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Mendocino County Today: Monday, March 24, 2014

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Anderson Valley Beseiged

by Mark Scaramella

For the last week, between the hours of midnight and  sunrise, the spirit of every noise pollution law ever written has been  broken by the wine grape growers of the Anderson Valley.

Why? How?

Because California’s “Right To Farm” ordinance apparently exempts agricultural practices from nuisance rules, and mega-loud giant fans to spare grapevines from the spring frosts is now considered a normal ag practice.

It's recently normal, like last year normal. Before that, the airliner-loud machines weren't used much — although when they were they were certainly a nuisance. This year, all the vineyards seem to have them, and there are at least 80 vineyards in the Anderson Valley. And many of them have more than one nuisance-generator.

This particular nuisance could be at least partially abated, as summarized in a recent Canadian study. Yes, grapes are grown in Canada. And, yes, Canada is the only country on record to have even studied the vineyard noise problem, much less done anything about it.

A study conducted by Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario pointed out what is painfully obvious to anyone who has the extreme misfortune to live near a vineyard wind machine: “Some nearby residents can be affected by low-frequency noise that rattles their windows, vibrates their homes and wakes them up at night. The problems they have been facing are from the low-frequency noise and vibrations.  They can't sleep. They compare the noise to a helicopter or loud motor that becomes worse between 3 and 6am. Some say that they must sleep in the basement in order to get a good night's sleep and some indicated that the noise often awakens their children.”

They could have added that these impacts are even greater on the elderly, the infirm and the house-bound.

The authors of the Canadian study concluded:

• “Wind machines should be located as far as practical from the edge of neighboring homes within agricultural areas, but not closer than 125 meters [136 yards]. For neighbors living within [136 yards] of a machine, growers should, 1. discuss the need for wind machines and how, where and why they operate; consider creating an early warning system about possible machine use on certain nights; give neighbors a 24-hour cell phone number to call when the noise gets very bad; and use a ‘Last On, First Off’ principle for such machine(s).

• “Growers should be more diligent in operating wind machines on farms where they do not live, as they are not always there to hear if and how their machines are operating.

• “All wind machine engines should have mufflers.

There are other options as well:

• Keep the speed down on machines near residences.

• Put up sound barriers in the direction of any residence(s).

• Make sure equipment is in good operating condition to minimize noise.

• Install smaller, quieter machines. (Doug Riddle of Orchard-Rite Ltd. Inc. in Canada, said, “Wind machines vary in noise depending upon model. We have models that will range from approximately 55 to 70 dB measured at 300 meters. These are approximate numbers and they may change with the atmospheric conditions.” The prices also depends on the model, engine type and location. They range from approximately $25,000 to $30,000 and some up to $40,000.

But so far, all we’ve gotten from Official Mendocino County and the wine industry is the following, “We know it’s loud and annoying and we’re really, really sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.” The “Tough Cheese” letter  from Scharffenberger Cellars’ Arnaud Weyrich, reprinted below, was mailed to Scharffenberger's beset neighbors. Scharffenberger is owned by the French winery, Roederer. Weyrich is a French national, but his attitude is shared by his uncaring American wine colleagues.

Wine and grape businesses are strictly regulated in France. Noise at the decibel levels suffered for a week now by the several thousand residents of the Anderson Valley would not be tolerated in France. At all.

“Dear friends and neighbors,

“I wish to apologize for the noise that our wind machines create and hope that you will understand the reasons that brought us and so many other growers throughout the Valley to the use of these frosts control fans.

We have been farming grapes in the Valley for over 20 years in as sustainable and low impact a manner as we can, both for our shared environment and the Valley community. We have deep roots in the community providing jobs and housing for many of our local families. We are fish friendly farming certified on all of our ranches demonstrating our deep commitment to water conservation and protection of our watershed.

“The most effective (and quietest) method for frost protection is the use of water through overhead sprinklers during a frost event. Besides protecting the chutes from freezing and subsequent loss of crop, it also extends the rainy season by returning water to the ground after the rain has stopped. The water which is collected during the peak rains of the rainy season comes from our state permitted diversion ponds. By state regulation, when the river is flowing above 200 CFS as measured at the USGS gauge on the Navarro River we are restricted to diverting from surface flow no more than a metered 2 CFS to our holding ponds. This diversion period ends 31 March each year. In addition, we do not pump from either the Navarro River or Indian Creek for frost protection or irrigation.

“This year mother nature has not brought us enough rain to be able to fill our ponds leaving us with a difficult choice: do nothing and lose our crops to frost when the limited supply of water in our ponds runs out, or use wind machines during frost events when there is an inversion layer of warmer air that we can mix with the cold air at the vine level in hopes of preventing damage.

“Many of you have asked why the machines are running when there is no frost present. The air mixing must start while the air temperature is above freezing in order to be effective. Our machines turn on automatically at 34°F and turn off at 37°F after the threat of frost has passed.

“We chose the wind machines to protect our livelihood as farmers and the jobs of all the Valley families that depend on us. Once the frost season has passed the machines will no longer be necessary for the 2014 season. We request your patience with the situation.

“Again, I apologize for the disturbance in your life that the noise from these machines creates.

Very sincerely yours, Arnaud Weyrich, Scharffenberger Cellers, Philo

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Not surprisingly, County Ag Commissioner Chuck Morse told us basically the same thing — “Sorry about that; there’s nothing we can do” — based on the “Right To Farm” ordinance and having discussed the problem with Scharffenberger before returning our call.

Scharffenberger is not the only villain here. The propane-fueled fans are at work in vineyards the length of the valley. Every morning, from Boonville to Navarro, they snap on after midnight and roar full force until after sunrise whenever the temperature drops into the 30s.

Wine grapes are pretty much the only crop deploying the giant blowers. Grapes are considered a “high value” crop that can justify the high cost of the machines. (You’d never see the giant noisemakers providing frost protection to apples or broccoli.) As noted above, each wind machine costs between $25,000 and $40,000 —  the cheaper the louder. They are mostly operated automatically, programmed to turn on when the temperature nears freezing and to turn off when the ambient temps rise above freezing.

If the vineyard owners were really “sorry” about the noise they generate at this time of the year, they could start by offering to voluntarily observe the 136 yard setbacks from residences; require that all machines near homes be fully muffled; keep the rpms for units near residence below “full throttle,” develop operating guidelines to minimize their use in those setback zones when there’s no option; and require that in areas where multiple fans are in use the machines are not too close to each other.

Official Mendocino County and the wine industry, not that there's much difference, could also develop setback rules, decibel levels limits, minimum equipment characteristics and operational guidelines.

As it is though, the problem will not only be ignored by the County and the wine industry because, as with everything else associated with Big Grape in Mendocino County, Big Grape gets a free pass: pesticides, public water, industrial land scraping, planting density, ponds, grading on steep slopes, no-permit wine tasting rooms… And now we can add: mind-numbing, sleep-depriving NOISE.

Mendocino County Ag Commissioner Chuck Morse won’t  issue an advisory bulletin to growers suggesting that they try to be neighborly by using practices such as those mentioned above. All he’s offered to do is send a letter to the Mendocino Wine Growers Association informing them that there have been some complaints — the same wine grape growers who jammed Judge Ann Moorman’s courtroom a couple of years ago to scream about a state proposal that would have asked them to prepare their own plans for minimizing fish kills when lots of them, on frosty mornings, simultaneously pump water directly from the blue line Russian River. The judge heard their screams, and even in a drought year this insufferably arrogant lobby can help itself to a public stream.

Meanwhile, if you live near a vineyard, get some blackout curtains and earplugs and — especially in March and April — get your sleep in during the daylight hours. In Mendocino County, the wine industry owns the night.

Another story:  "Neighbors vs. Wind Machine" by  Paul Franson for Wines & Vines.

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THESE TWO GRAPHS illustrate the tremendous draw on the Navarro River by the wine industry just in March, and they can (legally) continue to draw the river down through the 31st of March. After that it’s supposed to be illegal as the diversion season ends.


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Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino Memorial Service - Media Relations

Location: Cotton Auditorium (500 North Harold Street Fort Bragg, Ca)

Date: 03-26-2014 Time: 10:00 AM

In preparation for the memorial service for fallen Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino on Wednesday March 26, 2014 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office anticipates the presence of several news media organizations. At this time an area at the memorial service site has been designated for any television news organizations. Any television news organizations planning to attend the memorial service are asked to contact Captain Gregory L. Van Patten at or 707-463-4083 before Tuesday March 25, 2014 for logistical purposes. Television news organizations should know there will be only one television pool camera allowed inside Cotton Auditorium (500 North Harold Street Fort Bragg, Ca) during the memorial service.

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CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN has replaced local reps Heidi Dickerson and Christine Anderson with a pair of young, Spanish-speaking women, Heather Gurewitz and Roseanne Ibarra. Huffman also took editorial credit in Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal for the Stornetta National Monument set aside near Point Arena. Ms. Ibarra comes to her job with the blandly do-nothing, stand for nothing congressman from Mendocino County's equivalently bankrupt, Ukiah-based First Five non-profit, a cigarette tax-funded jobs program for Ukiah-area liberals affiliated with the Northcoast Democratic Party.

FULL PAGE PUFFAROO on Point Arena in the Sunday Chron's travel section. The piece, by veteran travel writer John Flinn, is called, “Sleepy town ready for fresh attraction — Spectacular tract of land on coast now open to public.”

GIVEN the incidence of crank use in the fog belt, Point Arena doesn't sleep much, but it is a pretty little town with a couple of good restaurants and, of course, with or without Monument Status, it's got those unsurpassed vistas of sea and cypress.

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THE BRIT CONSERVATIVE PARTY currently in power has offered two million families $3,317 in cash help for each child in the family. The dispute? The libs of the Labor Party want more. I ask you, can you even imagine this happening here?

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THAT CLAIM against the County of Mendocino stemming from a midnight self-defense shooting by former Mendo prosecutor Damon Gardner, isn't likely to go anywhere. Gardner was not attending any legal or training seminar at the direction of the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office in October, 2013. The only DA staff member authorized to be in Sacramento on official business was Ms. Khoury.


Ms. Khoury was Gardner's companion when a pair of sidewalk mopes directed ungentlemanly remarks at her. Gardner gallantly objected and soon found himself being pummeled and kicked by both mopes, one of whom, Gregory Bergman, he shot in the stomach. Who can rationally blame Gardner? All it takes is one well-placed kick to the head and it's bye-bye baby for the recipient.

SACRAMENTO AUTHORITIES also saw the episode from the self-defense perspective and declined to prosecute. The injured mope is left with his only possible recourse being the heavily insured County of Mendocino.

THE DA's office didn't know Gardner was in Sacramento at the same time as Ms. Khoury, and he certainly wasn't there on County business. For two months prior to the shooting, Gardner was away from the office on a medical leave, claiming he was too ill to do his job.

OF COURSE GARDNER wasn't too sick to rendezvous with the comely Ms. Khoury, who was indeed visiting the capitol city under the auspices of the DA's office; alluring women have been known to raise elderly men from their deathbeds, and Gardner is a young man.

THE ONLY QUESTIONS about the episode are two: Why is a Deputy DA wandering around with a concealed weapon and, Why does Mendocino hand out concealed weapons permits to anybody who successfully completes the simple application process? DA Eyster has put a stop to his employees carrying guns, but almost any other functioning psycho can get one through the Sheriff's Office.

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I own rentals and selecting tenants is the only way to increase renters taking care of your property. Use your first impressions as most likely accurate. If they show up in dirty clothes and hair driving a beat up vehicle I pass on them. I interview each potential tenant and explain all the rules. And they sign an agreement that states any violation will result in eviction and loss of deposit. I give them a week to find another place and if they don't I change the locks which they agreed to in the contract. Nearly all of my renters have been very good. I make living in my rentals better for renters with added incentives. Every two months I make an inspection that tenants agree to. If their place is clean and orderly I give them $100. Better than repairs that can be in the thousands. If they are good renters for the first year I lower their monthly rent for the second year. That seems to work.

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On March 18th at about 7:35 PM Ukiah Police responded to the intersection of Talmage Road and Airport Park Boulevard for a vehicle stopped in the intersection, with a non-responsive driver. Witnesses had observed the vehicle stopped on Talmage Road at the stoplight, and that it failed to proceed for the green light. The vehicle finally slowly entered the intersection and stopped, and the driver was seen slouched over the steering wheel and passed out. The officer was able to awaken the driver, identified as 51 year old Evan Matt Morris, who had been drinking. Morris was on probation and prohibited from drinking alcohol, and was found too intoxicated to drive and was arrested for DUI and for violating probation. (Ukiah Police Department Press Release.)

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As far as earthquakes are concerned I find the fear of fracking fallacious. Earthquakes are caused by the release of stress within the earth, stress that builds over time. If fracking causes release of that stress that means the energy released is less than what would be released eventually on the same fault. The Pacific Plate moves about 1.4 inches per year relative to the North American Plate, the plates are locked together along the San Andreas Fault until they are not -- resulting in the well-known and much feared Big One. In 1906 the northern portion of the San Andreas move as much as 21 feet laterally, an event known to history as the San Francisco Earthquake (and fire). At a rate of movement of 1.4 inch per year that means the time for the amount of stress to produce 21 feet of movement took 353 years. The result was an earthquake of about magnitude eight. There is evidence that the southern portion of the San Andreas has a shorter time period for a dangerous stress buildup. While there is no way to stop the movement of the plates along the San Andreas we could lubricate the fault through deep fluid injection wells and release stress in much smaller increments, instead of the Big One we could have many Little Ones that would do no harm. The same idea applies to fracking, stress along a fault will eventually result in an earthquake, with fracking we could say: Sooner is better, later is bigger.

Harold Ericsson, Harbor City

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Should I get married? Should I be Good?

Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustaus hood?

Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries

tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets

then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries

and she going just so far and I understanding why

not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!

Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone

and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky--

When she introduces me to her parents

back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,

should I sit knees together on their 3rd degree sofa

and not ask Where's the bathroom?

How else to feel other than I am,

often thinking Flash Gordon soap--

O how terrible it must be for a young man

seated before a family and the family thinking

We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!

After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?

Should I tell them? Would they like me then?

Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter

but we're gaining a son--

And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends

and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded

just waiting to get at the drinks and food—

And the priest! He looking at me if I masturbated

asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?

And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!

I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back

She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!

And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on--

then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes

Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!

All streaming into cozy hotels

All going to do the same thing tonight

The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen

The lobby zombies they knowing what

The whistling elevator man he knowing

The winking bellboy knowing

Everybody knowing! I'd be almost inclined not to do anything!

Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!

Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!

running rampant into those almost climatic suites

yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!

O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls

I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of

bigamy a saint of divorce--

But I should get married I should be good

How nice it'd be to come home to her

and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen

aproned young and lovely wanting by baby

and so happy about me she burns the roast beef

and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair

saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!

God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!

So much to do! like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night

and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books

Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower

like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence

like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest

grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!

And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him

When are you going to stop people killing whales!

And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle

Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust--

Yet if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow

and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,

up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,

finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man

knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear not Roman coin soup--

O what would that be like!

Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus

For a rattle bag of broken Bach records

Tack Della Francesca all over its crib

Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib

And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father

not rural not snow no quiet window

but hot smelly New York City

seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls

a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!

And five nose running brats in love with Batman

And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired

like those hag masses of the 18th century

all wanting to come in and watch TV

The landlord wants his rent

Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus

Impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking—

No! I should not get married and I should never get married!

But--imagine if I were to marry a beautiful sophisticated woman

tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves

holding a cigarette holder in one hand and highball in the other

and we lived high up a penthouse with a huge window

from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days

No I can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream--

O but what about love? I forget love

not that I am incapable of love

it's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes--

I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother

And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible

And there maybe a girl now but she's already married

And I don't like men and—

but there's got to be somebody!

Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,

all alone in furnished room with pee stains on my underwear

and everybody else is married! All in the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible

then marriage would be possible--

Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover

so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

— Gregory Corso

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by Emily Hobelmann

In this era of quasi-legalization, marijuana business potential seems solid. Colorado is killin’ it. The City of Los Angeles made $8.6 million in taxes in the past three years from medical marijuana dispensaries. The Emerald Triangle has plenty of its own career cannabis types that do just fine.

Entrepreneurs are organizing. Marijuana Business Daily is presenting its sold out “CannaBusiness Money Show” conference on April 7th down in SF. A mere $399 buys admission to this intellectual and opportunity-oriented discussion of marijuana business in these changing times. (Their Boston and Chicago events still have seats available.)

Pot-biz is climbing high, like as high as the crop in my neighbor’s yard last summer. (Those were some 12’+ cannabis trees). The cannabis-as-medicine scene is taking off, too. And of course the medical and money facets of the cannabis industry are intertwined. This is the United States of America.

And hey, look at that… The federal government just gave the green light to a study on the use of marijuana as a treatment for veterans with PTSD. (It’s a wonder that the federal government, of all institutions, gets the say on what is and isn’t medicinal. Just one sizable quandary of our times.)

More and more people across the nation are voicing grounded, reality-based viewpoints on cannabis. The domino-effect is happening. But marijuana users still have a significant stigma to overcome. It’s not just high-level politicians that still insist on bashing cannabis fans, there is active anti-marijuana-user sentiment from Joe Schmo Humboldt citizens too.

A ready example of discrimination against marijuana users at the local level is the “apartments/housing for rent” ads on ye olde Humboldt Craigslist. If you peruse rental ads, you’re likely to come across variations on this kind of language:

NO ‘215’”

“No Smoking, No 215, No dogs, Cats OK.”

“No smoking, No 215, Inside cats and small dogs OK”



“No pets, no smokers, no 215 or drugs and no laundry. Need to be employed.”

“No 215 please.”

“No Smoking, no growing, no 215 cards”

“NO 215, no smoking.”

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That’s just a copy-and-paste sampling from rental ads posted in the last few days.

Yes, marijuana is illegal under federal law. So why not say, “No illegal drugs” instead of “No 215”? That’s a catch-all phrase that doesn’t betray prejudice against medical marijuana users. There are landlords in Humboldt that have had bummer tenants involved in the cannabis industry, of course. But why does having a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana makes someone an undesirable tenant?

“No grow” or “no 215 grows” are more reasonable phrases than “No 215.” Indoor grows can get crazy, but that’s not unequivocally true. There are low-impact ways to grow indoors, like those self-contained grow tents. A couple cannabis plants in the backyard never hurt anyone. But to straight up say, “no drugs,” “no smoking” or “no 215” when advertising a rental… That’s some bullshit.

Just that phrase, “No drugs” … What about Xanax or Prozac or Lipitor or Viagra or mescaline or cocaine or Vicodin or aspirin? The landlord that only invites people that don’t use any drugs at all is trippin’. Who doesn’t take drugs? And no smoking? Smokers of all stripes have long faced discrimination in California. Just look at Arcata. Why can’t people smoke outside in well-ventilated areas? Anyway, the cool thing to do now is to vaporize, so that “no smoking” language is becoming obsolete.

You can imagine that in places like Denver, a similar brand of anti-marijuana sentiment is very much alive. is a popular web service where people rent out their private residences as an alternative to hotel stay. The other day I saw an advertisement for an rental in Denver with part of its description reading:

“PLEASE NOTE: Although Medical & Recreational Marijuana is legal in the city of Denver, we strictly forbid it in our home! If you are visiting Denver for this reason or plan to smoke it while you are here, please do not send us a reservation request…”

A quick scan of residential rentals on Denver Craigslist yields similar language:


“No smoking, including marijuana”

No smoking of any kind, including marijuana.

“smoke and marijuana (both medicinal and recreational) free facility”

“This is a non-smoking, no marijuana unit and pets are not allowed”

“Non smoking of cannabis or tobacco inside or outside on the premises.”

* * *

Are Denver folks prepared for the stoner-tourist invasion that they are going to face come 420?

Cannabis plants can have psychoactive qualities, a trait not uncommon in the plant kingdom. But the illegality of cannabis didn’t come about because cannabis can get you high. It was all about the hemp. And still, the illegality of cannabis (and other drugs) has nothing to do with its pharmacology. The perception of cannabis as the devil weed persists. Prohibition of cannabis is socioeconomic and political phenomenon that is not grounded in reality or evidence.

Dr. Carl Hart articulates the many layers of this phenomenon better than I can. He is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University and he is the Director of the Residential Studies and Methamphetamine Research Laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Hart wrote High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society” (2013).

I can’t speak to the book because I haven’t read it yet, but I did catch Hart discussing drugs and society at length on the March 17th version of the Joe Rogan podcast. Hart editorialized about issues of drugs and society in the New York Times this past week too. He was on Democracy Now! back in January in a segment called “Drugs Aren’t the Problem.”

Hart’s all up in the media-cycle offering an intellectualized perspective of drugs and society that is grounded in personal experience and extensive research. He advocates for the decriminalization of all drugs, but he says we need a massive educational campaign first. Otherwise, people would continue to blame societal ills on drugs even though drugs in-and-of themselves don’t cause problems. (The D.A.R.E. program isn’t going to cut it.) Ignorance about drugs causes problems. Lack of access to clean, quality drugs causes problems. Criminalization of drug users causes problems. Massive campaigns of misinformation cause problems.

Back to the rentals: When people advertise their rentals as “No 215,” it demonstrates a lack of understanding or shortsightedness about medicinal marijuana and marijuana issues in general. There’s been a lot of misinformation about marijuana and other drugs circulating for a long time. But with changing public opinion and marijuana activists keep at it, how much longer can the criminalization of and stigma against marijuana-users persist?



  1. chewsome March 24, 2014

    AVA ASKS QUESTION ABOVE: “Why does Mendocino hand out concealed weapons permits to anybody who successfully completes the simple application process?”


    “5-4 landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that struck down a Washington, D.C., handgun ban and said law-abiding citizens are allowed to have handguns in their home for self-defense…”

  2. Bill Pilgrim March 24, 2014

    re: Wind Tunnel Blues. Vineyard fan season, now upon us, is also the beginning of mating season for many local species of song birds. They tend to do their calling/singing at dawn and dusk. What a loathsome unintended consequence if they are being driven away to other areas where they can friggin’ hear each other.

  3. Jim Armstrong March 24, 2014

    Sharffenberger letter:
    “Besides protecting the chutes from freezing and subsequent loss of crop….”
    Spellcheck no help here.

    The poems one chooses to enjoy are not always the ones others do. How about a separate page?

  4. Stephen Rosenthal March 24, 2014

    I am usually in lock step with your opinions, but I must respectfully disagree with your assertion of the Sheriff handing out concealed carry permits to every psycho and nut job who wants one. There is an exhaustive and not inexpensive process to qualify for such permit. Before applying for the permit, one has to take and pass a 2 day, 16 hour class, divided almost equally between classroom and range time. The class and required ammo will cost between $150-250 and does not include the cost of your gun(s), holster and other accoutrements. You then submit an application to the Sheriff’s Dept., along with a fee of $45. Once the application is reviewed, a personal interview is conducted with a lieutenant of the Sheriff’s Dept. and, if successful, you proceed to fingerprinting and both California DOJ and FBI background checks at an additional cost of $107. If everything checks out and the Sheriff approves your application, you are issued the permit. So it costs more than $300 just to apply. I doubt if psychos and nut jobs, functioning or otherwise, will spend that kind of money in order to fail to pass the process. People who do obtain a concealed carry permit tend to be extremely responsible in all aspects of their life and carry so as to protect themselves and their loved ones from the psychos you reference.

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