Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: September 4, 2013

IT COULD HAPPEN HERE! The Albany County (New York) sheriff says a 50-year-old man is dead after being nearly decapitated by a wire he had strung on his property to protect a marijuana crop from intruders. Sheriff Craig Apple said the man was driving an all-terrain vehicle in his backyard Saturday afternoon when he ran into the nearly invisible wire. Apple said there also were other fortifications including barbed wire and a leg-hold trap. The sheriff said alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the accident. The man's name hasn't been released.


A DISEMBODIED hand apparently connected to the Mendocino County Superior Court has written a press release saying that a disembodied voice  “announced last week the election of new Presiding Judge David E. Nelson, who will take office Jan. 1. He was elected by his judicial colleagues to serve in the role. Judge John A. Behnke will serve as the new assistant presiding judge. Both judges will serve two-year terms. Judge Nelson will replace Judge Richard J. Henderson as presiding judge.”

“Judge Henderson has provided strong and steady leadership for our court during difficult financial times,” Nelson said. “We are grateful to him.” We are? You may be, Judge, but the rest of us could care less. Judge Nelson will lead the court's nine (count 'em) judicial officers in the supervision of the Superior Court's activities within the two-branch court with its 59 employees, the largest judicial presence in the state in proportion to Mendocino County's sparse population. Presiding Judge-elect David Nelson was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 2003 and has been elected twice since then. Judge Nelson spent three years as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County. He moved to Mendocino County in 1974 and opened his own practice in Ukiah in 1975. Nelson is a past president of the Mendocino County Bar Association, a collection of annual binge drinkers, and the Mendocino County Criminal Defense Bar Association. Judge Nelson has presided over criminal cases and is currently assigned to hear juvenile matters and serves on the court's executive committee. He is married to Judith Fuente and they have two grown children. Judge Behnke was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 and elected to an additional term in 2008. Judge Behnke is a 1971 graduate of Lawrence University and a 1977 graduate of the McGeorge School of Law. Judge Behnke served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan from 1971 to 1973. He served as a deputy district attorney in Mendocino County throughout 1978 and 1979 before entering a local private practice. The last 21 years of his private practice were with the civil firm of Carter, Behnke, Oglesby and Bacik. Judge Behnke and his wife Marie have three grown children.”


THE SENATE RESOLUTION authorizing President Barack Obama to use military force against Syria would bar American ground troops for combat operations and set a deadline for any action. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the draft resolution that the Foreign Relations Committee will vote on Wednesday. The measure would set a time limit of 60 days and says the president could extend that for 30 days more unless Congress has a vote of disapproval. Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the committee, and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican, agreed on the measure late Tuesday. (Courtesy, AP)


ON-LINE STATEMENT of the day: “Ain't it strange that the only time we can forge a consensus in Congress is when the position is diametrically opposed to what most Americans, and the rest of the world want. These bozos in Washington are mindless and spineless. Run, don't walk away from Syria, and for that matter, all of the middle east.”


ANOTHER ON-LINE COMMENT of the correct-thinking type:

"There is no scenario in which attacking Syria with missiles or bombers improves its situation.”

Several commenters suggest this is madness: I agree.

I hope the missile-strike does not go forward.

But, if it does, I foresee it doing further damage to our Nation's reputation throughout the world, and speeding the end of the political careers of all who support it.

This is the textbook definition of “hubris” — extreme pride or arrogance.

“Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.”


THE REDDING RECORD SEARCHLIGHT reports that today’s Siskiyou county supervisor meeting in Yreka was packed full of those in support of separating themselves from the rest of the state. Also in attendance was a staff member serving congressman Doug LaMalfa — who represents that district — who spoke in favor of secession. In the end, the board voted 4-1 in favor of pursuing such an idea.



by Daniel Mintz

The effects of Garberville’s transient population are said to have reached a critical point and merchants have appealed to the Board of Supervisors for help in dealing with a variety of social problems related to homelessness.

But short of infusing the Sheriff’s Office with money for deputies, supervisors had no immediate ideas for responding to the complaints and a Sheriff’s Office official said resources are too limited for foot patrols.

Garberville business owners described incidents of harassment, health and safety threats and confrontational behavior during the public comment session of the August 27 supervisors meeting.

Blake Lehman, owner of Lehman Real Estate Appraising on Redwood Drive, told supervisors that “I’m sick of watching my community turn into a cesspool — the transient population in Garberville and Redway is completely out of hand.”

An under-staffed Sheriff’s Office is struggling with the situation, Lehman continued, and he said residents and visitors are dealing with ongoing serious impacts.

“We’ve got human feces, dog feces, garbage on our public lands and in our water sources,” he said, adding that community fire departments are impacted by transient-related 911 calls and fires in transient camps and Jerold Phelps Community Hospital provides unpaid medical care to transients.

“It’s physically and mentally exhausting — we’re losing our tourists and they’re not coming back,” Lehman continued. He said open use of drugs and alcohol, “vomit and other bodily fluids in public places” and the recent parvo canine virus epidemic are health and safety threats caused by transients.

“Our town’s filthy because of this population,” he said.

Lehman gave supervisors photographs documenting the problems he described. He asked that the county boost its funding of the Sheriff’s Office and direct it to “legally and effectively” remove transient camps.

His portrayal of the situation was backed up by Charlotte Silverstein, owner of The Garden of Beadin’ and Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt President Shon Wellborn and vice president Sharon Toborg.

They gave accounts of repelled tourists, confrontational loiterers and an atmosphere of social decline.

Supervisor Estelle Fennell said the situation is “really, really troubling — I can attest to that.” She asked Sheriff’s Office Operations Lieutenant George Cavinta to talk about it and he said policing resources are limited but there have been enforcement actions at some camps.

Cavinta said the same issues are being dealt with in Willow Creek and other areas. “It doesn’t have to be said that we have a harvest moon coming real soon and things get a lot worse in the next couple of months and we’re ready to step to that the best we can,” he told supervisors, referring to imminent marijuana harvests and the trimming work that attracts homeless travelers.

When Fennell asked about assigning foot patrols to Garberville, Cavinta said “resources are limited and our officers are responding call to call.”

The Garberville Sheriff’s Substation is staffed by Sergeant Ken Swithenbank and Cavinta said that “all too often, now, he’s running out to Shelter Cove and up to Alderpoint and other areas to respond to calls for service.”

Foot patrol capacity is “very limited,” Cavinta continued, as deputies are needed for call responses to the outlying areas.

Supervisor Rex Bohn said struggling with the impacts and behavior of homeless people seems to be a widespread trend. He read from news reports on how mentally-ill and drug-addicted homeless people are increasingly causing problems in Redding, Ukiah and Grants Pass, Oregon.

“The problem is so deep-rooted, with drug abuse and the mental health issues … we have so many services out there that deal with it but it doesn’t seem like we’re getting anywhere with it,” said Bohn.

Fennell said what’s happening in Garberville is indeed a health and safety issue and she pledged that supervisors will “do whatever we can to make something work here.”



by Dan Bacher

The Delta Stewardship Council Wednesday released what it described as a “clean” version of the Final Delta Plan, a controversial document now being contested in seven lawsuits by diverse parties ranging from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe to the Westlands Water District.

“A clean version of the Final Delta Plan, including an Executive Summary, easy to read text, informative graphics, and decorative photographs, is available for review and downloading by clicking,” the Council proclaimed.

So does that mean that the previous version of the plan was “dirty,” as in obscene, corrupt, poorly written, ill-conceived and driven by dirty corporate money?

Apparently, the “clean” the Council is referring to is the “cleaning up” of the documents that previously featured a lot of crossed out and added on language.

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and a board member of both the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) and Restore the Delta, wasn't impressed by the “clean” documents.

“The Council can put all of the lipstick they can on the pig, but it is still a pig, a plan that perpetuates the status quo,” Jennings quipped. “The plan will not reach either of the coequal goals of restoring the Delta or providing water supply reliability.”

The same Delta Stewardship Council website lists a number of “stakeholders” gushing about the “wonderful” Delta Plan. However a quick review of the web page proclaiming “What they’re saying about the Delta Plan” displays comments only from pro-peripheral tunnel politicians, water contractors and NGOs.

Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinbeg, Ellen Hanak, Sr. Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, Tim Quinn, the Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agency, Dave Zelzulak of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and others opine about the “glories” of the terminally flawed Delta Plan. (

Steinberg, who was responsible for pushing through the Legislature the water policy/water bond creating a clear path to the construction of the peripheral tunnels, claims, “The Delta Plan moves the state into the 21st Century of sustainable water management.”

Actually, the Delta Plan relies on outdated 19th Century “solutions” led by the peripheral tunnel plan to export northern California water to corporate agribusiness and oil companies looking to expand fracking in California.

Jennings added, “Relying on these politicians and water contractors to drum up support for the Delta Plan is like Richard Nixon’s cabinet members advising him to not worry about the Watergate hulabaloo – it will be all right.”

“It is also akin to King George’s advisers telling him not to worry about that little revolt in the colonies,” Jennings noted.

The seven separate lawsuits challenging the Delta Plan include one by Westlands Water District; another one by the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, AquAlliance, Restore the Delta, Friends of the River and Center for Biological Diversity; and yet another one by the North Coast Rivers Alliance, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Associations and Winnemem Wintu (McCloud River) Tribe. (

The City of Stockton; Save the Delta Alliance; Central Delta Water Agency, South Delta Water Agency, Local Agencies of the North Delta and Lafayette Ranch Inc.; and the State Water Contactors are also suing the Council over the plan.

“The Delta Plan violates CEQA in ten different ways,” explained Mike Jackson, attorney for C-WIN, Restore the Delta, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and AquAlliance. “It fails to achieve the co-equal goals of Delta ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability established by the Act.”

Jackson said the plan ignored three critical documents they were obligated to use: a State Water Resources Control Board water flow recommendation; a Department of Fish and Wildlife report on biological objectives for Delta fish and wildlife species; and the Delta Protection Commission’s economic sustainability report. “In all three cases, the documents were inconvenient to the approval of the tunnels,” he noted.

Yet in spite of the seven lawsuits and widespread opposition to the poorly conceived and written Delta Plan, Phil Isenberg, Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, and other members of the Council continue to forge ahed with the plan’s implementation.

Isenberg is no stranger to overseeing badly flawed “environmental” processes that violate numerous state and federal laws.

He chaired Arnold Schwarzenegger’s corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Central Coast. This privately funded process created so-called “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil spills and offshore drilling, pollution, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering.

His colleague on that task force, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, ended up chairing the Initiative’s task force for Southern California. Reheis-Boyd is a curious type of “marine guardian,” since she serves as President of the Western States Petroleum Association and is leading the effort to expand fracking in California, build the Keystone XL Pipeline and to eviscerate environmental laws.

Isenberg also chaired Schwarzenegger’s equally flawed Delta Vision process that recommended the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnels.

Nobody sums up the threat that the peripheral canal or tunnels present to the state better than Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

“The common people will pay for the canal, and a few people will make millions,” said Sisk. “It will turn a once pristine water way into a sewer pipe. It will be all bad for the fish, the ocean and the people of California.” (



You’re invited to join a walking tour of water saving secrets, sponsored by the UCCE Mendocino County Inland Master Gardeners. Ukiah neighbors will share their tips and techniques for having a beautiful yard with a lower water bill. View and learn about legal grey water systems, drip irrigation, mulching, and water thrifty plants. You can grow herbs, fruit trees, flowers, and vegetables using less water. Meet Saturday, September 21, 9 am at the Ukiah United Methodist Church parking lot, on Bush and Standley. The tour will last until 11:30, covers about 1.5 miles, and will also end at the Method­ist Church. This event is co-sponsored by the City of Ukiah Water Utility. Contact Louisa 707-485-1290 for more information.


CALIFORNIA COASTAL CLEANUP DAY, an annual beach and inland watershed cleanup, is coming Saturday, September 21st.  In 2010, over 82,500 volunteers removed more than 1.2 million pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and river systems. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy (taking place on the same day) California Coastal Cleanup Day is part of one of the largest volunteer events in the world.

California’s coast and watersheds are collecting spots for annual accumulations of trash and debris, especially after summer vacation.  If not removed, the trash can be harmful and even fatal to plants, birds, fish, invertebrates and marine mammals.  Coastal Cleanup Day is a great way for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to join together, show community support for our shared natural resources, and learn about the impacts of marine debris and how we can prevent them.

“Our beaches, harbors, and rivers collect so much debris during the summer months.  Cleaning up after ourselves is the least we can do to make sure they remain safe, clean, and beautiful,” said Alyson Blair the coordinator for CCCD at Mendocino Land Trust, “plus it’s a chance to have some fun!”

Mendocino Land Trust has added Soda Creek, a new location for inland cleanup this year through partnerships with Navarro Resource Center and Anderson Valley Land Trust.   Volunteers can find a complete list of all 27 countywide cleanup sites at:

If you need a place to stay during the event, Mendocino Land Trust is partnering with the Weller House Inn (an elegant Fort Bragg B&B) where you can receive a discount for volunteering the weekend of September 21st.

To book the Weller House Inn at 20% off your stay for two nights or more call 877-8-WELLER or email

Without volunteer support, this event will not succeed.  Please mark September 21st on your calendar as your day to celebrate Mendocino County watersheds and keep our one-of-a-kind paradise beautiful!  For questions regarding Coastal Cleanup Day in Mendocino County, please contact Mendocino Land Trust at or 707-962-0470.


  1. Lickity Split September 4, 2013

    Stop LAUNDERING your POT money, Garberville, and the cops could have funding to help you. Your taxes help to support law enforcement. You have brought this culture upon yourselves, now DEAL WITH IT.

  2. Jerry Burns September 4, 2013

    I would think that using the National Guard would be warranted in these times when local police forces can’t deal with the problem. Ukiah needs it as much as Garberville.
    I would also suggest that once these miscreants are rounded up, they be placed in holding camps, preferably in areas of the state where they are out of sight. Depleted BLM land comes to mind.
    The Arizona sheriff that sets up his jails in tent cities has the right idea. Cheap jails made of barb wire fencing and surplus army tents would be perfect.

    • Harvey Reading September 4, 2013

      Right, and then march all the yuppies, including pols at all levels of guvamint, into it, for life. That racist Arizona sheriff you like so well, may be doing some time, hissef before long, and about damned time.

      • burnunit September 7, 2013

        Thanks for responding Henry. I partially agree with marching the yups in with the pols, as long as your definition of yups includes all re-entry hippies and their progeny, west side ukiah draw string pants crowd, and anybody on a trust fund.

Leave a Reply

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