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Valley People (Feb 26, 2014)

AS MOST of us go into full drought mode, and spawning fish fight to get upstream in the low flows of The Valley's streams, the Goldeneye wine outfit sticks a three inch pipe into the Navarro near its confluence with the Rancheria and Indian Creek and proceeds to help itself to the water, heedless of fish welfare. When Goldeneye was still Duckhorn, they just as heedlessly placed a pond on top of a recognized archeological site. A locally-owned winery would not do this kind of thing, I don't think.

AS OF LAST FRIDAY, the Russian River, all the way up to Coyote Dam north of Ukiah, is closed to fishing. The closure is supposed to protect spawning salmon and steelhead.

A FISHERMAN mentioned to us the other day that he has seen lots of dead fish on the Navarro, a grisly sight he attributed to catch-and-release policies.

A VALLEY GRAPE GROWER called last week to complain that my article about grape growers and the drought reflected “a certain hostility toward our industry.” And that the story failed to acknowledge what some Anderson Valley growers are doing to reduce water use while contributing to the support the local economy. I replied that we were aware that there are some growers who were trying to do the right thing by practicing what they call “fish-friendly farming” while they reduce pesticide use. But we cited Chris Rock, who told a homeboy friend of his who complained that he wasn’t getting any credit for raising his kids and staying out of jail, “You want a cookie? You’re supposed to do that, you dumb (so-and-so)!” Rock replied. “You don’t get credit for doing what you’re supposed to do!”

YOUR BELOVED community newspaper is mos def hostile to inland growers who stubbornly refuse even ordinary regulation that would help them and protect public streams. Why do they resist frost protection pumping coordination, individual pumping gages and gages on tributaries, minor use permits for tasting rooms, and a minimal grading ordinance — versions of which have long been in place in neighboring wine-based counties. I encouraged the grower-caller (or anyone else) to write their own testimonial(s) to their good works. We’d be happy to run them. But if the local wine industry, already widely resented for a variety of reasons, continues to take self-defeating, obstructionist positions on every grape issue that arises, they better hunker down. — ms

BOONVILLE SENIORS are unhappy with the fallout over last year's controversy about County veterans' buildings, because for Boonville, that fallout means the difference between a token rent of a dollar a year for the annual use of the structure to $250 a month for use of the building, which is virtually unused except for the Seniors and an occasional vet's meeting. The County, however, is unhappy that the Seniors' utility bill is running around $600 a month, and the County pays that. (The controversy over use of the buildings arose when Veterans For Peace, a group heavy on non-veterans, wanted to use the Ukiah Vet's Building for its meetings without paying rent. The existing vet's group objected, hence the decision by the County to up the rents.)

THE SUPERVISORS, however, at their Tuesday (25 February) meeting considered this motion: "Direct staff to amend the MOU with the Anderson Valley Senior Center associated with the use of the Boonville Veterans’ Memorial Building to reflect the same terms as the Point Arena Senior Center MOU; transfer the administration of all Veterans’ Memorial Buildings from the Health and Human Services Agency to the General Services Agency; and adopt the revised Rules and Regulations.

THE VALLEY'S SENIORS quickly mobilized and, today, Tuesday, the Supes found themselves looking out at a sea of walkers, menacing canes, rattling pill boxes, and palsied up-raised fists. Mess with us, will you, you self-medicating young whippersnappers! Raise our rent and we'll raise you right off that dais!

JUST IN: The supervisors voted 4-1, Supervisor McCowen bravely dissenting, to return Boonville to a dollar a year token rent. McCowen pointed out that the Boonville exception would likely mean that other entities using County buildings would demand similar breaks on rent.

AS AN ASIDE HERE, and speaking as a Senior Citizen, I get real tired of Senior whining for special consideration for this, that and the other thing. All the breaks ought to go to the other end of the age spectrum, the young people who will reap the consequences of the catastrophes us Seniors have wrought. Of course the young don't vote because they can't, and our spine-free office-holders know that Seniors do vote, hence the endless pandering to the elderly at all levels of government. I see the local Seniors pulling up in their SUV's for tax-subsidized lunches and note that lots of them are registered Republicans who've cast a thousand votes over their lives to squeeze everyone but themselves. Give me the name of one local Senior who can't buy his own lunch and I'll buy him or her a Boont Berry Bean Burrito. But only one.

VISITING KEVIN BURKE of Philo last week were his brothers Pete and Mike, and Pete's wife, Vicky, who flew in from London to see their immigrant relative. On behalf of the Anglo-American Friendship Society, Boonville branch, Mark Scaramella was instantly tableside as the Burke party enjoyed lunch at the Boonville General Store. Scaramella presented the visitors with complimentary copies of America's last newspaper and, to fully acclimate the Brits to Mendocino County, also presented them with signed editions of Mendocino Noir and Behind the Green Curtain. The London delegation, incidentally, loved their Madrones accommodations, conveniently located just across 128 from Kevin's place near Philo.

ELIZABETH MITCHELL WRITES: "According to KZYX’s IRS Form 990 for 2012 (publicly available on the Guidestar Web site), John Coates’s salary for 2012 was $54,000." Coate's recent ten percent raise puts him around $60,000. And why the secrecy from Coate's trustees about Coate's salary? If he's performed financial miracles for Mendo Public Radio, open the books so we can all have a look at how the guy has pulled the fiscal rabbit out of his magic hat. Sure, KZYX is a membership organization, but because it's tax exempt the rest of us are members too because our taxes subsidize the enterprise. You want to run a private audio club, give up your non-profit status.

UNSOLICITED PLUG: Advance Power, Calpella. If you're thinking about going solar, or you need darn near anything in the way of energy-saving devices, Advance Power is a very good bet. Not just saying this because Pete's a long-time advertiser, but because I've had first hand experience when, years ago, I looked into solar for my old house on AV Way. Pete himself came over for a look and said, "Too many trees. You wouldn't get full power." A less scrupulous business would have said, "O yeah. Perfect site. Sign here."

AS THE MTA BUS reached Boonville about 4pm last Friday, an unhinged woman suddenly launched a racist diatribe aimed at the Mexican passengers. She was so relentless, so vile, that the driver had to call for Deputy Walker to "warn and advise" the shrieking harridan that she either shut up or he'd arrest her. She refused to shut up and was drunk besides. Cynthia Courtney of Elk was arrested and booked into the County Jail.

HEARING that the new stationary porta-potty and windsock at Boonville International was finally operational, Ms. Liddy, CSD's new manager, remarked, "Now you can call it: 'The Place To Go'!"

RESIDENT DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER alerts locals to a couple of mail thefts in the Philo area. Inland areas of the County have been plagued by tweekers rifling roadside mail boxes. The deputy advises that people not leave outgoing mail in their boxes and promptly retrieve their incoming. The Deputy can be reached at 272-0567.

ROBERT McKAY of Rancho Navarro might be able to delay the foreclosure on his Appian Way property by pointing out to the mortgage holder that notice of the sad fact was incorrectly placed in the Ukiah Daily Journal, not the legal publication of general circulation applying to his area of Mendocino County.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE says some big rains will arrive the middle of this week and last through the weekend. In the mean time, Chris Skyhawk of Albion reports on the Navarro River. “I went down to the beach today and it is already closed. Looks like the closure is recent as the berm separating the river and ocean is thin, but that was a very short-lived opening. I guess that thirsty ground captured the run-off already.”

THE NAVARRO was open long enough for quite a few steelhead to get upstream. Hopefully, this week's rains will blast the river open again for more returning fish to make their way upstream, and it is truly amazing how far upstream they can get. My brother-in-law and I are still talking about the foot-long steelie we saw almost at the headwaters of Jimmy Creek, which is almost at the top of the Boonville-Ukiah Road. And it was in very good shape but sadly trapped in a summer pool easily accessed by critters. When we went back for another look a few days later the critters had got him.

GOV. BROWN is expected to propose spending nearly $700 million to provide immediate help for communities coping with California's drought. Neither the governor's office nor the legislative leaders have released details, but the money is assumed to involve using existing voter-approved bond money for a variety of immediate needs. Willits, the Willits suburb of Brooktrails and Redwood Valley, are the three Mendocino County communities at the top of the Urgent List.

ON-LINE WEATHER COMMENT OF THE WEEK: “So two things are likely to come out of this: (1) Hopefully, the drought will be downgraded from Old Testament style, civilization-ending catastrophe to just a major environmental disaster, and (2) we'll get to listen to a bunch of Californians do what comes naturally: gripe and complain about ‘bad’ weather for a few days.”

ANOTHER ON-LINE DROUGHT COMMENT: "What concerns me, and what I am looking for, is to see if fish ran up the creeks to spawn and are now faced with lower flows impeding successful spawning. Not that there will be water come summer to protect hatchlings. I've been keeping a close eye on creeks near me and checking spring flows. The recent rain came down fast enough to create runoff, but the rivers and creek dropped quicker than you expect to see in February. Some of the spring flows came up from the surface runoff and are now tapering back, indicating to me that the hills are nowhere near saturated deep into the aquifer that feeds the springs and creeks."

FOR YEARS LOCALS, us included, have enjoyed free access to that capped-off spring not far up Mountain View Road about 40 yards this side of Bear Wallow, wherefrom flows the sweetest water in all of Mendoland. No more. I drove up to check it the other day and it was dry. First time it's gone dry in years. We often hauled our plastic jugs up there for a week's supply of pristine drinking water. But it's gone, and one more sign that drought is upon us.

One Comment

  1. Kathy MacDonald March 2, 2014

    Come join the local wealthy seniors as they pull up for lunch in their fancy trucks wearing their fancy clothes
    Come join the Gowans, the Hulberts, the Holcombs and the Pardinis, the Walkers, the Tituses and more.
    It’s not just lunch for this bunch but for the whole

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