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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, June 26, 2014

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by Will Parrish

When it comes to taking on CalTrans' systemic destruction of ancestral sites in the course of building the Willits Bypass, the American Indian Movement (AIM) of California is rolling into Willits at exactly the right time. On Thursday, June 26th, roughly 50 AIM spirit runners will arrive at Evergreen Shopping Center at a little after noon, before commencing up Main St. By Saturday, some of them will have taken up residence adjacent to the Willits Bypass construction route, in full view of CalTrans' massive destruction swath.

AIM members first led a ceremony near Willits on June 8th, which involved roughly 100 people. The event began as a rally across from the Bypass construction area, then culminated in a water ceremony in the wetlands. Now, Willits is going to be the final stop on AIM's annual “500-Mile Spiritual Marathon,” a relay run that visits Indigenous prisoners, sacred sites, and threatened places.

The spirit runners set our from Pit River territory in northeastern California, near the town of Burney, on June 21st. A struggle over fishing rights in Pit River traditional territory was a precursor to, and catalyst for, better-known Indigenous land rights struggles such as the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969 and the American Indian Movement's stand-off with the federal government at Wounded Knee in 1973.

With this history as a backdrop, CalTrans has to be a bit concerned about the sort of opposition they have stirred up by failing to engage in respectful relationships with local tribal councils. AIM West now has the stated goal of putting CalTrans' destruction of Little Lake Pomo ancestral sites on a “national stage,” as described by a letter put out this week by AIM West Spiritual Advisor Fred Short.

The timing is especially interesting given the latest bad news for Indigenous people whose cultural resources have been horribly impacted by CalTrans’ Willits Bypass. Big Orange’s construction crews have damaged another known archeological site.

As I first reported on the AVA's web site this past Saturday, June 21st, the incident took place on June 12th. CalTrans Associate Environmental Planner Timothy Keefe, who is based in the agency’s Eureka office, revealed the incident in a phone call to Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians Historic Preservation Officer Eddie Knight, whose tribe has been closely involved in monitoring construction activities.

The damaged archeological deposit occurs in an area roughly 20 meters in diameter, on a parcel where CalTrans is carrying out “environmental mitigation” for the stated purpose of offsetting the freeway’s environmental destruction. CalTrans’ construction crews ran a ditchwitch across the site, so as to install a waterline (exact purpose unknown).

Even after Keefe and the construction crews realized they had just run machinery through a site they had previously identified as archeologically significant, but had not yet studied in any consequential fashion, they determined that work in the area should continue. In other words, rather than stop work and evaluate the damage, gather information from the archeological deposit that had been fractured by the fresh ground-disturbing, or even notify tribes to get their input on the situation, the construction team plunged ahead with installing a waterline in the trench.

Then, they backfilled it.

Keefe, the principal CalTrans archeologist on the project, gave the decision to fill in the site after running through it with a ditchwitch his blessing.

Tribal monitors were not present at the time, although the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians has been adamantly requesting that CalTrans hire two more such monitors to keep up with the huge scope of work taking place on both the Bypass construction route and, as in this case, on the Bypass mitigation lands.

The way this incident played out once again speaks volumes for CalTrans’ attitude toward working with Indigenous people, as with the agency’s desecration last year of a site called “CA-MEN-3571,” which has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

In that case, CalTrans’ surveyors identified the site during field work in 2011. At the time, CalTrans recognized that the site, which is likely associated with the historic Little Lake Pomo village of Yami, was smack-dab in the middle of the Bypass destruction swath.

By the time Bypass construction finally kicked off in March 2013, someone employed by Big Orange had decided that CA-MEN-3571 was not located in the Bypass route after all. CalTrans partially excavated the area, then installed roughly 1,500 wick drains and piled on three feet worth of fill soil there.

Representatives of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians and Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, and perhaps others, persistently questioned CalTrans representatives about this clerical decision. They wanted to make sure CA-MEN-3571 really was located outside the Bypass bootprint.

Lo and behold, CalTrans revealed in a blasé e-mail to Sherwood Valley Tribal Chairman Mike Fitzgerral in September 2013, CA-MEN-3571 was located in the Bypass bootprint all along. Only after creating a map of archeological sites impacted by the project, they claim, did they realize they were in error.

Yet, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, CalTrans was supposed to have completed the map of archeological sites prior to beginning construction. In fact, CalTrans failed to mention the overwhelming majority of Native archeological sites in its environmental impact review (EIR) documents. CalTrans’ 2006 EIR only mentions one Pomo archeological deposit.

In the case of the more recent incident, CalTrans contractor crews were not working not on the freeway route, but instead were carrying out so-called “mitigation construction” activities on some of the 2,100 acres CalTrans had purchased to “mitigate” for the damage to wetlands, oak trees, fisheries, and other legally protected natural resources. The particular unit of Big Orange’s Willits-area land empire where the damage took place is located near the intersection of Reynolds Highway and Heast Rd, on land Big Orange’s real estate arm purchased several years ago from the Frost family (Little Lake Valley ranchers).

According to the most recent information I’ve seen, this parcel is one of the areas where CalTrans plans to “create” wetlands by excavating soil from already-functioning wetlands – a so-called “Group 2” wetlands creation site.

The incident highlights the manifold problems with CalTrans’ mitigation plan, which relies on excavation of 266,000 cubic yards of soil for the purpose of “creating wetlands.” All of this soil excavation, which takes place across an area of land much larger and more far-flung than the Bypass, will invariably further harm to Indigenous people’s ancestral remains.

In April, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians passed a resolution calling on CalTrans to eliminate soil excavation as part of the Bypass mitigation, to eliminate the project’s arbitrarily massive northern interchange, and to provide compensation for damage already done.

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo's support is going to increase quite considerably on Thursday, June 26th. The AIM spirit run event is taking place under the banner “All Life Is Sacred; Caltrans' Desecration Must Be Stopped”

Contact Will Parrish at wparrish[at]riseup[dot]net.

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Lincecum-MendoTIM LINCECUM not only pitched his second career no-hitter on Wednesday, it was his second against the San Diego Padres. The Cy Young award didn’t give up a single hit in the Giants’ 4-0 win. Lincecum also helped lead the Giants to victory, even when he wasn’t on the mound, by scoring a run. In recent years, the Padres seem to struggle especially hard against the Giants. The last three times they have gone hitless as a team have been against the Giants.

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Tim Lincecum No-Hits The Padres – Again

by Gabe Lacques

As he eases into a less-dominant phase of his career, there's one team Tim Lincecum can count on to bring out his best: The San Diego Padres.

Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young-winning prodigy turned 30-year-old struggling veteran, pitched his second no-hitter in as many seasons against the Padres, efficiently dominating the worst-hitting team in the major leagues in a 4-0 Giants victory Wednesday at San Francisco's AT&T Park.

This time, it was far less of a struggle.

Lincecum needed 148 pitches - walking four and hitting a batter - to no-hit the Padres on July 13, 2013.

He also struck out 13 that night, the first time all season he even reached the eighth inning. He entered the ninth at 138 pitches.

Wednesday's gem was less dominant, but easier on the arm.

Lincecum walked just one and struck out six, completing the no-hitter in 113 pitches, 73 of them strikes. He became just the fourth active pitcher with multiple no-hitters, joining Mark Buehrle, Justin Verlander and Homer Bailey.

He came into this start struggling, as well - just 5-5 with a 4.90 ERA in the first year of a two-year, $35 million contract. But the Padres are a natural to bring out his best, and not just because of last year's gem. They entered Wednesday last in the National League in runs and batting average (.216).

And they seemed to sleepwalk through this matinee. Lincecum's lone blemish was a one-out walk issued to Chase Headley in the second inning.

"Early in the game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "I thought he had a chance to throw a no-hitter. I just want to thank him for making this one a lot less stressful."

There was little tread on Lincecum's tire - just 97 pitches - entering the ninth. He quickly threw two balls to Chris Denorfia, but battled back to strike him out on a diving slider in the dirt. He got Yasmani Grandal to bounce back to the mound for the second out, and then retired Will Venable on a grounder to second to end it.

Lincecum became just the second pitcher to twice no-hit the same team, joining Hall of Famer Addie Joss. The Cleveland Indian threw a perfect game against the Chicago White Sox in 1908 and a no-hitter in 1910.

It was the third no-hitter in the major leagues this season, the first two authored by Los Angeles Dodgers starters Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw. With the halfway point of the season approaching, the rate of no-hitters is just off the pace of 2012, when seven no-hitters were tossed, including three perfect games - one by Lincecum's teammate, Matt Cain.

"I'm just relieved right now. To be a part of something like that is fun," said Lincecum, clad in a U.S. men's national soccer jersey featuring his No. 55. "I wasn't really thinking about it. At the very end, it kind of caught me by surprise."

It was a timely bit of dominance; the Giants came in losers of 11 of their last 14 games to see their NL West lead shrink from 9 1/2 games to just three games over the Dodgers.

"I think we all look for the opportunity to pick the team up, look for a way to be positive," Lincecum said.

There will be one less positive sign Thursday. The Padres flew back to San Diego after Wednesday's game.

(Courtesy, USA Today)

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GeorgeNelsonThe Honorable George Lee Nelson, has died. Born August 30, 1933 Judge Nelson died May 9, 2014, departing this life into the arms of his Savior on May 10, 2014. He was born in Roseburg, Oregon and spent his early years living in Medford, Portland, and New Hampshire, Oregon. George attended school, grades 4-12 in Milwaukee OR. He spent 4 years in the U.S. Air Force, assigned to the Office of Special Investigations. He attended the Army Language School in Monterey, CA followed by an FBI course in Washington D.C., which enabled him to be selected for duty in France as a Criminal and Counter Intelligence Agent. He received his Doctorate of Law from U.C. Boalt Law School and began his law career in Ukiah as an Assistant District Attorney, County Counsel and then private practice with the firm of Spurr, Brunner & Nelson. In 1972, George was elected as a judge, which took him all over the state of California. Favorite activities included hunting, fishing, and camping. He and his wife Kit showed and trekked with llamas for many years. He taught adult Sunday School for 30 years, joined the Gideon's in 1972 and was teaching leader for Men's Bible Study Fellowship. George and his spouse, Perlina "Kit" have been married for 59 years. In 2006 they retired to McMinnville, Oregon. George is survived by his spouse, Perlina "Kit", son Brian (Kim) Nelson, and children Brook and Jordon, son Niel (Deirdra) Nelson and children Indi and Merra, sister Rosalie Grafe, and niece Penny Wise. A Celebration of Life is planned for June 28, 2014 at the 1st Presbyterian Church, Dora & Perkins, Ukiah, at 11:00 am, with a reception immediately following in the social hall. Memorial Donations are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church, 514 W. Church St, Ukiah, CA and/or to the Gideon's, P.O. Box 113, Ukiah, CA 95482.

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ON JUNE 11, 2014 the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team assisted by the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife served a search warrant on a rural 160 acre parcel located off Oat Gap Road in Potter Valley, California. Located on the parcel were 4,692 growing marijuana plants, a small amount of processed marijuana, marijuana seeds, a digital scale, 27 firearms which included a stolen assault rifle and evidence that showed that Saul Hernandez, 43, of Potter Valley, was in control of the property. The stolen assault rifle was taken in a 2008 burglary in Sonoma County with the victim being a Petaluma Police Officer. Located on the adjacent property owned by the State of California were three areas where water was being illegally diverted to grow the marijuana plants on the 160 acre parcel. On 06-20-2014 Hernandez was located by the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team in the 1400 block of South State Street in Ukiah, California and arrested without incident. Hernandez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Possession of marijuana for sale, Cultivation of marijuana, Possession of assault weapon, Being Armed during a felony, Possession of stolen property, and Illegal diversion of water. He was to be held in lieu of $150,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)

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ON JUNE 21, 2014at 4:35 PM a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle for a minor traffic violation in the 1500 block of Lake Mendocino Drive in Ukiah, California. When the Deputy contacted the occupants of the vehicle there were two subjects in the front seats and two subjects in the back seat. The male subject in the rear seat appeared to be much older than the fifteen year old female seated next to him. They were seated in a manner which suggested they might be in a romantic relationship. During the contact the male subject was identified as being Raymond Smith, 21, of Upper Lake. After further questioning of both Smith and the female it was determined they were involved in a sexual relationship for the past ten months. Smith was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Mendocino County Jail on listed charges — Lewd acts with a child, unlawful sex with a minor and Oral copulation — to be held in lieu of $75,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)

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ON JUNE 11th 2014 at about 12:30 PM Ukiah Police received a report of a theft that occurred earlier in the day, in the 700 block of South Oak Street. Officers were told the victim was with a friend near the street, and the victim was holding her iPad. The victim reported 31 year old Cameron John Hammond rode past her several times, then stopped and took the iPad from her hand and fled on his bicycle. A Be On the LookOut for the arrest of Hammond for theft and for violating probation was issued. On June 13th at about 8:20 PM a Ukiah Police Officer attempted to stop a bicyclist in the 700 block of South State Street. The bicyclist refused to stop, riding behind the Windmills Café and proceeding through the Yokayo Center to East Gobbi Street. The bicyclist looked back at the pursuing patrol car several times while fleeing, and another officer was able to tackle the bicyclist from the bicycle near Waugh Lane. As the officers were arresting the suspect they recognized him as Hammond. Hammond explained he ran because he thought he had a warrant. Hammond was arrested for the original charge of theft, and additionally with evading law enforcement, resisting arrest, and violating probation. (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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ON JUNE 14th at about 10:35 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 100 block of Thomas Street for multiple subjects fighting with weapons. Upon arriving numerous subjects ran away, and with the assistance of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, a search of the area began. A resident in the area reported becoming engaged in an argument with her neighbor, 37 year old David Lee Avants., over theft of electricity. Avants apparently threatened to kill the victim and the family, and ran when police arrived. Avants was located near-by and was immediately confrontational with officers. Avants tried to walk away from officers and had to be physically detained. Avants was positively identified by the victim, and was arrested for threats and for resisting arrest. (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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ON JUNE 16th at about 1:50 PM Ukiah Police responded to Denney’s, at 105 Pomeroy Avenue, for a “dine and dash”. Officers received a description of the suspect, and he was soon located with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol in the 100 block of North Orchard Avenue. Officers learned 31 year old Steven Joseph Klopp, of Texas, had consumed coffee and 2 milkshakes, and then left the restaurant without paying saying he didn’t have any money. Klopp stated he’d hitchhiked to Ukiah and arrived an hour before going to Denney’s. Klopp was placed under citizen’s arrest, and was charged with burglary. (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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ON JUNE 17th at about 3:40 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 1200 block of Airport Park Boulevard for a white Impala that had struck two parked vehicles, the curb, and fled north. While an officer was speaking with witnesses, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy saw the suspect vehicle traveling on Talmage Road, and saw the vehicle appeared to have mechanical problems and was swerving causing other vehicles to swerve to avoid hitting it. The vehicle turned onto Waugh Lane and the Deputy attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle contained to the 900 block of Waugh Lane where it struck a sign and drove through a fence, and stopped. The driver, a 17 year old female juvenile from Kelseyville, exited the vehicle and ran for a short distance before being apprehended. The juvenile had been drinking, and was arrested for DUI and for hit and run. The juvenile was belligerent and physically resistive, and at one point spit on an officer. The juvenile was also charged with resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer. (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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by Michael Koepf

This past week President Obama ordered three hundred Green Berets to Iraq. Why? The Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL — take your pick) has taken over western Iraq, gleefully lopping heads as they go. It’s feared that they’re headed down the road to Baghdad, driving purloined, made-in-America Humvees chasing the fleeing Iraqi Army that our country trained with billions of dollars. Can three hundred save the day?

I’m proud to say that I was Green Beret. My contribution was insignificant in the light of my fellow Green Berets who sacrificed so much more than I did. I served in South East Asia in the early 1960s. One of our missions was to train the South Vietnamese Army in tactics, weapons, communications, field medical procedures, plus other skills to help them combat the insurgent Viet Cong supported by North Vietnam. We read CIA area reports; studied French, the language of Vietnam's departed colonialists, but still spoken by educated Vietnamese in positions of authority, but unfortunately, in my opinion, we didn't study the Vietnamese of rural villages where the war would eventually be fought.

When I first went in-country I wore civilian clothes and carried a passport that said I worked for the American Embassy in Tokyo. I had never been to Tokyo. In those days, it was President Kennedy’s secret war and he liked the Green Berets. Before Kennedy, the Army forbade the Special Forces from wearing their green berets. We were considered a marginalized group with NCO misfits left over from Ranger companies who fought in Korea led by officers enthralled with the exploits of T.E. Lawrence and his Seven Pillars of Wisdom or the exploits of William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan who founded the OSS for Roosevelt in World War Two.

In the early 1960s the Cold War army was focused on tank battalions, massed artillery and mechanized infantry divisions that would combat the Soviet Union on the plains of Europe. However, one day after Kennedy’s election I recall standing in morning formation and the first order of the day was: “Gentlemen, henceforth, you will wear your green berets wherever you go.” Prior to that morning we only wore our berets on base or in our compounds. We were Kennedy’s boys, and perhaps he was a visionary, because so many wars since Kennedy’s time have been fought with or against insurgents folded into regional populations. Of course, Kennedy’s vision was terribly distorted as was that of his successor Lyndon Johnson when it came to Vietnam. One morning in French class, I recall a major, who headed up a B team, stating: “We can never win a war in Vietnam; too many places to hide; too many troops in the north.” That was in 1961 and that major was prophetic, but he was representative of the intelligent class of men and officers attracted to the Green Berets.

So, what about Obama? Why is he sending Green Berets to Iraq after he pulled our troops out in 2011? What do Green Berets do? Anything they’re asked to, is the short answer. However, the primary mission of Green Berets is to train and lead unconventional warfare forces or a clandestine guerrilla force in an occupied nation. De Oppresso Liber is the motto: “To free the oppressed.” Green Berets go “in country” and organize resistance. Witness the initial stage of the war in Afghanistan when Special Forces were inserted into the Northern Coalition, which at that time was in stalemate with the Taliban. Result: the Taliban was driven out as a government and those who were left alive fled to Tora-Bora.

But, what could the current mission of Green Berets be in Iraq where the unconventional forces are already on the wrong side? In Iraq, the unconventional forces are the Islamic head-choppers of ISIS. Will the Green Berets help train the Iraqi Army? Hardly. The Iraqi Army is already a trained Army and it’s cost our country about $41 billion bucks to do it. Courage is untrainable. Obama has promised that the three hundred “won’t be engaged in combat.” That’s nice. So he’s sending some of the most combat-capable operators in the world to a combat zone to do what? Place one-way signs along the highways for the fast-retreating Iraqi Army?

After six years of teleprompting, it’s clear that President Obama is not a man who makes a clear distinction between talk and action. He’s the smartest liberal in the faculty lounge, and that’s about it. When he drew his “red line” in Syria and that red line was crossed, he did nothing. Bad men of action read him well. Putin took the Crimea, and now threatens the rest of the Ukraine. ISIS blossomed in Syria; spilled across the border and currently controls one half of Iraq on its way to taking Baghdad to turn the American embassy into a mosque. This brings us back to the question: Why three hundred Green Berets? Why not four hundred? How about five? What’s so significant about three?

It was done for the appearance of real action. While ISIS lined up captured Iraqi soldiers in Mosul and murdered them while shouting “God is great,” Obama spent that weekend at exclusive resorts playing golf in Palm Springs. He was on his thirtieth (30th!) fund raising trip since April, dining with billionaire Democrats. Even David Brooks at the New York Times, a long standing Obama shoe-shiner at the apex of the media-political complex, wrote: “Before the country (Iraq) was close to ready, the Obama administration took off the training wheels by not seriously negotiating the NATO status of forces agreement that would have maintained some smaller American presence.”

The first rat was off the ship. Panicked, Obama had to do something other than play a nine iron off the green. Is that when the number three hundred popped into Valerie Jarret’s head or some other White House advisor crafting President Obama’s decisions based solely on domestic, political consumption? “300! Yes that’s it!

Most Americans have seen the movie. Remember the brave three hundred Spartans who stood hopelessly fast at Thermopylae against ten thousand ugly Persians? And, who better to cast as Spartans than the Army’s Green Berets. They really won’t have to fight, but it will have a symbolic resonance in the mind of America’s popcorn eaters. Thus, the 300 are off to Iraq to play their part in Obama’s latest, symbolic pretense to give the appearance of action after all action is too late.

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But I love the I, steel I-beam

that my father sold. They poured the pig iron

into the mold, and it fed out slowly,

a bending jelly in the bath, and it hardened,

Bessemer, blister, crucible, alloy, and he

marketed it, and bought bourbon, and Cream

of Wheat, its curl of butter right

in the middle of its forehead, he paid for our dresses

with his metal sweat, sweet in the morning

and sour in the evening. I love the I,

frail between its flitches, its hard ground

and hard sky, it soars between them

like the soul that rushes, back and forth,

between the mother and father. What if they had loved each other,

how would it have felt to be the strut

joining the floor and roof of the truss?

I have seen, on his shirt-cardboard, years

in her desk, the night they made me, the penciled

slope of her temperature rising, and on

the peak of the hill, first soldier to reach

the crest, the Roman numeral I--

I, I, I, I,

girders of identity, head on,

embedded in the poem. I love the I

for its premise of existence--our I--when I was

born, part gelid, I lay with you

on the cooling table, we were all there, a

forest of felled iron. The I is a pine,

resinous, flammable root to crown,

which throws its cones as far as it can in a fire.

Sharon Olds

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, June 25th

Blackwell, Ebright, Gallups, C.Hakius, R.Hakius
Blackwell, Ebright, Gallups, C.Hakius, R.Hakius

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in Public.

DOUG EBRIGHT, Willits. Felonious Pot Growing/Selling.

ALICIA GALLUPS, Willits. Revocation of probation.

CHRISTOPHER HAKIUS, Willits. Felony pot charges.

RACHEL HAKIUS, Willits. Felony pot charges.

Jones, McGee, Middlebrook, Ochoa, O'Ferrall
Jones, McGee, Middlebrook, Ochoa, O'Ferrall

SHANE JONES, Kelseyville. Frequent flier. Drunk in public.

MATHEW McGEE, Ukiah. Revocation of probation.


JAMES OCHOA, Covelo. Drunk in public. Revocation of probation.

JACOB O'FERRALL, Covelo. Descendant of old Covelo family. Surname misspelled, I think. Jacob is accused of assault with a deadly weapon that isn't a gun.

Shepard, C.Ward, M.Ward, West, Cortinas
Shepard, C.Ward, M.Ward, West, Cortinas

MICHAEL SHEPARD, Fort Bragg. Pot sales, petty theft.

CODY WARD, Gualala. DUI.

MICHAEL, WARD, Ukiah. Mom and sonny boy out having a few belts? Not known if they're related. Mike was arrested for violation of a court order, which may have been, Drinking With Mom. Don't do it.

HARRY WEST, Ukiah. Frequent flier. Drunk in public.

ALEX CORTINAS, Ukiah. Meth, gun, doing lots of bad stuff while out on bail.

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"ALL ABOUT MONEY" at KZYX, with host, John Sakowicz, is pleased to welcome one of our country's leading progressives, Norman Solomon, to the show. We will air on Friday, June 27, at 9 a.m., Pacific Time.

Solomon and others are calling for a new generation of whistleblowers to expose fraud, waste, and corruption in the federal government, particularly in defense and intelligence spending.

We'll be joined by two prominent whistleblowers, Peter Van Buren and Matthew Hoh.

Daniel Ellsberg has been invited to also call into the show.

NORMAN SOLOMON — Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, a consortium of policy researchers and analysts.

He is the author of a dozen books on media and public policy, including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death". The Los Angeles Times called the book "brutally persuasive" and "a must-read for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee, or to arm themselves for the debates about Iraq that are still to come." The newspaper's reviewer added: "Solomon is a formidable thinker and activist." The Humanist magazine described the book as "a definitive historical text" and "an indispensable record of the real relationships among government authorities and media outlets."

Solomon is on the editorial board of Launched by the Institute for Public Accuracy in June 2014, represents a new approach for encouraging whistleblowers to disclose information that citizens need to make truly informed decisions in a democracy. From the outset, their message was clear: “Whistleblowers Are Welcomed at”

Solomon is also the co-founder of the national group, which now has more than 400,000 active members.

Solomon was also a Congressional candidate. On April 13, 2011, Solomon officially announced his candidacy for what the open House seat in the newly created 2nd congressional district of California. Representative Lynn Woolsey—the incumbent from the former 6th congressional district, which was geographically expanded into the new 2nd district via redistricting—announced her retirement later in June, setting up a competitive Democratic primary in one of the more liberal districts in the country.

Observers expected Solomon to position himself to the left of his competitors and as the "philosophical heir" to Rep. Woolsey, a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In announcing his campaign Solomon himself argued, "After so many years of progressive leadership from Lynn Woolsey, her successor in the House should have a proven commitment to a wide range of progressive values." Solomon emphasized his strong environmentalist background and particularly his opposition to nuclear power, which he used to differentiate himself from his primary opponent Assemblyman Jared Huffman.

Finally, regarding whistleblowers, Solomon recently said: “The ongoing disaster in Iraq is continuously worsened by overall U.S. government suppression of whistleblowing in favor of enabling the latest ‘best and brightest’ in Washington to keep calling the shots.”

PETER VAN BUREN — Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Following his first book, "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People", the Department of State began proceedings against him. The book, published in 2011, called out the State Department for failing to address the root problems in Iraq, both the Sunni-Shia tribal/political/religious divides as well as the failed civil and municipal infrastructures that underlay widespread discontent with the Iraqi government.

Instead of reviewing Van Buren’s arguments, the State Department sought to prosecute him as a whistleblower, until the intercession of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU allowed Van Buren to depart his 24 years of government service on his own terms.

Last week, Van Buren appeared on the nationwide public radio program “To The Point” to discuss “Government Secrecy and the People’s Right to Know,” along with Norman Solomon. Newsweek reported on ExposeFacts with an extensive article, “The Website That Wants the Next Snowden to Leak.”

MATTHEW HOH — Hoh, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He was subsequently appointed Senior Civilian Representative of the U.S. government for Zabul Province in Afghanistan. Five months into his year-long contract in 2009, Hoh resigned and became the highest-ranking U.S. official to publicly renounce U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Hoh was awarded The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2010.

He added: “American military involvement will serve as an accelerant to and a prolonger of this Iraqi civil war. American bombs, bullets and dollars will further strengthen the bond between Sunnis and extremist groups like ISIS, increasing Sunni desperation by intensifying their backs-to-the-wall dilemma and justifying the propaganda and rhetoric of ISIS: a narrative of a Western campaign of international subjugation enacted through Shia, Kurdish and Iraqi ethnic minority puppets.
“Further, such American support will strengthen the resolve of the al-Maliki government not to reform and not to address Sunni grievances. With the renewed backing of American might and money, al-Maliki’s government will feel no need to restore a balance of power in Iraq and will continue a policy of disenfranchisement and marginalization of the Sunni population and leadership. Only by withholding support to al-Maliki’s government, and not by sending advisors, tomahawk missiles or cash, will there be a reason for al-Maliki’s government to negotiate and seek peace.”

Last week, Hoh wrote the piece “Bombs Are Medication for Guilt, Not Peace, in Iraq.” He appeared on HuffPost Live in a segment titled “New Website Encourages Government Workers to Blow the Whistle,” discussing his involvement and support for

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Craig Louis Stehr

Telephone messages: (504) 302-9951
Permanent email address:
Snail mail: 333 Socrates Street, New Orleans, LA 70114

One Comment

  1. Jim Armstrong June 26, 2014

    The minor piece above on the afternoon Lake Mendocino Drive traffic stop is dismaying.
    First, I didn’t know that riding in the back seat of car with a bad driver makes one a “subject.”

    Second, the unidentified deputy must have crackerjack interviewing skills: “After further questioning of both Smith and the female it was determined they were involved in a sexual relationship for the past ten months.”
    What in the world did he ask them?
    And what did they answer?

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