THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES ANNOUNCED Friday that barring miracle spring rains, the state's far flung network of reservoirs will not be able to deliver water this summer. Department Director Mark Cowin said if the dry spell continues, only “carryover water” from last year will be channeled to the farmers and several towns that get their water from the State Water Project. Never in the State Water Project's 54-year history has there been zero water allocation. “Simply put, there's not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project,” Cowin said in a statement to the press. Growers in the Central Valley will bear the biggest brunt of the lack of state water. The State Water Project normally provides water to more than 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland. Twenty-nine water districts also get water from the state, leaving many communities similarly in the lurch.
HOW MANY TIMES has this happened in Mendocino County? It's midnight. Very little traffic. The only people on the streets are a tweeker or two on the run from the little green men. Nothing happening. All's quiet on the Mendo front. Of course, the Willits police can't help but see a vehicle with a tail light out headed south through town. Soon a Mendo deputy with a dope dog is on the scene where the Willits police are chatting with Trevor Ringo Smith, 22, of Lubbock, Texas who, it turns out, is transporting 48 pounds of bud. Smith is also discovered to be the subject of a fugitive warrant from Randall County, Texas, for a parole beef stemming from a conviction for attacking a couple of cops in Amarillo.
A SANTA ROSA READER WRITES: “Down here in la-la land, you'd hardly know that we're in a critical water situation by the local press, aka, the Bosco Bleat. When this continues (and there's nothing to show that next year won't just be an escalation of the last three) it will be interesting to see how those stewards of the land deal with the populace, who simply want to cook, do laundry and bathe. In this land of entitlement, you know it won't be pretty. But it will make for some great stories in the AVA. Your court reporter continues to inform to the level of court TV, and with only a laptop. I totally appreciated the piece on animals a while back. My boy Butter has been with us for six months today. He's around five; rescue cat, found in road 3/13 with busted rear leg and pelvis. Outfit called Angels for Critters put thousands for his repair and rehab. We adopted him 7/31, and it's like a non stop honeymoon. This cat gets it and knows he has been rescued. I've had some great ones, but this guy is the best. Indoor only; damn car drivers have no mercy on critters. PS. Sonoma County is Off The Rails. Smart Train, pension reform, water fluoridation, Supervisor Carrillo (Captain Underpants), a city attorney who muzzzles the CC and the mayor!! The Clean Power Boondoggle!!! and now a long term water shortage that sure looks like a lifestyle changer. People vs the vineyards! To quote Jim Morrison, They Got The Guns, We Got The Numbers! It is not going to be pretty, but it should be fun in a grim dark way. And let's not forget our trigger happy policemen! RIP Andy Lopez! Cops should remember when they shoot a thirteen year old dead, the Target Audience of that outrage is going to be alive and healthy for a very long time. The DA is simply going to wait till the election is over in June, then give him the killer cop a pass. (“I root for the big comet.” — George Carlin)
EXCELLENT REPORT in the current Fort Bragg Advocate by Frank Hartzell on the decommissioning of the last stretches of pavement at the north end of the Old Haul Road. Hartzell writes, “I took the last joyride ever down the north end of the old Haul Road last week. A breathtaking trip it was. Construction crews had freshly unearthed nearly three miles of continuous road, making possible a spectacular oceanfront drive south from Ten Mile Bridge. The day of my ride, crews were in the process of scraping the hard road surface away and hauling it to the retired quarry at Big River, east of Mendocino. The excavated old road was still wide enough for two big gravel trucks to pass on and to move pretty fast along. The road had no holes and could still be driven at virtually any speed. And it was every bit the world class vista that I remember from the mid-1980s, when I rode from Ward Avenue to Ten Mile Bridge on a bicycle, with only two short breaks in the road then.”
THE HAUL ROAD began life in 1916 as a kind of ocean view Skunk Line, hauling the big logs from the forests of Ten Mile and points north to the Fort Bragg mill. In 1949, the rail was replaced by blacktop so log trucks could have a straight run up and down the Coast without fighting the curves and what little vehicle traffic there was on Highway One back in day. Since then, the ocean was pounding away, and gradually the big waves carried off chunks of the road, as it threatens to do to the remaining four or five miles south of Ward Avenue.
WHAT A GREAT amenity the Haul Road has been for Fort Bragg. For years everyone has been able to enjoy miles of ocean and the many hidden little beaches only feet from the old pavement. Soon, we'll be able to walk from Noyo to Ward Avenue, and name another town on the West Coast as blessed as Fort Bragg and its relatively few visitors.
CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN visited Boonville High School a couple of weeks ago. No, it has not yet been declared a crime scene. I wonder, though, what the captive, photo-opted students made out of it? The Congressman and his political party are hardly friends of the largely immigrant school population of the Anderson Valley, and no friend at all to anybody who works for wages. Nothing personal against the guy, a kind of grinning cipher of the type who get elected these days; hell, he could probably be trusted to babysit your kids (if you didn't have a teenage daughter), but I wonder what pedagogical value a visit from the guy could possibly have for teenagers who, objectively, will go out into the chaos of the world neo-libs of the Democrat type have made for them?
I WATCH THE HALFTIME SHOW. Wouldn't miss it. The game? Denver by a touchdown. It should be interesting. But halftime is where it's at as a gage of just how much crazier we are as a culture than we were last year at this time.
MAYBE THE NFL has finally figured out that it's a good idea to get a real singer to belt out the national anthem. Usually it's a Baby, Baby O Baby “entertainer.”
Seriously, other than Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock, have you ever heard an interpretive version of the anthem that was anything but irritating? But this year we get Renee Fleming straight out of the Metropolitan Opera, the real deal for an unreal occasion.
THE LOCAL ANGLE, PETE CARROLL, coach of the Seahawks, once worked at the football camp run in Boonville by the late Boonville school superintendent, Bob Mathias. Mathias and a Marin County coach named Troppman ran the camp for high school jocks for a few summers on the Mathias Ranch six miles south of Boonville, circa the late 1960s.
STATEMENT OF THE DAY: People pay almost $4 million for 30-second ads during the Super Bowl. This is the most valuable cultural real estate of the year. You've got a captive audience of over 100 million. And this is what they come up with? If I was trying to help an alien understand who we are as a nation, the last thing I would show them is a Super Bowl halftime. But what if the aliens were already two steps ahead? What if they'd already infiltrated the halftime show? Seriously, how better to explain Up With People? (Robert Thompson)
WHY DO THE WARRIORS NEED A NEW ARENA?
(They don't, especially not here)
(San Francisco Waterfront Alliance)
APPEALS COURT REVERSES STATE COURT Giving Green Light to Richardson Grove Highway Project
See our report from the Courtroom in our Jan. 21 update here.
(The following is excerpted from the Center for Biological Diversity's press release):
The California Court of Appeal today ordered Caltrans to reevaluate the environmental impacts of a controversial highway-widening project in Humboldt County that would harm irreplaceable old-growth redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park. The appeals court unanimously found that Caltrans failed to follow the law in assessing impacts on ancient redwoods and providing mitigation measures to reduce potentially severe harm to the trees. Caltrans’ project — intended to allow bigger trucks to travel Highway 101 through the park — would require excavation, fill and paving within the fragile root zones of Richardson Grove’s ancient trees.
“This is a victory for Richardson Grove’s ancient trees and for the generations of travelers, hikers and campers who’ve enjoyed their magnificence,” said Center for Biological Diversity attorney Kevin Bundy. “Caltrans owes the public a full and honest account of how its highway-widening plans could damage this irreplaceable state park.”
EPIC; the Center for Biological Diversity; Californians for Alternatives to Toxics; and [several] local residents …challenged an environmental impact report approved for the project by Caltrans in 2010. The Humboldt County Superior Court ruled in 2012 that Caltrans’ report complied with the California Environmental Quality Act. Today’s ruling overturns that decision.
A separate lawsuit filed in federal court resulted in a 2012 ruling that Caltrans must redo critical aspects of its environmental analysis under federal law. The court cited numerous errors in mapping and measurement of affected old-growth redwoods and found that Caltrans had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its use of what the court itself called “faulty data.”
FROM PAMPAS GRASS TO PAPER:
First Friday workshop features Lost Coast Culture Machine
by Roberta Werdinger
On February 7, from 6 to 7:30 pm, the Grace Hudson Museum will host a special workshop called “Papermaking with Plants” taught by the Lost Coast Culture Machine. This free event, in which participants will learn how to make paper from pampas grass, is part of the Grace Hudson's monthly first Friday evenings, when the Museum is open from 5 to 8 pm and is free to all.
Where some people see only weeds and wasteland, others see opportunity. Such is the creative vision of Anne Beck and Dietmar Krumrey, founders of the Lost Coast Culture Machine, an innovative arts, education and performance space in Fort Bragg. Since 2010, the pair have been engaged in a number of lively activities—artist exhibitions, talks, films and classes—all bent on making and viewing art as a means of engaging our imaginations to confront and solve the many challenges of our world. An important part of the operation of this “culture machine"—which Beck and Krumrey define as a process that “draws on the best of what we know and creates new models for what we know to be broken"—is their paper mill. In this mill, flax, hemp, unusable items of clothing from local thrift stores, pampas grass, and even shredded U.S. currency are blended together to produce art paper of various sizes and thicknesses. (To learn more about Lost Coast Culture Machine, go to www.lostcoastculturemachine.org.)
Pampas grass, originally introduced on the California coast to control erosion, is an invasive species that chokes off the growth of beneficial local plant species. Luckily, Lost Coast Culture Machine has discovered that it can be harvested to make a high-quality hand-produced paper. In this workshop, participants will participate in part of the process of making this paper. Using precooked pampas grass, they will hand-beat the leaves into pulp, then use that pulp to pull sheets of paper, which will then be pressed and dried off-site. Pre-made samples will be available for participants to take home so that they can get a sense of the entire process and enjoy its end product. Photos of the pampas-to-paper process will be shown as well, along with a pop-up store where the organization's unique paper products can be purchased, beginning at 5 pm and ending at 8 pm.
Visitors on this First Friday evening can learn more about the art and science of plants and their preservation by viewing the Museum's current exhibit, “Nature's Beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir's Botanical Legacy,” a collection of digitally enhanced high-resolution images of Muir's wide-ranging plant specimens, along with pages and drawings from Muir's nature journals.
First Fridays at the Museum are part of the City of Ukiah's First Friday Art Walks, when many galleries and community spaces in the downtown area remain open. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah and is a part of the City of Ukiah's Community Services Department. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call 467-2836.
MENDOCINO COUNTY RELEASES STATE FACTFINDING REPORT ON LABOR IMPASSE WITH SEIU 1021
The County of Mendocino has released the results and recommendations of a factfinding process engaged in by SEIU 1021 and the County in an effort to resolve the current impasse in labor negotiations. The panel is composed of three members: one representing the County, one representing the union, and a chairperson mutually selected or appointed by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) from a statewide list. Labor negotiations between the Union and the County stalled in October, 2013, when the two sides failed to agree on nine separate issues, the most important of them being SEIU’s proposal for a 10% salary increase phased in by January 1, 2016. The County had proposed a rollover of the current contract for one year in light of slow revenue growth, precarious financial positioning, increased pension costs, and the inability to guarantee that salary increases could be sustained in the long-term. The panel agreed with the County on 7 out of 9 disputed key points. Although the panel agreed to recommend that the Board of Supervisors consider a 3% raise for the bargaining unit, the panel was unable to identify a sustainable source of funding to finance the enhancement. SEIU received several setbacks when the report disagreed with their proposal to ban contracting out of County services, and that the County’s recent healthcare premium rate increase of 3% was considered reasonable and moderate. The panel’s recommendations are advisory only. “Overall we are very pleased.” stated Assistant CEO Kyle Knopp, who leads the County’s negotiations team. “The Board’s position continues to be based on stabilizing County finances and tying increased compensation to sustainable increases in County revenue.” Currently, SEIU 1021 employees receive 30 hours of personal leave annually, 3 days of bereavement leave with options to extend, 40 hours of vacation accrual cash-out, 24 hours of banked compensatory time off (CTO), a $20,000 life insurance policy, clothing allowance for certain classifications, access to approved bilingual pay, a defined benefit pension plan, 75% cost coverage for health insurance (Medical, Dental, and Vision), regularly scheduled merit pay increases of 5%, access to 3 deferred compensation plans, 11 paid holidays, up to 25 days of paid vacation annually with an option to bank an additional 25 days in a year, 15 sick days annually, family sick leave, 8 hours of wellness leave, and jury duty pay. The report can be accessed at
The County’s partial dissent is at
And an extended press release is available at
— Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
DEAR SEIU MEMBERS,
Below is a link to the full Factfinding report which is at the bottom, as a PDF. Please don’t hesitate to contact the union office with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or 376-2405.
Thank you, Jasmin Blanc
SHERIFF'S REPORTS as of Friday, January 31st:
DUI — Justin Daly, 23, of Albion, was arrested at 12:10 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.
Marijuana Sales — William R. Boatwright, 45, of Ukiah, was arrested at 7:41 a.m. Monday on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and booked at the county jail under $45,000 bail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested him.
DUI — Yevgeniy D. Iolin, 66, of Pittsburg, was arrested at 7:47 a.m. Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
Abuse — Victor R. Soria, 24, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 11:07 a.m. Monday on suspicion of elder or dependent adult abuse, false imprisonment, battery, being armed with a gun, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing drugs while armed, and booked at the county jail under $60,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
OPEN LETTER To The Honorable U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman & Members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors: It has been almost five years since several U.S. Senators, including U.S. Senators Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, in a letter to NOAA, dated June 19, 2009, stated:
“…In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of its exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur, and virtually every coastal state will be affected. Some exercises may occur in the nation's most biologically sensitive marine habitats, including National Marine Sanctuaries and breeding habitat(s)…In all, the Navy anticipates more than 2.3 million takes (significant disruptions in marine mammal foraging, breeding, and other essential behaviors) per year, or 11.7 million takes over the course of a five-year permit…”
Now the U.S. Navy wants to expand its NWTT (which includes Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho & Alaska), and increase its training and testing exercises here.
The U.S. Navy Draft NWTT Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS), is online at www.NWTTEIS.com (Public comment due by March 25, 2014.)
We are petitioning the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to hold a formal meeting in Fort Bragg on March 7, 2014, on this issue of how to protect our coastal region from increasing warfare testing impacts. We are requesting that U.S. Congressman Huffman work toward protecting sensitive and critical biological areas and our marine mammals from ever-increasing warfare testing.
For more information please contact the Ocean Protection Coalition in Fort Bragg. http://www.oceanprotection.org/OPC/Contact.html
Mary Clare Ditton, Mendocino
Sue Nagle, Albion