- Celebration Sours
- Covelo Slaying
- Cleone Collision
- Boonville Memorial
- Private Anderson
- Spotters Needed
- Beerfest Improvements
- Prosecutorial Procedures
- Lake County Fire
- Dope Prices
- Hering Groove
- To Do List
- Perv Overload
- Overturn Citizens United
- Perv Check
- Scrap Metal Heist
- Move To Amend
- Madrigal Madrigal
- Corporate Crime
- War Movies
THERE'S IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE and then there's Trevor Sanders of Point Arena, a teacher at Point Arena High School, member of the Point Arena City Council, baseball coach of Point Arena's freshly crowned small school champions. It's that championship that got Sanders celebrating Saturday night. And celebrating. And celebrating some more. Despite the determined efforts of the fogbelt drinking establishment and patrons where Sanders was belting them down, he managed to get his car keys, and this is where the non-celebratory events began. Although he lives only a block away from the bar, Sanders decided to drive home. Spotting a recent PA grad he apparently dislikes, Sanders flipped the kid off and playfully swerved his vehicle at the boy and, according to witnesses, struck him with the vehicle without seriously hurting the lad. The kid, unamused at his former teacher's hijinks, immediately began pummeling and pulling on the booze-befuddled Sanders, who was still seated in his vehicle. Very soon, a small army of cops were on-scene and Sanders was hauled over two sets of Coast Range hills to the County Jail in Ukiah. When the poor guy sobered up Sunday it was to the prospect of unemployment, and perhaps even removal from that august deliberative body, the PA City Council.
SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT detectives are investigating the weekend slaying of a 21-year-old Covelo woman. The body of Rosalena Bell Rodriguez was found Sunday morning lying on the pavement in the 78000 block of Hopper Lane, Covelo. The motorist who found her contacted the Sheriff's Office about 7:15am to report the body, adding that it appeared Rodriguez had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Rodriguez had indeed suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Detectives began an investigation Sunday and resumed their work Monday, said Sheriff's Captain Greg Van Patten. Rodriguez has family in Covelo and apparently was a lifelong resident, he said. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
A FORT BRAGG MAN, 49, but still not identified by name, was killed Sunday afternoon about 1:30 in a head-on collision near Cleone. The Fort Bragg man, northbound in a 2001 Volvo, had drifted into the oncoming lane where he collided with a southbound 2000 Ford driven by Michael A. Jensen of Chehalis, Washington. The Fort Bragg man was declared dead at the scene of the accident. Jensen, 68, was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial with serious injuries.
STEVE SPARKS WRITES: “Many thanks to those who showed up at 10am on Monday morning for the annual Memorial Day Service at Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way. Our sincere apologies to others who heard or read that the event was at 9am or 11am and turned up for the service at those times. We were responsible for a series of poor communications that led to this confusion and we offer our sincere apologies to those folks who were inconvenienced. Redwood Empire American Legion — Branch 385.”
MEMORIAL DAY came and went without discernible pause to pay tribute to all those lost hundreds of thousands, most of them very young, who went off to do what they thought was the right thing and never came back. The three local vets I know best almost didn’t make it back from Vietnam. Two of them were shot up; the third returned physically unscathed but haunted, and unwell. I opposed that war and got in fairly serious trouble for doing it, but I never once had anything but deep sympathy and respect for the people who had to fight it and I'll always have an unending contempt for the third-rate men who made them fight it. I was lucky. I got in and out of the active Marines between the Korean and Vietnam wars, but I was young and raring to go at 17, and the Marines in the late 1950s got you ready to go and then some. If I’d been a few years younger or a few years older, Pvt. Anderson 1574007, mos 0300 (mortars) would have been on the boat to Korea or the plane to Vietnam.
ATTENTION HILL MUFFINS! The Anderson Valley Fire Department is looking for volunteer smoke spotters, says Fire Chief Andres Avila. “Over the recent years our AV lookouts have been a crucial part of our fire fighting team by either confirming locations of fires for incoming units, spotting the locations of lightning strike fires, or being the first to call in a developing wildfire. This fire season has the potential to be more serious than we've seen in recent times, which means that we will be relying on our lookouts more than ever. If you live in any location near Anderson Valley and have long distance views of the valley or the country surrounding us, you may be able to help us during the upcoming fire season. AVFD is providing a ‘Fire Lookout’ training in mid-June for anyone who is interested in helping.” Contact AVFD at 895 2020 to sign on as a fire lookout.
BEERFEST was a major improvement on last year. Parks Supt. Loren Rex came to Boonville and met with the owner and Fal to iron out an agreement. The Dept added additional staff both Friday and Saturday. The Beerfest put in money for the added Saturday personnel and the Dept funded the Friday people itself. I gather, second hand from our volunteers, that there is still a significant transportation issue in that more people would have liked to use the shuttle or some sort of taxi, but not enough seats were available to meet the demand. Apparently some taxi service from Ukiah eventually showed up to amplify the seats available. Maybe a bigger bus can be fielded next year. Glad things worked out!
HERE'S HOW DOUGLAS BERMAN, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School and now law professor at Ohio State University, reacted in his blog to the Los Angeles Times piece on Mendocino County Dave Eyster's marijuana restitution program: “The Los Angeles Times has this fascinating new article on a fascinating drug war innovation being utilized by a local districy attorney in California. The article is headlined “Mendocino County DA takes a new approach to marijuana cases."
Regular readers should not be at all surprised that I am inclined to praise Mendocino County DA for engineering a seemingly more efficient and perhaps more effective way to wage the modern drug war. Indeed, given the muddled mess that is both California's medical marijuana laws and the opaque federal enforcement of prohibition in that state, this “Mendocino model” for modern marijuana enforcement for lower-level marijuana cases strikes me as a very wise way to use prosecutorial discretion and triage prosecutorial resources.
I would like to believe that the federal grand jury investigating the “Mendocino model” is focused on seeing if a local success story can be turned into a national program. But I fear that the feds are looking into what DA Eyster is doing because they fear even the prospect of somebody inventing any better drug war mousetraps.
Finally, though I suppose I should be concerned about the potential for prosecutors extorting criminal defendants in this setting, this form of extortion troubles me much less than when prosecutors demand that defendants give up various rights to avoid a crazy-long mandatory prison sentences in traditional plea bargaining. When DA Eyster seeks money from marijuana defendants as part of the plea process, it seems he is only seeking to have them relinquish what were likely ill-gotten gains (much of which might end up going to defense attorneys' pockets without such a deal available); when other prosecutors seek pleas and cooperation from other defendants facing extreme prison terms, these prosecutors are demanding that defendants relinquish constitutional and statutory rights created specifically to limit and check the power of government officials.”
FIREFIGHTERS have mostly contained a Lake County wildland fire that began Sunday east of Lucerne in the Mendocino National Forest. The fire burned 175 acres and is 75 percent contained, a Cal Fire spokesman said Monday morning. The fire began shortly after noon Sunday along Bartlett Springs Road in remote terrain near the Indian Valley Reservoir. Firefighters from Cal Fire, the Mendocino National Forest and various Lake County agencies fought the blaze.
DOPE PRICES, an on-line comment: “Outdoor pounds still going for $1300, in late May! Expect some $900 pounds this coming winter as desperation kicks in. The big crash is coming soon. This is only the lead-in to what will surely be…less than pretty.”
DANCE! Uncle Sam Bruce Hering WANTS YOU — TO BE THERE! at the AV Grange Saturday the 31st from 7:30-10:00 for a night to remember, doing the Bruce Groove with family, friends, and the community of Mendocino County who remember Bruce variously as Mr. Bruce Bread, Uncle Sam, political activist, running race organizer and runner, Burning Man afficionado, and generally a man who put his generous heart and soul into a better life here in Mendocino County and Anderson Valley. Please spread the word, it will be an event to remember. —Barbara Goodell
THERE’S A LONG AND COMPREHENSIVE TO-DO list that has been waiting for us since at least 2008, when the nation received one forceful blow upside its thick head. We refuse to pay attention. First item on the list: restructure the banks. Other items: reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act; disassemble the ridiculous “security” edifice under the NSA; upgrade the US electric grid; close down most of our military bases overseas (and some of our bases in the USA); draw up a constitutional amendment re-defining the alleged “personhood” of corporations; fix the passenger railroad system to prepare for the end of Happy Motoring; rebuild Main Street commerce to prepare for the death of WalMart and things like it; outlaw GMO foods and promote local food production; shut down casino gambling. That’s just my list. What’s yours? And when will you step out of this rotting house into the sunshine? (James Kunstler)
THE STATE'S sex offender office wants to overhaul the registry because they claim it has grown too big and “does not help differentiate between offenders who pose significant risks and those not likely to reoffend.” You could put every other Californian down as a perv-a-rama and not be too far off, but that's the way this particular statement of the obvious begins. It appeared in all the newspapers over the weekend, America having sex on its fragged mind from way back. There are tens of thousands of people who've been popped for stuff that represent no menace whatsoever to their fellow citizens. Megan's Law's perv roster ought to be purged, too. There's no point in permanently stigmatizing busts for statutory rape, mooning, urinating in public and so on. A 19-year-old having sex with his 17-year-old girl friend is not a pervert, not a menace to a public now accustomed to and assumed to be teeming with all kinds of real menaces, as recent events in Santa Barbara again prove. Child molesters, rapists, violent sex criminals ought to be listed, of course, but indecent exposure? Weenie wagging? Streaking? (Say, whatever happened to streaking? That was fun. Mooning, too.)
DEAR FRIENDS AND ACTIVISTS,
We're on a huge roll, but now we need you to speak out again more than ever. The Overturn Citizens United Act, SB1272, to put the question to the voters of the state of California, just scored its second overwhelming committee victory, thanks to your voices, and now goes to the full Calif. state senate. We need you to go to the site below and sign the petition at: http://www.peaceteam.net/pass_sb1272.php
SAFE SWEEP. On May 19th and 20th 2014, Sergeant Derek Scott lead law enforcement officers and deputies from the Mendocino County Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, Mendocino County Probation Department, and California State Parole in a two day operation, conducting sex registrant compliance checks throughout Ukiah, Willits and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Mendocino County. The sweep conducted by SAFE was carried out as part of an intermittent series of operations to enforce residential and parole/probation requirements by registered sex offenders in the county. The law enforcement officers and deputies verified 47 registered sex offender addresses. Eight were arrested for violation of probation or parole and one for cultivation of marijuana. Out of 47 registrants, two were transients and one was a Sexual Violent Predator (SVP). Mendocino County has about 260 sex offenders to include the cities. Not everyone arrested during the two day sweep was a registered sex offender. The Megan's Law website (www.meganslaw.ca.gov) allows citizens to search for registered sex offenders by geographic location and by name. Anyone with information regarding out of compliance sex registrants is urged to contact the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in that area. The following persons were arrested during the operation: Adam Barnett, 41, was arrested for 11358 HS-cultivating of marijuana. Larry Barnett, 62, was arrested for 1203.2 PC-violation of probation. Kyle Hunter was arrested for 3056 PC-violation of parole and 1203.2 PC-violation of probation. Joel Willis, 50, was arrested for 3056 PC-parole violation. Manuel Silva, 54, was arrested for 3056 PC-parole violation. Travis Bonson, 34, was arrested for 3056 PC-parole violation. James Barry, 45, was arrested for 3056 PC-parole violation. Thomas Saunders, 33, was arrested for 3056 PC-parole violation. Jem Bailey, 42, was arrested for 3056 PC-parole violation. Any inquires in regards to this press release or operation should be directed to Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Derek Scott by calling 707-463-4086.
CHECK IN. On May 23, 2014, at 9:30am Sheriff's Deputies were summoned to the area of the Railroad Tracks behind the Hopland Inn for a reported burglary to an old railroad building, currently leased by the Hopland Utilities District. Upon arrival, Deputies learned that there was in fact an interrupted burglary and there were several items of scrap metal on the ground beside a vehicle found to belong to the suspect, Daniel Check, 26, of Hopland. The reporting person saw Check in the area and observed the scrap metal on the ground next to his vehicle. The person confronted Check and then called 911. Check left the scene on foot abandoning his vehicle. A further inspection revealed that there were several pieces of power and electrical equipment in the rear passenger area of the vehicle and the door to the building had been opened by removing screws from a door hasp. Persons responsible for the Hopland Utilities District responded and identified the scrap metal as having come from the building and they identified the equipment inside Check's vehicle as belonging to the Utilities District. The items were valued at over $1,000 not including the scrap metal which consisted of an old metal cable and a large number of metal plates used for rail lines. Check was identified as the suspect by witnesses and he was located a short time later walking in the area of Mountain House Road and South Highway 101 in Hopland, California. Check was arrested for burglary and for a violation of his probation. Check was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
MOVE TO AMEND GAINS SUPPORT from the Willits City Council and Rep Jared Huffman — The Willits City Council passed a Move To Amend-drafted resolution on May 14th in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to clarify that corporations are not people, money is not “free speech,” and campaign funding can be regulated. Willits now joins Mendocino County's other three incorporated cities — Point Arena, Fort Bragg and Ukiah — in passing such a resolution. The county Board of Supervisors also passed it as did, most importantly, 75% of Mendocino County voters in a 2012 county ballot measure.
On the national front, our representative in the House, Jared Huffman, has become the third cosponsor of the Move To Amend-backed We the People Amendment, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.” You can thank Rep. Huffman by emailing him at his website: https://huffman.house.gov/contact/email-me
Mendocino’s citizens, Board of Supervisors and four city councils join several hundred other municipalities in passing Move To Amend resolutions as part of a grassroots movement to end corporate rule and create a real democracy — rule by and for all the people, not just the richest 1%. You can show your support by signing the petition at: MoveToAmend.org
THREE CHEERS FOR HOLLY
Letter to the Editor-
I recently attended Candidates Night in Willits for the 3rd District Supervisors. One thing that impressed me was the candidates agreeing to a friendly race. I thought this is what makes Willits a great place to live and raise a family: people here are friendly. Apparently Hal forgot this as soon as the evening was over. The very next day I was surprised to see he had bought a very spiteful ad directly attacking Mayor Holly Madrigal.
I’m a mother and wife and I work in the schools. Every day I am reminded of the negative effects bullying has on our youth and our society. It’s up to us, the adults, to show them there is a better way to get ahead in life and be contributing members of society than by being a bully!
When I am looking for a Supervisor, I want someone who knows how to work with others effectively and creatively to find solutions, not someone who bullies others to get their way. I want someone who is honest and caring. We all know Holly and many of us have worked with her on projects throughout Willits over the years. She listens to everyone's concerns and handles adversity with patience, respect and strength; I admire this quality in her and I trust her.
Over the last ten years Holly Madrigal has represented us in Willits and I want her to represent us in the 3rd district. I want her to win it and win it now on June 3rd so she can put this campaign aside and focus on more important work for us. I’m telling you she is the ONLY candidate that is going to hit the ground running. Think about it.
I am proud of who she is, what she has become and where she is going. That's why on June 3rd I’m voting for Holly Madrigal for 3rd District Supervisor…Vote for Holly, let's vote for Holly! (You know the cheer)
Wendy Copperfield, Willits
TOO BIG TO JAIL? CREDIT SUISSE’S SWEETHEART DEAL
by Ralph Nader
Attorney General Eric Holder’s sweetheart settlement with Switzerland’s second largest bank, corporate criminal Credit Suisse, sent the wrong message to other corporate barons. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says it well:
“Nor does the plea deal hold any officers, directors or key executives individually accountable for wrongdoing, raising the question of whether it will sufficiently deter similar misconduct in the future.”
Mr. Holder, of course, touted the deal as tough. Credit Suisse was fined a non-deductible $2.6 billion for their long, elaborate plan to provide tax evasion services for many thousands of wealthy Americans. The bank agreed to plead guilty of criminal wrongdoing – a rare demand on the usually coddled large financial institutions. In addition, Credit Suisse, in Mr. Holder’s words, failed “to retain key documents, allowed evidence to be lost or destroyed, and conducted a shamefully inadequate internal inquiry”… through a “conspiracy” that “spanned decades.”
The bank also agreed to a “statement of facts” that detailed the nature of this conspiracy which is worthy of an international crime thriller and involved hundreds of Credit Suisse employees, “secret offshore accounts” and “sham entities and foundations.” In short, this was a broad-based and coordinated sizable, financial criminal enterprise.
Credit Suisse agreed to turn over information about other banks that may be engaged in similar cross-border crimes and also submitted to an outside, independent monitor for two years.
In return, here is what the corporate lawyers, King & Spalding, for Credit Suisse exacted from the Justice Department:
1. The bank retained its permits and licenses to remain fully operational in the United States.
2. Top management and directors emerged unscathed and were allowed to keep their lucrative positions.
3. State and federal regulators, including the SEC and Federal Reserve, agreed not to take related actions against the bank.
4. Credit Suisse does not have to give the Justice Department and the IRS the names of some 22,000 U.S. customers who engaged in these schemes, citing prohibitive Swiss law, which tough U.S. officials could have challenged with a waiver demand.
These concessions mystified both Senator McCain and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the latter having conducted an early inquiry into these crimes.
Credit Suisse’s CEO, American Brady Dougan, immediately issued a statement regretting “the past misconduct,” and then said that the deal will produce no “material impact” on “our operational or business capabilities.”
For comparison, let’s imagine that such crimes were committed by a community bank or a credit union. They would have shut them down and their executives would have been prosecuted, convicted and sent to jail, as many officials were during the savings and loan scandals in the Eighties and Nineties.
In short, Credit Suisse is not only too big to fail but its human schemers at the top rungs of the company apparently are too big to jail. Eight lower level supervisors were indicted. Six of them remain hidden in Switzerland and therefore can’t be extradited.
The aforementioned deal is relevant since it sets a precedent for the many future settlements expected in the near future between the Justice Department and the banks here and abroad. The more members of Congress from both parties howl and the more people demand an end to the double standard of enforcement between the Big Boys and the little guys, the stronger future deals will be and maybe Congress will beef up anemic enforcement budgets and pass stronger legislation regarding the corporate crime wave damaging our country and its people.
There is another problem that needs attention, as described by James Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey &Co. on Democracy Now, to wit:
“Eric Holder used to be an attorney at Covington & Burling, after he left the Clinton administration. He was handling UBS [a large Swiss bank] as a client. The chief IRS legal counsel, Mr. Wilkins, used to be a registered representative for the Swiss Banking Association in Washington, when he was a partner at WilmerHale. You have the U.S. treasury secretary, [who] was in charge of Citibank’s global private banking department when he was at Citibank in 2006…. [And] … one of the key golfing partners of the president of the United States, Robert Wolf, used to run UBS America. He was a big fundraiser for Obama in 2008. So this administration is permeated with people who are basically very sympathetic to Wall Street and to Swiss interests, as well.”
These previous relationships paint a troubling picture. Are these government officials willing to state publically that they are not going back through the revolving door to these law firms or large businesses? It is unlikely that they will deny themselves such a routine return to lucrative positions using the experience they built up, at taxpayers’ expense, to represent future corporate clients in trouble with law enforcement.
Mr. Holder would enhance his credibility in office were he to, at last, urge Congress to pass stronger corporate crime laws, adequate enforcement budgets and, endorse veteran Congressman John Conyers’ (D-MN) proposal to establish a corporate crime data base.
Alas, this stronger position against corporate crime is not likely to happen, even though it could save hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars a year. According to the Government Accountability Office and leading expert, Professor Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University, at least $270 billion will be drained away this year by the healthcare industry, just in computerized billing fraud and abuse.
Shuttling between governments and law firms has always been a tradition, most prominently exhibited by the powerful Lloyd Cutler in the Seventies and Eighties. The current issue of the Corporate Crime Reporter has published the names of the thirty top corporate criminal defense law firms arranging sixty percent of corporate deferred and non-prosecution agreements. It helps mightily for lawyers to bring their government regulatory experience to these giant power brokers.
Mr. Holder’s plea deal with Credit Suisse has to go for approval to U.S. District Judge Rebecca Smith. There may be intervenors objecting to its lenient terms. Stay tuned.
(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)
MEMORIAL DAY WHAT? SCREENING WAR FLICKS
by Clancy Sigal
Except for mourning family members and Boy Scouts loyally placing tiny flags on veterans’ gravestones hardly anyone knows anything about Memorial Day except that it’s a day off. It’s the saddest of the military holidays, invented after the Civil War, supposed to help us honor, or at least pause to remember, all the American dead from all our wars. That’s a lot of men and some women to remember going back, well, how far?
Big and small, we’ve “done” about 70 wars starting with the mid-18th century so-called French and Indian wars where George Washington was blooded and when we got our first taste of industrially massacring Native Americans mainly Ojibwas and Algonquins who sided with the French against our British masters.
Before penicillin it’s hard to get an accurate sum total figure of all those combat deaths because so many men died of disease and what was later called shell shock.
In our thirteen major and 60 or so “minor” wars let’s call a round figure of one and a half million dead. Compared to the mass war slaughter in, say, Russia or China, that’s small potatoes, but big potatoes for us. Our dead include wars you never heard, such the “Quasi War” with the French, the First Sumatran Expedition and Sheepeater Indian War plus, of course, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. A large number of US wars were fought against our own Native Americans (Modocs, Nez Perce, serial Seminole wars etc.) and other “colored” peoples in China, the Philippines, Haiti, central America, Mexico etc.
This doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from the genuine valor of so many American soldiers who fought, died, massacred others and were scalped in return.
Sadly or inspiringly, the truth is men and now women sometimes like to go to war. To do one’s patriotic duty can be exciting as well as deadly. You get a sense of purpose and usefulness, possibly your own worth by being in uniform. Personally, I liked being in the military including its chickenshit.
It’s also thrilling to watch war movies. To “celebrate” Memorial Day, Turner Classics on TV is throwing shot and shell at us for a solid four day, 72-hour marathon starting Saturday. The lineup includes 34 “classics” from the Civil War on. Unless my eyes deceive me Turner is not showing, or avoiding, some fine anti-pro-war films, Renoir’s Grand Illusion and Kubrick’s Paths of Glory as well as All Quiet On The Western Front and Howard Hawks’s The Road To Glory (co-written by William Faulkner). Turner’s bias is toward blood-and-guts “combat” stories, comedies and “touching stories of the families who wait at home.”
In the midst of all the testosterone-laden, gut-wrenching kill, kill, kill is some real quality that fails in the mission of sending men off to war. If you can make your way past The Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes, there’s The Best Years of Our Lives, the Quaker-friendly Friendly Persuasion, Sidney Lumet’s brilliant exposure of military sadism in The Hill, the German-made Westfront 19l8, and John Huston’s butchered but decent The Red Badge of Courage.
Missing, thank heaven, are Ronald Reagan’s favorite Patton and Katherine Bigelow’s “ballsy” recruiting poster Hurt Locker. But I’m sorry we won’t see Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima, a surprise masterpiece telling the battle from a Japanese point of view.
What’s not to love about war movies? Vivid images of men shooting the crap out of each other heats my blood. The gore of “this is how it is” is ultimately romantic and seductive. Most war movies can’t help but call us to arms. Rat tat tat to Black Watch bagpipe music.
Some movies, like Catch-22, M*A*S*H* and Tony Richardson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade, which also are not on Turner’s list, make an attempt to lower the testosterone level with some humor and cynicism. But in the end it’s almost impossible to outshout Objective, Burma, The Dawn Patrol, Where Eagles Dare and Twelve O’Clock High.
It’s a dilemma. How to pay tribute to the war dead while giving pause to young men and women who may be thinking about stepping into the dead soldiers’ combat boots?