departments are all volunteer.
It would be nice to see Mendocino step up and support their smaller, and very critically important, fire departments better.
Calfire is well equipped and well organized, but they can’t do it all. Even Calfire depends on the smaller rural fire departments to respond when needed, and they often are.”
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - ALL’S WELL IN WATER WORLD
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Three cheers, free drinks and a Standing O to City staff for great planning and solid work that has paid off and kept Ukiah faucets flowing during the drought.
Years ago Ukiah sank new wells and completed an innovative water reclamation project, and we are all happier and less thirsty because of it. Hats off and a bow in the general direction of all those responsible.
Result? We have so much water we can plant rice paddies and install second swimming pools in our backyards. I just put in swampy wetlands for alligators and migrating ducks, and when friends visit from Deerwood I have enough water to sell them 6-oz cups to brush their teeth.
IN OTHER NEWS: The City sends periodic Streetscape Project newsletters to downtown businesses. From the July 9 edition:
We often hear, “There’s not enough parking downtown” Or “Ukiah needs a parking garage.” Neither of these is actually true. There are already over 1,000 public parking spaces downtown and we can almost guarantee there is always a space available within a block of your destination.
Sometimes, that may require walking around the corner or crossing a street. Many people were afraid to cross the six lanes of State Street before, which left many of the spaces on that street unused — problem solved!
Yesssss, how quickly we forget those six traffic lanes across State Street, even if two of them were sidewalks. The 1000 alleged parking spaces surely includes hundreds in lots (north of the library, south of the old Post Office) the city rents to downtown workers by the year. The lots are patrolled, the unwary are ticketed.
If we’re trying to beautify Ukiah (a project that would take decades and billions) first let’s peel the green sick-looking panels off the building across from the Courthouse. The rectangular mistakes were probably applied in the 1950s and regretted ever since.
Underneath is classic yellow brick, as is Mac Nab’s Menswear sharing the same building. We’re accustomed to the panels, but take another look; they gotta go.
COUNTY NOTES: Our Cannabis Equity Program is another well-thought out plan designed to reward the least deserving among us.
Money is destined for criminals who once worked in outlaw marijuana operations. Seriously. Anyone within a five-mile radius of a CAMP raid is eligible, as are those with family members arrested or convicted of pot sales, possession, use or cultivation.
Ever busted for a nonviolent marijuana offense? Become homeless in a way that can somehow be blamed on pot laws? Been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence while growing, using, selling, transporting weed? You’re in luck.
Prize money tops out at $50,000 for the persecuted. Funding is courtesy of taxpaying citizens ineligible for payouts themselves because they were working as roofers, writers, mechanics, clerks, teachers, grape growers and loggers. And paying taxes.
COMING SOON: We’re happy the Ukiah Theater is back. The movie biz is a tough one in the 21st century with competition from TV, cable TV, DVDs, Netflix, streaming, Hulu and what-not. So why does the city of Ukiah feel it’s its job to host great big (free) Movie Madness events?
Why do we pay city workers to run free movies when we have a private business trying to survive by showing movies to Ukiah citizens?
Why does the city put together an elaborate, costly skating rink downtown every winter while Skate City, on the south edge of town, goes out of business?
Why does the city run Safari Summer programs for kids that dry up all the neighborhood daycare centers for little tots, and discourages older kids from getting out and entertaining themselves exploring, skateboarding, riding bikes, playing ball, hiking to the ‘U’ or dozens of other things that don’t include standing in a circle kicking a ball back and forth.
How much time and effort goes to “free” concerts at the park? Local venues once hosted local bands, plus better known acts like Elvin Bishop, Y&T, Big Brother & Holding Co., Chambers Bros., Dusty Springfield, Shirelles, and Barry Melton Band at Carl Purdy Hall, Ukiah High or downtown nightspots. None host live music anymore. Concerts are now provided by the city.
For Halloween 2020 city workers built an elaborate haunted house. A pathetic heap of broken musical parts is displayed at the Homeless Highway. Pumpkinfest honors gourds that aren’t grown in Ukiah. All receive(d) public funding.
Local officials who patiently explain to stupid citizens that the money is from various funding streams and budget strings, some via state grants, others from the feds, are missing the point. In our world all the money comes out of our wallets. We aren’t able to protect ourselves from shell games politicians play with tax dollars but local reps can and should.
For now, free stuff has captured the imagination of those who think government’s job is to entertain the masses. So that’s where funding goes.
But when it’s time to pave streets or hire cops our leaders say we’re broke. No money. Gotta raise taxes.
(Tom Hine welcomes Hangar 39 to town, a steakhouse where Crush Restaurant stood near the airport. When it opens, TWK says use your free government money to buy him drinks, and anyone from the city water department too.)
DDA KASSANDRA LONG FINISHES WITH A BANG!
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned to a Ukiah courtroom Thursday afternoon after deliberating for only fifteen minutes to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty as charged.
Defendant Michael Patrick Pimental, age 27, of Sacramento, was found guilty of both misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater.
The evidence presented at trial was the defendant blood alcohol at the time of his driving was .12/.12. It is illegal to drive any motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater.
The defendant was ordered to return to court on August 11, 2021 for judgment and sentencing.
Anyone interested in this defendant, this type of case, or just curious as to what sentence will ultimately be imposed is invited to attend the sentencing hearing in Department B at the Ukiah courthouse.
The investigating law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying today’s convictions were the Ukiah Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Justice crime laboratory.
The prosecutor who presented the People’s evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Kassandra Long.
This is DDA Long’s last jury trial here in Mendocino County before leaving Ukiah to start work next month as a deputy prosecutor with the Marin County District Attorney.
Thank you for your public service here in Mendocino County, Kassie, and Godspeed to you in Marin County.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Victoria Shanahan presided over the four-day trial and will be the sentencing judge in August.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 25, 2021
SHANNON ARNOLD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
LEARTIS CARADINE, Ukiah. Parole violation.
CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice, failure to appear, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER NELSON, Ukiah. DUI.
JOE TAPIA, Napa/Willits. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death, criminal threats.
JONATHAN THOMPSON, Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, failure to appear, probation revocation.
DAVID THOMSEN, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
by Marilyn Davin
As an adult, the smartest thing my mentally ill and drug-addicted brother did was to move to the City and County of San Francisco. I was there the day it happened. I had just picked him up from the county hospital in Martinez after cleaning out his Berkeley apartment, scene of his last prolonged, life-threatening binge, at least so far. We were driving west on the Bay Bridge, en route to the Salvation Army in the Mission, where he would live for the next two years. How I had remained so entangled in my brother’s life after our parents’ deaths is an open question that I’m not sure even I fully understand. He has never married, has no children, no close friends. You’re all he has, my mom whispers in my ear from the grave. I suppose that forsaking him once and for all would have been a tougher climb than heeding my mother’s siren call. So here we sat, brother and sister, my brother crying next to me in the passenger seat and wondering what in the world would happen to him now. He was down to his last 15 bucks after blowing through hundreds of thousands of dollars of his inheritance, buying one-way international plane tickets for panhandlers who annoyed him, bunking at Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn (over two-grand a night without meals) with his latest girlfriend, renting prostitutes by the week in Bangkok, on and on. So here he was, right back where he started before the cash rolled in.
About San Francisco. Any homeless person who doesn’t live in San Francisco is nuts. Though my brother did have to live there a couple of years before he was eligible to move into the subsidized flat three blocks up from the beach where he still lives today for $300 a month, his case manager and the city’s still-liberal politics together paved the way for him to live the life he lives today. This commitment to public support shows signs of fraying as cash-strapped younger residents move into one of the world’s most expensive cities, but for the moment it’s still holding. Courtesy of Medicaid, which most docs in the Bay Area ’burbs look down their noses at and wouldn’t consider accepting. My brother’s primary care physician is a staffer at UC Med. Ditto for his dentist and his audiologist, the latter providing both exams and hearing aids for “free.” When I point out to him that someone is paying for them on his behalf, the distinction is largely lost on him. He also has a three-day-a-week job doing intake for a homeless crisis center on Market Street. He says he’s happier than he’s ever been in his life.
Other cities should get over their “no free ride” prejudices and take note: Paying the upfront cost to house and employ people living high-risk lives on the streets is not only the right thing to do, it even costs less than paying for regular emergency-room visits, hospital stays, and other services that go hand-in-hand with living that difficult and dangerous life. It also lightens the burden on me and hundreds of thousands of family members like me. It doesn’t make the afflicted person go away; you’re still the brother or sister of your complicated, troubled sibling, subject to, in my case, periodic bouts of my sib’s irrational rage and random acts of cruelty. (He recently dosed a childhood friend with a massive load of liquid THC, and when he began to panic admonished that friend to “Be a man and take it.”)
My brother tells anyone willing to listen that he knows about only three things: Drugs, women, and Eastern religion. Of the three, his professed life-long devotion to the teachings of his guru is the most complex since it has neither blunted his explosive temper nor dimmed his essential acquisitive narcissism and vanity. (“I never said I was a saint.”)
For example, upon discovering the welcome surprise of his stimulus check in his checking account, he promptly booked four hours in one of San Francisco’s toniest hair salons and paid a stylist $500 (“$600 with tip”) to transform his thin, stringy, elbow-length hair into “a surfer dude’s” highlighted locks. Now pushing 70, the final result bore little resemblance to the young, tanned, long-haired surfers he doubtless recalled from his youth and envisioned in his own near future. Despite his professed spirituality he remains at heart a pampered suburban rich kid in perennial search of the next purchase: the sweetest fruit, the freshest vegetables, the most exotic shampoos and conditioners, preferably from India.
Right before the move to San Francisco my brother announced that he was moving to an ashram northeast of Sacramento to devote the rest of his earthly life to meditation and the teachings of his guru. My daughter and I loaded up my car with my brother’s worldly goods and drove him up there. The last 10 miles were brutal in the treeless heat as we crawled along a dirt road scraped from the flat, rocky earth. When we finally arrived at the ashram’s dusty cluster of buildings we unloaded his stuff in 100-degree-plus temperatures before gratefully returning to the very unspiritual confines of my air-conditioned car. My brother lasted a little bit more than a week before abandoning his spiritual quest. Working outdoors on landscaping and construction projects under the blazing sun did not jibe with his personal expectation of spiritual service.
What I’ve learned is that the siblings of the mentally ill and/or drug-addicted have a choice. They can help out where they can without being consumed by their sibs’ troubles and personal demons, they can become consumed by it all and ultimately develop their own troubles and personal demons, or they can cleanly cut the afflicted sibling out of their lives — or try to.
Over the decades with my brother I have met many who have made one of those three choices and concluded that the third option, seemingly easy in its black-and-white simplicity, is often the hardest. All those years shared in childhood, the theoretically breakable but nevertheless sticky bonds that bind siblings together, have a way of resurrecting themselves in unpredictable ways. Ignoring them doesn’t make them disappear. It only leaves you to wonder what the disaster is this time. The imagined dread is almost always worse than the familiar reality.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The worst effect of the Green Rush IMO was the rapid shift in values here. New everything, plastic boobs and plastic butts, designer clothes and baller bullshit lifestyle came on here hard. Sure some of it was here but most people and growers loved the land, loved the critters. Many rookies just saw $$$ and never questioned their actions just figured “That’s how ya do it. That’s how ya get the stacks of cash!!” It was such an overwhelming push of greed and selfishness that it changed our community forever…even today I see 30 year olds arriving with no sense of country living, little desire to learn country ways or compromise and they just want to blow up a dep scene and grab that cash. And they do it while wearing Grateful Dead t-shirts and espousing their spirituality and yoga devotions. It’s really fucking weird! Guys like the one you described are socially rewarded as being “successful”. We used to pride ourselves on patching together old trucks and living anti-consumption lives off-grid…knowing that the natural world was suffering from our human death spiral. Now we are few and they are many. It’s like LA North around here now with the values…Where is Eco-Dexter when we need him?
Only about 1% of the heat from our planet’s human-caused warming is in the atmosphere. About 93% is absorbed by our warming and acidifying ocean, with the rest retained by terrestrial features. Yet just this 1% causes increased evaporation and more water vapor in the air, leading to heavier rains. Europe’s flood disaster shows where we are heading. Humanity will be whiplashed by “heat domes” and “flooding events” from now on, all because of unbridled greed and propaganda by the fossil fuel industry, and repeated nonsense by those who believed them during the past several decades.
IRV SUTLEY writes:
To have an understanding of the post World War 2 Civil Rights movement in the United States and its effect on American political history especially Independent Political Action the first link below offers much and the second link gives a visual overview.
ROBERT PARRIS MOSES born January 23, 1935 - died July 24, 2021
Bob Moses — Americans Who Tell The Truth: americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/bob-moses
2) Ken Burns film will air on PBS KQED Channel 9 on Thursday September 19, 2021: pbs.org/kenburns/muhammad-ali/
CALIFORNIA’S THOROUGH BUNGLING OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SYSTEM
The fight is on to shift the blame for California bungling the processing of unemployment insurance claims so badly that the state lost at least $11 billion, and maybe as much as $31 billion, to fraud.
On Tuesday, state officials announced the appointment of a special counsel to assist in the investigation into fraudulent unemployment claims that resulted in mind-boggling sums of money flowing to international criminal organizations, swindlers and even prison inmates.
McGregor Scott, who will have the title, “fraud special counsel,” is a partner at the law firm King & Spalding. He was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, where he oversaw investigations into fraudulent unemployment claims until he stepped down in February.
Now Scott will oversee a task force of state and local law enforcement agencies, which was set up by Gov. Gavin Newsom in November.
While it’s appropriate to direct resources to prosecuting those who engage in illegal activity, the problem in California may be due to the actions of government.
A CNBC investigation found that California suffered from a disproportionately large amount of transaction fraud because the state chose to distribute unemployment benefits using debit cards that did not have a chip embedded in them. Security experts say cards that have only a magnetic stripe, like the ones California used, are easy for criminals to copy.
On the other hand, Hawaii directly deposited funds into recipients’ bank accounts, and there were only “negligible instances of stolen funds,” CNBC’s analysts found.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimated in January that “improper payments” of unemployment benefits totaled nearly $40 billion nationwide. Most of that fraud involved identity theft, which was a significant problem in California. EDD officials seemed to have found a way to approve claims for fraudsters without verifying identity at the same time they were freezing the benefits of legitimate claimants.
Whether genuine or fraudulent, the transactions on unemployment debit cards were lucrative for the Employment Development Department. Thanks to a 2011 contract with Bank of America to replace paper unemployment checks with debit cards, the merchant transaction fees paid whenever those cards are used are split between B of A and the EDD. CalMatters reported that in September 2020, the EDD collected $5.2 million from debit card transaction revenue.
Perhaps the new “fraud special counsel” should investigate the state for conflict-of-interest, bureaucratic incompetence and inadequate technology. Incidentally, Bank of America has said it would like to get out of the contract as soon as possible, but the state has picked up the option to renew it.
The cost of the unemployment fraud will be pushed onto the businesses that pay unemployment insurance premiums for their employees. The state’s unemployment insurance fund is now roughly $22 billion in debt to the federal government, and state lawmakers have taken no action to pay down that debt despite a windfall budget surplus and unprecedented federal aid.
The California Chamber of Commerce points out that every year the UI debt is not paid off, the per-employee tax paid by employers will increase, reaching as high as $420 per employee.
That’s a good way to discourage hiring, drive more companies out of the state, and cause even more unemployment.
It’s fine to hire a special counsel to investigate fraudsters who stole unemployment benefits, but there’s plenty of blame to go around.
(Orange County Register Editorial)