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Anderson Valley Prepares for Terrorist Attacks (Nov. 21, 2001)

Last Wednesday Fire Chief Colin Wilson asked the Community Service District board for $750 for a variety of hazardous materials response items — tyvek suits, masks, gloves, absorbent pads, three sealable barrels, and a couple of sump pumps. Wilson admitted that Boonville was an “unlikely target” for a terrorist attack, “but not out of the realm of possibility.” 

The ability to distinguish between possibilities and probabilities is one of the basic mental health indicators. The likelihood, or probability, that Anderson Valley might attract the scarifying attentions of Islamo-fascism is zero. This is not to suggest that either the Chief or the CSD board is mentally ill, but it seems both are within shouting distance of the bin on this expenditure. It is much more likely that one of The Valley’s many unregulated vineyards laid waste to one or more locals via heedless application of the lethal chemicals such as methyl bromide or glyphosate, than any attack on Wackyville by deranged Mohammadens.

With apparent visions of a gleeful Osama bin Laden dousing Boonville with drop-dead mystery substances dancing in their fraught little heads, the board immediately invested $750 in clinical-quality paranoia. Let’s hope the next men in white uniforms they see aren’t coming for them.

Wilson cited the recent white powder scare at the Elk Post Office last month as evidence that Boonville needs special terrorist-fighting gear. (The white powder turned out to be cocaine, which may be one of several reasons why the citizens of the nervous purple hamlet seem so, so...... well, odd. 

“I only want this modest amount of materials for firefighters when responding to calls. It’s not a huge amount but I think we owe it to responders to be prepared.” 

How about preparing responders with wings for The Rapture? Or parachutes for earthquakes if the ground suddenly cracks into thousand-foot chasms beneath them? 

The Chief got the money after trustee Tex Sawyer moved to authorize the expense and the board voted 5-0 to spend the unbudgeted amount. 

Chairperson Judy Long noted that she “didn’t want to be around when the white powder, anthrax or dead cows start showing up.” I’d rather not be around when asylum staff and inmates are interchangeable.

The California Special Districts Association has informed the membership that the infamous tax shift of the early 1990s, which saw several billion dollars taken from counties, cities and special districts to pay ballooning edu-costs, may be back. Word is that this time the League of California Cities and a couple other local government organizations are planning to circulate a ballot initiative to require that such tax shifts be paid back. 

The Mendocino Township Community Services District Board has sent a letter to the Mendocino Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCO) saying that they are not getting any benefit from LAFCO and if LAFCO tries to impose fees on local districts Mendocino, for one, will resign from LAFCO. 

The Anderson Valley CSD board wasn’t quite ready to be that bold and decided to invite their elected member of the LAFCO board, former CDF honcho Ray Hebrard, to the next meeting to see if he can explain why membership is worth an annual membership fee. (Hint: It’s not.)

For the first time since being hired about a year ago, the District’s construction manager for the new firehouse, Keith Hoyt — formerly of Navarro, now of Lake County — made an appearance at the CSD meeting to complain about being charged $180 for “wire transfer fees” and late paychecks which had caused him to bounce his checks. Hoyt also complained that he hadn’t been reimbursed for an out-of-pocket expenditure for a firehouse lock. 

Trustee Anne Bennett and District General Manager Jan Wasson-Smith offered confusing opinions about the complexities of the loan arrangements with the Colorado usurers who have financed the new fire house before they were cut off by Board Chair Judy Long who called a vote to simply pay Hoyt whatever he was owed. It was a quick 5-0 to pay. 

Hoyt was obviously irritated at the lingering payment problem but he graciously chose not to detail his gripes to the board, saying only that he was “pretty mad” and that he “didn’t get it.” The board thanked him for his good work as he departed, still grumbling.

Donna Pierson-Pugh appeared to ask the board to sign a letter asking “the community” for advice about how to spend the 21st Century Grant money. Mrs. Pugh thought the suggestions should address “problems and solutions in the widespread community.” 

Chairperson Long wasn’t enthusiastic about getting too close to the 21st Century Grant, astutely noting, “This is being run just like all the other grants…”  and, perhaps, imply that for all its rhetoric about “community” and “input” these boondoggles always dress up their schemes with the 21st Century enterprise is the same old same old. 

The board voted to let the 21st Century grant committee send the letter out on their own. “I think it’s wisest just to staff stay away from that,” wisely added trustee Bennett. 

After-school enrichment classes being offered at the elementary school under the 21st Century Grant at present include chorus, dance and movement, gymnastics from the spry and agile Jennifer Schmitt, “Living Books” by Linda Dunning, a science club with Adam Springwater, Emily Anderson’s Spanish Book Club Mayra Sanchez’s Spanish Activity Club, and Leslie Hubbart’s “Strategy Games.” 

Although the paperwork hasn’t been received, the District has been informed that Leslie Hummel, the attractive and pleasant proprietor of the downtown Boonville business “All That Good Stuff,” has been appointed to the board. Only two people signed up to run for the three open seats. The new board, which will be seated in December, will consist of: Judy Long, Eva Johnson, Jim Minton, Sophie Otis and Leslie Hummel.

Construction coordinator Anne Bennett made a point of thanking several locals for their assistance in putting on most of new firehouse’s finishing touches: Ray Langevin, Fred Wooley, Hans Hingenluper, Fred Martin, and Sarah Farber. Bennett added that the District had received its green tag from the building department earlier that day. The only  remaining tasks are perimeter paving and installation of the engine bay door. $293k of the $300k the District borrowed for construction has been spent. 

The next meeting of the board is expected to be convened in the new firehouse on December 19th.

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