- Suspected Double Homicide
- Low Frequency Chop
- Money v. Sleep
- AVA Voter's Guide
- 128 Trail Study
- Grand Jurors Wanted
- Health Center ♥ Winegrowers
- Aigner Abuses Authority
- Chummy Interview
- Adventists Reject ObamaCare
- Police Calls
- Litter Pickup Letter
- What Are We Waiting For?
- What Is Journalism?
AS OF MONDAY EVENING, the Sheriff's Department has not released any information regarding a suspected double homicide discovered Monday morning at a home in the Woodman Peak area of Laytonville. Two bodies were found in the home just after 10am, said Mendocino County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten.
UPDATE: LAYTONVILLE SOURCES say the two homicide victims found on Woodman Creek Road east of Highway 101 near Laytonville, had been dead for some time. Their decomposing bodies were found Monday morning in a marijuana greenhouse.
JUST IN. The Laytonville homicides are apparently not homicides. No signs of trauma. The two dead men found Monday seemed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in an unventilated grow room powered by a generator. No signs of foul play.
GREG KRAUSE WRITES: "After the emergency Wind Frost Noise meeting at the Grange last Wednesday, I was optimistic that the vineyard folks would follow through with manned fan operation strategy that emerged in the meeting. Yet on Mother's day as I dreamed of Grange pancakes and mimosas, I was abruptly awakened at 4:30. I am a deep sleeper but the low frequency chop of the blades broke through quickly. One Hot Line manager promised to mitigate my problem after Pinot fest Friday afternoon. The temperature in our little valley below Scharffenberger's on Mother's Day morning was around 43. Frost? This industry is aware of frost handling via industrial journals. They know these machines are very unpopular and yet did not warn us that they were bringing them to Anderson Valley, choosing to surprise us when we have no recourse. Sound concerns are documented in the article “Characterization of Sound Emitted by Wind Machines Used For Frost Control in Vineyards,” by Vince Gambino, et. al in Canada (http://aercoustics.com/files/2009/11/Characterization-of-Sound-Vineyards.pdf.) A 2001 article by T. Shaw referenced in the Gambino article talks about mitigation. It stated that neighbors hate these fans, yet a few local wineries bought them and they are as noisy as the rented ones. Why haven't the fan suppliers mitigated the noise? I would think that the wine growers could return them as defective or could sue them. The county's noise ordinance is clear about old and new nuisances and the 10 PM - 7AM black out, yet no county representative has had the nerve to come out against the equivalent of a jet engine pointing at our rural homes. The Sheriff's department simply says if you move next to an airport, you get the noise. Vineyards are relatively new here and wind machine use is an obvious novelty since a genuine response to fan noise would have already occurred. No old vineyards here. Half of the participants at the Grange meeting were associated with wineries, and of those only one vineyard person said she was disturbed by the noise. Yet that person said a simple household fan could mask the sound. Not in my house! Thus how can they understand the clear trespass into one's home and the negative impacts on human function the following day? Not one of the vineyard operators apologized and no long term plan for noise mitigation was discussed. It seemed more important to define seniority based on "old-timer-ness" rather than common sense and treating neighbors decently. Incidentally, while traveling through Sonoma, we saw only one old fan in the grape laden valleys. The fan noise we are getting here is unacceptable."
FANS OF THE INDUSTRY
by Brock Tillis
When Anderson Valley resident Wendy Read called a public meeting to rally sleep-deprived opponents of frost fans in the vineyards, she may not have expected that more than half of the 50 attendees would be owners and employees of the wine industry. After swallowing hard, she opened with a presentation of the health concerns associated with noise, vibration, and electric fields that the fans produce. It was a sobering list. She followed that by reading relevant sections of the Mendocino County ordinance that governs public nuisance. This document specifies permitted decibel levels and times of operation of machinery that in black-and-white renders fan use dead. (Why that ordinance is not being enforced in the county is the subject for another day.) Ms. Read stressed interest in finding a solution and threw the room open to discussion.
It was soon clear that the two camps arrived certain their views were the only right and reasonable ones. Unfortunately, the indignation of first two speakers (both vineyard people) added thorns. When a winery owner bluntly asked if people preferred that he lose income so they could sleep, like a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus, the sleepless chirped, Yes. Next, that same man’s daughter read a document she had written in a style as if just losing ten games of darts in a row. “It’s kind of snarky,” she said by way of introduction, “But, you’ll see; it’s just to get the ball rolling.” Her arguments lampooned the sins of organic and sustainable farming to show how fan noise between the hours of midnight and 7 AM was comparatively not so bad.
These blunders roused the ire of those for whom the meeting was called. Several people stood and, in strained voices, described in great detail the offense and consequences they suffer at being ripped from sleep, complete with 19th Century theatrics showing how the fans shake their beds, rooms and even houses and what they try to do to hide from the sound. Several offered invitations for the vineyard owners to sleep with them, which, being made in public and with spouses present, seemed a noteworthy proposition.
During each testimonial, clusters of owners and managers tipped their heads together and snickered, whispering — not quietly enough — derisions that would have been better saved for another time. But as the impassioned speeches in opposition gathered momentum of common sense, the vintners lined up to defend the “choice-less situation” in which they find themselves, now that the drought has killed their preferred method of spraying water over the vines to protect the tender buds from freezing in April and May. First they reminded the assembled that the valley depends on the wineries for all manner of employment and that life-as-we-know-it would halt if they lost any crop (money). They had practiced their arguments that fans were the ecological choice over sucking water from the river and fragile water table (which they have done for fifty years and which they will continue to do anytime they can get away with it) and that clearly “you exhausted residents can see the wisdom and beneficence of our strategy. View it as us taking care of you and the Earth.”
They were quick to say, when the rains return, they will revert back to water spraying and we can all get back to sleep. This argument coming so soon into the politically-charged, climate change boondoggle, no one dared acknowledge the strong odor of elephant droppings in the room. Only worshippers in the Church of Fox News believe the water is coming back (after Liberals are crucified en masse), while the rest of us we are resolved that farmers will run fans until the atmosphere is blackened from burned carbon, which is, ironically, the very reason the archaic smudge pots were banned.
By and large, the sleepless were longhaired (gray) and bearded, while the vintners of all generations came dressed more for an upscale barn dance. Some of the latter were young men, well-spoken and proud to be on track for great things involving a drug delivery system the United States has long legalized. (They had the sense to not mention by name the competing drug system of many local residents.) Speaking in reasoned tones they explained that farms have a right to exist, that methods of farming change, that everyone likes wine and that nowhere in the constitution does it say residents have a right to uninterrupted sleep. This stirred even the most tired. Some tottered to their feet and said they moved here for the quiet life and that the fans were ruing everything they had strived for all these years. It was property rights versus property rights.
Some vintners turned Ms. Read’s initial use of the words “compromise solution” to mean that residents should be patient: it’s only twenty days a year when the fans need to run (not 365); technology will find ways to make quieter fans; and farmers are experimenting with the machines’ settings to have them come on a little later, turn a little slower and quit sooner. But they did not volunteer to limit their use or consider losing some of their crop as an acceptable part of coming to some middle ground. It was more like, We keep the crop and the money and you get to keep losing sleep.
Perhaps the weary ones really believed in compromise or perhaps they were too run down to ask for the fans to be banned entirely — as the public nuisance order would indicate. Some spoke sadly in hopes that moderately supporting wine and farming rights would somehow allow them to get some sleep.
One fellow asked for hands of who in the room were owners and employees of the vineyards. After seeing some 30 hands, he asked who among them was losing any sleep from the fans. The luck wine people have is amazing; only one woman, an employee, kept her hand raised. She was quick to add that she also had young kids, so was getting up a lot anyway.
Strangely, no one raised the issue of the effect fans have on property values. When showing a listed property, a real estate agent must disclose to every buyer conditions that might cause the buyer to not have reasonable peace and contentment. The agent’s spiel should go like this: “I must inform you, Mrs. Buyer, that in April and May there will be between 10 and 20 nights when you will be awakened by the sound of stationary attack helicopters overhead and that some neighbors thus afflicted have trouble getting back to sleep.” The buyer will check the agent’s list of other properties and ask to see those next. As any student of Supply and Demand economics will tell you, fewer buyers means lower prices. And fortunately for farmers, that’s not in the constitution either. But the first wealthy buyer who acquires a property without being informed will create a storm in court and with the state’s real estate commission. At that time, farmers will again polish their arguments about why fans of the industry are good and necessary for us all.
But for 2014, the Fan Season is coming to an end, though this writer had the pleasure of hearing them this morning. So perhaps in the coming months things will settle down and residents and farmers alike will look to the hillsides of Anderson Valley, seeing profit trickling into offshore accounts and oak-flavored intoxication into wine goblets on local tables. As has been the trend for the last 50 years, more acreage will be put into grapes this year by newcomers hoping to make much more than a pretty penny creating tax havens for spoils gained elsewhere. More water will be pumped from the water table to supply 270 gallons per day, per acre through the season. But none of those new acres will be placed in frost-free locations and none of the existing frost-prone acres will be ripped out. (That would be a great farmer contribution to compromise.) For a few months anyway, one and all will raise a glass to the bounty of nature and drink away the troubles of the recent past. Few will think to stand on the edge of history and peer over to an earlier time to learn the lesson when another plant so captivated human passion that everyone who had a Dutch Gilder invested in tulip bulbs, knowing wealth and fame would be theirs if they could just milk a little more out the soil before the market collapsed. For now, we demand a supply.
READING THE CANDIDATE STATEMENTS in the sample ballot for the June 3rd election is a dispiriting experience. The “liberal” candidates are slick enough to stick to bland vacuities about “working hard to make a difference,” as Congressman Jared Huffman auto-piloted that particular platitude, while the more conservative candidates, who write a much livelier prose, probably because they have zero chance of being elected on the Northcoast and might as well let it all hang out, thunder things like, “Leave political and sexual training to parents.”
THAT WAS LAWRENCE WEISNER, a CPA running for state senate. Lar seems to think the schools are turning the kids into little libs and leading them down the path to sexual hedonism. But the political discussion, as expressed at election time, ranges from the conservative liberalism of the Huffman types and their vague clichés — the rhetorical equivalent of a dip in a giant vat of lukewarm piss — to the totally irrelevant mantras of the truly crazed— get God back in the schools, no taxes except for war, get nine-year-olds back in the coal mines!
THE REAL PROBLEM is entropy or, as Huffman might characterize it, “gridlock,” suggesting nothing can be done. Entropy/gridlock works just fine for a tiny minority of people, a fact the Pope, well to the left of Democrats on all the important issues, noted just last weekend when he called for a massive redistribution of wealth. Even the more progressive capitalists like Warren Buffett agree, but it's not on the Democratic Party's must-do list, is it? Progressive taxation would solve a lot of probs, but...
WHICHEVER of the following candidates and political perspectives one cold-bloodedly casts a vote for, they're certain to make things worse because entropy only deepens when basic assumptions are incorrect. The AVA, as usual, recommends votes against most incumbents and would-be incumbents. In the order they appear on the 3rd June ballot:
JOHN LOWRY, candidate, for Assembly, 2nd District. Lowry's candidate's statement is clear and modest. Best of all, he's an independent, not one of these shiny, cliché-spouting automatons the Democrats have foisted off on us like Jim Wood, Lowry's opponent. Lowry was boss at Burbank Housing for many years where he really did develop low cost housing. He also seems to be correct about the issues generally. Lowry for Assembly.
LOCALLY, we have the candidates for Mendocino County Superintendent of School who, judged by their prose, belong in a remedial class for new English-speakers. The job pays about $120,000 a year plus the full monte of fringes, plus a car, plus fuel for the car. The job consists of, well, nothing, beyond sitting in a big office whose phone never rings. Once in a while the superintendent has to bat out a press release saying something like, “I love the kids. I am totally dedicated to them. I would do this job for $110,000 a year, I love the kids so much.”
ONCE UPON A TIME in vast, freshly tamed Mendocino County, the Indians having been murdered down to a survivor remnant, teachers were dispatched by horseback from a central hiring office in Ukiah. The office consisted of the superintendent and his secretary. I believe it was an appointed position. Naturally the office didn't disappear when the individual communities of the county created their own school districts and taxed themselves to teach their own children how to read, write and do a few basic calculations. Today, the Mendocino County Office of Education is a multi-million dollar office with a hundred or so people wandering around with coffee cups and bliss ninny smiles on their faces. MCOE takes big whacks out of state and federal funding for doing things which could be done better and cheaper by the individual school districts of Mendocino County. A rational society would have disbanded the office in 1910. But here we are with three people running for the job, the easiest, best paid “job” in the county.
IN THE 1980s, when two “educators” from MCOE went to jail, one of them for using educational video equipment to make pornographic films featuring underage girls in the back room of the bar he owned on North State Street, Ukiah, while the other guy was merely a thief, it was no surprise that a graduate of that MCOE ambiance — theft, fraud and child rape — Paul Tichinin, became boss man. Tichinin's been in the job for a couple of decades, and no better example of the Peter Principle has ever been produced by Mendocino County than this guy. Of course Tichinin would like to see his assistant superintendent succeed him. Assistant superintendent. If the boss doesn't do anything why do we need two guys who don't do anything?
IT'S HARD for liberal Mendocino County to resist a hyphenate like Paul Joens-Poulton, Tichinin's assistant superintendent. Insecure personality types desperate for the lamest kind of cachet, seem to think hyphenated names are kinda Masterpiece Theater-ish, kind of Brit-classy, but, well, no need not get into it but this guy is the choice of Tichinin and, by extension, represents everything gone terribly wrong with American education. Don't take my word for it. Here's what the Hyphenate himself says: “…My reputation is built on integrity, innovation, and excellence in providing high-quality services to our school districts. I look forward to enriching our communities together.” (Triple sic that last sentence.)
ANY PERSON who can write that sentence without so much as a hint of irony, is either bone dumb or so hopelessly corrupt he thinks the rest of us are as stupid and as shameless as he is. Does it even need to be said that Joens-Poulton should not become Mendocino County's next “lead educator”?
ALSO IN THE RACE for the edu-top spot is Warren 'Hum Baby' Galletti of Point Arena and Ukiah. Galletti, a big sports guy, worked without demur for years in the perennially troubled PA schools, which is damning in itself. And he's as vague on edu-issues as The Hyphenate.
KATHY WYLIE is our choice despite her Nixonion candidate's statement. “I'm an experienced school leader with the highest integrity, a trained mediator who is approachable and accessible (sic), and a creative visionary who maintains a focus on student achievement.” Highest integrity? Compared to whom? The bar is set pretty low in Mendoland. “Visionary” is a sure sign of fuzz—think. Dear Ms. Wylie: Just try to make sure that the little savages know how to read, write and do a few basic calculations so they might at least be able to defend themselves in a world coming apart, a world that will be all the way apart by the time most of them are expected to function in it. Wylie for Superintendent of Schools.
GOVERNOR: Luis Rodriguez, Green. A lot of Greens are simply less flabby versions of Democrats, but they are better on most issues. You can vote for a Green and maintain at least a semblance of political respect for yourself.
LT. GOV: An office that need not exist, but since it doesn't, Jena Goodman, Green.
SEC. OF STATE: David Curtis lists himself as a “dad,” indicating he's the kind of mawk-brained dude who thinks fatherhood qualifies him for office, in which case he's also mentally disabled. Still and all, he isn't one of them. Curtis for Secretary of State.
CONTROLLER: Laura Wells. Caught a clip of her once on the news. Very smart, all-round impressive. Ms. Wells makes her way as a financial analyst, which means she understands how money works. Her opponents know how to take money but aren't about to manage it in your interests. Wells for Controller.
TREASURER: Ellen Brown. Another intelligent, capable person who has written a book on banking. The only truly qualified person in the race. Brown for Treasurer.
ATTY GENERAL: Kamala Harris. Hey, didn't you just tell us not to vote for Democrats or Republicans because they're basically one party? Well, yes, but I happen to know Ms. Harris in a casual, purely happenstance kind of way, and I'm here to tell you that she's the goods! Honest, articulate, very smart and unafraid to take on the great malefactors of wealth. Harris.
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Nathalie Hrizi. “Nat,” as we call her, actually works for a living as a school teacher. Probably no match for the thugs of the insurance ponzis, but unlikely to be in their pay as Commissioners usually are. Hrizi.
EQUALIZATION BOARD, 2ND DISTRICT: You'll have to write someone in here. The choice is between a career officeholding Democrat and a wacky Republican, pardon the redundancy, called James Theis, who says he's an “organic foods manager,” meaning he wears surgical gloves when he stacks the tofu and reads Ayn Rand on his coffee breaks.
CONGRESS: Another write-in although it's tempting to vote for Dale Mensing for the wacky factor he'd bring to the job. Dale's a supermarket cashier but a Republican, meaning he must have some real life work experience from which he has obviously drawn the wrong conclusions. I can just hear him at the register: “Psst. Did you know that Obama isn't even a citizen? Elect me and I'll tell everyone why Building 7 collapsed.” Andy Caffrey of Garberville is also running again on a Dope Is Good platform. Sorry, Andy, look what dope's done to your hometown and the rest of the Emerald Triangle. Incumbent Huffman, who may as well be Mike Thompson, has performed as all Demo Party hacks perform, unfailingly taking his cues from party central who take their cues from their major funders. No indication from the robotic former volleyball player that he represents anything but more of the same. No recommendation.
STATE SENATOR: Write someone in, although a friend whose judgment I trust said Derek Knell, a Democrat, was the most impressive of the candidates at the recent Ukiah forum.
ASSEMBLY: Amusing as perennial recreational candidate Pam Elizondo (The Flower of Laytonville!) can be, she doesn't play well beyond the primitive precincts of the North County. The old girl would be a hoot in office, though.
STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Write someone in. Too depressing to even joke about. The latest test scores reveal that only a minority of California children are even reading up to grade level. And the three cretinous career “educators” running for the “job” think all the system needs is a little fine-tuning.
5TH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR: Dan Hamburg is running unopposed, which again demonstrates that, well, Hamburg, a cult guy and committed stoner, is a perfect fit for the ever-wacky 5th District.
ASSESSOR-CLERK-RECORDER: Robin Sunbeam, simply because she's willing to challenge mortgage fraud. Nothing against incumbent Ranochak who's been good at the job, but given the times go for the insurgent at every opportunity.
AUDITOR-CONTROLLER: Write-in. Incumbent Weer is same old, same old, and a minor contributor to THE ENTROPY!
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: David Eyster is running unopposed because Mendocino County's lawyers, as a group, are a club-like gang of electoral wimps. It's hard to believe that not one of them would run against Clay Brennan for the Superior Court sinecure, but none did. Of course there's no real reason to challenge Eyster who's done a good job, but one would think that the DEAD DOG faction, bunches of cops and a few lawyers unhappy with the DA's pot prosecution policy, would run someone against Eyster. But the Dead Dogs are all woof, no bite.
TREASURER-TAX COLLECTOR: Shari Schapmire is running unopposed. And why not. She's doing fine. Go ahead for the incumbent.
PROP 41: Vet's Housing. Of course. Yes. (The state has floated so many bonds over the last 50 years and, like Mendocino County is so thoroughly broke via pension obligations, what's one more mound of debt?)
PROP 42: Public records, open meetings etc. No. Net effect would be to encourage government non-compliance. Public Records Act is fine as it is.
KATHY WYLIE, candidate for County Superintendent of Schools, writes on the Coast Listserve:
“It is ironic that I’m ‘defending’ my campaign on the listserve that I was instrumental in starting in 1997 when I worked for MCN. I believe that I am specifically suited to represent the almost 20,000 children in Mendocino County, ages 0-19. I hold a Business Degree in Strategic Planning and Management and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. I have served as an elected Union President representing certificated and classified educators across our county, and I have sat in more MCOE board and budget-subcommittee meetings than my campaign opponents. I have spent the majority of the last 20 years committed to leadership on the educational issues that confront our society in both traditional and charter school settings. I currently am the Executive Director/Principal of a small K-12 non-profit charter school, authorized by Fort Bragg Unified. I recently re-located my school to the College of the Redwoods campus so that, among other reasons, my High School students could work on college degrees as they attend high school. I am also the elected Albion Trustee for Mendocino Unified School District.
It is unfair to paint my candidacy with one broad brush of ‘charter school proponent.’ Charter schools are diverse — in their missions, size and length of operation. Charter schools range from an option that fully links a charter to district services, all the way to an option that offers independence from the district. This gives charter schools, regardless of their size, the ability to serve students across a wide spectrum interests and abilities. Public, non-profit Charter Schools in the new and more flexible Local Control funding option, can spend education funds in a way that better aligns with the unique mission and vision of their programs, ultimately benefiting students.
Because charter schools are often smaller than the school districts in which they operate, charters can implement best business and educational practices quicker and with better success than their district counterparts. Often the management to teacher ratio in charter schools is much smaller than traditional school districts, and less taxpayer funds are used to support management salaries and benefits. This means that more taxpayer dollars go in to the classroom. Ultimately the discussion about Charter schools taking money away from traditional school districts is a distraction to the most important point of education: the delivery of the best educational opportunities for our students, in order that they become productive and contributing citizens in our democracy. If charter schools were so ‘bad’, then you should be addressing complaints to the majority of the school district boards in this county who have authorized charters to operate within their district boundaries.
Charter school opponents want to paint a black and white, win-lose scenario in their discussions on the topic. While there are many facets to the charter school model, the underlying premise is simple: Give schools a continuum of options that allows for increasing flexibility and autonomy in funding and service delivery and let them, in partnership with their authorizer, determine the best match for the students in their programs. The model intertwines the best that the district has to offer and the best that the charter schools have to offer, under an umbrella of partnership and trust. I hope it will serve as an example of how traditional public schools and charter schools can share expertise, services, funding and a role in decision-making.
There are MANY more points to my candidacy, for example working on a fix at the state level for Special Education funding, preserving Career and Technical education programs and making sure that our schools are safe learning environments for our kids. Helping districts with their fiscal oversight is another key business services that needs improvement at the county level (e.g. Willits school bond taxpayer indebtedness). And I hope to bring renewed public participation to the operations of the county office of education using 21st century technologies to communicate with all stakeholders. I’m working with the Mendocino Broadband coalition to support the ‘last-mile’ of connectivity. - all of our schools are now wired for the internet, but many of our students still don’t have necessary high-speed access at home.
I have been endorsed by the Mendocino Women’s Political Coalition and the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, among others. If you’d like to find out more about my candidacy, go to: http://www.wylieforschools.com/ - I’m putting up new information on the key issues daily and hope to publish a youtube channel to discuss the issues too.
If you’re read this far - THANK you for taking the time to find out a little more about me! I hope that you will trust me with your vote.
Kathy Wylie, Mendocino
FOLLOWING SIX MONTHS OF PLANNING MEETINGS with the public, business owners, community organizations, stakeholder groups and local agencies, a public review draft State Route 128 Corridor Valley Trail Feasibility Study is available for review.
The feasibility study analyzes the proposed trail corridor that extends from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line near Cloverdale to the State Route 128/1 junction in Mendocino County, a distance of approximately 51 miles. The study identifies desired improvements to the SR 128 corridor, including additional sidewalks, bike lanes, entryway and traffic calming features, separate multi-use paths and treatments that improve safe routes to school. Specific community priority areas include improving non-motorized access to Hendy Woods State Park and Navarro River Redwoods State Park, as well as improving walking and biking conditions in the communities of Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, and Navarro.
The public is invited and encouraged to review the draft feasibility study and provide written comments through May 25th. The study can be downloaded at http://www.mendocinocog.org/reports_projects-SR128Trail.htm. Beginning May 15, hardcopies of the study will be available at Anderson Valley Community Services District, Boonville General Store, and Boont Berry Farm in Boonville. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Alta Planning + Design, Attn: Nora Daley-Peng, 100 Webster St, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 94607.
The feasibility study was initiated through the Valley Trail Coalition and is funded through a Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning Grant and the Mendocino Council of Governments. For more information visit www.valleytrail.org or http://www.mendocinocog.org/reports_projects-SR128Trail.htm.
Alison Pernell, Project Manager
Local Government Commission
THE SUPERIOR COURT is beating the bushes for grand jurors. The Court is short of applicants, which may be at least partially attributable to the cumulative effect of many years of conscientious citizens having their work ignored by both the Superior Court and the County bureaucracies they've evaluated as grand jurors. A jury will spend weeks assessing this or that local office only to have their work responded to by a terse, "Noted." And that's the end of it.
FOR RECENT EXAMPLE, three successive grand juries found that two supervisors were stealing public money via false claims for travel reimbursements, but it took a combination of a small claims action and a threat of prosecution by the DA before one of the crooks grudgingly made a partial repayment. The other supervisor never was compelled to repay the money he stole.
SO, MAYBE the lack of public interest in serving on the Mendocino County Grand Jury is that the public is aware that the functioning of local government, including the Superior Court itself, is impervious to constructive criticism, let alone reform. We can't remember a single indictment of a local official ever arising from a local grand jury investigation.
WE WOULD LIKE to see a Grand Jury investigation of the Superior Court's inexorable march to a new County Courthouse housing only our nine judges and their staffs. As a side investigation, how about a serious look at the Supervisors’ furtive move toward the purchase of property adjacent to the new Courthouse on which to place related court offices? And why move from the existing County Courthouse in the first place when, for a third the money the new quarters for our nine judicial pashas will cost the taxpayers, the present County Courthouse could be made more functional and generally more presentable? (Why Mendocino County has nine judges for a population of 90,000 people is one of those questions whose answers all wind up in one word: “Swindle.”)
ANYWAY, if you want to spend a couple of months pretending that local government gives one hoot what you think, the application deadline for the 2014-2015 Mendocino County Grand Jury has been extended until May 23, 2014.
PINOT FEST SILENT AUCTION
The Anderson Valley Health Center has once again been selected by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association to organize and be the beneficiary of the Silent Auction which is held during the Pinot Festival Grand Tasting. This is a very important fundraiser for the AVHC and provides for a large part of our annual donated income. For the past several years we have typically raised between $25,000 and $30,000 and have received over $100,000 in total.
Again this year we have received very generous donations from local artists, wineries and businesses. We have also received many donations from outside of the valley. We look forward to another successful event on May 17.
AV Health Center Board of Directors
JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: The problems at KZYX never seem to end. Mary Aigner's dismissal of Norman De Vall, from his usual hosting of the candidates forum series at KZYX, if substantiated, is appalling — absolutely appalling.
Mr. De Vall is our friend. Moreover, he is a former, highly respected, member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisor. And, he is a KZYX radio show host emeritus, having hosted the station's most popular public affairs show for many years.
His dismissal, if substantiated, is appalling, especially at a time when the station is trying to heal, and trying to build bridges back to the five people who filed an objection to the renewal of the station's FCC licenses, and trying to build bridges back to the 105 members, programmers, and listeners who are the "KZYX Members for Change".
To replace a trusted household name, like Norman De Vall, with Michael Kisslinger, Paul Lambert, or some other newcomer to the station, for the candidates debates is simply a bad decision. But to tell Mr. De Vall that anybody who is publicly critical of the station can expect their programmer privileges to be revoked — or words to that effect — as Ms. Aigner is alleged to have told Mr. De Vall, is grounds for Ms. Aigner's immediate termination.
I hope Mary Aigner didn't say this to Mr. De Vall.
Then. there's the separate issue between David Steffen and me. Steffen is KZYX's presumptive "Business Development Manager". Steffen's niggly-piggly harassment of me, including threats at throwing me off the air, constitutes harassment of a member of staff toward a volunteer. It is also appalling. And I will be filing a grievance. (If anyone wants to see Steffen's official reprimand letter to me, let me know.)
Steffen's threat was based on the accusation that I didn't read station ID, an FCC requirement, at the start of my last show. Steffen's claim was totally false, of course. He has since acknowledged his mistake.
But Steffen isn't one to eat crow for long. In his windy, and rather gassy, reprimand, Steffen threatened to throw me off the air by further saying I didn't read the underwriting during my last show at the top of the hour. True, I didn't read the underwriting at the top of the hour. But I did read it at the half hour — every word of it.
Why wait? Because my first guest was the director of the American Friends Service Committee, and he made it crystal clear to me before the show that he could only do the show if we did quick interview. He had very limited time. A scheduling conflict. The subject of the show was the new defense pact that Obama signed with the current Benigno Aquino government — something that almost certainly will inflame relations with China for both the U.S. and the Philippines.
I waited until my first guest signed off to respectfully introduce my second and third guests — the two women who are the chair and vice chair respectively of the indigenous group of native Filipinos, many of them women, known as Banyan-Asia —and it was only then that I read the underwriting. The time was thirty-three minutes into my program.
And that was that.
So now, I guess I'm left with the larger question: Why isn't Steffen out there finding new underwriters — his real job — instead of listening to hour-long programs from the archives? Why is he there sitting in his office, maybe donut and coffee in hand, instead of out there in the county beating the bushes for new business?
Factoid: Our underwriting revenues have fallen off in each of the last few years.
For the record, before these last two dust-ups, I had recently spoken with KZYX General Manager, John Coate, on several occasions. I felt we had sincere, heart-to-heart talks. I told John Coate that my only motivation in filing my FCC complaint was that I wanted to fix what's wrong with the station. I wanted to fix the station, not destroy it. I wanted public radio back. KZYX is public radio, not the private clubhouse it often seems to be.
I offered to write letters to the local newspapers urging listeners to support KZYX during Spring Pledge Drive. I even offered to withdraw or modify my FCC complaint.
I thought John Coate and I were in a good place. I thought the Board and I were in a good place. I thought my fellow brother and sister programmers — many of whom felt betrayed by my FCC complaint — and I were in a good place.
Now this! The shabby treatment of Norman De Vall. Absolutely unacceptable. And Steffen's niggly-piggly harassment of me. Less than absolutely unacceptable, because I don't have Norman's stature at KZYX, but still pretty damn shabby.
Why now? As relationships were healing at KZYX?
Why now? As KZYX is panhandling for loose change during Spring Pledge Drive?
A final thought: There was once, and still is, a "progressive renaissance" here in Mendocino County. It's why a lot of us live here. A few things immediately come to mind. Redwood Summer. Earth First. The Albion Nation. Greenfield Ranch. Live Power Community Farm. The Solar Living Institute. The New Settler Interviews. The Anderson Valley Advertiser. Corners of the Mouth. Bruce Bread. Thanksgiving Coffee. The Mariposa School. The Waldorf School. The public banking movement. The occupy movement. The transition towns movement. Willits Economic Localization. The Emerald Cup. The Kate Wolf Festival. The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.
In 2000, Mendocino County's leadership position with the country's most liberal marijuana personal use ordinance (Measure G), and in 2004, Mendocino County's leadership position with the country's first GMO ban (Measure H), both cemented our reputation as a progressive people.
KZYX was once a very real part of this progressive renaissance.
I don't know anymore
PS. This just in. On Monday, May 12, at 12:17 p.m., Norman De Vall posted to the KZYXtalk listserv (email@example.com). Mr. De Vall confirms the following: "After a brief meeting with Mary [KZYX Program Director, Mary Aigner], I was told that KZYX staff would conduct the (candidate) 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."
The question now is: Will KZYX General Manager, John Coate, terminate or otherwise discipline, Ms. Aigner? Will Ms. Aigner be allowed to prevent Norman De Vall, a highly respected, retired public servant, who also hosted a popular and long-running public affairs show on KZYX, from hosting the candidates debates on KZYX, as he has normally done for many years? Will be the abuse of a volunteer be tolerated at KZYX?
More to the point: Will censorship be tolerated at KZYX? Will the KZYX Board of Directors allow such a blatant violation of Mr. De Vall's right to free speech or freedom of association? Will the Board allow such an abuse of authority — authority placed in Ms. Aigner, and her boss, Mr. Coate, by the station's 2,396 members. Will the public allow this abuse of authority?
John Sakowicz, KZYX Board member, host of KZYX’s bi-weekly ‘All About Money.’ Ukiah
A READER WRITES:
After KZYX dumped Norman De Vall, long-time moderator of the candidates debates, who do they put in Norman's place? Paul Lambert. Paul Lambert who sits on the KZYX Board with Holly Madrigal. Don't get me wrong, but appearances are everything. Paul and Holly both sit on the KZYX Board. A total conflict of interest. I wouldn't be surprised to see one or both of the other candidates -- Tom Woodhouse or Hal Wagonet -- file a complaint.
Also, the interview sucked. It was all soft gloves. No hard-hitting questions. The type of questions for which Norman is infamous. I turned my radio off.
It would be a truly class act by Holly if she demanded another candidates night on KZYX, this time with Norman De Vall moderating.
Just a thought.
ADVENTIST DOCTORS REFUSING OBAMACARE PATIENTS
By Tiffany Revelle
Reimbursement not enough according to Adventists
Adventist Health clinics aren't accepting the Anthem Blue Cross Pathways PPO issued through Covered California - the state's arm of President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California says patients must wait until the fall for the release of a new list of doctors who will accept it.
Anyone who signed up for the plan and has visited a local Adventist Health doctors group, or who wants to see their regular doctor at one of them, should do so knowing they will need to wait until fall to find out whether insurance under Covered California will be accepted, according to Nick Bejarano, spokesman for Ukiah Valley Medical Center, which is owned by Adventist Health.
A local business owner who purchased the Anthem Blue Cross Pathways PPO under Covered California said she got a bill in the mail for nearly $500 after being told her provider was covered for the plan, and was told when she called to question the bill that the clinic she visited wasn't "on the network." Hillside Health Clinic in Ukiah, she noted, does take the plan.
The hospital, Bejarano said, accepts the private-payer plan, but until further notice, Adventist Health's network of clinics don't.
"We want people to know that the clinics are not accepting that insurance, and we're holding billing till we know who is not an accepted provider," Bejarano said, adding that Adventist Health is in negotiations with Blue Cross in the meantime.
The clinics that don't accept Covered California's Anthem Blue Cross Pathways PPO include the Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center across from UVMC on Hospital Drive, one of the largest groups of doctors in Ukiah. The list also includes the UVRHC location on Dora Street in Ukiah; the Ukiah Valley Women's Health Clinic on North State Street; the Adventist Heart Institutes in Ukiah and Lakeport; the Ukiah Valley Medical Specialties-Gastroenterology; Ukiah Valley Medical Specialties-Orthopedics; the Advanced Wound Clinic; the Redwood Medical Clinic in Willits; the Fort Bragg Rural Center; Fort Bragg Medical Specialties; and Mendocino Family Care.
The doctors at those clinics were originally on a list of covered providers Blue Cross provided during the Covered California enrollment period at the beginning of the year, according to Bejarano, but Adventist Health found out at the beginning of April that the clinics were removed.
"When they first released a map of doctors that were covered in certain geographical areas (for that plan), our clinics were on that list," Bejarano said Monday. "Later on ... Blue Cross removed that list and said it was a mistake."
Bejarano said in late April that the reason the clinics couldn't accept the Blue Cross plan is that the offered reimbursement for it "changed abruptly" and was "slightly less" than what was originally understood.
"As part of Adventist Health's mission to help our community gain access to care, we will be reaching out directly to affected patients who are enrolled in these plans and who sought services at the clinics (above) between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2014," according to a statement Bejarano issued Friday.
Anyone who has been a patient at any of those clinics between January and the end of March, or who would like to keep seeing their regular doctor at one of them, may call the Department of Managed Health Care at 1-888-466-2219; Covered California at 1-800-300-1506; or Anthem Member Services for Individual Plans at 1-866-791-5538. (Courtesy, Ukiah Daily Journal)
POLICE CALLS AS OF TUESDAY MORNING
WOMAN HITS BUILDING -- Police responded at 10:02 a.m. Thursday to the 700 block of South State Street for a traffic accident, where an elderly woman had backed into a building. No one was injured.
MAN HARASSING CUSTOMERS -- A caller in the 500 block of East Perkins Street reported at 10:42 a.m. Thursday that a man was acting suspicious, harassing customers in the parking lot and looking into cars. Police saw no violations, and the man left on request. At 11:34 a.m., a caller reported that the man tried to grab a woman's arm, and both people left before officers arrived. Police arrested a 38-year-old man for resisting arrest and trespassing.
DOMESTIC FIGHT REPORTED -- A caller at Brush and Mazzoni streets reported at 11:49 a.m. Thursday that a man was screaming and shoved a woman into a fence. Police found no criteria for domestic violence.
DOMESTIC FIGHT REPORTED -- A caller in the 500 block of South School Street reported at 12:01 p.m. Thursday seeing a man pushing a woman in the parking lot. They left the area before police arrived.
MAN PICKING FLOWERS -- A caller in the 800 block of West Standley Street reported at 5:93 p.m. Thursday reported that a man in camo pants was picking flowers out of people's yards and leaning on fences, moaning and talking to himself. Police determined he wasn't drunk in public but was disabled.
SHOPLIFTER -- A caller at a business in the 1200 block of Airport Park Boulevard reported at 7:11 p.m. Thursday that a man stole pruners and left. Police didn't find him.
MAN SITTING ON SIDEWALK -- A caller on South Spring and West Church streets reported at 9:15 p.m. Thursday that a man had been sitting on the sidewalk for two hours. he was taken to Ukiah Valley Medical Center.
You've managed to make yourself look like a numbskull, crude taskmaster and old school censor all wrapped into one. You ridiculed the Medical Marijuana Patients Union litter pickup (although you've told me yourself you support it) by calling Chris Diaz pious, based on a joke the photographer made by referring to the Rev., the Rabbi, and me with no title. Instead of printing my article with facts the community would like to know, you censored it out and replaced it with the photo of 4 of us at the MMPU sign, belittling us as though we'd done something wrong.
If you don't print my litter pickup letter, I'll take it to the MCN ListServe, like last time, and make people aware that you're still a mean old coot who'll do anything for a put-down. Does it even matter that you hurt good people?
Please print the letter but delete the PS. You were hoping to lure me in with my original mistake about changes in the paper. But I caught my error so that took away what you were hoping to ridicule me for and went for the pious Rev thing instead. Who looks pious?
Pebbles Trippet, Elk
ED NOTE: We didn't print the gd letter because we didn't get the gd letter, Pebs, only the photo. The medical marijuana patient's union is innately funny, in my opinion, and a bunch of stoners calling themselves reverends and rabbis is also amusing. I think all of you take yourselves wayyyyyy to seriously. The listserve is a good place for you.
WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR, POSTMODERN AMERICA?
Good morning postmodern America, I need to know from the radical environmental/peace & justice frontline what precisely we are waiting for. I am still in New Orleans assisting Bork, while sending out tons of emails, e-cards, postcards, etc. looking to move on, and be critically involved at yet a higher level (than I have been these past 40 years). I have enough money to get from NOLA to my next spiritual opportunity. However, I am accepting cooperation for travel expenses and eventual shelter and food. So tell me, what are we waiting for? Please leave telephone messages for me with Bork at (504) 302-9951, and otherwise use my permanent email address which is CraigStehr@pamho.net to communicate. I'm ready...let's go, y'all! ;-)
Craig Louis Stehr
Telephone messages: (504) 302-9951
Snail Mail: 333 Socrates Street
New Orleans, LA 70114