GRAND JURY FAILS AGAIN
To The Editor:
Another Toothless Grand Jury Report.
The Mendocino Grand Jury completed their report on the Ukiah City RDA (Redevelopment Program) and it is really a disappointment. As one local official asked last year: “when will the Grand Jury ever get some teeth?” This report goes on for 30 pages and includes 56 “Findings,” as they call them, yet it never mentions the big issue: that the City Government is hell-bent upon using RDA money that they borrowed with high interest bonds to subsidize private enterprise — namely the CostCo project. It is because of this type of corporate welfare in most city and county RDA programs throughout the State that the Governor and both houses of the Legislature shut down the entire program last year and that the State Supreme Court supported that decision, after a legal challenge, in January 2012. Going back a step, the Ukiah City Council borrowed $8.43 million in the Spring of 2011 using the expected future growth of tax revenues as collateral and placed these funds in their Redevelopment Agency account. They had already borrowed $5.99 million in 2007 under the same procedure. The newly enacted State Law AB1x26 demands that we pay off these obligations forthwith and not undertake any more RDA projects, period. In future, the City will just have to wait for tax revenues to flow in each year before they start dreaming of ways to spend it.
So, what does this Grand Jury Report talk about for 30 pages? Mostly they discuss the procedures under which the newly appointed Oversight Panel will set up Successor Agencies to schedule the pay-off of this bonded indebtedness and close down all RDA activity. The Grand Jury recommends development of a “blueprint, a timetable, and milestones” for dissolution of the RDA.
Hey, that's what it already says in State Law AB1x26” which it quotes extensively and boringly. They recommend hiring legal council and conducting an audit, oh yes always a wise move. Beyond that and a few “Motherhood Statements” I see no meat in this entire report.
No need for teeth if the Grand Jury Report contains no meat. The Grand Jury is intended to report directly to the public, bypassing all the bureaucracy and shining light upon the obfuscatory practices that are so rampant around here. All the Grand Jury Report does is lecture us about the complexity of regulations. It provides no enlightenment to an impatient public.
Ignoring the State Finance Department demand that the bonds be paid off now, County Manager Jane Chambers and her assistant Sage Sangiacomo have conjured up a wish list of projects (ROPs they are called) that they want to spend this money on right now rather than pay off those expensive bonds. Didn't they read the Court Order? Sangiacomo wants to pay $4.3 million of this tax payer money for “the development of infrastructure to improve traffic, drainage and utility services for the CostCo Project” being planned for the Redwood Shopping Mall. If CostCo thinks the project is a moneymaker, why can't they put in the infrastructure for their $26 million store themselves? Isn't this merely a form of the corporate welfare that our Governor and state legislature wisely intended to stop when they terminated the RDA boondoggle? Why in the world do we need to bribe a commercial business like CostCo into expanding our unneeded retail marketplace? We've already got all the supermarkets (five) , clothing outlets (dozens) and huge drug stores (at least four) one could need and this community has not grown in population in a decade. The $4.3 million in corporate welfare would mostly be spent on an expanded Highway 101 interchange to provide speedy access for CostCo shoppers.
We just rejected a Walmart SuperStore in the same complex because they hadn't provided for such an interchange. Now we'll build it for CostCo? How so? People are predicting that once the interchange is functioning, Walmart will swoop back in with a new application for their Super Store and we can sit back and watch more local businesses go under and more big box mayhem.
There is a perception around town that CostCo, which pays a bit higher salaries than Walmart and some medical benefits, is good for Ukiah while Walmart is bad. I don't care what your shopping preferences are but if the results of either Big Box are more empty store fronts on State and School Streets, and more profits leaving town, just what have we gained? Explain your logic to us, Jane Chambers.
Somehow or other, Assistant CEO Sangiacomo remains confident that he can “game” the California State Finance Department into letting Ukiah keep all this money and use it to boost CostCo's bottom line.
PS. The outrage of the day: I have been asked by fellow members of last year’s Grand Jury for my opinion of their report. Haven't found a copy yet. It is on the Internet if you look for a while but then you have the entire document. Thursday July 5th: Went to the GJ offices today — it is all locked up. The Foreman says it won't be open until the 11th. Proceeded to the Administrative Offices of the Superior Court Judge — they didn't even know if there was a Final Report published and asked how I knew this. They had no idea where to get one. Called Carol Rosenberg, last year's Foreman (may we say ForePerson?) and apparently this next year's as well, according to rumors on the street. She said there are no copies of the Final Report available for the public. She only printed up enough for the members of the GJ and has three extras. She would give me one since I had been on the GJ — until I resigned last January. I would have to make an appointment to meet her at the GJ office to get one of the precious three. I said “But the report is for the public.” “I know — they can see it on line. Hard copies are $7.00 to print.” In Sonoma County, by contrast, a summary version of the GJ Report was inserted in last Sunday's edition of the Press Democrat and people were offered hard copies if they called in for one. — Your tireless reporter.
Memo Of The Week
To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors,
Hi. this is a copy of an email i just sent to your governor. i did not vote for him and do not acknowledge his authority or validity. yours either. and i did not vote for any of you. but i am guessing that you are in enthrallment to his raison d'etre just as you are to united nations agenda 21. but you are intentionally in the way, just as he is. so...
this regards the man-made clouds that overtook marin county on the first day of summer. probably you didn't notice. probably you did not notice today the unprecedented, at least for the summer, heavy-duty chemtrails either. or if you did, you are likely in complete agreement with their existence and agenda, or what is tantamount to such: complete willful ignorance. nonetheless — the inhabitants of this planet do not want the sun blocked out. they do not want govt/united nations made clouds, drought, floods, hurricanes, poisons, tornadoes, crop failure, disease, sterilization, intense numbers of dead animals, plants, devastation of th e planet eg the gulf coast, haiti, africa, perpetual wars and on and on and on.
while it is undeniable that you wish the devastation of the flora, fauna, and planet in general to continue and increase unabated, you are an extreme minority. i do not pretend to understand why you are holding such egregiousness in place. that is for you to deal with. but i have to ask — what about your children, grandchildren, their children? you do not have immunity to the sickness of global fascist dictatorship. you obviously believe that you have, but there is no such thing. sociopaths do not have tender, remorseful, or familial feelings. they are incapable of empathy. that means you are no less toast than everyone else is. stop flattering yourselves. stop accepting funds for what you are doing. you are not part of the inbred 'elite'. you are temporarily useful pawns and less. you are neighbors and family.
why? why are you so intent on contributing to the demise of not only freedom but 85% of the valid and beautiful souls of this planet, not to mention trillions of innocent animals? why? what do you gain?
the united nations/united states is killing our planet. why are you helping them do so? what kind of world do you want your grandchildren to live in? why are you condemning them to servitude and genocide? why do you continue to pretend that you do not know what you have pledged your allegience to? you are transparent. many are aware of this. you should not be holding public office. you are the antithesis of democracy, freedom, and honor. why? why? why?
SUDDEN OAK DEATH COMPANY
Kudos to the Kalantarians for speaking up against the gross injustice of Mendocino Redwood Company's hac and squirt program.
Curious how the Anderson Valley Fire Department, Rancho Navarro Fire Station and the Comptche Fire Department do not say one thing about the increased fire danger to our communities. In the event of a fire, will they send the volunteers into a hack and squirt fire?
How about the California Department of Forestry, the Fire Safe Council, the Comptche Fire Department? What do you say? Volunteers?
Kudos to Malcolm Macdonald. Mendocino Redwood Company as stewards of the land or sustainably approved is a crime. Just fly over Big River watershed to see the extent of the poisoning of our forests, watersheds and rivers. Whatever happened to concern for Sudden Oak Death disease? Mendocino Redwood Company is Sudden Oak Death.
To fall away. To fall back. To fall back on. To fall on. To fall away. To fall behind. To fall for. To fall in. To fall in with. To fall off. To fall upon. To fall out. Fall out. To fall short. To fall through. To fall to. To fall under. To fall foul. To fall afoul. To rise and fall.
Leaves fall, fall flat. Fall aground. Balls fall. Snowfall. Fall in love. Waterfall. Apples fall. Christmas and your birthday falls. Your anniversary falls. The stock market falls. Tears fall. Your face falls. Fallen virgin. Fallen prices. Hockey, basketball, tennis balls and footballs fall. A golf ball falls. Fall on ice. The arrow falls. Her hem falls. Dark falls. Light falls. Government falls. Monarchies fall. Leaders faint and fall. Temperature falls. Shadows fall. Windfall. Fall on your knees. To fall over. To fall overboard. Fall head over heels. Fall heads or tails. Fallen dictatorship. Eyelids fall. To fall asleep. Judo fall. Fallen hero. Fallen mirror. Fall overboard. Falling star. Fallen tree. Tree falls. Rain falls. Free fall. Hair falls. Fallen empire. Fallen sky. Sun falls. Fallen meteor. Your wedding falls. The day of the week falls. Fall. Fallen angels. Your leg, your arm, your hand, your foot fall asleep. Night falls. The shadow falls. Your hair falls out.
The curtain falls.
As Farina Falstaff bangs her dish,
PS. The astronauts fall through space, but don't fall off the boat, or the ladder, no fatal falls. Don't fall apart. I fall at your feet.
Dear President Obama:
Re: Former president Jimmy Carter's New York Times op-ed, June 24, 2012.
Former President Jimmy Carter has taken the unusual step of openly criticizing your policies regarding the use of drones that are killing hundreds of innocent men, women and children. In addition to this, he points to your continued use of leftover Bush Administration policies regarding wiretapping, illegal detentions, etc., which are constitutionally suspect.
Setting aside the legalities of these activities, President Carter's major objection is the blatant immorality inherent in your policies. In other words, the United States is becoming an oppressor, a violator of human rights.
Your “ethical” analysis based on utilitarian grounds is simply wrong. It calls to mind Emmanuel Kant's statement, “it [utilitarianism] is a vision fixated on experience and more suited to the blind ignorance of a mole...” You cannot justify, as utilitarian “ethics” does, the killing of hundreds of innocent men, women and children based on the theory it may protect 300 million United States citizens. The cost basis analysis inherent in utilitarianism negates human values; it denies there are universal principles of justice, right, wrong, good and evil. That is why its premise, “to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number” has always been suspect. For example, it was used by the Bush Administration to “justify” the use of torture and countless other lies and deceits sold to the American people for its disastrous invasion of Iraq.
Unless you correct your course, instead of protecting the United States you will continue to endanger and harm it. To me it is tragic that your policies are not that much different from the prior administration. And because of this, the United States is no longer seen as a beacon of human rights around the world. And although I do not think the majority of Americans understand the horrendous ramifications of these policies, including the dire moral crises they have generated in our own country, terrible practical consequences are sure to follow.
As a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, there is the expectation you will live up to it. Today, you have not.
Terence M. Bresnahan
BAD ADS, NOT POT GUYS
Hey You Guys,
Don't be blaming the marijuana reform candidates for Solomon's loss by a mere 172 votes.
There were probably way more than 172 voters who would have voted for him but didn't because of the slick, expensive junkmail he was sending to everyone’s mailbox every day.
Hopefully, future candidates will learn that this type of campaigning, especially by progressive candidates, is likely to backfire.
HENDY WOODS LEMONADE
I had the pleasure of spending the day at the Hendy Woods Visitor Center on July 4. It is the first time the Visitor Center has been open since 2010.
Although it has not been particularly busy, it was interesting to see the mix of people. Several families, a group of young people on their own, a pair of women from the East Bay, and even a couple from New Zealand who literally knew nothing about redwoods. Reconnecting the community with Hendy Woods has been the lemonade of our situation. The Visitor Center provides a way for the community to connect with the people from afar who enjoy visiting the park.
Mostly, it has been about pointing folks toward trailheads and bathrooms, but lots of other questions come up as well: Does the brewery serve food, where can we fish (heck if I know), are there bear??? Well, yes there are from time to time. And, as I write this, here comes someone who was at the Navarro Vineyards Earth Day benefit and has been coming here for the 4th of July with his family for 32 years. They were worried the tradition would have to be broken, and are very happy and grateful that, instead, their family can be together here again.
It was a good time to write thank you notes to our donors, notice that many people build smoky fires, and chat with the staff. I was a little frazzled getting out the door this morning, but I am glad I did. It has been fun.
BLACK & WHITE
The new Field Poll for the Presidential Race in California to no surprise shows Obama leading Romney by an 18-point margin of 55% to 37%. What was surprising at least to me was 60% of the Romney supporters are interested in getting Obama out of office and have no affinity for Romney. Further, of the voters surveyed, 55% have an unfavorable view of Romney. The question for me is when you give consideration to the racial history of the country how many of the Romney supporters will not vote for a black person regardless of a negative view of his opponent? Or to put it another way — “ain't no way I'm going to vote for a black muslim who wasn't born in this country even if I got no respect for Romney.” My guess would be that there is a significant number of closet racists out there particularly in the Bible Belt and parts of the Midwest who under no circumstances will vote for Obama.
James G. Updegraff
A BANNER YEAR, EXCEPT…
Letter to the Editor
Anderson Valley Arts extends our thanks to all of the artists, craftspeople, musicians, merchants, neighbors and visitors who helped make this year’s 15th annual Boonville ArtWalk a success. Our special thanks to Dennis Hudson for creating this year’s wonderful poster and to the AVA, KZYX and all the Valley businesses that displayed and distributed our event announcements and posters.
Unfortunately, the strong winds caused problems with our new ArtWalk banner across Highway 128 in front of the Boonville Hotel. Before we could remedy the situation, the banner disappeared. Anyone with information about the banner, which we planned to use for several more years, should please call Karen at 895-2204. Or, if the wayward banner has somehow come into your possession, you can leave it at Rookie-To Gallery. Thanks to Robert Rosen for allowing us to hang our old ArtWalk banner on his fence on Saturday.
AVArts is committed to increasing access to arts education and art experiences for all Valley residents through providing support for supplemental arts education programs in the schools, providing scholarships to eligible students and sponsorship of local arts events like the Boonville ArtWalk.
Thanks again to everyone for making the Boonville ArtWalk a fun and art-filled community event!
Anderson Valley Arts