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Off The Record

RICHARD PETERSEN has died. The famous Ukiah-based criminal defense attorney had been ill with cancer for some time, and passed away Monday in Belvedere, Marin County.

THAT DISPUTE between County Auditor-Controller Meredith Ford and DA David Eyster over where varying portions of asset forfeiture money should go, is complicated by Ms. Ford's poor health. She has been battling cancer, meaning lots of time away from the office. And, to paraphrase Catch-22, when she's in she's out, and when she's out she's in. But it seems when Ms. Ford was at work she threw a big hunk of asset forfeiture dough into the fiscal murk of County's general fund, and just try to find it, let alone get it back. Ms. Ford has tardily claimed that the rules say the money can't be used the way Eyster may or may not be spending it. Eyster says he's owed some $400 thou while Ms. Ford and the County want an opinion from their County Counsel, Tom Parker.

IN THE MEANTIME, you'll get our opinion. Since all the assets are grabbed by the forces of law and order, whose chief is DA Eyster, it's the cop's money, and not a bad way to help fund law enforcement since the money comes from the dope industry, our largest business, and a business otherwise untaxed.

THAT highly suspect letter published recently by The Willits News claimed that the town's Fire Chief, Carl Magann, hired a kid subsequently arrested for arson knowing that the kid had arson priors as a juvenile. It was signed by someone calling her or himself “Regina Thompson.” The letter accuses the Chief of various criminal acts: not doing background checks, doing a background check on the firefighter arsonist who, the letter claims, has a “record” of arson but concealing the results, not ensuring that volunteers have proper “criteria,” suggesting that volunteer firefighters are not properly trained, blackballing people, etc. — all of which would be criminal acts if the chief had either committed or tolerated them. There's no evidence whatsoever that any of this is true, and the paper should have said so if they felt compelled to print the thing. Nor is there anyone named “Regina Thompson” listed in any of the Willits directories.

OTHER STUFF in “Regina's” letter libels the Griggs family. Griggs Jr. is elected head of the Firefighters Association, and Griggs Sr. owns Sparetime Garden Supply. Sparetime gives hugely to all sorts of community good. The letter suggests that Sparetime's donations to firefighting got Junior elected to the top spot of the Firefighter's Association, but he was elected, not appointed.

GOD GIVE YOU PARDON from gratitude

and other mild forms of servitude—

And make peace for all of us

with what is easy

— Robert Creeley

A FEW WEEKS AGO, we ran an item about Mendocino County's first and only NBA basketball player and, so far as I'm aware, the only Native American to make it into the ranks of the best in the world. Phil Jordan, of Wylackie descent, was born in Lakeport but played his high school ball at Willits High School, then at Whitworth College in Washington. Phil at 6'10” and quite agile, starting at Willits High School in the early 1950s? The jump shot was probably still unknown in the County at that time; I'd suppose Phil was a fairly dominating court presence in Mendo, circa '52. He went on to play for several NBA teams over a 7-year career, and died prematurely in a boating accident at age 31. A local sports guy saw the item about Jordan and told us that the dominant female hoopster at Ukiah High a few years ago, Lisa Jordan, is related to Phil Jordan, and that there are Jordans in Talmage and Covelo who are also related to Mendocino County's most illustrious basketball player.

HERE WE GO AGAIN. The Mendocino County Superior Court wants to close Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg, for five days later this year: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 25 through 27; and Monday and Tuesday, December 23 and 24. (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are the busiest work days at Ten Mile.)

ON THE DAYS Ten Mile is closed, everyone with court business will have to drive to Ukiah where one courtroom and the clerk’s office will remain open.

JUST LAST MONTH, the judges said that the five-day Fort Bragg courthouse closure is necessary because of the Superior Court’s “reduced budget.” Yet, its budget released last week shows that the Court has more than $7.1 million this fiscal year, of which it plans to spend slightly less than $6.5 million. That leaves a balance of more than $600,000, plenty enough to keep Ten Mile open without inconveniencing Ukiah's eight other judges.

WILL PARRISH was arrested last Wednesday on private property west of 101 from where the CHP was harvesting tree sitters at the Willits Bypass. Four CHP officers, spying Parrish, suddenly sprinted across the highway and arrested him. Parrish is in the pre-trial phase of his jury trial on 16 counts of trespassing worth eight years in jail if he's convicted on all of them. He had been locked down to a wick-drain stitcher for eleven days. The CHP apparently views Parrish as the ringleader in ongoing efforts to stop construction on a hugely destructive and massively unjustified Caltrans bypass project at Willits. DA David Eyster piled on the misdemeanor charges when Parrish refused to settle his case. Parrish is court-ordered to not go near the construction site.

PARRISH WRITES: “I got bailed out of jail Wednesday night at about 10:30pm. At around 10am yesterday, I was on private property, scrawling notes for an AVA story about the tree sitter extraction (i.e., the CHP's padding of their officer retirement funds). Four CHP officers rushed across Highway 101, got on the other side of the fence, and arrested me for supposedly violating my conditional probation to stay away from the Bypass construction zone. I was detained in the back of Officer Davis's van for about four hours in Willits, then held in a holding cell for about seven hours before getting slowly processed out of the jail. The two tree sitters were bailed out this morning by someone else.”

PARRISH was due back in court Tuesday on his latest arrest for standing across Highway 101 to report on the recent tree sit extraction. He suspects the DA wants to lock him up on high bail until his trial. We should have an update before press time.

THE SEIU called a one-day strike Tuesday. Unable to persuade many of the local people it allegedly represents to participate, the union has a “Mendo STRIKE Bus” coming from the Bay Area for the festivities.

SEIU says the County, aka the supervisors and their CEO Carmel Angelo, is bargaining in bad faith because the County won't agree to restore the 10% pay cut enacted a couple of years ago. Before the pay cut the County was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy with no reserves, looming deficits, a downgraded credit rating and more than a $100 million unfunded and unfundable debt to the retirement system. The County has been rebuilding the reserves but is still faced with more than a $100 million shortfall in the retirement fund over the long-term. But no problem, the retirement fund is heavily invested in the Wall Street Ponzi scheme and only needs to earn an 8% annual return in perpetuity to stay afloat. So the whole house of cards is poised to collapse when the inevitable next financial crisis hits.

SEIU CLAIMS the county has “hidden pots of gold” that could be used to restore the pay cuts. SEIU refuses to pay a qualified expert to look at the county budget, but sent a union rep named Meredith Staples up from Oakland a few weeks ago to try and explain where the pots of gold are hidden. All she confirmed was that SEIU has no understanding of the County budget and therefore no understanding of the County's financial picture.

COUNTY BUDGET HEARINGS were originally scheduled for September 9th and 10th. The SEIU brain trust, not bothering to check, planned a big rally and demo for “Purple Tuesday” at high noon with a turnout of more than 200, including their heavy hitters from SEIU's corporate-like headquarters in Oakland. Except the Supes adopted the budget on Monday, the first day of budget hearings. Which has been standard practice for the last dozen years or so. Which anyone working for the County (especially anyone claiming to be a “union leader’) would know, except apparently no one from SEIU had a clue. With the budget horse already out of the barn, instead of the promised purple clad mob of 200, SEIU only managed to turn out a few dozen true believers, demonstrating only that they're weak with the membership. And instead of clogging the Supes chambers and mugging for the camera, they practiced power chants (Who has the power? We have the power! What power? Union power!) and made speeches to each other.

THE FUNDAMENTAL PROB is that SEIU, besides refusing to come to grips with the somewhat improved (but still precarious) financial condition of the County, has also adopted an adversarial stance portraying the Supes and County Admin as mean-spirited ogres indifferent to the plight of the workers. That tactic might win public sympathy in a struggle against the Bank of America, but it doesn't seem to be working for SEIU here in Mendocino County. The targets here are not vague and distant corporados. The Supes are local folks who go to the post office and grocery store and eat in local cafes like everyone else. The SEIU's efforts to demonize the Supes and win support for their phony “Mend Mendocino” coalition has fallen flat because they know nothing about the County whose employees pay thousands of dollars in union dues for lazy, uninformed, inept leadership.

SEIU, which represents about 700 County employees, paying an average of $30 a month, says 90% of the estimated 60% of workers participating in the strike vote voted for the one day action, which seems to us both entirely pointless and, at 60%, an expression of lukewarm employee enthusiasm for the strike. Strikers will lose a day's pay and gain exactly what in bargaining leverage?

THE COUNTY is equivalently bumbling. Their outside negotiator has said the County intends to increase employee healthcare costs somewhere between 3 and 5%. Why announce that provocation in the middle of presumed pay and fringes negotiations? (BTW, used to be County Counsel negotiated for the County. Now, the County pays lots and lots for an outside attorney to do its negotiating. We don't have anyone among all the attorneys on the County payroll who could competently represent the County's interests in labor negotiations?)

THE UNION hasn't said what it wants. It doesn't seem to understand that the County is still broke, thanks to previous boards papering over debt by borrowing against future tax revenues via the Teeter Plan, which tottered big time in 2008 when the economy tanked and stayed tanked. Additionally, the County, short of declaring bankruptcy, cannot possibly ever cover employee retirement benefits, but must pay for them now out of a budget running at a meager surplus of about $6 million the County has saved mostly by eliminating positions and knocking most salaries back 10%.

ALL WORKING PEOPLE are victims of a weak economy exacerbated by a series of poor financial decisions at all levels of government over the past 20 years. After the last County budget hearing, the one they showed up a day late for, SEIU said it had a sustainable plan to restore wages. Let's see it.

AS COUNTY RESIDENTS look on puzzled at the wholly unnecessary and counter-productive adversarial stances adopted here by both sides, the County, with an outside negotiator doing its negotiating, and SEIU with a pointless one-day strike and a lot of 1930 rhetoric, the rest of us marvel that the County manages to function as well as it does.


Rebounding is based on math

function of velocity, path

and angle of the ricochet

times big men trying to block your way

Dennis Rodman is a genius

I don't care how much meanness

Jealous people spew at him

He has got a friend in Kim

When they asked him why he went

Dennis said just what he meant

“To open doors and bridge a gap”

For simple truth they have no app

Lucky he who finds a friend

one on whom you can depend

give you rope or cut you slack

and some honest feedback

Dennis Rodman, Kim Jung-un

They got something going on

Each of them is so unique

each of them makes people freak

Thus they have a common bond

Plus they have a natural fondness

Kim has got a baby girl

Dennis showed her to the world

Lucky he who finds a wife

Who'll be comrades all through life

None more fair, none more true

Than the lovely Ri So Ju

Paddy Power paid his fare

Bet they had some pounds to spare

He “shall return” to Pyongyang

With his XNBA gang

Wonder what they talk about

Disneyland or Beirut?

Or the time of Syngman Rhee?

Or the time of Slavery?

Or Beyonce or Norah Jones?

Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone?

When they share their thoughts profound

Each of them can rebound

Child of privilege, self-made man

North Korean, Texan

Here's to friendship, here's to fun,

Dennis Rodman, Kim Jung-un!

— Fred Gardner

BELLIGERENT NOTE from a reader demands: “What is the best Chinese restaurant in Mendocino County? If you don't know, ask your readers.” And “What is the real reason Republicans are so opposed to Obamacare? The media are too chickenshit to tell us.”

HMMM. As a dual citizen of Anderson Valley and San Francisco, I eat Chinese food in San Francisco, not Mendocino County. As for Republicans and ObamaCare, let me guess: I'd say it's partly the ongoing outrage among Republicans that a black man is functioning as president, and partly the old fear among the wealthy, as now represented by Republicans and Democrats, who are also now interchangeable on the big issues, that ObamaCare gives Americans a semi-government sponsored benefit they might get used to. Republicans were shocked to their silks by FDR's New Deal that established Social Security and other basic civilized amenities like Medicare. They called it socialism, like they call everything socialism that take the bumps out of life. Unlimited money for the military is not socialism because, well, because it kills our enemies, who are everyone in the world not like Republicans. Take away Social Security and Medicare and Americans would riot from sea to shining sea. I think ObamaCare won't work because most people won't be able to afford it, and what's with a mandatory government program that forces people to buy private insurance with big deductibles and all kinds of other fine print swindles? Which is what happens when insurance companies get to write health care law. This isn't ObamaCare, it's BlueCrossCare. We need single payer health insurance for everyone in the country, which we could get right now by simply expanding MediCare to include everyone. Of course we aren't about to get universal health care because both political parties are owned by the insurance combines. I've done my best here to answer your questions. I hope you won't think I'm chickenshit if I answered wrong.

CRUCIAL STATS: 46.5 million people in the U.S. were living in poverty last year. Child poverty stood at 21.8%. Unemployment rate averaged 8.1% in 2012. The alarming figures, released by the U.S. Census Bureau last Tuesday, is nothing new. It marks the sixth year in a row that the statistic has failed to improve. Remaining stagnant at 15%, the nation's poverty rate is not statistically different from the number of impoverished in 2011. The median household income was $51,017, unchanged from the previous year, following two consecutive annual declines. The share of people without health insurance declined slightly, from 15.7% to 15.4%. The last significant decline in the poverty rate came in 2006, during the Bush administration and before the housing bubble burst. In 2011, the poverty rate dipped to 15% from 15.1%, but census officials said that change was statistically insignificant.

PETER RICHARDSON has settled his pot case. The cops and the DA claimed that Richardson was growing hot house dope for sale. Richardson said he simply needed lots and lots of weed to beat back his prostate cancer. The well-known inland contractor whose Rainbow Construction Company has built several Ukiah-area public structures, has agreed he'll do 90 days on home detention, his probation on a prior pot conviction will be reinstated, the felony charges dropped, and he won't get his confiscated weed back.

CHARLES BUSH, EMBATTLED director of the Fort Bragg Senior Center, went back to work Monday (September 23rd) because now some of the Senior Center's trustees say he wasn't really fired. One trustee, Ms. Balows reportedly told Bush he wasn't fired until the board told him he was fired.

THIS POSTING BY MRS. BUSH has appeared on the Mendocino Coast ListServe: “Thank you for your many kind words of support and encouragement during the past three days of confusion concerning the actions of the Board of Directors of the Senior Center relative to their vote to dismiss me from my position as Executive Director. I have received far too many communications to respond personally, so although I have never before posted to the listserv, I have asked my wife Sakina to pass on this note to you all. Because of irregularities in procedure, and the absence of official notification from the Board that I have been dismissed, I have been advised by legal counsel to go to work Monday morning and continue executing the responsibilities of my position."

ON AUGUST 31ST, we wrote: “A petition is circulating in support of popular Fort Bragg Senior Center director Charles Bush, which is odd because Bush is currently the director and no one among the actual Seniors is unhappy with him. So, who’s unhappy with him? A couple of meddling board members and a paid staffer who don’t know to let well enough alone.”

LAST WEDNESDAY NIGHT September 18th), Bush was fired, he thought, on a 4-2-2 vote of the Senior Center board.

WE FOUND these minutes from the August 2nd meeting of the Senior board: “Guests: John Whatley (former Board President). … Upon calling the meeting to order, the President asked if any of the guests wished to address the Board. John Whatley said he wanted to pay tribute to Charles Bush because when he took over four years ago the Grand Jury was studying the Center and morale was low. That has changed dramatically. Board Members in Attendance: Kathleen Johnson, President; Jim Graham, Vice President; Syd Balows; Robert Bushansky; Sandra Donato; Gin Kremen; Ronalie Silveira; and Lizette Weiss. Absent: Lonne Mitchell, who was traveling out of the country. Staff: Charles Bush and Janice Thomaides. Janice reported that the Center was only $10,004 in the red mainly because of fund raising activities and gains in our Royal Alliance investments. An executive session was called to briefly discuss the Executive Director's written response to his evaluation. At the conclusion of this discussion the regular meeting resumed and the Board voted to accept the memo dated August 2, 2013.”

THE FIRING OF BUSH as director of the Fort Bragg Senior Center by a narrow board majority, quickly inspired more than 100 emails in support of Bush to the Center's board of directors. Facebook was similarly abuzz with support for Bush.

BUSH'S REMOVAL seemed arbitrary in the extreme. The four women who led the charge against Bush, two of whom are believed to be new to Fort Bragg, did not announce their reasons for dismissing the popular director. Critics of the move are saying that it appears Bush's firing came at an illegal meeting of the board, in that the meeting was not properly noticed beforehand, and that the board has left itself open to a lawsuit for this and other reasons.

THE FOUR WOMEN who engineered what briefly seemed to be a Senior Center coup weren't talking. We've learned, however, they are all in their 70s and are led by Sandy Donato who persuaded Lizette Weiss, described as Donato's “partner,” and their neighbor, Lonne Mitchell, and Syd Balows, all of whom live in the Fort Bragg cul de sac called Lonne Way, that Bush had to go. (Lonne Way, incidentally, was developed by Fort Bragg mover and shaker, Tom Mitchell. The neighborhood is variously described as “Bush Way” and as a “Republican stronghold,” although rightwing politics don't seem in play in the attempted coup against the personable and inoffensive Bush.) Donato, insiders say, simply seems to have taken a strong personal dislike for Bush and talked the other three board members into going after him.

BUSH'S BONA FIDES are described this way by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors: “Redwood Coast Senior Center Executive Director, Charles Bush, in collaboration with the Area Agency on Aging and Senior Centers in Mendocino County will present on innovative ways to deal with a series of funding cuts occurring over the past eight years. Subjects to be covered include: Public Funding for Senior Services A Brief Summary and Report By Charles Bush, Director, Redwood Coast Senior Center 1. Older Americans Act and the Area Agency on Aging 2. Range of Basic Services 2. State, County and Municipal Support 4. Scope of Recession Based Funding Cuts 5. Impact of Cuts On Services 6. Importance of Continuous County Support.”

TRANSLATION: Bush was not only a popular and effective Senior Center Director, he’s an expert in Senior Center funding and services. So why fire him? Then, when the community rises up, un-fire him?

IT ALL COMES to a head at 1pm this Friday at the Senior Center when the board again convenes.

THIS ONE didn't make sense from the day Patrick Guzman's Cadillac was found with the motor running on the bluffs north of Westport not far from San Juan Creek. That was Monday, Labor Day, September 2nd at 1:30pm. A passerby who'd seen the vehicle at the same spot with its motor running earlier in the day alerted the CHP that it was still there with the motor still running.

GUZMAN, 70, of Fort Bragg, wasn't found until Sunday, September 8th, and may not have been found at all if a reporter from the Fort Bragg Advocate, Tony Reed, on Saturday, September 7th, hadn't been poking around the area of Guzman's disappearance when, through his camera's zoom lens, Reed spotted a gun and a shoe over the side of the bluffs. A search team from the Westport Volunteer Fire Department recovered Guzman's remains the next day. An aerial search had been unable to locate the body because it had landed from above in such a way to make it nearly invisible.

THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT had released a public speculation that Guzman had committed suicide. Guzman's family immediately denounced that finding. They insist that Guzman was not suicidal. On Tuesday (17 September), Sheriff's Department Captain Greg Van Patten said there was a gunshot wound to the dead man's ribcage, and that the wound had been inflicted by the odd weapon found at the scene — a Taurus five-shot revolver, which can fire both .45 caliber bullets as well as shotgun rounds. The gun was found with three live, chambered .45 bullets and two chambered shotgun rounds, one of them expended.

THE WOUND to Guzman's ribcage matched the .410 shells found in the gun. Suicides ordinarily don't shoot themselves in the torso unless they're aiming for the heart, and no suicide note was found at the scene. Van Patten said toxicology and blood alcohol tests are pending, along with tests to determine if the gun was indeed fired by Guzman. Van Patten told the Advocate, “We have nothing to suggest a second person was there.” Van Patten also told the Advocate, that “the autopsy results suggest that the gunshot may not have ended his life, but rather, the fall down the steep, rocky bank to the shoreline.” It's conceivable that Guzman accidentally shot himself and fell over the side as. Perhaps he'd intended to practice fire his unique weapon in a fairly remote stretch of Highway One.

THE COMMUNITY OF COMPTCHE has a unique story to tell. The number of professional and talented artists in this tiny town — which seems invisible on most maps — is quite disproportionately large. Though acknowledged far and wide for its diverse musical accomplishments, what of its many artists? Though some are famous, generally they are a shy and reclusive bunch, known mostly by friends and neighbors. That, however, has been changing. This year is the 7th Annual Comptche Art & Wine Event. Each year has brought increased attendance and attention to Comptche, a hamlet without its own dot on the map. Pouring local Mendocino wines and showing only Comptche Artists, this event is unique even by Mendocino standards. It is an Art and Wine fair with the feeling of a country ice cream social. Irresistible! A sculpture garden is an added attraction this year. So you can sip your Oppenlander al fresco in the Comptche sunshine. The Comptche Art & Wine Event is From 2 to 6 pm, Saturday September 28th. It gets crowded later in the day so get there early if you can.

ANOTHER REASON to stay out of the woods this time of year — deer season started last Saturday at first light. Deer season commences just as pot season also reaches its most explosive time of year with the bud ripe on the stem, mom and pop taking turns shotgun-guarding the crop against the annual invasion of home and garden invaders, and deer hunters roaming the woods — autumn in Intoxicant County!

RANDOM THOUGHTS of a failing mind: On the week we had another massacre committed by a young man who'd slowly been getting crazier for some time until he went big time crazy all at once. I can't even remember the names of the recent massacre maestros because there are so many of them. All the arguments about gun control seem almost as nuts as these terrible events because the discussion really ought to be about what's gone so wrong with the way we live that causes so much murderous unhappiness. Short of massive re-build after an economic collapse there's not even a glimmer of hope that the fundamentals of crazy-making will change.

COLLAPSE is probably on the way. The other day I was listening to NPR's chirping and totally misleading explanations of “quantitative easing.” The chirpers all agreed that the Federal Reserve's decision to keep on printing $85 billion dollars a week to give to our failed private financial institutions was necessary to keep the economy from “slipping back into recession.” A side benefit of maintaining “quantitative easing,” the chirpers asserted, was “keeping inflation in check,” which anybody who goes grocery shopping knows it does not do because prices of everything just keep on going up because, among the main reasons, the oil that literally fuels our economy is increasingly expensive and will become even more expensive because there's less of it in places where it can be inexpensively extracted. If a government has to print money to prop up bad paper, collapse has already happened, and when the “quantitative easing” stops the crash will be a lot bigger than the one of 2008. So, class, we're at a point where the capitalists who fund capitalism (a) don't believe in capitalism, and (b) need government to print money for them to stay in business. This is the way it looks from Boonville, anyway.

WHILE OUR GOVERNMENT shovels $85 billion a week to financial institutions run by swindlers, the swindler's Republican gofers want to shave $39 billion from food stamp appropriations, a move that would cut 3.8 million people from the program. The Republicans have even come up with a new, non-racist riff on Reagan's mythical black welfare queen; remember her, tooling up to the Chicago welfare office in her Cadillac? The bully boy's neo-deadbeat is a 29-year-old surfer dude featured on Fox News (and probably hired by them for the portrayal if the truth could ever be known). This guy allegedly buys lobster and sushi with the $200 he gets in monthly food assistance and vows he'll never work so long as he can live large on food stamps.

ARE THERE DEADBEATS on food stamps? Of course. Are there much bigger deadbeats, global deadbeats, on government welfare? Yes, we just talked about them being quantitatively eased to the tune of $85 billion a week.

BUT the bums getting food stamps are a very small percentage of people on food stamps, as anybody, even a Republican, can see for his overfed self if he'll waddle down to his nearest welfare office or food bank to scope out who's drawing food. The overwhelming number of recipients, right here in Mendocino County and everywhere else here in Market Miracle Land, are employed people who don't make enough money to get by. And single mothers with children to feed.

POSTMASTER GENERAL DONAHUE told a Senate committee Thursday that he's presiding over a “financial disaster.” Donahue said he needs big money in a hurry to get the Anderson Valley Advertiser from Boonville to San Francisco in at least seven working days. (He didn't say that specifically, but to get mail anywhere Big D did say he needs hurry-up cash.) Donahue said the PO is so broke it will lose $6 billion this year. Last year it lost both the mail edition of the Anderson Valley Advertiser and $16 billion.

LOST COAST FEES GOING UP? The Bureau of Land Management is proposing a new overnight use fee for the King Range National Conservation Area (NCA) backcountry and wilderness, and a fee increase for developed campgrounds. The proposed backcountry and wilderness fee is $5 per person, per day. Fees at the Mattole, Honeydew Creek, Horse Mountain, Tolkan, Nadelos, and Wailaki campgrounds would be increased from $8 to $15 per night. You can read the background and rationale for these proposals in the King Range NCA 2012 Business Plan, available here or at the BLM offices in Arcata and Whitethorn. Comments will be accepted until October 18, 2013. Email: Send your comments to Please write “King Range Business Plan” in the subject line. By mail or in person: King Range Project Office, 768 Shelter Cove Road or PO Box 189, Whitethorn, CA 95589 Arcata Field Office, 1695 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521 For more information, please contact: Justin Robbins, 707-986-5400

ON WEDNESDAY, October 9th at 6 pm at the C V Starr Center, 300 S. Lincoln St., Fort Bragg, the League of Women Voters of Mendocino County is sponsoring and moderating a Candidate Forum for the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District election. Four candidates are running for 3 four year terms on the Board of Directors, which covers the vastness from Westport to Gualala and inland to Comptche. With an operating budget this fiscal year of $749,944, it operates the Fort Bragg Kudos for Kids and ASSETS after school programs, as well as district wide enrichment classes, adult and youth sports programs, camps, and swim lessons, some in partnership with other organizations, and is the title owner of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, obtained through a grant from the CA Coastal Conservancy, which they lease for $1 per year to the Botanical Gardens Corporation. The C V Starr Center is owned by the City of Fort Bragg which is responsible for ensuring that the Center operates in a fiscally sustainable manner by adopting the annual operating budget and setting the fee schedule. The MCRPD is responsible for the day to day administration of the Center and for key policy decisions.

SHERIFF ALLMAN WRITES: “The Mendocino Sheriff's Booking Log continues to be one of the most popular websites in the County (over 9,000 hits per day). I know that we have not refreshed it last week, but we have been working very hard on a new system which is more compatible with our new computer system. It is up and running now, but it looks different and is different. It is new and improved and allows day searches as well as name searches. We are still working on some improvements, but to those 10 (yes TEN) people who called me to complain that it has not been updated, the new and improved site is available. Whew!”

THE NEW BOOKING LOG is certainly “new and different,” but not “improved.” The “old” Booking Log was simple, easy to use even for computer novices, and reasonably responsive. We knew of no complaints — the old Log did not need any “improvement.” The new system does allow for day and name searches, as Sheriff Allman says, but that assumes you already know who’s been arrested or who may have been arrested. The search results are slow and unwieldy, the searches only go back abut a year, the accompanying thumbnail pictures are too small to see what the arrestee looks like, it’s not obvious how to search for the latest or most recent bookings, the list of results provides no indication of where the arrestee is from or what they were charged with so you have to click on each thumbnail to see if you’re interested in a given arrest/booking, then return to the list and repeat the process item by item. Before you could simply scroll through the daily catch. Even the ads that help pay for the site are badly positioned if you happen to be interested in the services being offered.

AS EXPECTED, Holly Madrigal has announced that she will run for the 3rd District supervisor's seat presently held by John Pinches. Pinches is not running for re-election. Pinches defeated Madrigal in 2010 with 56% of the district's votes cast. Madrigal’s candidate's announcement said, “I look forward to addressing tough issues that the county still faces, like unsustainable pension debt and the Brooktrails second access. My current focus has been increasing manufacturing and business in Mendocino County. I plan to continue my work localizing our economy to strengthen our community. The active campaign will be launched in December and I remain extremely focused on navigating the city of Willits through this challenging and exciting moment in its history.”

MADRIGAL, 36, is married; she was raised in Willits and went on to graduate from UC Santa Cruz in 2000 with a degree in business management and economics. She presently serves as mayor of Willits and works at Sparetime Supply. (Many non-pot people regard Sparetime as the North County's premier pot garden supply house.) There are rumors of at least one other candidate but no one has yet announced. Madrigal is a conservative liberal of the Democratic Party type dominant in Mendocino County.

SO FAR, the Mayor of Willits is the only person to announce for the seat presently held by incumbent John Pinches. Other names we're hearing include former supervisor Hal Wagenet and Willits City councilman Ron Orenstein. We also hear that Jim Little of Laytonville, a timber guy close to Pinches, and a Pinches appointment to the County Planning Commission where he's done a consensus good job, will run. Tony Orth's name always comes up in any North County election talk, but Orth seems happy as the lead dog in Brooktrails politics. Tom Woodhouse, a Willits realtor, is telling people he'll be a candidate. Willits knows him from his work with the Willits school board.

LITTLE, who is also a go-to guy in north county emergency services circles, in a race with any two of the above named potential candidates, would benefit from not being a fuzzy-warm of the Democratic Party type dominant in the County. Pinches, it's fair to say, enjoyed a broad base of support because, for one thing, he's a genuinely nice guy, not at all the mean, low-down type often synonymous with conservative-libertarian politics. The North County's pot brigades, who vote fuzzy-warm in state and federal elections, were big Pinches supporters because Pinches was forthrightly in favor of legalizing marijuana. (Yes, there are a lot of pot planters in the North County.) Besides which, in a supervisor, the conservative-liberal distinction is not particularly useful because the job is supposed to be non-partisan. A supervisor, we would hope, simply makes rational decisions on the issues pertinent to Mendocino County. Pinches, we think, has been consistently sensible on the local stuff.

THE PRESENT board of supervisors is the best in years. Hamburg is the only, ah, er, weak link, the least responsible of the five. In our opinion, which is a minority opinion in the 5th District where the guy enjoys an uncritical, cult-like devotion.

PUT THE AVA down as Officially Worried About The Niners. As usual, the play calling in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis was terrible, i.e., predictable. The receivers disappeared, and when they didn't disappear Kaep threw wild. The running game might be better if everyone in the world didn't know the run was coming, but Gore had a good first half then hardly got the ball in the second half. Harbaugh looked shocked, like a guy who just walked up on a bad car wreck. And to top off a weird day, after the game we got the corporate announcement written for Aldon Smith that he's got a “problem” and will be out for a while. He didn't have the “problem” before the game, I guess, because he got to play, and seemed to play pretty well as did the rest of the defense. Smith's “problem” is that he's a very young guy who got handed a lot of money to play football and he lacks the maturity to handle money and fame. He apparently hangs out with bad people and he gets drunk and smokes a lot of dope when he isn't playing football. Pro hockey makes their young single guys live with a married player, that way the young guy is accountable to a surrogate mommy and daddy. It's still early in the season for the Niners, but Thursday night's game with St. Louis is already a Must Win.

DEER HUNTERS, as they set forth Saturday for the first day of the annual season, have many fewer deer to hunt. According to Tom Stienstra, the Chron's outdoors writer, quoting Fish and Wildlife, “There are now 445,000 deer in California, down from 2 million in the 1960s and 850,000 in the 1990s.” Loss of habitat, deterioration of remaining habitat (pot grows certainly haven't helped habitat), disease, drought which reduces food, predation by bear and mountain lion, and far fewer bucks — 20 bucks per 100 deer.

CRIME IS DOWN most places in the United States, but according to the stats amassed by the Mendo DA's office, the DA's Ukiah and Fort Bragg offices processed 849 cases in July, up 22% over June and way up over the previous local record of 720 defendants processed in one month established in June of 2012.

WAY TO GO, SPIKE! Congressman Huffman has rightly denounced a state Republican ploy to get more corporate logging access to public forests. The Republicans say if there weren't so dad gummed many trees in places like Yosemite, there wouldn't be so many dad gummed big fires like the recently extinguished Rim Fire. Spike responded by pointing out that the bill would mean logging and road-building in presently pristine areas and cut back public review of timber harvest plans. “I wish our Republican friends were more serious about funding the Forest Service and its fuel load reduction programs. They've slashed funding year after year, even as we've had more severe wildfires every year.”

MENDOCINO COUNTY 2013 CROP REPORT (Introduction): “The total gross agricultural value for all commodities produced in 2012 was $216,550,651, which represents an increase of 24% compared to the 2011 value of $174,492,400. The leading agricultural commodity continues to be wine grapes, which posted a record value of $102,305,700. Agricultural production, excluding timber, was valued at $144,962,700. Timber represents the second highest value commodity, with a gross “at mill” value of $71,587,951. Mendocino County ranked 4th in the state in timber volumes and produced roughly 9% of the states total timber harvest in 2012. The increase in the overall gross value for 2012 resulted primarily from increases in wine grapes and timber. Most notably, favorable growing conditions in 2012 allowed for a 23% increase in wine grape yields and with higher prices being realized for nearly all varietals, the overall value of wine grapes was 43% greater than the previous year. The increase in timber values resulted from increases in the total board feet harvested and increased logging and hauling costs, resulting in an 'at mill' value that was 21% higher compared to 2011. Both the pear industry and cattle operations posted respectable gains compared to 2011 values. The pear industry realized good production yields and market prices which were improved over 2011. Cattle returns were higher based on good market prices and a subsequent reduction in inventory to take advantage of the up market. Total milk valuation dropped significantly on slightly less production and a 9% reduction in the price paid to producers. The nursery industry showed a 22% reduction based primarily on the loss of production acreage and greenhouses.”

A COAST GUARD RESCUE CHOPPER retrieved three hikers when a high tide stranded them on the Lost Coast Trail between vertical cliffs and 10-foot seas last week. The three female hikers were trapped along the Lost Coast Trail near Cooksie Creek. They had started their hike from Shelter Cove. “A rising tide rendered the trail impassable, and one hiker was swept into the surf while attempting to get to safety. The other hikers managed to pull her out of the surf, but in the process were exposed to the cold ocean water while the first hiker sustained several gashes to her left hand. The other hikers resourcefully used duct tape to stop the bleeding while the Coast Guard was en route. The three women used their satellite phone to keep the Coast Guard up to date while waiting for rescue. Due to steep terrain the aircrew deployed the rescue swimmer from a 100-foot hover, who determined that the survivors had no immediately life threatening injuries, and the best way to recover the survivors would be via the rescue basket. All three survivors were hoisted into the helicopter followed by the rescue swimmer.

HIKERS should be made aware that this version of the Lost Coast Trail isn't really a trail except for brief stretches. They certainly should consult the tide books. Mostly, the hike is a hard slog straight down the beach. I've done it, and I'm here to tell you it's extremely dangerous at the higher tides, as you continue your journey in areas where the only way forward is by offshore boulders. The more inland trail really is a trail, a tough up and down, but you don't have to worry about drowning. Either route, the Lost Coast is so purely beautiful that atheists emerge from it, believers.

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