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Off the Record (June 18, 2014)

COUNTY CEO Carmel Angelo has included a $45,000 remodeling project at the County Jail in the 2014-15 county budget. The re-do will house a dog grooming vocational program for female inmates:

Allman: As we know AB 109 as forced an increase in inmates. We have found that we have an equal increase in male and female inmates. While our male population has many opportunities for vocational training, not as many as I would love for them to, a female opportunities are limited to say the least. We have been working on this for about a year to hopefully have some type of pet grooming station which is away from the main animal care building which will allow inmates to not only be trained for pet grooming and washing and bathing and so forth, but also be certified in the grooming vocation. This would be through an official vocational training program through the Sheriff's office through an educational program. I was not part of the figuring out of the money part of this request. I was simply told them what we needed, a shelter with restrooms, hot water, cold water, electricity, places where we could heat lunches and so forth. [Slide: “$45,000 increase in Net County Cost to remodel the hazmat facility adjacent to the animal shelter to house a jail program which will provide dog grooming skills training to inmates.” This would be for several things — everything I've talked about as well as increase the about the adoptability of our animals down in the animal shelter and allow us to get them on the Internet and increase the foot traffic to our shelter so we can get more spayed and neutered animals out on the street to reduce the overall number of loose animals that we have.

Board Chair John Pinches: This morning we had a presentation on the expenditures of the AB 109 program. Why wasn't this included in that budget? It would seem to be something that would be in there because it is a form of rehabilitation of inmates. It seems like it should be in that budget, not just a general fund expense. I don't think this is a priority when we have limited general fund dollars. I don't see this as a priority.

Allman: This will be real improvement to a building the county owns down there.

Pinches: I'm not saying it's a bad thing to do. I'm just saying in my list of priorities, the County training people to do dog grooming is not really a high priority of mine.

Allman: It is for me. It is for me because I don't think it's fair that I'm allowing male inmates to work on the roads, to do the cooking, to do the gardening, and right now the only vocation we have for females, and I know it sounds sexist, is our laundry facility. [Ed note: Females can’t do cooking and gardening?] I have been working on this for 12 months to see if there's something else that we can offer our female inmates to say we don't want you to come back to our facility. If you can be trained as a dog groomer and be certified and start your own business on the outside and never come back and we as taxpayers and I as sheriff you as a citizen of this county will all win on that. So that's where I’m coming from. As far as where the initial funding comes from, tomato-tomato, to me it is a priority, to you it may not be.

Pinches: I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm just saying it's not top priority…

The final budget, including the $45k dog grooming remodel, was approved 3-2, Supervisors McCowen and Pinches dissenting.

ARTESA VINEYARDS AND WINERY, the Napa-based arm of Spanish wine giant Grupo Codorniu has withdrawn its plans to convert more than 300 acres of timber to a vineyard-luxury home project. The land is just south of the County line near Annapolis, and is now for sale for $1.5 million. Friends of the Gualala River (FOGR) and other groups in the area had spearheaded substantial opposition to the cockamamie scheme. A Sonoma County judge had also ruled that the project's environmental studies were flawed.

THE GOVERNMENT'S former chief prosecutor at the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, retired Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, has punctured the “hardest of the hard-core” narrative the Obama Administration and other defenders of Guantanamo constantly put out: “We had screened all of the detainees and we had focused on about 75 that had the potential to be charged with a crime. When I saw the names [of those traded] … [I] wasn’t familiar with any of these names.… If we could have proven that they had done something wrong that we could prosecute them for I’m confident we would have done it, and we didn’t.”

WILLITS MAYOR HOLLY MADRIGAL reports that “The [Willits City] council received a detailed report regarding the status of the Emergency Water Supply Project. The $2 million project is well underway and staff is continuing to seek ways to decrease the cost of the project. Additionally, the City is applying for various grants and loan programs to fund this critically important project. Our water plant operator did report that we are still in decent shape at the reservoirs due to some late spring rainfall. We are no longer overflowing but the reservoirs are still full.”

COMMENT OF THE DAY: The fall of Mosul (Iraq) is not a minor setback that can be corrected by deploying special ops and lobbing a few bombs on targets in Mosul. It is a complete policy collapse that illustrates the shortcomings of the abysmal War on Terror. The American invasion and occupation of Iraq is entirely responsible for the problems that plague Iraq today. There were no bands of armed terrorists roaming the countryside and wreaking havoc before the US invasion. All of Iraq’s troubles can be traced back to that bloody intervention that has left the country in chaos. Will Obama send US combat troops to Iraq to fight the jihadis and reverse events on the ground. If so, he will need Congress’s stamp of approval, which may not be forthcoming. Also, he should prepare his fellow Democratic candidates for a midterm walloping like they’ve never seen before. The American people have never supported the Iraqi quagmire. The prospect of refighting the war in order to beat the radicals which the administration-itself created through its own disastrous arm-the-terrorist policy is bound to be widely resisted as well as reviled. Americans have washed their hands of the “cakewalk” war. They won’t support a rerun. — Mike Whitney


YOU READ A PRESS DEMOCRAT headline that says, “BIG POT BUST IN LAKE COUNTY” and say to yourself, “Who would have thought?” But this bust was not only fairly large by the Emerald Triangle's elastic standards but is a good example of why more and more people are attracted to the industry. At Bobby Rex Goforth's Kelseyville property, deputies seized $50,708; 70 pounds of processed marijuana; 7 pounds of honey oil, two handguns and three rifles. Goforth is 57.


ON JUNE 11, at about five minutes after midnight, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Correctional staff assigned to work Building One of the Mendocino County Adult Detention Facility entered the cell of an unresponsive male inmate. Deputies found him unconscious and not breathing. Jail medical staff was present and evaluated the man. No pulse or respirations were detected, and life-saving measures were started. Emergency services were summoned and ultimately transported the man to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 55-year-old inmate was the sole occupant of the cell. He had been arrested on June 10, 2014 for being under the influence of a controlled substance by Willits Police Department and has since been identified as 55-year-old Steve Neuroth of Ukiah. Autopsy results are pending.

FROM THE FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE'S archive: 72 years ago, June 14, 1942, “The Army today issued orders for the final exclusion of all Japanese from Military Area No. 1, comprising the western portions of California, Oregon and Washington and southern Arizona.”

MAYBE ACE LOCAL HISTORIAN Katy Tajha might be able to find more about the sad story of the Japanese family who successfully farmed a modest homestead just north of Point Arena during the run-up to World War Two. I heard about them from the late Joe Scaramella who, with typical modesty, recalled that a Fog Belt mob had to be talked down from harming them at the time of Pearl Harbor. Scaramella, as I recall his account, had sold the besieged family the radio that the mob had claimed could be used to signal the hostile offshore forces cruising the Northcoast in submarines. Scaramella pointed out that the radio didn't have the capacity for communication; it was a receiver, not a transmitter. In any case, the Point Arena family soon left the area for the interment described above. Maybe someone out there remembers their names and what happened to their property.

AS JOE HIMSELF told it before he died in 1996, “Before the war I was involved in radio stuff. I sold a local Japanese family a radio that was pretty advanced for that time. It received shortwave and other things. It was worthless in many ways. So, somehow the word got out that they were going to be shipped out, see. There were prominent people out here at the Point Arena Grange who were ready to go up there and wipe them out. They thought they were spies. They had that radio and they must be cooperating with the Japanese. I was a member of the Grange then. I went out there and the Methodist minister was out there. And, by God, the resolution came up to do something about them. Boy, the Methodist minister and I just fought that tooth and nail and by God we beat that down. I thought that was one of the best things I have ever done. There was an American citizen, he hadn't been charged with anything, he hadn't done anything, except that he bought a goddamn radio that was commercially available. Later, they voluntarily left. They probably felt it would be better to get out of this area.”

THOMAS 'TOMMY' ANCONA, 68, of Fort Bragg, somehow managed last week to drive his Toyota Tacoma over the side of treacherous Highway 20 between Willits and Ukiah. According to the CHP, Ancona “entered a left turn at a speed that was unsafe for the mechanical condition of his vehicle's tires"... and proceeded to ricochet across both sides of the road before plunging down an 85 foot embankment. Ancona was extricated from his destroyed Tacoma by the Fort Bragg Fire and CalFire Personnel and choppered south to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Ancona is Harbormaster at Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg.

DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL HILARITY: Members of the “Leadership Team” at Willits High School on why they resigned, as reported by Mike A'Dair of the Willits Weekly. “According to Jill Walton, the team's leader, they quit because, among other things, ‘leadership team members also note the failure of the school principal,’ Dr. Jeffrey Ritchley, to adequately perform the ceremonial part of his job. ‘Dr. Ritchley has made no effort to connect with the students,’ Walton said. ‘He's missed four important [sic] events and only made a brief appearance at a fifth.’ According to Walton, Ritchley failed to attend the ‘Art Under 20’ opening, the Spring Music Concert, the Senior Portfolio interviews, and the Associated Student Body Convention. She said he did show up briefly at the ‘Hot Winter's Night’ talent show. His visit there was ‘duly noted,’ Walton said.” Sounds like the Doc is a discerning kind of dude, unwilling to suffer outback edu-tedium.

REPUGS TO MEET IN FORT BRAGG — The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon at the Moura Senior Housing, 400 South Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437. For further information contact: Stan Anderson, 707-321-2592. I wonder if Stan and Friends have ever considered hooking up with the Democratic Party of Mendocino County. Objectively, Congressman Huffman, Chesbro, Silly Milly out of Santa Rosa, and the rest of them are what used to be called country club or moderate Republicans. They're cautiously liberal on social issues like drugs, gay marriage, gun control, but interchangeable with, say, John Boehner, on everything else. Our disastrous wars, the ultimately ruinous bailout of Wall Street, huge tax breaks for the rich — all the big ticket stuff — there's no difference between the two parties. Think about it, Stan.

SPORTS NOTE, KIND OF. Arriving early at the ballpark Saturday for the Giants-Rockies game, and alerted by the morning Chron that the exhibitionists would be nude bike riding as a demonstration for world peace or something or other, I thought, “Ho hum.” It's been obvious for years, as a quick glance at “activists” on the Northcoast confirms, that lots of unhappy, terminally screwed-up people conflate their personal misery with Big Picture issues. The Palestinians are oppressed and so am I. Etc. This phenomena is one reason why there's no left in this country. Regular people don't want to spend quality time with nutballs and unpleasant persons. If Redwood Summer happened all over again beginning tomorrow, I think I'd go to the ball game. The Civil Rights movement was certainly worth doing, as were the anti-war protests that followed. But they were led by people you could respect. Protest politics has been strictly backward since. (Occupy was a genius idea but quickly became the political equivalent of nude bicycling.)

ANYWAY, no rational person could possibly think that a gang of pervs who get their jollies exposing themselves to people who prefer not to see them has anything to do with world peace or any other serious issue.

BUT THERE THEY WERE SATURDAY circling the ballpark and — darting in and out of the crowd. For the dedicated perv it must have been heaven. Thousands of people forced to watch them. Whoopee! They couldn't do it in Redding, or even Ukiah or Fort Bragg, but in San Francisco this stuff is routine.

INSIDE THE PARK, something happened that seemed tangentially related to the two-wheeled weenie-waggers outside. In between innings, a camera pans the crowd on the hunt for entertaining visuals. I'm always surprised at how many apparent adults, spotting themselves on the big screen, leap to their feet and begin delighted gyrations. Saturday, the camera landed on a trio of boys, about ten years old, who, to the delight of thousands in the crowd, did a solid three minutes of lewd hip thrusts to whatever bad music was blasting out of the PA system. Ten-year-olds. The chronological adults looking on, their parents I assumed, looked transported, beaming at these little monsters as if their demented parody of intercourse was just the cutest darn thing they'd ever seen. And, as I said, the crowd obviously thought it was great stuff. But these were children in a country without adults. In a few years, these mini-models of precocious depravity, on the off chance they emerge more or less mentally intact from adolescence, will be riding naked on their bicycles up and down the Embarcadero.

A READER WRITES: “Read your piece on the game this morning. My sensibilities were also offended by the ‘brain freeze’ challenge that was broadcast between innings, showing some fool shoveling a frozen concoction into his maw. Shameful behavior. Apparently people are now conditioned, and fully prepared, to do just about anything once a camera is trained on them. At the ballpark, I would prefer no jumbotron and no music to all the crap they spew at the crowd these days. Baseball is a pastoral game, meant to be played on grass and in the sunshine. I don't need loud music and moving images to enjoy the experience. At best, they are distractions, but they more often slip into assaultive territory. I think I'll write a short piece to the powers that be, suggesting one day game a year with all that electronic crap turned off. Baseball unplugged. (And ask the players to wear stirrup socks.) I'd also like to ask the city to do something about the overpowering sewage smell along the Embarcadero. It is hard to believe denizens put up with that as a regular feature of the place, but there it is every time I visit.”

AMEN, BRO. The constant noise and Jumbotron idiocy are major irritants at the ballpark, and the smell of raw sewage on the Embarcadero has been with us for years. Years back, The City announced plans to tame the odor by mixing chemical essences that would smell like chocolate or vanilla, or even strawberry. A huge debate commenced between the partisans of the various aromas and The City gave up even discussing an attempt at scent enhancement.

THE TEACHER TENURE DEBATE RAGES, an AVA reader comments: “I'm so very glad that I am no longer a teacher. I quit after 10 years because I could no longer stand the ‘teachers are always wrong; students and parents are always right; administrators do not support teachers’ attitudes that are typical in our schools. To suggest that a student actually do homework or that the student's grade is legitimately a D, is to get accused of racism if the student is a minority. To give any student a failing or low grade is interpreted to mean that the teacher is a bad teacher. I was an excellent teacher, but even I had recalcitrant students who didn't want to do the work required to get a passing grade. Add to that the aggressiveness (sometimes violence) of some students and parents, and teaching became an unpleasant and highly stressful job. I quit and, since I am well educated with high honors from Cal, I quickly found another job.”

GOVERNOR BROWN'S BUDGET is a mixed bag of funding for useful programs but includes a major boondoggle. He increases funding for preschool and high school programs, at last grants overtime pay for in-home caregivers but approves hundreds of millions of dollars for high-speed rail. When America was still capable of large-scale projects, high-speed rail made sense. Other countries — Japan, China and most of Western Europe — have accomplished it, but here we've pretty much dismantled the rail system we had instead of improving it and converting the major lines to high-speed while there was still the ability and the long-term will to bring it off.

KEENAN COCHRAN, age not listed, jumped off the Noyo Bridge Sunday afternoon then casually swam to the north bank of river mouth where police were waiting for him. Cochran later said he made the 100-foot dive when a companion challenged him to do it, but initially Cochran told the told the officers waiting for him on the north bank that he'd simply gone for a swim. A number of eyewitnesses, however, said they'd seen him jump from the bridge. The tides run swift at the river mouth so it can be concluded that Cochran is an experienced swimmer also unintimidated by high dives. In 2012, a suicidal woman did not survive her leap from the bridge. Farther back, other mentally disturbed persons have been badly injured when they've made the long drop down to the water. Cochran was taken by ambulance to Coast Hospital where he was checked out and soon released.

ASKED ABOUT THE STRETCH of rough road between Boonville and Philo, CalTrans' inimitable Phil Frisbie replied: "Hello Bruce, I appreciate every opportunity to answer questions about non-bypass issues :) Caltrans ground off the top layer of asphalt along 128 between Philo and Boonville because it was failing and we received a number of public complaints about the ruts collecting water when it was raining. We have done the same thing along 101 just south of Hopland and on 20 in Nice while waiting for paving projects. We have a paving project scheduled for next summer, but we are currently working to expedite it for late this summer. The project must get past environmental review, then go out to bid and be awarded, and if it is not too late in the season it may be repaved this year. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with. Sincerely, Phil Frisbie, Jr. Public Information Officer for Lake and Mendocino Counties, Web Content Administrator Caltrans District 1"

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