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Mendocino County Today: July 13, 2012

STEVENSWOOD SPA and Resort at Little River, just south of mega-tourist magnet Mendocino, is being advertised as up for auction, meaning the present owners have defaulted. The property is advertised as located on the Mendocino Coast and in wine country with a “"stabilized income.” The ads also say it has “ocean views,” which it may have if you climb up on the roof. And wine country, of the alluring type, pretty much begins and ends in Anderson Valley, 45 minutes away.

MORE ON TUESDAY'S Laura's Law discussion at the Board of Supervisors which was not, as previously stated, shunted off to committee but shunted off period to permanent non-starter. There were some startling revelations, including Supervisor Hamburg's statement that there is no record that anyone at the County ever received the warning letters that James Bassler, the father of dual murderer Aaron Bassler, says he sent prior to his son's murders of Coleman and Melo.

JAMES BASSLER also says he told “Fish and Game” about his suspicions that his son may have been involved in the killing of Matt Coleman, which occurred almost a month before Aaron Bassler shot and killed Melo, but there is no record with Fish and Game that he did.

DA DAVID EYSTER appeared before the Supervisors during the Laura’s Law discussion to say he had concluded his investigation of the Bassler shooting and that Bassler was not a candidate for Laura's Law because he did not meet the criteria. Nothing in the jail records, medical records or court records support the idea that he qualified. When arrested prior to committing the two murders, Bassler was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When in jail he was given no meds and was a model of compliance. Bassler did not appear to be clinically insane. He knew enough not to shoot the homeless guys he encountered, and he knew enough to elude an intense manhunt for 35 and a half days.

AFTER ALL THE PUBLIC hubbub about how implementation by Mendo of Laura's Law might have prevented the murders of Melo and Coleman, and the intense full court press networking by Sonja Nesch and others, only about 15 people bothered to show for Tuesday's showdown meeting with the Supervisors. In the end, the Board basically directed staff to keep doing what they are doing. The Powerpoint presentation is on the County's website under “items of interest” along with other documents, including a couple from Disability Rights California and another advocacy group that are opposed to Laura's Law.

FRED GARDNER assesses the relationship at the “center” of Oliver Stone's new flick: “Savages is vapid, hackneyed, racist, kinky, and politically deceitful. (No Mexican cartels are offing Laguna Beach dispensary operators because they have a 33% THC strain.) The DEA saves the day in the end, flying in just like the cavalry of old. The one corrupt agent is likable John Travolta who enables the happy ending by identifying the heroes as his confidential informants and then the menage goes off to a tropical island to be at one with the surf. The ostensible moral of the story is that the war on drugs turns people into savages, but the real moral is that Mexicans are money-mad murderers and gringos use marijuana as medicine. Fleeting product placement for the letters CBD (our heroes have a little GC/MS thingie that prints out curves and numbers). Recruiters for the military will love Savages —skills learned in Iraq and Afghanistan enable the dispensary guys to hold their own against the despicable spics until the DEA seals the deal. Smug Yalie motherfucker on the cover of High Times— oooh I can't stand it!”

A HUMBOLDT COUNTY JURY found Wednesday that Occupy's most innocuous expressions are ok on the steps of the Humboldt County Courthouse. Three people who lit kumbaya candles outside the county courthouse after 9:30pm did nothing illegal and were cleared of charges that they violated a city ban on protests between the hours of 9:30pm and 6am. The judge had instructed the jury that if the people holding the candlelight vigil truly believed they were exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly, then they could not have the mental state required to commit a crime. The law against overnight protests was drafted at the height of Eureka's Occupy protests that saw a host of street people and straight-up nuts set up permanent housekeeping on the HumCo courthouse lawn.

TOM WODETSKI WRITES: The Mendocino County effort to pass an amendment to the US Constitution that would help remove corporate money from our elections got a big assist last week. The California Assembly passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decision. That unpopular decision allows corporations to anonymously spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. California became the sixth state in the nation to oppose Big Money's takeover of elections, joining Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island and Maryland. The goal of the local efforts is a constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as humans, corporate spending is not protected “free speech,” and citizens have a right to limit special interest money in elections and government. Co-chair of the Mendocino County Move to Amend effort, Tom Wodetzki, said “Residents right here in Mendocino County will have the opportunity to vote this fall on a ballot measure advocating a constitutional amendment to help get money out of politics. Ours could be the first county in California to pass such a citizens initiative, and thereby join the growing number of counties, cities and states nationwide expressing a strong desire to restore real democracy.” “Our federal and state representatives are not acting to end this outrageous corruption of our elections,” continued Mr. Wodetzki, “since they benefit from the status quo. So only an ever-growing demand from the grassroots will get the legal change we need, which has to be in the form of a Constitutional amendment. It would need three-fourths of the states to ratify it to become law. The Constitution has been amended 27 times to date.” Residents wishing more information about or wanting to help with this Mendocino County Move to Amend effort should contact Tom Wodetzki, 937-1113,

PABLO SANDOVAL, the Giants third baseman, will not be arrested in connection with an alleged sexual assault at a hotel near Santa Cruz. A young woman, whose name has not been released, filed the complaint at 4:25am the morning of June 1st. Sandoval, 25, was questioned at the Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos that same morning with his attorney present. The attorney has characterized the incident as a “consensual, personal relationship of a sexual nature,” and the police apparently agree, although their investigation has been forwarded to the DA's office for review. The woman met a small group of people that included Sandoval in downtown Santa Cruz on May 31 and went with them to the Aptos resort. She said the alleged assault had taken place there.

EVEN IF YOU AGREE with the Obama administration’s apparent policy that marijuana dispensaries sell marijuana for other than medical purposes, the Feds’ latest threat to seize the building where the big Oakland-based Harborside Dispensary operates seems heavy-handed. Federal authorities said Wednesday that they plan to seize the Oakland property used by Harborside Health Center, which is believed to be the nation's largest medical marijuana dispensary.

THE US ATTORNEY'S OFFICE for the Northern District of California posted a notice on Harborside's door Wednesday that it intends to seize the property under federal laws prohibiting the distribution of marijuana. Not even a notice to Harborside’s attorney? The landlord? Nope. Just a notice on the door that the government was taking it.

HARBORSIDE'S attorneys insist that Harborside requires doctor’s recommendations and is in full compliance with California and Oakland laws.

ACCORDING TO A STATEMENT from US Attorney Melinda Haag, “The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state's medical marijuana laws and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need.”

SO, WHERE'S THE BEEF? Evidence that Harborside is selling outside the rules?

THE FEDS shut down Oaksterdam, another Oakland-based pot operation that was apparently in compliance with state law three months ago, and last year they shut down Northstone Organics in Mendocino County, the latter widely viewed as in total compliance with local laws.

BUT OBAMA'S Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee in June that federal agents were only targeting large-scale growers and dispensaries “that have come up with ways in which they are taking advantage of these state laws, and going beyond that which the states have authorized.”

BUT NEITHER Holder nor Haag have provided any specifics about what those ways are. In previous administrations the Feds would at least try to run a sting on doctors or dispensaries to find out how they operate and whether abuses were occurring. It seems the Obama administration doesn’t bother with such legal niceties as investigations, warrants, evidence. Just put a note on the door and close them.

AND ALL THIS from an administration headed by a guy who was a well-documented stoner in his youth. Obama wrote in his biography that he used alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine during his teenage years in Honolulu to “push questions of who I was out of my mind.”

DAVID MARINESS, in his Obama biography, describes Obama's technique of “roof hits” while “hot-boxing” — concentrated pot smoking inside a closed vehicle. “When the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling,” Maraniss wrote.

IF BUSH, a cocaine and beer man in his youth, was closing these dispensaries, there'd be serious pushback, but…

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