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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, May 22, 2014

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RON LEVALLEY SENTENCED. LeValley, of Little River, and a well-known Mendocino Coast photographer, had previously pleaded guilty to to a single federal count of conspiring to embezzle funds from an Indian tribal organization, specifically the bilking of nearly $1 million in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe over a three-year period beginning in 2007.

LEVALLEY was sentenced yesterday to 10 months of federal prison and two years supervised probation.

ACCORDING to court documents, Mad River Biologists founder Ron LeValley conspired with former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond to steal the funds through a complex scheme fake and inflated invoices and payments for northern spotted owl survey work that Mad River Biologists never performed. Last month, a judge sentenced Raymond — who also pleaded guilty to the single conspiracy count — to serve 36 months in federal prison for the grift.

Mad River Biologists submitted more than 75 false invoices between 2007 and 2010. Under the scheme, Raymond, who later claimed he was addicted to drugs, would then cut checks from the tribe and LeValley would kick the money back to him, less 20 percent taken off the top.

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by Malcolm Macdonald

Questions are arising again about the State Requirement Area (SRA) fee, which goes to defer the cost of fighting wildfires in locales without municipal fire departments. Much of Mendocino County, obviously, falls within the so-called SRA.

Bills were sent out much earlier this year in Mendocino County, typically dated April 7th or 8th. The fee is a few dollars more (was Clint Eastwood consulted?) than in fiscal year 2012-2013. An Albion Ridge resident finished making monthly payments for the previous year less than six months ago then received a new bill in April. State government officials have no straightforward answer for this other than to say that the billing cycle has been changed throughout California. According to the State Board of Equalization, the billing appears to be based on an alphabetical whim: Alpine County residents received SRA fee notices in the first week of March, Yolo and Yuba County fee payers will not be noticed until the middle of June.

One of the things that the fees are being used to fund is what CAL FIRE calls "defensible space inspection." The idea of inspections, of course, brings into question privacy rights. Inspections in Mendocino County are seemingly underway. A CAL FIRE notice appeared online about a month ago, stating, "The inspectors will be conducting their inspections during reasonable daylight hours, knocking on the door of the residence and being professionally dressed so that CAL FIRE staff can easily be identified as fire department personnel."

But they are not our local fire department volunteer personnel. The CAL FIRE press release doesn't even hint at phoning ahead to homeowners concerning inspections. Albion/Little River Fire Department Chief Ted Williams recently stated, "While I appreciate Cal Fire's focus on fire prevention education in my community, I do have concern over some specifics of this inspection program… Some of us might prefer to be present or not return home to find crews traipsing around our dwelling curtilage. I've suggested to Cal Fire that they schedule and provide advanced notice, but they say this is not possible."

Williams went on to say, "Offering chipping and brush removal to those who cannot afford defensible space would likely yield a greater benefit to our communities without breaching privacy. Imagine what an additional annual $117 per residence would do for our local [volunteer] fire departments."

Members of the Macdonald family have asked CAL FIRE (previously California Department of Forestry - CDF) for more than a decade to require Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) to place a rocked rolling dip, or something similar, at the mouth of McKay Gulch to provide access for fire trucks along the Albion River Road (known as the Masonite Road to long time locals). In 2001, after a boundary dispute with the Macdonald family, MRC essentially trenched out a "spite ditch" where the trickles of McKay Gulch cross the Albion River Road, cutting off all vehicle access. Of course, MRC got CDF and the Dept. of Water Quality to justify the deep ditch as beneficial to fish. However, nowhere else alongside the Albion has such a deep trench been dug to aid fish travel. Additionally the MRC trench is one of the only places between the coast and the Comptche Road that is immediately adjacent to livestock and human habitation.

Though I have personally made the request to CAL FIRE timber harvest inspectors that a more modest dip would still allow for the now rare passage of salmon, steelhead, or trout during the rainy seasons, CAL FIRE has done nothing to re-open this road.

The bottom line with CAL FIRE is just that: the 99% who do the hard work of fighting and preventing fires are to be commended, the 1% at the top of this bureaucracy are still in the pockets of large corporate entities.

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Growers Must Lobby for Fair Regs, Lawyer Says

by Jane Futcher

A prominent San Francisco civil rights attorney told a gathering of medical cannabis cultivators in Laytonville Monday, May 19, that they must lobby the California Legislature immediately to ensure that a medical marijuana-licensing bill now making its way through the Legislature is fair to farmers, patients and dispensaries.

Attorney Matt Kumin also predicted that by November 2016 a voter initiative on the state ballot could give voters the opportunity to pass a “recreational” use law allowing the commercial distribution, cultivation, and production of cannabis products for all adult use, not limited to medical.

Kumin said that the way farming communities approach the regulation of medical cannabis, which may pass this year, could have a significant impact on how the voter initiative in 2016 is written. That’s why it’s important to get the medical licensing law right.

“There is a confluence of energy. People see it coming. We want to face it,” Kumin told 64 people at the Laytonville Grange. “Now is the time to pass a fair licensing bill and not live in fear of these Draconian laws.”

Kumin spoke at the invitation of a cannabis medicine support group that holds monthly meetings at the Grange. He and AIDS activist Terrance Alan, co-directors of the political action committee California Cannabis Voice, are organizing growers around the state to press for a fair licensing law.

The two men will return for another public forum at the Laytonville Grange June 2 at 2 p.m. They asked every grower present to bring at least two friends to the meeting, as well as ideas for what they’d like included in the bill and money for lobbying efforts.

“You must spend money to protect your political interest,” Kumin said. “You guys are going to have to pony it up.”

Alan emphasized that the majority of money raised in Laytonville and communities around the state would remain in the community, with only a small portion going to help pay for the coordination needed for groups statewide to know what others are doing and find a “unifying message.”

Central to Monday’s discussion are two California cannabis legalization bills, one dead, the other currently being rewritten in the Legislature.

State Assembly member Tom Ammiano's AB1894, which recently died in committee, would have placed marijuana regulation and enforcement in the hands of California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Ammiano’s bill was opposed from the right by the California Narcotic Officers’ Association, which wanted to maintain control of cannabis enforcement.

From the left, the Patient Advocacy Network complained that no other law on the books allowed an agency that regulates a recreational substance to regulate a substance used for medical purposes.

SB1262, sponsored by State Senator Lou Correa (D-Anaheim), is still alive, is being revised right now and could pass this year. The bill, which has the support of the California League of Cities and several law enforcement groups, would make California’s Department of Public Health responsible for licensing all dispensaries and grow operations.

Medical marijuana advocates say the bill would make it difficult for many patients to obtain recommendations because it requires doctors who recommend marijuana for a patient be the patient’s primary care physician or be referred by their primary care provider. Since many primary care doctors are not aware of marijuana’s medical value, or are reluctant to suggest it for other reasons, they might not write recommendations.

“We want fair licensing,” said Kumin, who described himself as a centrist. “We don't want to be treated in a prohibitionist way anymore. We can live with fair, good laws; we just can't live with bad laws.”

Audience members voiced many questions and concerns about Sen. Correa’s licensing bill and the possible 2016 ballot measure.

One grower said he opposed any bill that allows the government to tell cannabis farmers what they can and can’t do.

“In truth, we don't want to be regulated,” Kumin said. “But we see regulation coming and instead of ducking and covering and avoiding it, we want to work on a reasonable bill so we can continue to produce the high quality cannabis everyone wants.

“The licensing bill will pass, and they will slowly, slowly, slowly lean on people who don't have a license. We'll need amnesty. We will fix ponds. We will comply with the law. If they come and we have to pay permit fees, we’ll say, ‘Give us time.’ Timber and fishing are gone. What is left is cannabis. We want to come in from the cold. We want to be integrated.”

Julia Carrera, a Ukiah cannabis farm inspector, registered lobbyist and consultant to the Small Farmers’ Association, a medical cannabis growers’ support group, said she has already begun lobbying in Sacramento. She envisions bus loads of people going to the capitol demanding to save small farms and everything those farms represent.

“I am a newborn lamb up there,” Carrera said, “and they seem to be responding. Lobbying needs to come from a more vulnerable place.”

Willits City Councilmember Holly Madrigal, who is running for Third District Supervisor, said many of her constituents have expressed “real anxiety and fear about the price dropping. How are we going to survive?”

Kumin noted that a Rand Corporation study has predicted that the price of cannabis will drop 80 percent with legalization. He said that the Midwest could become like “the Budweiser of marijuana.”

One farmer responded that the climate in the Midwest is too cold, too rainy and too humid to grow marijuana and lacks Mendocino’s ideal growing conditions. He said he favors the appellation regulation model used in wine industry, which would legally define and protect the geographical name, in this case Mendocino, where the cannabis is grown.

“I hope we can go with the appellation model because 350 plants is not sustainable with the kind of water we have,” another audience member said. “Below a certain number a farmer should not have to be licensed.”

When one grower suggested indoor growers be allowed to grow 2,000 plants, another audience member countered: “Indoor is going to go away because it's not sustainable. We have to get our branding down and organize. The big farms will come to a close.”

A participant likened marijuana growers’ cooperatives forming in Mendocino County to the “fair trade” movement’s positive impact on small businesses in developing economies. “This is our little local culture. The co-op is the answer to capitalism.”

Performance artist and writer Sherry Glaser, whose Mendocino cannabis dispensary, Love In It Cooperative, was raided in March and has now reopened, said she hopes the proposed medical cannabis regulations will protect “reciprocity” between states. Just as a physician’s medication prescriptions from another state are recognized in most other states, so too, she said, should be a doctor’s medical cannabis recommendation. (Since cannabis is on the federal government’s Schedule 1 list of narcotics, doctors cannot legally prescribe marijuana.)

Throughout the meeting speakers as well as growers referred to Colorado and Washington states, where “recreational” marijuana has recently been legalized.

The key to Colorado’s success, Terrance Alan said before the meeting, was the state’s adoption of medical marijuana regulations prior to the new legislation. Consequently, the transition to recreational use has moved much more easily.

Kumin said later that Washington State had medical cannabis laws and regulations, but the governor vetoed most of them. The veto reduced safe access for patients and is the reason why Washington is still struggling with the interplay between medical and adult (recreational) use.

“Medication versus recreation is a false dichotomy,” one grower said. “We can't get railroaded into that. At base it's a spiritual thing.”

Lobbying and licensing efforts will also be the topic of a meeting at Dragonfly Dispensary & Wellness Center, 17851 N. Highway One, Fort Bragg, Weds., May 28, 7 p.m.

[Jane Futcher is the author of Women Gone Wild, a memoir about moving to northern Mendocino County.]

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“IF LIBERTY means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Quick! Who said that? Dick Cheney? Martin Luther King? John Coate? Eric Blair?

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THE KZYX LISTSERVE is buzzing with a discussion about tightening up the station's Programmer Handbook as to how a programmer might lose his air time to include how he might lose it off-air. Off-air? Off-air. Which seems to mean criticizing station management in forums other than "Free Speech Radio, Mendocino County" itself where, of course, discussion of the station is not allowed on-air. But off-air? That might be a little much even for Philo's intrepid "speakers of truth to power."

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: “A guy just got in line behind me wearing a Frisco Will Fuck You Up shirt, then asked if I could give him ‘more room.’ He smells like whiskey and years of chain smoking. Just heard him take a call where he politely told his daughter to “ask your cunt of a mother to take you to school. I'm at the District of Motor Vehicles.” The line outside is a mile long. Just saw a woman give birth in a puddle of gasoline. A soccer match just broke out in the parking lot. I smell bacon-wrapped hot dogs and it's coming from INSIDE. There's a family squatting over a pot cooking what looks like underwear. A cockfight is taking place to my left, a knife fight to my right. Everyone in here has some sort of cut or bruise. Most tattoos misspelled. I passed my eye test, but it's for naught because I know I will die here at DMV.”

— Parker T. Gibbs

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On May 20, 2014, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors announced the appointment of Wallace Clark as the Interim Library Director for the Mendocino County Library District.

Supervisor John Pinches, representing the 3rd District and current Board Chair, commented on the Board’s action stating, “On behalf of the Board, I know we are all very excited to see Mr. Clark in his new role, understanding that he brings with him both experience and passion for the work he does."

Wallace Clark
Wallace Clark

Mr. Clark brings over 20 years of experience to his new role having worked in the library field since 1990 in various locations throughout California, Washington, and Idaho. Most recently, Mr. Clark has served as the Branch Librarian for the Mendocino County Library, Fort Bragg Branch, since July, 2012.

Regarding his interim appointment, Mr. Clark said, “I am very pleased to be given this wonderful opportunity and I am looking forward to working with and alongside the Board of Supervisors, the CEO, the Library Advisory Board and the library staff to help make this interim period an exciting and fruitful one for the Mendocino County Library.”

Mr. Clark received his Bachelor of Arts degree at California State University Fullerton in 1998 and furthered his education, receiving his Master of Library Science at UCLA in 1990.

The Mendocino County Library District comprises five locations (Coast Community/Pt. Arena, Covelo, Fort Bragg, Ukiah, and Willits) in addition to the Bookmobile traveling branch library serving remote locations throughout the county.

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441. (County Press Release)

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I sent this letter to the Record-Bee on May 4th, but they still haven't published it. The info in it is very eye opening. Please read this. Investigate and Find the Truth Before You Vote I feel like we have been living in the Wild West for so long with the good old boys running the show. It is always a surprise to see what new antics go on here each day.

Recently I found out three disturbing things about DA Anderson.

1) In 2011, four people in Middletown were arrested for selling marijuana to a minor and the DA immediately released them from jail without due process of the law. He didn’t wait for the police reports or talk to the arresting officer. The DA said he released them because it was just $5 worth of marijuana, and ridiculed Sheriff Rivero for making a three-gram bust. I don't know about you guys but even if it was only 5 cents worth, contributing to the delinquency of a minor is still wrong. It is very suspicious, though, that one of the four people released was the son of DA Anderson’s girlfriend.

2) I think the worst thing that the DA did was concerning an ex-deputy sheriff who was accused of 16 counts of child molestation on a local girl when she was just 13 years old. The ex deputy used the RIMs system information to get personal info on this girl to target her. The DA personally knew this man because the man’s brother worked for many years in the DA’s office. To make a long story short, the Judge rejected a plea bargain where the ex-deputy would plead guilty to one count, so the defense had the case moved to Marin County and DA Anderson drove to Marin and testified for the defense that he knew this man for 15 years and he was a good man.

The case ended with a mistrial and the ex-deputy got off scott-free and doesn't even have to register as a sex offender. The jury never knew about the plea bargain or it being rejected by the judge for being too lenient.

After that, this same ex-deputy became a girls' assistant track coach at Mt. Vista Middle School; luckily a wise parent who knew of him reported it to the school and he was fired. The DA should be ashamed of himself for not helping the victim or any future victims of this ex deputy (this is the second time the DA let a sex offender go. Look up Justin Lazard. He doesn’t have to register as a sex offender, either).

3) The State Board Of Attorneys suspended him in 2010, but at the same time he was still working as a DA. This was very illegal, no respect for our laws. And he is supposed to represent the law. These are just some of the wrong doings that upset Sheriff Rivero and caused a riff between the DA and Sheriff. Our Sheriff has integrity and doesn’t show favoritism. He has been fighting corruption since his first day on the job. There is no love lost between Rivero and Anderson, because apparently they both interpret the law differently.

I think the best team for the county is Sheriff Rivero and DA candidate Andre M. Ross. They will not sweep any cases under the rug or show favoritism. They are without oppression or intimidation from the good old boys.

Please investigate everything I said. I encourage you all to read a five-part article titled “DA Anderson vs. Sheriff Rivero: Who started this fight!” at Your eyes will truly be opened just like mine were.

We are Americans and need to keep our free speech and free writing. Those we vote into office need to follow the laws of the United States. We need new energy and intelligent decisions in the court. Please re-elect Sheriff Rivero and elect Andre M. Ross. I only have the best for the county in my heart. We need to feel happy, secure, protected and have peace of mind. God bless our beautiful Lake County.

One final note: I was pleased to read that The Committee to Re-Elect Sheriff Rivero announced his most recent endorsements which are: Lake County Democratic Central Committee, Lake County Stonewall Democratic Club, Teamsters Local 665, Teamsters Public Affairs Council, North Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and Scott’s Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

Lisa Alotta, Clearlake

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GRAFFITI -- Caller in the 1100 block of North Bush Street reported at 7:35 a.m. Monday finding graffiti. An officer took a report.

BROKEN WINDOW -- Caller at Pomolita Middle School reported at 8:08 a.m. Monday that a window had been broken in the girl's locker room.

GRAFFITI -- Caller in the 200 block of West Gobbi Street reported at 8:13 a.m. Monday finding graffiti. An officer took a report.

TREE CUT DOWN -- Caller in the 1100 block of Mulberry Street reported at 9:08 a.m. Monday that a tree had been cut down. The incident was documented.

MAN WITH DEAD DOG -- Caller at the corner of Luce Avenue and South Dora Street reported at 12:18 p.m. Monday that a heavyset man with no shirt on was yelling and lying on a dog. An officer responded and spoke with a man who had found the dog dead. The dog was taken to the county shelter.

VEHICLE PROWL -- An officer responded to the 1300 block of Chateau Place at 1:04 p.m. Monday and took a report for a burglarized vehicle.

TRANSIENTS BEHIND BUSINESS -- Caller in the 1000 block of North State Street reported at 2:51 p.m. Monday that transients were sleeping behind the building and requested extra patrols.

MAN PASSED OUT IN CHAIR -- Caller at a restaurant in the 700 block of South State Street reported at 2:53 p.m. Monday that a man was passed out in a chair inside. An officer responded and arrested a 31-year-old Clearlake man on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

BURGLARY -- Caller in the 500 block of East Perkins Street reported at 4:53 p.m. Monday that a business had been burglarized. An officer responded and took a report.

MAN URINATING IN PUBLIC -- Caller on Lorraine Street reported at 5:12 p.m. Monday that a man had urinated in public. An officer responded and advised the man.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON -- An officer responded to the 500 block of East Perkins Street at 5:19 p.m. Monday for a report of a suspicious person and arrested Ted Palmer, 39, of Ukiah, on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy, identity theft, petty theft and violating his probation.

AMNESIA AT THE AIRPORT -- Caller at the bus stop at the Ukiah Municipal Airport reported at 5:41 p.m. Monday that he did not know who or where he was. The caller was referred to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

GRAFFITI -- Caller in the 700 block of South Dora Street reported at 6:26 p.m. Monday finding graffiti. An officer took a report.

DINE AND DASH -- Caller at Denny's on Pomeroy Avenue reported that a heavyset man driving a blue minivan left without paying for his meal.

GRAFFITI -- Caller at the Ukiah Cinema Six on South State Street reported at 10:17 p.m. Monday that someone wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt was spray-painting a sign out front. An officer responded and took a report for vandalism.

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The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:

MARIJUANA SALES -- Ian Haynes, 33, of Laytonville, was arrested at 9:49 a.m. May 4 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and cultivating marijuana, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.

MARIJUANA SALES, TRANSPORT -- Michelle O. Bollay, 24, of La Habra, was arrested at 1:44 p.m. May 4 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and transporting marijuana for sale, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The California Highway Patrol arrested her.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Adam J. Moore, 42, of Willits, was arrested at 10:46 a.m. May 5 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Willits Police Department arrested him.

CHILD ABUSE -- Zachary Bair, 28, of Caspar, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. May 6 on suspicion of child abuse or endangerment and inflicting corporal injury on a child, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.

DUI -- Gregory A. Lenhart, 60, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 6:57 p.m. May 6 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, possessing marijuana hashish, refusing to obey an officer and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.

MARIJUANA SALES -- Laureano A. Valencia, 36, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 9:28 p.m. May 6 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, driving with a suspended license and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail under $80,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.

DUI -- Eddie F. Marmon, 41, of Ukiah, was arrested at 10:08 p.m. May 6 on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and booked at the county jail under $2,500 bail. The CHP arrested him.

DUI -- David S. Guthrie, 24, of Redwood Valley, was arrested at 7:49 a.m. May 7 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.

DUI -- Kenneth T. Lawson, 23, of Willits, was arrested at 2:32 p.m. May 7 on suspicion of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $10,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.

CHILD ABUSE, GANG ACTIVITY -- William C. Raley, 27, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 10:30 p.m. May 7 on suspicion of child abuse or endangerment, making threats, participating in a criminal street gang and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.

GANG ACTIVITY -- Jose L. Tamayo, 20, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 11:30 p.m. May 7 on suspicion of participating in a criminal street gang, making threats and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.

GANG ACTIVITY -- Orlando A. Villalpando, 19, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 12:10 a.m. May 8 on suspicion of participating in a criminal street gang, making threats and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Anthony K. Brosseau, 36, of Gualala, was arrested at 1:17 a.m. May 8 on suspicion of domestic assault, battery, vandalism causing $400 of damage or more and burglary, and booked at the county jail under $10,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.

DUI -- Jaime Tinajero, 35, of Ukiah, was arrested at 10:09 a.m. May 8 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $20,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.

DUI -- Javier Quieroz, 57, of Upper Lake, was arrested at 3:45 p.m. May 8 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Jennifer N. Yonkers, 24, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 1:47 a.m. May 9 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.

DUI -- Glen E. Gustafson, 29, of Ukiah, was arrested at 6:23 p.m. May 9 on suspicion of driving under the influence and petty theft, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.

MARIJUANA SALES, TRANSPORT -- Joshua J. Schreckengost, 22, of Richmond, was arrested at 12:54 p.m. May 10 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and transporting marijuana for sale, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested him.

MARIJUANA SALES -- Jose L. Mendoza-Arreguin, 43, of Boonville, was arrested at 5:15 p.m. May 10 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and failing to appear in court, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Joseph V. Metallo, 26, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 11:45 p.m. May 10 on suspicion of domestic assault and violating a court order, and booked at the county jail under $35,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.

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Energy officials downgrade Monterey Shale oil reserves by 95.6%

by Dan Bacher

Oil industry representatives have continually claimed that the expansion of fracking for oil in California will lead to the creation of many thousands of jobs and the influx of billions of dollars into the economy, but these claims were exposed as false when federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) officials downgraded Monterey Shale reserves by 95.6 percent on May 20.

In her recent blog, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, touted the jobs bonanza that would supposedly be created by expanded fracking. (

"Senate Bill 4 created a pathway to transparent environmental protections while balancing the need to meet California’s energy demands and create valuable, much-needed jobs in the San Joaquin Valley," said Reheis-Boyd.

"A study produced by the California State University, Fresno found that hydraulic fracturing in the San Joaquin Valley’s Monterey Shale Formation could grow personal income by as much as $4 billion while creating more than 195,000 new jobs. In addition to these localized opportunities, the entire state will benefit from increased domestic energy production," gushed Reheis-Boyd.

However, Reheis-Boyd's contention that the expansion of fracking in California will create thousands of jobs and inject billions of dollars into the economy was completely dispelled when the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirmed new estimates for US shale oil reserves, reducing its previous estimate for technically recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale from 13.7 billion barrels of oil to just 0.6 billion barrels of oil. ( )

This amounts to a 95.6 percent reduction and "is illustrative of just how much the Monterey Shale is misunderstood," according to a statement from CAFrackFacts, a non profit organization. To put this figure in perspective, the EIA’s latest estimate of 0.6 billion barrels would only be enough to meet US oil consumption for 32 days. (

"From the information we've been able to gather, we've not seen evidence that oil extraction in this area is very productive using techniques like fracking," said John Staub, a petroleum exploration and production analyst who led the energy agency's research, told the LA Times. "Our oil production estimates combined with a dearth of knowledge about geological differences among the oil fields led to erroneous predictions and estimates.

"This downgrade fundamentally changes the risk-reward calculation when it comes to unconventional oil development in our state,” said Jayni Foley Hein, Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Energy and the Environment and CAFrackFacts Advisor. “Given that the industry's promised economic benefits are not likely to materialize, the state should take a hard look at the impacts that oil development has on public health, safety, and the environment."

For years, the Western States Petroleum Association and oil companies have made extensive claims and invested heavily in attempting to develop the Monterey Shale using unconventional development techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and acidization.

These controversial techniques were believed to be the "answer" to tapping into the oil of the Monterey Shale and replicating the oil boom that is occurring in other regions of the United States, according to CAFrackFacts.

“With these new numbers from the EIA, it is clear that the Monterey Shale will not be the panacea that will fuel our cars, jobs or the California economy,” said Dr. Seth B. Shonkoff, Executive Director of the scientific organization PSE Healthy Energy. “It is critical that California turn its attention towards energy sources that will meet our energy demands for the near- and long-term, facilitate the meeting of our climate targets and create real jobs in this State.”

"As large-scale fracking of the Monterey Shale seems unlikely, other forms of enhanced oil recovery throughout California continue to pose not fully-understood risks to the health and safety of Californians," the group said.

CAFrackFacts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding and scientific knowledge about unconventional drilling and well stimulation techniques in California. For more information, visit or follow them on Twitter @CAFrackFacts.

Following the news that the U.S. Energy Information Administration has cut its estimate of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale by 95.6 percent, CREDO, a progressive group working to ban fracking, released the following statement:

"There is only one reason that Governor Brown would put his climate legacy at risk by allowing fracking in California -- as a desperate and misguided gamble on a short-term economic gain," said Zack Malitz, campaign manager for CREDO. "But this report hammers the final nail in the coffin for oil companies' ludicrous claims that fracking is the key to California's prosperity. There is now no longer any political gain to be had for the governor in supporting fracking and putting our state at risk from water contamination, earthquakes and climate change. He must enact a moratorium."

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) that is leading the campaign to frack California spends more money every year on lobbying in Sacramento than any other corporate group. This massive spending enables the oil industry to effectively buy the votes of many State Assembly Members and Senators.

The organization spent a total of $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013 on lobbying at the State Capitol - and spent $1,456,785 in just the first 3 months of 2014. ( You can bet that a good chunk of this money spent so far this year was spent on stopping Senate Bill 1132, Senator Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno's fracking moratorium bill.

A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause also reveals that Big Oil's combined spending on lobbying and political campaigns in Sacramento amounts to a stunning $266.9 million over the past 15 years. (

However, the oil industry's ability to effectively buy the Governor's Office, legislators and environmental processes doesn't change the fact that the Energy Information Administration's estimate for technically recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale has been reduced from 13.7 billion barrels of oil to just 0.6 billion barrels of oil.

Meanwhile, opposition to fracking is mushrooming throughout the state. In the latest victory in the campaign to ban the environmentally destructive oil extraction process, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on May 20 to prohibit fracking and oil and gas development in Santa Cruz County.

Food & Water Watch,, Environment California, Center for Biological Diversity, Californians Against Fracking, Santa Cruz Sierra Club, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and UC Santa Cruz students rallied with Supervisor John Leopold after the vote to celebrate the victory. (

"We congratulate the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors for their historic vote towards protecting California’s air and water, and for setting a positive example for other counties and Governor Brown,” said Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch.

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