Smoky Warming | 60 New Cases | 61st Death | State Street | Conserving Water | Mannix Building | Pointless Dispute | Unplug US | Sebastopol Apples | Noyo Bridge | Ukiah Observations | State Theater | Name Changes | Dixie Dan | Ed Notes | Dog Sizzler | Gomes v MCCSD | Gun Club | Belladonna Bulbs | Epley Farewell | Use Feminism | Agenda Items | Guard Down | Volunteers Needed | Yesterday's Catch | Angry Beards | Afghan Dress | Airbnb Aware | Daddy Warbucks
TEMPERATURES ACROSS INTERIOR portions of northwest California will steadily warm going into the weekend. Areas of smoke may tend to expand to the south and southwest of area wildfires. Otherwise, mild temperatures a fair amount of sunshine will be possible along the coast as marine air is shunted offshore. Next week a cooling trend is expected again. (NWS)
HEAT ADVISORY for interior Mendocino County tomorrow, Saturday, from 10 am to 8 pm. Temperatures up to 105 expected.
60 NEW COVID CASES, and another death, reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
Mendocino County Public Health has been notified of another Mendocino County resident who has been lost to the COVID-19 Virus. We send our condolences to his family and friends.
A 43 year old Ukiah man has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 61st death. At this time Public Health asks all Mendocino County residents to exercise caution when placing themselves in situations that could expose them to COVID-19, especially considering the new more infectious Delta variant. Mendocino County Public Health asks that you follow all CDC and CDPH guidance’s at this time. Vaccination, masking and social distancing remain the best options forcombating the Covid-19 Virus.
The individual in question was not vaccinated.
STATE STREET TODAY via Larry Sheehy
FORT BRAGG STAGE 3 WATER EMERGENCY STATUS REPORT
The City Council declared a Stage 3 Water Emergency at its regularly scheduled meeting on August 9, 2021. A Stage 3 Water Emergency targets a 20-30% decrease in seasonal water use based on the most recent year in which water conservation measures were not required (2019 is our base year). A complete listing of Stage 3 Water Conservation Restrictions are available on the City’s website.
On behalf of the City Council and City Administration, I would like to commend our residents, businesses and other public partners for their combined efforts in conserving water during this drought. If the current average daily production for August holds until the end of the month, August 2021 will be the lowest amount of water produced and consumed in August by the City’s water system for any year on record (note: we have production records back to 1980). We are on trend to use 18.7 million gallons of water this month, which would be 30.5% lower than August of 2019. This means we should exceed our 20-30% Stage 3 conservation target! The previous record low for August was 22.31 million gallons in August of 2016.
August was a tough month for the City’s water supply. We had 15 days with tides at or higher than 6.0 ft. When the tides reach 6 ft during low flow periods on the Noyo, it interferes with the City’s ability to pull water from Noyo River because the salinity content is too high for our treatment process. In August, the City had to subsidize and dilute the Noyo water by pulling water from the Summers Lane Reservoir. We used 1.4 million gallons of stored water. Total water storage capacity is 22.6 million gallons. The good news is that we have 9 days between high tide cycles and should be able to restore water storage to 100% before September 3, when the next 17 day cycle of high tides starts.
The Desalination-Reverse Osmosis Treatment System is now scheduled to be online the third week in September. The Groundwater Treatment Equipment to allow the City to use the Fort Bragg Unified School District’s irrigation well water for potable water should arrive toward the end of September. Mendocino County, the City of Ukiah and Fort Bragg anticipate that within a week or so, water hauling from Ukiah to Fort Bragg should allow Fort Bragg to restore water sales to the water haulers providing potable water to the Mendocino Coast.
A hearty thank you to all the local efforts to conserve!
Questions regarding this press release should be directed to Tabatha Miller, City Manager at (707) 961- 2829.
(Fort Bragg City Presser)
JEFF BURROUGHS: Back in the day…
This photo was taken a little before my time but even when I was a kid growing up in Boonville, the Mannix Building had appliances, cars, a newspaper and a beauty salon.
WHY IS THE SHERIFF SUING THE COUNTY? An exchange
A Mendocino Elected Official we know casually (not on the County’s payroll) wrote to us last week wondering about a strange item the Official had seen on a recent Board of Supervisors agenda:
“Do you know what Item 5 (Closed Session) is all about—suit by Sheriff Kendall against BOS? Why is the Sheriff suing the Board?”
We wrote back with some links of our coverage:
“Apparently you came in late...
A couple of days later the official wrote back:
“Good grief. What a waste of money. When is Carmel Angelo retiring? Have they found a replacement? I hope that they make a better choice. Thanks for bringing me up to speed.”
“Those sound like rhetorical quesions, but… Carmel Angelo's contract is through October of 2022. There's gossip about her retiring sooner, but that would cost her some money so I doubt it. The Board has made no public statements about the subject except to say that they prefer the CAO model -- someday.
“Replacement? CEO Angelo has already stacked the Executive office with her loyal acolytes, none of whom impress me, the top one of which is newly promoted Assistant CEO Darcie Antle, a nice lady, but not CEO or CAO material in my opinion. None of the other “deputies” are CEO material either.
“Frankly, the best public agency manager in the County at the moment is Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller, but I doubt she'd even apply. There are other local candidates outside the County administration too. Although they might not have the resume the Board would want. The Board itself isn't particularly good either, of course, just look at this pointless Sheriff's tiff. And they'll be making the call. I am not hopeful.”
We also gave the official a link to the 2019 grand jury report entitled “Who runs Mendocino County?”
The official wrote back again, being a retired private industry executive the official did not know what a “CAO” was:
“Interesting! CAO = Chief Administrative Officer? How do the big boys and girls deal with highly variable budgets such as the Sheriff’s Dept has? Healthy reserves? Also, did the BOS ever respond to the GJ concerns and suggestions? This is really eye-opening.”
To which we sent links to the Grand Jury webpage’s replies from the CEO and the Supervisors.
The official replied: “Thinking about this, Angelo is comfortable in holding Kendall personally accountable for budget overruns, but is she willing to hold herself equally accountable for the financial health of her departments? I find it egregious that she and her team cannot produce a monthly budget report! I would vote to have her fired. Can we have a referendum in this County to do that? Amazing.”
“The solution to the immediate Sheriff's issue does not need anything that drastic:
1. Announce that no one will be personally liable for budget overruns and start doing ordinary monthly budget reporting and revisions as necessary.
2. Tell the Sheriff they have no intention of taking over his computer system.
3. Set up a Sheriff's reserve account that the Sheriff can draw on for emergencies and overtime, with requests for allocations going through the new Public Safety Advisory board for review/recommendation. (And fund all reasonable requests, of course.)
If the reserve is not used or underused, any remainder rolls over into next year's reserve so the Sheriff is motivated to be prudent.
In other words: Duh.
But they can't even bring these things up as motions.”
* * *
And we haven’t heard back since then.
The point? Anyone who looks closely at these things afresh comes away shocked and amazed that such a problem could even develop and metastize into a court battle, especially when the board has more important matters to deal with. But there they are dragging on and on in Judge Moorman’s court where they held another hearing just this week with no resolution and even a statement by County Counsel Curtis that the County still wants to consolidate the Sheriff’s computer with the County’s computer, and to do that they want to ask the Attorney General for an opinion on the matter — which will draw this pointless dispute out even longer and leave the Sheriff unnecessarily at odds with the Board and the CEO in ongoing court exchanges.
LOSING & SAVING THE APPLE: A Tale of Capital, Labor and Organizing
by Jonah Raskin
Long ago, the apple industry coined and popularized the slogan, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A recent study concludes that the available evidence does not support that notion. Still it appears that U.S. adults who eat an apple a day “use fewer prescription medications.” In Sebastopol, California, eating apples, as well as growing and harvesting apples, was once an essential part of the culture, and at the heart of the economy of the whole region.
It was an act of patriotism and a sign of local pride to consume apples and not just in Sebastopol and Sonoma County but also in Mendocino where apple orchard once ran as far as the eye could see. On my way to the town of Mendocino I would always stop at Gowan’s Oak Tree on 128 and buy apples and vegetables. Gowan’s still has apples—65 varieties the website says—along with pears, peaches, plums and berries. Whether you’re in Boonville, Ukiah or the town of Mendocino the drive to Gowan’s is worth it.
At harvest, the whole town of Sebastopol, where I lived for nearly 40 years, smelled of ripe apples and stank of the waste product of the apples when they were turned into juice and sauce. The railroad brought apples from orchards to processing plants. The tracks once went down the center of Main Street. Then progress, suburbanization and gentrification arrived, the tracks were ripped up and Main Street became one-way.
Orchards were subdivided, houses, some of them McMansions were built and sold, and vineyards soon spread across the whole landscape. Grapes are now the monocrop; everywhere one turns it looks nearly the same, with rows and rows of grapes running uphill and downhill and across valleys in military fashion. It’s a similar story elsewhere around the world, though the crop differs.
Capital calls the tune and the global marketplace makes the rules local communities live by. Still, even in Sebastopol or perhaps especially in Sebastopol, citizens and organizations have formed and fought to save the apples, apple orchards and the livelihood of those who harvest them. It’s an uphill battle, but it provides individuals with a sense of belonging, gives them roots and makes freshly squeezed apple juice readily available three months of the year, from August through October.
I have diabetes and I’m not supposed to drink it; it’s super rich in sugar and in that sense it’s bad for health, but sometimes I’m tempted and can’t resist. A glass of apple juice makes me feel, well, juiced, and the story of the survival of the apple also juices me.
Not long ago, in Sonoma County, where the apple was once the queen of ag and the grape a knave, the members of Slow Food Russian River (SFRR)—a subdivision of the international organization, Slow Food— created, the Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Presidium. Unanimously, the members adopted the Gravenstein as a “presidia,” and created a “community apple press,” which is the only one of its kind in the U.S., though there are many in England and a few scattered across Canada and Australia.
In SFRR lingo, the Grav is “traditional, good tasting, sustainably produced and represents a sense of place and culture.” Terroir might be a world to sum up what it means. The Bodega Red Potato, which was once also widely cultivated by farmers in west Sonoma County, is a “presidia,” and, like the Grav, it too is endangered. Global competition cratered the market for the local apple and the local potato.
If a green apple is the Beatles icon and New York is the Big Apple, Sebastopol is the early autumnal apple in a landscape where orchards meet kitchens and apple juice and apple cider flow like wine. Associated in the Bible and in classical art with sin and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the Grav has become a symbol of resilience, revival and rebirth.
In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, which put a dent in nearly everything world wide, including the cause to save the Grav, the campaign has bounced back with unexpected friends and allies among the crowd of newcomers from urban centers who have settled in rural Sonoma and have fallen in love with its ag past. Environmentalism makes for strange bedfellows, indeed.
Paula Shatkin saw the devastation of the apple orchards, right before her eyes, soon after she moved to Sonoma County from L.A. with her husband, David. “We should do something about the apples,” Paula said at a meeting. Michael Dimock, who aided the start of the SFRR chapter or “convivium,” told Paula, “Yeah, you.” An activist and self-defined “thought leader on sustainable food and farming systems,” he chose her wisely, though spontaneously.
Dimock’s environmental organization, Roots of Change (ROC), received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Some of the funds went to SFRR. They boosted the apple project which has become a calling for a group hell-bent on saving the fruit from a tree that once grew wild, that began to be cultivated by humans in Central Asia thousands of years ago and that spread to Europe and North America. John Chapman, the legendary gardener Johnny Appleseed, created countless nurseries and became a missionary for his favorite fruit.
“The apple project now takes up at least half my life,” Paula Shatkin tells me. “I learned about organizing through trial and error. At a public meeting, I said ‘we need food not alcohol.’ Someone replied, ‘You’re not gonna tell me what I can do with my land.’”
The idea of doing something to save the apples rubbed some property owners the wrong way. For them, property rights trump all others. But the apple cause also found converts. It has grown into a vibrant movement, despite what might be called “the war against the apple.” Or maybe because of the war. Try to suppress something and it comes back stronger than before.
“The apple is an icon, like the whale, panda, polar bear or any endangered critter for which people rally,” Dimock tells me. “Saving Gravensteins has been part of the fight to save food-plant diversity and the diversity of Sonoma County ag.”
Over the past three decades, sturdy, beautiful, fruit-producing apple trees, from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol and from Graton to Freestone, have been cut down with chain saws or else bulldozed and ripped out by their roots. Like Paula Shatkin and others, I’ve seen orchards decimated to make room for pinot, cab, chardonnay and more. It’s a sad sight. I’ve also watched the community rally around the Grav.
Politically, it doesn’t help to demonize grape growers and winemakers. Long ago, Forrest Tanzer, one of the founders of Iron Horse in Forestville— which once provided the champagne for the White House—took me on a tour of the vineyard he planted and pointed to the new houses on the ridge. “If it weren’t for grapes this place would be like San Jose,” he said. Paul Downing, a Slow Food stalwart and major player in the apple cause, agrees with them. “Grape growers are farmers, too,” she says. Indeed they are. They might also be endangered and want and need defenders and defending. Capital spares no one and has no favorites except those that bring in top dollar.
Apple juice lovers have been known to shed tears at the sight of chain-sawed trees, but they have also flexed their muscles. In 2004, a group of impassioned juice lovers got together and formed a group dubbed the “Apple Core,” a whimsical name if ever there was one.
Over the past seven years, (with the notable exception of the 2020 pandemic year) members of the Core have operated the Sebastopol Apple Press from August to October, the height of the apple season. This year for the first time, the Core has mandated masks and vaccinations for everyone, whether they’re volunteers or participants.
On Saturdays, Core members congregate at the Luther Burbank Gold Ridge Experiment, where they meet and greet local farmers, ranchers and back-to-the-landers, help them press their apples and make juice. This year the press began to operate August 7. Some swear the ghost of Luther Burbank—who farmed in Sonoma County and experimented with crops—hovered nearby and cheered as did the ghost of Johnny Appleseed who wanted Americans to drink applejack.
The Sebastopol apple project aims not only to save trees (malus domestica) and salvage fruit, but also to safeguard the livelihood of ranchers and farmers. If, as environmentalist Wendell Berry says, “eating is an agricultural act,” eating local apples in season is crucial for the preservation of diversified farming in the region.
Literally, it takes a whole community to keep the Core up and running. Help has come from the County of Sonoma, the City of Sebastopol, the Western Sonoma County Historical Society and artisan cider makers: Ellen Cavalli and Scott Heath at Tilted Shed Ciderworks and Jolie Devoto and Hunter Wade at Golden State Cider.
Lawyer Bob Burke has worked with the Core, which he helped to create, for years. “I like diversified ag, which is pleasing to the eye, rather than mono cultures which aren’t good for the planet,” he tells me. Burke enjoys time away from his desk and his office and in the open air, where he can “give back to the community and meet wonderful people.”
Kristy and John Godfrey, both ex-New Yorkers, recently moved to a two-acre parcel in Sebastopol with about 60 apple trees. Kristy loves the Gravs, she says, because they have “a nice balance of sweet and tart.” She adds that soon after she and her husband, John, moved to Sonoma County they learned much of the apple’s lore and history and were “excited to be a part of the apple industry.”
John says that he and Kristy are not in it for the money, and don’t see apples as a “cash crop.” Rather, they’re “motivated by a desire to save the trees and be a force for good.” The Godfrey’s apples are destined for the “Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch” in Sebastopol where hard-working generations of family members have grown Gravs. The Ratzlaffs make the sweetest apple juice, sold by the pint ($2.19), the quart and the gallon at a variety of northern California stores, including Mollie Stone’s, Andy’s, Oliver’s and Whole Foods. “U-pick“ is a popular option.
Michael Dimock planted his first apple tree in Santa Rosa about a decade ago. Five years later he harvested his first crop. Dimock grows organically. His apples have worms, but they don’t bother him. His godmother, Louise Smith, owns an orchard in Graton. Michael visits her and her daughter, Julie, during apple season and enjoys apple strudel and apple gallant. Lucky man.
If and when apples are no longer grown in Sonoma, he will miss them dearly. “I feel sad about the decline and fall of the apple empire,” he says. “I also understand why that’s happening in our capital-driven system.”
Like many SFRR members, Dimock is anxious about the future of the Grav, which has a short shelf-life, doesn’t ship well and relies on local demand for sales, revenue and survival.
“Global warming might soon make it too warm for Gravensteins,” Dimock tells me. “Either because they will not get enough chill hours or because pests will overwhelm orchards.” What he finds heartening is the local cider industry that has grown steadily over the past few years and that must have apples to exist. No apples, no cider.
These days, a ton of organic apples will bring a grower $350; $250 a ton for conventional. A ton of grapes is way more than that. In Napa, Cab fetches close to $8,000 a ton and in Sonoma about $3,000 a ton. You do the math. There’s now an oversupply of grapes, and as one wine industry group noted, “wildfires, economic uncertainty, politics and a worldwide pandemic have all conspired to shake our core.” Grapes might go the way of raspberries, prunes and hops which were once major crops. Doomsday farmer Bob Cannard sees the day when the green valleys are desert. Already his wells dry up early in summer. No water, no ag.
Meanwhile, in Sonoma County big time grape growers like the Dutton family are also apple growers. They have over a thousand acres in grapes and 200 acres in apples.
Newcomers to the county, like the Godfreys and like Shari Figi have also heartened apple lovers at SFRR. Figi, a recent arrival, owns a three-acre parcel with 50 trees. She wants to improve the sorry state of her orchard and make her trees productive again. “I’m looking out for myself,” she tells me. She’s also looking out for the apples. “It would be a shame,” she says, “to lose our wonderful history.”
Figi will hire hands to harvest the fruit. Like most agricultural labor, it can be back breaking and often requires climbing up and down ladders, gathering apples and adding them to huge bins which can hold a ton and require a forklift to move. “It’s fascinating to watch the Mexican guys work,” Downing tells me. “They prune and they pick and they can identify each and every apple tree even without leaves. All that for $20 to $25 an hour.” No one knows the apples better than the men (they’re all men) who harvest them.
To the laborers, we owe a debt of gratitude.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of Field Days: A Year or Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California.)
SOME UKIAH COMMENTS
This morning I saw an online photo of a motorhome stuck on one of the new flowerbeds in downtown Ukiah while trying to turn right onto Seminary from State Street. Think any other new corner improvements might be a problem?
Two days ago the Ukiah Daily Journal ran a front-page photo of State Street and Perkins Street with a nice rah-rah article about how happy we should all be with our new and improved State Street. I don't think people will be thrilled about turning from northbound State Street avoiding a bulb-out where they used to turn. Probably not buses or motorhomes either.
While waiting to turn north on State Street at the Scott Street stop light I noticed that southbound traffic, both lanes, was backed up all the way to Scott Street. I thought maybe an accident. But no, it was just two lanes of traffic squeezing into one lane downtown. That’ll teach all those speeders a lesson.
Let's have a street party to celebrate our beautiful and much-needed improvements. Who cares if it's Pandemic #2? What could go wrong?
When the Church Street prostitute plaque was removed, Supervisor Mo Mulheren was going to find a more appropriate location. I thought that idea couldn't possibly work and the plaque was gone to a dusty closet somewhere. Well, good news does sometimes happen. Somebody finally figured out that the appropriate place was where it was taken from to begin with. Ya think? So if you had anything to do with this, Mo, good on you and a gold star.
THE PLOT TO RENAME FORT BRAGG
Fort Bragg land and our homestead.
I enjoyed R.D. Beacon’s article concerning city slickers etc. This plot to change Fort Bragg’s name is in part a conspiracy by the Fort Bragg police department and several "ranking ex-hippies" who really want to use this opportunity to incorporate Noyo Village into the Fort Bragg city limits. Face facts, Darth Vader fans, after about 170 years I really doubt if Noyo will vote to rescind their sovereignty.
Back to the renaming of the town of Fort Bragg. Very simple. Rename it the City of Mendoza (or Mendoza Beach). Rescind city limits to Pudding Creek Bridge. Keep the Bridge's name, just call the beach Mendoza. That fork at the Noyo River was named Pudding Creek due to the Pudding native Crow and Yuki swimmers who would eat after their swim to Saunders Reef in the 1800s.
The name of Fort Bragg schools can only be changed by an act of Congress. Of course, the post office will become Mendoza Post Office where it originated on the corner of Redwood Avenue and McPherson Street that happens to be originally owned by the Mendoza family and the zip code would remain 95437.
The library should be changed to Greenwood Library and the tiny park by the Guest House Museum changed to Greenwood Park. The middle school and senior center could be changed to Greenwood also, but I really believe Fort Bragg high school should remain the same. I'm sure most of my fellow alumni would want that along with our school colors of purple and white and the Timberwolf logo.
That's all for now folks. I'm busy supporting our governor for the people: Governor Newsom.
David ‘Detective Youngcault’ Giusti, Elder born in Mendoza by way of Gray Whale.
Mendocino County Jail
PS. I noticed in the August fourth AVA that some coward called General Braxton Bragg a “low life.” Could you please write a retraction stating what you meant by lowlife and if you are not a coward attach your name to it.
JUST IN FROM DAN KUNY: "My little one & I are on the Dixie Fire and we kicked ass today"
“WE WILL MAKE YOU PAY.” That's what Biden promised today in the wake of the latest disaster of his making in Afghanistan, and the kind of posturing likely to get more Afghans and Marines killed as the chaotic and bloody evacuation stumbles on.
BIDEN should step down if, as he says, he “takes full responsibility.” But his successors would be a lateral move, and the catastrophes will continue to multiply. The annual billions spent on defense and the boys with the chests full of medals can't manage a tactical exit?
THE GOOD NEWS: Chris Isbell is back in Navarro where he's up and walking and talking. And we thought the native Deepender was a goner when he suffered a stroke last year that was so severe the guy was on life support.
FROM the typically cryptic communiques out of the Supervisors and their den mother, it appears they've backed off the pointless beef they started with the Sheriff over his budget and control of his computer systems.
BIDEN to local government is only a matter of size and degree. Incompetence sea to sea.
THE TRUMP WING of the national government, shameless as always, is positively gloating over the Afghan disaster which, of course, is the usual bi-partisan project. Biden or Trump, this outcome wasn't precisely foretold but no surprise.
THE BOONVILLE FAIR is on. We've had hot fairs, cold fairs, rainy fairs, but this will be our first masked fair. Supervisor Williams told us earlier in the week that he was checking with Dr. Coren, County Health Officer, to see if the fair was indeed a go. Didn't hear back from our supervisor but evidently Coren put his OK on it. Or did he? If he did I'm sure he didn't want to do it with a public announcement given the givens of public responsibility for unwise decision-making in these cringing times, but considering that we're in a rolling covid disaster we should be able to expect candor from our lead health persons. I bring it up because it would be cruel to suddenly call it off at this point.
WE'RE WARY of anything coming out of Point Arena management, and we wish we had the time and resources it would take to give the Point Arena parking lot story the attention it deserves. I remember the old pier complex prior to the great tsunami, a rambling ramshackle area romantically reminiscent of Steinbeck's Cannery Row and every other doghole port up and down the California coast. I'm opposed to parking lots in principle! In principle, I tell you! I'm for leaving the Point Arena Pier alone.
UKIAH has just suffered through three years of a grant-driven project aimed at making its downtown more . . . uh more hospitable. For the inconvenience suffered by everyone living or visiting our county seat, nevermind the cost of the thing, I don't see much in the way of upgrade — upgrade for Ukiah would require this project the length of State Street, not a few blocks — especially given that Ukiah's government hopes to move its downtown economic anchor, the County Courthouse, three long blocks east down Perkins Street.
THE GRANT GRABBERS always make it seem like grant money is magic money, but projects like Ukiah and Point Arena are paid for out of public money, not money bestowed by some private civic benefactor.
A FEW OF RESPONSES to our item yesterday about the County’s embarrassingly slow roll-out of their “emergency” water hauling program:
MIKE LUCHETTI of Ukiah: "I'm a certified potable water hauler licensed through the state of California, I've been a county approved vendor since 2009. In late June I started this process to haul water to Mendocino. I called Ukiah city to get a meter, they said no. I called Willow Water district, they said no. I called Hopland Water, they said no. I waited a couple weeks and called Ukiah again — still said no water. They said call the Mendocino Drought Task Force. I called them they said can't help me and suggested I call State Water Resources agency, no answer. Due to covid only email, they said. I sent numerous emails, not one response. I finally gave up, parked my truck, and let the driver go to the Dixie fire. Two loads a day x 2500 gallons x 60 days now. I could have had roughly 300,000 gallons over there. Sorry guys, I tried.”
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS replied to Luchetti: "That's right, almost all outside sales have been shut off. With the board action on Tueadsy, as soon as agreements are signed by county and cities, the county will be able to shuttle water from City of Ukiah to city of Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg will be in a position to sell water to haulers. The partnership can be seen as mutual aid, the cities providing a solution to unincorporated residents. The cost at current need is estimated to be approximately$1 million per month."
Williams also said that asking County staff to hurry up or meet a short deadline is “micromanaging.” Which is why so little gets done by Mendocino County and what is done is so tardy. And these are the same people the public expects to handle an emergency.
LUIS ALVAREZ WRITES: “Water Crawling. Tip of the hat to you for actually attempting to sign up and examine the most important part of this exercise, the DETAILS! We had this very same conversation yesterday with some folks dodging potholes and homeless people on our local streets. The consensus amongst the group was that by the time Mendo County got organized to allow trucks to haul water to the coast the following would happen. First, we have liability with drivers, companies, Water Board and Covid. Where’s the legal water source, insurance, quality control of potable water, gas prices, who pays who, wait let’s apply for a grant, no just take it from the general fund, no take it from PG&E money, does the City pay or the County front the money and get reimbursed. Taxes? Oh look, it’s raining. Never mind. Its Mendo land with the stupes.”
A READER ASKS? Why isn't this story in local news? A man in Mendocino cannot improve an old 23 foot well and is successfully suing the district for water rights on property that's been in his family for 100 years on Little lake Road. Gomes v. Mendocino City Cmty. Servs. Dist., A160420
MS NOTES: Depends on what you mean by “this story.” We mentioned it last May after Mr. Gomes was interviewed at some length on Marco McClean’s Memo of the Air Show.
The casetext file cited by the reader is behind a paywall. But other on line legal materials not behind a paywall defy proper coverage because, honestly, the issue is too legalistically framed for most people to understand and report on fairly and accurately without pissing off one side or the other. We can’t even tell who won at which court level or when or whether other appeals are pending. (The case has been going on for years.) The Justia decision posting in the case concludes by saying “The judgment is reversed” because of procedural error by the Mendocino CSD. But it’s hard to tell which “judgment” is reversed, and earlier in the text they seem to say that the CSD is within its legal rights to restrict pumping from private wells in its district. But in general Gomes is certainly right that the Mendocino CSD hasn’t done enough to develop reserve water sources given the precarious nature of the shallow aquifer the town sits on. How this problem can be litigated into a solution, however, is beyond us.
If Mr. Gomes or the Mendocino CSD want to write something on this subject, we’d be more than happy to have it.
There are lots of stories that deserve more coverage than they’re getting in Mendocino County. We do what we can with our limited resources, but Mendo most media has been reduced to a shell of its former self and has more than it can handle just covering the emergencies of the day.
Other case info for SCUK-CVPT-15-65985 is at: https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2019/a153078.html
However “justia” provides this summary:
Gomes, a Mendocino County homeowner, sought to invalidate an ordinance of the Mendocino City Community Services District, limiting the quantity of groundwater he may extract from his property. He contends that the statute authorizing the district to establish groundwater-management programs did not authorize extraction limits but that, if it did, the District failed to adopt the present program in accordance with the procedures specified in the statute. The District was created pursuant to the 1987 enactment of Division 6 of the Water Code, part 2.7 (Wat. Code, 10700), which provides that the district “may, by ordinance, . . . establish programs for the management of groundwater resources.” The court of appeal concluded that the statute does authorize the imposition of extraction limitations but that the District did not adopt its program as the statute requires. The District acknowledged that the 2007 water shortage contingency plan enactments were not adopted pursuant to the statutory procedures; the court rejected its argument that the 1990 enactment of the underlying ordinance in compliance with those procedures was sufficient, and that the subsequent enactments were merely amendments of the original program that need not have been adopted in conformity with those procedures.
MARK WEDEGAERTNER WRITES: "John Sakowicz is correct in his clarification on the Supervisors agenda item regarding the joint powers agreement with the City of Ukiah regarding the gun club. However, everything he says after that is full of shit. Nothing new there. The gun club does not have 2,000 members. Current membership is half that. Shooting hours are 8:00 AM (9:00 on Sunday) until one half hour BEFORE sunset, and are strictly enforced. There has never been any evidence that any lead has left that property either by air or water."
NAKED LADIES, PLEASE
ISO Amaryllis belladonna bulbs
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is looking for donations of Amaryllis belladonna bulbs (Naked Ladies). It is ok if the bulbs are already sprouting. If you would like to donate your extra or unwanted bulbs, please bring them by the nursery at the botanical gardens. If you have any questions contact the Nursery at 964-4352 x 12 or email@example.com
Thank you in advance!
Roxanne Perkins (Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens)
ROBIN, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
by Robin Epley, Editor, Fort Bragg Advocate
I’ve been dreading writing this column for days now — because three weeks ago, I got a new job. I’ll be stepping down from my role as the editor of the Advocate-News and Beacon as of August. 27.
I can’t officially tell you where I’m going yet, but it’s a great opportunity for me, back in my hometown and near family. There’s not much more I could ask for than that. To those of you who went out of your way to help me here, thank you. Your kindness and grace meant a lot to me.
I started this job on March 3, 2020. And if you just whispered “Oh no…” to yourself, then you get it.
In those early, halcyon days, my goals were lofty. But as the pandemic dragged on, and more and more things were cut from the newsroom, I started to despair that I might wind up being the last editor the coast papers ever had.
That was my ultimate, nightmare scenario.
We dropped from a staff of eight to just three, and everyone but me was part-time. The paper is edited, written and produced from my kitchen table in a tiny apartment above downtown Fort Bragg. Soon, we no longer had an office manager or even an ad salesman. At one point, the company that owns both the Advocate and Beacon were even talking about merging the papers. Then our office lease was terminated, and our archives were scattered to various historical societies.
I wish I could tell you how hard this job is sometimes. I wonder sometimes if people think newspaper editors are a caricature of old men smoking stogies in a dark backroom somewhere, thumbs under their suspenders, making flippant decisions with no regard for the community they serve.
The plain fact is, I — along with other young men and women across this country — are pounding the pavement daily, walking and talking and caring about it and serving it. We want to be a source of joy and hope and knowledge to our communities, and I am convinced that newspapers are not dying, so long as journalists like us exist.
But it’s a struggle sometimes to get people to understand just how vital the American free press really is to places like Fort Bragg and Mendocino. Shout “fake news” all you like, but the Advocate and Beacon are the only local media outlets that still cover vital small government meetings like the Fort Bragg City Council and the Mendocino City Community Services District. We’re also the only outlet in the county that regularly covers the Mendocino Board of Supervisors.
And if you think these boring, local meetings aren’t important, but you despair at the state of Sacramento and Washington D.C., then boy, oh boy, do I have news for you: Where do you think those games start?
If nothing else, I wish I could impart to you that the North Coast is so lucky to still have two newspapers. Hundreds of local papers across the country, just like the Advocate and Beacon, have disappeared in the last decade, and countless more in just the last 18 months. According to The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, more than 1,800 local newsrooms have closed since 2004 across the county, and 1,700 of them were weeklies, just like this paper.
And it happens just like this. A paper is whittled down on staff and resources until it’s nothing, being put out from a kitchen table, and can no longer make money for the company that owns it, ‘til finally, one day… it’s just gone. Not a roar, not even a whisper. Just gone.
So if you want a local paper that’s worth picking up, then you need to take action. Yes, you. You reading this will need to do something. Because, I assure you, no one cares about these newspapers so much as the communities of Fort Bragg and Mendocino do. And no one else in this world could possibly save them.
If you want a strong, healthy local paper, then you have to do something about it. No one else will. All of that history, and all of that future, will be lost to time if you don’t. Is that to be the legacy of the Advocate and Beacon? Of W. H. Meacham? Of William and Augie Heeser?
So what to do? Start by buying an Advocate or a Beacon today. And then buy one next week and the week after that.
Then tell your friends to buy one, too. Support your local paper with your wallet. Not NPR, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, not even the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat or Ukiah Daily Journal will report the North Coast’s local news the way it deserves to be covered. But first, there has to be some sort of buy-in from the community.
Encourage your local organizations and groups to submit information to the papers. Buy a subscription for yourself, and after that, buy one for someone else, too. The community has to come together. A newspaper cannot be saved by sheer will. (I should know; I tried.)
You have to think of saving your local papers in the same way you would save a historical house or a beautiful garden or a pristine coastline.
In the short-term, best-case scenario, you could help us fund a new reporter position through something like the Report For America program. For now, you can make sure you’re submitting stories and photos. Write letters to the editor. Place advertisements for events, for your business, or for anything else you can think of.
And if you don’t want that money going to a faceless entity, then maybe someone, somewhere here on the coast, is retired after a financially successful career and wants to buy back the papers on behalf of the community? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
If my tenure here as editor is remembered for only one thing, I hope it’s that I helped keep the coast’s two papers alive during a pandemic. And for the rest of my career, wherever I go, I will always remember my time here.
Goodbye, and thank you.
Mendocino BoS - 08/31/2021 - we support you, follow budget process
Discussion and Possible Action Stating the Board’s Intent to Address Government Code Section 29121 through the Budget Process and Mitigate Unnecessary Concern that Impedes a Department Head, Appointed or Elected Official’s Ability to Perform their Duties
(Sponsor: Supervisor Mulheren)
Provide direction to Department Heads and Elected Officials that it is not and has not been the policy of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to hold officials personally liable for budget overages that result from duly authorized expenditures, variations between actual and projected revenue, and other issues routinely addressed through quarterly budget adjustments.
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions:
On August 3, 2021, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors discussed adding an item to a future Agenda to address concerns regarding Government Code section 29121.
Summary of Request:
During its budget hearings on June 8th and 9th, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors discussed Government Code section 29121, which provides that expenditures in excess of budget unit appropriations are a liability on the authorizing official, rather than the county.
It is not and has not been the policy of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to hold officials personally liable for budget overages that result from duly authorized expenditures, variations between actual and projected revenue, and other issues routinely addressed through quarterly budget adjustments.
The Board is being asked today to reaffirm this informal policy by a roll call vote and to direct the Executive Office and Auditor Staff to work with Department Heads and Elected Officials regarding the Budget Policies and Procedures to ensure that they have confidence in their ability to keep their department within budget and/or to bring any potential overruns to the Board on either a quarterly or as needed basis.
* * *
Mendocino BoS - 08/31/2021 prohibit water hauling, except health & safety (McGourty and Haschak)
Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to Staff to Draft an Urgency Ordinance Regarding the Prohibition of Water Hauling from One Source to Another Except for Health and Human Safety or Permitted Businesses
(Sponsor: The Drought Task Force Ad Hoc Committee of Supervisors McGourty and Haschak)
Direct staff to draft an urgency ordinance regarding the prohibition of water hauling from one source to another except for personal health and human safety or permitted businesses, and return to full Board for approval at a later date.
Previous Board/Board Committee Actions:
The BOS declared a drought state of emergency on April20, 2021.
Summary of Request:
With the drought in its second year, people are increasingly concerned about wells going dry and aquifers being excessively tapped. Reports of people with private wells selling water that is then transported to distant locations for unpermitted usages are common throughout inland Mendocino County. According to Baldwin vs. Tehama Co., counties have the authority to regulate the transfer of water. An urgency ordinance prohibiting water hauling to unpermitted business usages will help law and code enforcement to enforce and regulate the transport of water. The ordinance could contain such restrictions as limiting the hours that water trucks can operate and log of details of each delivery.
“You never let your guard down when you live in Hell.”
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to support our local seniors - become an AV Village volunteer today!
The Anderson Valley Village is part of the national Village Movement that emerged in response to a common challenge facing older adults in the US: staying independent, safe, and socially connected while remaining in their homes. The Village concept is that a community can pool their resources to support a locally controlled organization to help minimize these challenges. The AV Village is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to empowering older adults to do just that. We provide three main services to our members: volunteer help, referrals to local services for hire and educational and social events (open to non-members as well). The most common volunteer support we provide for our members are rides to medical appointments. When volunteers are unavailable, we give the member a list of providers for hire for that task, like drivers for hire. And of course, for the more extensive and professional services our volunteers do not provide, like plumbing, caregiving, electrical, landscaping, regular gardening and housekeeping, we provide a list of services for hire.
The membership dues make it possible for us to hire a Coordinator to: respond to the needs of members - organize social and educational events - coordinate our team of volunteers - maintain a list of services for hire.
In order for us to support our members we are always looking for more dedicated volunteers (and members as well).
Do you have a little time in your schedule and room in your heart?
Please join our team of much needed volunteers to support our elders as they age in place! Hours are flexible and dependent on your availability; every little bit helps.
There are a variety of volunteer opportunities, with our biggest need being rides to medical appointments (usually in Ukiah), tech support, friendly visits or calls, light help around the house and garden. Again you choose what you feel comfortable doing and how often.
There is some paperwork and a short training that can be done on Zoom if need be, but your contribution is much needed and greatly appreciated! Because we are working with a vulnerable population we do require our volunteers to be vaccinated - thank you again for the support!
Contact the coordinator for more info or check out our website for the application and handbook - (I can always send you hard copies in the mail as well)
Anderson Valley Village Coordinator
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 26, 2021
WARREN BECK, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
RAYMOND ESPINOZA JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SKYLAR HENDERSON, Willits. Probation revocation.
JOHN LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
SHAREEN MARRUFO, Covelo. Failure to appear.
HEATHER MARSH-HAAS, Willits. Involuntary manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act not involving vehicles, cruity to child-infliction of injury, willful harm or injuy resulting in death, prior felony.
OSCAR MARTINEZ, Covelo. Ammo possession by prohibited person, failure to appear, offenses while on bail.
ANTONE MOORE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, stolen vehicle.
KEELY MULLINAX-OLSON, Leggett. DUI.
JEREMIAH ROWE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
As I watch video of the Taliban takeover of the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul and look at photos of them occupying various offices, I am struck by the similarity to the photos and video of the traitors who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Both groups were angry bearded men who want to take civilization back to the Stone Age. Does anybody else see the similarities?
TRADITIONAL DRESS, AFGHANISTAN
AN OPEN LETTER TO Airbnb — THE PITCHFORKS ARE COMING
by Jared A. Brock
Dear founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, board members Angela Ahrendts, Ken Chenault, Belinda Johnson, Jeff Jordan, Alfred Lin, and Ann Mather, and all investors, hosts, and guests;
I write to you today in the hope that you will radically re-structure your company before it starts a class war in which you will almost certainly lose the lion's share of your wealth, your moral conscience, your place in history as innovators instead of oppressors, and you and your family’s physical safety.
Brian, Joe, Nathan; you started Airbnb with the best of intentions. You couldn’t afford to make rent on your San Francisco apartment, so you bought some air mattresses and served breakfast to your guests. Brilliant. But things have changed since then. Now you control an $80 billion company that has devoured millions of housing units, evicted countless families, and turned their homes into full-time clerkless hotels, with a promise in your IPO documents to fight democracies in court for as long as you can afford to do so.
To be clear, renting out spare rooms, attics, basements, and backyards in owner-occupied properties isn’t the problem. It’s when an investor outbids a family for a second property and turns it into a full-time Airbnb. Or worse, when a holiday rental company does so. Or worse, when a highly-leveraged hedge fund buys a swath of holiday rental companies. Or worse, when a sovereign wealth fund buys a portfolio of hedge funds. It’s why the average house will cost $10+ million within 50 years.
Picture the future and do the math. Your company’s mandate is to grow exponentially forever. If new housing construction doesn’t keep up — and it hasn’t for more than a decade — it’s mathematically impossible that your company won’t take hundreds of millions of houses away from real families in the decades ahead. Do you think this will end well for you?
As it stands, you have set your company on a path that can only lead to ruin — for millions of houseless families, and eventually, your leadership team and your investors.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Start with transparency
As far as we’re aware, only 8% of Airbnb hosts are renting a room in a single house, and that number is falling fast. How many million houses has Airbnb taken off the market so far, and how many more are being stolen each month?
It’s only fair that the commons knows what we're up against. If you want to build real public trust, your company needs to allow independent auditors to track how many of your hosts are actually owners who rent rooms in houses they occupy full-time, versus how many investors have taken a housing unit off the market and turned it into an unregulated clerkless hotel.
Ensure all your hosts are owner-occupiers only
You must revert to your original model. When an owner occupies a house, they take care of it. They know their neighbors. They keep the noise down.
They shop locally. They keep the local schools open by sending their kids.
They set down roots.
Absentee landlords kill communities. They don’t have roots. They don’t care about noise or safety or cleanliness. They don’t care about schools.
They don’t care about neighbors. All they care about is extracting wealth. Worst of all, the huge proliferation of holiday investors is skyrocketing house prices beyond all affordable values. This means that the real societal contributors — productive workers — have to relocate to less desirable locations further away from their places of work. This is already robbing millions of people of billions of hours of life due to extra commuting, and the environmental toll of all that pollution is yours to bear.
All of this could be ameliorated by ensuring that every single one of your hosts is only renting out space in a housing unit that they own and live in full-time.
Limit the number of rental nights to 14/year
Obviously, high year-round commercial availability removes a house from the residential market. The average American gets two weeks of vacation per year. As such, it seems reasonable to limit the number of rental nights to the number of vacation days of the average owner-occupier. Many cities have already started to put such a limit in place, but if your company truly cares about the commons, you’ll pre-empt them all by ensuring your hosts are good citizens first, and hosts seconds.
In a word, there must be no more full-time Airbnbs in residential homes. Stop suing democracies
I realize that part of your business plan includes building a war chest to fight 100,000+ cities in court. But is this really how you want to make your money? By fighting democracy? How will your children and grandchildren look at you when they learn the truth of your actions? Is this how you want history to remember you?
Airbnb’s fight-the-public-forever model is going to cost you a ton of money, and it’s going to cost the commons even more. But do you expect us to just roll over and die? When millions of us don’t have a place to live, what will you expect us to do instead?
Stop bribing Congress
Let’s face it, the rest of the world calls corporate lobbying what it actually is: bribing. Why do you have 13 lobbying firms in Congress? Why did you hire a PR firm to meet with Scottish delegates on 28 occasions?
Why did you fund more than 400 fake grassroots organizations? Instead of bribing corporate-captured puppet politicians to make laws that oppress the commons, why not build a company that doesn’t require the overthrow of democracy instead?
Start building clerkless hotels
Clearly, there is a huge market for your business.
People don’t love the hassle of hotel check-ins and check-outs.
They like paying online.
They like having kitchens.
They like having unique and interesting spaces.
If you build it, they will come.
Seriously — as more people start to travel regularly, there’s likely a market for more than a billion Airbnb hotel units globally. Airbnb could earn (actually earn) a real profit by revolutionizing the hotel industry.
You’ve been bleeding investor cash for nearly a decade, so why not make a profit for a change?
Start an Airbnbank
Now, of course, the sheer brilliance of extraction economy companies is that you take a massive cut of the profits without shouldering any of the risks and costs, shunting all those pesky expenses onto the backs of your army of hosts.
So why not continue to pass the buck by giving your hosts an opportunity to invest in full-time commercially-zoned vacation space?
Start a bank, give hosts mortgages, and allow them to buy units in Airbnb towers in properly zoned commercial areas. This would allow hosts to skim passive profits off tourists, allow you to make your hefty Airbnb fee, and earn interest like a fat cat Wall Street banker.
You could also control maintenance and cleaning and security on these buildings, extracting further fees from your hosts. You could also rent ground-level space to restaurants, fitness centers, food shops, pubs, barbershops, and spas. Heck, you could even save a few floors for office share space and destroy WeWork for good. Best of all, you’d never have to take another residential unit away from a family ever again.
Because even one house taken off the residential market to be used as a holiday house is one too many.
Like it or not, your company is now the tip of the spear in a movement that is rapidly commodifying global residential real estate. You’re leading the charge in turning a human necessity into a tradeable commodity. Access to affordable shelter is a universal human right, and you’re devastating real people.
A word of warning
Now obviously, your full-time job is simply to boost Airbnb’s stock price, so I don’t expect you’ll heed any of these suggestions; in which case, all that’s left to say is: Enjoy it while it lasts. Because they're coming for you, and when they do, there will be blood. You thought Occupy Wall Street had a big turnout? Wait until hundreds of millions of evicted renters smash your empire. Rule number one of business: Never back desperate people into a corner. Pretty soon, the listings on your website will just become a hit list.
Expect thousands of municipal lawsuits from city councils.
Expect class-action lawsuits from evicted renters and priced-out buyers.
Expect pitchforks in the streets.
Expect bricks through windows and fires in listed properties.
Expect homeless mobs climbing the walls of your gated mansions.
If you continue on your current course, you will pay reparations one way or the other — so either get a good insurance policy or get back to your original business model so the world may call you blessed.
A personal note
My wife and I are having our first baby in late September. Our house lease expires in March, and we’re desperately hoping that our landlord will renew our agreement so we can stay in the village we’ve come to love these past few years. We want to raise our child in a real home, but let’s be honest — our landlords could extract way more money by renting our house out nightly instead of monthly.
Our whole village is the same way. Nearly every property that comes up for sale is snapped up in days by a holiday rental company for far more money than any local family can afford to pay. If the trajectory continues — and there’s no indication that it won’t — there’s a good chance our local school will close before our child has a chance to attend.
I can’t describe to you the sinking feeling I get in my stomach every time a sixty-year-old suburban woman stops in front of our place and says to her husband, “oh, that one would be cute,” or worse, when a holiday rental company van pulls up and snaps a photo of our home.
There’s a ticking clock that hangs over our heads, counting down the days until we’ll inevitably have to move to a less desirable location, into likely a much smaller place, and still pay way more money, thanks to the commodification of real estate in the hands of Airbnb land-lorders.
Calls to action
There is much to be done in this world, and much of it is an undoing.
Airbnb investors and board members: For the sake of long-term societal safety and short-term societal affordability, I call on you to divest of
Airbnb stock in the same way you would of fossil fuels and weapons of war, or at the very least, become activist members that force the board to abandon its non-owner-occupied position.
Airbnb hosts: I encourage you to only rent out rooms or units on your primary residential property, and sell any properties that you have stolen from the commons.
Airbnb guests: I encourage you to stay in hotels, resorts, regulated bed and breakfasts, and in real commercially-zoned vacation rental properties, not in residential neighborhoods. If you want to use Airbnb in an ethical manner, do your due diligence to ensure that the property you’re renting is a bona fide owner-occupied unit and not a unit that has been taken away from a family. It’s deeply troubling to enjoy family vacation time in a space when you know another family has lost theirs — it’s time to make the Golden Rule popular again.
Citizens: Lobby your city councilors, county clerks, state representatives, and Congresspeople to ban all commercial activity and investment in residential real estate. Whether they include a 500% second house premium, a cost-prohibitive landlording license, or an outright ban on non-owner-occupied clerkless hotel rentals, we simply must drive investors out of the residential real estate market.
Please sign this petition to save my village.
Please spread the word and raise awareness about Airbnb.
If you’d like to write to any of Airbnb’s board members or executive management, their email is [first name].[last name]@ airbnb.com
Brian, Joe, Nathan: You started Airbnb with the best of intentions. You couldn’t afford to make rent on your San Francisco apartment. Today, your company has made it nearly impossible for people like your former selves to live in San Francisco, Paris, New York, London, or nearly any other desirable place on earth, including my little village.
Houses are supposed to be homes. You’ve extended the capitalist script by turning houses into abusive investments, extractive commodities to be sold to the highest bidder. Please go back to your roots before society burns your whole empire to the ground.