Press "Enter" to skip to content

Off the Record (May 21, 2014)

EXCELLENT account on the Mother Jones website by a pioneer HumCo pot grower about how the dream of back-to-the-land, grow-your-own self-sufficiency has become a hydra-headed, destructive monster. “From dawn to dusk, the woods roared grotesquely with bulldozers excavating underground bunkers or erecting huge wooden buildings beneath camo tarps, their walls lined with soundboard and insulation to thwart the thermal sensors from passing police choppers. This wasn’t paradise anymore. I’d fled the Sodom of the city only to find Gomorrah in the country.”

SPECIFIC VILLAINS INCLUDE: “Loggers, tweakers, corrupt city councils, Mr. Cop on the Take, Oaksterdam, elitist environmentalists, Earth First!, entitled ranchers, gun-toting greenhouse cartels…”

2014? As one commenter puts it, “This year's light-dep crop may get ugly. All the scenes are extremely visible from the air and from adjoining ridges. It's no secret you have many thousands of dollars worth of product right there for the taking. And so many loose operations…located near paved roads with multiple getaway routes…I'm surprised it's taken this long for armed thugs to figure it out.”

THE TWO DEAD MEN found badly decomposed in a primitive greenhouse grow in the Woodman Peak area of Laytonville on Monday (12 May) have been identified as Felipe Cortez Guzman, 26, and Abraham Gregorio Castillo, 27, both of Avenal. According to the Sheriff's Department, the Woodman Peak property contained two travel trailers and a greenhouse structure "being utilized to grow approximately 180 marijuana plants that were approximately 6-12 inches tall. Detectives were unable to note any obvious visual signs as to a cause of death for each person due to the condition of their bodies.

WHAT PROBABLY HAPPENED on Woodman Peak in Laytonville: Time for rampant speculation — two people are planting their greenhouse… nice setup with drip irrigation on timers and solar powered, heat activated fans — it's a cold spring day/evening — the farmers turn on the propane heater and work for hours and hours — doors and windows closed because of the cold night — farmers simply “fall asleep” from the carbon monoxide — automated grow setup continues to work as designed — partner comes up to enjoy the nice weather and finds the farmers. Dead.

ON-LINE COMMENT regarding the two dead men discovered near Laytonville last week. “I know Laytonville. I know that neighborhood. I know the towns these guys were from. (Avenal) I googled them. They are Mexicans. I know Big Daddy's Gardening Supplies is Mexican-owned. I mean nothing racist but c'mon! Are we going to continue to avoid the elephant in the room? Do you know anything about the Mexican mafia and large numbers of Mexicans growing huge scenes near Laytonville, Willits and Ukiah? They were around before Prop 215 but now are quite big. I'm actually pretty aware of what has been happening so no, I'm not ignorant. You don't like what I said because….well, there's some truth to it. Sorry. Why don't you go for a nice hike up Cahto Peak and then come tell me I'm wrong?”

RECOMMENDED READING: Paying the Toll — Local Power, Regional Politics, and the Golden Gate Bridge by Louise Nelson Dyble. The Bridge was paid off in 1971, but as we know, tolls not only continue to be collected, they've gone steadily up. Using this oft-lamented fact as your starting point, Ms. Dyble's remarkable book carefully and clearly lays out the first really, really, really thorough history of the iconic span that we have. By page 200 you know why Bridge tolls will always be with us.

THE AUTHOR is a first-rate scholar. No exaggeration, Dyble must have gone through many thousands of documents, and she does not make a single assertion that she does not back up by a citation.

PROFESSOR DYBLE WAS NOT encouraged in her research. The Bridge Authority made it tough for her to get access to the archive, a scattered archive at that. But the professor persisted and we have a history most of us don't know.

I THINK I've read most of the books on the Bridge, but I discovered I didn't know from nothin' until Paying the Toll. I knew that the Bridge District grew into a much larger operation, a “transit empire,” which is why we'll be paying exorbitant transit fees for eternity to cross a bridge whose directors sold the thing on a promise that it would simply become part of the state's transportation network, with no tolls, as soon as it was paid off. Now I know why.

DYBLE'S INTRODUCTION is called “Agency Run Amok,” which her research confirms. Really, what could have been simpler? “Folks, you pass these bonds, we'll get this sucker built, and when it's paid for you get to drive across absolutely free of charge.” Didn't happen. Won't happen, and here the grisly details are clearly laid out in this invaluable history.

MENDOCINO COUNTY AUTHORITIES — Mendo comprises part of the Bridge District — come off as downright sagacious for perhaps the first time in the county's long, bumbling history. In 1926, the Mendo Grand Jury said, “We're out of this bridge deal if we're going to be taxed to fund it.” The Mendo supervisors voted to pull out because membership in an association to build the Bridge involving taxation should be put to a popular vote. From that point forward, a political movement for the passage of bonds became the strategy, ultimately successful, that got the Bridge built.

IT ALL LIMPED FORWARD and Mendocino County climbed back aboard, although the timber and ranch people convinced a friendly outback judge — is there any other kind than friendly when power must be appeased? — that they would not benefit from a bridge and wanted no part of it. Consequently, Mendo's part of the Golden Gate Bridge District was drawn in such a way that it basically runs up the Russian River Valley while excluding areas of the county east and west of Ukiah.

THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT announced last week that a local, state and federal task force is removing by helicopter hundreds of pounds of trash and debris from eradicated marijuana gardens from the Southern Humboldt, Northern Mendo, Outlaw Zone. The cleanup, which began Tuesday, and continues through Wednesday, is hauling mounds of grower-slob crap to a Leggett collection point. BLM officials said the crapola includes irrigation lines, camping gear and trash that has been collected over the last six months from a mere four mega-slob illegal gro sites in the South Fork Eel and Elkhorn wilderness areas and the Little Dann Management Area. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Eel River Recovery Project and the California National Guard participated in the removal effort, BLM officials said.

A READER WRITES: "Speaking of Judge Nadel (response to letter on Dr. Nayak) I had to spend five, torturous days in Ukiah a month ago on jury duty: a DUI case in Judge Nadel's courtroom no less. She's a rational, cute and bouncy package who leans toward lenient. Prior to the trial I observed her in her traffic court. Broke or a student with a speeding ticket? She'll cut the absorbent fine in half. Illegal in from Mexico charged with hit and run? Okay, a fine and some probation, but no bus ride back to Tijuana. At times I felt a certain sympathy for her. For instance, during jury selection when a prospective, young female juror asked to be dismissed because she “did not believe in the system.” Judge Nadel inquired: “What do you believe in?” Answer: “Yoga— meditation should decide things.” Shaking her head in disbelief, Nadel, in an attempt to save jurisprudence for western civilization, immediately dismissed the brainless beauty from pot-land. I voted for acquittal. (Hung jury 8 to 4 four to acquit) Okay, the guy had two empty and one half full beer bottles in his old van, and his blood alcohol was double .07, but who am I to cast stones for transgressions I may have been guilty of myself? Like Judge Nadel, I can be lenient too. For some reason the judge would not allow the fact that the guy had fairly advanced prostrate cancer into evidence, but the main reason I did not want to send this accused creature into additional financial ruin (he was probably already out ten grand for the lawyer and another five for an expert witness) was the simple, fourth amendment fact that — and you may not know this, but be forewarned — the CHP has hidden microphones in the back seat of their cars! The cop allowed the sipping suspect the use of his cell phone to call his wife to come get their van. He told his wife on the phone that he “screwed up” and Eyster's minion was allowed to use this as evidence. Let this be a warning to both you and your readers: remain silent in your seat. Silly me, I thought it was illegal to record conversations without permission in California. I spoke to the accused after the trial. He felt that Eyster had it in for him because when Eyster was an attorney, Eyster lost a civil case to this guy's attorney: Susan Massini as a matter of fact. Who knows, but it's Mendocino and grudges do persist."

HOMETOWN GIRL! Welcome back Elina Agnoli! Elina Agnoli is pleased to announce the opening of her law firm, The Law Office of Elina N. Agnoli. Her practice encompasses a wide range of civil matters, including but not limited to Personal Injuries, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts, Family Law, Real Estate/Property Disputes, Mediation, Business Consulting and Incorporation, and Business and Contract Negotiations. In addition, she will soon be offering notary services. Ms. Agnoli was born and raised right here in Mendocino County, where she attended Laytonville schools and won an academic scholarship to the USC where she graduated cum laude in 2004. On to law school at USF, a couple of big time law firms where she was in on big time litigation, and back home to ground zero, the Emerald Triangle. Ms. Agnoli is located at 140 Branscomb Road in Laytonville, California. Telephone: 707.984.6121 Facsimile: 707.984.6130 Email:

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT'S devotion to the wine industry is so heartfelt they could be writing about the kidnapped girls of Nigeria rather than an industrial, labor-sucking monolith disguised as endless weekends of golden goblets held to the sun.

A RECENT TRIBUTE to the industry begins, “Coast wineries and growers remain optimistic following a second consecutive year of record-setting harvests and strong consumer demand for grape varietals that thrive in the region, particularly pinot noir.”

WINERIES are adding crush-capacity and growers are making lots of money, but.... But the poor souls may run out of water. “…diversions along the Russian River Valley watershed above the city of Healdsburg could be cut off next month, said Paula Whealen, principal of Wagner and Bonsignore [a high-priced water consulting outfit near the Capitol in Sacramento who only the wine people can afford]. She said such curtailments would prevent even those who've held water rights for decades from diverting any water for use on vineyards, without risking fines of up to $1,000 a day, plus additional penalties.”

IN FACT, very few vineyards have held water rights for decades. Almost all these businesses are new, and given that Lake Mendocino isn't even half full as of this week and summer hasn't even begun, there will be very little downstream water for anyone, including the lords of the grapes, this summer.

THE INDUSTRY says pinot grape growers are pulling down $4,000 a ton, and no wonder the pinot people of Anderson Valley can afford the giant noisemakers that have destroyed the sleep of roughly 2,000 Valley residents for twelve mornings this spring. $4,000 a ton, roughly four tons or more to the acre.... Hmmm… That's upwards of $20,000 per acre. Maybe the Pinot People will kick back some cash for our lost zzzzzzz's.

HOLLY MADRIGAL, stopped in the other day. A robust, jolly young woman who looks like she just stepped out of a Polish peasant polka, the candidate for 3rd District supervisor had been in Philo where a fundraising week is underway for KZYX on whose board of directors Ms. Madrigal sits. Being at odds with some of her pro positions — the $5 million Fort Bragg trash transfer station, the quality of KZYX management, her embrace of the Northcoast's professional office-holding class — the candidate did manage say much that we agree with. She said she wants to improve relations between the Supervisors and County employees and agreed that relations didn't need to be as adversarial as they've become. The candidate wants to keep the County plausibly solvent, and like everyone else wants to work towards a regional water policy that doesn't short Mendocino County like the present Balkanized system of competing water districts, federal foolishness, and unfair allocations does, a system pegged to old realities and infrastructure long outgrown.

WE THINK the 3rd District will go to a runoff between Madrigal and Tom Woodhouse, both of them conservative liberals. Hal Wagenet, a former supervisor, and again a candidate for his old job, is seriously handicapped because his record in office consists of, well, nothing. He sat in the big naughayde swivel chair on Low Gap Road for four years and it was as if he was never there.

CANDIDATE WOODHOUSE is more vague on the issues than Madrigal is. His website features a big square-jawed photo of himself with the usual pieties about raising a family in Willits and volunteering for lots of school stuff, which qualifies him and virtually every other long-time County resident to maybe change an emergency diaper but it's not exactly experience unique to Woodhouse. “My experiences, grassroots successes, and deep commitment to this community have inspired me to serve the district as supervisor. All around me, I see potential for making our county better,” Woodhouse says.

YEAH? HOW? Mendocino County isn't a lone operator, a world unto itself, although it may seem so at times. Mendo's most intractable problems — a battered environment, poverty and the despairing social fragmentation that come from lack of opportunity — can't be solved without federal help. Our two primary industries are illegal dope and high-end booze, both of which are environmentally and socially destructive. Making Mendo better won't happen until America is made better, and that might not happen. Jolly Holly seems more rooted in what a Supervisor can and should do just to keep Mendo afloat.

CLAY ROMERO, a working machinist, has of course been steadily vilified by North County libs. Like present supervisor Johnny Pinches, Romero can be a little rough around the edges, meaning he's a lot less phony than the other candidates with their see-through pieties that candidates stoop to these days. “He is a right wing religious fundamentalist and former firearms arms dealer,” as one terrified lib assessed Romero.

SO? THE GUY goes to church and he likes guns. That means there's no room for him and probably half the people in the County who also go to church and like guns. Romero has a sense of humor, and that counts lots with us. We thought his Facebook joke, featuring a picture of a bullet-riddled foot with the caption, “This is what you do when you only have one toe separator” was pretty funny. We're sorry he took it down when the libs started squealing and running for the Appropriate Police. Of the four candidates Romero is most like Pinches in his outspokenness, and Pinches has been one of the best supervisors this county has had. Stack Big John up against the dismal roster of grasping libs we've endured and the guy looks like Abe Lincoln.

I'M AS BORING AS THE NEXT GUY, so I'm going to tell you about what happened late last Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. That was the hundred-degree, globally warmed Wednesday afternoon a few days ago when it was around 80 even at the ocean. A few weeks ago, walking through the cool precincts of the Presidio, on a chilly Wednesday afternoon, I'd had a little run-in with an old lady and her two dogs. Both the animals had lunged at me. One of them was a giant poodle, and way too much dog for its owner, the other a much smaller mutt. The poodle, perhaps sensing my dislike for him and his entire breed, took a shot at my thigh. I'd been in a serene mental neutral paying no attention to my fellow pedestrians when the sudden attack startled hell out of me. “These things are supposed to be leashed!” I yelled at the old girl, immediately wishing I hadn't because she practically genuflected as she scurried around to get her animals under control, repeatedly assuring me that she was “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” I always walk around Frisco with a big stick because dogs aren't the only possible assailants, although they're the most frequent, the most likely, and there are now more of them than human-type people. The old lady was still grappling with the poodle as I trucked on thinking less neutral thoughts about how happy I was at the proliferation of coyotes in the city, hoping they proliferate to where the Dog People will have to leash their beasts simply to keep them safe from the Real Dogs. That was then, I'm now talking about this past Wednesday, the torrid Wednesday. The pavement was hot enough to feel through my shoes, and again I was shuffling along thinking good thoughts when Jesu Cristo! there's the same old lady and her two dogs! And again her two dogs were running around all over the trail paying her no mind at all. She's still thirty yards off but spots me, Mr. Leash Law, striding towards her. (Please don't get the idea I go around hassling old ladies just because old men have it coming.) Anyway, the old lady, seeing me moving toward her, throws up her arms in absolute panic and, fumbling with her two leashes, frantically tries to hook up her dogs, not completing her wild attempts at compliance until I'm adjacent to her and congratulating her, “Atta, girl. Keep up the good work.” “Thank you; thank you very much,” she said. For what? I wondered. Getting inside her fearful old head for a month, ruining her afternoon outings with her two dogs for fear King Lear would again come striding officiously up to admonish her, destroying one of the only pleasures she has left, a walk in the park with her out-of-control dogs? I take another path these days.

FARTHER ON, not far from the Lobos Creek Overlook, and on that same day, I saw a sight that stopped traffic up and down Wedemeyer. I was walking uphill when two young women appeared from the west, out of the dunes, from the direction of the old enlisted men's housing. One of them was conventionally clad, the other one was barely clad at all. At Baker Beach, a notorious nearby scene of year-round debauch, the barely clad woman would have attracted attention — she would attract attention anywhere — but her presentation would not have been unexpected in the warm weather panorama of nudes and open air sex less than a mile to the west. But here she was walking up a fairly heavily traveled public Presidio street, and she was large and voluptuous — proportionally, goddess-like voluptuous — six feet of ambulating invitation. And nude except for a couple of, I don't know, shoe strings? I was on the downhill behind her, and I'll confess that this amazing spectacle had my prostate singing for the first time in years.

IT SEEMED ODD, to me anyway, that the naked young woman seemed oblivious of the tumult she instantly caused. She and her fully clad friend walked on, chatting away as if they were the only people in the entire area as an Asian tourist van stopped in the middle of the street as its passengers took pictures; a black guy leaned out of his car window to shout “Bravo!”; other cars were honking approval, and a bunch of men came hustling out of a Presidio shop near the top of the hill to gaze, transfixed, as the naked lady strolled past, she and her companion giving no sign that they were at all aware of the disturbance all around them. The whole show's probably on YouTube, but I don't think my prostate can stand a repeat performance.

SOCO DA RAVITCH throws a big press release last Friday for her slam dunk prosecution of a Cloverdale chomo but retreats into transparent evasions when it comes to the Lopez case, announcing late Friday that she hasn't made a decision whether or not to bring criminal charges against the deputy who shot the boy to death. Ravitch has put the decision off for months, claiming it's still under investigation. As a candidate for re-election June 3rd, Ravitch is obviously waiting until after the vote to announce that she won't prosecute because the boy's death was clearly a terrible accident. He was carrying a toy gun that looked real and the deputy, who certainly did seem awfully quick on the trigger, shot him several times on the assumption the gun was real and that the kid was some kind of lethal gang mope. Race demagogues and professional cop haters, egged on by a lot of stupid reporting from the Press Democrat, have steadily portrayed the cop, a street-experienced fellow named Gelhaus, as a racist and homicidal maniac. Since the shooting occurred from the rear, the cop could not have known either the race or anything else about the kid. If he's a psycho, he would have been fired years ago. Ravitch should have wrapped the case up months ago one way or the other with full disclosure of all the facts. Her stalling and lying like this is another reason not to vote for her.

THE ANNOTATED GLENDA. Glenda Anderson is the Press Democrat's “Mendocino County Bureau.” Friday morning's PD featured a textbook journalism school piece by Glenda called, “Mendocino County's payment program for marijuana defendants under investigation.”

(A JOURNALISM SCHOOL STORY is a machine-like recitation of selected "facts" relayed in robotic, soporific prose. Toss in a few quotes from both sides, even when there's only one side. “On the one hand, Mussolini was a murderous thug; on the other he was a great promoter of the arts.” That's called objectivity. The Press Democrat lives by it.)

DA EYSTER'S sensible, tax-saving policy of trading pot busts for cash fines is only controversial because a few whining pot growers and cops think the DA is “shaking down” crooks by fining them rather than running them through the tax-gobbling court and jail system. Every time a pot crook gets arrested, he or she screams, “You fools! Can't you see I'm growing medicine here? I'm helping sick people!”

SO GLENDA'S STORY, complete with a big color photo of Eyster looking as serious as Sunday school, rehashes a story that is now very old in Mendocino County, citing attorney Don Lipmanson, a thrice convicted drug crook self-reinvented as an officer of the court; Pebbles Trippet, the Grandma Moses of marijuana and oft-jailed martyr to the magic weed; Judge of the Superior Court Clay Brennan, a guy who lights up at Westside Ukiah's tonier (sic) social events, but has no problem locking people up for drug offenses. A sidebar might be: Glenda Anderson's Rolodex — The Real Story of My Sources.

GLENDA tells us that the jive US Attorney's office out of San Francisco, the urban equivalent of the Mendocino County Counsel's Office, via a federal grand jury, has Eyster and Mendocino County under investigation. Excuse me, but isn't this so-called investigation about four years old now? No wonder the US Attorney doesn't answer the phone to talk about how it's going. If they had anything they'd call a Shrimp Boy-style press conference to brag about how they're going to bring down official Mendoland. (Shrimp Boy will walk, too. Watch.)

WE ALSO get a quote from attorney Tom Johnson who hasn't been in a courtroom in 30 years. Natch, Glenda doesn't ask Johnson why he didn't run against Eyster for DA if he's so upset about Eyster's pot prosecution policies.

AND OUR GIRL inevitably works in the usual swipe at Supervisor John Pinches', a long-time legalization advocate, who local cops have tried to nail for years, as has the IRS. The cops claim Pinches is a big time grower, which begs the obvious question, doesn't it?

GLENDA'S NON-STORY re the federal investigation of Eyster and the Sheriff does include a pertinent quote from supervisor John McCowen that reflects official Mendocino County's opinion and, we daresay, a majority public opinion: “I think the way the district attorney has utilized the 11470 program is brilliant.” Which it is. It's also legal. End of story.

THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE has raked in a cool $3.3 mil through the 11470 program. Sheriff Allman says the money has been used for emergency dispatch equipment, overtime and remodeling the Willits sheriff's substation. The Ukiah PD has received $261,960; Willits $88,275; Fort Bragg $31,500; Fish & Wildlife $1,400; Coyote Valley rez police $750; the County's Planning and Building Dept $4,000

NOWHERE in the story is there a named mention of an impoverished and/or persecuted pot grower who, as critics of the program allege, could not afford to pay his way out of a prosecution. And there's no mention by the policy's critics of the rest of the story — a felony prosecution if you're caught a second time.

ONE WEALTHY, CONNECTED guy has bought his way out of a felony prosecution — Stornetta of Point Arena. But then there's the case of Mr. Graves of Laytonville who, like Stornetta, is represented by ace criminal defense attorney, Keith Faulder. Graves and Faulder took Graves' case to a jury and Graves walked out of court a free man. That case cost the county a lot of money and the county lost it. Wouldn't it have been better to have fined the guy?

ON SOCIAL MEDIA legions of isolated individuals, with the brainless malice of a concierge, spread “the real dirt” on artists, writers, actors, musicians, athletes and others in the public eye. A tsunami of ugly feelings surges across the global clothesline at the mere mention of “Woody Allen” or “Roman Polanski” in the press… Social media can launch a witch hunt or pogrom just as readily as a “progressive” uprising, and in either instance directs the madness of crowds to unexamined targets of outrage; the technology itself is probably as addictive as heroin, since it acts directly on the neural synapses, and its instantaneous transmission eliminates any space for reflection or analysis between emotional impulse and action. — Gary Indiana

PETER LIT on the AVA hotline May 17, 2014: “Reading that item about the monkey parking app last week reminded me of the time when I was living in Haight-Asbury in the mid 60s near Kezar Stadium. On game days we would park all our cars in the parking lot taking up as much room as possible, then we would offer to sell our spaces to ticketholders. In the course of one game we could earn enough to pay our month's rent.”

DROUGHT STORIES in the Press Democrat invariably quote grape growers without mentioning the fact that the paper uses “grape grower” and “farmer” interchangeably. Grape growers are “farmers.” And they are, kind of, although “industrial ag” better describes what they do given their heavy dependence on chemicals, immigrant labor, public water and so on. (19th century industrial ag at that.) There are lots of traditional farmers in Mendocino County although the PD never mentions them.

ANOTHER PD story this week is about how the Russian River is about dried up and Summer isn't even officially here, and inland Mendo “farmers” (grape growers) are suddenly talking about “coordinating water withdrawals from the river so there are no sudden declines in river flows.”

JUST LAST YEAR, when the State Water Board asked the “farmers” to regulate themselves to prevent fish strandings, the “farmers” successfully sued to stop it, although the state had said the “farmers” could write their own conservation plans.

BUT SO FAR, the only idea the “farmers” have come up with is “to have farmers on one side of the river irrigate on even days and farmers on the other side irrigate on odd days.”

THIS COCKAMAMIE SCHEME won't address the flow question because who's to say you still won't have four vineyards on one side of the river all pumping at the same time?

THE ONLY WAY to apportion Russian River water equitably, and with these entitled greedheads doing the apportioning that is unlikely to happen, is to put in a real-time monitoring system like on the Napa River, along with pipe size limits, gages on individual draws so that enforcement can at least look at who used how much when there's a problem, and some kind of setting of reasonable minimum flows.

WHATEVER THE STATE DOES, if it imposes enforceable limits like there are in Sonoma and Napa counties, no matter how reasonable those limits might be here in retro-Mendo, count on another cry baby wine mob invading the County Courthouse to bully the local Superior Court into rolling back regulation. That's what happened last year, and you can see it coming again this year if the state cracks down.

IF OUR NOBLE sons and daughters of the soil had done what was proposed they do by the state last year, and had come up with their own plans to prevent strandings instead of whining about over-regulation, a mechanism would already be in place for this year of radically reduced flows out of already half-drained Lake Mendocino.

AP IS REPORTING that a Massachusetts man was fatally shot Friday and his hiking partner seriously wounded while hiking near Red Bluff. The robber shot the men after taking their money and belongings, leaving them for dead about a hundred yards from the trail head where another hiker found them roughly three hours after they were attacked. Francis  ‘Pat’ Gregory, 69, of West Tisbury was pronounced dead at the scene; his 76-year-old male companion, of nearby Manton, suffered critical injuries but is expected to survive. The trail leads through grasslands, oak trees and lava rocks to an overlook above a bend in the Sacramento River. Manton, incidentally, is probably best known for the St. John of San Francisco Monastery, and for being evacuated during the fires of 2005. This trail is just off I-5.

THE CLOVERDALE POMOS are slowly but steadily proceeding with their odd plan for a casino complex on 65 acres at the southeast end of town. The plan is odd because the huge new casino at Graton now siphons off most Bay Area gamblers because it's less than an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, well before gamblers reach River Rock at Geyserville, nevermind the forlorn casinos of Mendocino County even farther north. Another casino at Cloverdale means another casino going broke, maybe even before it opens.

THE 540 MEMBERS of the Cloverdale tribe, apparently tardily aware of the monstro competition the Graton tribe has erected at Rohnert Park, is hinting that they might scale back their $320 million project. Meanwhile, the Cloverdale City Council is unanimously opposed to the casino, citing reasons ranging from water shortages to the “criminal element” casinos are assumed to attract.

TUESDAY'S (TODAY’S) SUPE'S MEETING consent calendar includes a proposal to crack down on, ah, the least desirable members of what you might call the County's, ah, tonsorially incorrect leisure class. The more unkind members of our communities call them "bums." The board will adopt three new policies for the county's libraries, developed by former County Librarian Mindy Kittay, the Mendocino County Library Advisory Board and the County Counsel's Office that includes a Standards of Behavior Policy, a Computer Use and Internet Policy and a Privacy Policy, all aimed at, ah, the obnoxious strata of unfortunates who camp out in the goddam libraries annoying hell out of everyone else, staff especially.

THE STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR POLICY includes prohibitions on using the public restrooms for “shaving, bathing or as laundry facilities; selling, soliciting, panhandling or mass distribution of unapproved materials; loitering in or around the library; creating a nuisance to those who are trying to enter or exit or use library resources; sleeping, moving or putting feet on the furniture, harassing behavior, excessive noise, stalking other patrons, trespassing, unattended children and smoking within 20 feet of the building,” and whatever other unsocialized behavior the tonsorially and behaviorally incorrect might engage in, and these sumbitches just might do literally anything.

THE PROPOSED POLICY, obviously the work of the worst kind of “liberal” candy asses, gains hilarity with every chaste euphemism. “Anyone whose bodily hygiene is offensive so as to constitute a nuisance to other persons shall be required to leave the building.” Strong perfume or cologne is also discouraged, and patrons are required to be “fully clothed, including shirt, shoes and pants, dress or skirt. Sleeping bags, bedrolls and packages in bulk or quantity that cannot be stored entirely under the owner's chair are prohibited and shouldn't be left unattended.”

THE BOARD will also hear a third-quarter budget report on the county departments' finances and consider the County CEO's recommendations for the 2014-15 budget.

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT after decades — at least back to the 1950s — no longer maintains a news bureau in Mendocino County. The PD closed its Ukiah office without so much as an adios anywhere in its pages. Glenda Anderson was moved out of the last PD office at 315 Standley St. Ukiah and was told she either had to travel to the main office in Santa Rosa to work, or work out of her home in Ukiah. No more bureau. Mike Geniella said Monday, “As a former bureau chief, it saddens me greatly. The bureau's presence was huge all those years, symbolic of the PD's commitment to being the regional newspaper on the North Coast. I wished the PD would have just announced the closure, just as it would have demanded from anyone else in the public or private sectors. Instead, it's typical of the current back door policies of a once justifiably proud newspaper. So long PD bureau. It was a great ride.”

THE DOC'S DUI. No official confirmation yet, but the three judicial colleagues of newly appointed Mendo Superior Court judge Jeanine Nadel, have upheld Nadel's ruling that Ukiah Police officer Murray who arrested Dr. Nayak, also of Ukiah, for drunk driving did not have reasonable cause to detain the doctor. Dr. Nayak, represented by Lake County attorney William Conwell, had appealed her conviction and Nadel found in Dr. Nayak's favor. The DA's office appealed Nadel's decision, and the case went to an in-house trio of Nadel's peers who have now upheld Nadel's decision that Officer Murray's original stop of the doctor was arbitrary. The doctor, for all legal purposes, was not driving under the influence.

RE THE GROWING Northcoast trend of young parents not vaccinating their children: “This is just a tragedy! These little babies have no vote! Their parents think they know better than proven science; know better than trained physicians; know better than anyone. They get their information on the world wide web — an unreliable source for medical information! All the while, putting their babies at risk and putting other vulnerable folks at risk. Too bad they didn't grow up like I did when children were in Iron Lungs before we all got that first sugar cube! As a former nurse, too bad they haven't seen an infant struggling for a breath with whooping cough! I used to work for docs in the 70s and when parents refused to immunize because it ‘wasn't natural’ they simply reminded these ‘educated parents’ about nature and about survival of the fittest! They got it — most of them.”


  1. Lazarus May 21, 2014

    Your humorously sarcastic analyses of the 3rd District race is interesting….seems you’re trace of support is for a candidate who you once printed a mug shot of……and unceremoniously threw under the preverbal bus……I really have a problem with getting it both ways, even if you do own the darn thing……come on man…!

  2. Rick Weddle May 22, 2014

    Actually, Laz, I think since Mr. Anderson owns the newspaper, he could present it as a string of paper dolls if he chose to. It would still doubtless beat the tar out of the ‘press’ found almost everywhere else.

Leave a Reply

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