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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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Dark Horse Warren Galletti — former Point Arena High School Principal/Sports Coach — had a surprising early lead for County Superintendent of Schools as of 1am Wednesday with over 43% of the first 12% of precincts reporting. Paul Hyphenate-What’sHisName, outgoing Superintendent Paul Tichinin’s hand-picked successor, trailed with just over 32% and Kathy Wylie, the choice of many outsiders, trailed the two men with just over 24%. (But these early returns are probably skewed toward inland precincts and could easily change as votes are counted.)

In the closely watched Third District Supervisorial race newcomer Tom Woodhouse had an impressive 42% of the initial 19% of the precincts counted, with Holly Madrigal looking like she’ll go into an uphill runoff with just over 38%. Former Supervisor Hal Wagenet couldn’t even muster a disappointing 12% of the initial returns, not much more than outsider Clay Romero who got almost 8%. One would assume that most of the Wagenet-Romero vote tend toward Woodhouse, making Woodhouse the initial front-runner in a likely November run-off with Madrigal.

Clerk-Recorder Challenger Robin Sunbeam had posted almost a quarter of the early returns, a decent result for a outsider whose platform was mostly about bad mortgages, but no one really expected incumbent Susan Ranochak to be unseated.

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THE STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD, as reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal in a story by Justine Frederiksen, has issued a final ruling revoking the former Masonite water right now owned by Millview County Water District. There are lushly productive wells on the old plant site just north of Ukiah. Millview bought the water right from Developer's Diversified Realty (DDR), which spent $1 million in an effort to rezone the Masonite property for a retail mega-mall. DDR said the County was taking too long to act on its application, so it tried an end run around the planning process at the ballot box, but failed big time. Voters said no mall. DDR then sold the rights to a number of wells formerly owned by Masonite with the understanding that Millview would treat the water and then make part of it available for future development at the Masonite site. The only prob is the type of water right held by Masonite requires that the water has to be put to "beneficial use" (which could include municipal, industrial or agricultural) or after a period of five years of non-use the water right is forfeited. And since Masonite shut down circa 2000 the State Water Board has now declared the water right forfeited for non-use.

THE MASONITE WATER RIGHT, established in 1954, allowed for the continuous direct diversion of 5.9 cubic feet per second from the nearby Russian River. But the Russian River has been declared "over-appropriated," which means that there are more people claiming "rights" to pump water, either directly or from wells fed by the river, than there is water available to pump. Which means people are fighting over "paper water" which only exists on paper if they all tried to pump at the same time. All Masonite had to do to preserve its right, was to put the water to beneficial use at least one year out of every five, which it failed to do. Millview argued it should be able to continue to rely on the water right because they have been under a moratorium for new connections since 2001 and the water is needed to end the moratorium and serve additional customers living in Millview's jurisdiction.

STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE, and the Sonoma County Water Agency, countered Millview's claim that revoking the license was needed "to protect water supply and prevent environmental impacts on Russian River public trust resources," which include three endangered species of salmon and steelhead. The State Water Board acknowledged the importance of having adequate water supply for human consumption, but concluded "the need to serve additional customers is not a valid policy argument to nullify a forfeiture." Doing so "would essentially allow Millview to initiate a new water right with a much earlier priority than could be obtained by following the proper procedures [which] would be unfair to junior appropriators...and to water users who followed proper procedures for obtaining a water right." The beneficiaries are downstream "junior appropriators" who have water rights established after 1954. Those junior appropriators, at least on paper, now have the right to pump the amount of acre feet previously recognized for the Masonite water right.

DON'T BE SURPRISED IF MILLVIEW, represented by Willits attorney Christopher Neary, sues the State Water Board in an effort to overturn the decision. Millview, again represented by Neary, is in a protracted legal battle over the "Waldteufel" water right, which Millview purchased (from Hill and Gomes, the developers of the West Fork subdivision on Lake Mendocino Drive) for a cool $2 million. The County Planning Commission, by the way, initially turned down the West Fork subdivision on a 7-0 vote because it was in the flood plain; converted ag land to housing; and was built on top of a spiderweb of earthquake faults. The Board of Supes, using Mendo style reasoning, overturned the Planning Commission. After all, only the roads, not the houses, would be built on top of the earthquake faults. And the houses would also be built on little pads of fill that would keep them out of the flood plain. So after the roads are destroyed by an earthquake, the residents can pray for a flood so they can get in and out of their houses by boat.

BUT THE WALDTEUFEL WATER RIGHT, which Hill and Gomes represented, amounted to upwards of 1,500 acre feet of water a year, and was determined by the State Water Board to only amount to about 15 acre feet a year. And Millview neglected to include a clause in the purchase agreement that tied the cost to the amount of water that was really available. Which means that the Millview rate payers are on the hook for the full $2 million for 15 acre feet of water, which makes it some of the most expensive water around. It is not known at this time if Millview's purchase of the forfeited Masonite water right was conditioned on water really being available. The case is now awaiting a final ruling by the State Court of Appeals.

IN A SEPARATE ACTION, Millview is also pursuing rights to Masonite "well #6," which it claims is not subject to State Water Board control since it is "percolated ground water." As distinct from "underflow," or water that is hydrologically connected to the Russian River, and therefore subject to State control. But you can bet the State Water Board and the Sonoma County Water Agency will unleash cadres of well funded attorneys if Millview seeks to start pumping from well #6. Which means only Millview and Neary stand between Mendocino County's tenuous rights to its own water and the continued expropriation of Mendocino County water to top off Marin County hot tubs and swimming pools.

(— Mark Scaramella)

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THE PHONE RINGS. I make the mistake of answering. "Philo fascism!" a female voice squawks, sounding very much like Polly wanting a cracker. I cock an ear for the terrible approach of synchronized jackboots. "I don't think they're coming for us today," I say. "You're talking about incompetents, not fascists. Fascism implies energy, evil intelligence. You see energy or intelligence anywhere on the fetid premises of that place?" I try not to be rude, but with some people.... Oblivious to my despairing groans, the caller thunders indignantly on, finally getting to the point about fifteen minutes in, which is that the FCC complaints filed by disgruntled KZYX members has been chucked. Of course it has. The FCC could care less about some kind of tax-funded, muffin-headed echo chamber deep in the American outback. "But they called us 'a handful of malcontents' and 'extreme leftists'." You're surprised? Dissidents are always called a minority of malcontents. Who cares? You should be honored. Anyway, most public radio people here in the seething Emerald Triangle moved on to KMUD years ago. There isn't any way to reform KZYX. Don't worry your pretty little head about it, Yaz old girl. Move on.

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ON THE SUBJECT of indignation, the clandestine meetings about what to do about the frost fans continue. Wendy Read is the lead malcontent on this one. Er, check that: Wendy can hardly be called a malcontent for representing majority Valley opinion, can she? The complaint about the preposterous racket the fans make filed with the county's Planning and Building Department by your beloved community newspaper is, I'm startled to report, actually being investigated. We got a call the other day from Planning and Building asking us for the specific addresses of the malefactors, which we were delighted to supply. We don't expect a wine-owned county to do anything about the annual sleep deprivation suffered by 2,000 residents of the Anderson Valley, but it's a start. An official record of complaint has been established, and next Spring when the aural assault re-commences in late March through April, and we're standing in front of the wine-supine Mendocino County Superior Court seeking our permanent injunction against these grotesque intrusions, it will be that much harder for the Court to rationally beat us back over the hill.

NOT THAT IT MATTERS to the cult-brains who elected him, but our alleged supervisor, Dan Hamburg, has not only been silent on the wind fan issue, he refuses to even respond to e-mail inquiries about them. And he runs for re-election unopposed on a record of doing absolutely nothing on this or any other issue! Hamburg is the only non-responsive supervisor. The other four return calls and are unfailingly helpful in clarifying this or that.

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A NEIGHBOR of Husch Vineyards tells us that Husch has made major stream alterations to the Navarro River channel near the confluence of Lazy Creek so that they can continue to pump the stream’s depleted waters into their holding pond. Low flow had caused the river to shift and flow beyond the reach of the Husch pumps, hence the dispatch by Husch of a hand shovel crew about 40 yards upstream to make the river again flow within reach of Husch's pump. Husch has also had the shovel crew enlarge the pump hole. According to our source, the channel alterations are not only taking water away from downstream users, but will increase erosion because the re-routed flow undermines the rip-rap holding up the stream bank just downstream. Fish and Game warden Mark White told our source that as long as Husch doesn't bring heavy equipment into the riverbed, the stream alteration is sort-of legal in a loophole-ish way. One wonders if a by-hand alteration of the depleted river carried out by, say, 500 workers, would be sort of, loophole-ish, legal. Twenty guys with shovels are roughly equivalent to a medium-size tractor in the streambed, aren't they? No one questions the permit; Husch has one to pump. But can they really get around the Fish and Game laws by making major stream alterations with manual labor? Yes — unless a downstream property owner wants to take them to court.

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Everyone is invited to AV Youth Baseball's Annual Home Run Derby / Tri-Tip BBQ this Sunday, June 8th, starting at 11:30am. Come on down to the fairgrounds and show everyone how to hit a home run! There are great prizes for all age groups! The Little Leaguers are also selling raffle tickets for $1, the Grand Prize being a signed baseball by SF Giants Manager, Bruce Bochy. Find your favorite baseball player to get your tickets today! We hope to see you Sunday!!!

— Shauna Espinoza, AV Youth Baseball

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Hernandez, Madrigal, Menton, Hamilton
Hernandez, Madrigal, Menton, Hamilton

DAVID HERNANDEZ, Philo. Evading a police officer, revocation of probation.

DAVID MADRIGAL, Willits. Manufacture of a controlled substance.


JOE HAMILTON, Laytonville. DUI.

Faber, Brensel, Sandiego, Scott
Faber, Brensel, Sandiego, Scott

JAYLEN FABER, Ukiah. Secretly recording a person for untoward purposes.

KENNETH BRENSEL, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

FRANCES SANDIEGO, Ukiah. Revocation of probation.

MITCHELL SCOTT, Comptche. Meth sales, possession of a firearm.

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SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 9:56 a.m. Saturday and arrested Robert Hanover, 22, of Ukiah, on suspicion of burglary, receiving stolen property, stealing a vehicle and driving without a license. He was booked into Mendocino County Jail.

LOST PHONE -- Caller at the Super 8 on South Orchard Avenue said he lost his phone, or it was stolen, and he tracked it to the hotel, but wanted an officer's assistance with retrieving it.

LAPTOP STOLEN -- Caller at the Ukiah library reported at 10:48 a.m. Saturday that his laptop was stolen from a table when he got up to use the restroom. An officer was unable to contact the caller.

CASH STOLEN AT CAR WASH -- Caller in the 100 block of Talmage Road reported at 5:25 p.m. Saturday that $500 was in his car's glove compartment when he took it to the car wash, but when he got home, the money was gone.

SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 6:07 p.m. Saturday and arrested Jessica A. Bauer, 26, of Ukiah, on suspicion of shoplifting and violating her parole.

SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Kohl's on North Orchard Avenue at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and arrested a 22-year-old Willits woman for theft. She was cited and released.

ASSAULT -- An officer contacted a woman yelling for help in the field near Subway on North Orchard Avenue and took a report of an assault.

KIDS URINATING ON HIGHWAY -- Caller on East Gobbi Street reported at 3:57 a.m. Sunday that a group of kids was standing on the overpass and urinating on cars on Highway 101. An officer responded but they were gone.

CAR PROWL -- A caller in the 200 block of North State Street reported at 9:08 a.m. Sunday that a car had been broken into overnight but nothing was missing.

DOMESTIC -- An officer responded to the 1500 block of Lockwood Drive at 3:25 p.m. Sunday for a report of a woman throwing things at a man during a fight and arrested Michael Warren, 57, of Ukiah, on suspicion of domestic violence and a county warrant.

CAR BROKEN INTO -- Caller in the 600 block of North Bush Street reported at 3:34 p.m. Sunday that change and two cell phones were taken from a locked car. The caller also reported that a garage door had been open but nothing had been taken. An officer took a report.

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Start Time: 2:00pm

Location: Highway 101, Mile Marker 19.25

Agencies Responding: CAL FIRE ~ Ukiah Valley Fire Authority ~ Hopland Fire

Vegetation: Grassy Oak Woodlands

Acreage: 5 Acres ~ 100% Contained

Resources: Air Attack ~ 2 Tankers ~ Copter ~ 8 Engines ~ 3 Crews ~ 2 Dozers 1 Water Tender ~ Battalion Chief ~ Prevention

Released: Air Attack ~ 2 Tankers ~ Copter

Cause: Under Investigation

Excellent example of cooperative multi-agencies working together to quickly extinguish this fire.

Thank you.

Julie Cooley, CalFire Fire Prevention Specialist II, Mendocino Unit. (707) 459-7425

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The Mendocino County Library Bookmobile will not be making the rounds on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The Library apologizes for the inconvenience this may cause to their patrons. The Library looks forward to returning and serving their patrons on the next scheduled run. The Bookmobile schedule can be found online at

For more information please call the Ukiah Branch of the Library at (707) 463-4490.

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COMPTCHE HISTORIAN KATY TAHJA would like to invite everyone to share a bit of history on Fathers Day and attend the Comptche Volunteer Fire Department’s Chicken BBQ at FireHouse Park on Flynn Creek Road Saturday Sunday! This marks the 50th year of CVFD’s protection of the community and this dinner has been being held for decades. Good food, live music, kids activities, a raffle and fun in the sun from noon to 4p.m. Please leave the dogs at home.

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Open letter to Elected Officials, Agencies and Decision-Makers,

There is still an opportunity for common sense: to redefine phase 1 of the northern interchange of the Willits Bypass by using only the roundabout portion of the current design. We request a high-level meeting of citizens' representatives, Caltrans, and agency officials with the authority to evaluate the feasibility and direct this design modification.

This simple design modification can be done by a change order to the existing contract without any delay or disruption of work. In fact, it would expedite the project by as much as six months (the estimated time to truck 900,000 cu. yards of fill to bury the northern area wetlands). This redesign would also:

* Save money (an estimated $15 million) that could go toward mitigation and other as-yet unfunded aspects of the project;

* Reduce destruction of wetlands from the project by a full half. Some of the savings could be used to restore the estimated 25 acres somewhat impacted by minor filling in 2013.

* Meet the requirements of the Water Board to compensate for temporal losses of delayed mitigation;

* Potentially reduce the need for mitigation that currently takes farmland out of production.

* Reduce water use for dust control, compaction and pavement;

* Avoid traffic disruption from unnecessary trucking of fill;

* Reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the construction work; and

* Handle all traffic movements while creating a more efficient and welcoming interface for people coming to and from the City of Willits.

Documentation can be provided on these points.

Further, this change does not preclude the possibility of a future Phase 2, which would expand the bypass to four lanes. However, Phase 2 is not needed to handle realistic projections of traffic volumes nor is it likely to be funded within a decade, if ever. As reported by MCOG in late 2006: "staff believes that a second phase would likely never occur, because of the backlog of transportation needs elsewhere in California."

Finally, this modification would be a tangible, meaningful response to some of the concerns raised in the recent SSTI report [the independent report highly critical of Caltrans]. I believe Caltrans ran roughshod over both facts and local community input in its unwillingness to consider other options. Unfortunately, much of the damage from this over-built bypass has already been done. This small concession - with very substantial benefits - is the least they could still do to correct course.

This request is urgent. Please convene a meeting as soon as possible.

Sincerely, Madge Strong, Willits

PS. Come this Sunday to a ceremony to protect and honor the wetlands, featuring the Covelo Feather Dancers - meet at 2:45 at Willits Library to shuttle. And Sat. night, come boogie to Ed Reinhart's band, starting at 7pm at the Willits Grange, a fundraiser for Willits Environmental Center and Keep the Code.

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THE REPEAL OF GLASS-STEAGALL happened under Clinton. The subsequent deregulations happened under George W. Bush. For example, when Brooksley Born, the head of the Commodities Futures Trading Corporation, tried to perform her federal duty and regulate over-the-counter derivatives, she was blocked by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission! They took this to Congress and shouted her down and forced her out of office. The position they had was an ideological position for which I know of no evidence: that markets are “self-regulating”… and, therefore, that markets are better regulated without regulators! This is absolute nonsense! And, it’s hard to believe that people in Congress didn’t know it was nonsense! I attribute it to the influence of the Banks—the money…. And, lo and behold, the senator who led the deregulation was very quickly rewarded —- he was made Vice-Chairman of one of the “too big to fail” banks; somebody who’s paid millions of dollars to go around giving speeches! This is the way this System works when private interests become too powerful. In the United States today, the public and private sectors have merged -– because the powerful private sectors essentially determine the policy of the government. There isn’t really a government independent of Wall Street, the military-security complex, the Israel Lobby, the mining, energy and timber business, agribusiness -— these groups write the laws that Congress passes and the President signs…. And, the Supreme Court has made it even easier for them because it has ruled that it’s legitimate for corporations to purchase the government. Citizens United was the first one… and then the most recent one made it even easier. In other words, there are no limits for wealthy corporations to elect the government they want! It’s like former President Jimmy Carter said a short time ago: At this time, the United States does not have a “functioning democracy.” Well, he’s right! We have an oligarchy. And the oligarchy rules, and the government is some sort of cloak for the rulers. You never see anything happen against the oligarchs! For example, one of the senior prosecutors for the Securities and Exchange Commission retired recently; and, he gave a speech and said that his most important cases had been blocked by the “higher-ups” who hoped to get good jobs with the banks that they were protecting! This is the way the government works today. When you try to say, we need more regulation -— you can’t! The regulators are “captured” by private interests. It was about 30 years ago, that economist George Stigler said that regulatory agencies invariably wind up “captured” by the industries they’re supposed to regulate.

— Paul Craig Roberts

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If all a top physicist knows

About the Truth be true,

Then, for all the so-and-so's,

Futility and grime,

Our common world contains,

We have a better time

Than the Greater Nebulae do,

Or the atoms in our brains.

Marriage is rarely bliss

But, surely it would be worse

As particles to pelt

At thousands of miles per sec

About a universe

Wherein a lover's kiss

Would either not be felt

Or break the loved one's neck.

Though the face at which I stare

While shaving it be cruel

For, year after year, it repels

An ageing suitor, it has,

Thank God, sufficient mass

To be altogether there,

Not an indeterminate gruel

Which is partly somewhere else.

Our eyes prefer to suppose

That a habitable place

Has a geocentric view,

That architects enclose

A quiet Euclidian space:

Exploded myths - but who

Could feel at home astraddle

An ever expanding saddle?

This passion of our kind

For the process of finding out

Is a fact one can hardly doubt,

But I would rejoice in it more

If I knew more clearly what

We wanted the knowledge for,

Felt certain still that the mind

Is free to know or not.

It has chosen once, it seems,

And whether our concern

For magnitude's extremes

Really become a creature

Who comes in a median size,

Or politicizing Nature

Be altogether wise,

Is something we shall learn.

-- W H Auden

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by Kym Kemp

HUMCO SHERIFF’S PRESS RELEASE: On 05-19-2014 at about 1:27 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a telephone call from a Caltrans employee, who reported finding two deceased dogs hanging by a rope, next to Highway 36 just west of Dinsmore. When the deputy arrived on scene he saw two adult size pit bull dogs, hanging from a rope by their rear legs from a tree. The two dogs were located on the east side of Highway 36 near mile post marker 38.62. The first dog was white in color and the second dog was brindle in color. It appeared that the two dogs had been shot in the head.

There was a large sprayed painted wooden sign near the two deceased that read, “All stray dogs will die.” The Deputy cut down the two dogs from the tree. The area was checked for any possible witnesses with negative results. The closet residence to where the dogs were located on highway 36 was approximately ½ of a mile.

The Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public’s help in identifying the suspect or suspects that are responsible for killing the two dogs. If anyone has information on this incident they are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.

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On Tuesday, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) posted a $2000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting death of two dogs near the town of Dinsmore last month. The dogs were found with bullet wounds in the head and hanging next to Hwy 36 on May 19th. Nearby was a large sign painted with the words, “All stray dogs will die.” (A reader sent in a graphic picture of the scene which can be accessed here.)

The ALDF is also offering a reward in another Humboldt case. They are offering $20,000 in the poisoning death of Nyxo, a dog belonging to Dr. Mourad Gabriel. Gabriel has been researching the deaths of wildlife due to the use of rodenticides in remote marijuana gardens. The death of Nyxo after apparently being intentionally fed rodenticide had received widespread attention.

According to the article about the recent killing of the two dogs in eastern Humboldt, the executive director of ALDF, Stephen Wells, said,

The cold-blooded killing and total disregard for dogs sickens us… But it also indicates that a very dangerous person remains at large, threatening our animals and our communities. It is imperative that we track the perpetrator down and we urge anyone with information to come forward.

The group asks those with information in either case to call (707) 795-2533 extension 1010 or write to


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