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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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A STARTLING DROP in the Navarro River flow as of Tuesday morning. A week ago the river was running at a little better than a hundred cubic feet per second, but dropped precipitously to less than thirty feet per second by Tuesday morning. But on further investigation, it seems that someone, hopefully not a vandal, has removed the gauge from the water, which certainly would account for the sudden drop. We're on the case!


Dave Severn writes: Upon getting an email from the editor of the AVA that the Navarro River gauge was way down, I went to the USGS gauge site and noticed erratic readings and then nothing for over night Monday and Tuesday morning. Something’s happened to the gauge I thought. Calling and emailing around I got nowhere and nobody that could tell me what was up with the thing. Curious, after getting coordinates for the gauge from a kayaking website, I borrowed a GPS unit and went in search. This brought me to a two vehicle parking slot in the redwoods somewhere about the 6 mile mark on 128 where one of the slots was taken by a white utility pickup with USGS markings on the doors. Bingo. With trails leading both up and down stream, I first went down to a dead end and then up until I ran into two men heading back to the truck for lunch. Yep, the gauge is down they said, mechanical and electrical (battery) problems. They said the erratic readings were noticed yesterday at the office in Ukiah and because it is better to put out nothing than bad information, the connection to the gauge info on the internet was turned off. I was assured that after they had their bite to eat that they would have the system up and running in a couple of hours. Upon returning home and calling the editor to tell him what I'd found out I checked my email to find the following reply to an earlier inquiry:

Mr. Severn,

A technician is currently at the Navarro River Gauge: R nr Navarro (11468000; site working on it. We hope to have it up and running today. The site is located on the left bank, 2.8 miles downstream from North Fork, 5.3 miles upstream from mouth, and 6.7 miles west of Navarro. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Thank you, Patricia vP Orlando
Public Information Officer
U.S. Geological Survey, CA Water Science Center

* * *

clouds black and white

running fast to fill the sky

smells rain in the air

* * *

AND THEN another late and light spring rain fell Monday night about nine and continued to fall for not quite an hour. Hardly enough to stifle the drought but enough to freshen the air, green the hills a little, and postpone fire danger a minute or two later in the year.

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MOST ENCOURAGING is an anecdotal report from river watcher Jerry Mabery who says in his opinion there's been enough rainfall to get spawning fish upstream and then get them out to sea again.

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ON THE VOLATILE subject of water, former Fort Bragg Police chief, Tom Bickell, has filed an application to divert winter water to ponds on his Yorkville property from seasonal streams feeding the Rancheria.

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YES, as advertised, that was Pebbles Trippett and her helpers from the Medical Marijuana Patient's Union picking up roadside trash last weekend along 128 between Boonville and Philo. Pebs and Company "sponsor" that stretch of road through CalTrans. But unlike most sponsors, Pebs' crew really does take care of its adopted roadsides.

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WE LOOK AND LOOKED for any police reference to a startling accident in Boonville last week witnessed by a whole bunch of people. Couldn't find a thing, including a date and time. A man described as "a fat white guy in a 80s-something blue pick-up" ran into an SUV containing an older couple who seemed to be passing through. The fat white guy, apparently impatient at a long line of traffic moving through town in a slow bunch from the highway work underway toward Philo, came shooting out of an alley and kamikazeed the SUV broadside. Then he climbed out of his truck and started pounding on the roof of the SUV like the collision was somehow the fault of the cringing couple inside. We're trying to find more but there doesn't seem to be any.

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Re: Deputy Misconduct, March 28, 2014, Point Arena

Dear Sheriff Tom Allman and District Attorney David Eyster,

We are writing on behalf of three women, a mother and her two young adult daughters, to express our concerns about your deputies' mishandling of an attempted break-in in Point Arena on Friday, March 28, 2014.

We are asking that you undertake an immediate proper investigation of the incident itself and in addition that you investigate the deputies involved for obstruction of justice and for being accessories after the fact.

As a result of the deputies ignoring the principle crime and the women's safety and their protecting the suspect and not the victims, the women are now too afraid to return to their home. Two of the women are now homeless and one is in Santa Rosa. A little four-year-old family member who was also present is now traumatized and fearful.

According to the women, after dark on the evening of March 28 as the mother returned from work and entered her upstairs apartment in Point Arena, a drunk older male from a neighboring building who had been hiding out in the women's hallway approached and began trying to also enter their home.

The mother and one of her daughters began to struggle with him trying to close the door on him as he tried to force his way in. Finally, the women were able to close and lock the door but the man continued trying to get in all the while making sexually inappropriate comments to the women.

For example, when the women yelled at the man to get away, the man said things like, Keep talking like that, I like it when you talk like that. He kept calling them "sweetie" and "honey." He told them he had $100 for them and more.

The second daughter, who had been awakened from sleep, dialed 911 to call for help as the man kept trying to break into their home. When the women told the man they had called police, the man said he didn't care. He continued to try to force his way into the home and in fact was still at the women's door when deputies arrived a good five minutes later.

The deputies arrested the man, found a knife on his person, and ultimately booked him on a charge of public drunkenness only and not the attempted forced entry. According to the women from what they could hear, the deputies had to struggle physically with the man to get him under control.

According to the victims as one of the deputies took the man to the patrol car the other deputy immediately began making multiple and repeated excuses for the man and talked only briefly with the women. The deputy never took any notes at all as the women tried to give details of what happened. He repeatedly belittled the women's expressed fears and concerns for their safety. And he continued to do so even as one of the women followed the deputy downstairs to plead with the deputy for more help.

Among other things, the deputy:

• Told the women, Don't worry, he was just drunk, he won't remember this tomorrow.

• As the woman tried to express their level of fear the deputy said, I know him, he doesn't seem violent. He just went to the wrong apartment. The deputy told the women that, He isn't going to be a threat to you.

• The women asked repeatedly for a restraining order. The deputy told them a restraining order isn't necessary.

• When the women asked for the case report number, the deputy refused to give it to them and said they could call the sheriff the next day.

The next day one of the women went with a male family member to the Point Arena substation, again seeking help regarding the case and again being refused.

The failure of the deputies to deal with the serious aspect of this crime and a danger to the victims has not only left this family in fear and homeless, it leaves the community, especially women of the community, in danger of his future attacks.

The deputies' attempts to protect the suspect at the expense of the women's safety is even more egregious as the suspect holds a critical professional position of trust at Point Arena High School.

As one of the women said, "You would think that the police are there to help us. But he (the deputy) didn't help us. Instead of helping us he made us more scared, unprotected and helpless."

We ask that you immediately assign a competent officer to contact the women, one of whom can be reached at her cell number (provided separately) and properly investigate the attempt attempted forced entry.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely, Marie De Santis, Director,

Women's Justice Center, Santa Rosa, California


Ed note: The alleged perp has been identified as long-time Point Arena resident and high school campus security staffer Jeff Gunning.

* * *

[in Just-]

in Just-

spring when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman


whistles far and wee


and eddie and bill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it's



when the world is puddle-wonderful


the queer

old balloonman whistles

far and wee

and betty and isbel come dancing


from hop-scotch and jump-rope and










balloonMan whistles




— e.e. cummings

* * *


Revolution? I think instead what we’ll see are high anxiety attempts to collapse into regional commerce zones. What remains of globalism over the coming years will likely be enough to enable walled off cities of some sort, perhaps fed by highly securitized exterior sectors of agricultural production. What else are drones good for? There will also be prevalent wastelands, left for those who foolishly believe they’ll be able to “secede” from it all. They’ll think they’ll be able to defend whatever it is they believe God has given them in those desolate rural deserts until faction skirmishes and coordinated government assaults destroy and loot whatever there is to be taken. The American voter will select for this reality before any other. The PR machine will make sure it’s all neat and tidy, but a softer version of Hunger Games is where all this is headed.


And we’ll all watch and blog as the vast majority of the people in this country continue to accept the status quo for what it is right now, more or less. I’ll go out on a limb and say the next prezdenchul election will go off without a hitch. Free speech zones will offer plenty of corn dogs, Coke, and free WI-Fi, but zero real Democracy and that’ll be just fine for most. There’s every reason this is more likely than wild revolution; fascism of the Hitlerian brand is highly unlikely… too much comic book mythology in the American mindset for a Jankos Zucchini racist leader or group of Alex Jonesian-type cooky Libertarians to emerge and gain any serious credibility with the masses. Instead, Inverted Totalitarianism where everyone gets to be an individual as long as they consume their uniqueness and diversity from a handful of private oligarchies will persist.

And the minimum wage will be raised so the debt serfs of my generation will at least be able to keep up with payments.

Not until Boomers begin lighting themselves on fire in public squares or blowing their own brains out on political leaders doorsteps will anything change.

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Pig Hunt Piglets: Deepend cineastes might remember the name Patrick Kack-Brice, who was Robert Mailer Anderson’s assistant on Pig Hunt, the seminal Boonville hog huntin’ flick starring local legend Vince “Gas Mask” Ballew, bluesman Charlie Musselwhite and fungi funkmaster Les Claypool. Having caught the “quiet on the set” bug somewhere between Yorkville and Bell Valley, Patrick’s found footage flick Creep was snapped up by the Weinstein Company after its premiere last month at the South By Southwest Film Festival. Patrick co-wrote and co-stars in the micro-budget thriller with indie darling Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair, the hit FX show The League, etc.), and is exec produced by Jason Blum, who crashed into the box office scene with the mother of all found footage franchises, Paranormal Activity. And the Weinsteins ordered two more installments of the micro-budget thriller that involves a cabin in the woods, Craiglist want ads, and a wolf mask. (In other words, just another Saturday night in the less refined parts of Willits.) Patrick is currently shooting an untitled modern comedy of manners starring Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, Party Dow.); Jason Schwartzman (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Rushmore); Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black); and sumptuous French beauty Fanny Ardant, who first dipped her jambone into the gooey morass of American fromage in the wonderful Ridicule. (ZA)

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Overheard at a Valley eatery: “Can we have more tortilla chips?” asked a visitor from New York. “No more chips,” said the waitress.

The New Yorker, being a New Yorker, counterattacked: “No chips? That’s like a Chinese restaurant running out of rice.”

“We have nachos.”

“You have nachos but not chips?”

“Would you like to order the nachos?” replied the waitress, her thin patience waning.

“The chips are free, but the nachos cost money?”

“It’s a restaurant, not a food bank,” was her curt reply.

When informed of the Nachos vs. Tortilla Chips conundrum, I reminded my guest that I once made the unsavory mistake of ordering a pizza from Papa John’s. Not having the benefit of a menu, I freelanced, and asked for tomato on the pie. “No tomatoes.”

“What? You don’t have tomatoes!” I felt like the Constitution: flayed, betrayed and just a little bit fey.

“Yes, we have no tomatoes.”

“But there are tomatoes in the wonderfully descriptive garden salad.”

“That’s a salad. Not a pizza.”

“But a tomato is a tomato, regardless of where it sleeps.”

“And a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable.” Touché.

“Can’t you take some of the tomatoes from the salad station?”

“Listen, do you want to order a pizza or not, dude?” The sound of an exasperated young woman calling me, the alleged customer, “dude” melted my obstinate heart. Her humane annoyance said it all: I’m a wage slave just like you, buddy, tomatoes on your pizza or not.

I felt embarrassed. Ashamed. Humiliated by my poor imitation of Marie-Antoinette. In the hierarchy of crimes, capitalism is Public Enemy #1. My (false) god, didn’t all those hours waiting in the car while my dad and Uncle Ken argued Marxist-Leninist theory with bush hippies in the hills east of Pomo Tierra mean anything? Didn’t attending my first anti-war demonstration at age three have any effect? I realized that it was the disgusting Papa John himself who needs to be crammed into a Obama-approved Monsanto test tube and chemically altered from fruit into vegetable, then into a piece of used jet trash. Papa John, lover of Mitt Romney and frozen crusts and frankenfood ingredients portioned out like rat meat in a POW camp; Papa John, whose idea of a vacation is giving lap dances to Mitt Romney; Papa John, who threatened to raise the price of his crappy starchy vomit as a protest of the corporate giveaway named Obamacare… Go away, and take your greasy platters of fresh-frozen poison with you! (ZA)

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A WILLITS MAN killed himself Friday after his ex-girlfriend escaped captivity and law enforcement officers began to converge on him. The 28-year-old Willits woman he had kidnapped from an office on West Valley Street at around 8:30 a.m. was not physically injured by the ordeal. The assailant, Dameon "Cheo" Ziegler, 27, of Willits, was armed with a sawed off shotgun when he confronted the victim at the business. He forced the woman into her vehicle at gunpoint and then made her drive him to the Little Darby Recreation Area off Canyon Road, according to police reports. Ziegler compelled the woman to walk down the trail for some distance before pushing her to the ground while declaring he intended to rape and kill her before committing suicide. As he attempted the sexual assault, the victim struggled with Ziegler, breaking free. She then ran for her life. As she ran to safety she heard a gunshot behind her. She was able to call police at about 11 a.m. Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, Willits Police officers and the California Highway Patrol officers converged on Little Darby. The keen nose of the Sheriff's K-9 Officer Ruddick picked up Ziegler's scent and led officers to Ziegler's location. When Ziegler was ordered to surrender, he turned his shotgun on himself. Ziegler was pronounced dead at the scene.

A HOPLAND MAN was arrested Saturday for allegedly attacking his wife during a delusional episode, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded at 8:05 p.m. April 19 to the 8800 block of Valley View Drive in Hopland for a reported domestic fight. They spoke with John Sullivan, 41, and his wife, 46. The woman told deputies her husband had a "delusional mental episode" and attacked her physically. She told authorities Sullivan had also threatened to kill her during another fight earlier that day, the MCSO reported. Deputies saw an injury on the woman's foot allegedly caused by her husband's attack. Sullivan was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic battery and making threats, and booked at the Mendocino County Jail under $25,000 bail.

A CALPELLA MAN was arrested Saturday for allegedly attacking his girlfriend during an argument, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded at 12:56 a.m. April 19 to the couple's apartment in the 6000 block of North State Street and spoke to Dilan Gregory, 22, and the alleged victim, a 21-year-old woman whose identity wasn't released. The woman told deptuies she and Gregory had argued, and that he had attacked her physically when the argument escalated. The deputies saaw visible injuries on the woman's face and neck. Gregory was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic battery and booked at the Mendocino County Jail under $25,000 bail.

MAN ROBBED OF CIGARETTES -- Caller in the 600 block of East Perkins Street reported at 1:37 a.m. Wednesday that a man put a gun to his head and took his cigarettes and $11 from him. An officer responded and arrested a 50-year-old Ukiah man for being drunk in public.

GARBAGE PILING UP -- Caller in the 1700 block of Lockwood Drive reported at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday that a nearby house had garbage piling up that was attracting rats. An officer was notified.

LOANED CAR NOT RETURNED -- Caller in the 700 block of East Gobbi Street reported at 6:36 p.m. Wednesday that she loaned a friend her car for what was supposed to be a half an hour and the car had been gone for two days.

FLARE IN BATHROOM -- Caller at Vinewood Park on Elm Street reported at 12:36 a.m. Thursday seeing a flare or a warming fire at the park. An officer responded and found an extinguished flare in the bathroom.

SHOPLIFTING -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 11:08 a.m. Thursday and arrested Robert Jones, 27, of Ukiah, on suspicion of burglary. He was booked at county jail.

MAN PASSED OUT ON SIDEWALK -- An officer responded to the 200 block of East Gobbi Street at 1:17 p.m. Thursday for a report of a man passed out on the sidewalk and arrested a 54-year-old Ukiah man for being drunk in public.

DOG GIVEN AWAY -- Caller at the Super 8 motel on South Orchard Avenue reported at 2:45 p.m. that the person watching his dog had given it away and he wanted help getting it back. He was counseled and advised.

ANGRY WOMAN LEFT BY BUS -- Assistance requested for an older woman who was angry because the bus left her and she wanted transport to Ukiah Valley Medical Center. The woman was given a ride to the hospital.

VEHICLE BROKEN INTO -- Caller at the Ukiah Cinema 6 on South State Street reported at 12:12 a.m. Friday that a car had been broken into there.

HOTEL ROOM BROKEN INTO -- Caller in the 400 block of South State Street reported at 12:49 a.m. Friday that a hotel room had been broken into and a purse stolen. An officer took a report.

WOMAN SLEEPING BY DOORWAY -- Caller at Denny's reported at 2:49 a.m. Friday that a woman was sleeping by a doorway. An officer responded and the woman left upon request.

CAR WINDOW BROKEN -- Caller in the 1500 block of Lockwood Drive reported at 8:33 a.m. Friday that a car's window had been broken with a spark plug.

VEHICLE EGGED -- Caller in the 800 block of Dora Avenue reported at 8:38 a.m. Friday that a vehicle had been egged.

WOMAN IN VERY SHORT DRESS -- Caller in the 100 block of School School Street reported at 12:19 p.m. Friday that a transient woman wearing a very short dress and no underwear was sitting in a bench. An officer checked the area but she was gone.

CAT SHOT -- Caller in the 500 block of East Fir Street, Fort Bragg, reported at 10:31 a.m. Wednesday that her cat had been shot with a BB gun and she suspects a neighbor kid did it. The caller was advised to provide more information after visiting vet.

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by Debra Keipp

One of three State Senators voted off Senate with arms dealer Leland Yee, was Roderick Wright, who is still collecting his Senate salary even after being “convicted of a year in prison for lying about his true residency in voter registration papers”. Doesn't seem like much of an offense, but it sure can swing an election. At least that's been our experience in the City of Point Arena. Official election law states candidates' true residency be within the City limits to serve when elected. Even so, candidates in Point Arena have a long history of lying about their true living addresses to get on the ballot for an elected seat on Point Arena City Council.

In the latest round of political missteps by Point Arena City Council en masse, it's been discovered that Council is complicit since before the recall election in knowing that Point Arena's Councilman Koogle, like Senator Wright, also lied about his true residency in voter registration papers, but remains on City Council nonetheless. In addition Koogle also falsified zoning of what he calls “one live-work space” in the Huntley House, stating fraudulently that his family's building is legally zoned for live-work use according to the City of Point Arena's zoning ordinance: an out and out lie with never any basis in fact according to City Hall.

Trying to find enough individuals to run for political office in Point Arena has always been a “beat the bushes” proposition. For too many reasons to mention, Point Arena is too small to run a government according to Brown Act. Fresh candidates are few and far between. As an example, since earlier this year, Point Arena Planning Commission has been disbanded once more for lack of five participants. The City's website says five new planning commissioners will be appointed at the City Council meeting on April 22nd, even though not one applicant has come forward. Many who serve the City find themselves redundantly switching from Planning, to Council and back again to cover empty seats and keep their best interests afloat: the most chronic officials are husband and wife Mr. Eric and Mrs. Leslie Dahlhoff, and Richie Wasserman to name those with decades of invested historical patterns of doing so.

Other more recent husband-wife teams serving the City, were Patti Schwindt and, while Mayor, Lloyd Cross; a married couple, who complained about Council short-timers Eloise Oropeza and Terry Hughey being a married couple, each while serving on one of the City's commissions simultaneously. That's the pot calling the kettle black. As the hip hop song goes: “My posse runs this town like our own private club.”

Point Arena's infamous Mayor Raven Earlygrow was just finishing his political career twenty years ago in Point Arena after officiating over a few terms. Raven had rented a residence in Point Arena where he worked at his travel agency and notary. Foes opposed his legal residency within the City limits because he also held residence with his wife outside the City. Later, to test the issue, Billy Hay of the local sand and gravel brought a chiropractor named Tony Guisson up from Southern California to establish residency in Point Arena so he too, could run for Council while living out of one of his business fronts and San Diego, tipping the so called scales of justice in another direction altogether. Guisson bought two commercial businesses on Main Street: the old Garcia Center and the Forgeworks on Point Arena Creek, but continued to live mostly in SoCal. His bid for office didn't work.

Over the years voters complain Point Arena is just too small to ensure any professionalism according to Brown Act, by politicians with or without any business acumen, which seems to be the major problem with our candidates in tiny Point Arena. Others say that because of its size, Point Arena City Council is the only working interactive Democracy left in the U.S.; even though admittedly, it doesn't work well. The Mendocino Grand Jury told Point Arena, “You deserve the government you get.”

A few years ago the Asst. DA came to Point Arena from Fort Bragg to investigate another elected official who had stated on her election papers she was living at her parents' home within the City, while she actually lived in Annapolis. She resigned from the City before charges were filed, and the Asst. DA informed Hunter Alexander that would be the last time the DA's office would be getting involved with refereeing Point Arena's basic legal points. Was that a threat or a promise? It's not in the nature of Point Arenans to monitor each other's legaleeze (legalis).

I initially wound up appointed to Planning Commission because Eric Dahlhoff came to my doorstep inquiring, thinking I'd be a good “yes” vote, selling the City's “all-Green Party” Planning Commission and City Council. I watched the usual retread members year after year; the first bringing their planning issues to the trough... closing the Coastal Commission doors behind them. A more self-serving bunch I never wanted to join. Then one day the word “reannexation” cropped up in a conversation about our serial lawmakers in Point Arena, the selected few. Even without trying to be bad politicians, Brown Act was tromped and womped upon by City Council generation after generation.

Around 1997 the late Jere Melo sat on LAFCO and was kind enough to come down to Point Arena to meet with me to discuss reannexation. Local green party politicians had Point Arena in a Republican-like stranglehold. I always found Jere Melo to be an easy going, sensible man who knew how to “procure” for his community in Fort Bragg. I asked Jere Melo to talk to me about the possibility of extending through re-annexation, the City limits of Point Arena so we'd have a few more voters and candidates from which to draw; maybe even vote in a few former professionals who knew how to run an actual business! Point Arena politicians would no longer have to lie about living in the City limits! Jere told me re-annexation could probably be explored through LAFCO, but our Council would first have to want the competition of candidates from a broader spectrum: a broader tax base for Point Arena, and a larger quadrant defining a bigger voting District. We discussed Iverson to Mountain View and up to Ten Mile Road on the Ridge as one example of an enlarged voting district. Jere Melo went home to Fort Bragg, and the locals on Point Arena City Council avoided re-annexation altogether; not wanting to be voted out of their comfy self interest, or risk the possibility of fracturing their stiff no-growth policy in Point Arena.

Thirty years later, there's still no new housing for locals in Point Arena. The throngs arrive by the slow-driving carload to see our Monument, eroding the cliffs with big tent-laden trucks sent for celebration, stuck in the mud cliffs here, causing damage worse than the Stornetta cows ever could have, asking locals hopefully how they too can move here, ...where's the housing? Not enough low-income housing has always been a problem for locals on the Coast, and now that vacation rentals are easier to manage and more profitable than long-term rentals, availability of home rentals dwindles too. No wonder Koogle lied about his legal housing with no housing to be had in Point Arena! What's a Councilman to do then, but procure his own housing within the City limits by hook or by crook?

There are no plans or interest from Council members/Commissioners for any build-out. Senior housing has been currently talked to a standstill; ground still unbroken after at least ten years of planning. Overdue next generation low-income housing is not even given a thought by Council. No-growth officials stilted Point Arena prior to the moment they chose to go “monumental” in ruination of the once pristine nature of Stornetta Public Lands.

In Point Arena's historic downtown business district, Point Arena's Huntley House is a six-office, commercially zoned rental building. Most of its empty offices sit unrented for much of each year. Why? The Huntley House is currently for sale for nearly half a million; far more than it's worth with all its problems and history of low-earning income potential. It is owned by the Koogle Family Trust, of which Jim Koogle, second-chair Councilman of the City of Point Arena, serves as manager for his family located in Fair Oaks, California. (I'm told Council no longer refers to the second-seat City Council position as “Vice-Mayor”.)

City Hall reiterates that Councilman Koogle presently lives at the Huntley House illegally, adding that his other personal property at 53 Lake Street, which he listed as his true living address on his election application, is also not legally livable. Yet he's overzealous when going after constituents he doesn't like, who might be also living illegally within the City. Neighbors who've put up with Koogle's gutted Lake Street property these decades, find themselves frustrated with the City for doing nothing to step in and rectify the matter with time limits and fines; maybe even confiscation like they did with the Sea Shell Inn. Every property Jim Koogle inhabits, winds up becoming an eyesore.

City Council impresses the threat of confiscation upon most other constituents, when their properties deteriorate. The condemnation of the Sea Shell Inn is one example of how the City Council works on behalf of the City of Point Arena; an 80+ year old elder is another. Council went after the octogenarian for retro-active collection of sewer fees for her closed commercial business building downtown. A recuperating stroke patient, on her better days, she would occasionally use one of the apartments upstairs as her private residence when she wasn't convalescing with her son. Her options in action initiated by City Council? The City threatened to auction off her property in her old age, if she didn't pay up in a timely manner. She's unable to open and operate the business but needs a place to live. Council has not procured housing of any kind in Point Arena, least of all for seniors, yet won't relax her sewer fees to residential while she stays in the one apartment within her commercial building. She's currently on a payment plan to repay thousands of dollars in retro-active sewer fees to the City of Point Arena.

Not only has Councilman Koogle fraudulently feathered his nest within the City limits, his family-owned Huntley House was recently found to be paying residential sewer fees instead of commercial sewer fees since the Huntley House was re-assembled at its current Main Street location, some thirty-odd years ago. What opened such an old wound? A city employee was doing a long-overdue sewer fee assessment as part of his job, to see what locals were paying for their sewer. Apparently, the last assessment was performed four or five Mayors ago. When he found out the results worked in his disfavor, Councilman Koogle (remember he sits in the “Mayor of Vice” chair on City Council, regardless) flipped the logic and wanted the employee fired for revealing that the Huntley House was still paying only residential fees for their business some thirty odd years later. (An issue which probably hadn't fully escaped the owners cognizance all those years.) Point Arena City Hall has not yet calculated the monetary figure for retro-active adjustment to commercial sewer fees where Councilman Koogle “lives” illegally, but the difference in fees is estimated to be in the thousands over these thirty some years.

Sewer fees are paid with yearly property tax bills within the Point Arena City limits. City Hall says residential sewer fees are $49/month. Each additional unit also equals $49. This fee is due to increase again soon. Units are multiplied according to occupancy and use of commercial buildings. For instance, one hotel in the City limits pays $49 x 10 units, or $490/month plus the base fee of $49 for commercial sewer fees. Therefore, not all commercial monthly sewer rates are the same, as commercial rates depend on occupancy and use. The big question is; will City Council vote to collect retroactively, adjusted sewer rates from Councilman Koogle's concern, The Huntley House?

Maybe not. The Point Arena Bakery, a successfully busy family concern of Mayor Doug Burkey, has also paid residential sewer fees instead of commercial sewer rates for their business since opening on Main Street about twenty years ago. With both Councilman Koogle and the Mayor of the City of Point Arena owing the City for thousands in unpaid retroactive sewer fees, who's to vote on such a motion, and see that the fees are collected from these elected officials while at the same time Council (figuratively speaking as she describes it) clubs an old 80 year-old woman over the head for her retroactive sewer fees? What recourse do voters have if Council votes not to pay back the City for thousands of dollars in retro-active monies owed City Hall by the Mayor and Councilman Koogle for their incorrectly billed sewer fees all those years?

The employees working the Point Arena City Hall office, are very clear in making the distinction between City Council and City Hall as two separate entities. They say they don't want their reputations sullied by the current City Council's fraud, even if elected by recall, as it were. Point Arena has always had one bureaucrat in town, and historically it's been the clerk in City Hall. However, Council won't listen to the law according to Brown Act in operation of their responsibilities according to law. Ever since she was hired by former Mayor Sinnott, Council has wanted Hilary's replacement, Hunter Alexander's head on a platter. The local paper, the ICO, cheer leads Council on, so obvious are they about re-writing her out of her already non-existent job description. (The topic of job descriptions and time and work studies within the City of Point Arena is another issue altogether.) Constituents tired of monitoring the actions of their redundant layers of City leaders, have their heads stuck in the sand, either apathetic or afraid to see. Eventually, as it goes in Point Arena, constituents quit listening to their City leaders, because they're tired of being lied to as has been noticed time and again... mostly because Council members have little business ability or want of fairness when understanding and following Brown Act as it relates to the entirety of its small constituency; not as it relates to just those few elected to office.

Questions arise about how Jim Koogle ever got elected in the first place, and why is he still sitting on City Council if all of Council and City Hall knows of his fraud? As an employee of City Hall and the only bureaucrat(s) in town, who would you go to if your Council turned out to be rotten even after attempting to clean up Council with a recall election? The D.A., Attorney General, Grand Jury? Councilman Koogle retains, therefore, his resident position on City Council, outside election rules in this case while City Council has turned a blind eye. You ask the Mayor about Koogle and he giggles in avoidance. Council is all too aware of the Koogle boondoggle and should take initiative to ask for Jim Koogle's resignation, move to prosecute, resign themselves, or be collectively brought up on charges for collusion. Which is a stiffer penalty: Taking of the 80 year old woman's home, or getting rid of dirty politicians, no matter how obtuse they act of any wrong-doing?

What does Point Arena have to do to get Koogle convicted like Wright, and removed from his fraudulently held elected position with the City? Previously, since 2008, City Council members, the City Attorney, and the prior fired City Clerk arbitrarily refused to take action on enforcement of the issue of Jim Koogle's illegal residency in Point Arena. Voters are informed City Council is complicit in Councilman Koogle's “fraudulent deceit regarding his true legal residency in voter registration papers”, but the man sitting in the position of Mayor of Vice refuses to resign before charges are filed. What about the new City Attorney? We hear she's taken up private meetings in the Huntley House interviewing Council members and City employees.

In fact, Koogle even rented “his” fallacy of a live-work space to two respective renters from 2006 to 2009, both of whom were “fraudulently deceived”; erroneously informed by Jim Koogle that the Huntley House was zoned for one legal live-work space, which each rented separately and consecutively. In 2006, Koogle rented a room in the Huntley House to George Bailey, former editor of “Lighthouse Peddler”, who rented said live-work space for 1.5 years from 2006 to 2007 without an unpleasant word from City Council or City Hall. Jim Koogle managed the Huntley House then too, for his family. George's concerns about the building were well-founded: Four or five flights of stairs up from Main Street with no elevator, bathrooms in the hallway, and no parking. Included in that, the Heathcliff-like insistence of Jim Koogle, on moving into the building with his renters, which many in the building found lonesome in a needy sort of way. He also has chronic trouble with renting the “rooms” he calls offices, because of his presence; found to be altogether managerially inappropriate, professionally speaking; not to mention illegal and prosecutable. Lately, the Huntley House has taken on that rather patina'd look, like Koogle's other two beat up properties. The sale price has been lowered, reflecting that.

Councilman Koogle continues to live in the Huntley House instead of his third and original property located outside the City limits. Koogle's 80 year old Lake Street neighbors are annoyed with having to look at his unpainted, gutted, disheveled Lake Street property daily; as if stuck in some kind of open-ended Class K limbo of a nightmare for the last thirty years. Constituents joke that it is a fact that Koogle sat on Design Review Committee for the City of PA although this building's poor appearance on Lake Street persists for decades and no one has been able to live there since the late 1990's.

I watched one day as his neighbor finally summoned Koogle over to ask if he couldn't “do something about” his property. Koogle asked him what he wanted Koogle to do. To which the old man pointed at the obvious and said specifically, “Mow the yard, paint the buildings, fix the fence, then close the gates so we can't see any of the mess in there.” Koogle's property looks worse than the condemned Sea Shell Inn. (City Clerk tells me that City Council has disbanded all special committees since the recall; so perhaps Design Review Committee is kaput, too.)

Even though City Hall insists that Koogle's Lake Street address is also unlivable, leaving him without a place to live legally within Point Arena, Lake Street has two businesses in operation there: one a bulk food club; the other a recycled oil fuel distribution center! (Never buy your food where you get your gas, I say.) While the old lumberjack across Lake Street wants to know how he can get a recycled fuel distribution center at his house too for all his semi-diesel-driving buddies with lumber trucks; concerned parents ask how the fuel distribution center is permitted surrounded by an elementary school playground. Was there ever a permit? How is it zoned? Will we soon see gas wars on Lake Street across the road from each other? Many Lake Street homeowners still use their well water. What about testing the shallow ground water wells on Lake Street, for fuel contamination? Many Lake Street wells are only 15 to 35 feet deep.

Outside of another recall, leaving the new Council as inept as ever, what recourse do constituents have in enforcement of City Council for performing illegally, in avoidance of laws and ordinances? Or in this case, committing fraud by obvious deceit while filing voter registration papers to run for a position on City Council, an elected office?

This is another example of how Council members in Point Arena subsist off the bones of their constituents – by lying and favoritism while living in glass houses. Point Arena is a town too small to run a City Council without showing the apparent obvious signs of graft, greed and collusion free-for-a-chosen-few. Voters tire of the political redundancy in Point Arena, knowing Point Arena isn't big enough to support an actual City with a Council of even quasi-professionals informed or caring in a consistent way about the law according to Brown Act. Not, at least, in a fair and equitable way to serve its community's needs first.

Councilman Koogle stands in front of his two glass houses, throwing rocks. What recourse do neighbors have for enforcement of 53 Lake Street in clean up of the Koogle eyesore? Can it be auctioned for inaction these many years, in much the same manner as the City's take-over of the Sea Shell Inn? Could the school purchase it?

Koogle is clearly in violation of permits while at the same time other non-Council constituents have been threatened with selective enforcement by Point Arena City Council and even confiscation. Koogle's Lake Street property stayed empty alot longer than the Sea Shell Inn was dysfunctional. The city of Point Arena should put a lien against the Huntley House for all retro-active sewer fees, if the Mayor of Vice refuses to pay the adjustments. Jim Koogle should resign now as Councilman. He may even be prosecuted for fraud. City Hall graft neither begins nor ends with Koogle.

One Comment

  1. debra keipp May 1, 2014

    County of Mendocino sent planning and building complaint to City of PA for “action”. Should be interesting to see what the new city attorney suggests and how or if City Council acts upon her suggestion(s).

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