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Valley People (Jan 8, 2014)

THE NEW YEAR used to be celebrated in Boonville with gunfire and low intensity explosions commencing, it always seemed, at nightfall. No more. We're a pretty tame bunch anymore. The anarchic sectors of The Valley's population, as they might be euphemized, gave this place real distinction. They've either been priced outtahere or grown too old to celebrate much of anything. The first of the year has grown steadily quieter. 2013 was welcomed with a few furtive weapons discharges, followed by complete silence. The first minutes of 2014 were absolutely silent, no different than the first moments of a summer July. 2014's celebrations were private, sedate, indoors.

THE TWO MORNINGS of cloud cover Monday and Tuesday had many of us casting our eyes heavenward in silent prayer for rain. Our prayers went unanswered, and the endless chilly summer goes on and on, as more people report dry wells, drier springs, and our all-year streams are down to trickles at a time they're usually torrents.

JESSE SLOTTE, the heavily decorated soldier who miraculously survived the nearly fatal injuries he suffered in Iraq, visited us Monday with the timely announcement that he is now in business as a water hauler. Jesse said he's purchased Butch Paula's water tender and is now available to supply the Anderson Valley and points beyond. If ever a small business deserved support, it's this one. Jesse can be reached anytime at 916/710-2639.

BEGINNER Tai Chi class starting Monday, January 20th, 7:00-8:15 p.m. at Sobo Studio in Boonville. Space is limited. Call Linda 895-9119 to register and for more info.

NOW SHOWING at Lauren's Restaurant, the art of Lucille Estes and Evelyn Ashton, both of whom have entered their 9th decade, if you will excuse the ungentlemanly (and irrelevant really) reference to age, because their beautifully crafted work is truly ageless. You have all of January and February to see for yourself.

SARAH CRISMAN is no longer functioning as assistant director of the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service. There were, as they say, irreconcilable differences between Ms. Crisman and Art Hatcher, the director. As per ancient local custom, the Ambulance's board of directors, as all boards of directors these woebegone days, has immediately gone into Politburo mode. “No comment, especially to the likes of you.” So I'll just wing it and say that I'm certain Ms. Crisman is the wronged party.

WHEN I ASKED HER about it, Ms. Crisman took the high road: “I did resign as Assistant Manager from the ambulance. It was due to continued conflict between Art and I that was not resolved by the board. I think the world of the crew, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to work with them.”

“PER ANCIENT LOCAL CUSTOM?” No, I take that back. I remember wonderfully candid, spectacularly passionate Boonville public meetings of the early 1970s. Everything was put right out there, and I mean everything to the point of fisticuffs. But at least the air was cleared, totally, mountaintop Sierra cleansed. The advent of the Mendo-dominant lib labs and their affiliated lawyers has ruined public processes. The libs are naturally secretive and do their dirty work in ways difficult to detect, and often visible only to your beloved community newspaper. And they're always hustling something for themselves or one of their pals, hence everywhere you look in Mendo public employment you see husbands and wives and cousins and the children of all of them. And if a lawyer's in the room, one of the libs will say, “Maybe Mr. Zotter can clarify this matter,” adding a reverential, “He's an attorney.” Of course he can. And blah-blah-blah. When Zotter, or a Zotter-like figure, finally winds down after many minutes of an opinion he's pulled out of mid-air or a darker area of his anatomy, things are hopelessly confused, and the libs proceed to vote unanimously for evil. Oops. Not evil. Evil implies energy, intelligence. Herd instinct for the mediocre is closer.

FOR YOUR UNNECESSARY GOVERNMENT FILES: LAFCO has certified our MSR. I suppose you'll want clarification. Like you, a sentence that says “LAFCO has certified our MSR” renders me instantly comatose. But. But the Local Agency Formation Commission, a one-man office in Ukiah, has certified that our Community Service District is doing what it was chartered to do, i.e., fight fires; provide a few street lights and oversee an occasional recreational effort, plus pay a secretary to do the paperwork. I have to tell you that. It's my job. The LAFCO guy in Ukiah makes about $80 thou a year for doing… well, for doing… for telling us our CSD is doing what we know it's doing. If we had the LAFCO guy on tape like, say, Colin Kaepernick, evaluating his workday from a cost-effectiveness perspective, there wouldn't be a LAFCO. Or a County Office of Education. Or any of the present state senators, congressmen, assemblypersons, and there'd be ten fewer editors at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Maybe we should Kaepernick all government. Get it all on tape!

HBO has recently been filming at Navarro. We understand the story is about a person who comes to Mendocino County to grow devil weed, not the most original narrative but HBO is doing some great stuff these days, what with Breaking Bad and Deadwood, and I know there's lots I haven't seen.

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