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Mendocino County Today: Monday, March 10, 2014

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A SERIES OF EARTHQUAKES, including a magnitude-6.9 quake, shook off the coast of Humboldt County on Sunday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's website.

A 3.3 quake shook about 40 miles west of Eureka (Humboldt County) at 10:04 p.m., followed 14 minutes by a 6.9 quake, which was centered around the same area at a depth of 4.3 miles, according to the USGS. Within 45 minutes, there were at least six aftershocks with magnitudes ranging from 2.9 to 4.6.

The Associated Press reported that officials in Humboldt County said there have been no calls about damages or injuries.

The National Tsunami Warning Center said on its website there is no tsunami danger for the region.

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THIS JUST IN, Superintendent Tichinin Will Not Run For Re-election

On Friday March 7th, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools, Paul Tichinin announced to his staff and the County Board of Education that he would not file to run for another four-year term in office.

Paul-TichininHe will retire in January 2015, at the end of his current term and after a 40 year career in education, 20 years as the Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools. Tichinin is currently the longest serving county-wide elected official in Mendocino County.

"I was hesitant to retire without a qualified candidate running, but when MCOE's Associate Superintendent Paul Joens-Poulton came forward, I was excited to endorse him and throw my support behind his candidacy, knowing I would leave MCOE in capable hands.

Paul Joens-Poulton has the expertise and experience at the level to successfully lead the Mendocino County Office of Education and he has a strong vision for the future of our schools. He is the only candidate with first-hand knowledge of what services a quality County Office of Education needs to perform and how to deliver them effectively."

Superintendent Paul Tichinin shared with his staff that during the next nine months he will focus on the continuing work, initiatives, and projects of MCOE. The new Local Control Funding Formula legislation changes and redefines the core functions of county offices of education. The implementation of Common Core and national standards also alters the duties of school districts in the education of students and the accountability for their successes.

"There is much work still to be done" said Superintendent Tichinin as he expressed his pride in all of the County Office staff and the services they provide to ensure the possibility of educational success for all of the 13,000 plus students in Mendocino County.

"It has been an honor to serve the diverse communities of Mendocino County. I am looking forward to finally having the time to completely fill my abalone diving card and enjoy the beaches, forests, vineyards and natural surroundings of our beautiful Mendocino County. I want to thank all the voters for their support and the trust they placed in me to lead our educational community over the last 20 years."

[from the Mendocino County Office of Education]

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THE CAMPUS AT MENDOCINO COLLEGE rests in a lushly green sylvan setting northwest of Ukiah and, at first sight, looks more like the Olympic Village than it does an institution of higher learning, with a big modern gym, an up to date weight room, a little jewel of a football field, an all-weather track, and a baseball park better than many you'd find in the lower minor leagues.

MendoCollegeTo keep it all green in draught times, the college's water bill runs about $20,000 a month (!). The college has always had a definite sports orientation and the frivolous reputation that comes with a sports rep. But it's much more than a sports center.

MENDOCINO COLLEGE also sends an impressively large number of local students on to four-year colleges and universities and qualifies as many in the skilled professions. The school's nursing program, for example, is ranked in the top twenty in the state among competition from much larger colleges and universities.

OVER THE YEARS, THE INSTITUTION has generally rolled placidly along with a board of trustees pretty much dependent on their chief administrator they rarely, if ever, direct. Times have suddenly changed.


THE NEW MENDO COLLEGE president is J. Arturo Reyes. He's been on the job about six months now and, with fringes, makes over $200,000 a year, placing him in the elite strata of Mendo income earners holding public jobs. He is a veteran community college administrator who came to Ukiah from Solano College. He began his academic life as a high school Spanish language teacher.

TO PUT IT MILDLY, Mendocino County's new college president has caused much upset among the school's long-time faculty and classified employees. Previous presidents have been largely content to leave things alone. Reyes, on the job for six months, has made it clear that he has the last vote, the trump card, over all hiring, and he plans to use it, never mind the usual processes involving existing staff. He already has slammed down his trump, and his wielding of the employment ax has already caused an undercurrent of anxiety at the school.

AND HERE'S where the discussion gets tricky, where non-Hispanics preface their complaints about Reyes with disclaimers like, “I'm not a racist but…” fearing that they'll be accused of racism for speaking up with their complaints about him. His critics claim that Reyes has already made some race-based hires that don't seem rationally defensible. And his critics don't know what he means when he says he sees Mendocino College as an “Hispanic magnet school,” which could be a good thing in a county that is increasingly Spanish-speaking by encouraging more Mexican-American high school graduates to take a shot at college, or it could simply mean the pretext for dumping Anglo instructors for Hispanic teachers.

REYES has already made it clear that people who don't possess the paper qualifications for the classes they're teaching aren't likely to survive. The question is, who will replace them? In any case, we're talking about people like, say, a PhD retired engineer teaching math who doesn't have a master's degree in mathematics but obviously, as an engineer, possesses the higher math skills he's good at conveying to junior college students.

WHEN THE COLLEGE'S director of personnel retired, the mandated national search for a replacement kicked off. Reyes nixed the finalists and installed a thinly credentialed interim guy named Jose Milan. To oversee the closing out the left over funds from a building bond, Reyes hired $150-an-hour consultants out of Merced to do the supervising. A critic comments, “Merced? No one closer to home could do it?” And he has fired the dean of students for reasons invisible to staff.

REYES has also managed to upset random members of the surrounding community. He has decreed that the Ukiah symphony orchestra must pay user fees to present their popular concerts in the college's theater where the symphony has performed free for years. But one of Reyes first acts was to mark out a parking spot for himself which, his critics note, is seldom occupied.

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WilliamButlerYeatsCome swish around, my pretty punk,
 And keep me dancing still
 / That I may stay a sober man / 
Although I drink my fill.

 Sobriety is a jewel
 / That I do much adore;
 And therefore keep me dancing
 / Though drunkards lie and snore. O mind your feet, O mind your feet, 
Keep dancing like a wave,
 And under every dancer
 / A dead man in his grave. No ups and downs, my pretty, 
A mermaid, not a punk;
 A drunkard is a dead man,
 And all dead men are drunk.

— William Butler Yeats

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by Brook Smalle

Adventist Health System West runs hospitals. Like Frank R. Howard in Willits. And Ukiah Valley Medical Center. “We reflect God’s love to our community” its tax returns claim. “By providing physical, mental, and spiritual healing.” For a price.

Adventist is a non-union shop. It operates 32 hospitals in the Western US. Each one of them a non-profit. That means no taxes. Labor costs are 20% lower. With overhead like that, what does Adventist charge? The same as union hospitals. Who reaps the benefits? The wealthy do.

Adventist West’s office is in Roseville. It’s a separate non-profit. A pretty nice one by the looks of it. With 28 board members. What’s their average pay? Over $700k a year. Yeah, baby. They’re on a mission from God. With paychecks like that, who wouldn’t be? It’s different for Adventist employees. According to Adventist lawyers, self-sacrifice is required for them. They say that Jesus doesn’t like unions. He loves one percenters instead.

Naturally, Adventist executives want more hospitals. Especially ones who can afford union wages. Like the one in Fort Bragg. Mendocino Coast District Hospital. It’s been around for 40 years. The last public hospital in the County. And the last union shop. So it’s game on.


In a pinch like that, you’d need an insider. Someone to grease the skids. Enter Wayne Charles Allen, MCDH’s Chief Executive Officer. Also the Chief Financial Officer. Allen’s a registered Republican pushing 70. A lame duck, itching to retire. The perfect man for the job. Busting the union for Adventist. Paving the way for scab labor.

It can’t happen with a healthy hospital. Not in cash-rich Mendocino. You need one that’s sick. Or at least looks that way. On its balance sheet. Presented by Wayne Allen. Backed up by his auditor, TCA Partners. The hospital has a Foundation. With the same auditor. But the audits don’t match. They’re off. By a teensy-weensy $2 million. Uh-huh.

The fog eaters spotted it. This wasn’t rocket science. How long can you hide a $2 million accounting error? As the local listserve buzzed, Allen went into damage control mode. With a public meeting in January. A charade to save the hospital. But the fog eaters were one step ahead. They’d found a professional fundraising company that Allen had hired back in 2007. One that’d raised millions. At a cost of 10%. Allen ignored it. In more ways than one.

Philanthropic Professionals Inc. was that company. But its 10% commission check never arrived. MCDH just hung onto it. So PPI went away. As MCDH’s balance sheet deteriorated, Adventist’s fat-cat board members wrung their hands. Right after prayer, of course.

The January meeting was called on short notice. But the house was still packed with fog eaters. A wet-behind-the-ears consultant mumbled his way through a PowerPoint presentation. Concluding that MCDH’s only choice was another parcel tax measure. Fundraising wasn’t mentioned. Allen reported that Adventist wasn’t interested in taking over. Not with union workers. Yecch. Then it was the fog eaters’ turn.

Union busting is familiar to the Mendocino Coast. The local sawmills did it for decades. Like Union Lumber Company in Fort Bragg. In the Great Depression, the only thing that kept them alive was a union workforce. The only way to stop that union was by shutting the sawmill down. Which is exactly what Georgia Pacific did. In 2002.

Now it’s Round Two for the fog eaters. This time in a showdown with Adventist. To break the hospital union. Or the hospital. Adventist can’t lose. With hospitals in Willits and Ukiah, how could they? It was the old sawmill owner mentality. But this time, Jesus was in charge.

The fog eaters brought up fundraising. And Allen’s $2 million accounting hiccup. MCDH and the Foundation were obviously in cahoots on this. The fog eaters demanded answers. Adventist’s little union busting operation went radio silent. So the fog eaters blew the whistle. To the IRS.

The scam was revealed on a single tax return. For 2008. From the Foundation. When all the grant money from PPI was rolling in. That tax return is slightly off. By $153,995. Who signed it? The “life partner” of a convicted embezzler. Former MCDH Board Chair Charlene McAllister. One of Adventist’s biggest fans.

Allen claims that MCDH and the Foundation aren’t connected. But that wasn’t the case in 2008. Not according to their auditor. TCA Partners says the Foundation was a component then. When all that money went bye-bye. Allen says that MCDH has no business with PPI. And never did. PPI has a notarized contract that says otherwise. Now the fog eaters have a copy.

That contract was for grant writing. PPI had one with the Foundation too. PPI applied for millions of dollars under those contracts. On behalf of both organizations. That was a problem for Adventist. A big one. How can you bust a union like that?

The fog eaters have kicked it up a notch. Grant money always leaves a trail. So the fog eaters are working with PPI to find it. Every nickel. And the unions? They’ve got a ballot initiative up this November that’ll limit Adventist’s executive pay to $450,000 a year.

God wasn’t available for comment. Neither was Jesus.

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Unfortunately, it’s a plant that’s not generally cultivated for humans: alfalfa. Grown on over a million acres in California, alfalfa sucks up more water than any other crop in the state. And it has one primary destination: cattle. Increasingly popular grass-fed beef operations typically rely on alfalfa as a supplement to pasture grass. Alfalfa hay is also an integral feed source for factory-farmed cows, especially those involved in dairy production.

AlfalfaFieldIf Californians were eating all the beef they produced, one might write off alfalfa’s water footprint as the cost of nurturing local food systems. But that’s not what’s happening. Californians are sending their alfalfa, and thus their water, to Asia. The reason is simple. It’s more profitable to ship alfalfa hay from California to China than from the Imperial Valley to the Central Valley. Alfalfa growers are now exporting some 100 billion gallons of water a year from this drought-ridden region to the other side of the world in the form of alfalfa. All as more Asians are embracing the American-style, meat-hungry diet.

Meat Makes a Planet Thirsty, NY Times

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“Most of the men who signed up for WW2 were bored little farm boys (like my dad) who found a great ‘patriotic’ excuse to get the hell away from the farm and see the world. Granted, they were a far cry better men than ‘merica produces today — can you imagine fighting that war with today’s crop? — but that’s more about their austere, hard-work upbringing than about any particular heroism…”

Dead on insight. My Great uncle Connie was an upstate New Yorker, son of German immigrant parents, imbued with a type of indefatigable work ethic I’ve never seen in another man since, certainly no Boomer I’ve observed comes close; admittedly, that nature kind of character is absent in me too, not because I’m lazy or unhardy, but because whatever opportunity existed for men of that character then doesn’t exist in any form or fashion today, not without perpetuating some other hidden travesty at least. Thing is, such travesties are no longer hidden from the limited vantage point of your fabled farm boys. It’s all out in the open now, thanks to globalism and the DUBYA DUBYA DUBYA. For this we can expressly credit the WWII generation’s craven offspring.

My Uncle was a WWII paratrooper, a successful business owner afterward, and if I believed in heroes, he would qualify as one. Anyhow, he was simply a man who liked to make his own way in life, and lived during a time in this country when that was still mostly possible; he didn’t have to answer much to the government. Not so today.

I certainly don’t have an explanation as to why shit is so fucked up now, as if it never wasn’t; my unclear rant likely demonstrates this, but as far as “today’s crop” goes, I won’t defend them against the WWII generation; WWII warriors were fortunate enough to be allowed to drop the first nukes on enemies with impunity, and had the good fortune of hiding behind all the fear and false glory winning a war that way enables; in contrast, my generation doesn’t get the same conscience-free shot at risking nuclear annihilation and the end of the species in another go ’round of atomic dispute; we know what the atom is now, different to ‘dem farm boys. So fighting a third world war to protect and preserve all the bullshit platitudes of the past and the shameful deceit and continual rot which followed it is an absolute disgrace. Boomer politicians and Millennial soldiers won’t get to drop nukes unanswered this time, so let’s stop pullin’ dick about it. I surely won’t fight for the same lies men of the past stood for.

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OFFICER, I THINK HE WAS CARRYING A FISH. A Eureka man was arrested in Ukiah Wednesday after being spotted carrying a large stuffed fish, the Ukiah Police Department reported. According to the UPD, an officer contacted a man walking in the 1000 block of North State Street shortly after midnight March 5 while carrying a six-foot-tall, stuffed fish. The man was identified as Colt C. Lyon, 31, of Eureka, who was reportedly on parole in Humboldt County and had left the county without permission. He was arrested on suspicion of violating his parole.

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THE STORNETTA PUBLIC LANDS, POINT ARENA, already a public set-aside, is poised to be declared part of the Coastal National Monument by President Obama, who will do the deed Tuesday in the Oval Office.


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by Emily Hobelmann

Governor Jerry Brown is obviously trying to pull a fast one on California’s marijuana community with his remarks on the March 2nd edition of NBC’s Meet the Press. He was asked about legalization by host David Gregory, like whether legalization is a “good idea” for California… (Gregory’s question is lame — legalization is a good idea for everyone. Major duh on that one bro.) Here’s what Brown said in response to Gregory’s question:

We have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington. I’d really like those two states to show us how it’s gonna work. The problem with anything — a certain amount is OK, but there is a tendency to go to extremes. And all of a sudden if there’s advertising and legitimacy… How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24-hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.

Initially, I felt outraged. How dare he criticize “potheads.” I took it personally because I’m a medical and recreational marijuana user. Some might say I’m a pothead. So at first I kept thinking, “What a douchebag thing to say. I have two jobs and I’m college educated and I work my ass off to pay my rent. And don’t even get me started on the pressure to stay alert all the damn time to make my way in this modern ‘civilized society,’ on the pressure to keep the California juggernaut afloat…”

My outraged continued until I smoked some Humboldt County-grown, outdoor organic marijuana. When my consciousness was sufficiently expanded, I started to think about California “potheads,” to use the guv-na’s faded lingo. I started to think about all of the state’s yuppies, Hollywood types, Silicon Valley nerds, teachers, gas station attendants, scientists, pot growers, law enforcement peeps, CEOs, blue and white collar people, veterans, medical professionals, journalists, millionaires, houseless community members, high school students, athletes, politicians and people with compromised health that use marijuana.

No disputing this point: California marijuana users encompass a very broad swath of folks — all races, most ages, all ranks, all income levels. Marijuana use and affiliation is pervasive, ubiquitous, all-up-in-this-mother. Of course, not everyone in California is a marijuana user or an industry affiliate, but I’d bet that every one of us is no more than one degree removed from someone that is.

Governor Brown knows this. He has to. California’s marijuana industry is a major, major sector of the economy. Above-board, underground, whatever. Marijuana is motherfucking important to this state.

G-Brown totally knows that there are plenty of successful potheads out there. And if you don’t believe it, just check out this website: That shit’s deep. (But not really.)

This is better: The Marijuana Policy Project made a 2013 list of the “Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users,” and oh, it’s just presidents, Oprah Winfrey, famous TV peeps, rich ass people, Snoop Lion. No big.

Obviously Jerry Brown was full of shit on Meet the Press. He’s obviously making fun of marijuana fans in order to motivate us to prove to the world that “potheads” is an outdated term. He’s obviously using reverse psychology to motivate citizens to get marijuana legalized because our stale-ass federal government isn’t going to do it for us anytime soon. He’s obviously using reverse psychology with those remarks because the marijuana industry in California is undeniably fucking huge.

And given how the state of Colorado is killin’ it with tax revenue from legal marijuana sales, Brown, of course, knows that tax revenue from legal marijuana sales could maybe push California into a place where it’s actually worthy of “great state” status.

Of course the Guv trying to dupe us. He’s not that out of touch. People use marijuana all over the place, and more advertising is not going to change that. Of course Brown wants legalization. He’s got to understand that putting people in prison for possessing weed is fucking dumb — he knows all about overcrowded prisons. And he’s got the brain power to understand the potential of medical marijuana.

Brown is likely just trying to motivate people to stand up for what’s right. He’s trying to motivate people to overcome the hypocrisy of prohibition. Obvs. But I am speculating. So perhaps a fact is in order: The fact that our governing bodies insist on perpetuating restrictive marijuana policies is lame because ultimately, marijuana is fucking plant. “Oh, it smells.” “Oh, the IQ points.” “Oh, the potheads aren’t alert enough to keep up with the dangerous and competitive world…”

Puh-lease. If all the hype was dropped around marijuana being somehow more special than the other plants out there on Planet Earth, we could go back to doing whatever it is we would do if we didn’t have to worry about getting busted for being associated with marijuana. Hemp could be cultivated, medicinal marijuana research could commence, the uncertainty around Humboldt’s underground economy could play out. People in Nebraska, or wherever the fuck they import Humboldt weed from, could start growing their own or they could buy Humboldt’s finest in their own weed stores.

Marijuana is rad and all of that and so are all the other handy plants out there. Bashing marijuana users is so 80s, so war-on-drugs, so D.A.R.E. Bashing marijuana users is so totally the fuel for the fire of marijuana legitimacy. More and more marijuana people are becoming out-and-proud, and Brown is just helping that movement right along.

On the local front, the proposed ordinance for outdoor medical marijuana cultivation on parcels up to five acres in size was on the Planning Commission meeting agenda last Thursday (March 6). I am against the restrictive limits they are proposing. I couldn’t make the meeting, but I did participate in democracy by submitting my comments on the matter to my Supervisor via email. She responded promptly. Go E-Fizzy!

At the meeting, the marijuana segment of the program wasn’t brought up until 9 p.m. — the proposed ordinance was last on the meeting agenda. Lots of folks drove up to Eureka from SoHum to weigh in, but there was only a limited amount of time for comments given the late start on the topic. So the matter is tabled for the moment. Times-Standard coverage of the meeting here. Perhaps they will have another meeting on the issue down SoHum way at a more reasonable time of day so we can get live on this stuff.

Now back to work, potheads. No rest allowed. It’s a dangerous world out there. Better stay awake and working 24-hours a day, or else…

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Air Let Out Of Tires — Caller in the 600 block of Mendocino Drive reported at 12:40 p.m. Tuesday that the air was let out of a vehicle's tires. An officer took the information.

Roosters In City — Caller in the 300 block of El Rio Court reported at 1:52 p.m. Tuesday that somene had roosters. The information was taken.

Truck At End Of Brush Street — Caller on Brush Street reported at 3:07 p.m. Tuedsay that a truck with an advertising sign on it was parked at the end of Brush Street facing Highway 101 every day, impeding traffic. The information was taken.

Transients Loitering — Caller at Jack-In-The-Box on Airport Park Boulevard reported at 3:22 p.m. Tuesday that a group of transients was loitering and refusing to leave. An officer responded and did not observe any violations, but gave the group trash bags and asked them to clean up their mess.

Vehicle Egged — Caller in the 1100 block of South Dora Street reported at 7:05 a.m. Wednesday that her son's vehicle had been egged during the night.

Car Spray-Painted — Caller in the 800 block of Dora Avenue reported at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday that a vehicle had been spray-painted. An officer took a report.

School Window Broken — Caller at Pomolita Middle School on North Spring Street reported at 7:33 a.m. Wednesday that a window had been broken and the building tagged. An officer took a report.

Another Car Spray-Painted — Caller in the 500 block of North State Street reported at 11:53 a.m. Wednesday that a vehicle had been spray-painted. An officer took a report.

Storage Shed Broken Into — Caller in the 600 block of South Orchard Avenue reported at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday that a storage shed had been broken into and someone left bedding behind.

Woman Sleeping On Suitcase — Caller in the 500 block of East Perkins Street reported at 12:03 p.m. Thursday that a woman was sleeping on top of a suitcase and requested a welfare check. An officer reported that the woman was fine.

Vehicle Window Broken — Caller in the 1100 block of Despina Drive reported at 6:40 a.m. Thursday that a vehicle's window had been broken.

Man Eating Donuts — Caller at Safeway on South State Street reported at 7:36 a.m. Thursday that a man was in the store eating donuts and drinking milk that he refused to pay for. An officer responded but the man was gone.

Shoes Being Taken Out Of Locker — Caller at Pomolita Middle School on North Spring Street reported at 12:29 p.m. Thursday that someone had stolen three pairs of shoes out of her son's locker at school and she wanted to file a report. The call was referred to the school.

Aggressive Pitbulls At Dog Park — Caller at the dog park at Low Gap Park reported at 4:22 p.m. that a man had three, aggressive pitbulls in the park and he was refusing to leave. An officer responded and advised both parties.

Man In Girl's Bathroom — Caller at Nokomis Elementary School on Washington Avenue reported at 4:34 a.m. Thursday that an older man was in the girls restroom, going through the trash bins and refusing to leave. An officer responded and advised the man to look elsewhere for recyclables.

Truck Window Smashed — Caller at the corner of Standley and Brush streets reported at 9:14 p.m. Thursday that the passenger side window of pick-up truck had been smashed.

Purse Taken Out Of Car — Caller in the 600 block of South State Street reported at 11:51 p.m. Thursday that a vehicle was broken into and a purse stolen.

FORT BRAGG — compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.

Neighbor Calling Woman Names — Caller in the 400 block of North Franklin Street reported at 1:04 p.m. Tuesday that she was fighting with her neighbor over being called names. An officer responded and advised the parties not to contact each other.

Tree Cutting Too Early — Caller in the 1100 block of North Main Street reported at 3:24 p.m. Tuesday that people began cutting down trees at 7 a.m. An officer responded and was advised by the group that they did not start until 10 a.m. and would be finishing shortly. The caller called back to report that the road was completely blocked with branches. Assistance was provided.

SHERIFF'S REPORTS, compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:

Meth Sales — Fernando Rubio-Barbosa, 35, of Ukiah, was arrested at 8 a.m. Thursday on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested him.

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