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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, May 4, 2014

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THE WILLITS WEEKLY is a year old and solidly viable with a healthy ad base and a stable of capable writers. Ringleader Jennifer Poole has committed a rare act of faith. She has started and succeeded in establishing, from scratch and not a lot of money, or any money, a print newspaper business in a time print newspapers are on the way to history's bottomless dustbin. The WW is, of course, also available on-line, but Ms. Poole's print version seems to have taken hold in Willits where the chain-owned Willits News has previously enjoyed an almost-monopoly. The Press Democrat is circulated throughout the county but contains almost zero Mendo news, and even less about Willits unless some holdout enviro is getting arrested at the disastrous Willits Bypass.

THE CURRENT ISSUE of the Willits Weekly features the four candidates for Third District Supervisor answering questions about why they're running and what they might do if elected. None is so bold as to say, “I want this job because it pays $65,000 a year with an array of fringe benefits undreamed of by most Americans. I've got the iron labonza to sit through hours of meetings, many of them pointless and/or non-productive. It will be the steadiest, best paid job I've ever had.”

IF THE SUPERVISOR-elect is conscientious, and we've suffered a bunch who were not, he or she can at least help keep the County kinda solvent and at least try to hire capable people for the top jobs. (The County is, and will forever remain, broke. It owes past and present employees more in pensions and medical care than it can possibly pay, the same fiscal position America is in, basically, with more debt than can ever be repaid.)

THE PRESENT SUPERVISORS get high marks for restoring a plausible solvency. We think, however, they've totally botched negotiations with County employees and seem to think, with the exception of Pinches, that a $5 million dollar investment in a Fort Bragg trash transfer station is a good idea. And, as per ancient custom, they don't demand regular reports from their department heads.

(SPEAKING of Pinches, he hasn't endorsed anybody to succeed him in the 3rd District beyond once making a cryptic comment to us about getting someone from the third Grade to run for the job. We interpreted that to mean he didn't like any of the four.)

HOLLY MADRIGAL came off best by far in the Willits Weekly's Q&A, although I don't think her inert presence as public radio trustee and her auto-yes vote on the $5 mil transfer station in FB are pluses as the government experience she boasts of. Pinches, and we'll miss his genius for cutting through the bullshit, said he thought trash transfers could be made at a widespot in the road. Not quite. But you don't need to jack up disposal fees for captive customers to fund a transfer station that isn't needed and cost Coasties lots more in garbage fees. (I'm not opposed to the transfer station simply because my old friend Mike Sweeney wants it. Objectively, and Sweeney aside, it's extravagant and a bad deal for Coast garbage customers.) I laughed when Wagenet pointed to the County's tourist promotion boondoggle as an example of one of his triumphs during his previous tenure as Third District Supe.

MADRIGAL, LIKE PINCHES, sees the necessity for water planning. I think the other candidates do, too, but she emphazies water foresight.

OF THE PRESENT SUPERVISORS, we think their functioning as a board has been pretty good except for employee negotiations which they've thoroughly botched. But from even the most cautious lib-pwoggie perspective there's nothing happening anywhere in Mendo that might make someone jump up and do a couple of dance steps. Local government rumbles along pretty much as it always has.

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STATEMENT TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, April 8, 2014: “My name is Jackie Otis. I am a social worker in the General Assistance Unit in Social Services. I have spoken numerous times to you. I enjoy speaking in front of all of you because technically you are my boss. I am your boss as well. Each time I speak before you I again remind you that I am not only an employee of Mendocino County but I am also a registered voter who takes that right very seriously. I have and still do think that you should all be reminded of this, especially now. The past several years have been very tough, tougher than anyone can imagine. I am not going to go into what the salary reduction has done for myself or my family. I have done this before and I truly feel that it has fallen on deaf ears. I think that you consider us your enemy. That is apparent from your decisions and your behavior. I am tired of being the enemy. I have asked each one of you to come and talk to us and to get to know your employees for we are the people your actions affect. So far I have only shaken the hand of one supervisor, Ms. Brown, no one else. I have to say I was impressed with Ms. Brown who took the time to come and meet with some of the employees at Social Services. My only regret was that she was escorted by higher-ups. Because of this I felt that staff could not be as honest or as open as they otherwise would have been. Once again, I ask, Why has only one supervisor come to meet with us, the members, the employees, the voters, the ones whose lives have forever changed because of these budget cuts. I ask you, not as supervisors or as the CEO who act against us the union, I am asking as a government employee and a human being and a coworker and a lifetime citizen of Mendocino County. I ask that you come and work with us. We need our salaries back. We are not asking for a raise. We are asking for our money back. If you can afford to pay an overpriced attorney law firm from the Bay Area that you just approved then you can throw a few pennies at us the employees. I hope to meet all of you soon. Thank you."

THE OTHERWISE UPBEAT Suzy Miller of Boonville took an uncharacteristally critical tone: “My name is Ms. Miller. I'm a constituent of Dan Hamburg from the Fifth District. I am also an employee of 20 years with the Mendocino County Department of Public Health. We gave you 10% of our salaries to use when you needed it. Now you are acting like a relative who won't pay back a personal loan. Just because you can doesn't mean you should, Dan [Hamburg]. It's not the Mendocino Way to continue to disrespect your employees and constituents in this way. We're here. We have given you our loyalty and our dedication and we expect the same in return.”

NO RESPONSE whatsoever from the Supervisors.

MUCH LATER later in the April 8 meeting CEO Carmel Angelo told the Board that “labor relations” were covered by materials on her County webpage. We looked for them. But all we could find there was: “The County of Mendocino employs approximately 1,030 employees, who are represented by eight bargaining units. The Executive Office and Human Resources is responsible for negotiating on behalf of the County with representatives of those bargaining units regarding wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. The County of Mendocino is committed to open communications within the organization and with the public. Information on labor relations and labor negotiations between the County and its bargaining units will be updated periodically so employees and the public have a clear understanding of bargaining status and what is being considered.”

THE MOUNTAINS OF LEGALESE that dominate what’s on Ms. Angelo's webpage from last year provide anything but “a clear understanding.”

BUT NOTHING’S been posted there since October of 2013. However, last February, we reported that Supervisor Pinches had said after the expensive and fruitless “fact-finding” advisory report by the three arbitrators, one of them allegedly "independent," said,  “I find it funny that after all of this work by both SEIU and the County since November on this whole AB 646 fact-finding business — the result is that it’s advisory. This process is completely non-binding. Thank you for the advice [from the fact-finding report] to spend one-time funds for ongoing [actually a one-time 3%) pay increases, but this county has been there and done that. The Board is committed to doing this the right way, and I think the majority of our employees know that and understand that little by little, we’re getting back into a position to provide some relief — and make it stick this time.” The County responded by paying big bucks for outside hired gun attorneys equally unfamiliar with local conditions and unconcerned with the wreckage of bungled negotiations they leave in their wake. Gone are the days when the chief negotiators for both sides lived in the community and knew they would need to work together on future issues.

UPON FURTHER INVESTIGATION into this subject, we were unable to confirm that the County had paid $750k to the Bay Area Union-busting law firm, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore which we incorrectly noted in Helen Michael’s quote to the Board yesterday. In fact, the latest number is $250k, approved by the Board of Supervisors on the consent calendar with no discussion at their March 25 meeting:

“RESOLUTION NO. 14-041 (i) (BOS Agreement No. 12-136-A2) Approval of Amendment to Board of Supervisors Agreement No. 12-136 with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Increasing the Total Compensation for the Period of December 11, 2012, Through June 30, 2014, to $250,000 to Provide Legal Services - Human Resources -- Approved and the Chair is authorized to sign same.”

THE BOARD clearly thinks that they’re justified in paying $250k for outside legal services and advice, especially in the contentious negotiations atmosphere which has been festering for almost a year now.

IT WAS BAD ENOUGH in prior years when the County paid an outside consultant $70k-$80k to negotiate for them, now they’re paying $250k and they have very little to show for it besides a bunch of very disgruntled workers and a few thousand extra dollars in the bank saved up by the pay cut they imposed on their workers.

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Medical Marijuana Patients Union Adopt A Highway team on 4/20 aka Easter 2014. Pictured: Rev. Chris Diaz, Rev. Nona, Pebbles Trippett, and Rabbi David. (Photo by Rev. Sean)

YES, THAT’S THE CHRIS DIAZ, apparently none the worse for his sojourn in a Texas prison on a drug extradition a few years ago, and now a reverend, leading a pious roadside clean-up crew on Highway 128 near Boonville.

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A CRIMINAL CASE that focused the spotlight on fraud in a family law matter was front and center Friday morning in Department A of the Mendocino County Superior Court. Kelli Marie Cosman, 39, of Ukiah, had previously admitted criminal liability in March 2014 for having fraudulently altered evidence that she offered during a contested visitation/custody court hearing in June 2013. She also admitted having perjured herself during her testimony at that same court hearing. Appearing for sentencing before Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman, the Court sentenced Cosman to 44 months in state prison, with the execution of that sentence stayed for the next 36 months during which Cosman will be on formal supervised probation. As one term of her probation, Cosman is to surrender in June to serve 180 days in the county jail. This is not Cosman’s first brush with the law. Cosman was previously convicted of three theft-related felonies in two different Mendocino County cases in 2001 and 2004. She has also served a prior state prison commitment. Cosman was represented Friday by Deputy Public Defender Eric Rennert. The prosecutor arguing on behalf of the People was Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster. “We all have an expectation – one that isn’t always realized — that a witness in court will tell the truth when placed under oath,” said Eyster. “While prosecutions for fabricating evidence and perjury have not always been the norm during my tenure as a prosecutor, given the right facts, my office will continue to look at bringing criminal sanctions to bear against anyone who seeks to gain a tactical legal advantage through illegal and dishonest means in our civil courtrooms.” — District Attorney Press Release


SO FAR WE’VE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND the particulars of Ms. Cosman’s original fraud case, probably because it originated in civil/family court. But last year the UPD reported:

“On February 12th at about 9:25 PM Ukiah Police responded to a residence in the 600 block of Walnut Avenue for an open 911 line with fighting heard in the background. Officers arrived and were contacted by the victim outside, who was upset and crying. Officers learned 38 year old Kelli Stormi Cosman became engaged in an argument with the victim which became physical. The victim tried to leave the house, and Cosman pushed the door shut and wouldn’t allow the victim to leave. Cosman tried to forcefully remove an item from the victim, and at one point dragged the victim to another room and then placed her foot on the victim’s face while still trying the force the item free. The victim released the item and was able to run out of the house and was met by the police. Officers contacted Cosman and arrested her for robbery, kidnapping, and unlawful restraint.”

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LONG TIME COAST RESIDENT BRUCE LEVENE, writing on the Coast Listserve for May 2, 2014:


To Mendocino residents:

These are facts:

[The Town of] Mendocino has never had a water system. Mendocino will never have a water system (unless millions of dollars are found for it).

Monitoring wells will not increase the water supply, as 23+ years of monitoring wells has proven. Since 1990 a $15.00 quarterly charge for GWM has appeared on our sewer bill. GWM is an acronym for Ground Water Management. So during the last 23 years we personally paid $1,380 to MCCSD for Ground Water Management ($15.00 x 4 = $60.00 per year x 23 years = $1,380). There are approximately 410 hookups in the District. Using this figure, MCCSD has collected $565,880 for Ground Water Management so far — and now it demands a new tax of $100@, equaling $20,000 more.


Attending the monthly meeting of the Mendocino City Community Services District on April 28th was an exercise in futility. I expected at least a slight atmosphere of cordiality and thought the Board would listen to public comments with sincere interest. More the fool me. Their minds were made up before the meeting. They barely acknowledged the petition I presented containing the signatures of 86 property owners and/or registered voters — including three former Board members and the first District chairman — who objected to the April 11 letter MCCSD mandates. Nor did they give credence to audience presenters. Apparently the Right to Petition for Redress of Grievances, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, is of little interest to this Board.

One Board Member stated that when the amount charged for the Groundwater Extraction Permit was discussed at Board meetings, the $100 amount was arbitrary: “It could have been $80 or $85 — we just settled on $100.” It is my understanding that when government (American government, at least) imposes charges — fees, permits, taxes — the amount is based on a definite cost, not a whim.

Another Board Member stated that MCCSD's decision to declare a Stage 4 water condition was essentially the word of God and could not be changed, even though its own Director, Steve Acker, said that the situation has reverted to Stage 3.

Three Board members, when it was pointed out that the Board had not complied with its own ordinance (Article 10, Page 8-MCCSD Ordinance No. 07-4), obviously had never read it, as they acted slightly confused.

They wouldn't even bring to a vote the idea of rescinding the $100 Ground Water Extraction Permit Tax!

Nor did they care about the 91-year old World War II veteran, the oldest native-born Mendocino resident, who wonders why he should pay $100 to pump water from a well that his family has used for more than 100 years. By necessity his family has always conserved water — they had no choice. He is in ill health and lives on a fixed income. Paying the MCCSD charges will cause him both economic and emotional stress, hardly the reward he expected in old age, caused by newcomers who don’t — and probably never will — understand the concept of community or how fortunate they are just to live here.

The Mendocino City Community Services District should get back into the services business and out of the control business.

Bruce Levene, Mendocino

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SHOTS FIRED -- Caller in the 400 block of East Gobbi Street reported at 12:08 a.m. Thursday seeing a man with a pistol in a church parking lot and hearing shots fired. An officer checked the area but did not find him.

TEEN DRINKING -- Caller in the 300 block of Gardens Avenue reported at 12:27 a.m. Thursday that a loud party was going on with about 10 minors drinking. An officer responded and counseled those responsible.

NEIGHBOR ANGRY ABOUT CAR ALARM -- Caller in the 200 block of West Gobbi Street reported at 2:23 a.m. Thursday that a neighbor who was angry about a car alarm going off swore at the caller and threw items into his or her yard. An officer responded and contacted the people involved.

PEOPLE SLEEPING ON DECK -- Caller in the 500 block of North School Street reported at 12:08 a.m. Thursday that people were sleeping on a back deck. An officer responded and the people left upon request.

PEOPLE SLEEPING IN BARN -- Caller in the 600 block of North State Street reported at 8:42 a.m. Thursday that people were sleeping in his barn at night and requested extra patrols.

POT POSSESSION -- An officer stopped a vehicle in the 100 block of East Gobbi Street at 4:57 p.m. Thursday and arrested Daniel A. Zook, 33, of South Lake Tahoe, on suspicion of possessing marijuana and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

UNWANTED PERSON IN HOUSE -- Caller in the 600 block of Capps Lane reported at 7:59 p.m. Thursday that an unwanted person was inside the house, going from room to room, then left and went to the neighbor's house. An officer responded and detained the person.

SOMEONE ON PORCH -- Caller on Washington Court reported at 9:09 p.m. Thursday that someone was on a front porch. An officer checked the area but the person was gone.

PEOPLE SLEEPING IN CAR -- Caller on Cherry Court reported at 7:01 a.m. Friday that people had been sleeping in a dark green Volvo sedan for the past several nights. An officer responded and advised the group, who left upon request.

GRAFFITI -- Caller in the 300 block of South State Street reported at 7:58 a.m. Friday finding graffiti on a wall near restrooms. An officer responded and took a report.

CAMPERS IN CREEK -- Caller in the 200 block of South Orchard Avenue reported at 8:28 a.m. Friday that people were camping under the bridge at South Orchard Avenue and Gibson Creek. An officer responded and counseled the group.

MAIL CARRIER ALMOST BITTEN -- Caller in the 1000 block of North Pine Street reported at 1:11 p.m. Friday that a dog at a house where she was delivering mail had almost bitten her, and she requested that an officer contact the owners and advise them to keep the dog inside during mail delivery. An officer responded and advised the owner.

MAN YELLING AT CARS -- Caller at the corner of West Church and South School streets reported at 6:04 p.m. Friday that a man was yelling at cars and stepping in front of traffic. An officer responded and arrested a 43-year-old man for being drunk in public and resisting arrest.

The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.

MAN WITHOUT PANTS DRINKING BEER -- Caller in the 500 block of North Harold Street reported at 7:21 p.m. Thursday that a man was in a front yard drinking beer, with no pants. An officer responded and determined the incident was not as reported.

DRUNKEN DRIVER IN DRIVE-THRU -- Caller at McDonald's on South Main Street reported at 9:48 p.m. Friday that someone in the drive-thru was possibly driving drunk. An officer responded and arrested Sara Warren, no age given, of Fort Bragg, on suspicion of driving under the influence. She was cited and released.

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King Kamehameah-V, Mark Twain
King Kamehameah-V, Mark Twain

THE [HAWAIIAN] KING is 34 years of age, it is said, but looks all of fifty. He has an observant, inquiring eye, a heavy, massive face, a lighter complexion than is common with his race, tolerably short stiff hair, a moderate mustache and imperial, large stature, inclining somewhat to corpulence (I suppose he weighs fully 180 — maybe a little over), has fleshy hands, but a small foot for his size, is about six feet high, is thoughtful and slow of movement, has a large head, firmly set upon broad shoulders, and is a better man and a better looking one than he is represented to be in the villainous popular photographs of him, for none of them are good. That last remark is surplusage, however, for no photograph ever was good, yet, of anybody — hunger and thirst and utter wretchedness overtake the outlaw who invented it! It transforms into desperadoes the meekest of men; depicts sinless innocence upon the pictured faces of ruffians; gives the wise man the stupid leer of a fool, and a fool the expression of more than earthly wisdom. If a man tries to look merely serious when he sits for his picture, the photograph makes him as solemn as an owl; if he smiles, the photograph smirks repulsively; if he tries to look pleasant, the photograph looks silly; if he makes the fatal mistake of attempting to seem pensive, the camera will surely write him down an ass. The sun never looks through the photographic instrument that it does not print a lie! The piece of glass it prints it on is well named a "negative" — a contradiction — a misrepresentation — a falsehood. I speak feelingly of this matter, because by turns the instrument has represented me to be a lunatic, a Solomon, a missionary, a burglar, and an abject idiot, and I am neither.

— Mark Twain, 1866; from "Letters from Hawaii"

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Western States Petroleum Association spent $6.1 million in 3 months

by Dan Bacher

The new numbers for the amount of money spent on lobbying in Sacramento in the first three months of 2014 just came in from the Secretary of State's Office and guess who finished first?

Yes, holding fast to number one is that august body of environmental stewardship known as the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), "making sure lawmakers don't forget about the Big Oil little guy," according to Stop Fooling California. (

The Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, spent $6.1 million in just 3 months. Amazingly, this is more money than the association has spent in any one year over the past five years!

The organization spent $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013.

In spite of all of this money spent, a bill imposing a moratorium on fracking and acidizing for oil extraction in California passed through the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 30 by a 5 to 2 vote. Senators Mark Leno, Jerry Hill, Loni Hancock, Hannah-Beth Jackson and Fran Pavley voted for Senate Bill 1132, while Senators Ted Gaines and Jean Fuller voted against it.

Authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno, SB 1132 would require the Natural Resources Agency to facilitate an "independent scientific study" on well stimulation treatments (fracking and acidizing) and their hazards and risks to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety by January 1, 2015.

"People must come before profits," said Senator Mitchell after the vote. "My community needs jobs, but those jobs need to be safe for workers and surrounding communities."

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, wasn't very happy with the results of the Committee vote, especially after her organization spent $6.1 million lobbying at the Capitol over the past three months. You can bet that her association and the oil companies will spend many millions more attempting to defeat this bill in the Legislature in coming months.

In her blog on the WSPA website Reheis-Boyd stated:

"The passage of Senate Bill 1132 from the Senate's Environmental Quality Committee is neither a surprise nor an indication that this poorly written legislation is gaining support.

While the theater of SB 1132 plays out in Sacramento, SB 4 is already the law of the land throughout California. Last year, Governor Brown signed into law regulations that received strong bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate. Many of those 'rallying' around SB 1132 voted for SB 4, the strongest and most stringent regulation on hydraulic fracturing in the country.

Anti-oil activists are attempting to push hydraulic fracturing moratoriums in Sacramento and in local governments throughout the state - a strategy that just suffered a major setback. Their tactics include spreading misinformation about water use, chemicals, industry transparency, and jobs.

Shockingly, the anti-oil camp's attacks on oil production reached new lows last week when several of the leading anti-oil groups took aim at petroleum industry workers when they dismissed as unwanted and unworthy the hundreds of thousands of jobs our industry supports. This disappointing tactic was summed up in the headline of a recent letter to the Los Angeles Times: 'Some jobs aren't worth it.'

Of course the petroleum industry cares about California's environment and water supply. This is why we believe SB 4 provides important and necessary oversight. Hydraulic fracturing is not just a new industry fad that was concocted for the sole purpose of harming humanity. The reality is quite the opposite. Lost in the hysteria is the historic fact that hydraulic fracturing has been employed in California for nearly six decades without environmental incident or hazard. It is why the United States is experiencing a welcome and rewarding energy renaissance that is benefiting consumers nationwide and dramatically improving our nation's energy security."

Yes, Reheis-Boyd and her industry really "care" about California's environment and water supply. That's why she and her cohorts on the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force made sure that the questionable "marine protected areas" created in Southern California under her "leadership" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering. (

Reheis-Boyd, state officials and MLPA advocates ensured that these alleged "marine protected areas" were good for big oil and ocean industrialists - and bad for fishermen, tribal gatherers and the public trust.

In one of the biggest conflicts of interest in recent California history, Reheis-Boyd also "served" on the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create so-called "marine protected areas" on the North Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast. She also currently sits on a federal "marine protected areas" panel.

As she was serving on these panels, the oil industry was engaging in a frenzy of environmentally destructive fracking operations off the Southern California coast, as revealed in an Associated Press and Freedom of Information Act investigation last year.

The process that Reheis-Boyd oversaw created "state marine reserves" that violate the traditional gathering rights of the Yurok Tribe and other California Indian Tribes to harvest seaweed, mussels and fish, as they have done for thousands of years. In addition, the privately funded process rejected numerous requests by Yurok Tribe scientists and lawyers to present scientific studies that countered the terminally flawed and incomplete "science," based on flawed assumptions.

As Frankie Joe Myers, Yurok Tribe member and Coastal Justice Coalition organizer, said before a direct action protest against the MLPA Initiative in Fort Bragg in July 2010, "The whole process is inherently flawed by institutionalized racism. It doesn't recognize Tribes as political entities, or Tribal biologists as legitimate scientists."

More recently, the industry that Reheis-Boyd says "cares about California's environment and water supply" was engaged in over 100 violations of California's new public disclosure rules for fracking and other dangerous oil production methods. The violations were uncovered by a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of records from the state, the oil industry and South Coast air quality regulators.

In a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, the Center pointed out that state regulators with the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources have failed to disclose legally mandated reports for 47 frack jobs and notices for more than 100 uses of other risky oil production techniques.

"This lack of disclosure underscores the failure of current regulations and the need for strong action that will protect public health and safety and the environment," the letter says.

"Californians are in the dark about dangerous fracking in their communities because Gov. Brown's oil regulators won't follow their own minimal notification rules," said Center attorney Hollin Kretzmann in a statement. "These regulatory failures are another reminder of the urgent need to halt fracking to protect our air and water from contamination. Gov. Brown must recognize that halting fracking and the other dangerous well stimulation methods is the only way to protect Californians."

The problems revealed by the Center's analysis include the following:

• Missing Fracking Reports: At least 47 frack jobs conducted in Southern California in January and February do not have a well stimulation report on DOGGR's website, despite a requirement that such documents be posted 60 days after the fracking event.

• Late posting: Dozens of other fracking reports were posted late - and only after the Center informed state officials of the unlawful delay.

• Missing chemical data - Other fracking reports are missing critical information, including the chemical composition of fracking waste fluid and where this fluid was disposed of. A Kern County oil company was recently fined for disposing of such fracking wastewater in an unlined pit.

• Missing Acidizing Notices: The state's website does not show notices for 57 uses of acidization in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Acidizing uses high quantities of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids in combination with other harmful chemicals to dissolve oil-bearing formations underground.

• Missing Gravel Packing Notices: Gravel packing, a well stimulation method that uses dangerous chemicals, has occurred in Orange and Los Angeles counties approximately 51 times so far this year, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Yet state oil regulators have not posted a notice of a single instance of gravel packing from anywhere in the state, despite regulations requiring such notification.

A recent Center report also found that fracking, acidizing and gravel packing operations employed 12 dangerous "air toxic" chemicals hundreds of times in the Los Angeles Basin over a period of a few months.

For more information, go to:

If the petroleum industry really "cares about California's environment and water supply" like Reheis-Boyd claims it does, why did the industry engage in 100 violations of California's new public disclosure rules for fracking and other dangerous oil production methods, as documented in the Center for Biological Diversity's report?

You can bet that Reheis-Boyd's group and Big Oil will continue to spend millions this year to defeat Senate Bill 1132 and any other bill that challenges their plan to frack California. A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause reveals that Big Oil spent $123.6 million to lobby elected officials in California over the past 15 years, an increase of over 400 percent since the 1999-2000 legislative session, when the industry spent $4.8 million.

The report also examines historical campaign contributions by the largest firms in the oil and gas industry. Over the last fifteen years, Big Oil has spent $143.3 million on political candidates and campaigns - nearly $10 million per year and more than any other corporate lobby.

When combined, Big Oil's lobbying spending and campaign spending in Sacramento amounts to $266.9 million over 15 years.

Yet this is mere pocket change, the "cost of doing business" for the oil industry, since the industry makes many billions of dollars in profits every year as gas prices soar for consumers at the pumps. The oil industry has made over $31 billion in profits in 2014 to date.

Take Action Now!

As the oil industry plans the expansion of fracking under Senate Bill 4 and gas prices soar at the pumps to boost oil industry profits, Governor Jerry Brown is fast tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels. The proposed tunnels would divert Sacramento River water for use by corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies expanding fracking and steam injection operations.

The construction of the twin tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The tunnels would not create one single drop of new water - and would do nothing to alleviate the current drought if they were in place right now.

On March 4, Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch revealed that much of the area that the oil industry could frack for oil and natural gas in California is located in and near toxic, drainage-impaired land farmed by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

To sign a petition urging Governor Jerry Brown to ban fracking in California, go to the Food and Water Watch action alert:


  1. jennifer poole May 4, 2014

    thanks, Bruce! We at Willits Weekly are getting together for dinner tonight to celebrate our first anniversary, and we are optimistic about next year. A couple of things: Willits Weekly co-founder Maureen Moore, designer/ photographer/ community reporter, is at least as much of a “ringleader” as I am. Also, although not having any local TV news in Willits does help our position, I think many local towns would still support a quality local weekly or twice-weekly newspaper doing what the industry calls “hyperlocal” community coverage. Despite all the talk about newspapers “dying,” what’s actually dying is the monopoly newspaper chain model that demands newspapers produce an unsustainable level of immediate profit for the benefit of Wall Street. A locally owned community newspaper, taking advantage of modern technology, with good people and with access to a good web printing press not too far away, should be able to be profitable at levels considered successful for any other local business, without a huge start-up investment. So let’s see more of them! Thanks again, and anybody who hasn’t seen Willits Weekly can check out .pdfs of all our issues at

  2. Lazarus May 4, 2014

    I wonder where WW is getting their money? You boast of ad base…..? Know for a fact many are free or trades…. who knows.

    I know too that JP of WW was and is a heavy supporter of Holly Madrigal….God man, she was her campaign manger in a losing effort to your buddy Johnny P.

    Then there’s Ms. Pool who has contributed to your paper on numerous occasions, perhaps she still does. So look…this is the deal, it’s hard to take your quip analyses of either very seriously…..never let the facts get in the way of a good story AVA…..I get it.

  3. jennifer poole May 4, 2014

    A secret source of “money”? Nonsense. Advertising revenue is Willits Weekly’s primary source of revenue, but we also continue to get donations, “big” and small. We had a donation drive before starting up, which got us through the first few months, when advertising revenue was lower). Our paid subscription list is growing. It is not a “fact” that “many” of our ads are free or trade ads, although a few are, sometimes, certainly. Bias towards Holly Madrigal in Willits Weekly claimed by an anonymous internet commenter? Examples might be in order. I don’t think the AVA’s editor would hesitate to call that out if he saw it. Willits Weekly will not be endorsing candidates in this election or anytime soon (we will endorse the Brooktrails fire measure); we have cordial relationships with all four of the candidates in the supes race; and, personally, I don’t write stories for Willits Weekly about the 3rd district supervisors election, the BOS or the Willits City Council.

    • Lazarus May 4, 2014

      I think you just made all my points…..figure I just got banned from WWFB too……along with anyone else who dares to be less than “good newsy”……got to do better than that… comes with the territory.

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