Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 5, 2014

* * *

DEPARTMENT OF SODDEN THOUGHT. Seems from here that the County's Right to Farm ordinance clearly prohibits farmers from introducing new nuisances. The ordinance was enacted to protect farmers from latter-day neighbors who complain about this or that practice of working agriculture, this or that practice that was in place before you non-rural whiners got here. The noisome ag enterprise was first, the housing complex and the people in it are new. The new people moved in knowing the farm was next door.

MOST PEOPLE in the Anderson Valley knew when they moved in they would be within sight and sound of a vineyard, especially if they moved in after, say, 1975, when vineyards and wineries began their inexorable march to their current dominance.

BUT THE WINE INDUSTRY did not come with 100-decibel Queen Mary-size propellers that snapped on at 2am and stayed on past daybreak to frost-protect budding grapes. These things are new, and obviously represent an introduced nuisance, a nuisance that was not next door when people moved in. Prior to the giant noisemakers, vineyards were merely toxic.

BUT LET'S SAY GLEN McGOURTY and the wizards at the UC Extension find, that in addition to unendurably high decibel wind machines for frost protection, McGourty and Co. discovered that their latest oenlogy research informed them that as grapes mature, they grow better to top volume death metal music amplified by stadium speakers from midnight to four am. As they presently are with wind machines, three thousand residents of the bucolic Anderson Valley would be very upset. But Roederer, McGourty, the UC Extension, and the Winegrower's Association would quickly issue a press release that begins, “To Our Friends and Neighbors of the Anderson Valley. We want to assure you that the music some of you find offensive at any hour let alone midnight to 4, is absolutely necessary to the ongoing productivity of local agriculture. We all understand that our farm-based economy can occasionally be irksome, as some of you have claimed with wind machines, but we must add the summer musical strategy to survive in a highly competitive business. If you'll stop in at any local tasting room we will lend you ear plugs for the two summer weeks we are compelled to employ the latest in agricultural technology.”

* * *

MENDOCINO COUNTY is strewn with abandoned towns, most of them so completely disappeared you wouldn't know they had been there if it weren't for old maps and some old timer accounts of life in them. My late friend Vivian Weatherhead, a retired math teacher and resident of Airport Estates, in the years before her passing, grew up in Mina, a once-thriving community north of Covelo on what is now called the Mina Road. Mina was complete in itself with a store, a school, a church, a meeting house. People were pretty self-contained, too, eking out their livings on their ranches.

HERE IN THE ANDERSON VALLEY, we have Peachland and Hop Flat, to name two communities that once were large enough to have their own schools. Hop Flat not only had a school but a hotel and an early telephone exchange. It was locally renowned for its weekend “hops” or dances and its general joie de vivre, hence Hop Flat.

COMPTCHE historian Katy Tahja writes, “According to my Western Railroader magazine, the old rail line at the Navarro end of the Anderson Valley, did go the Navarro Mill but it was via Sunny Slope, Keene Summit, down Flynn Creek Road, then east… up Neefus Gulch where the Boy Scout camp was… to Navarro, Wendling, and just beyond Floodgate to Christine (Reilly Heights). Between Wendling and Floodgate it crossed the Navarro River and went up Perry Gulch. All of this was after Albion Lumber was gobbled up by Northwestern Pacific RR which melded together Albion, Stearns, Mendocino, Salmon Creek, Navarro and Elk lumber companies. Navarro Lumber Co. Railroad DID stop at Hop Flat, at the end of the line.”

MRS. TAHJA describes the logging railroad as it approached Navarro from the west. In addition to hauling logs and lumber, day trippers could ride it to Albion and back to the Navarro end of the Anderson Valley.

BUT WHERE EXACTLY was Hop Flat? We know it was logging and mill-based, and we know it was located between the town of Navarro and the Pacific.

GENTLEMAN GEORGE HOLLISTER, of Comptche, locates the town for us; other locals remember when former residents of Hop Flat had a kind of alumni association that held regular reunions.

HOLLISTER WRITES: “Tim O'Brien [retired Mendocino County Superior Court Judge] told me it was either at the 4.5 mile marker or the 5.4 mile marker. My son might remember what Tim said, he heard him say it and has a better memory. It was on both sides of the river. Jim Gowan told me his father delivered produce there. And I think he told me he tagged along when he was a kid as well. I have been curious about the place for a while.”

* * *


Passing through Boonville Sunday was Supervisor Hamburg with his lady friend and former Point Arena mayor, Lauren Sinnott. The visit was noted by our fashion correspondent:

Sinnott, Hamburg
Sinnott, Hamburg

“Ran into the Art Goddess [Ms. Sinnott] and Dan Hamburg headed for Mosswood, ‘passing through’ town this morning. She wearing layers of ivory lace and 'tards, as in leo-tards; a full short skirt with ruffled underslip — showing of course. And I can't remember if she had her bra on the inside or the outside, but there was some sort of lacey corset-look going on there with a short western style jacket over that. The proud-to-be-from-San Antonio-chick outfit is her trademark, so that was nothing new, excepting that it looked a little more pastel Easter-ish in color. My eyes were mostly drawn to her flashy new probably Texas-made white, brown and turquoise long-shaft wingtip cowgirl boots, which were the best thing about the outfit. Hamburg I didn't bother to notice excepting that if I would have looked at him directly I would have laughed, so I didn't look at him. Out of the corner of my eye in passing I could see she'd fixed him up with some sort of funny event hat that looked like he was an adult at a child's birthday party, although the hat was not dunce-shaped. She tends to do that to her boy toys — dresses them up foolishly for public events. I notice they often stand looking enslaved and uncomfortable next to her in the costumes she designs for them. There. Your fashion report from beautiful cloudy downtown Boonville. Where it was actually cool today. Off and on rain right now. Very clear with high cloud ceiling. The rain took the pollen out of the air, I see.”

* * *

SOMEHOW OR OTHER, hackers broke into Lauren's Restaurant's website and proceeded to use the site as their own, probably as a base for criminal activities. The hackers have since been described as “Russians,” although to most of us Russia is all the countries east of Paris just as China is all the countries west of Honolulu. Lauren's cyber-intruders, whoever and wherever they were, have cost Lauren the time and expense of building a new website, which she is now doing via Boonville's talented graphics person, Torrey Douglas.

* * *


May 6, 2014

Ms. Irma Lagomarsino, Assistant Regional Administrator, NOAA Fisheries West Coast California Region Area Office
1655 Heindon Road
Arcata, CA 95521

RE: Denial of Request to Transfer Emergency Water for Sale to Redwood Valley County Water District (RVCWD)

Dear Ms. Lagomarsino,

We were very disappointed to find that, and at a loss to understand why, a representative from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) office in Santa Rosa, California, produced a statement that reversed his public approval of a transfer of water that could have helped the community of Redwood Valley which is facing serious economic loss from a severe drought.

Mendocino County was the first in the State of California to declare a drought emergency in January of this year. We have been working with the California State Drought Emergency Task Force for many months. All of our communities have been conscientiously conserving water and some are already facing mandatory water rationing. Agriculture, the backbone of our economy, is seriously threatened at this time.

The Redwood Valley County Water District (RVCWD) has already been forced to decrease their domestic water supply deliveries to 50 gallons per person per day. Last month, the RVCWD Board made a determined effort to find a small amount of water that would have eased the 100% moratorium now in place for delivery of agricultural water to the community of Redwood Valley. Specifically, its Board of Directors attempted to invoke an emergency provision of the hydropower license for the Potter Valley Project. This project is owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), and licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC License P-77).

The emergency provision of the Potter Valley Project license is designated as E5. This provision was created during a license amendment proceeding that ended in 2004 with FERC accepting a flow regime change. This change was based on what was then the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) South West Region's Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) developed after their Biological Opinion resulted in a “jeopardy finding.”

The Potter Valley Project is a transbasin diversion of water from the Eel River into the Russian River that has existed since 1908. In 1922 Scott Dam was built upstream of the diversion allowing winter rainfall and snow melt to be stored in Lake Pillsbury for release in the summer for beneficial use by the project licensee as well as over 500,000 people that have become dependent upon this water supply in the Russian River watershed. Today the diverted water is used to generate power at the PG&E facility and at 4 smaller power plants downstream, 3 above Lake Mendocino, and one owned by the City of Ukiah at the base of Coyote Valley Dam.

Part of the diverted water is used by the agricultural community of Potter Valley; the rest is then stored in Lake Mendocino. Water stored in Lake Mendocino is used by Redwood Valley and the cities of Calpella, Ukiah, Hopland, Cloverdale, Geyserville and Healdsburg. The water released from Lake Mendocino also supports a thriving agricultural economy along the Russian River corridor. Water is also mandated to be released from Lake Mendocino at certain times of the year to support migration of threatened species of salmonids.

The request by the Redwood Valley County Water District for water under the E5 emergency provision of the Potter Valley Project license was for 800 acre feet of water. That amount of water would have been diverted and stored in Lake Mendocino for use by Redwood Valley. At a diversion rate of 250 cubic feet per second, which is the maximum capacity of PG&E's diversion tunnel, it would have taken approximately 38 hours to fulfill the request from the Redwood Valley County Water District. At the time the water transfer request would have been granted all of the required minimum flows, under the NMFS RPA for the Eel River, would have been exceeded by many hundreds of cubic feet per second.

During two conference calls early in April (4/8/14 and 4/9/14), initiated by RVCWD and facilitated by PG&E, many of the stakeholders that had intervened in the proceedings for the Potter Valley Project license over the past 25 years agreed on one thing. That one thing was that it was in concept allowable for PG&E to divert 800 acre feet of water for Redwood Valley's agricultural community. These stakeholders included California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Friends of the Eel River, NMFS (NOAA), Potter Valley Irrigation District and others. PG&E contacted FERC regarding the proposal and FERC requested that the interveners acknowledge in writing that they supported the proposal.

Written agreements were subsequently received from Friends of the Eel River, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, CalTrout and the Potter Valley Irrigation District. The Round Valley Tribes did not protest the proposal. On April 14, 2014 Mr. Dick Butler from the Santa Rosa, California, office of NOAA emailed a statement to PG&E (attached), and to all of the participants in the earlier conference calls, denying the requested proposal due to the fact that he believed "the current situation does not qualify as an emergency". He went on to describe the definition of "emergency" as including "fire, flood, earthquake…as well as…riot, accident or sabotage." He continued saying that the emergency would have to cause "damage to, life, health, property or essential public services". Mr. Butler went on to describe the current drought emergency situation as a "predictable local event…"

We are very concerned that a Federal employee could make a determination that, first, drought is a "predictable local event" and, second, that the loss of a farmer's crop is not considered to be "damage to property".

The E5 provision of the FERC license amendment for the Potter Valley project is, in actual fact, not the original language found in the Draft RPA for the NMFS Biological Opinion. We have been concerned – NMFS in Santa Rosa is aware of this concern – since the FERC License was amended in 2004, that crucial language in the E5 provision was mysteriously removed between the time of the final draft of the RPA and when FERC published the amendment. The missing language in the draft RPA included two other exceptions under which water could have been diverted earlier this spring to provide more water for storage in Lake Mendocino. The omission in E5 of the RPA has caused a chronic water supply deficit in Lake Mendocino since the RPA went into effect in 2006. This was not expected as NMFS assured all the stakeholders that there would be a 15% average flow reduction resulting from implementation of the RPA. In fact, the flow reduction has been a minimum of 30%, and as high as 60%, more than the pre-RPA flow regime at the Potter Valley Project. Over the years this has impacted the water supply for people and for migration flows required below Lake Mendocino for the Russian River fishery.

This year, facing the worst drought since records have been kept, the impact of the flawed RPA for the Potter Valley project is greatly amplified. Beside the fact that the RPA is flawed, we are at a loss to understand how in one breath a NMFS official could agree to a minor diversion of water for a community facing severe economic losses and then turn around and deny that relief because he doesn't believe the loss of a farmer's crop constitutes an emergency.

We would like you to review the circumstances surrounding the proposed minor water diversion from the Potter Valley Project and provide us with an explanation of how the final decision to deny water to Redwood Valley was made. Sincerely Yours,

John Pinches Chair, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

* * *



Yes, we like the new, clean, good-looking digitally-printed AVAs, but please add some gratuitous smudges and mis-aligned type, and mis-place a paragraph here and there so we know it is still the anarchist, pot-stirring, shit-throwing AVA we have come to know and love.

Dave Smith, Ukiah

* * *



Roadside turkey memorial denied. 
An animal rights activist’s request to install a roadside memorial at the site where hundreds of turkeys died in a truck crash has been denied. 
The Utah Department of Transportation on Friday rejected the request made by Amy Meyer of Salt Lake City on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, saying it didn’t meet the agency’s policy standards. The memorials allow grieving families to memorialize loved ones who die in highway crashes. 

Meyers argued the condition should be overlooked because turkeys in the factory-farming industry have no living relatives.

* * *

DESPITE ITS VALLEY GIRL ORIGINS, the simple term clueless turns out to be the most accurate descriptor for America’s degenerate zeitgeist. Nobody gets it — the “it” being a rather hefty bundle of issues ranging from our energy bind to the official mismanagement of money, the manipulation of markets, the crimes in banking, the blundering foreign misadventures, the revolving door corruption in governance, the abandonment of the rule-of-law, the ominous wind-down of the Happy Motoring fiasco and the related tragedy of obsolete suburbia, the contemptuous disregard for the futures of young people, the immersive Kardashian celebrity twerking sleaze, the downward spiral of the floundering classes into pizza and Pepsi induced obesity, methedrine psychosis, and tattooed savagery, and the thick patina of public relations dishonesty that coats all of it like some toxic bacterial overgrowth. The dwindling life of our nation, where anything goes and nothing matters. (Jim Kunstler)

* * *


by Karl Marx

[Paris, 1844] It is true that labor produces for the rich wonderful things — but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces — but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty — but for the worker, deformity. It replaces labor by machines — but some of the workers it throws back to a barbarous type of labor, and the other workers it turns into machines. It produces intelligence — but for the worker idiocy, cretinism.

The direct relationship of labor to its produce is the relationship of the worker to the objects of his production. The relationship of the man of means to the objects of production and to production itself is only a consequence of this first relationship — and confirms it.

When we ask, then, what is the essential relationship of labor, we are asking about the relationship of the worker to production.

Till now we have been considering the estrangement, the alienation of the worker only in one of its aspects, i.e., the worker’s relationship to the products of his labor. But the estrangement is manifested not only in the result but in the act of production — within the producing activity itself. How would the worker come to face the product of his activity as a stranger were it not that in the very act of production he was estranging himself from himself? The product is after all but the summary of the activity of production. If then the product of labor is alienation, production itself must be active alienation, the alienation of activity, the activity of alienation. In the estrangement of the object of labor is merely summarized the estrangement, the alienation, in the activity of labor itself.

What constitutes the alienation of labor?

First, the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his essential being; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home. His labor is therefore not voluntary but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labor is shunned like the plague. External labor, labor in which man alienates himself, is a labor of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, of the human brain, and the human heart operates independently of the individual — that is, operates on him as an alien, divine, or diabolical activity — in the same way the worker’s activity is not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self.

As a result, therefore, man (the worker) no longer feels himself to be freely active in any but his animal functions — eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc. And in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.

* * *


It was a perfect Saturday in San Francisco, sunny with a cool, fog-freshened breeze blowing in off the Pacific, white puffs of sail on the Bay, throngs of people happy to be outside and alive. Does one really want to consider one of the great monsters of modern history on a day like this? I mentally kicked myself for leaving the light for the dark of a theater to watch the much darker, true-to-the-facts-as-known, story of Dr. Mengele, the infamous Nazi geneticist smuggled out of Europe after World War Two by the International Red Cross, fake identity kit courtesy of the Vatican.


The perfectly acted, brilliantly written, Argentinian film called The German Doctor, is absolutely riveting, its implications unencouraging, to say the least. With several international police agencies hunting him, Mengele, three years after the war, makes his way to Argentina where a well-funded network of Nazis and German-language Argentinians, complete with their own German-language communities and schools, provides their revered Mengele with a new life. The Mossad was able to track down Eichmann in Argentina but just misses Mengele, who makes a hurried escape from a rural lake for Paraguay in a pontoon plane. Mengele never was captured even though he barely disguised his name and lived fairly openly in Brazil for many years until his death by drowning in 1979. Mengele sent tens of thousands to their deaths at Auschwitz where he often worked weekends as a volunteer murder maestro and, to his dying day, although aghast at Brazil's multi-racial population, the committed diarist wrote that he was pleased so many German immigrants continued to name their children “Hitler.”

* * *


Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Board of Directors Responsibilities

1. Actively serve the mission of MCPB as a community-supported radio station, and not that of a constituency, issue, special interest inside or outside of MCPB, or a personal agenda.

2. Give time, energy and special skills generously to MCPB e.g. for board meetings, board communication, committee work, fundraising, special events, public outreach.

3. Motivate others to support MCPB by giving their time and/or resources.

4. Act in an honest and responsible manner, keep an open mind and strive to make the best decisions for everyone involved.

5. Keep confidential information confidential.

6. Be respectful to board members, staff, programmers, volunteers, members and the public.

7. Do nothing to violate the trust of those that elected or appointed me to the board.

8. Not use my board service for my personal advantage or for the advantage of others.

9. Never exercise authority as a board member except when acting in a meeting with the full board or in a function the board delegates me to.

10. Never undermine the authority of the General Manager with the staff or volunteers of MCPB and keep out of management issues except as they appear before the board.

11. Become familiar, prior to taking office, with the MCPB Bylaws, Policies and Procedures, Board Member Handbook and other materials given to me as part of my board member orientation.

12. Participate in board member orientations, Board of Directors' meetings, committee work, retreats, board training and other board-related events. I understand that missing three consecutive board-related meetings shall be cause for dismissal from the Board.

13. Study all materials distributed in advance of a meeting and respond in a timely and effective manner to requests for feedback, including the ability to send and receive email documents.

14. Accept and perform in a responsible, timely manner assignments from the board, Members of the Executive Committee or from the chair of a committee that I am a member of.

15. Represent MCPB members to the Board of Directors, and represent the Board to the membership and not take board actions without the approval of the full board.

16. Set policies and procedures for MCPB, including by-law changes as needed.

17. Help develop, approve and oversee long-range planning for MCPB, and review implementation of long-range planning on a regular basis (annual or semi-annual)

18. Oversee MCPB's financial health and ensure the organization has adequate finances and money is responsibly spent, e.g. by reviewing and approving the annual budget, reviewing the budget every quarter and approving all major budget modifications.

19. Select, oversee, evaluate, and when necessary replace the general manager, who is accountable to the Board of Directors. This includes:

• Review of the general managers operational report at every board meeting

• Quarterly review of the station budget and membership development activities

• Other reviews as determined necessary by the board to ensure the long-term health of MCPB and compliance with FCC regulations and all applicable regulations and laws.

20. Assist the general manager and staff with fundraising activities, e.g. pledge drives or events.

21. Be evaluated annually by the board for atten­dance, effectiveness and participation.

22. Submit Disputes with MCPB or its representatives or employees to mediation.

* * *


by Sara Jacobelli

tat too, ta to', n. pl. tat toos. (polynesian). The act or practice of marking the skin with indelible patterns, pictures, legends by making punctures in it and inserting pigments; a pattern, legend or pigment so made. v.t.-tattooed, tattooing. To mark, as the skin, with tattoos; to put, as tattoos on the skin; fig. to mark, spot, or stain, esp. permanently. tat too er, tat too ist. (Webster's Dictionary definition...)

* * *

Lately my eyes keep catching these ads for tattoo removal. “Laser surgery, quick, painless, affordable.” I don't believe either the quick or painless part, but the affordable gets my attention. I don't give a shit about pain — nobody does who has tattoos. But affordable? I wonder what that means? Could I possibly come up with the money to get this crap removed? And if so, would my life be any different? Would I?

I read somewhere, I think it was Rolling Stone, this interview with Marianne Faithful. She said somebody told her she should get her tattoos removed, it made her look like a rough chick. “Piss off,” she replied, “I am a rough chick.”

I never paid any attention to Marianne Faithful (what was her claim to fame? She screwed Mick Jagger, I think. Now there's a disgusting thought…) But I liked her remark about being a rough chick. I grew up in a blue-collar factory town back East, was born in housing projects named, get this, Father Panik Village. My father was busted for everything from bank robbery to pandering. At East Side Middle School, I was often the only white kid in my class. The run-down Italian neighborhood I grew up in was as far from San Francisco's fancy North Beach as Pluto. Rough chick? Either you learned to fight, carry a knife, joined street gangs, went to juvenile hall, or what? Be perceived as weak? I saw a girl get gang-raped in the hall in seventh grade. I wasn't about to find out.

Leaving home as a teenager, I ran around with a lot of bikers and tended bar in biker bars all over the country. The money was good, and my work clothes consisted of Harley-Davidson t-shirts, jeans and black Converse hightops. Everyone I knew had tattoos. I never felt self-conscious or embarrassed about it.

ladybugTatLately they've started to bother me. Sometimes I think, what if I get arrested? Then they'll have these tattoos on record. But if I go to the can, I'll fit in, like I did in juvenile. I still have my teenage street gang name on my arm, a ladybug on the inside of my wrist, and one in a spot I won't mention.

There are pros and cons to having them removed. The pros are obvious: if I wear a bathing suit, I won't look like a recent escapee from a women's prison, like one of those movies with Joan Crawford or Ida Lupino as the warden. I'll be able to change my identity easier, just in case I become a con artist and travel about the world fleecing people of their dough.

The cons are less obvious on this issue. There's the several hundred bucks I'd have to shell out to some rich doctor, but what else? I guess deep down inside I'm a little worried if it would change me very much, would I still be the same streetwise, rough chick without the jailhouse tattoos?

Sometimes I think the tattoos have kept me on the fringes of society, kept me from getting a straight job, from going out with (God forbid) conservative men. Now, yuppies and suburban rockers are getting tattooed, but not too long ago it was the mark of someone who'd been in a gang, done time in the joint, been around a bit. It was painful, indelible, and until recently, permanent. It was carved into your skin; it was shouting in the streets. Born on the wrong side of the tracks. Forgotten by society. Born to raise hell.

Now that I think about it, I realize that whether I keep these damn tattoos or not, they'll always be there.


  1. Harvey Reading May 5, 2014


    Those “memorials” sicken me, and are nothing more than litter. What the hell. Are people gonna be allowed to put up memorials on city streets every time a pedestrian gets whacked by a driver ignorant of pedestrian rights, especially in implied crosswalks, that exist at every intersection … There’re places for memorials. They’re called graveyards.

  2. Harvey Reading May 5, 2014

    “Mengele sent tens of thousands to their deaths at Auschwitz where he often worked weekends as a volunteer murder maestro and, to his dying day, although aghast at Brazil’s multi-racial population.”

    And how many have the Zionist savages killed or displaced?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *