Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: March 19, 2013

ABOUT 75 PEOPLE opposed to Caltrans’ plans for a bypass around Willits responded to a “high alert” call from Save Little Lake Valley to show up Monday morning starting at 7am at the tree-sit site off Highway 101. There was no law enforcement presence at today’s rally. New Santa Rosa contractor Atlas Landscaping did come to work around 8 am, Sara Grusky of Save Little Lake Valley told Willits Weekly, attempting to remove brush along a new section of the fenceline with a tractor/chipper, but about 10 protesters, quote: “decided not to let the work proceed,” Grusky said. After about a half-hour of no progress, Atlas workers left for the day, leaving their equipment behind. This was the first time, Grusky noted, that CHP officers did not show up while  protesters were attempting to stop work they say is illegal – for one reason, because proper bird surveys have not yet been done, as required by the Migratory Bird Act. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Sacramento communications director emailed Willits Weekly Monday, in response to an inquiry, that Fish & Wildlife had accepted Caltrans’ revised bird protocol on Friday. Caltrans told the media earlier last week they already had approved protocols. Save Little Lake Valley is telling supporters to remain on “high alert” all week. “The most important thing,” Grusky said, “in order to be sure that Caltrans and their contractors do not cut down trees is to show a strong presence every day this week. Caltrans is eager to get the trees down before more birds are nesting and laying eggs,” Grusky said, because of the strict protections required under the Migratory Bird Act. The “Warbler's treesit shuttle service” will be operating every morning this week, starting at 7am in front of Bountiful Gardens at the Evergreen Plaza. An email and Facebook message that called for an “Occupy style camp” starting Sunday night at the tree-sit was not sent out by Save Little Lake Valley and did not result in an influx of campers. A message posted Sunday on Save Little Lake Valley’s Facebook page read: “Save Our Little Lake Valley and The Warbler’s ground support squadron are not planning an Occupy-style encampment at the tree-sit at this point.”

— Jennifer Poole, Willits Weekly


A READER WRITES: "I'm not the savviest bloke on the block, but I do have a fairly well developed ability to understand people’s viewpoints, even if they are opinions I disagree with. I have to admit I'm flummoxed by your occasional screeds regarding the North Coast alternative-progressive-boomer community et al. To be sure, I'm as pissed as you are at the hypocrites — I mean, the former “idealists” who are now riding the establishment gravy train rather than sitting on the tracks to block it (or blowing up the tracks.) But I cannot grasp your references to “suffocating smugness” and “architectural exhibitionism.” Is everyone up here a phony, in your view? I'm sure there are many, but there are also many sincere, hard working people who are trying to eke out an existence completely separated from the capitalist, national security, self-deluded establishment. It ain't easy, either. You want smug? Let's you and I take a drive together some afternoon through Mill Valley and Corte Madera and let us count the shiny new Land Rovers parked in front of Starbucks, all of them with “Save the Rainforests!” bumper stickers. When I see your comments, I'm reminded of a line from the movie “Shoot The Moon.” Albert Finney and Diane Keaton are a yuppie couple on a fast track to divorce. In one scene they are driving into S.F. to a yuppie soiree when Finney's character, after quietly staring out the window, blurts out sarcastically: “This place could die of quaint.” (And he was speaking of San Francisco!) To be honest, that line occurs to me more than infrequently when I visit Mendocino, town of. Could it be you are frustrated that people are tending to their cute gardens in front of their cute cottages instead of storming the barricades of the power elite? Could it be you think the prevailing attitude is: I'm special because I live here and you don't? What is not happening in these communities that you wish to see happen? Or, have you lost hope, my man? Have you somehow concluded that people don't have the smarts or hearts to turn this foundering ship of state onto a better course? Whatever the reason, perhaps we can discuss this more over coffee sometime. (For what it's worth, I think there's a major shit-hitting-the-fan collapse just down the road that will finally shake millions out of their complacency and self-delusion.”

THE AVA REPLIES: We agree that the economy is headed for a major fall, but Lilliput is our focus, specifically Mendoland. There are a lot of libs in Mendocino County, and a lot of libs everywhere who call themselves “progressives,” meaning, I think, they consider themselves either to the left of the mainstream Democratic Party or just too goddam cool to be regarded as a mere liberal. Mendocino County is seldom progressive, as we duly demonstrate every election, most recently when we went for More Of The Same Huffman over the genuinely progressive Solomon. There are, of course, residual Occupy people based on the Coast who deserve congrats for their efforts to establish a people's bank, but other than that nothing in any way progressive — check that, the County's aborted dope policy was kinda progressive — happens here. A local example of everything the libs touch turning to ca-ca is our cringing public radio station afraid to do regular call-ins, afraid to do a local news show, afraid to do anything at all controversial. Contrast it to KMUD in Garberville, a great little station and a progressive one into the bargain. If this place were remotely “liberal” it would press to eliminate First 5 and re-direct its $1 million a year directly to childcare vouchers for single mothers; advocate (i.e., circulate a ballot measure) calling for living wages in all county contracts; demand that the Board of Supervisors get real monthly status reports from each department and make sure those reports become part of the public record; pressure Hamburg, Mr. Mendolib Himself, to make good on his campaign promise to give local contracts a 10% preference rather than the measly 5% they get now (which never even comes up because most local businesses don’t even know they get a preference); pressure the Board to use at least a portion of the County treasury pool for local small businesses and start-ups that meet pre-set realistic criteria and award the loans in a public process; demand that the Board enact a grading ordinance, even a weak one like Sonoma County's or Napa's. And that's just for starters, and none of it even particularly liberal. Fact is, Mendo’s history of “movements” is inevitably self-serving such as the Class K ordinance to legalize hippy shacks, which occurred way back when the present occupiers of all our public apparatuses were running around naked in the woods. More or less lately we had the GMO ban to keep frankenfoods out of our precious little bods and, of course, the semi-deregulation of Mendolib's drug of choice, marijuana, via Measure G. There were also ancient battles to resist offshore oil, scale back the forestry overcut, and outlaw aerial spraying but that was years ago and most people, liberal or not, approved. As the kids might say, their constant din of pious rhetoric aside, Mendolib is about as progressive as Bill Clinton, and like Clinton they're all fat and rich and happy with things as they are, when it comes down to the reality of them. Anyway, if bullshit was action, Mendocino County would be the most progressive place in the world.


DR. KRAVIS’S LEAKING TANK, AN UPDATE: Mr. Bills of Mendocino Board Sports in the town of Mendocino updated us on the status of the leaking tank owned by his neighbor Dr. Tom Kravis's Mendocino Hotel last weekend. “My landlady is not Maureen O'Connor,” Bills said. “It's her twin sister Mauvorneen. I just write a check to Francis By The Sea LLC and give it to the woman at the bar. I assumed it was Maureen because her name is Maureen Francis O'Connor. But I now understand that it's Mauvorneen.” Mr. Bills added that his landlady has made it clear that she has no intention of trying to evict him and they are cooperating in trying to resolve his problem with the neighboring Mendocino Hotel. Monday before last Ten Mile Court Judge Brennan denied Dr. Kravis's temporary restraining order application against Bills which would have kept him out of his own business. But there are still other court dates pending for other pending restraining orders. Separate from the leaking tank, Mr. Bills has had other problems with his neighbor and with the town’s highly quirky permit process and processors for walkways for better access to his business. He says he's now had it with Mendocino, the village and the County, and has decided that he's moving his business to Santa Cruz. He doesn't want to deal with the Hotel, the village or the County and all the hassle anymore. “The county won't help me. They are covering for Dr. Kravis,” Bills said. “They've made it impossible for me to do business here. I'm tired of trying to do business in this county and in this town. I've been here for over two years now and it’s just not worth it anymore.” Since the Health Department prematurely closed Bills’ complaint a couple of weeks ago after some temporary work was done on Dr. Kravis’s leaking tank, Bills said he hasn't seen any more leakage. But, “it seems like everyone talks about code enforcement out in the hills and eliminating nuisances, but what about on Main Street here in Mendocino? That's my issue.” Mr. Bills said his insurance company had been out to inspect the premises and they took some samples of the spill and samples of the air near the Hotel. “They cultured some samples in petri dishes and they plan to grow whatever they picked up both here and in front of the hotel and down the street,” said Bills. “I don't know when they'll have the results. I hope there is nothing unhealthy in the air. It's one thing to step in it, but it's another to be breathing it in.” Bills said that the sewage smell is mostly gone now. “I don't know if they've made any changes in the plumbing or just cleaned up the tank and the area.” Bills added, “I can't tell you how I know, but I know that Dr. Kravis has not made his mortgage payments in more than 18 months at either the Hotel or the Hill House. I understand he's trying to refinance at least one of the properties and perhaps sell one of them. He is not paying his mortgage. His house of cards is tumbling. It's tough for someone like me to deal with all the well-entrenched rich people in this town," Bills concluded.


THE SONOMA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, now that SEIU's legal beagles have signed off, is scheduled to give final approval on March 19th to a new contract with their largest employee bargaining group. The SEIU rank and file narrowly approved the contract on a 52-48% vote last month. Also on the agenda is approval for a new contract with the administrative managers bargaining group and other mostly high paid employees, including department heads and the Supes themselves. Last August the Supes adopted a "Resolution of Intent" for the administrative management contract extension, calling for a 3% cut in compensation, but said it couldn't take effect until SEIU came to terms. SEIU voted down a similar 3% cut in compensation in December and negotiated the present agreement with a 3% cost of living allowance.

BUT SEIU IS CRYING 'FOUL' now that it has been revealed that the Sonoma Supes, at a closed door meeting in February, sweetened the deal for themselves and upper management. In addition to a 3% cut in compensation, the original Resolution of Intent also proposed the immediate elimination of the deferred compensation match, a benefit only available to the highest paid employees. The Resolution of Intent was intended to promote the idea of shared sacrifice and was clearly part of the County's negotiating strategy. But the agreement to be voted on by the Supes March 19th includes a 3% cost of living allowance and continues the deferred compensation match for another 16 months.

LATHE GILL, SEIU's lead negotiator, says the changes have created an uproar within SEIU and amount to breaking a promise that the county made in order to gain approval for the contract with SEIU. Since the county presented the two contracts as a package deal they should have told SEIU about the changes to the Administrative Management contract before SEIU voted on their contract. Except given the narrow margin of approval, it is likely that news that the Supes were sweetening the deal for top management would have resulted in the contract with SEIU being voted down. SEIU has argued all along that Sonoma County has too many upper level managers who are over compensated and under worked. The County has said it intends "to study" staff to management ratios. SEIU union leaders are threatening to force the issue by launching a local ballot initiative that would require a higher ratio of rank and file employees to managers than currently exists.

NEITHER SEIU NOR THE COUNTY have done a good job of explaining the specific contract provisions or their financial implications. The County "analysis" of the agreements mixes in savings mandated by the Public Employees Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) and those that were negotiated as part of the contracts. Some obvious abuses, like the practice of giving Department Heads a 5% salary increase "upon notice of retirement" and paying for 1/2 the cost of the Supes retirement contribution are being outlawed by PEPRA, not the contract. But they won't even take effect for elected department heads and the Supes until they begin new terms of office, because state law prohibits reducing the pay of elected officials during their current terms of office. The staff report is full of self-serving blather about fulfilling the county's "strategic plan goals of efficient and effective use of resources and enhanced fiscal soundness...." Blahdy, blahdy, blah.

SONOMA COUNTY is looking at a $353 million dollar unfunded pension obligation liability plus another $600 million in Pension Obligation Bonds  issued to pay for previous unfunded liabilities. Despite this mountain of pension related debt, the county says it only needs $150 million in pension system savings over the next decade and everything will be hunky dory. And the county claims the deals with SEIU and Admin Management will give it 75% of the needed $150 million in savings.

MEANWHILE, THE SONOMA SUPES will continue to rake in over $134,000 in salary as part of a total salary and benefits package worth more than 1/4 of a million each, which makes them the third highest paid board of supervisors in the State of California, ranking only behind their counterparts in Los Angeles and Alameda counties. But since the pension debt debacle is a slo mo train wreck, the current Supes will be out of office and drawing their own fat pensions long before the stuffing hits the fan.


DID YOU KNOW that drones under 55 pounds are to be authorized this year — and without Congressional debate? The Senate Armed Services Committee demanded that drone deployment be expedited and given the freedom to operate freely and routinely in our airspace. The goal is to to have 30,000 zipping through airspace by 2020. The Federal Aeronautics Administration Modernization Act signed by President Obama 2/14/12 allows Unmanned Aeronautic Vehicles (AUV) to enter airspace by 9/15/2015. Prior to this law the FAA had to approve any license cautiously. Pilots and Agency officials worry that those unregulated pilotless gnats won’t be seen and can't be avoided by planes loaded with passengers. Supporters are composed of 60 members of the Drone Caucus led by Rep. Howard McKeon of Santa Clara, California who is also chair of the Senate Armed Services Com. Opponents are Representative Ed Markey (Massachusetts), Senator Rand Paul and Fox commentator Charles Krauthammer who said, “I don't want restrictions; I want a ban on Drones.” They violate the Fourth Amendment. Protest groups could be labeled terrorists and be targeted for killing with no due process of law. If this is untennable to you, do write or call your Congresspersons. Act now, Agnes Woolsey, Mendocino


GET OUT YOUR WATER WINGS: On Tuesday March 12, 2013 the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors proclaimed the week of March 24-30, 2013 as Tsunami Preparedness Week. The Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services, in cooperation with the Counties of Humboldt and Del Norte, the National Weather Service, and the California Emergency Management Agency has scheduled a Tsunami Warning System Test on March 27, 2013 from 11am to noon. If you are watching television between 11am and Noon on Wednesday March 27, expect to see a crawler at the bottom of the screen indicating that a tsunami warning has been issued and hear a voice indicating that it is only a test. If you don’t hear the TV audio, please remember that this is only a test. If you are listening to the radio you will hear alerting tones followed by a voice announcing that the test is occurring. If you have a NOAA weather radio with the Public Alert feature the radio will automatically turn on and you will hear the same message as broadcast on radios. If you live in or near the City of Fort Bragg or the City of Point Arena you may hear the sounding of Tsunami Sirens. The sirens, when activated, will “wail” for approximately three minutes. There are two sirens located in the Noyo Harbor area and one located in the Pudding Creek area of Fort Bragg. There is one siren located in Arena Cove in the City of Point Arena. As part of the Tsunami Warning system, the Civil Air Patrol, weather permitting, will be flying along the coastlines of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte Counties testing their public address system. The Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services will also test their emergency notification system (Reverse 911) with a public service announcement in the Fort Bragg and Point Arena areas. If there is a real earthquake in the Pacific Ocean that has the potential to generate tsunami for our coastline the test will be cancelled. For more information on how to survive an earthquake or prepare for a tsunami please visit the following website. Please help us evaluate this test by following the links online or by telephone at: 707-443-6484 For questions please contact the Office of Emergency Services at (707) 463-5667 or e-mail at



Norman Wayne Whipple of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo was born November 24, 1933, and died Thursday, February 28, 2013, at the age of 80.

Norman loved his family, especially attending his grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's birthday parties, graduations and school activities.

Norman loved the land, and enjoyed ranching and pushing dirt for the Pacific Railroad and Central Valley rice fields, hauling heavy equipment for construction and the Oklahoma oil fields, hunting and fishing as a young man, and greeting the sunrise from the bay window of the kitchen.

Norman loved his country and proudly served for 12 years as a demolition team Navy SEAL. He was a Korean war veteran. He said he didn't need to travel out of the country extensively; he had "been around the world twice."

Norman loved his Native American heritage and served on the Round Valley Tribal Council from the 1960s through the 1990s. he was a member of the founding committee for Indian Health Services, helping establish health clinics throughout Northern California; worked with the Round Valley Housing Authority; and served at least four terms as the Tribal Council chairman. His duties involved extensive travel to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, as well as in-¬state and out-of-state workshops and meetings.

He was respected for being well-read and informed on all issues related to tribal and political issues that affected the governing and policy-making regulations of the RVIT. He listened intently, spoke when he believed it was necessary, and earned his listeners' respect, even if it involved controversy or heated discussions. Additionally, he served as a member and chairman of the Round Valley Unified School District Board of Education in the late 1990s.

Norman is survived by his present wife, Andrea, and former wife, Annabelle. He and Annabelle have three children: Deborah Oliver, William Whipple and Kimberly Stillwell. There are 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

From a family of nine children there remain two sisters: Phyllis Rohloff and Bertha Gonzalez, as well as a brother, Dewey Whipple, Jr. He also is survived by an aunt, Thelma, who lives out of state.

He will be missed by numerous family members, friends and professional colleagues.

Anker-Lucier Mortuary is in charge funeral arrangements. A wake will be held Wednesday, March 6, at the Round Valley Methodist Church beginning at 4 p.m. Services will be held Thursday, March 7, at Round Valley Methodist Church at 11 a.m., with interment to follow at the Nomalacki Cemetery in Covelo.

A reception at the Round Valley Senior Center will follow interment.


GAELIC CONCERT + dinner & drinks this coming Friday.  Gaelic singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddler Wendy MacIsaac headline a Cape Breton Ceilidh (pronounced "kay-lee") at the Caspar Community Center on Friday, March 22, starting at 7:30pm.  This is a powerful collaboration of two longtime friends plus two more musicians who have become ambassadors of the distinctive Cape Breton musical style, performing in Europe and America to universal acclaim. Their recent CD, Seinn, has been declared one of the Top Ten folk and world music albums of 2012 by NPR, Folk Alley, and even, and has been regularly featured on KZYX's Oak & Thorn show. What no recording can capture is the humor and excitement of a live performance by these two tradition-bearers from the Gaelic culture of Cape Breton Island. Bring your dancing shoes! This is an Oak & Thorn production to benefit KZYX, with a pre-concert dinner (details below) starting at 6pm and no-host bar thruout the evening, both to benefit the Caspar Community Center. Tickets are $20 in advance, available at Out of This World in Mendocino, Tangents and Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, and online at For more information, contact Tim Bray: or (707) 937-4422. For pre-concert dinner, the CCC chef will offer New Breton Fish Cakes with Smoked Salmon Aioli served with Bread and a Salad of Spring Greens, Asparagus, Goat Cheese & Apples, for $15, or Split Pea Soup (vegan) served with Bread and a Salad of Spring Greens, Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Apples, for $11. Both include a dessert.  The dinner will be pay-at-the-door, first-come, first-served, so plan to arrive at 6:00 and enjoy a wonderful meal with your friends, neighbors, and fellow Celtic music fans!  This event is a dual benefit: proceeds from the dinner and drinks go to the Caspar Community Center, and profits from the concert ticket sales go to KZYX.


CLOVERDALE’S OLD TIME FIDDLE FESTIVAL Announces On Stage Music Line Up Cloverdale, Ca…Downtown Cloverdale will rock on May 4 & 5 when the Old Time Fiddle Festival comes to town at the Citrus Fairgrounds. Primarily a Fiddle Contest, the Cloverdale Fiddle Festival will also present musical performances in bluegrass and old time music on a separate stage. Featured on Saturday May 4: The Oak Grove String Band, Radio Ramblers, The Roustabouts, Dan Levenson & Bob Carlin and Debby McClatchy. On Sunday May 5: Dan Levenson & Bob Carlin, Debby McClatchy, the Kathy Kallick Band, and the Charlie Poole Workshop with Debby McClatchy. New this year will be contest divisions for youth and adult mandolin and guitar. Since 1975 musicians have traveled to Cloverdale to compete in the fiddle contest, show off their skills in impromptu jamming groups and trade tunes at this family-friendly event. The contest began as a way to celebrate and help preserve Old Time music, while raising funds to support the Cloverdale Historical Society. Today it is a favorite stop on the fiddle contest circuit for fans and musicians alike. The intense 2-day festival also offers workshops, handmade crafts, food, beer and wine. 101 Thai Way and Hamburger Ranch will provide fabulous food. Downtown Cloverdale offers wine tasting, art galleries, Historic Gould-Shaw House & History Center, coffee shops, restaurants and beer pub. Come early on Friday and catch impromptu jam sessions around town. For more information on B& Bs and lodging, visit The 38th Annual Cloverdale Fiddle Festival is the major fund raiser for the Cloverdale Historical Society, Historic Gould-Shaw House & History Center. It is brought to you by this year’s major Cloverdale Historical Society P.O. Box 628 Cloverdale, CA 95425 501-(C) (3) Corporation Tax I.D. #68-0047998 (707) 894-2067 sponsor, Lagunitas Brewing Company and by the generous support of sponsors, supporters and volunteers. For more information visit or call the Society office at 894-2067 or email The Cloverdale Old Time Fiddle Festival will be held on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5, 2013 from 9am to 6pm at the Citrus Fairgrounds, Citrus Fair Drive, in Cloverdale, CA, just north of Healdsburg. Tickets are available at the door. No advance ticket sales. Tickets are $13 per day or $25 for both days. RV hook-ups are available by reservation. Genre: Fiddle Contest, Old Time and Bluegrass performances by familiar and new performers from across the country.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *