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Mendocino County Today: December 14, 2013

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Those of us now in our golden years, remember when a couple of hard-charging Mendo cops (Stuart?) roamed the County tearing up outback pot farms, and through the 1970s and the 80s, growers up and down the Northcoast lived in fear of annual raids by ever larger pot raid teams.

PotRaidThe raids, at least the summer versions before the proliferation of indoor grows, became institutionalized. The raiders would take off one largish garden in the morning, another in the afternoon, both not far from the pavement to spare the cops long, hot hikes with confiscated plants. Then the Mexicans took outdoor grows to a new level of physical difficulty, growing in truly remote areas accessed only after Sherpa-like treks up and down steep hillsides. Everyone seemed pleased with the combination of raids and illegality because they kept prices up, and as of 2013, the grows have long outstripped any ability the DEA and the local narcs might have to scare anyone at all out of the marijuana business. The pot business is, excuse the creaky cliche, the Emerald Triangle's largest export crop, by far outstripping that other intoxicant, the legal one, wine.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT still claims that pot, in all its manifestations, is illegal, a felony if the feds push it. So, I wonder if the DEA has bought booth space for the Emerald Cup this weekend at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds?

EmeraldCup&PrizeTHE 10th annual Emerald Cup had been a small-ish affair held annually at the foot of Spy Rock north of Laytonville. This year, Tim Blake's championships are expected to draw at least 5,000 people and 170 vendors, along with panel discussions and the marriage of legendary pot pioneer Dennis Peron to John Entwhistle. Groom and groom will wear corsages of marijuana buds as Tony Serra performs the ceremony.

PotEntries10 JUDGES have evaluated 257 cannabis growers for best of show. (A Boonville guy has won a couple of times.) First-place gets a two-week vacation in Jamaica, mon, home of the giant doobie.

TICKETS at the door are $50 for one day or $90 for both Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit


TESTA VINEYARDS of Calpella will lose its liquor license for a month for a drunken debauch in September that saw an assault on Sheriff's deputy and an attempted escape from custody. Testa can't sell or serve alcoholic beverages for 30 days from Dec. 12.

TIFFANY REVELLE of the UDJ picks it up from here: According to the ABC, the suspension stems from the early morning hours of Sept. 8, when the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to the winery after it was reported that people were riding golf carts in the road between Testa Vineyards on North State Street and the downtown Calpella area.

CLYDE MARTINSON, 48, of Redwood Valley, a co-owner of the winery, allegedly confronted the deputy “belligerent, intoxicated,” and demanded that the deputy leave. As the deputy was dealing with the crowd, another golf cart driver who wasn't identified arrived and allegedly hit an object in the parking lot.

AS THE DEPUTY approached the cart to see if anyone was hurt, Martinson allegedly threw a beer can at him, shoved him and demanded again that the deputy leave. The deputy called for backup due to the "hostile crowd surrounding him."

Martinson, Thompson
Martinson, Thompson

MARTINSON was arrested on suspicion of battery of a peace officer and James Thompson, 49, also of Redwood Valley, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public and put in the back seat of a patrol car.

WHILE MARTINSON was being arrested, an unknown person freed Thompson from the patrol car, and he escaped in handcuffs, according to the MCSO. Hours later, Thompson surrendered at the Sheriff's Office on Low Gap Road with several injuries on his wrists after reportedly cutting off the handcuffs. Testa admitted to the violations alleged.

THE ABC also put the business on probation for two years. If during the two-year period additional cause for discipline arises, the license could be revoked permanently.

WE WILL CHECK with the DA for the legal ramifications of this event which, objectively considered, involved potential felonies.


snwmf2SIERRA NEVADA MUSIC FESTIVAL (aka “HippieFest” or "Rastafest") is scheduled to use the Boonville County Fairgrounds from June 14 to June 26 of 2014 with the annual event itself taking place from June 20 to June 22 (Friday through Sunday). Their use permit includes a lengthy “Rental Agreement” with the County and the Fairgrounds which calls for the Festival organizers to pay $27,500 in rent to the fairgrounds and an additional $19,000 to the County for law enforcement. In addition, the Festival has to pay a $187 booking fee for Festival related bookings over six. (This seems a bit unfair since the Festival should not be responsible for illegal activity which happens to take place at the fair.) Among other things (like the usual insurance/liability boilerplate) the agreement calls for not more than 5,000 tickets to be sold and not more than 6,500 total attendees, plus an actual contract term calling for the sale of 300 tickets to “local residents” at discounted prices.

snwmf1Outdoor amplified music is supposed to cease entirely at midnight on Friday and Saturday nights (June 20, 21) and 10pm on Sunday June 22 (which has not been scrupulously observed at previous festivals). The festival producers are also required to prepare a traffic plan for CHP approval 60 days prior to the event, a trash removal plan, and all vendors must have proper licenses. Not less than six vendor slots are required to be reserved for “local food, microbrewers and winery vendors.”


WE'VE GOT a full moon rising Tuesday with very high tides and the waning very low tides perfect for tide-pooling. Dave Gurney, Fort Bragg ocean guy, writes: "Glass Beach is ever popular, maybe too popular, but there are great tide pools there. Basically, anywhere there are rocky reefs instead of sand, you are going to find tide pools. Watch out for slipping on the kelp-covered rocks though. If you really want to see the wild wilderness just off our coast though, I suggest diving."



Take the day, not the pay, have faith in puppies,

clean the car. I don’t know where or who you are,

but hope you make it. The breaks are not the breaks

they used to be. They say the chicks do love a scar.


I smelled the past at sunset, was conflicted, torn

between nostalgia, grief. I’ll get over it. I’m lucky.

It pays to live where the afflicted have a backdrop

ocean for amusement. They are powerless but plucky.


Open the bottle, pour the wine, come back to this

poem later. Ah. Better. Some have much less, or more.

The ones who really screwed the pooch sit stewed on

corners with their children, dogs, and cardboard


signs that say "Smiles are free", "Out of gas money",

"Travelers need a hand", "Unique wire art for sale".

I have faith in puppies, my luck’s holding for now.

Besides, (one hopes) surely they can’t put all of us in jail.

— Lawrence Bullock



Well, I came from Pasadena with a paintbrush on my knee,

I was bound for Mendocina as an artsy wannabe,

I drove so much I lost my lunch,

The gas prices were high,

With fog so thick — and roads so slick, Leona! don’t you cry.

Oh! Leona, don’t you cry for me,

For I came from Pasadena with a paintbrush on my knee.

You said there was a Center oh, for artists such as me,

And all they need’s a little cash to raise some equity,

I raised so much I near went broke,

While no one else would try,

And then guess what — you took a cut, Leona! don’t you cry.

Oh! Leona, don’t you feel no shame,

I was stuck in Mendocina with a dollar to my name.

You said a Board did run the place, for members such as me,

And all they need’s a little time to set my money free,

I waited ‘til my hair turned gray,

And borrowed to get by,

And then offhand — you bought some land, Leona! don’t you cry.

Oh! Leona, you weren’t even through,

As a Mendocina renter I did give it all to you.

You said the Board was run by Rules, and that they were approved,

That deep inside the minute book, they’d never been removed,

I followed them precisely,

Your each and every rule,

And then you say — they were my way, Leona! I’m a fool.

Oh! Leona, on thin ice I did tread,

As a Mendocina outlaw with a target on my head.

You said there was no mortgage, and the bank account was full,

But then I found the tax returns, and saw through all that bull,

The lawyers all avoided me,

As did the CPAs,

The place went bust — I lost their trust, Leona! it’s no phase.

Oh! Leona, then I did turn back,

To my native Pasadena with a tin cup in my pack.

Well, I hitched my way to Booneville, and met some folks you see,

As it turns out they all got there — exactly just like me,

They’d all turned into farmers,

And not the kind who crush,

I took a clue — now I grow too, Leona! I am flush!

Oh! Leona, you have been so kind,

Now I’m bound for Mendocina with a brand new state of mind.

No more an artsy wannabe, I’m now a moneyed man,

I’ve also got your local Center’s mortgage in my hand,

With all the plans and permits,

For my new dispensary,

Forget the art — it’s like WalMart, Leona! by the sea.

Oh! Leona, don’t you cry for me,

For I’ve come to Mendocina with some ganja on my knee.

Anon, Albion




I realize domestic disputes are hard on everyone in the vicinity at best, but the police are supposed to have training in sorting out what is dangerous and what is not for the people involved.

Friday evening of the big snow and freeze, I went on Ukiah’s Artwalk in spite of having a light attack of vertigo I sometimes suffer. That very morning I had mentioned in passing, the vertigo to the woman staying in my apartment.

ArtwalkUkiahArriving home from the Artwalk, I went to the kitchen, a very small kitchen, and did not turn on the light because I only wanted a glass of water. Whamm, I tripped over a 10-inch ceramic planter in the middle of the floor, and spread dirt and ginger plant all over the kitchen. I turned on the light, reacting quickly to put the dirt back in the planter between exclamations of “oww” concerning the toe that was already broken, and started to clean up the dirt. At least I had not fallen. She came flying out of “her” bedroom and instead on apologizing for the mess, started yelling at me that I had woken her up. I reacted back, toe in pain, telling her it was a really dumb idea to put a planter in the middle of a dark room for someone to trip over, a concept she should understand because she herself is close to blind. The planter had been on the covered porch outside the door before she moved it after 6pm when I went to downtown Ukiah walking. Maybe she did it on purpose to hurt me? I hope not.

Things got out of hand yelling back and forth and I told her to go into her room and leave me alone. She would not, she kept screaming about all that is wrong with me. I warned her that I live in the living room and she was invading my private space and to go away. She would not. Hindsight tells me I should have stopped talking altogether and just put earphones on, and the TV. But instead I kept loudly repeating the mantra, “Go to your room, and leave me alone.” Finally I said, “Go to your room or I will call the police, I cannot take this abuse.” “Go ahead,” she said, “I don’t care.” So I did. I am 68, she is 54, and I was shaking like a leaf.

Four or five cops came very quickly and stood around my bed in the living room, asking what the problem was. I was upset and told them (too loudly?) to please tell her to go into her room and leave me alone. I could not take her yelling much more, and I hated to yell back but it was my home for the last four years. They acted like somehow it was my fault, like I am supposed to tolerate what was happening in it because she has the right. They actually used the words “she has the right.” Just the same, they politely asked her to go to her room and leave me alone. They did not lecture her at all about verbal abuse of an elder.

The woman went to her room until the last cop had left then came back out and started again. I was in the tiny bathroom at this point brushing my teeth and she was blocking the doorway. My electric toothbrush sprayed a little paste on her by accident and she got furious. I was trapped in my bathroom by a maniac.

I told her to get out of my way and she did, thank goodness. She followed me to the living room again and continued her tirade and I continued to repeat the mantra, “Go to your room and leave me alone” as loud as I could. By this time I had pooped my pants from fear of her but would not leave my bed to go back to the tiny bathroom. Finally she raced to her room, grabbed her phone and cigarettes and went outside. I locked the door. Locking the door gave me a chance to go to the bathroom and clean up. She banged on the windows and door and instead of calling a friend to pick her up, she called the cops.

This time when the police came, they were very clear to me. They never asked if I was damaged, if she had hurt me in any way, or why I had locked her out. They stood around my queen bed scowling at me, informing me if they had to come back again I WAS GOING TO JAIL. I told them she was a guest and at the very least she was committing elder abuse trying to run me out of my own home. No matter, I was going to jail. In fact, they said, threateningly “Do you want to go to jail right now?” I was too scared to ask why. I was sober, don’t do drugs and sitting in my bed in my apartment.

Obviously I was not pleased at this complete lack of help or protection, so I stopped talking altogether and they left, turning to repeat, as they opened the door, that if they got called again by either of us, I was going to jail.

I needed to leave my home immediately in the ice and snow at nearly midnight by then; because there was no doubt in my mind she would have called them from her room. The police had purposefully given her the power to run me out of my home. Should it not have been her they threatened? She’d trapped me in my bathroom once; I dared not leave my bed again, except to race out the door.

RVRoadBI phoned an acquaintance and drove up one of the alphabet roads in Redwood Valley with my vertigo and my dog, in a small car with tiny tires. Thank you Ukiah’s finest for making sure this woman had my nice cozy apartment to herself all night after driving me out of it with the help of the police I had originally called out of fear of her. She is still here, I am powerless to get her out. I am pleased I did not have to be scraped off the road that night by these same policemen; if alive, they might have arrested me.

I am not a victim of poor choice of friend, I did that all alone. The last place she stayed the elderly (older than me) woman saw her in a store, grabbed her by the hair, threw her to the ground, and told her to leave by the end of the day. That worked. I felt sorry for her, I walked into this eyes wide open, I believed her story that the woman’s rage came from nowhere. I did however, when I realized my mistake, ask for help from the system instead of acting like a savage, and got none. I was sent into the snow Friday night, literally, by the guys that are here to protect and serve.

W. Williams, Ukiah


  1. burnunit December 14, 2013

    Isn’t the Sierra Nevada moniker slightly misplaced, by a few hundred miles? Wouldn’t the Coast Range Music Festival be more apropos?
    But no one ever excused the hippies of being shy when it comes to pretentiousness.

    • Steve December 14, 2013

      Mr Burntunit:
      “Sierra Nevada” comes from the first decade of the festival, when it was held in the, yes, Sierra foothills. The non-hippies who run the festival thought of changing it when the move to Mendo occurred, but that’s their ‘brand’ and people like it – other than pretentious people like…oh never mind.

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