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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, May 8, 2014

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IS DA EYSTER ready for prime time? The LA Times and the Wall Street Journal will soon be in Ukiah to talk to the DA about his innovative marijuana prosecution policy. The policy is legal, as Mendo mostly knows, and was written into law by former area rep, Barry Keene. Eyster seems to be the first DA in the state to actually read it and employ it, and it's been on the books for what? Twenty-five years?

THERE ARE, predictably, people who don't think Eyster's strategy to, essentially, trade misdemeanors for cash fines is not wise. They claim professional criminals are getting away with dope and gun violations for cash. But a look at the DA's record shows exactly zero career crooks got away with a misdemeanor and a fine. There are some big boys who were acquitted, but they weren't convicted felons.

UNDER THE EYSTER-KEENE approach, the Bustee pays the fine, the DA slaps a misdemeanor on his wrist. And places the Bustee on probation. If the bustee goes straight out and does it again, he's looking at a felony prosecution.

PUT IT TO A VOTE and we think a large majority of Mendocino County residents would approve of Eyster's approach to marijuana prosecutions; the fine money helps fund public safety, and settling the cases, and there are lots of them, saves the taxpayers money because the Bustees are not taking up expensive court time and expensive jail space.

BACK TO PRIME TIME. The DA is presentable and articulate. He won't have any trouble with the media vipers who, in any case, will do the usual on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand kind of stories they could crank out in their sleep while running up their expense accounts at local spas and eateries, calling the news desk from hot tubs to say, “I'm investigating the hell out of this one, boss. I've gotta stay at least a month.”

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KING COLLINS on the MCN ListServe: “Disturbing rumor: Anonymous sources at the meeting [KZYX board meeting last week] said that Norm de Vall's Access show has been cancelled, as well as his highly respected candidate interviews. These sources said that the action was taken because de Vall is perceived as critical of management and that individuals with such views are not allowed be programmers at KZYX or to host an interview type program. What about that, Norman?”


"First I have to make a correction re the ACCESS Program. I chose to leave the regular programming format to do Special Editions of The ACCESS Program beginning in July of 2012. After a brief meeting with Mary [Aigner], I was told that KZYX staff would conduct the interviews; she followed with (and this is almost a direct quote) — ‘Anyone who criticizes the station or enables others to do so won't have a microphone.’ I called again last week and again received a — ‘We've got it covered.’ So much for being a proponent of free-speech and being a volunteer. The real issue here was my launching kzyxtalk enabling anyone to express themselves regarding their radio station and programming while not being able to do so on air. What an irony… Having to go to the internet to ‘talk’ to say what you can't say on the radio.”

EARLIER, DEVALL had written to station manager John Coate: “John, To get new ideas as our political landscape changes. And some of the suggestions received have merit. So no matter who may do the interviews they can be more informative than before. Norman.”

COATE, EVER THE PARANOID, replied, “Is there a reason why your email list is part of this?”

IF THE POINT of this exchange has eluded you, what we have is a respected, long-time resident of the County, a former supervisor, a volunteer at KZYX for many years, treated by the management of the station like a stray dog. de Vall's interviews with local candidates were always highly anticipated, as were his programs discussing local issues with the local people involved in them.

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by Tiffany Revelle

The former coach of an all-girls water ski team will serve two fewer years in prison than he was originally sentenced to serve for molesting one of his team members when she was 7 years old after he was resentenced in Mendocino County Superior Court Tuesday.

A jury in March 2012 convicted Richard F. Kruse, now 71, of lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14. Kruse was sentenced a few months later to the maximum term of 10 years in prison.

He appealed the ruling and was resentenced Tuesday based on a state appellate court's finding that there wasn't enough evidence at his trial to show he used force, a necessary component of the charge, according to prosecutor Heidi Larson of the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.

The charge was reduced to committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 without the use of force. Judge Ann Moorman, who sentenced Kruse in 2012, gave him eight years in prison, the maximum term for the revised charge.

Kruse's attorney, Mendocino County Public Defender Linda Thompson, urged the court to sentence him to three or six years instead, arguing that he had no criminal record and that he appeared to lack remorse at his original sentencing because "maybe he was not able to understand how egregious his conduct was."

Kruse addressed the court briefly, saying he was "disappointed" that the victim and her family weren't in court Tuesday, because he "learned in prison that you have to accept responsibility" and he wanted to "tell her how sorry I am for the things I've done, and (about) the responsibility I'm taking."

Played during the trial were videos of interviews with detectives where Kruse repeatedly blamed other people, including the victim herself, who he said was very sexual and wanted to be touched because she had been abused by a family member previously.

"There was an age and size difference," Larson said, acknowledging that the appellate court ruled those factors don't rise to the standard required to show force. "But she was afraid of him ... she asked him to stop numerous times and he didn't."

Moorman said she was "sure a state prison sentence sent quite a loud message," but went on to reiterate her earlier stance that Kruse's actions were particularly egregious because he was the girl's coach and watched over her when she spent nights at his home.

"He took advantage of a position of trust," Moorman said. "She was under his care when she said he touched her. Based on his statements to law enforcement at the time ... it was not a one-time event."

In addition, she said, Kruse built trust with the girl's family and "shifted the blame to somebody else in an inappropriate manner," Moorman said.

The victim, she said, was particularly vulnerable because of that, not just for her age or size.

"She had no ability to leave, and had no one else to talk to about it," Moorman said, noting that the girl had testified she was afraid to report Kruse's actions to friends or family.

In issuing the new sentence, Moorman found that Kruse committed the act "with a high degree of cruelty, viciousness and callousness."

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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ON MAY 1, 2014 at approximately 6:15pm, Deputies were dispatched to a report of criminal threats that occurred at a residence in the 31000 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg the same date at about 11:30am. Deputies contacted and spoke to the victim, Patricia Petersen, 61, of Fort Bragg and learned that her landlord, Stephen Benbow, 51, also of Fort Bragg, had threatened to kill her with a firearm if she did not vacate the property. Deputies had previously received (April 2014) a report from neighboring properties that a firearm had been discharged at this location. Deputies contacted Benbow at the location and were unable to determine if a firearm was actually discharged. Deputies established that Benbow is prohibited from possessing firearms and sought a search warrant for firearms and related contraband and a Ramey arrest warrant for criminal threats. The warrants were granted and on May 2 at approximately 11:30am, Deputies served the search warrant at Benbow's property. During that search, Deputies located two firearms and containers of ammunition in Benbow’s possession. Benbow was taken into custody without incident at the location on a Ramey Warrant and was additionally charged with prohibited possession of a firearm and ammunition. Benbow was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on the listed charges. Benbow is being held in lieu of $45,000 bail.

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ON MAY 1, 2014 at approximately 9:50pm, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy contacted 29 year old David Amador of Willits in the 21000 block of Meadowbrook Dr., Willits Ca. During the contact Amador was found to have a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest for the violation of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Amador was arrested without incident and during a search of Amador and his property approximately 1.0 gram of methamphetamine was located. Amador was also arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance. Amador was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where his bail was set at $10,000 for the open charge of 11377(a) H&S, and $10,000 for the misdemeanor arrest warrant.

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ON MAY 2, 2014 at 3:45pm, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to the 200 block of Ralph Bettcher Road in Hopland, Ca for a 911 call. The male subject stated he had been assaulted by a female who had left the area. Upon arrival, deputies learned that the male, George Castaneda Jr, 45, of Hopland, and his ex-girlfriend had been involved in a domestic dispute. During the domestic dispute it was learned that Castaneda had physically assaulted the female victim by kicking and hitting her in the arms, legs and back causing traumatic injury (bruises). The victim did not require medical attention and was able to leave the area on her own. Castaneda was arrested for Felony Domestic Violence Battery and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where his bail was set at $25,000.

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ON MAY 5, 2014, at approximately 8:40pm, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were called to a residence on Lake St., Point Arena, to contact the victim of an attack that occurred at that location. The deputies contacted an adult female and her friend, Jacob Maxwell, 24, of Gualala, and were told that the female's estranged husband, Anthony Brosseau, 36, of Gualala, had entered the residence, uninvited and unannounced, and began physically assaulting Maxwell. When the female attempted to intervene, Brosseau punched her, striking her on the face. Brosseau then left, damaging a vehicle as he passed it. Both victims displayed injuries consistent with their statements and neither needed medical attention. On May 6 Anthony Brosseau contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office regarding this incident and he was arrested without incident. Brosseau was lodged at the Mendocino County Jail for Felony Domestic Battery, Battery, Burglary, and Vandalism, with bail set at $50,000.

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ON MAY 6, 2014, at about 5pm, a mother and her boyfriend brought her infant child to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital Emergency Room in Fort Bragg. The mother reported that the infant had been injured when it was accidentally dropped approximately 24 hours earlier. The medical staff noted that the injuries that the child suffered were not consistent with the statement provided by the mother. The hospital staff contacted law enforcement and Mendocino County Child Protective Services. Investigation by Deputies revealed that the infant had actually been struck by the boyfriend of the mother, Zachary Bair, 28, of Fort Bragg, unbeknownst to the mother. Bair was arrested without incident for the above listed violations. Bair was lodged at the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $25,000. Mendocino County Child Protective Services took protective custody of the infant.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY'S SWAT team assisted in the arrest of William Lloyd Nelson 55, Shelter Cove, early Wednesday morning. Nelson had shot a Humboldt County deputy as the deputy attempted to evict Nelson. Because he was wearing a protective vest, the deputy's life was spared, but he did suffer deep bruising for which he was hospitalized. A prolonged standoff with Nelson ensued with the heavily armed man barricaded in his former home. Mendocino County deputies arrived with the County's tank-like Armored Citizen Rescue Vehicle, which was used to place officers within tactical range of the home outside of which Nelson was discovered and taken into custody at 3:30am Wednesday.

Mendocino County's Armored Citizen Rescue Vehicle  (Photo courtesy Jim Tuso)
Mendocino County's Armored Citizen Rescue Vehicle (Photo courtesy Jim Tuso)

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POSSESSION -- An officer spoke with a suspicious person in the 100 block of Norton Street at 3:56 a.m. Tuesday and arrested a 44-year-old Redwood Valley man for possession of a controlled substance.

RECKLESS VEHICLE -- Caller at the corner of Talmage Road and Airport Park Boulevard reported at 6:59 a.m. Tuesday that a black car going about 50 mph ran a red light and almost hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The information was given to officers.

CAR WINDOW BROKEN -- Caller in the 300 block of Plum Drive reported at 8:36 a.m. Tuesday that the back window of a car had been broken out.

BACK DOOR BROKEN INTO -- Caller in the 500 block of South Main Street reported at 8:59 a.m. Tuesday that a back door had been broken into but nothing was missing. An officer responded and took a report.

POSSIBLE VANDALISM -- Caller in the 400 block of South State Street reported at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday that a front window had small holes and there was glass on the ground.

POSSIBLE VANDALISM -- Caller in the 200 block of East Gobbi Street reported at 7:32 p.m. Tuesday that there was broken glass next to a door, but nothing was missing and no entry had been made. The caller requested extra patrols.

DOG STOLEN -- Caller in the 600 block of South Main Street (Fort Bragg) reported at 8:56 p.m. Tuesday that a small dog had been taken from a car. An officer responded and took a report of theft.

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Stanford University announced Tuesday that it would divest its $18.7 billion endowment of stock in coal-mining companies, becoming the first major university to lend support to a nationwide campaign to purge endowments and pension funds of fossil fuel investments.

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WHEN I WAS SMALL, a woman died.

To-day her only boy

Went up from the Potomac,

His face all victory,

To look at her; how slowly

The seasons must have turned

Till bullets clipt an angle,

And he passed quickly round!

If pride shall be in Paradise

I never can decide;

Of their imperial conduct,

No person testified.

But proud in apparition,

That woman and her boy

Pass back and forth before my brain,

As ever in the sky.

— Emily Dickinson

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The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection or tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can't relate to anything other than his own physical sensations. He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming.

— Valerie Solanis

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Good Wednesday morning, Am at the Algiers Point public library at the moment. Otherwise, am at Bork's place (i.e. the Magic Shack) at night after 9PM and out around 11AM, in case you wish to reach me by telephone. I am packed and prepared to leave New Orleans, having done all that I can do for Bork, who has thanked me. You are welcome to get me situated in California and make use of me. My message to this world today is: I AM AVAILABLE! Peaceout, Craig Craig Louis Stehr Telephone messages: (504) 302-9951 Email: Snail mail: 333 Socrates Street New Orleans, LA 70114

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by Dan Bacher

Oil and gas industry representatives constantly like to talk about the “small amounts” of water that they currently use in fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County and coastal areas of California.

However, on April 28, Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, admitted in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) what the anti-fracking community has known for a long time: Once they figure out how to make the Monterey Shale economically viable, the water usage will ramp up significantly.

Here is a partial transcript of Lauren Sommer’s interview with Hull, courtesy of the Stop Fracking California State facebook page:

TUPPER HULL: In California today, hydraulic fracturing uses very small amounts of water.

SOMMER: Tupper Hull is with the Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry group. He points out, all together, fracking operations in California currently use the same amount of water each year as 650 homes do.

HULL: It is not a lot of water in the big picture. Companies are looking very diligently at ways to reduce that number.

SOMMER: But a drilling boom in the Monterey Shale could change that. Fracking there uses more water than anywhere else in the state, up to a million gallons per well.

HULL: I think it's fair to say that if this technology that has proved so successful in other parts of the country can be as successful here, that we will see water consumption for hydraulic fracturing going up.

Listen Here:

Yes, there is no doubt that “we will see water consumption for hydraulic fracturing going up” as the oil industry expands its fracking operations through the state’s land and coastal waters.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in order to release and extract oil or natural gas. In California, the main target of fracking is the oil found in the Monterey Shale Formation.

Nobody really knows how much water is used for fracking in California. Although corporate agribusiness remains the biggest user of state and federal water project water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the oil industry uses significant quantities of water that will only increase with the expansion of fracking.

The oil industry’s allies in state government, like the industry representatives themselves, try to minimize the amount of water that is used for hydraulic fracturing operations.

In a post on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) website on March 20, 2013, Richard Stapler, Deputy Secretary for Communications of the California Natural Resources Agency, claimed that only 8 acre feet of water is used every year for hydraulic fracturing in California. (

In a blog piece on her website entitled, “Oil Production and the Drought: We Get It," Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to created “marine protected areas” in Southern California, actually used a higher figure - 300 acre feet of water - for the amount of water used for fracking than Stapler did.

“Hydraulic fracturing does not use large volumes of water, at least not in California,” Reheis-Boyd said. “All of the hydraulic fracturing that occurred last year used less than 300 acre feet of water, according to the California Department of Conservation. That’s about the same amount of water needed to keep two West Coast golf courses green,”

On the other hand, Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director for Food & Water Watch, revealed that Kern County, where 70 percent of California's oil reserves are located, used 150,000 acre feet of water in 2008 alone. This water is for both steam injection and fracking operations.

(“When you consider that 8 barrels of water are used for every barrel of oil extracted, you could be getting into millions of acre feet used for fracking oil wells,” Scow noted. If 30,000 potential fracking sites were utilized, that could result in the consumption of an additional 450,000 acre feet of water, considering that each fracking operation uses 15 acre feet of water, said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Dleta.She also noted that the industry has used four times the amount of water that it has claimed in Colorado and other states where fracking has been used to extract oil and natural gas.Although the amount specifically used in fracking operations is hard to pinpoint, one thing is for certain - oil companies use big quantities in their current oil drilling operations in Kern County. Much of this water this comes through the State Water Project's California Aqueduct and the Central Valley Water Project's Delta-Mendota Canal, spurring increasing conflicts between local farmers and oil companies over available water when Californians continue to suffer from a historic drought. "What's resoundingly clear, however, is that it takes more water than ever just to sustain Kern County's ebbing oil production," according to Jeremy Miller's 2011 investigative piece, "The Colonization of Kern County," in Orion Magazine ( "At the height of California oil production in 1985, oil companies in Kern County pumped 1.1 billion barrels of water underground to extract 256 million barrels of oil—a ratio of roughly four and a half barrels of water for every barrel of oil," according to Miller. "In 2008, Kern producers injected nearly 1.3 billion barrels of water to extract 162 million barrels of oil—a ratio of nearly eight barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced." Miller's investigation yielded some alarming data on how much water has been used by the oil industry in Kern County and statewide since the 1960s."In the time since steamflooding was pioneered here in the fields of Kern County in the 1960s, oil companies statewide have pumped roughly 2.8 trillion gallons of fresh water—or, in the parlance of agriculture, nearly 9 million acre-feet—underground in pursuit of the region's tarry oil," said Miller. "Essentially, enough water has been injected into the oil fields here over the last forty years to create a lake one foot deep covering more than thirteen thousand square miles—nearly twice the surface area of Lake Ontario." Another thing that is very clear is that the expansion of fracking will cause massive contamination of groundwater and surface supplies in California. According to David Braun of Californians Against Fracking, the industry's own data indicated that 5 to 6% of the casings for fracked wells fail in the first year of operation - and 50 percent fail over a 30-year period. The failure of these casings will result in contamination of surface and groundwater supplies. Increased water contamination resulting from fracking operations is the last thing that collapsing populations of Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish populations need.There is also no doubt that Governor Jerry Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels would supply the water used to expand fracking in Kern County, as well as provide water to subsidized water corporate agribusiness interests farming toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. On March 4, Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch released a new map that shows that the 35-mile long twin tunnels would mainly supply water to the largest agribusiness users of Delta water exports, land impaired by toxic selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and the oil and gas basins where the energy industry could expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking.Barrigan-Parrilla noted that fracking is another “water intensive industry” in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies already impaired by selenium, nitrates, pesticides and other pollutants.“The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use,” she stated, referring to the BDCP website. “Beneficial for whom? The peripheral tunnels would benefit unsustainable corporate agribusiness in one region and potentially the energy industry – at the expense of everyday Californians.” “This map shows a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor’s tunnels," she said. “Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it.”Chook Chook Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Justice Coalition, summed up the threat that fracking, massive water exports and the peripheral tunnels pose to salmon, other fish and people at a big rally against fracking attended by 4,000 people on March 14 at the State Capitol in Sacramento.“Brown is setting aside all the environmental rules in order to ship water south," said Hillman. “Fracking will take good water, put chemicals in it and then it will come out toxic forever. Fracking will affect all us - fracking is a terrible use of water, water that could be used for people and fish.” ( How Fracking Contaminates Our Water Fracking routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. About 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, according to scientists with the Endocrine Disruption Exchange. Evidence is mounting throughout the country that these chemicals are making their way into aquifers and drinking water. Water quality can also be threatened by methane contamination tied to drilling and the fracturing of rock formations. This problem has been highlighted by footage of people in fracked areas setting fire to methane-laced water from kitchen faucets. Fracking can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid. Fracking requires an enormous amount of water, and because fracking waste water contains dangerous toxins it generally cannot be cleaned and reused for other purposes. Especially during a historic drought, we cannot afford to permanently remove massive quantities of this precious resource from our state’s water supply. For more information, go to:


  1. Bill Pilgrim May 8, 2014

    re: KZYX. It was predictable that once entrenched management had weathered the mild storm of challenge and goosed its preferred candidates (sycophants) onto the board the iron shackles of conformity would be clamped tighter and anybody (long time programmers,too) even remotely connected to the erstwhile challengers would be purged.

    • Bill Pilgrim May 8, 2014

      Almost forgot: Sako, watch your back.

  2. Jim Updegraff May 8, 2014

    Hopefully, the action by Stanford University in divesting coal mining stock will spur similar action by other institutional investors.

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