REMEMBER CHRISTOPHER SKAGGS? He piled into a redwood at Navarro last November after a high speed chase that resulted in an officer being flown to an out of the area hospital for the injuries he suffered in pursuit of Skaggs. In that one Skaggs, piloting a BMW, was chased from 101 north of Ukiah out Orr Springs Road, through Comptche and on into Navarro where he hit the tree.
LAST NIGHT (MONDAY), shortly before 10pm, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy conducted a traffic stop on South State Street, Ukiah of a sedan displaying an expired registration. As the Deputy approached the driver’s window, the vehicle took off southbound on South State Street, and the chase was on at speeds estimated at between 80-90 miles an hour. The suspect vehicle soon careened west onto the Ukiah-Boonville Road where it several times swerved into the opposite traffic lane on blind curves. Still westbound on the Ukiah side of the hill, the front passenger, wielding a handgun, suddenly leaned out of the car window and cranked off several rounds at the pursuing Deputy’s patrol vehicle, one of the bullets striking the radiator and rendering it inoperable.
POLICE from the California Highway Patrol, Ukiah Police Department, Cloverdale Police Department, and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office were soon in the hunt and the suspect sedan was found abandoned in a driveway leading to a residence located in the 6000 block of Highway 253, which is 11 miles from Ukiah, still on the Ukiah side of the hill. A reverse 911 call was initiated to residents in the surrounding area to hunker down. SEVERAL ITEMS from a residential burglary on Van Arsdale Road, Potter Valley, were found in the abandoned car, but several handguns, a rifle and a shotgun, also taken in that burglary were presumed to be with the fleeing burglars. The two suspects had disappeared into the woods.
CHRISTOPHER SKAGGS, 30, of Redwood Valley, has since been taken into custody on numerous charges, including attempted murder. Walter Kristopher Miller, 33, of Ukiah, remains at large.
WORD OF BRUCE RICHARD'S retirement party, held Saturday night, has filtered back to Anderson Valley. We are told the event program featured a picture of the $20 million MTA bus barn, a monument to Soviet style architecture and a Washington style waste of public funds, that will serve as Richard's legacy. Richard's was paid for over thirty years to do nothing as the General Manager of the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA), which is locally infamous for its fleet of ghost buses that traverse the County at times that are inconvenient for anyone but the drivers. Corporate sponsors for the Richard retirement event included various companies that have turned a tidy profit over the years selling those big empty buses to MTA.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, JIM MASTIN, long time MTA board chair and Richard's personal Sancho Panza, was on hand to MC the event. Mastin also made a career on the public payroll for more than thirty years for "managing" the Mendocino College bookstore, an operation that could (and probably did) manage itself off students forced to buy required course materials at drastically inflated prices. At the dinner, with the portly Richard beaming approval, Mastin began by announcing that a number of people had sent their regrets, including Tommy Wayne Kramer and Bruce Anderson who tried to board a bus for the jaunt over the hill, but the bus was full and couldn't get on.
RICHARD WAS presented with the usual proclamations and various going away gifts, including a lifetime bus pass for free rides on the MTA, the latter representing a neat little parting gift of public funds, not that MTA ever worried about that. And not that Richard himself ever road the dang things, or will, since they run at times that are inconvenient for him, too. The public cost to subsidize MTA runs about $15 for each passenger while private cabs manage to operate at a profit in Willits, Fort Bragg and Ukiah with no subsidy. But the public employee unions have made it illegal for federal transportation dollars to go to private operators, even when doing so would cut costs and increase service. So we can look forward to another thirty years of big empty buses aimlessly traversing the county.
BABY EMERALD is the Fort Bragg infant beaten to death by a male foster parent. The child's mother has retained an attorney with a long history of winning lawsuits against negligent CPS agencies. He's suing Mendocino County in federal court for wrongful death.
JAMES MARMON, a former CPS worker in the appeals process to get his job back, has long been an outspoken advocate for CPS reform. Marmon alleges that Mendo's CPS routinely falsifies documents, as they seem to have done in the Baby Emerald case to make it appear as if they'd done due diligence before placing the infant in a home with an amphetamine user functioning as patriarch.
IT'S NO SURPRISE that the County wanted Marmon out, and now the County has taken another step against its most vocal critic. Douglas Losak of the Mendocino County Counsel's office, just last week, filed a temporary restraining order against Marmon: "Mr. Marmon: A petition for a restraining order against you has been filed with Mendocino County Superior Court. An ex parte hearing on the county's request for a temporary restraining order is scheduled for Friday, February 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm in Courtroom E of the Mendocino Superior Court.
THE REQUEST for the restraining order, which of course can be reversed upon a full hearing, was prompted by the following two messages from Marmon to County CEO Carmel Angelo: "Not only will l not go away, I can't go away, my career is ruined; the County has made it impossible for me
to transfer to another county through Merit Systems. I was a good socialworker and I was wronged. Bryan Lowery is a criminal and should not be rewarded for being so. You have left me no choice but to fight on. Please stop the cover up and restore my good name. James"
AND THEN there was the more problematical communique from Marmon to Ms. Angelo: "Carmel, I was just thinking about what is going on with me and my personal mental state; the recent news about the killer cop in Los Angeles really parallels much of what is going on with me. I reported wrong doing and I was punished for doing so. My career was destroyed. You should know I do not own a weapon and never have, and I am against physical violence and have always been. With that said, I have decided to continue my aftempts to clear my name, without violence. I reported to you and DA Eyster over a year ago that Bryan Lowery was altering official records, I was ignored. You have left me no where to go, I have to fight. The emails I sent you over the years will become public knowledge. I was wronged and I will not go away."
WELL. As a veteran of hostile communications, I would say this is not overtly threatening but borderline. There's certainly an implication of ultra-vi but in the context of a vow not to commit it. I sympathize with the guy. CPS, thanks to a lack of responsible oversight by the local courts in many cases I've been involved with, hasn't been held to account for years, and I think that's because they deal largely with people who can't fight back, and because they deal largely with people who can't fight back they can do their work in the dark. Clearly, the murder of Baby Emerald was committed as much by CPS dereliction as by the drug-fueled monster who did it.
JUST IN FROM THE TREE SIT Tuesday noon: Owing to the vigilence of The Warbler's ground support squadron and biological survey work taking place in the path of of CalTrans' proposed two-mile fence project, Big Orange has packed up and gone home for a second straight day! From the looks of things, they aren't coming back today. They've completed only a very small portion of the work they had planned. Our spirits are running high! We'll keep you posted!
FORMER 5TH DISTRICT Supervisor Norman deVall writes: "Friends. More and more housing on the Mendocino Coast is being converted to Vacation Home Rentals, many without permits or collecting bed tax.The County is woefully deficient in locating these "residences" or wanting to collect the tax. Those who are homeless, or looking for rentals are paying the price. VHR's pull in more than monthly or long term rentals and provide an excellent tax dodge for their owners. Being, now, business properties their expenses become tax deductible. In the end result being a VHR, licensed or not, the value of the property increases making it more unaffordable for those who live here. The Mendocino Town Plan is up for review and rewrite. If you need or want a place to live rather than a weekend visit oppose Vacation Home Rentals."
YOU GOTTA be there for this one, the book signing with Laurel Krause from the Kent State Truth Tribunal, Saturday, March 2nd from 5-7pm at TWIST (Mendocino Village) during the Mendocino Whale Festival. Laurel will share Kent State Truth Tribunal's recent Plea for Justice to the United Nations http://bit.ly/Xl9R2L and discuss her chapter "Was Kent State About Civil Rights or Murdering Student Protesters?" written with Mickey Huff http://bit.ly/RQNUWC published in Censored 2013. Huff is the director of Project Censored. He will be there supporting Laurel's book signing as a fundraiser. All Censored 2013 books sold will benefit the Kent State Truth Tribunal. "Censored 2013, Dispatches from the Media Revolution" is the current Project Censored annual with top censored stories and media analysis from 2011-12.
“BEST OF FESTIVAL” featured at International Wildlife Film Festival — The International Wildlife Film Festival's Post-Festival Tour, sponsored by the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP), continues at 7 pm on Friday, March 1 at the Ukiah Civic Center. The evening's feature film, "Broken Tail" (60 min.), won awards for Best of Festival, Best Script, and Best Human/Wildlife Interactions at the Festival in Missoula, Montana. Irish cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson spent almost 600 days filming a Bengal tiger family in Ranthambhore National Park, one of India’s premier wild tiger reserves. One of the cubs, Broken Tail, proved to be the most charismatic tiger cub Colin had ever seen. Impossibly cute, he posed for Colin’s camera through the first three years of his life. Then without warning, Broken Tail abandoned his sanctuary, disappearing into the wilds of rural India. Colin travels by horseback across Rajasthan retracing Broken Tail’s last journey, gathering clues, exploring why this young tiger abandoned his home and, above all, revealing important truths about India’s last wild tigers. Also showing is "Bhutan: Land of the Black-necked Crane" (16 min.). This film takes us on an exotic journey to a small Buddhist kingdom high in the Himalayan mountains to see how a benevolent king promotes Gross Domestic Happiness for his citizens while fostering respect for the environment and natural resources. Travel with the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation to see rare and endangered Black-necked Cranes. Doors open at 6:20 pm with live music by the Julian Trio. A series ticket is $50 for all six nights; individual tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. (Films are appropriate for older children.) Tickets are available at the Mendocino Book Company or at the door. This Post-Festival Tour is sponsored by the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP). A community-supported outdoor environmental education program of the Ukiah Unified School District, the RVOEP serves over 2,000 students each year. A series ticket ensures strong support for RVOEP and six nights of wonderful films. To learn more about the RVOEP and see a full film schedule, visit www.rvoep.org, or contact Helen Menasian, Education Coordinator, at 472-5258.