BAIT & SWITCH ARENA-STYLE
The grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to rescind what the Point Arena School Board did when, I believe, they incorrectly defeased the bond. They will, however, be requesting the next grand jury to investigate the process of school district bond funds in general. It seems the taxpayers within the Point Arena School District are not the only ones with this particular problem. The foreperson of the grand jury went on to inform me the district may keep some bond funds to pay auditing fees who oversee the bond until there is no money remaining in the fund.
In January of 2011, in spite of my objections (since bond funds were remaining) Superintendent Cross disbanded to Bond Oversight Committee (BOC) informing me there was no reason for them to remain since the bond was being defeased (retired). However, due to a recent audit stating: “To comply with Education Code section 15282 and to effectively monitor the Measure E projects, the Citizens' Oversight Committee needs to remain in existence until the completion of the Measure E Bond Program,” Cross then reinstated the BOC.
I informed the foreperson, I definitely understand if what she explained to me was what is happening in Point Arena but it is not. Bond funds will be used for “fencing and sealing/striping asphalt/playground costing $35,842 leaving a balance of approximately $25,000 for other projects.” As of March 6, 2013, there was a balance in the fund of approximately $60,981.98.
In January 2011, the BOC and the School Board Members were informed by Cross that remaining funds of $82,619 were going to be left in the Bond Fund “to complete the Arena/Middle School cafeteria's covered walkway to provide weather protection for students.” Obviously, this wasn't factual or they wouldn't be able to do all of the above and still have remaining funds.
The taxpayers were taken for a ride by Cross, the BOC and the School Board. The Committee and the Board should have insisted that Cross return all funds remaining in the bond to the taxpayers “in good faith” for what they didn’t receive. To this day I don't understand why they did not but who will hold them accountable for not doing it?
It is obvious this bond was bound to fail because of the lack of leadership within our school district.
Arena Union received their science instructional lab, library/media facility as well as a dining/community hall. I am happy the students did receive this, but what did the taxpayers who voted for a K-5 elementary school in Gualala get? NADA! Sorry, I'm wrong they did receive a huge tax bill to pay for what they did not receive!
Suzanne L. Rush
FESS UP, WINE PEOPLE
The March 13 AVA article on flow rates for the Navarro and their impact to salmonids was to a point informative yet a bit shallow and the conclusion that marijuana production is at fault for the declines I think rather emotionally derived. Certainly we cannot blame the wine mob for the situation completely but they shouldn't get a free pass. By far, historically, the major negative impact to the Navarro River has been the invasion by the Whiteman and his three livelihood undertakings of agriculture, animal husbandry and logging. The major battering to the fishery having happened long before pot, or wine for that matter crept in and what we are now talking about is trying to save the last few remaining fish.
Whiteman, as a whole, most certainly does continue to be the major impact. And for sure there are some detriments from the local underground grows, but give me a break, with over three thousand acres of wine grapes using an acre-foot or two per acre of vine the clandestine grow scene can not possibly come close to that usage. An acre-foot is a heck of a lot of water.
Let me give you an example. Go to Google Maps and zoom in on Boonville, the west side of downtown. I proffer that this is one of the denser marijuana grow areas. From Boontberry along the north side of Highway 128 to the bridge over Anderson Creek, maybe an eighth of a mile, with a keen eye you should be able to count at least eighteen surreptitious marijuana gardens, some larger than others but all of them quite tiny. Now zoom back out to where you can see all of downtown Boonville from Hwy 253 on the east to 1/4 mile west of town. I didn't count the number of vineyards but it is solid 40 acre after 40 acre vineyard with eight multi-acre-foot ponds to accommodate them. You might prefer wine to marijuana but by shear volume alone you cannot compare to water usage and push the blame for lost fish on the latter.
Other issues left out of the article would include the impact on fish reproduction from siltation, again, another result of our modern presence, logging and watershed disruption by livestock. Or the effects of what I call subsurface accumulation by the vineyards where they lay down a gridwork of French drains before planting the vines that captures most of the water on its percolation journey down to replenish the groundwater aquifers that feed the springs that throughout the summer non-rainy months feed the creeks and river. When the groundwater drops so does the river flows and all of this vineyard taking of water is completely invisible and apparently unmentionable by the industry.
IT’S THE WATER
A while back when I read in the AVA about the upcoming workshop organized by the Navarro River Resource Center (congrats, Linda and Patty!) I was schoolboy thrilled. What an excellent way to raise the issues of industrial-sized water use and its relationship to the declining numbers of salmon and steelhead. Wish I could have been there.
Of course I was skeptical, too, having spent 40 years watching the fish disappear and—I’ll use the cliché—knowing that extinction is forever. Having done plenty reforestation, creek restoration and soil conservation work, I know how easy it’d be to bring these foundational species back from the brink, which makes their likely demise all the more disheartening and aggravating. Complacency only becomes possible after one shuts his or her eyes to possibility.
The 3/13 AVA just arrived in our mailbox (hadn’t had a post office on a stick since I fled the city in the winter ’73). Just finished reading Thom Elkjer’s excellent review of the proceedings and I was grinning so much I let my morning coffee got cold. I’m always grateful to read a piece of journalism illuminated by a writer’s firm grasp on the subject—especially on an issue that’s so dear to my heart. So bravo, Thom, and keep it up.
Also enjoyed hearing from Glenn McGourty, Mendo’s Ag. Advisor. Thought he’d be retired by now. While over the years he’s taken some criticism in these pages, never any from me. In 1989, the absentee boss of the horse ranch I was working bought 60 acres of beaten down and eroded sheep pasture located across from Jack’s Valley Store. My boss wanted to convert 40 acres into dry land hay fields/spring horse pastures and he wanted to grow the best crop we could get. I turned to Glenn, he came out for a look-see, then left me with a plan from A to Z. With my bosses’ permission, I followed each of his instructions and, come spring, the land had disappeared beneath a quilt of clovers and the weed-free mixed grasses (#1 horse salad) topped out at five feet. We harvested 3,700 two-strand bales that first year and, with the help of a little dry season rain, the stubble stayed green deep into August.
Now anytime you trust somebody enough to follow his or her advice and it pays off in spades, what’s to feel but gratitude?
Still, while Glen’s study of vineyard water use is a welcome starting point, it’s not scientific and shouldn’t be called that. No voluntary survey can be scientific. For one thing, wise crooks keep their mouths shut. For another, when evaluating their own individual virtues, people tend to highball them; when discussing their personal vices, they lowball. So it is that when a doctor asks a wheezy patient how many cigarettes he or she smoke per day, not one in ten is going to exaggerate the number. And so, even with the upward adjustments made, Glen’s figure of 3,000 acre feet of public water diverted to private vineyards per year (at present) is highly suspect.
Since I don’t think most people know how much water a single acre foot represents, here’s an illustration. Last September Linda Mac Elwee saw the Navarro River’s water gauge registering less than 1 cubic foot per second. That figure, I’d venture to say, except during periods of extreme and prolonged drought, is the lowest the Navarro River has run since the end of the last Ice Age. Now take that inch-deep, warm and turgid trickle of Navarro River water and confine it to a flume 12” wide and 12” deep. Tilt the flume so it pours out one cubic foot per second. At that rate it’d take 73 hours for the flume to run through an acre foot of water. In order to contain it, the flume would hafta be a bit over 8 miles long.
Also, while pointing out that the key measure of the health of the river comes in September, Thom overlooked the fact that most vineyards are irrigating, and over-irrigating, all summer long and that plenty of them are, either literally or in effect, pumping out of the river and the creeks. The creeks are the visible parts of the water table, and the water table affects the amount of water running off into the waterways. Thom does speculate on whether the industrial-sized pot gardens supposedly hiding out in the canyons above the river are depleting the water and so—we all occasionally make this mistake—he’s focusing on the mouse while forgetting about the elephant.
Regarding Mendocino Redwood Company’s creek restoration efforts along the North Fork: what’s taking them so long? After 5 years they’re only “making progress?” With all of the heavy equipment and people they’ve got laying around, they could take a bit of it and do what needs doing not just along the North Fork but also along the South Branch and have it done in a single season. Also, while MRC has got to be more environmentally friendly than Masonite and LP/GP were, that ain’t saying much. In fact, in light of all of the money they’re spending poisoning tan oaks (you talk about mass-producing kindling for firestorms) I wonder if, as with their predecessors, MRC is spending more money advertising their good deeds than they are performing them. In fact, given MRC’s vast capital reserves, if they were really community-minded, forward-looking and serious about leaving their land (and the planet) in better shape than when they bought it, they wouldn’t poison the tanoaks (their proliferation is the direct result of the massive clear-cuts done in the 1970s and 80s) but harvest them. On the site of their shuttered lumber mill in Philo, they’d build an electrical power plant fueled by scrubbed bio-mass, create jobs, help liberate the community from price-gouging PG and E and, not the least, prove themselves to be true 21st Century environmental heroes. Imagine what that would do for their public image.
One more thing: when it comes to restoring the fishery, the single most important (and easiest) thing that can be done is to uncork the river mouth in the fall the way it used to be before the State made it verboten. Better yet, and for a song and prayer, the river mouth could be dredged from the high tide line out past the north point where the ocean floor drops off and current takes over. After dredging there’d be no more crowds of seals gathering every fall to feast on the trapped salmon and steelhead and, since so much of the water needed by the fish has disappeared under the mud, silt and fine gravels washed into the water course by man-made erosion, dredging would allow future gully-washing rain storms to do what they’re supposed to do. The way sticking a finger into the face of a sand dune causes a mini-landslide that climbs and widens with time, so it’d be with the river.
Remember, having raised the issue, all involved should take great pleasure in solving it. So keep your eyes on the prize, your chins up and go head on.
ANATOMY OF A PLEA BARGAIN
Just whose side are you on?
It was once said that the state would provide an attorney for Americans who could not afford one. Shall we call them attorneys or smoothovers? Is the attorney's goal winning cases or to come to a plea deal before trial? Many people might not know this but attorneys sign a pledge with the State Bar to most always plead cases out. How do they do this? In all cases they use fear and threats! Cases are like a chess game and they can change with every move. Things happen. Witnesses don't show up. Attorneys withhold discovery and threaten you with every maximum sentence and all enhancements in strikable offenses that they can. The attorneys know that these charges are not valid. I have seen cases where attorneys come in all fired up and build your hopes up to win your case. You feel you have been charged wrongly while your attorney is picking through and pulling out everything he or she can to seal your fate. A jury trial is a big step for most people to put five, 10, 15 or even 20 years of your life in other people's hands and these are people who the DA, with your attorney's help, will only show the jury the bad things of your life. I mean if the District Attorney lets the jury know what a good person you are, he could lose. Jury trials cost $40,000 or more, sometimes in the $100,000 range. So please believe me when I say attorneys are not at the jail saying to inmates, Let's take this to trial. There is no money for that and they would lose their jobs. So it's job security for them to plead their clients out before trial. So the next time you think about America, “the land of the free,” and “rights to a fair trial,” just remember my words!
I was arrested on a kidnapping charge which has been dropped, but I was threatened with 25 to Life and no deal was on the table until one week before the jury trial and many many lies from the alleged victims. My codefendant, Rachelle Sutherland, was released from jail yesterday to await sentencing for probation violation. This was a skilled chess move by the District Attorney. Without it he was facing two attorneys at trial. Now he faces Stephen J. Antler who told his client — me — twice — that I was making him angry for not accepting the District Attorney's offer. So James Gator Lawson is no longer considered the alleged Fort Bragg kidnapper. He looks to face a jury trial on March 27 with an angry attorney and no witnesses because Rachelle Sutherland will not be eligible to testify until after her sentencing and other witnesses have come and gone and shown up for court only to be told come back another day. Those people also have lives and sometimes it is on impossible to be in court at the beck and call of the court. But Lawson will face the jury with only three things: himself, the truth and a prayer that the jury will see through the alleged victims' inconsistent lies and look upon his consistent truth. So I ask you, does all of this make the trial fair or a man guilty? Gator thinks not.
James Gator Lawson
Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah
Attached: E-mail from District Attorney Tim Stoen to Steven Antler, Subject: Lawson and Sutherland-revised offer
This is a revised offer to deal with the open and VOP cases. Is also a revised offer to change the Lawson offer to require a false imprisonment felony charge (nonstrike) and a misdemeanor assault charge, none of which would add to the three years stipulated local time state prison sentence and to dismiss the vandalism count on condition of Harvey waiver for restitution. (Prosecutor) Heidi Larson will be appearing for me this coming Monday, March 18, so I am sending her this offer in case your clients wish to change their pleas at that time.
Revised review and offer:
We are scheduled for jury trial this month, on March 27. I have reviewed the file including the medical records and am willing to make the following offer which must be excepted by the MIL date of March 25. The defendants currently face the following felony charges based on the preliminary examination:
Lawson: Assault with a deadly weapon, metal bar, on Jacobson; assault with a deadly weapon, rock, on Jacobsen; false imprisonment on Scheurich and Jacobson; criminal threat to both victims; vandalism as to Scheurich.
Sutherland: False imprisonment on both victims; criminal threat to both victims.
The defendants have the following additional charges:
Lawson: Probation violation, open misdemeanor complaint.
Sutherland: Open petty theft from Rite-Aid in 2012.Violation of probation in 2010, open vandalism, graffiti, in 2012, violation of probation in 2012, drunk in public.
Defense offers so far: Mr. Pekin on behalf of Sutherland has offered 236, felony probation (credit for time served 6-1/2 months so far.)
Rationale for my offers: the crimes charged were multiple and they were continuing (12 hours). All of this requires two felonies on the record of both at least one being a strike. Since Lawson was the more serious offender it requires a stipulated three years local state prison whereas Sutherland will be granted probation but with whatever additional jail time is recommended by probation.
My offer, this is not a global offer:
Lawson: Plead to felony criminal threat, stipulated three years local prison (he would be out in approximately one year with credits). This is a strike. Plead to felony false imprisonment with stipulated concurrent sentence same as above (this is a nonstrike felony); plead to either assault count reduced under 17(b) to a misdemeanor with Harvey Waiver as to the other assault count, sentence to be concurrent with above. Harvey Waiver to the vandalism count for restitution; count will be dismissed. People dismiss all charges in the other two cases. Refer case to probation; if probation or Judge do not accept deal, plea can be withdrawn of course.
Sutherland: plead to felony criminal threat, NISP, leave up to probation as to CJ term (credit for time served for whatever time already served would obviously be credited to that CJ term); this is a felony strike. Plead to felony false imprisonment (a nonstrike felony), NISP, concurrent sentence with above, Harvey restitution to Scheurich for medical treatment for injuries occurring during course of false imprisonment. Plead to petty theft charge, with a sentence of one day CJ concurrent. This would be a separate new two-year summary probation case. Plead to graffiti charge with a term of probation she pay for restitution costs; this would be a joint probation with the above petty theft case. People will dismiss the remaining cases against her and agree to each of those provisions to be terminated as unsuccessful. Entire set of cases to be referred to Probation for report and recommendation.
COSTCO: BAD FOR UKIAH
To the Editor:
Unlike last year's battle to keep Walmart from expanding and threatening the economic future of the city of Ukiah and its residents, the ongoing drive by the city, represented by the City Council, to build a giant Costco superstore at the end of Airport Blvd. seems like a headless juggernaut that has become unstoppable, despite some serious problems such as traffic and air quality which cannot be mitigated.
The City Council, governing a Ukiah already in debt, has, I believe unwisely, voted to borrow another $4 million with which it trusts it can resolve the present traffic problems at the Talmage/101 interchange and the Talmage/Airport Blvd. intersection which the EIR correctly concedes is unmitigatable should Costco be built as planned, even taking into consideration the proposed changes.
One of the key problems with Costco's proposal is its plan to build 16 self-service gas pumps, with an option to build four more in an area that threatens the adjacent wetlands. Given the projected rise in gas prices, the presence of those gas pumps alone with their lower than market rates is guaranteed to create traffic jams along Airport Blvd. that will come to resemble the gas lines during the 1973 oil embargo. One does not need to be a rocket scientist or a climate expert to know what that will do to the level of air quality not only in the Redwood Business Park area but in nearby neighborhoods. Imagine also what that will do to the other already existing businesses in Redwood Park. Costco requires neither the gas pumps nor the planned tire center to make a profit. Both are apparently seen as loss leaders, particularly the former, to induce people to purchase Costco memberships and thereby upping their profits on in-store merchandise.
It's obviously a good business plan for Costco, but is it good for the people of Ukiah? Not at all, and it would be hard to make an argument that it is. Eliminating the gas pumps and the tire center from the project would serve to mitigate some of the problems that are sure to be created with the proposal as it now stands. Not to do so is to invite disaster.
Bypassing the Issue —
Where are the Willits Bypass bandwagon protesters while bulldozers blade thousands of miles of destructive roads throughout the mountains of this county? Who is stepping in front of the big yellow cats as they flatten the tops of ridges and terrace the hillsides for grow scenes, sending piles of sediment into our streams and rivers? Why haven’t there been cries of outrage as outsiders have raped and pillaged this beautiful land in the greedy pursuit of cash and materialistic gain?
I don't want to see an expansion of a highway system that supports our addiction to petroleum, but Highway 101 Willits is a nightmare. Cal Trans should try to get the polluting diesel trucks out of the stop-and-go traffic of downtown Willits.
The Willits bypass seems like a big wasteful project, but Cal Trans must go through every legal, bureaucratic, engineering, and environmental hoop in the book to get a project like this off the ground. On the other hand, Cowboy Cat Drivers, many of whom are unregulated, unscrupulous, and unaccountable, are doing the dirty work of big time growers, who are leaving sections of this county and region with a legacy of pollution, sedimentation, and scarred landscapes. This is all being done in the name of the cannabis industry, to which so many in this county are indebted. It’s much more convenient to turn a blind eye to the annual assault and destruction of rural Mendocino County, and instead put the focus on a Cal Trans project. After all, Cal Trans is the Man, and we'd rather fight the Man instead of the “entrepreneurs” who come and take our resources and leave us with their trash.
We should all acknowledge the protesters for standing up for what they believe will make a better tomorrow, and please, let’s not forget about the every-day destruction of our forests, valleys and riparian corridors that dwarfs the impact of the Willits bypass.
Northern Mendocino County
NO DAMN PIPELINE
Dick Cheney is offering his ranch in Wyoming to route the XL pipeline south to Texas. Romney said it's fine with him if it comes through his Tabernacle yard in Salt Lake City on its way. G.W. Bush is on board also offering passage through his gated community in Dallas.
The builders of the pipeline had a spill in Michigan that was kept very quiet as it only ruptured into a river that empties into the Great Lake of the same name and frustrated the attempted cleanup by sinking in the water rather than floating as non-tar sands oil will do.
You see, tar sands are very abrasive, wearing through metal very quickly, especially when moving under pressure.
And when it ruptures (and it will) it is going to employ many people to clean it up. Think Exxon-Valdez in Prudhoe Bay, not the kind of work that's fun or easy.
No damn pipeline. Let Canada deal with it!
Fool on the Hill
I've got to agree with Alex Rohrbaugh in his recent letter about the amazing statement by Phil Baldwin about possibly involving the city of Ukiah in the ruins of the Palace Hotel. I guess he was quoted as saying something about 60% of the people in Ukiah want to see the Palace rebuilt, so... What exactly that has to do with the price of beans I have no idea; that same percentage of people probably believe in angels too, but that does not change the reality of what may or may not be economically feasible.
I have long believed that the Palace is simply too far gone for there to be any possibility of an economically rational reconstruction of it. If it made economic sense to have such a building there, the simplest, least expensive and certainly most structurally sound solution would be to raze it and build a modern steel frame structure, perhaps reusing the same brick for the façade; it could be made to look exactly the way it looks now, but with a modern seismic structure. Of course, it would cost eight or $10 million, I imagine, probably about the same as rebuilding what is there now, and good luck finding an investor to put up that kind of money in a town like Ukiah, with as many empty storefronts as we have here.
No, the only sensible solution today is the one originally suggested, years ago, by local legal elder statesman Jared Carter, who suggested that the city condemn it and tear it down at public expense, then put a lien on the property for that cost (which would probably zero out the value of the parcel), then put in a public parking lot for the downtown. If, years down the line, someone comes forward with a worthwhile project and the money to build it, the city could sell it to them at that point.
Any work performed on that building in its present form is simply money thrown down the drain; it WILL eventually be torn down.
PS. This thing with the Willits bypass, to me, is kind of an indicator for whether or not people accept the basic ideas of democracy. I mean, though many of our institutions have failed us miserably in recent decades; departments of education who seem to try to impede the educational process, Department of Labor that is openly hostile to labor, financial regulatory agencies who are in bed with the folks that they are supposed to be policing, etc. Nevertheless, in theory at least, we, as a society, have set up all kinds of agencies; Fish and Game, Water Quality, Air Resources, etc. whose job it is to make sure that any and all projects take all these things into consideration before they are approved.
After at least 40 years of planning, during which time all of the relevant agencies have had plenty of opportunity to make sure that the Willits bypass is designed in the least harmful possible way, once the long-awaited highway funds finally come through, and they are ready to break ground, suddenly hundreds of folks who had never seen the inside of a meeting room during 40 years of planning suddenly become self-appointed highway design experts, telling Caltrans how wrong they are about everything.
There is a reason why California has such high land values compared to most of the country; it is these very planning and regulating agencies that we, in a democratic system, have created, to prevent willy-nilly sprawling development everywhere, and make sure that things that are built make some kind of sense. It is this acceptance of citizenship in a democracy that it seems to me is being rejected by these folks, who, I think, have more in common with an insurgency, like true believers in 'the party', in this case, the idea of green-ness ubber alles.
I may be cynical about many public departments and agencies, but it seems like Caltrans and all of the California regulatory agencies that had to sign off on this project are well-intentioned, non-corrupted and basically doing the job that each was designed to do. For god’s sake, let them do their job; the whole North Coast needs this piece of infrastructure, and it would be a boon to Willits as well. I think that even today's naysayers will have to admit that once it is done.
HERE COMES SANTA MOVIE
So the movies come to AV in April. In fact the fairgrounds is already filling up. I think that this is a wonderful thing, almost on a par with the World Music Festival. It will bring people to Boonville who will buy coffee and then want to use the bathroom! One market in Boonville has already cleared a wide path for them.
I understand that a large number of fake cop-cars have been trucked in. I suppose these will be destroyed during filming. If so, I think that this represents an amazing use of American talent. But more about this later.
They will be closing down many roads, but because fog or rain or night might interrupt their schedule, we really do not know when they will be closing what roads.
BUT, never mind. This is the movies, and we are well versed with the roads being closed. CalTrans will hardly let us have one day a week to move freely. Remember the CalTrans MOTTO: “Wherever you drive in California, CalTrans will be there blocking the road.”
So, friends, just never mind that this seems to be driven down our throats, rejoice that the movies are coming to town, have your septic tank pumped, and sit back and try to relax. The Highway Patrol will be out in force, enabling
speeding and wild driving, while stopping us from using our roads.
I do think that this is a wonderful chance to show our young people how to behave.
25 years ago, I was the managing editor of the News-Times of Danbury, a local newspaper that circulates in Newtown, Connecticut, and that has been covering the town for more than a century, alongside the Newtown Bee. My wife, Jacqueline Smith, is the current managing editor, and she helped direct coverage of the massacre of twenty students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She supervised the reporters writing about those who died. They composed dignified, beautifully written profiles of the children and their teachers. When a young reporter called my wife from a mourning Newtown neighborhood and shakily related how a man had yelled at her, called her names, and told her to get out, her editor reminded her of the paper's obligation to inform tens of thousands of readers of the who, what, when, where, and why of the story.
When you are the local paper, the responsibility to serve your readers is heightened, because you know — as the national and international media that must parachute in do not — that the local paper will still be here, still reporting on the community so shaken. Journalists should not harass but inquire; they seek the truth, or what is as close to the truth as they can get. If you choose to be a first responder in law enforcement or emergency services, God bless you.
If you choose to be a storyteller, God bless you. Just as firefighters and EMTs must, a newspaper's first responders in storytelling must hold at bay all the terrible emotions and go about their jobs as professionally as possible.
James H. Smith
I was pleased to see Bruce Patterson bring up the idea of MRC generating power rather than poisoning our environment. I've recently been urging the folks at Mendocino Redwood Company (and our Board of Supervisors) to pursue a similar course. MRC could start the process by simply installing a small generator at their Ukiah mill (like many other lumber mills already do).
To give an idea of the scope of this local situation, here's some round figures. One cord of tanoak yields 27.5 million BTUs, or the same amount of energy as 300 gallons of propane. Annually, MRC poisons over 5,000 acres of forest: more than a million trees. That represents over 200,000 cords of hardwood, containing almost six trillion BTUs. It would take more than 60 million gallons of propane to generate the same amount of energy.
A couple bonus points. Burning wood is carbon neutral, part of the natural carbon cycle on our planet (unlike fossil fuels, which perniciously continue adding carbon to the atmosphere). Tanoak, like redwood, readily sprouts back after being cut, making it a rather ideal renewable source of cleaner energy, if properly managed.
With this one decision, we can stop this wholesale steady poisoning of our local environment, reduce greenhouse emissions, eliminate the need for other environmental disasters (such as fracking and nuclear), and help speed our transition to solar, wind, and hydro.
Fred Gardner's article on “dabbing” (“Year of the Concentrate,” AVA, 3/20/13) points out a growing concern about health impacts of breathing toxic residue inhaled from the process of “dabbing.” It is largely a youthful recreational phenomenon seeking a stronger high. It requires gadgets and a torch and lighter fluid to vaporize a concentrated oil. Not many patients are likely to go to the trouble it takes to light a torch and heat a tiny dab on a nail.
Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather has cautioned that butane and other toxic solvents may leave residue on the concentrated cannabis oil inhaled by dabbers even though most of it evaporates off, and also that metals that seem inert may flake off unseen particles with the dab.
I totally agree with O'Shaughnessy's editorial decision to break the dab story ("Use of Dabs Gaining Popularity” O'S, Winter 2013) and be forthright in reporting potential harm from a chemical process used to increase THC potency of the plant. Butane, hexane and other solvents are highly flammable, as well as unhealthy to inhale. We would be remiss to hide these truths.
What about the butane we inhale every time we flick a ubiquitous Bic to light a joint or a pipe? Are there health impacts from thousands of butane hits from the lighter fluid in the Bic over long periods of time? Would Dr. Hergenrather also caution against use of standard lighters to spark up pipes, joints, bongs next to our nostrils breathing miniscule amounts of butane with every flame?
PS. Fred Gardner adds: Lester Grinspoon advises against the use of lighters for just that reason.
PUT CRAIG IN
Hey, let’s play a game.
Whereas I am once more sending out messages to the Washington DC region, asking for shelter so that I may go there for the purpose of participating in direct action for the planet earth and peace & justice, and whereas I am receiving nothing whatsoever from anybody, and the situation is becoming intolerably aggravating and stupid, let's play a game!
The game is to determine what the hell is the matter with the postmodern American mind.
While you are doing that, I want you to go find at least one person in the Washington DC area who would be excited to have me there.
I have until April 15th to leave the winter shelter at the Oakland Army Base. Of course, if you decide to get spiritually intelligent with me, I could leave soon and be useful in the belly of confusion in the district right away. Isn't that what you want?
Please forward this out to all of your friends; hey, stick it up Facebook's ass ;-)
Craig Louis Stehr
THE WILLITS FIASCO
To the Editor:
Again I read of the idiotic goings on with the Willits bypass. Some 50 years ago when I worked in Willits a fellow member of the Willits Toastmasters and a CalTrans employee gave a talk telling us of the CalTrans plans for a bypass of Willits with at that time a freeway such as passed Ukiah.
This many decades long, multi-agency, undertaking has become something akin to what Lewis Carroll, of Alice in Wonderland fame, would dream up. Among the multi-agencies (you guess how many plus the latest, CalFire) and side characters I haven't decided which fits the title of Jabberwocky. There are more than one that fit the bill.
If CalTrans and the State had a couple public meetings, considered the valid input, and made hard common sense decisions and were able to stay out of the courts, the project would be there now. If they could have started construction before 1970 the cost would be pennies on the dollar compared to what has been spent to date on studies, engineering and re-engineering, agency on the ground time, consultants, attorneys, and the unproductive continuing meetings of all involved.
Now a two-lane highway that is outrageously expensive is the plan and it is obsolete. I blame the series of bozos we as voters have sent to Sacramento and Washington who have enacted legislation that created the bureaucratic zoo that seems to guide our every activity. These politicos have catered to any special interest that would fill their coffers and get them reelected and who would make the most noise for the media without any consideration of the unintended consequences. They failed to monitor the bureaucracy that expanded the original intent of the legislation with help of lawyers and the courts. The end result is a system that is bogged down almost beyond repair.
So where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine as the bypass fiasco goes on at ultimately the taxpayers cost.
William F. Smith