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AFTER A FROSTY START to the day, expect sunshine, seasonably mild temperatures and light winds for most of northwest California. Clouds will increase tonight, followed by increasing southerly winds on Saturday. Rain and mountain snow will spread southeastward across the area on Saturday and Saturday night. Periods of rain and mountain snow with occasionally gusty winds will continue into next week. (NWS)
8 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
STOP THE CONSOLIDATION MADNESS
by Estelle Clifton
County of Mendocino Board of Supervisors Chair, Dan Gjerde, provided an explanation (shown in italic font below) on why he supports consolidating the Auditor Controller and Treasurer Tax Collector into one elected office.
Gjerde: The ordinance introduced last month and up for a second vote this month creates a higher visibility elected officer who will therefore need to be more accountable to voters.
Visibility, or recognition of an officeholder’s name, does not create accountability. Folks who care to understand the important duties of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector positions will inform themselves and others will not, regardless of the number of candidates. The implication is that the current officials leading these offices have been unaccountable, but that inference is not substantiated, and merging offices does not address unaccountability.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller have the community’s trust based on their track records and their dedicated service to Mendocino County. Grooming a qualified successor to ensure that the fiscal integrity of their offices continues is a mark of their dedication and accountability. The Acting Auditor is qualified, experienced, and has the integrity and strength to uphold the duties of the office. Appointing Ms. Cubbison in September would have done no disservice to democracy. Leaving the position vacated until a June 2022 election and January 2023 swearing in is a disservice to the stability of the Auditor-Controller’s office and leaves the office with a significant vacancy, the Assistant Auditor position.
This expedited consolidation ordinance, moving forward at the direction of five elected officials that do not hold fiscal qualifications, has provided little background on how this action would be implemented or how it would impact the County and Special Districts in the near term.
Gjerde: The ordinance conforms with State law adopted in 2007 but not enacted since then, because in each subsequent election the incumbent Auditor and incumbent Treasurer were declared candidates for re-election. For the first time since 2007, one of these two elected positions is vacant prior to the filing period (and the other incumbent is not seeking re-election). In other words, this is an opportunity to create increased visibility and accountability through the consolidation of a single elected officer accountable for these financial matters.
The fact that the combination of these offices by ordinance is lawful, does not justify an unplanned implementation. Combining offices creates less accountability by removing important checks and balances. The current officeholders are accountable and conduct their separate duties well. Because there is no implementation plan, no analysis of the destabilizing risks, or justification for benefits (if any – visibility is not a justification for destabilizing the fiscal departments of the County), this rushed vote creates a huge risk as the dedicated staff are being left unsupported and headed toward uncertainty. Both office holders have expressed their concern with the timing of the consolidation proposal at a time when they are understaffed and devoting critical energy to the paramount project of implementing new accounting software.
Gjerde: One example: visitor transient occupancy tax [TOT] is collected by the elected Treasurer. But the Treasurer does not verify the business/Airbnb pays all the tax it collected from visitors.
Verification, if it were to occur, is the responsibility of the Auditor. However, the Auditor has not verified full payment in several years. By establishing a single elected officeholder we will provide one point of accountability. No more pointing fingers between two offices, with taxes going uncollected for essential services.
If there is a topic the BOS wishes to address with a department head they should seek information from that department in a public meeting or a series of public meetings. Dismantling the department because individual Board members feel they have unanswered questions is illogical. However, if TOT is the basis of concern, then the Board should understand that the position in the Auditor’s office that handles TOT has been vacant. Would not the board’s passion for increased capacity in the Auditor’s office be better directed at updating job descriptions, pay, and recruitment, as a means of supporting the knowledgeable, trusted, and prepared Acting-Auditor and her staff?
The BOS should halt this madness. Seeking consolidation should be handled in collaboration with those who understand and perform those duties. The BOS have a lot to learn and understand about the duties of these two offices, what the state requires of them and what it would mean to consolidate those duties. With a full understanding of the path they are seeking, the next step would be to chart a plan for such as change. There is no reason this could not occur in four years when the Auditor and Treasurer positions are up for election again. I do not have the background on why the legislators decided to give Mendocino County the legal right to consolidate these offices by ordinance, but it is clear that our BOS have not done due diligence to demonstrate this consolidation is necessary or beneficial to the fiscal responsibilities of the county.
(Estelle Clifton is a Registered Professional Forester living in Redwood Valley.)
VINCENT P. VALENTE
Jan. 23, 1942 to Dec. 8, 2021
Dr. Vincent P. Valente, 79, passed peacefully at home on December 8, 2021. He is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Shirley, his sister Alberta (Gueli), brother-in-law Paul Friday, and sister-in-law Joanne Hazes. Known to many as “Doc” or Papa Vince, he leaves his cherished children to carry on his legacy: Bill Gallagher, Kristin, Gina (Valente-Moore), Anna (Huey), Jeremy McVicar, John, Candace (Jayne), Joe, Brian, Cecily (Stout), Michaela, Catherine, and hundreds of Mendocino County foster children; 15 grandchildren and one on the way. He was preceded in death by daughter Michelle.
Dr. Valente arrived in Ukiah in 1975 in a “hippie mail truck” and joined Doctors Cook and Massengill to practice in the original Ukiah General Hospital at 564 South Dora Street. Dr. Valente was attracted to Ukiah for the outstanding caliber of the physicians serving this rural area who were comfortable wearing work boots to hospitals rounds. He said, “This is the place for me.”
Dr. Valente was a veteran who served in the Army medical corps for 10 years. Also an accomplished marksman and gunsmith, he was extremely proud of his hospital rifle teammates that he coached to win the rifle competition at Fort Hood, Texas. Over the years he was joined by his Army buddy, Dr. Lawrence Hartley and together they powered a vital Obstetrics and Gynecology practice that pioneered the introduction of nurse midwifery to our community. They also had fun facing off as opposing attorneys in the Mendocino College production of the play “Witness for the Prosecution” at the old Circle K Theatre. He delivered the babies of the babies he delivered and continued to practice gynecology until his death. He counted so many of his patients as his friends.
He was a blue collar man at heart. He could always be found in the hospital engineering department while waiting for babies to be born. His loved his hobbies. From gunsmithing to model airplanes, woodworking to vintage car restoration, his garage was well attended by his many generations of children and their friends. He loved cooking up Italian feasts and there was always an open door and an open seat at the table for friends and the hundreds children he fostered over his 32 years as a foster parent.
The family will receive friends and the community wishing to celebrate his life at Eversole Mortuary on Sunday, December 12th beginning at 11am. Bring your best “Papa Vince” or “Doc” story to share. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Team Uncle Joe at www.teamunclejoe.org/donate, a non-profit supporting children born with congenital heart disease founded by his son Joe.
FROM MARSHALL NEWMAN
Another old Anderson Valley postcard from eBay. Old Highway 128, almost certainly west of Navarro, circa 1940.
In a letter to the Editor a couple of weeks ago, Bear Kamoroff of Willits wrote:
Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scaramella:
Why are you glorifying and making a folk hero out of a man who broke into people’s homes, stole what did not belong to him — mostly alcohol, not exactly Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family — and shooting his rifle at a deputy sheriff trying to capture him? If this man is guilty of the charges against him, including attempted murder, he belongs in prison for the rest of his hopefully short life.
True, I may be a common criminal, but I did take only what I needed. Alcohol was just a plus. Any Sheriff's deputy who says I fired a gun at them is a liar and only he and I know the truth. How come there is no video surveillance evidence? Ask yourself that! I believe you are just mad since you couldn't survive a day in the backwoods of Mendocino County. Wishing me a short life to me is shortsighted, childish, inhumane and cruel. The great things I've accomplished in life may not outweigh the bad, but don't worry, pal, I probably will spend the rest my life behind bars. I would never have done what I did if I wasn't running from the law already and starving.
Everyone makes mistakes. I could have bear-maced the Sheriff's canine when I was arrested by the cops, but I didn't. Note that in all my crimes nobody was physically hurt.
Mendocino County Jail
PS. Look out for my book, ‘Redbeard.’ I'm available for visits, etc.
SHERIFF KENDALL PROMOTES LIEUTENANT JOYCE SPEARS to command the Mendocino County Jail
Lieutenant Spears will be sworn in as the new captain in charge of the Sheriff’s Corrections Division.
For the first time in over two decades, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will introduce a new jail commander this month.
After what was a highly competitive promotional process for the top spot at his Corrections Division, Sheriff Matt Kendall last week chose to promote Lieutenant Joyce Spears to Corrections Captain.
Spears will take over leadership of the 305-bed corrections facility in the wake of Timothy Pearce’s retirement this November. Pearce was the jail’s commander for the past twenty years.
In making his decision, Sheriff Kendall credited Spears with effective leadership skills, strong willpower and a high level of institutional knowledge at the facility she will head up.
The 34-year corrections veteran has spent a majority of her career as a first-line supervisor and administrator inside the jail. She promoted to lieutenant in 2017.
Spears started her sworn career in 1988 as an emergency hire for Corrections. Tuesday, she recalled her first day at the jail. “I was given a set of keys and eight hours of training.” Spears went on to explain she spent her first three years working at “Women’s Jail,” which was then located where some of the Sheriff’s administration offices now operate.
Today and for well over two decades, corrections staff under Spears’ command receive months of training before working on their own. The commander listed staff shortages at the jail as one of her first priorities when she steps into her new responsibilities.
“Retention of staff is a challenge here and across the country,” Spears said Tuesday, adding she intends to improve retention at the jail by keeping people engaged with more training and higher levels of responsibility.
Spears identified the jail’s increasing number of incarcerated mental health patients as another challenge she will prioritize. “We are a jail,” Spears said Tuesday, “and although mental health patients don’t belong here, this is where they end up for lack of better options in the community.”
The Sheriff’s Office already works with local partner agencies through the “Stepping Up Initiative” to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. One piece of this effort is getting mental health patients through their court proceedings more smoothly, according to Spears.
Joyce Spears will be sworn in as a Sheriff’s Captain, in command of the Corrections Division next Monday, December 13, 2021.
She plans to spend her first day as commander with her staff to start the conversation on making improvements at the Mendocino County Jail.
THE SKUNK DEBATE RAGES, a Coastie writes: Skunk is more than a tourist attraction. Before the collapse of the tunnel, the California Western carried passengers and freight to and from Willits/Fort Bragg. Indeed, it carried the US Mail to Northspur as well. I see the reopening of this line a positive for Fort Bragg and the coastal community in general. Perhaps it could even hook up with Coast Starlight Amtrak again and bring tourists over for more than just a day trip; staying over at hotels and maybe biking or hiking the coastal trails or sport fish out of Noyo. It could be used for freight as well again and relieve a lot of traffic off highway 20. Who wouldn't like to see more tourists here but without more vehicular traffic? Calling the Skunk a 3.5 mile local only joy ride only is spurious at best. That's my take on it.
DURING PUBLIC EXPRESSION last Tuesday the Supes got another earful from Carre Shattuck for keeping the Board Chambers closed and people shut out of public meetings:
I’d like to start by saying this county is suffering. People are looking for leadership in these unprecedented times and you’re offering them none. You sit behind a screen on a zoom meeting while the people you represent are silenced and left without leadership. Why did you become a Supervisor in the first place?
[Ms. Shattuck segued into a hard to follow narrative about people’s emails being hacked and used for BOS correspondence and her lack of success in getting the Supes or the Clerk of the Board to help before resuming her blast.]
People’s lives are being disrupted. They’re losing their jobs. They’re leaving this county and this state in droves. What are you doing in your positions to convince them to stay? There is no public forum for people to gather for these meetings to communicate with you. We’re being silenced. We’re being shut off. Our comments are turned off. I keep hearing from the Clerk of the Board and everyone that no we’re not silenced. Yes we are. I know a bunch of people that comment on the meetings and they’re taken down. These comments are not left up there because it’s something you guys don’t want to hear. And that is just wrong.
You guys are not stepping up. You are hiding behind your screen is how people in the community are looking at it. We are not being represented and that is just really sad. You guys took an oath of office to stand up to follow the constitution. But it’s not being followed when we are being silenced and kept out of our public meetings. So shame on you guys.
You need to have a public forum. You need to stop listening to Coren and getting your little letters written up for him and the CEO that back you up on keeping these meetings closed. This is wrong. And if you guys don’t know that then you need to resign and let someone else come in that is willing to go around the community and talk to people and hear what they have to say and listen to them. It’s really just sad.
So thank you for listening and I hope you guys change your minds and get these meetings open.
AV SCHOOLS UPDATE
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
I hope this message finds you well.
Retirements Announced for June
I wanted to let you know that we have received a couple of notices of retirement from long-time and beloved staff members, Shirley Hiatt-Tompkins and Terri Rhoades. These notices do not take effect until the end of the school year in june 2022, but I wanted to thank them publicly and let our school community know as their letters will be in our Board Meeting agenda for next week.
We will certainly miss their amazing efforts, kindness, hard work, compassion, and dedication, but wish them all the best in their retirement journey that will begin in June. They have truly created a difference in the lives of hundreds of students during their tenure, and their love and care will be remembered a lifetime.
Concentric Testing Sign Ups
If your child is not currently signed up for our Wednesday Covid testing, your consideration in doing so would be greatly appreciated. With the holidays on the horizon and more people traveling and gathering, this simple five second test, THAT THE KIDS DO THEMSELVES, gives us an added layer of school-based protection by detecting any Covid cases early BEFORE they spread. Please reach out to the site office staff, if you have any questions or would like a permission slip.
Please remember that students are expected to be at school through and including Friday, December 17 and RETURN ON MONDAY, January 10. Over the past year and a half, students have already missed too much school and some are far below their peers. Help us, help them. Please make sure they are at school.
Parent/Upper Grade Student/Staff Surveys
When we return from Winter break, we will be having our students, parents/guardians, and staff complete a district wide survey to give us information on school culture, safety, academics, and much more. The surveys are in English and Spanish and can be taken on-line or hard copy. You just take one!
We do have a process for consent for your student. If you do not want your student to take the anonymous survey during a scheduled class time, please notify your school office staff at the site.
Here is a link to the student surveys, so you can see what it involves. No one puts their name on it, and it is so helpful for us to know what the kids are feeling and experiencing. We want as many students as possible to participate. Elementary students do NOT take the survey.
The links below allow you to PREVIEW the appropriate survey:
Middle School Student Survey https://wested.ugam-apps.com/wed/ts/2U9K
High School Student Survey https://wested.ugam-apps.com/wed/ts/2U9K
Rancheria Student Survey https://wested.ugam-apps.com/wed/ts/6Qpt
I need a little help with our kids. Our campuses have a huge amount of trash that kids don’t put in the garbage. We remind, reward, cajole, model and do everything we can to get the kids to be responsible and throw out their garbage. I have never been on school sites with this severe of a problem. If you can please mention to your student a reminder to please help keep the campuses clean for everyone by throwing out their garbage, I would appreciate it. It isn’t a once in a while problem, it is an everyday, all day problem. I know students are respectful at home about litter at home, and we would appreciate your weighing in with a reminder at home too!
No kidding around!
Oh My! Nothing is cuter than a newborn goat--well, I take that back. Maybe seven or eight of them! Ms. Swhela’s “kidding crew” has been BUSY this past week with a bunch of new arrivals. I also was proud of the six students that participated in an FFA field trip presenting speeches and participating in job interviews. Well done!
I know this is an exciting time for kids, especially as they are looking forward to celebrating with extended family after such a long and isolating period of Covid. I wish you all good health, and the happiest of holidays ahead!
Anderson Valley Unified School District
* * *
MARK SCARAMELLA SUGGESTS:
Why not have the teachers clean up the litter?
Sound strange? Maybe, but…
When I was an officer in the US Air Force at Keesler AFB, Biloxi, Mississippi in 1969 one day I mentioned to legendary old-school Maintenance Superintendent Chief Master Sergeant Ralph Johns that I had noticed some graffiti in the men’s room in the fabrication branch building (with sheet metal, welding, machine, paint and related shops).
“Did you see the graffiti in the men’s room, Chief?”
“Yes, sir. I’m having the shop chiefs clean it up.”
“What? Why them? The shop chiefs didn’t have anything to do with the graffiti, did they?”
“It’ll stop,” replied Chief Johns after a beat, looking at me like I was a too naive and too thick to understand the reality of the situation.
It did stop. Johns knew that if the shop chiefs had to clean it up, they’d figure out who was doing it and put a stop to it.
* * *
THE MOUNTAIN LION FOUNDATION STEPS UP
Greetings Ms. Simson, Mr. Snyder and Ms. Swehla,
Attached you will find the specifications requested by Superintendent Simson regarding the livestock pen offered to Anderson Valley High School at no cost by the Mountain Lion Foundation.
If you accept the offer outlined in the letter attached, we would request name and signature of the person accepting the enclosure on behalf of Anderson Valley High School.
If you have any questions regarding the contents of this document, we are more than happy to answer them. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Mountain Lion Foundation
(916) 442-2666 ext 5
Re: Livestock Enclosure Offer
Dear Anderson Valley High School,
In response to your recent loss of livestock, Mountain Lion Foundations’ Coexistence Coordinator, Dylan Henriksen, visited your campus on December 3, 2021. In anticipation of the urgency of the situation we prepared our materials orders, reserved transportation and labor and were ready to assemble the appropriate structure(s) on December 7, 2021. After review of your facility Dylan suggested that a 10’ by 40’ fully enclosed pen would help in keeping your livestock safe. When she offered a 10’x40’ livestock pen on behalf of the Mountain Lion Foundation at no expense her offer was refused.
The Mountain Lion Foundation would like to formally renew our offer to build a 10’x40 fully enclosed pen at our expense and using our labor. The material description, costs and photographs of similar pens completed in the past are attached to this letter. The timing of delivery and construction to be determined.
The only condition that the Mountain Lion Foundation has for this gift is that the Anderson Valley High School use their best efforts in keeping their livestock safe by utilizing this pen to contain their livestock.
Debra Chase, CEO
(916) 442-2666 x103
CHRIS BROWN is a long time and highly popular resident of Albion. Anderson Valley people probably know him best as the former contractor for the Navarro Store whose wife functioned as the store's bookkeeper.
MR. BROWN is not a grower or otherwise engaged in activity that might make him a target for criminals, which makes what happened to him last Thursday morning about 2am all the more mysterious.
AWAKENED in his modest cabin on Albion Ridge by a feeling that he wasn't alone, Brown saw someone, or two someones, staring at him through his front window. At the instant he was awake he was shot. Hit, Brown still managed to roll to one side of his bed where he grabbed a gun and returned fire. His two assailants, apparently unhit but just as apparently disoriented, ran off into the nearby woods, leaving their truck at the head of Mr. Brown's driveway.
MIRACULOUSLY only grazed by the gunshot one of the intruders had fired, neighbors who heard the shots gathered to tend to their wounded friend until an ambulance arrived. Sheriff's deputies were soon on-scene and, accompanied by their highly trained tracker dog, deputies quickly located two men attempting to hide in the woods.
ONE of the alleged intruders is 29 year old Jose Aguilera from Santa Rosa, the other is Roberto Chavez-Sousa, 26, from Lake County.
THE REASON for the assault on Mr. Brown remains unknown. Neither of his attackers are known by Mr. Brown. Both are being held at the Mendocino County Jail on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy.
GEORGE DORNER COMMENTS: “Just to hazard a guess…the drive to enable embezzlement of our county’s taxes is a ploy to gift some relative/friend of the administration with a highly lucrative feather-bed job. How about it, AVA? Got any likely suspects in your sights?”
RE: Proposed consolidation of Treasurer and Auditor offices: County employment has always been incestuous, but putting the bean counters under the authority of the perps is taking incest to where the kids will all be hemophiliacs.
LIKE MOST MENDO PEOPLE, I yearn for a return, somehow, of rail transport, a restoration of the old time Skunk that you could board in Fort Bragg, connect to a southbound train in Willits and be sipping a martini at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco watching the setting sun glint off the windows of Berkeley and Oakland. The only way this rail fantasy could happen is if the whole project is subbed out to either the Japanese or the Chinese, who run high speed trains out a hundred, even two hundred miles from their city centers.
SO, why isn't there a train running up and down the 101 corridor from Southern Marin to at least Willits? One word. Liberals. Or, I should clarify, pseudo-libs of the type dominant in the degraded Democratic Party who run the show on the Northcoast. Sure, the libs have managed to get a train running from San Rafael to Santa Rosa, neatly evading population centers en route which means only tourists and train buffs ride the thing at, of course, wildly inflated ticket prices. Why hasn't the line been extended to at least Cloverdale, the Northcoast's most optimistic community whose city fathers and mothers built a brand new train station forty goddam years ago in anticipation?
WELL, somehow former Northcoast congressman Doug Bosco and his Party enablers and accomplices got title to the tracks, which by itself ensures a train to Cloverdale is unlikely in our time. Also, the existing Smart (sic) Train is a major bust and runs, when it runs, at ruinous deficits requiring ever greater infusions of disappearing public money. Extending it north from Santa Rosa is totally beyond the Democrats, hence the desire among some of us to bid out the job to the foreigners who still know how to do stuff.
GOING DEEP HERE, hang on to your existential hats. All of it, the whole shebang, from viable trains to a viable political system seem precarious in the extreme, what with Mother Nature swinging into high gear revenge mode and the country moving steadily to death fascism. Fanciful projects like the Skunk's grand plans for Fort Bragg are a longshot even assuming civil stability and endurable weather.
GINA RAE BEAN was sentenced to none-months County Jail time, probation and community service Wednesday for leaving the scene of an accident that killed skateboarder Calum Hunnicutt two years ago. The DA had asked for 4 years state prison time, a sentence consistent with the known facts of the sad matter.
THERE'S NO EVIDENCE Ms. Bean deliberately or carelessly hit the kid. Indeed, the stipulated facts are that she had the green light and he ran into her, but instead of stopping she drove home to Fort Bragg and attempted to conceal the resulting damage to her vehicle. Which is the felony the DA saw and desired hard time for.
I DON'T like to see anyone packed off to the state pen, and County Jail time is still jail and no picnic, but pardon me for assuming that Judge Moorman also weighed the well-connected, no-criminal history Ms. Bean against the family of the less connected kid, and spared the defendant a more harrowing version of incarceration. Also noted: Mark Kalina has become the county's go-to criminal defense attorney. Guilty? Kalina will get you off! Or mostly off, as in this case.
BOOZERS, the next generation of, but who would want to have a few in a place lit like Saturday morning cartoons?
THE US GOVERNMENT HAS WON ITS HIGH COURT BID to overturn a judge's decision not to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. A US grand jury indicted him on 18 charges last year - 17 of which fall under the Espionage Act - including conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified diplomatic and military documents. Assange's lawyers claim he faces up to 175 years in jail if convicted, although the US government responded the sentence will probably be between four and six years. US authorities brought a High Court challenge against a January ruling by then-district judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange should not be sent to the US, in which she cited a real and 'oppressive' risk of suicide. After a two-day hearing in October, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde, ruled in favour of the US on Friday.
JULIAN ASSANGE LOSES APPEAL: British High Court Accepts U.S. Request to Extradite Him for Trial
by Glenn Greenwald
Press freedom groups have warned Assange's prosecution is a grave threat. The Biden DOJ ignored them, and today won a major victory toward permanently silencing the pioneering transparency activist.
ONCE-LOGGED COASTAL LAND SET TO BE SOLD TO SAVE REDWOODS
by Brian Melley (AP)
A conservation group plans to purchase a scenic stretch of the Lost Coast in remote Northern California to save it from logging and preserve it for public use. Save the Redwoods League planned to announce Thursday that it’s agreed to purchase the historic DeVilbiss Ranch timberlands for $37 million if it can raise the money by the end of the year.
“This is a piece of California that inspires,” said Sam Hodder, the league's president and CEO. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The property sits at the southern end of the Lost Coast, an area named for its rugged inaccessibility and lack of roads. The Pacific Coast Highway, which hugs cliffside bluffs in places, was routed inland for a 100-mile (160-kilometer) stretch to avoid the forbidding shoreline.
The 5 miles (8 kilometers) of coastline on the ranch is breathtaking, with forested hills plunging to isolated beaches. Waves crash into sea stacks. Lush forests teem with green ferns and thick moss. Redwoods and firs up to a century old tower overhead. Two creeks harbor coho salmon and steelhead trout. Coastal prairies, meadows and woods are home to Roosevelt elk, deer, and mountain lions. Endangered species such as the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and Pacific fisher also live there.
Some old-growth redwoods remain on the ridgeline where strong winds snarled their tops, making them less valuable as lumber and sparing them from the saw blade.
The property 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of San Francisco is the largest privately owned section of California coastline in the the redwood range that runs from Oregon to Big Sur, Hodder said. It's being sold by Soper Co., a 160-year-old family owned logging company that's getting out of the industry. “You’d be hard pressed to find 5 miles of coastline for sale without going to a third world country,” said Aric Starck, executive chairman of Soper and a family member. "This one is very unique.”
The 5-square-mile (13 square kilometer) property was selectively logged so it doesn’t feature gaping clear-cuts found in some timberlands, Hodder said.
Much of the forest is second-growth redwoods that are 80 to 100 years old and top 200 feet (61 meters) in height.
Soper is selling off its land because it's gotten harder to make a profit in the timber industry because of environmental restrictions and consolidation of other operations, Starck said. Like other multi-generational family businesses, it also faced different interests from a growing number of heirs. The company has sold all but a fifth of the 110,000 acres it began selling three years ago. It plans to sell all of its land by the end of next year. “It's a sad point in the company's history," Starck said. “These are truly unique properties and it’s always hard to part with them.”
The area was aggressively logged since the late 1800s and most of the area was cleared by the turn of the last century. Only 5% of the old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees on the planet, remain today. Logging and other private lands kept much of the Lost Coast area off limits until the 1970s when the King Range National Conservation Area was created.
The area is home to the Lost Coast Trail, an arduous hike along desolate rocky beaches that vanish at high tide, through river crossings and up steep bluffs. The trail, which has grown in popularity in recent years, could be extended 5 miles with the acquisition, Hodder said. He said it would start surveying the land for possible routes and public access. The league plans to eventually turn the property over to a public or tribal agency to manage. It has done that in the past and typically transfers the property at some percentage of fair market value. “That allows the public agency to get it at a significant bargain,” he said. “The risk the league takes stepping in and buying property is the risk public agency collaborators can’t take.”
Michael Evenson, vice president of the Lost Coast League, which advocates protecting water and wildlife in the area, said the purchase would further help link areas where diverse species can migrate to cooler areas as the climate heats up. “If there are only islands of timber company land, which are younger and hotter and more prone to fire, they don’t create these wildlife corridors,” Evenson said. “This kind of purchase could have very good consequences for a lot of species that will seek out this terrain that humans can’t get to very easily.”
So far, $10 million has been committed toward the purchase, but the league is also trying to raise an additional $6.5 million needed to manage and protect the property. The total $43.4 million it is raising is the most it has sought in such a short time period. It is launching a digital fundraising effort Friday and will consider getting low interest financing or using reserves if it falls short of its goal.
MENDO FATHER OF THE YEAR
On Sunday, December 5, 2021 at approximately 1137 hours, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Communications Center began receiving 9-1-1 calls regarding a disturbance in the 300 block of Pomo Court in Willits.
At the time, all working Deputies from the Willits area were in Covelo investigating an attempted Homicide.
Due to the above, assistance was requested from the California Highway Patrol to respond to this call for service. California Highway Patrol Officers arrived on scene and began an investigation.
At approximately 1:29pm, a Sheriff's Deputy arrived on scene and took over the investigation.
The Deputy learned Dakota Gimple, 31, of Willits, resided at the residence along with his mother, his girlfriend, and his two young children.
At some point during the night while everyone else was sleeping, Gimple began causing a disturbance inside of the residence. When asked to stop his behavior, Gimple became violent, and used a log to smash the glass out of the wood stove inside the residence. The wood stove was estimated by the homeowner to cost approximately $1,800.00 in total.
Just prior to the 9-1-1 calls, Gimple got into another argument with his girlfriend, and again began damaging items inside of the residence. Fearing for her safety and the safety of her young children, the girlfriend retreated into a bedroom with her children and locked the door.
Gimple then forced open the locked door and entered the bedroom, where his mother, his girlfriend, and his two children were now located. Gimple had a screwdriver in one hand and a large stick in his other hand.
Gimple began to threaten to kill all four subjects in the room. Gimple grabbed a cup of coffee out of his girlfriend's hand and threw it on her. Gimple then threw the screwdriver at his girlfriend but missed. The screwdriver bounced off of the wall, and struck the 2 year old child in the head.
Gimple then left the room and continued to cause damage to items within the residence before going outside.
Having no way to contact 9-1-1 for help, the girlfriend exited the residence via a window and went to a neighboring residence to call 9-1-1.
Gimple then went to a burn pile in the yard, and began to make a paste out of the ashes. Gimple spread the ash paste all over his body and began chanting and yelling at people in the neighborhood.
Gimple was placed under arrest. Gimple became extremely uncooperative and it took the Deputy approximately 15 minutes to verbally convince Gimple to get into the rear seat of the patrol vehicle.
While Gimple was being transported to jail, he began to threaten the Deputy. At one point, Gimple intentionally struck his head numerous times on the plastic partition in the patrol vehicle, causing a laceration to his forehead. This laceration required medical attention prior to Gimple being booked into jail.
Gimple was taken to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for medical treatment. While in the hospital, Gimple continued to scream and threaten Deputies with bodily harm. Gimple was eventually medically cleared for incarceration.
Gimple was also found to be on Pre-Trial Release from a previous assault charge with a condition that he obey all laws.
Gimple was arrested for:
- Felony Criminal Threats
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Felony Vandalism
- Felony Cruelty to a Child
- Felony Resisting or Threatening an Officer
- Violation of a Court Order
Gimple was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $32,500 bail.
MENDOCINO COUNTY LEADERSHIP Requests Input On Five-Year Strategic Planning Process That Will Help Guide The Work Of County Government Through 2027
The Board of Supervisors and other County leadership have been working with planning consultants since July to develop draft goals and objectives based on input from the Board of Supervisors, CEO, all Department Heads, staff from the Executive Office, interviews with individual employees, and employee focus groups. As a final step in this part of the process, we are scheduling virtual Town Hall meetings to solicit your input.
Each Town Hall will be held in a Zoom webinar format and focus on one foundational area of the Strategic Plan; the entire community is invited to attend any or all sessions.
Live-streaming will be available on both YouTube and Facebook.
1. A Safe and Healthy Community, Tuesday, January 4th from 5:00 – 6:15 PM
2. A Thriving Economy Wednesday, January 5th from 5:00 – 6:15 PM
3. A Prepared and Resilient County Thursday, January 6th from 5:00 – 6:15 PM
Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mendocinocounty
To attend via Zoom, please register by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions about these upcoming events may be directed to Anne Molgaard at email@example.com 707-472-2770.
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MARK SCARAMELLA’S INPUT: Stop this waste of money now.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 9, 2021
KYL AYERS, Willits. Protective order violation.
BRITON AZBILL, Covelo. Murder.
NATHAN FELIZ, Redwood Valley. DUI.
CATINAC HERRERA, Covelo. Annoying or molesting victim under 18 years old.
ANTHONY HIDALGO, Ukiah. Robbery, ammo possession by prohibited person, probation revocation.
BENJAMIN HOFF, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
FORTUNATA IANNETTA, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, marijuana for sale.
JOSE MEZA-GOMEZ, Corning/Ukiah. Cultivation of marijuana and illegal diversion of water, armed with firearm in commission of felony, conspiracy.
ARTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Vandalism, probation revocation.
KYLEE PETERSEN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
PAUL PRUITT, Willits. Domestic battery, criminal threats, probation revocation.
CALIFORNIA’S WATER SUPPLIES ARE IN TROUBLE as Climate Change Worsens Natural Dry Spells
by Roger Bales
California is preparing for a third straight year of drought, and officials are tightening limits on water use to levels never seen so early in the water year. Most of the state’s water reservoirs are well below average, with several at less than a third of their capacity. The outlook for rain and snow this winter, when most of the state’s yearly precipitation arrives, isn’t promising.
Especially worrying is the outlook for the Sierra Nevada, the long mountain chain that runs through the eastern part of the state. California’s cities and its farms – which grow over a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruit and nuts – rely on runoff from the mountains’ snowpack for water.
As an engineer, I have studied California’s water and climate for over 30 years. A closer look at California’s water resources shows the challenge ahead and how climate change is putting the state’s water supply and agriculture at greater risk.
Where California gets its water
Statewide, California averages about 2 feet of precipitation per year, about two-thirds of the global average, giving the state as a whole a semi-arid climate.
The majority of California’s rain and snow falls in the mountains, primarily in winter and spring. But agriculture and coastal cities need that water to get through the dry summers. To get water to dry Southern California and help with flood control in the north, California over the past century developed a statewide system of reservoirs, tunnels and canals that brings water from the mountains. The largest of those projects, the State Water Project, delivers water from the higher-precipitation northern Sierra to the southern half of the state.
To track where the water goes, it’s useful to look at the volume in acre-feet. California is about 100 million acres in area, so at 2 feet per year, its annual precipitation averages about 200 million acre-feet.
Of that 200, an average of only about 80 million acre-feet heads downstream. Much of the water returns to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration by plants and trees in the Sierra Nevada or North Coast forests. Of the 80 million acre-feet that does run off, about half remains in the aquatic environment, such as rivers flowing to the ocean. That leaves about 41 million acre-feet for downstream use. About 80% of that goes for agriculture and 20% for urban uses.
In wet years, there may be much more than 80 million acre-feet of water available, but in dry years, it can be much less.
In 2020, for example, California’s precipitation was less than two-thirds of average, and the State Water Project delivered only 5% of the contracted amounts. The state’s other main aqueduct systems that move water around the state also severely reduced their supplies.
The 2021 water year, which ended Sept. 30, was one of the three driest on record for the Sierra Nevada. Precipitation was about 44% of average. With limited precipitation as of December 2021 and the state in extreme drought, the State Water Project cut its preliminary allocations for water agencies to 0% for 2022, with small amounts still flowing for health and safety needs.
While conditions could improve if more storms come in the next three months, the official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlook points to below-normal precipitation being more likely than above normal.
Multiyear dry periods, when annual precipitation is below average, are a feature of California’s climate, but rising global temperatures are also having an impact.
Over the past 1,100 years, there has been at least one dry period lasting four years or longer each century. There have been two in the past 35 years – 1987-92 and 2012-15. A warmer climate intensifies the effect of these dry periods, as drier soil and drier air stress both natural vegetation and crops.
Rising global temperatures affect runoff from the Sierra Nevada, which provides over 60% of California’s developed water supply.
Over 80% of the runoff in the central and southern Sierra Nevada comes from the snow zone. In the wetter but lower-elevation northern Sierra, rainfall contributes over one-third of the annual runoff.
The average snowline, the elevation above which most precipitation is snow, goes from about 5,000 feet elevation in the north to 7,000 feet in the south. On average, each 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 Celsius) of warming could push the snowline another 500 feet higher, reducing the snow total.
Shifts from snow to rain and earlier runoff also mean that more of the capacity behind existing dams will be allocated to flood control, further reducing their capacity for seasonal water-supply storage.
A wealth of research has established that the Sierra Nevada could see low- to no-snow winters for years at a time by the late 2040s if greenhouse gases emissions don’t decline, with conditions worsening beyond that possible.
Warming will also increase water demand from forests as growing seasons lengthen and drive both drought stress leading to tree mortality and increased risk of high-severity wildfires.
Sustainability in a warming climate
Water storage is central to California’s water security.
Communities and farms can pump more groundwater when supplies are low, but the state has been pumping out more water than it replenished in wet years. Parts of the state rely on water from the Colorado River, whose dams provide for several years of water storage, but the basin lacks the runoff to fill the dams.
Public opposition has made it difficult to build new dams, so better use of groundwater for both seasonal and multiyear storage is crucial.
The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires local agencies to develop sustainability plans. That provides some hope that groundwater pumping and replenishment can be brought into balance, most likely by leaving some cropland unplanted. Managed aquifer recharge south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is gradually expanding, and much more can be done.
If the state doesn’t do more, including tactics such as applying desalination technology to make saltwater usable, urban areas can expect the 25% cuts in water use put in place during the 2012-15 drought to be more common and potentially even deeper.
California’s water resources can provide for a healthy environment, robust economy and sustainable agricultural use. Achieving this will require upgrading both natural infrastructure – headwaters forests, floodplains and groundwater recharge in agricultural areas – and built infrastructure, such as canals, spillways and levees. The information is available; officials now have to follow through.
(This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Roger Bales is Distinguished Professor of Engineering, University of California, Merced.)
THANKSGIVING SUGAR RUSH
by Paul Modic
Eating that horrible dinner last night makes me realize, the next morning, how healthy and happy I really am!
A friend was going to stop by on his way south to his family so I ordered two Thanksgiving Eve specials, then I canceled him because I didn't want to hear any more of his annoying racist opinions. I had plenty of food: salad, pasta and veggies, leftover chicken, turkey thighs thawing out as well as an unopened salmon and a beautiful yam pie my sister had brought me.
Now I don't feel happy and healthy — I feel disgusted that I ate almost all of that low-class food.
After the odd email exchange with my friend with the backward views I went online to get the number to cancel the takeout dinners but the menu looked so good, describing all those delectable sides, that I hung up the phone mid-ring and decided to pick one up for me at 5pm after my hike in the park.
What was I thinking? Pretty much every side dish was encrusted in sugar though the turkey was actually pretty good.
I guess I really have it good with my healthy food, but I'm still frowning and grimacing with what I have done.
(More food: I ran out of bird food! I went in the storage room, hauled a twenty-pound bag off the pile and filled up the container on the porch. Now I see the birds through the picture window flitting about the porch railing and I can't imagine not having that sight every morning with my coffee and pen.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The Misplaced Compassion for violent criminals is immoral. The death penalty should only be used in extreme cases and where guilt is certain. There must be safeguards in place to be certain it isn’t abused. But it definitely should be used. The Misplaced Compassion shown towards violent offenders is a true stain on the supposed “morality” of the people promoting it because it results in a more dangerous world for innocents. Choosing criminals over innocent citizens?! And in this time of declining resources and overpopulation we should be making responsible and serious choices about where our limited resources should be spent- housing children and vets for example or providing living space/food/medical care to violent murderers and rapists? What kind of “morality” could choose the criminals?!! Our country is becoming a cesspool due to Misplaced Compassion…
ATTA BOY, HUFF!
Being attacked by rightwing evangelicals is nothing new for me, and now they're righteously indignant that in infidel like me would be allowed to speak at a “Christian” event like — wait for it — lighting the Capitol Christmas Tree.
This is almost too easy. No disrespect to my Christian friends, but the “Christmas” tree has nothing to do with Christianity. It was borrowed, several centuries into Christianity, from the Pagan celebration of the winter solstice. The pre-Christianity tradition of Yule has a lot to do with Santa Claus too, but don't get me started on that. If Christians can borrow and have fun with these things, so can Jews, Muslims, and (gasp) even nonbelievers who enjoy the holiday spirit.
Happy Holidays everyone, including the hypocrites at CNS News!
— Jared Huffman (facebook post)
THE FACTS ARE THE FACTS
The expressions “critical race theory” and “cancel culture” have been weaponized by Republicans to attack community leaders, educators and politicians who want to remove monuments to Confederates, slave owners and racists and support a more balanced and accurate history.
Although “critical race theory” has not been taught in schools, this misinformation has provoked parents to attack school boards and administrators, distracting from more important issues.
The removal of monuments to Confederates and slave owners has been revived by recent protests for social and racial justice, but the legacies of Columbus, the pioneers, missionaries and the founding fathers have been under scrutiny for years.
If there is a constant in history, it is that views of the past will be challenged and revised. Each generation has different priorities, asks different questions, discovers new sources and information, and uses the latest methods to create new interpretations of the past.
Thanks to the participation of scholars from underrepresented groups, students are also exposed to that information and interpretations which challenge traditional views.
The claim that American history is being perverted by including that information and alternate perspectives is disingenuous and only adds fuel to the cultural wars which divide our country.
Warmest spiritual greetings, Just hanging out at the Garberville Public Library today, having done the laundry already, and also enjoyed a cranberry pastry with a Red Eye coffee at Local Flavors. The town is only three blocks long. It is a sportspersons stop on the way up north...half a dozen motels, three gas stations, a supermarket, and the usual small businesses (which feature hemp products). Welcome to Southern Humboldt County, y'all.
At this time, I am resting comfortably in my own svarupa (heart chakra), not remotely identified with either the body nor the mind. And frankly, I don't need the "eternal witness" either. Am packed up, got $1700 left, health is excellent, and asking this postmodern global earthly civilization the question: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THAT IS TOTALLY AMAZING? Talk to me. 😂
Craig Louis Stehr, firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW LIBERALS CENSOR LEFTISTS
Top Democrats, on the other hand, would rather lose elections than yield control to their party’s progressive base. They deployed sleazy but legal tactics, as well as Richard Nixon-style dirty tricks, to block Bernie Sanders in consecutive sets of primaries even though polls consistently showed him to be the strongest candidate while their chosen nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost. Sanders remains one of the most popular politicians in America, yet party leaders and their media allies are still congratulating themselves for stopping him as they scramble for a viable presidential candidate for 2024.